Flawed Yet Beautiful

There are a lot of sexually frustrated women out there.

50 Shades of Grey the movie more than reflects the success of the written trilogy. Fans of the book agree that the movie was a pale representation. That is the usual case with the movie adaptation of a book. The movie itself made more that $323 million since its release.

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Being Mary Jane is also another BET television series which encompasses the sexual frustration of women. The protagonist is sexy and successful in every area of life except when it comes to male companionship. She desperately tries to conceive in the hopes of filling that void. She envies those around her who have children, only perceiving parenthood from a limited lens.

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50 Shades of Grey (movie and book) and the TV series Being Mary Jane serious challenge societal expectations. Women envision themselves in the scenarios of Anastasia and Christian. They attempt to recreate these scenes within their lives by placing these expectations on their sexual partners. Women who are successful in other spheres with the exception of the intimate relationship, turn to the side of sexual liberation. The no-strings attached “Cutty Buddy version” in actuality has many strings attached. Emotional pieces are scattered to the winds of sexual conquest.

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God made sex for human beings to enjoy. Yet sex is not love. Sex is temporal. It is short lived, no matter how many rounds you may experience. By contrast, love is permanent. It is felt in every moment. Love builds up your heart, mind and soul.  These sexually frustrated women seek to fill that void of loneliness and despair. There is an answer. That answer is found in daily prayer with God. That answer is found in daily reading of His Word. That answer is found in being intimate with God.

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This intimacy with God develops over time. Many may scoff and become cynical at this school of thought but those who understand need no explanation. Wisdom and understanding come from being in the presence of God, in the quiet moments and worship in God’s sanctuary. Intimacy comes from believing in God when everything and everyone tells you the opposite. If you believe that God is omnipresent, then you are not alone. If you believe that God is omnipotent, then you have nothing to fear. If you believe that God is omniscient, then you have nothing to worry about. God is always there. God is always powerful. God is always knowing. Then with that knowledge, you can rest easy.

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Thank you 50 Shades and Being Mary Jane, for the stories you portray bring awareness of a social problem within life to do with love and intimacy. Yet there is another and more hopeful side to this problem, which is in the immense love of God. Don’t forget that God loves us all flawed and yet beautiful creatures. That love is more than enough to fill that void of frustration in life.

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The Shape of True Love

Shapes have always intrigued me. Perhaps it is the sense of symbolism associated with them. This article by Alicia Bruxvoort references an interesting shape to represent true love.

http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/the-shape-of-true-love/

“God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9b-10 (VOICE)

Alicia Bruxvoort

The first time I danced with my husband my nose came up to his armpit. We were swaying straight-armed beneath the disco ball at our eighth grade graduation party, and I joked about how I hoped he’d used plenty of deodorant that day. His face turned crimson, the red rising from his neck, as he solemnly promised that he was protected with a double-dose.

I’d stood on my tiptoes in an effort to shrink the gap, but even with my hair ratted and sprayed as high as an ‘80s girl could manage, that boy loomed tall above me.

Of course, I had no idea I was dancing with my future husband that night in the junior high gym. I never would have guessed that six years later we’d trade the sheen of a disco ball for the gleam of rings and pledge to love one another ‘til death do us part.

Though we were no longer gangly teens on our wedding day, my groom still towered 10 inches above me. But I wasn’t bothered by my armpit view on that special day; I’d set my sights on the heights of love.

I’d given my husband a hand-written letter just hours before I’d walked down the aisle, the words scrawled across the page capturing my hopes for the future: “No matter what life sends our way, our love will always stand tall …”

It was a poetic line, not unlike one you might find on a Valentine’s card this month. But after 21 years of marriage, I’ve come to believe my sentiments were wrong.

Love is, indeed, a sacred and lofty gift, but two decades of loving and learning has taught me that the mark of true love isn’t height, it’s humility. True love doesn’t stand tall; it bends low.

As we see in today’s key verse, God sent Jesus to demonstrate how true love is sacrificial at its core.

True love stoops to pick up the trash bag sitting near the kitchen door and crouches to look a sullen child in the eye.

True love bows to change diapers and to shovel snow, to deliver goodnight kisses and offer hugs.

True love bends over the dishwasher and over the sick child. True love hovers over the hurting and kneels quietly in prayer.

True love chooses to be righteous instead of right, servant instead of master, humble instead of haughty.

Let’s be honest, true love isn’t headline news. It’s not greeting card verse. It’s not blockbuster buzz. True love is Heaven’s hope, as we see in 1 John 4:10: “This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

God didn’t declare His love for us with a bouquet of red roses. He didn’t wrap up a box of fine chocolates or a flowery card. Instead, God wrapped His only Son in wrinkled flesh and proclaimed His undying love on Calvary’s cross.

It’s crazy when you think about it, the way the truest love of all stooped the lowest — so we might know the summit of His glorious love.

I didn’t realize it as a starry-eyed bride, but the heights of love can only be discovered in the depths of surrender. It sounds unnatural, doesn’t it? Impossible … on our own.

But 1 John 4:14-17 tells us that when we confess Christ as our Lord, He perfects His love in us. And as the stooping Savior makes Himself at home in our hearts, our lives proclaim the truth that the whole world longs to hear:

The shape of true love isn’t a diamond. It’s a cross.

Dear Jesus, Thank You for loving me with a true and unshakeable love. Grow in me a humble heart so that Your perfect love can shine through my imperfect life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 4:11-12, “My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us — perfect love!” (MSG)

I John 4:17, “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us …” (MSG)

One Church, One Faith, One God

(Inspired by the sermon by Bishop Peter Fenty at the Barbados Diocesan Service – 8th February, 2015)

God loves all of us. Jesus came that we may have life abundantly. God continues to pour His Spirit upon us. It is God’s mission and not ours. We are God’s beloved. We must honor the outpouring of his spiritual gifts. It is not an accident that we were chosen by God. The Christian Church needs to come together. We must be united so that we can bear witness. We need to discern God’s purpose and intention. We are called to share God with those around us and do this with great humility. There is one body and one spirit. We respond by the grace of God. We accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

All of us need to work together. We live our Christian lives in context of the world. The Christian Church needs to be at the forefront and work at the challenges of our people. We need to work at solving the issues that revolve around indiscipline and recklessness. Each of us has a role to play in working together. Trust in God. With God all things are possible. Return to the values of looking out for each other and loving our neighbour as ourselves. God has a mission to our nation.

Encourage one another. Empower each other. Let us be passionate about our Faith. God’s promise is that He is always with us. We can go forward with confidence in God. For He is working His purpose out, through our lives.

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My son is incredible. He sang beautifully in front of a packed gymnasium and received a standing ovation. My heart swelled with emotion. Tears of happiness came to my eyes. While members of the congregation hugged me, I gazed to heaven and gave God thanks. Every day I pray for all of the children I come into contact with and that is a fair amount when you take into account that I am a mother and a teacher. But my son continues to exceed human expectations. How? The simple answer is that I place all my children in God’s hands and trust in Him to do the rest. Anything that you commit to God, watch and wait for it and it will come about in a way that you would have never imagined. Fast and pray to God and He will continue to amaze and astound you. 

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25 Ways to Love Your Lover

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(Also inspired by the book God on Sex by Daniel Akin. This is originally sourced from Joanna Weaver. Enjoy!)

1) List the top 10 reasons I’m the most fortunate husband/wife in the world. Read them aloud to your spouse.

2) Surprise your mate by doing one of his or her chores. When asked why, give a smooch and say, “because you are worth it.”

3) Don’t just show—tell! Say, “I love you.”

4) Communicate your plans to each other. On Sunday night, go over your schedules for the coming week.

5) Use the T.H.I.N.K. method to determine whether an issue needs to be brought up. Is it true? Helpful? Important? Necessary? Kind?

6) Plan an appreciation celebration for your mate, complete with his or her favorite meal.

7) Look at your schedule. Make time with your spouse a weekly priority.

8) Bring back those dating days. After picking up the sitter, walk back outside and knock on the door with flowers in your hand.

9) Don’t turn on the TV until after dinnertime, if at all. Wait for a conversation to break out.

10) Pray together. Thank God for your mate, then pray for his or her special needs.

11) On your spouse’s birthday, send your in-laws a thank-you card.

12) Set boundaries in outside relationships. Don’t let anyone take away too much of the time you spend with your spouse.

13) Are you seeing eye to eye? Experts have found the deeper the love, the more frequent the eye contact.

14) Pull out old love letters, taking turns reading and reminiscing.

15) Take turns reading the Bible each night.

16) Stretch out birthdays with special activities, fun surprises and a whole lot of hoopla.

17) Be a student of your spouse. Learn what he likes. Learn what she needs.

18) Treat your wife like a lady. Open doors and hold chairs.

19) Throw away fighting words like “you never…” and “you should…” Use healing words like “I’m sorry…” and “you might be right.”

20) Make church attendance a joyful priority.

21) Instead of making a joke at your spouse’s expense, give a sincere compliment.

22) Create traditions as a couple by budgeting money for special times together.

23) Be affectionate. Back rubs and tender hand-holding communicate love.

24) Choose your battles carefully.

25) Be a person of integrity. Give your spouse no reason to doubt your word or question your commitment.

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Not only is February my birth month, but it is also the month that contains Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate love. The challenge is to love each other every day no matter what. These are just suggestions of ways to show your love and you can create your unique ways as well with these as inspirations. Your life will thank you for it. Live more. Laugh more. Love more. Just believe!

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Love or Infatuation

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(This week’s post is inspired by the book God on Sex by Daniel Akin. Enjoy!)

Infatuation leaps into bloom. Love usually takes root and grows one day at a time. Infatuation is accompanied by a sense of uncertainty. You are stimulated and thrilled but not really happy. You are miserable when he is absent. You can’t wait until you see her again. Love begins with a feeling of security. You are warm with a sense of his nearness, even when he is away. Miles do not separate you. You want her near. But near or far, you know she is yours and you can wait.

Infatuation says, “We must get married right away. I can’t risk losing him.” Love says, “Don’t rush into anything. You are sure of one another. You can plan your future with confidence.”

Infatuation has an element of sexual excitement. If you are honest, you will discover it is difficult to enjoy one another unless you know it will end in intimacy. Love is the maturating of a friendship. You must be friends before you truly can be lovers.

Infatuation lacks confidence. When he’s away, you wonder if he’s with another girl. When she is away, you wonder if she is with another guy. Sometimes you even check. Love means trust. You may fall into infatuation, but you never fall in love. Infatuation might lead you to do things for which you might be sorry, but love never will.

Love lifts you up. It makes you look up. It makes you think up. It makes you a better person than you were before.

(Adapted from an article by Ann Landers. Located at lovstrand.com/Quotes/LoveorInfatuation.html and Chicago Tribune News, 4-18- 98.)

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