Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Love Poured Out but Filling Up


“…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” -
Rom. 5:5

 Today is, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day! I love this day. It’s filled with candy, flowers and love. But I’m not exactly sure why it’s today? I’m sure its roots are the Roman God’s weird celebrations from thousands of years ago. But for us twenty first century people, I’m glad it’s a beautiful celebration of love. 

 

Celebrations of love are a good thing- or better said, CAN be a good thing. I guess it depends on the source and kind of love. Because, truth is, love is one of those slippery words that comes and goes. Today we love the Kansas City Chiefs, but next year, if they lose to the Raiders, we’ll think they stink. Today, if we win the lottery, we love our God who provides, but tomorrow, when we have five dollars in our checking account, we feel abandoned and alone. 

 

We so easily forget that God’s love, the true love, is sure and solid and strong. It isn’t dependent on circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13). When we come to know Christ, His love is “poured out within our hearts.” When we surrender our lives to Him, he grants us the Holy Spirit who supplies love over and over and over (and over). 

 

Ephesians 1:13 reminds us: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Though we are forever sealed with the “Holy Spirit of promise,” the maintenance of that “seal” is so important. Though the sealed love doesn’t require us to earn it over again (it’s forever sealed), the choice to live in it is ours. 

 

Regardless of the circumstances, God’s agape love is solid and sure. Again, that is the love that is “poured out within our hearts.” The challenge is the maintenance of that love within our hearts. Like someone said, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” There are so many sneaky ways that we replace that love with other things. First Thessalonians 5:19 reminds us “not to quench the Holy Spirit.” Though we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, we still can leave Him out of the picture. Though we have a comfy heavy coat to wear, we decide to go outside in a t-shirt. Guess what: in February, we get cold! Why wouldn’t we wear the coat? No great reason except that we want to be in control. Too often our pride rules and we make dumb decisions when we leave God out of the picture.

 

But when we leave the Holy Spirit alive and well and in control in our hearts, hope rules the day. It doesn’t mean everything is perfect around us but it does mean our heart is full inside of us- full of the Holy Spirit of promise. 

 

May we all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Whether we’re with our sweetheart or alone, may we all rest in the awesome love supplied by our awesome God. He made a way for us by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Now, through Christ, we have true fellowship with God. We can now experience and live in His love for us.

 

Enjoy the candy and don’t forget to smell the roses but enjoy the ultimate 

celebration of love in the presence of our awesome God who chose and chooses to love us all over again. 

 

As the love of God is poured out on us, may we pour out that love on those around us.

 

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

www.lifeaid101.com

 

Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Family, Part Two


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some amazing people. The opportunity to meet highly talented athletes, pastors and politicians has been such an honor. All reinforced (mostly) the creed that “the harder we work, the higher we climb” for fame and importance. 

But, over the years, I’ve learned an important lesson: there is more value in who we are than in what we do. Yes, being a hard worker is important. But the integrity of our soul and definition of who we are speaks with more consistency and integrity than simply working hard. Fame and importance are legitimate strengths but love and service might be less obvious but longer lasting.  

So, the people that I’ve encountered in this life who are important and famous are not necessarily actors and professional athletes but are people who have hearts of love and integrity. 

The most important people to me are my family. Each and every one of them is a gift. Like all of us, they come in all different sizes and shapes, filled with the ups and downs that every single human possesses. Some of them have gone on to the next life with God and others weren’t born too long ago. But all are important. 

My dad and mom, Pelham and Mildred Staples, and Jeanie’s dad and mom, Burton and Marion Beadle, are and were amazing men and women. They worked hard to love on their families and raise awesome kids.

Jeanie’s sister Holly, is such a true friend with Jeanie and her brothers, David, Brian and Bill, are great men. Trent, Holly’s husband, has been a good friend as well.

My brothers, Pelham, Marc and Bob, have been and are amazing role models for me. Their spouses, Jean, Sally, Brenda and Lisa are amazing as well. My dad, being a career Air Force physician, meant we moved a lot growing up and my dear brothers were always there to take care of their youngest brother Joey.

Jeanie, my beautiful bride, was and is such a wonderful gift. She is easily my best friend and has been such an encourager and support for me. 

Elizabeth, our oldest daughter, has been such a blessing. With such a huge servant’s heart, she is a wonderful mom and wife. Mark, her husband, is a great dad, husband and friend to me. Their kids, Reese, Lucy and Griffin, are a bundle of joy and energy and so, so talented. 

Eric, our son, has been a blessing as well. Always faithful and supportive, he loves his kids and Jennifer, his amazing wife, so, so much. He has been a great friend to me as well. Jen is a great mom and wife to Eric. Their kids, James, Reid, and Felicity are growing, energetic and so, so talented as well.

And so many amazing friends from over the years. Too many to name, but faithful and selfless friends, all there during my up’s and down’s. 

Yes, those are “famous and important people” I’ve encountered in this life. Of course, all the credit goes to our awesome and wonderful God. All the “fame” is really His. He produces amazing people to be about His will. Our responsibility is to yield ourselves to His plans and stay true to Him.

As we head into 2024, I want to “Thank You Lord” for all of these amazing people that You have brought into my life. The “encounters” have been such a blessing. I pray our lives continue to cross.  And I pray our “encounters” with You, Lord, continue to deepen and widen. Thank you for being “with” us in this life. 

Certainly, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this season, we are celebrating the choice You made to be “with” us. You didn’t have to do that. You are certainly an awesome God. We didn’t deserve it, but you made a way, through Jesus, that we might have an intimate relationship with You. Not only did you send Jesus as a baby, but You sent that Jesus to die on a cross for our sins that the door would open for us to have a relationship with You. The connection that you enabled for us through family is even deeper with you. 

All we can say is “thank you” Lord, for being our Savior and for our wonderful family. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

www.lifeaid101.com

 

Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS