Friday, January 31, 2014

Thoughts about John the Great and Herod the Not-Great

Consider Herod Antipas.

He was ruling in Israel during Jesus' ministry on this earth.  His father was Herod the Great, who was not a great man in any way.  He was the one who ordered the murder of all the baby boys in the region of Bethlehem.

Herod Antipas was the Roman ruler over the region where Jesus ministered. He was only 17 years old when his father, Herod the Great, died. The kingdom was divided among three of Herod’s sons—Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip II (see note on 2:22). Herod Antipas was made tetrarch (the ruler of a fourth part of a kingdom) of Galilee and Perea and had a long rule (4 b.c.a.d. 39).

Matthew 2:18
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Herod's son Philip married Herodias, his niece, the daughter of Aristobulus who was the brother of Philip and the son of Herod the not so great.  Philip and Herodias had a daughter, Salome, then they were divorced and Herodias married another uncle, Herod Antipas, whom we are considering.

What a tangled web!

Along comes John the Baptist, about whom Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. ~ Matthew 11:11

John the Baptist (this truly great man who actually deserved to be known as John the Great, for he was MUCH greater than Herod) was outraged that a ruler in Israel would disregard God's Law about marriage, so he told Herod "It is NOT lawful that you should have her."  

John knew Herod's power.  He knew Herod could throw him in prison or chop off his head.

He didn't care.

The honour of God was at stake!

So, John rebuked Herod severely.  Herodias didn't like that.  She wanted to keep up appearances.  She schemed and connived to ruin her enemy.

You know the story.  The nobles and lords, the commanders and leaders, all of the great ones were invited to a party.  It was Herod's birthday, and he was putting on the Ritz.  Salome, the daughter of Herodias and Philip, danced before the group of lustful men, and pleased Herod so much that he offered to give her whatever she wanted.

She wanted John's head on a plate.  She was prompted by her mother.

Think about your influence, Moms.  You can influence your daughter for good.  Or, you can influence your daughter for evil.  How I pray that my influence will point my daughters to Christ!

Almighty Father,
     You are Sovereign over all.
          All events.
               All storms.
                    All rulers.
                         All consequences.
You are in control of all things.

Give me the courage to be like John the Baptist.
     Who saw the truth.
          Who spoke against sin.
               Who did not worry about offending powerful people in high places,
                because he was offended by actions that shouted to the world,

"There is no God in Israel!"

Oh, the devil, he laughed
Clasped his hands with delight
Watched John tossed into prison
Thought he'd won that dark night...

Oh, the devil, he schemed
Saw the social elite
All together to party
To drink and to feast...

So, he whispered to Herod,
"Call the girl out to dance
You'll impress all the leaders
With her whirls and her prance."

Then Herod the Wicked
Who was not at all wise
Made a promise, not thinking
To impress all the guys:

"Up to half of my kingdom
I'll grant," he did state,
And Salome demanded
John's head on a plate.

The king, he was sorry, but he had to save face.
To not keep his word meant that it would erase
The appearance of things that he tried to maintain
So he did the wrong thing to continue his reign.

The king did the wrong thing for fear of his guests,
And John did the right thing, and he would be blessed
to open his eyes in the Kingdom of Light
Where there's no more sorrow, and there's no more night.

May we live like Great John,
     Standing firm for God's glory,
May fear of mere man be no part of our story...
Make us into prophets, hearts bared before You
Dear Lord God in heaven, make us ever true.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 1990

Our son Daniel was born too soon.  

I knew the doc was serious when he pulled grapefruit-sized clots away.  As soon as he took one, another one appeared.  "It's time,' he said.

I asked, "Are you sure?"  I was worried about the baby.  I thought he needed just a bit more time to grow.  He wasn't due until the first week of March, and I knew that premie boys had a rougher time of things.

Doctor Nurse (NOT kidding) pulled another huge clot from me.  "We have to go now."

Despite the many tests and ultrasounds that had been done, the surgical team cut right through the placenta in order to deliver my son.  I lost a massive amount of blood.  Worse, Daniel was born unresponsive and in shock.

I didn't know all this, because I was under a general anesthetic.  The first thing I remember when I came to was a nurse shoving a clipboard at me.  "Sign this!" she demanded.

"What is it?" I asked groggily.

"The consent form for your surgery."

I chuckled a bit, wincing from the pain.  "It's a bit late for that, isn't it?"  I could feel the tension in the room, and briefly wondered what would happen if I didn't sign.  I scrawled my signature, then promptly upchucked into a bowl.

It's disconcerting to say the least to be lying on a gurney, pillow against the incision, vomiting every few minutes.  "Where's the baby??" I demanded.  I want to see him.

"First the doctor wants to talk to you."

I expected Dr. Nurse to come to tell me how the C-Section went.  Instead, a somewhat familiar face appeared at my bedside.

"I know you", I said.

It was Dr. Peter Thornback, pediatrician.  I had no idea he was working at KW Hospital!  I'd met Peter 15 years previously, when we were expecting our first baby.  We lived in North Bay, and I'd been doing a lot of reading about natural childbirth.  When I saw an ad in the paper (The North Bay Nugget) about a course offered at Canadore College, I picked  up the phone and enrolled.  Peter and his wife Liz were also expecting their first baby, and took the course right along with us.  Our instructor, Meg, was brilliant and kind and supportive.  I'll never forget her card: "Congratulations! Now comes the hard part..."  Inside, it read, "... the next twenty years!"

We liked Peter and Liz immediately.  They were at least 10 years older than us, but were kind and friendly and welcoming, even inviting us to lunch at their home.  So when he showed up at my bedside that January morning, I was relieved to know he was caring for our baby.

Relieved for about 1.5 seconds.

Dr. Thornback was mad.  He told me that the surgical team should have known better than to have cut right through the placenta!  They had all the ultrasounds, and they knew exactly where the placenta was lying.  I don't know why they decided to do what they did, but I do know that it put our son in grave danger.

The doctor told me that Daniel might have to go by air ambulance to Hamilton, unless they could get him stabilized.  He told me more details about his condition, but all I could think was "my baby's in danger."

"Do you want to see him?"

Do I!!

They pushed me on the gurney down to the NICU.  There was our baby, mask on his face, tubes and wires on his head, his arm, his chest and his feet.  Poor wee baby.  But he was beautiful.

I couldn't see his face, but I loved him just the same.  I lay there and gazed at him, praying that God, the Healer of the sick, would strengthen and heal our son.

The next few hours were a blur.  I was taken to my room and given pain meds, so I drifted off to sleep.  Every time I woke, I prayed for our boy.  The day was a haze of meds and tears and prayers and ladies who came and stood by my bed, praying for me and for Daniel, that God would spare him, and that he'd grow up to be a man of God.

I don't remember how many hours it took, but suddenly Daniel rallied.  He didn't have to be taken to Hamilton.  He was able to be weaned off the ventilator.  Slowly they took out wires and tubes.  What joy!  He was in my arms.

I did a search for Dr. Thornback this evening.  He's now in his 70's, working overseas, still caring for little ones.  He survived cancer a few years back, and was the oldest person to compete in a Triathalon in 2011. I'm sure he's been a blessing to many, many families over the past 40 years he's been practicing as a physician.  But the blessing to the Billsons is Daniel, our son, who overcame a difficult birth and a rough start by the grace of God, and has increased in wisdom and stature, in favour with God and man.

Happy Birthday, my son.

I'm glad Dr. Thornback was there that day. :D

Thursday, January 23, 2014


In an effort to be more hospitable and to be able to willingly welcome friends and family into our home on a weekly basis, we've set up some cleaning zones:

Zone 1- Monday - Bedrooms

Wash area rugs
Straighten up makeup
Straighten drawer cabinets
Polish Furniture
Clean cobwebs
Wash mattress pad/dust ruffle
Flip mattress
Empty trash
Wash windows
Cull some books from bookcase
Straighten bookcase
Clean under the bed
Straighten drawers
Rearrange videos/games/books

Straighten the top shelves
Arrange the shoes
Dust shoe bookcase
Clean cobwebs
Straighten desk
Put away stray items
Sort out-grown clothes

Dust shelves
Organize books
Smoke Alarm

Zone 2 – Tuesday - Living Room/Library, Office

Clean cobwebs
Clean windows
Straighten bookcases
Wash ornaments and knick-knacks
Clean out end tables
Wipe fingerprints from walls
Polish furniture
Clean Piano
Organize Music books
Clean instruments
Clean under cushions
Move furniture and vacuum
Wash lights and light switches
Wash floor

Office /Library
Clear off the desk surfaces
Throw away pens that don’t work
Sharpen pencils
Throw out all the trash
File papers
Straighten one drawer at a time
Toss out old receipts from over 7 years
Clean off the monitor screen
Fill printer caddy with paper
Establish a place for current bills
Vacuum under desk and the whole room
Dust furniture
Clean windows
Remove cobwebs

Check supplies of paper and printer cartridges
Stamps and envelopes
Water plants

Zone 3 – Wednesday - Great Room

Clean fish; change filter
Clean cobwebs
Clean windows
Straighten and dust bookcases
Water plants
Clean out tables
Wipe fingerprints from walls
Polish furniture
Clean out videos/ clean TV
Clean under cushions
Clean out fireplace/ ashes
Move furniture and vacuum
Wash floor
Clean Kitty Litter Box

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

1: Monday - Bedrooms
2: Tuesday - Living room – Library, Offices
3: Wednesday - Great Room
4: Thursday - Bathrooms
5: Friday - Entrance/front porch
6. Saturday - Kitchen /laundry room

 Zone 4 – Thursday – Bathrooms

Scrub Tub/Shine fixtures
Scrub and shine sinks
Scrub toilet
Wash area rugs
Scrub floor
Straighten drawers/ cabinets
Clean medicine cabinet
Throw away empty bottles
Check for cobwebs
Empty Trash

Upstairs bathroom

Sweep/scrub  floor
Straighten drawers/cabinets
Clean shower/tub stall
Wash down outside of toilet
Clean inside of toilet
Throw away empty containers
Empty Trash
Check supplies

Zone 5 – Friday – Entrance/Front Porch

Start at the ceiling and work your way down to the floor.
Clean cobwebs
Dust window sills and front door
Wash window
Clean switch plate of hand prints and walls if needed
Put plants in to the shower and give them a good rinse.
Straighten the coat rack
Sweep vacuum or mop the floor
Add your own personal touches to make it more welcoming.

Front Porch
Sweep down cobweb and spider webs
Sweep off porch furniture.
Sweep the porch.
Throw away any dead plants.
Prune back unruly bushes from the entrance.
Repot planters if necessary (in summer)
Refill bird feeders.
Wipe off tables, banisters, and light fixtures.
Get rid of unwanted items.
Add your own personal touches to welcome friends and family

Zone 6 – Saturday – Kitchen/Laundry

Empty fridge/clean thoroughly
Clean microwave inside and out
Clean stove/oven
Wash canister/knick-knacks
Straighten drawers/cupboards
Wipe fingerprints off walls
Wash inside windows
Clean fan/vent-a-hood filters and hood
Scrub down cabinet fronts (only a few at a time)
Clean light defusing bowls (glass globes over light bulbs)
Clean under sink/throw away old rags
Clean pet dishes

Laundry room
Wipe down the top of the washer and dryer
Clean the gunk from under the washer lid
Clean out the dryer vent
Throw out empty bottles and boxes
Empty the garbage can
Check supplies of laundry detergent, softener, spot remover
Sweep and mop the floor
Remove the cobwebs
Put away all clothes
Look behind appliances for odd socks

 I really don't care if our house is perfect.  What I care about is that I want our home to be welcoming, to be a place where visitors are comfortable and relaxed.  I want to be able to love others and to be able to demonstrate the love of Christ to them.  A clean and organized environment is part of that.  A welcoming heart matters most.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Isn't Seven the Perfect Number?

It`s coming up to seven years.

Seven years since I was happily on my way home one dark, wintery night, the trunk full of groceries and my heart full of anticipation.

In just a few minutes I'd pass the farmhouse where my daughter lived with her husband and sons.  She was expecting twins, and I couldn't wait!  I knew I'd wave and honk as I drove past, eagerly thinking of the reunion.

Twelve minutes after Rachel's house, I'd see the familiar lane, lined with maple trees over a hundred years old.  I'd see the porch light on, and know that the kids would pile out of the house to welcome me home and carry in the groceries.


Disoriented.  Where were my glasses?  What was that noise?  Why was some guy opening my passenger door, telling me to turn off the engine?

"Are you all right?" he asked as he reached in and turned the key.  (I hadn't done what he simply didn't register that the engine was still running, but the car wasn't moving.  It was never moving again.)

I want my glasses.  I can't see.

I plead with the man.  "Can you find my glasses?"  He feels for them on the floor of the car, and hands them to me.

Ah, that's better.  They're crooked, but not broken.

At least I can see.

"Can you find my cell phone?"

He does, and I instantly call my hubby.

"I've been in an accident."

"Are you all right?"

"No, I can't move."  I meant the car.  The car wasn't going to move again.  But Rick thought I was paralyzed.  What was I thinking?

I wasn't thinking.  I was in shock.

I managed to call 911.  Through faltering lips I told them the intersection: Perth Line 44 and Road 150.

I snapped at the man who had driven right into my lane.

"No, I don't want to sit in your vehicle."  (Leave me alone!)

My glasses-finder and cellphone rescuer noticed the shaking.  Shock.  He insisted I get out of my car, and helped me to his truck.  My teeth were chattering and soon would crack, I thought.  He turned up the heat.

Police.  Ambulance.  Rick.  Mike.  Hospital.  Rachel.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Waves of pain.  Worry.

Am I going to die?

What are these waves of electricity running through my skull?  Am I having a stroke?


"You're fine, Mrs. Billson.  Go home and rest."


It's been nearly seven years, and I still remember many details of that evening.  I remember how the snow felt, pelting against my face.  I remember my heart leaping when I saw Rick drive up in the big truck.  I remember worrying when I saw Mike (I didn't want to worry his pregnant wife, Rachel... with the twins!)

It's been nearly seven years, and I haven't had a day without pain.  Not one day.  My neck hurts.  My head hurts.  My back is tight and sore and painful. My chest hurts.  And oh, how my shoulder hurts.  Pain is ever-present.  It keeps me awake at night.  It keeps me from hobbies and fun.  It keeps me feeling grouchy at times.  Pain is my constant companion.

But God...

God takes the most eminent and choicest of His servants for the choicest and most eminent afflictions. They who have received most grace from God are able to bear most afflictions from God. Affliction does not hit the saint by chance, but by direction. God does not draw His bow at a venture. Every one of His arrows goes upon a special errand and touches no breast but his against whom it is sent. It is not only the grace, but the glory of a believer when we can stand and take affliction quietly.–Joseph Caryl

The Enemy meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

He will bring beauty out of the ashes of the crash.  He will teach patience in affliction, perseverance in the midst of pain.  He will give grace to endure, and He will remind me that these past seven years are a light and momentary affliction, because GLORY is FOREVER.

 I'm a little late in discovering this brother's blog, but Greg Lane is a most eminent and choice servant of the Most High God.  I wish I'd known of his blog before this, because he's just announced that he won't be blogging any more, as ALS has robbed him of the ability to do so.  He's written many a post, so go there and explore.  I know I will.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


The sermon today was about living a balanced Christian life.  I'll put a link to the sermon notes when I get them done.  I'm not disagreeing with the premise that we need to live a balanced life.

But here's a quote to ponder:

Regarding balance, I can sure see where that is a very serious trap--for if we are the determiners of balance, then we would be usurping the authority of God. . . In Christ, we have utterly forsaken balance -- we don't even try to balance our salvation- - we pitch ourselves fully into the arms of Jesus who carries us through to the other side. The problem of balance then rests with the one who carries the weight -- and He said, "Cast all your cares (weights) on me" . . . or He speaks of His yoke and burden which is light. So how can Jesus, who bore the sin of the world upon himself, be a light burden for us? Praise God that He is a light yoke/burden! That means He is the one responsible for balance -- we just have to surrender it all to Him! . . . If we have thrown the weight of our burden onto Christ, and He in turn has had us take up His yoke and burden which is light, then of course we are out of balance. ~ Jack Helser
I'm thinking there's something to be said for passion, for intention, for determination, for wholehearted pursuing after the One who has given us our every breath.

Friday, January 3, 2014

What love is NOT.

It's come to my attention recently that in some circles men think it is their right to discipline their wives.

I'm talking about spanking.  A husband spanking a wife.

I'd likely spank right back.  I asked my husband what he thinks about this, and he also was flabbergasted. His response:  "Why would it enter anyone's mind?" 

 RC Sproul Jr wife spanking

I don't know how the advertisers got away with this sort of thing back in the 50's.  I do know that in my own home my father would never have considered beating my mother for any reason.  Even though my grandfathers were considered the heads of their respective homes, they always treated their wives with love and appreciation.  

What really boggles my mind is the fact that it is Christian husbands and wives who seem to be accepting this as normal practice for a marriage.  

We have come a long way from the wisdom of theologians like Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary that many still refer to in 2014.  His comments include (from Ephesians 5):

The duty of wives is, submission to their husbands in the Lord, which includes honouring and obeying them, from a principle of love to them. The duty of husbands is to love their wives. The love of Christ to the church is an example, which is sincere, pure, and constant, notwithstanding her failures. Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify it in this world, and glorify it in the next, that he might bestow on all his members a principle of holiness, and deliver them from the guilt, the pollution, and the dominion of sin, by those influences of the Holy Spirit, of which baptismal water was the outward sign. The church and believers will not be without spot or wrinkle till they come to glory. But those only who are sanctified now, shall be glorified hereafter. The words of Adam, mentioned by the apostle, are spoken literally of marriage; but they have also a hidden sense in them, relating to the union between Christ and his church. It was a kind of type, as having resemblance. There will be failures and defects on both sides, in the present state of human nature, yet this does not alter the relation. All the duties of marriage are included in unity and love. And while we adore and rejoice in the condescending love of Christ, let husbands and wives learn hence their duties to each other. Thus the worst evils would be prevented, and many painful effects would be avoided.

We see that the love of a husband towards his wife ought to be like the love of Christ towards the church.  Many painful effects (such as humiliation of the wife and domination of the husband, for which he must repent) could be avoided, if married couples learn to love one another as Christ loves the church.

More from Matthew Henry, on 1 Peter 3:

Verses 1-7 The apostle having treated of the duties of subjects to their sovereigns, and of servants to their masters, proceeds to explain the duty of husbands and wives.I. Lest the Christian matrons should imagine that their conversion to Christ, and their interest in all Christian privileges, exempted them from subjection to their pagan or Jewish husbands, the apostle here tells them,1. In what the duty of wives consists.

(1.) In subjection, or an affectionate submission to the will, and obedience to the just authority, of their own husbands, which obliging conduct would be the most likely way to win those disobedient and unbelieving husbands who had rejected the word, or who attended to no other evidence of the truth of it than what they saw in the prudent, peaceable, and exemplary conversation of their wives. 

Matthew Henry explains that Christian wives ought to be cheerful and respectful towards their OWN husbands, even if the husband is not a Christian.  

(2.) In fear, or reverence to their husbands, Eph. 5:33 .
(3.) In a chaste conversation, which their unbelieving husbands would accurately observe and attend to. 
(4.) In preferring the ornaments of the mind to those of the body

Christians ought to understand that the inward man is far more important than the outward. A Christian woman ought to dress appropriately and modestly, but she ought to take care to adorn her soul rather than her body. Outward adornments fade away... clothes wear out, jewelry tarnishes, even the body ages. Yet a meek and quiet spirit cultivated by a godly Christian woman will become brighter and better as she matures in Christ. This is precious in the sight of God!

Matthew Henry explains that the Apostle Peter gives examples of holy women of old, who trusted in God.  Sarah obeyed Abram, and called him "Lord" (a sign of respect) even though she did not know where they were going.  God knows what is going on, and keeps an exact record of all of the actions of all men and women.  He knows our difficult circumstances, and is pleased when we accept our lot and trust God to work it out.  Even if we are married to a churlish husband, we can honour God by respecting him and serving him in love.  

Matthew Henry goes on: 

II. The husband’s duty to the wife comes next to be considered.
1. The particulars are,
 (1.)Cohabitation, which forbids unnecessary separation, and implies a mutual communication of goods and persons one to another, with delight and concord. 
(2.) Dwelling with the wife according to knowledge; not according to lust, as brutes; nor according to passion, as devils; but according to knowledge, as wise and sober men, who know the word of God and their own duty.
(3.) Giving honour to the wife giving due respect to her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her person, supporting her credit, delighting in her conversation, affording her a handsome maintenance, and placing a due trust and confidence in her.
2. The reasons are, Because she is the weaker vessel by nature and constitution, and so ought to be defended: but then the wife is, in other and higher respects, equal to her husband; they are heirs together of the grace of life, of all the blessings of this life and another, and therefore should live peaceably and quietly one with another, and, if they do not, their prayers one with another and one for another will be hindered, so that often "you will not pray at all, or, if you do, you will pray with a discomposed ruffled mind, and so without success.’’ 

Learn, (1.) The weakness of the female sex is no just reason either for separation or contempt, but on the contrary it is a reason for honour and respect: Giving honour to the wife as unto the weaker vessel. 
(2.) There is an honour due to all who are heirs of the grace of life. 
(3.) All married people should take care to behave themselves so lovingly and peaceably one to another that they may not by their broils hinder the success of their prayers.

One of my teachers at Bible College explained that the "weaker vessel" is like a fine china teacup compared to a pewter mug.  The mug is stronger and won't break as easily if handled roughly.  The teacup is more delicate, and must be treated with care to be enjoyed.

Notice that the Scriptures (and Matthew Henry) teach that the wife is equal to her husband, and that they are heirs together.  Theirs is a relationship that pictures the love and sacrifice of Christ for His bride, the Church.  

That does not, in any way, include a spanking.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside.

It's cold outside.

That's an understatement.  I read online that places on earth today were colder than Mars, and that Ottawa was colder than Antartica.  Brrrr.

In spite of the cold, two of our daughters came for a visit, bringing with them 13 delightful children.  The chaos reminded me of the weekly gatherings we used to have.  Our married daughters would come once a week for homeschool co-op.  Teaching, fellowship, fun outside, crafts, food, noise and confusion were the order of the day.  It was exhausting, but it was well worth the effort.

As I watched the kids and listened to the women chat and laugh and share their lives, I reflected on the fact that we rarely do this any more.  Kids have grown, schedules are full, and there have been some difficulties in relationships.  We don't get together once a week for co-op, and that makes me sad.

However, I am grateful for many things.

I'm glad we see all of our kids on a fairly regular basis.
I'm thankful that the grandkids are healthy and happy and growing like weeds.
I'm ever so grateful that our married kids have good, loving, hard-working spouses.
It's good to know that this old house is big enough to hold 15 more than normal, which is 6.

It's cold outside, but my heart is warmed.  

Thank You, Lord, for family.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Word of the Year - 2014 - LOVE

I was intrigued last year by the practice of choosing a word as the theme of one's year.  I'd read Ann Voskamp's posts on the words she chose (beginning with eucharisteo, to give thanks).   She did it so she'd have direction for the year ahead.

A little bit of poking around on the internet revealed that instead of writing a long list of resolutions that would soon either be discarded or cause the resolver to experience the agony of defeat, people were simply choosing ONE word.

Last year, my word was "sink".  I wanted to give up striving to do my best when it meant running roughshod over my family.  I wanted to sink into Jesus, into rest, into BEING instead of doing.  I'm actually amazed at how many times my one word popped into my head, especially when I was under stress and feeling overwhelmed.  Sink was a good word for 2013.

The word I have chosen for 2014 is LOVE.

It's an attribute of God.  The two greatest commandments speak of love - loving God and loving neighbour. When we love, we reflect God, the God Who is Love.  Little children learn that love is "doing what's best for the other person".  That means it is other-centered rather than self-centered, and it takes effort, not just emotion.

What does love look like?

One of the basic counselling questions I learned when I took Biblical Counselling courses was just that: What does love look like?  In the situation you're experiencing, what is the best thing you can do or be to demonstrate love to God and love to others?

Love doesn't always look kind.  Love can seem harsh.  I vividly remember standing outside the special care nursery watching a highly trained nurse pick up a baby and turn him upside down, pounding his little back.  Bystanders were aghast, not aware that the nurse was saving the baby from choking.  It didn't look very nice, but in that case, that's what love looked like.

My son has been banned from electronics this week, because I am training him to be responsible, to keep his room clean, and to pick up after himself.  He's not happy with the ban, as he delights in playing Minecraft with his nephew over the internet.  However, in this case, this is what love looks like.

Love takes courage.

It's not easy to love.  It's far easier to think of self than of others.  Our sin nature assures that we'll put self first, every time, unless we are filled with the Spirit.  Jon Bloom of Desiring God Ministries wrote about the courage it takes to love God and neighbour:

"But let’s also be clear: making love our aim in 2014 will demand more courage and faith than any other resolution we can make. Nothing exposes the depth of our sin like really seeking to love God with our entire being and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27)."

I'm planning to revisit his blog and put the suggestions into practice.

Lord, I pray, teach me to love.  Make this year, 2014, the year of LOVE for me.  Help me to love You more, to love Your people more, and to love the family You have blessed me so abundantly with.  Teach me to ask myself what love looks like in each and every situation.  When trials come, teach me to love.  When joys overflow, teach me to love.  When I go to church or jot a few lines or make homemade soup, may I do it with love.  Fill me with You, Oh Lord, for You alone are truly LOVE.  Make me more like You, I pray, in Jesus' name.  Amen.