When Love Calls

by Christina Rose

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:2-3 NIV

It was a glorious sunny spring day as hundreds arrived for church after a year of isolation from the Pandemic. People poured out of cars and rushed to hug loved ones, share stories, and greet new babies. The children shrieked with delight as they raced to play with one another. People moved toward the entrance, but no one wanted to go in. The congregants were having too much fun with their garden party reunion and wanted to linger.

Service started late that day and as hundreds rose to sing in unison and tissues were passed around. The tears were freely flowing as hearts were overwhelmed at being reunited with loved ones. The pressure of isolation and fear of the past year was released like a flood. Then hundreds lifted their voices in praise to worship our God who is love and calls us all to love one another.

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)

My Colorado community is so very different than where I lived in California. Back then, most people did not make time for church because they did not think they needed it. Subsequently, among my adult daughters and their friends, few hold traditional family values. Many are choosing alternate lifestyles, some to the point of self-destruction. Without the foundation of faith and family, our youth can get lost in the chaos. 

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  2 Timothy 3:1-4 NIV

Where I currently live, faith and families come first. Everyone here has time for church and for one another. I live near my siblings and their grandkids have adopted me as “Grandma”.  When I recently held the newest one in my arms, I melted with the hope that someday my daughters will know the love that comes with being a mom. Being enveloped in a faith-based community with strong families has radically changed me from the inside out.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
(Psalm 1:3 NLT)

When God calls us to love he will completely transform us into his image, which is love itself.  In these last days He calls us to help save future generations for his kingdom by putting faith and family first. I believe He is calling for a great revival that will honor Him and how He intends families to be. There is no higher calling than to answer when God’s love calls us to serve.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself.  After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How do you honor the values of faith and family in your home?

The Missing Ingredient

by Crystal Bowman

Resting in a ceramic bowl on my kitchen counter were three almost rotten bananas. My conscience told me what I needed to do—preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get out the flour, sugar, shortening, and eggs. With my eyes glancing toward a stained recipe card now and then, I began to measure, pour, blend, and beat the ingredients. A tantalizing aroma soon permeated my kitchen, and I anticipated the pleasure of my husband and children as I served them warm buttery slices of delicious banana bread.

After rinsing the mixing bowl, measuring cup, and spatula, I peeked in the oven window to check on my creation. But instead of finding a rising loaf of banana bread, I saw a sunken mound of dough. I quickly reread the recipe and realized I had forgotten to include one tiny teaspoon of baking powder. How could one ingredient make that much difference?!

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible talks of a necessary ingredient—for everyday living. That ingredient is love. It’s the kind of love that God has for his people— an unconditional, never-ending, come-as-you-are kind of love. It’s patient and kind, never self-seeking. It does not envy or boast or keep a record of wrongs. It rejoices with the truth and never fails.

Jesus summed it up quite well with his poignant answer to a trick question by a teacher of the law. When asked which commandment was the most important, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV).

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God enables us to love others the way that he loves us. It’s not always easy, but when we love and accept others for who they are, we demonstrate God’s love and can make a difference in their lives. Loving others also brings glory to God, who is the ultimate definition of love.

Every day, we can ask God to help us add the ingredient of love to all that we do. And when it comes to making banana bread, you can add lots of love, but don’t forget the baking soda!

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7 NIV).

Crystal BowmanAbout the author: Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children including Our Daily Bread for KidsM is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps? She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences. She is a regular contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music. Crystal lives in both Florida and Michigan, and when she is not writing or playing with her grandkids, she loves to sneak outdoors to walk and talk with God.

Join the conversation: How has being loved by others made a difference in your life?