The Mark of Love

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

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Love God. Love people. ~ T.D. Jakes

Our outward show of love for God and people enables the world to see what has taken place inward. Let us be ready to share the hope within us.

Sow In Love

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As I looked out my window this week, I noticed my flower and garden beds. This warm weather tempts me to get busy. But I know the cold will eventually pervade the south once more before the spring months. As I continued staring at my lifeless beds, I thought about the different ways a garden is compared to this thing called love.

 Soil Preparation

Get to know your mate BEFORE the vows. Plow the rows straight. Be honest even if it means you may lose them. With those first tender seeds of love include seeds of hope, patience, kindness, and respect. Be sure to add goodness, gentleness, and temperance.

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Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Dead Heading and Weeding

Deadheading is the process of removing old flowers. Marriage goes through all four seasons. It’s your choice to sow the seed therein. The same kernel that worked in summer will not grow in wintertime! Learn to change with the seasons. Pinch the seasonal blooms and tuck them away before sowing new seeds.

While you are deadheading check for weeds which appear out of nowhere sucking the fertilizer and water from your soil. Left alone they will reproduce until your garden becomes a patch of weeds. Quickly pull and discard.

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A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverb 15:1

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesians 4:26

Bugs, Bees, and Butterflies

An invasion of a harmful pest can destroy a garden overnight. Destructive pests in a garden are like bad habits in a marriage. Online affairs, pornography, secrets, and the like will eventually destroy trust and love in a relationship.

But not all insects in a garden are harmful. Some are beneficial. Good habits in a marriage solidify the relationship. Habits such as quiet moments together, evening or morning walks, an afternoon stroll on the beach, a hike through the woods, date night, movie night, cuddle time, and forgiving.

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I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. Song of Solomon 7:10

Perfect Light

In the light of love a garden will thrive, but in the light of comparison, the fruit will suffer.

For example, who doesn’t like an unforgettable love story? But sometimes we may forget that it is just that—a fictional story. If not careful we may begin expecting our spouses to be like the flawed semi-perfect character on the page.

My man isn’t a Darcy, Knightly or Captain Wentworth. He loves me more like a Hub McCann (Second Hand Lions) Tell Sackett (Shadow Riders) or Mr. Fredricksen (Up). For those who haven’t seen the movies, Hub, Tell, and Mr. Fredricksen are crotchety, ornery, lovable men.

But I knew that about Hubby going into the relationship. It’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with him. He doesn’t speak with flowery words. In fact, he hardly speaks at all. Yet, he buys me the most heart-hugging Valentine and Mother’s Day cards you could ever imagine.

Somedays he drives me nuts. Yet craves my attention. Expects the best. And challenges me to meet him half way. Other days I drive him insane. I  give no quarter. I expect his best. I crave his undivided attention. And dare him to meet me half way.

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I confess, dearest reader, I love him more today than the day we married because I’ve come to realize we both are two imperfect and broken people in need of a perfect Savior to mold and shape us into His image.

And in that perfect light this marriage of mine has gone through endless house remodeling and repairs, menopause, and man-o-pause, sickness, miscarriage, disease, death, family squabbles, addiction, fits of anger, bouts of silence, and lack of money. And that is the first thirty years! But rather than give up we choose to forgive and make up.

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And in our efforts to cherish each other, no matter the present circumstances, we have harvested two exceptional children, amazing love, fits of laughter, delightful secrets, passionate embraces, furtive glances, and knowing smiles.

 

So this is love…

 

Love is a veritable garden of delights—and heartache. No two are alike. Not one perfect. The soil must be plowed, fertilized, and watered. The beds need constant tending. But if you are willing to get yours hands dirty, you can produce a bumper crop.

Happy Day of Love, dearest reader!

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His Banner Over Me Is Love

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Solomon 2:4 KJV

heart-978040_640.png This month thousands, if not millions, will be spent on gifts just to say three little words. I. LOVE. YOU.

Nothing is wrong with that. Go ahead. Take a moment to bake that decadent dessert, cook that special dinner. Prepare that special moment. Do whatever it takes to assure them of your love. C’mon they deserve it!

As I thought about the posts this month, I went in search of articles, books, and songs about love. One particular story caught my attention as I connected certain elements of the story with truths in my own life.

Sin’s Story

The tale of The Black Bull of Norroway is the story of a prince and a poor young girl. Like Cinderella, the girl is enslaved by an unkind woman.

I was once a slave to sin cruelly misused by the enemy of my soul.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1: 15

Salvation’s story

When the prince comes home from battle with a blood stained shirt, he declares the maid who can remove the blood stains will be his wife—true love.

After the unkind washerwoman and her daughters try to remove the stains, the shirt is given to the young girl for her to remove the stain.

In the story, only one could remove the blood stains. In my story, only One could remove my sin stains.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Colossians 1:14

True Love

hot-chocolate-his-banner-over-me-is-loveThe central theme of God’s story, my story—your story and the Black Bull of Norroway is Love. However, in this life, love is often interrupted by many circumstances. We may become cynical toward this thing called love. But there is one love that never changes. God’s love for us. He is love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

God is love. 1 John 4:16

His love is strong enough to bind up wounds, heal broken hearts, and set captives free. I pray you have experienced His life-changing love. If not, I encourage you to do so today! You won’t be disappointed!

If you have experienced His life-changing love, take the time to celebrate His love!

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Silent Night

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Wall to wall people. The city crowded with both man and beast. No room available for weary travelers until…

A stable, a stall, and a manger. Nestled away from the crowd and endless noise, Heaven and Earth met. Perfect love was born. Immanuel—God with us.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7

History:

The lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr and the melody by Franz Xaver Gruber. The song made its debut on Christmas Eve 1818.

Bride of a Distant Isle

In every series, I find a favorite and Bride of a Distant Isle, the second book in Sandra Byrd’s Daughters of Hampshire series is my pick—so far.

 

Bride of a Distant Isle

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Annabel Ashton is summoned home by her cousin Edward Everedge.  As an illegitimate, young lady living in Queen Victoria’s England, she has no other choice but to comply with his wishes. During her stay, Annabel discovers she will not be allowed to leave Highcliffe Hall because Edward has promised her hand in marriage to a frightening, repulsive man.

 

Captain Dell’ Acqua is in London to confront his father and to seek out a profitable business venture. When he and Annabel meet, she is happy to learn he is from Malta, her father’s birthplace and he is pleased to gain inside information to Edward’s business dealings.

When Annabel begins asking questions about her father, mysterious things start happening to her. Alone, she doesn’t know who to trust when trying to find the truth of her inheritance.

Can she find out about her mother and father in time to stop the wedding? Will the truth set her free or keep her a captive?

Sandra Byrd has done an excellent job depicting life in 19th century England. Filled with history and mystery, romance and faith, Bride of a Distant Isle, is a veritable delight sure to please any Historical Romance reader.

I received a copy of this book from Howard Books for an honest review.

To learn more about Sandra visit www.sandrabyrd.com

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