Thursday, November 20, 2008

When Love Grows Cold

Most of us have relationships that challenge and frustrate us, those that tug at the heart and make us uncomfortable at times. Whether it be a marriage, a close friendship, or simply an acquaintance, our relationships go through seasons. A cherished relationship may flourish for awhile, then become inexplicably cold and distant. What can we do when winter comes and love grows cold?

We have to first accept that change is an unavoidable part of life and love. Relationships, like so much of life, are affected by many things -- demands on our time, geographical separation, and life decisions, just to name a few. The question is, which is more important -- the relationship itself, or the circumstances which threaten to blow it off course?

Once love has grown cold and our relationship has changed, what do we do next? Do we fight the change or embrace it? Do we hold on for dear life, or let go and let the relationship take its course? Do we take offense and hold a grudge, or do we show mercy and pray for that one whose behavior toward us has changed?

For me, the first thing I know I must do is pray...for God's direction, my healing, and a proper perspective on the change itself. My tendency is to wear my wounded heart on my sleeve and try to manipulate the relationship. God's desire for me, however, is that I continue to pray and be merciful as God has been merciful to me.

We can be assured that God's love for His children will never grow cold. Even if we allow life's demands to call us away from the intimate relationship with Him we once enjoyed, He will never cease to pray for our return. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jeremiah 31:3). His arms will be open wide, waiting to welcome us back to that place of deep, abiding love.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Because of Their Sacrifice

There are no words to express the gratitude I hold in my heart for the men and women who have served our country by protecting our freedoms and upholding our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because of their sacrifice, I am able to worship God and read His Word without fear, to live the dream He has placed in my heart, and to enjoy the blessings that I often take for granted because I am free.

Freedom isn't free. It comes at great cost to those who serve in peace time and in war, and requires a sacrifice that many of us cannot fathom. Are we doing all we can to support our troops and the families of those who are fighting to preserve our freedom?

Today, let us pause to remember our veterans and to thank those who have served our country so willingly and so well. Let us never cease to pray for their protection and for the families they must leave behind when called upon to serve on foreign soil. Let us, for one day, not take for granted our freedom and the sacrifice required of those who serve to protect the land and the life we have grown to love.

Pray for peace. Thank those who have sacrificed everything to protect your freedom. Commit yourself to uphold the values on which our great country was founded, and take pride in the fact that you are an American.

Father, those of us who are free cannot imagine the sacrifice required to ensure our liberty. Make us grateful for the men and women who have served our country with such love and faithfulness that they were willing to lay down their very lives in order that we might live freely in a land of great opportunity.

You, Lord, know the cost of freedom because You gave Your only Son to die that we might experience the greatest freedom of all. Today, earthly conflicts still rage around the world, but our spiritual victory has been won through Christ's sacrificial death for our sins. Make us grateful, Lord, not only to our veterans who have given so much, but also for Your Son, who died that we might truly live.