Category Archives: The Greatest of These is Love

To Love or Not to Love…that is the question

(To my sweet, dear roommate, I’m sorry, but I’m going to loving pick on you and our funny time this morning ;) It was times like these that always give me reason to laugh!)

This morning, I woke up to the wonderful and new “wildlife noise”–which is usually crickets and birds–of my roommate eating white cheddar cheese rice cakes… at 5:42 this morning.

“Sssshrirlgrrehlpkershhhkl…” The plastic wrapper wrinkled and crinkled as her hungry fingers dove into the bag, antiqued by the white chedder cheese powder.

“Chomp, chomp, chomp…crunch, crunch, crunch…chomp, crunch, chomp, crunch, chomp, crunch…” And then she swallowed, and she started again.

What would Jesus have done if he was woken up by a disciples eating something as loud as white cheddar cheese rice cakes on the morning of the Sermon on the Mount?  Would he have been angry?  Would he not even phased by it?  Would he say it was okay and that he didn’t mind, but actually hold a grudge?

It sounds like a super silly question, one not even worthy of being asked of Jesus.  In essence though, my question and every other question that we ever have boils down to one, root question: “Do I really have to love…always?”

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:7&8

“If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:2

To love or not to love always?… That is the question, but the answer is always, “Yes!  Love!”

Summer Salute: A Summer of Love

Hello!  Please read my salute to this past summer.  It’s a thank you to YOU, my family, my friends, and my readers.  I love y’all!  Thanks for your continued support :)

http://sarahhollinger.com/2010/08/02/summer-salute-a-summer-of-love/

God bless,

Sarah :)

“Satisfy me in the morning…”

Every morning when I walk into the kitchen, this little notecard greets me.  No matter if I am running out the door in a whirlwind or strolling in to make some coffee, this card is always there; it’s meaning is always the same.  This verse reminds us of something that can satisfy us in the morning for all of our days–that which can satisfy us for eternity.  More so than a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, it’s Christ’s love that satisfies us.

This morning, I pray that your day is filled with Sonshine, a shine that brightens your day regardless of the rain clouds outside your window.  Christ’s love, I pray, will fill you and satisfy you, giving you joy to sing and be glad!

happiness is a receipt

What is happiness?  We see it all around us in movies, songs, TV, etc.  Although I haven’t counted, I bet there are millions of books that try to tell you the secret to being happy–whether it be a book about money, sex, beauty, success, or even religion.  Quotes say, “Happiness is not a destination; it’s a journey” and “life is what you make of it.”  Do we even know what these mean?

In my three Bibles of different translations, happy and/or happiness is not mentioned ONCE in the concordance.  So what is happiness?

Today I sit outside on the patio outside of my apartment.  It’s the end of February, and yet it is warm and sunny–a beautiful day.  All I feel, though, is empty of “happiness.”  Why?  Because I’ve suddenly realized that I’ve spent almost all of my life pursuing happiness, and I never even knew what the word meant.  Everything that I’ve done in my life now seems to be part of just some method–a “become a better person” scheme, a “how to be successful” plan, or a “you’ll have joy once you can wear size 2 jeans” state of mind.

———————————-

The most meaningful, joy-filled, and overwhelmingly challenge-filled thing that I have ever done is this:  being a camp counselor.

Every single day, I was challenged.  There were days when I hated it.  There were times when I just about lost it.  My temper would flare.  My patience would be gone, and tears would be on the brink of flooding the dam of my tear ducts.  But then, I would close my eyes.  I would breathe.  I would remember….God is love (1 John 4:8).

Those campers were not just 9 and 10 year-old girls.  They were the love of Christ Himself.  They were the embodiment of everything that Jesus calls us to be, to live for, and for what we should abandon our lives.

In all of my life, I have never loved anything more than the times I spent loving those precious girls.  Holding them tightly in my arms and rocking them back to look into their sweet faces, I would witness God’s great beauty.  “You are my precious angel,” I would say.  “I love you so much, but do you know who loves you even more?”  Their faces would crinkle to a look of contemplation, and I would tell them, “Jesus!  He is your best friend, and He loves you more than you could ever imagine!”

Even now, I wouldn’t trade anything for that summer I spent wiping away tears of homesickness, sitting on a toilet seat covered in deodorant, writing bedtime stories to read as their devotionals, conducting marriage ceremonies to tubes of chapstick, and paying 2 slices of gum for a 5 second massage.

————————-

That is happiness.  That is living completely void of one’s own self and living solely by the love, the strength, and the grace that God gives.  We have to empty ourselves of what we value, pursue, and hope to receive and we must be filled constantly with the renewing and redeeming love that only Jesus gives.

Of this I am convinced:

True happiness is the receipt that we are given

when we have exchanged

our knowledge for His knowledge,

our strength for His strength,

our heart for His heart,

and have sold our life

–its desires, ambitions, and meanings–

for His life lived through us.

Kissed by an angel

In case you haven’t heard the story of LaLa, you can read one of my previous posts-click here.  For now, let me introduce you to my angel…

Lala is a 72 year-old shuttle-bus driver at Mississippi State where I go to school.  His skin is the color of his dark brown eyes and serves as the perfect contrast for what I tell him is his “crown of splendor attained by a life of wisdom” (Proverbs 16:31)–in other words, his gray hair.

Lala’s real name is Charles Evans, and I could write for days about all the wonderful things that he has taught me, all the ways that he has inspired me, and all the influences that he has made on my life.  To say it simply, though, LaLa is one thing to me.  Lala is my angel.

The other day, I was walking into the Union, and guess who I saw?  Lala!  Oh my… My heart grew ten times when I saw him, and I exclaimed, “Lala!”  With a smile that stretched from ear to ear and showed his gold tooth off like a trophy, Lala drove away every winter cloud hanging overhead with that one smile.

We came together and hugged, and then Lala did something that he has never done before.  He lightly kissed me on the cheek.

Have you ever been kissed by an angel?  When kissed by an angel, you see, nothing is impossible anymore.  You realize that God really is as good as Jesus says.  When an angel kisses you, not only does he or she share with you his or her own love but  shares God’s love for you, as well.

Be someone else’s angel.  Be a person to show others love.  Be someone’s “Lala.”  Even then, your own angel will certainly be there waiting to share smiles, words of encouragement, and even sweet kisses on the cheek–waiting to share God’s love for you.

Just what’s on my mind tonight

I’ve been writing this blog for the past seven or so months.  Can you believe that?  The time feels as though it has literally flown!  What’s crazy is to think that this time last week, I was making plans to do mission work in Peru for a whole year.  I was struggling to stay focused in school and wishing that I could just drop out.

You see, I have absolutely NO idea what God has planned for me.  When I think about this, I often feel my body tense up.  After all, I’m a “plan-aholic” in need of a support group.  But then, I look back on all that I’ve been through within the past year, the past few months, and even the past week.  Had it not been for Him, honestly, there is absolutely NO telling where I’d be right now.  “Lookie” here, though!  I’m alive, and I’m breathing; therefore, I have more than enough reason to give thanks!

God has blessed me beyond what I even deserve, and yet He keeps on blessing me.  God has especially blessed me through YOU!

Did you know that YOU are the reason why I even write this blog?  God loves you so much, and I just pray, pray, pray that every time you visit this blog, your heart is enlarged by His love for you!  Oh, I can feel my heart growing as I think of how, one day soon, He will hold you in His arms and wipe each and every tear away from your eyes (Rev 21).  Oh, how our Father loves you!

Whenever you are distracted by all the worries of this world, take a moment to remember that God loves you more than you can ever imagine.  There is nothing that you could ever do or not do to make him love you more!  You are perfect in His eyes.  All that He wants is to be with you.  If you doubt this, please PLEASE read 1 John 3-5.  It may seem like a lot, but please do it!  Also read Revelation 21…. After reading these, you’ll see that in the light of eternity, things look a lot different, don’t they?

Anyways, I’m off to bed.  I love you, dear reader!  Tonight, I’ll be praying for you with 2 Corithians 13:11-14:

“Finally, brothers, rejoice.

Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace;

and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and all the love of God and the fellowship

of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

PS-By the way, to those that post comments, thank you SOOO so much!  Every time that I get a comment, even a very short one, it feels like Christmas day!

Math Language + Bible Verses = Cool Trick

By the title, I may have already lost a few of you!  Math being applied to the Bible?  No way, Jose! Seriously, though, check this out!

Remember when we had to do word problems, and our math teacher told us that the word “is” is the same as an equal sign?  In other words, “is” and = are the same.  Now take this and apply it to 1 John 4:8.

In this verse, it says, “God is love.”  With our math trick, we know this:

God is love

God = love

Here’s the trick: Whenever you see the word love in a verse, replace it with GOD.  Check this out:

You may have heard of the “Love chapter”–1 Corinthians 13.  Look at this new interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8….

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but don’t have GOD, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but don’t have GOD, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not GOD, I gain nothing.

GOD is patient, GOD is kind.  HE does not envy, HE does not boast, HE is not proud.  HE is not rude, HE is not self-seeking, HE is not easily angered, HE keeps no record of wrongs.  GOD does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  GOD always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  GOD never fails.”

I hope you like the trick!