Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve been working on a lot of wonderful quotes to share about love tomorrow, but today I want to talk about what real love is, because I believe too many people have become confused and no longer understand the difference between love and lust. Case in point will be the contrast between two new releases that are coming out: Courageous Love, and Multiple Varieties of Blacker Evil…or something like that. If you’re wondering what genuine love looks like, here are a few examples from Courageous Love:
Love protects and is tenderhearted: “Love is patient and kind.” Love confronts possible evil and seeks truth…but for the right reasons:
“Love does not envy or boast.” Love serves humbly: “It is not arrogant or rude.” Love speaks wisdom but allows free choice: “It does not insist on its own way;” Love listens and cares: “It is not irritable or resentful;” Love demands integrity: “It does not rejoice at wrongdoing,” Love sacrifices self-interest: “but [love] rejoices with the truth.” Love is faithful: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,” Love keeps working no matter how tired: “[Love] endures all things.” True love is sincere…forever: “Love never ends…” Love reaches out to help even when it doesn’t know all the answers:
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” Love never stops trying to figure out the truth and learn more:
“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Love is undyingly loyal: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;” Love leads to happy endings for all! “but the greatest of these is love.”(Quotes above from 1 Corinthians 13)
I hope this inspires you to watch Courageous Love.
It would be a great way to celebrate genuine love this Valentine’s Day! 🙂
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) “See that none render evil for evil unto any man;
but ever follow that which is good,
both among yourselves, and to all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
(The best photos were used by permission of Daniel Knudsen,
who directed the movie; the rest I took while watching the film.)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Career Issues, Encouragements for Living, Making choices, Movie Reviews
Tagged 1 Thessalonians 5:15, Courageous Love, Daniel Knudsen, Examples of what real love looks like, How can I tell if someone really loves me?, I Corinthians 13, Isaiah 5:20, Romans 12:21, What are true friends like?, What is real love?
As one who taught life saving and served as a water safety instructor for ten years, and as one who swims around our little lake most days during the summers, I thought we’d do okay at the Devil’s Pool. Alan wasn’t going to go at all, but he did sign up at the last minute—mostly in hopes of keeping me from drowning, I think. We did survive, but after thinking it over, I personally feel that the adrenaline rush and excitement wasn’t worth the risk to life, limb, and health. Here are my reasons:
1. We had to swim in the Zambezi River,
where I’d seen hippos and crocodiles upstream.2. Even though there had been a twenty-year drought and we visited just before the rainy season began, there were all kinds of safety issues. 3. There was a definite current to negotiate. 4. We had to walk on somewhat slippery rocks to reach the river. 5. We had to feel our way over slippery rocks under the water
for part of the time. 6. We also had to swim upstream (up river) for a short distance. 7. Logs or other debris could have hit us at any time. 8. Fish nibbled at our feet and made us all jumpy. 9. One false move could have sent one of us over the edge. 10. The rock ledge, though sturdy, will doubtless one day give way. May it not happen when anybody’s nearby!
(That was the #1 reason our tour guide didn’t want to try it.)
11. Last, but perhaps most importantly (and I didn’t know this until we were having dinner a week ago with some friends who do medical mission work in Africa), the Zambezi River is known to have a strain of parasitic Schistosomiasis which is a common in Sub-saharan Africa and can be lethal if not treated. There are some 200 million people affected world wide, half of whom live in Africa. Since learning this, I’ve made an appointment with my doctor for testing. So, to answer my question: Did the Devil Make Me Do It? No. I chose to do it. Was it a wise choice? I don’t think so. Would I do it again? No. Did I pray about it? Yes. Why didn’t God tell me not to go? I’m not sure. I think sometimes God allows us to do things that aren’t wise, just like a parent allows his child to do things that the parent knows are risky. I do believe in God’s divine will (which cannot be altered) and His permissive will (which allows us freedom of choice). I prayed and didn’t get a clear “No,” so I went. And, as with all unwise decisions, there may be consequences I didn’t consider when I made my choice. In future, I think I want a clear “Yes” before making decisions, not just a “You may!”
“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Proverbs 26:12)
Posted in Adventures, African Adventures, Health Issues, Making choices, Meditations and reflections, Nature Studies, Parks, Sports and Sporting Events, Travels Around the World
Tagged Eleven reasons to resist the temptation to go to the Devil's Pool, God's divine will and his permissive will, Is there Schistosomiasis in the Zambezi River?, Proverbs 26:12, The dangers of conceit, Victoria Falls, What is Schistosomiasis?, Where are lethal types of Schistosomiasis found?
Today I’m going to tell you about our thrilling adventure hanging out at the edge of the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, and swimming in the Devil’s Pool, although next Monday I’ll explain why I very strongly do not recommend it…not only for the obvious reasons you’ll notice today, but for one very un-obvious medical reason I only discovered after the fact. Even Alan, as a physician, hadn’t considered this tropical possibility when we made our decision to go! But, it was definitely one of those “adventure of a lifetime” sorts of events that we’ll never forget! First, we were staying in Zimbabwe, so we had to leave our comfy hotel and take a trip across the border into Zambia, which is a bit of an adventure in and of itself (but one that can’t be photographed).
We met other adventurers at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, where we immediately noticed that the rest of the group were young adults
in the prime of life and fitness.
That was our first clue that we might be out of our depth! 🙂 The only way to access the Devil’s Pool is via Livingstone Island, and that’s mediated by the tour operator Tongabezi. Trips are expensive and sell out fast, so if you want to go, you need reservations ahead of time. In all fairness to Tongabezi, they have never lost a customer yet, and they’re very careful.
(Can you see people in the middle right in this picture? This is where we were.) Our group were transported via a small motor craft on the Zambezi River,
which just ran a few people through the treacherous channels each time. I’m told they are very careful to make sure there are no hippos or alligators roaming the water as they travel, although I did see some
just up the river from the deck of the hotel while we waited. Once we all made it safely to Livingstone Island, we were taken on a short tour, including the opportunity of using their unique “Loo with a View” bath house for changing and to use the Loo (aka toilet). Actually, it was only a three-sided loo, and it did have this pretty good view! After a welcoming (non-alcoholic) drink we were taken past the tent to let us know that a proper high tea
would be awaiting us after we’d accomplished our aquatic mission. Next, they walked us to the edge just to let us make sure we were “in” on this gig. Anyone who chickens out can stay and watch, but after paying good money,
I doubt many people take that option. There was also time to read a bit about David Livingstone and take a few photos.(Devil’s Pool is behind the second rock to the right upper middle of this photo.)Getting to the pool was a bit of a challenge. These ropes are not to walk between; we had to walk and swim to the right of them, but the ropes offered two chances for people who lost their balance or couldn’t swim against the current to catch a hold and pull themselves out rather than fall over the cliff. Reassuring, huh? With a little angst, we all made it to the edge, where we rested and waited. We had to experience the pool a few at a time so the tour guides could supervise us and take photos (since it’s the sort of thing everybody wanted to remember). This little perch is called the Angel’s Armchair, and it’s a trick to stay on it!We survived and felt quite brave (and relieved) once we were back on dry land!To celebrate, our hosts provided a lovely “high tea” (afternoon option). We were extremely hungry and thirsty, so it was a most welcome treat!Ours was the last tour of the day, so the sun was setting by the time we left.
I almost felt like God was smiling down on us.It turned out to be an amazing and most memorable trip! The Lord was gracious.Nevertheless, I wouldn’t do it again. Some chances aren’t worth taking. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3).
Posted in Adventures, African Adventures, Beauty Around the World, Making choices, Memoirs, Nature Studies, Parks, Travels Around the World
Tagged High Tea on Livingstone Island in the Zambezi River, Is it hard to sit in the Angel's Armchair?, Livingstone Island, Plaque of David Livingstone on Livingstone Island. Victoria Falls. Zambia, Proverbs 22:3, Royal Livingstone Hotel, Standing at the edge of Victoria Falls, Tongabezi Tours, View from the Loo with a View, What's it like to swim in the Devil's Pool?
Have you taken down your Christmas tree and all your decorations yet? Do you do a good job of purging out old decorations that have lost their luster, or do you— like me—cling to every little, ratty decoration
because you cherish the associated memories?
We have (scratched) glass bulbs and birds that hung on my parents’ Christmas trees, and oodles of dilapidated designs created from popsicle sticks, ceramic figurines painted by clumsy little hands, and tattered felt decorations made in Sunday school classes and as home school projects over the years. This year, Joel masterminded the Christmas tree decor, and I noticed that none of these beloved treasures merited even an honorable mention in his artistic arrangement. I’m sure our world would be a more beautiful, neatly organized place if sentiment didn’t cloud our judgment. Or, what is the right word? Alter our judgement? Distract? Affect? Inform? Some traditions are good, right?But, what about the decorations that have been glued back together after curious grandchildren accidentally broke off the heads of the skaters or knocked over (and cracked) the wise men? When is it time to let go of the past to make way for the future?I’m pretty sure I am way over on the semtimental-to-a-fault side of the bell-shaped curve. My Lant Henna (Aunt Helen) told me that her son arrived to visit one day with a stack of new towels for her house and replaced her entire stock. Last week, Alan pointed out that we need to do the same. Really? I hadn’t even noticed. What’s wrong with 20-year-old towels?? At any rate, you get the picture! I think we all grapple with the same questions, and the answers will be different for each of us, but I am going to attempt to loosen my grip on clinging to the past in order to make room for the future this year…at least a little…and if you’ve been a nostalgic-to-a-fault, hopeless pack rat like me (spiritually and emotionally as well as physically)…I hope you’ll do the same!“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:22-24,30-32, ESV).
Posted in Around home, Encouragements for Living, Holidays, Making choices, Relationships, Seasonal Pictures
Tagged Ephesians 4:22-24, Ephesians 4:30-32, Giving up the old to embrace better, Hanging on to things that aren't worth keeping, Letting go of old things to make way for new, Old Christmas decorations, Valuing old things v.s. being a pack rat