Since yesterday, I've had this urge to get a Venti (largest) Starbucks frappucino. My favorite is Dark Mocha, but they're featuring a new flavor, Cookie Crumble.
I'm not rich: I work for every centavo I get. Neither am I brand-conscious: I'm just as happy with a four-peso Nescafe instant coffee sachet.
My Starbucks cravings would appear to be an extravagant luxury, and that's actually the point: This is my date with God.
Disclaimer 1: Every now and then I check my heart if I'm just using God as an excuse.
Disclaimer 2: Of course, God can speak to us at any time and any place.
Disclaimer 3: The Bible reminds us that obedience (a flexible heart) is more important than sacrifice (an inflexible ritual).
Having said those, there are moments when I feel that He has something to say, and that I better be all eyes-ears-and-heart-ready. Like yesterday. I was thinking, Lord, You can talk to me here and I don't have to go to a coffee shop, right? But again, that's part of the point. Not that Starbucks is a holier place than the metro train or our living room, but it's probably because I have to be really out of my comfort zone, doing nothing but listening to Him.
This morning, around noon, I finally got up, ordered the new Cookie Crumble frap (venti please!), and sat down.
Perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Love extravagantly. Live generously. (1 Corinthians)
Love <---> Eternal Life
Hate <---> Murder
(1 John 3:14-15)
My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love.
Shut down debilitating self-criticism (even if there's some truth to it)
God is greater than our worried hearts
and knows more about us than we do ourselves
We're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves
We're bold and free before God!
We're able to stretch our hands out
and receive what we asked for
because we're doing what He said,
doing what pleases Him
==> Believe in Jesus Christ
==> Love each other
As we keep His commands,
we live deeply and surely in Him
and He lives in us.
And this is how we experience His deep and abiding presence in us:
by the Spirit He gave us.
(1 John 3:18-24)
My dear friends,
don't believe everything you hear.
Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you
Not everyone who talks about God comes from God
There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.
(1 John 4:1)
Let us continue to love each other
since love comes from God
Everyone who loves
is born of God
and experiences a relationship with God.
(1 John 4:7-8)
If we love one another, God dwells deeply within us
and His love becomes complete in us --- perfect love!
(1 John 4:12)
To love, to be loved (1 John 4:17-21)
God is love.
When we take up permanent residence in a life of love,
we live in God and God lives in us.
This way, love has the run of the house,
becomes at home and mature in us,
so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day ---
our standing in the world is identical with Christ's.
There is no room in love for fear.
Well-formed love banishes fear.
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life
--- fear of death, fear of judgment ---
is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love --- love and be loved.
First we were loved, now we love.
He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating..., he is a liar.
The command we have from Christ is blunt:
Loving God includes loving people.
You've got to love both.