As Easter approaches I wanted to share a sermon that I stumbled upon last year around this time and decided to read again this year as I prepare my heart for Easter. In it, Ray Stedman says, “But it seems to me that the true glory of this Easter message, the greatest message that this day can have for us, is to remind us that in the risen Lord Jesus we have an endless supply of power to love. That is what Easter is all about–the fact that we have an ability to love. Love is the greatest need of the world today.” If you click on the link below, you will be given the option to read it or listen to it. Even if you read it over a few days, I believe that it is well worth your time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about agape love. I want to love well and love like God, whose love never fails. How can I do that? So often I fall short. I am right there with Ray Stedman when he says, “I am amazed to see how many times in my own life I pass over the opportunity to love.” David Jeremiah addresses this question in his current radio series, “The Power of Love,” based on 1 Corinthians 13.
In his message on the topic of love’s power over time, he says this:
“Love never fails because God never fails and God is love. Love never fails because Christ never fails and Christ is love. But here’s where it comes down to all of us. How can our love never fail. Can I get in on this? I can’t be God and I can’t be Christ. How can my love have the quality of eternal value. How can my love not quit when human love would give up? Well, let me explain it to you, and here’s the truth: Love never fails when it is God’s love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. You see, my human love isn’t good enough to qualify under the Corinthians 13 passage. I’ll fall short. Have you found that?…How in the world do I do all of this? How do I put all of this to practice?…Well, you can’t and let me just tell you right now that if what you are doing is listening to what I’m saying about God’s perfect love and then going home and trying to figure out a way to do it in the flesh, you’re dead. It’s not going to happen. Your love will fail…Human love is failing over and over again…and the love that should be God’s love shed abroad in our hearts is being substituted with what the world has to offer and that love will always fail somewhere… But when you have God’s love shed abroad in your hearts it can have the quality that is given here (love never fails)… Christian love is that which God gives to us when we come to him ask for it. How can we be kind to those that are unkind to us? Humanly we can’t. But if you have God’s love in you he will give you the strength to love those people in his love even though humanly you could not do that.”
Lord, thank you for loving me so much that you sent your son to die on the cross, for my salvation. I want to experience your love, though it is too great to understand fully. I want to love like you. Fill me with your love and control me with your Holy Spirit so that my love can be unfailing. Remind me of your presence all throughout the day. May I look to your power to supply love when my human ability to love falls short. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT) I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Below, enjoy a beautiful song by Unspoken, called “Follow Through.”
Tea is so good for you! Not only is it 0 calories, but it has been shown to boost immunity, slow cognitive decline, rev your metabolism, help relieve stress, decrease your cardiovascular risk and more!
A few weeks ago I went with some friends to visit Sensibiliteas, an ‘everything tea’ store located in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls. The hundreds of teas lining the wall of the store was impressive as the picture above shows. We spent quite some time listening to Ben talk to us about tea in general, and their store in particular. What an eye opener! Here are a few things I learned during our visit:
All tea comes from the tea leaf, or camellia sinensis. The differences in tea quality are directly related to how the leaves are processed. There is no such thing as decaf tea leaf tea. Decaf tea is simply processed tea, and the actual processing of the tea removes some of the valuable antioxidants (called catechins). Same goes for powdered forms of tea.
Many bagged teas are low quality. This is partly due to the fact that producers use machines to harvest the leaves. The highest quality teas are hand picked.
A simple way to take the a significant amount of caffeine from your tea is to seep it for 30 seconds, toss that water and then seep fresh hot water.
If you seep your tea for too long, tannins are released and your tea might taste bitter. I learned that the hard way just the other day. Yuk! For best results, steep your tea for at least three minutes and squeeze the bag at the end. Try to avoid adding milk or cream, which can bind tea’s beneficial compounds and make them less effective. On the other hand, if you add lemon or lime, you can enhance absorption of catechins.
Teas do expire over time and lose some of their beneficial nutrients, especially when exposed to light or moisture. Store your tea in a dry, dark place. Tins or ball jars are simple and effective storage containers.
Many popular loose leaf tea companies have artificial flavors and colors in their teas and/or added sugar. No wonder my family always thought that Teavana tea tasted so good!
Three types of tea:
White: the least processed and therefore has the highest levels of antioxidants.
Green: less caffeine than black tea and about 50 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Matcha is green tea ground into a powder. Be careful as the caffeine is more concentrated!
Black: has 75 percent as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
When preparing tea, for best results, steep it for at least 3 minutes. Be wary of adding milk or cream as studies have shown that these liquids bind to tea’s beneficial compounds and diminish their antioxidant effect. Adding a twist of lemon or lime, however, is beneficial as the vitamin C in citrus can increase the absorption of catechins up to three fold!
Here are a few things I learned about Sensibiliteas in the Shirt Factory building in downtown Glens Falls:
They have over 500 teas to choose from! Most of their teas are $3 for one ounce. One ounce makes about 10 cups of tea. The more you buy the more you save with their discount incentive.
Some of their teas have a designated charity, so when you purchase it you are also giving to a local cause such as the South High Marathon, WAIT house, etc.
You can bring your own container to them to have it filled.
They sell tea supplies, tins and so much more.
If you bring a bagged tea from home to them, they can try to match the ingredients for you.
They are open from 11 – 5 Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturdays from 10-5.