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Time in a Bottle

·         There are two times a man does’nt understand a woman, before marriage and after marriage!
  • ·         To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all !
  • ·         Marriage is a mutual relationship if both parties know when to be mute.
  • ·         Man and wife make one fool.

Well, enough of the one liners.  But you know, there is a little bit of truth in each of those.  For this week’s notes, I’ll be focusing on a principle that will help both the kid’s teachers and adult leaders.  Obviously, we won’t be covering marriage in the kids’ classes.  However, we can cover the principles of ‘loving your neighbor’ and ‘putting other people first.’

Marriage works best when each partner is able to see the needs of the other, rather than their own, and make their able best attempt, humbly, to meet them.  When that happens, there is usually an equal and opposite reaction.  Love bounces back and forth…and with God’s help…grows without loss of energy.  Pride becomes non-existent.  This also can happen with friendships and other relationships.

The main verse we need to look at is one that you already know.  Mark 12:28-34 explains the account of the religious leaders of that time trying to catch Jesus in a wrong answer.  They ask Him what the greatest commandment is.  He responds with two simple answers.  The first is to love God with all that you have.  The second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Pretty simple.  Put that into marriage or any other relationship, and you’re asked to love God…then love your spouse or friend with your whole heart.

‘If-then’ statements work well here.  If you have an awesome relationship with God, then you will understand you have a purpose to love other people in His unconditional way.  You also would know that we are to put others above us, their needs before ours.  Earth is temporary…Heaven is eternal.  We can give up here to gain there.  God asks us to do that for our husbands, wives, friends and enemies.  Imagine how much we could change our immediate world if we lived this way day in and day out.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about God and His purposes for us.

And….when we know the needs of the other person, we can better serve them.   Remember, this doesn’t mean to be a lowly and beaten up slave.  It means to serve in love with sacrifice as Jesus did.  Will the other person always reciprocate the sacrifice, love, or help?  No.  In fact you may not even receive gratitude.  But remember who is smiling because of your actions.  They will not go unnoticed.  You can live with a smile on your face by putting a smile on God’s. 

Now, the second subject here.  I’m sure all of us are very willing and very understanding of the above principles.  However, we get caught when the next satanic trap comes into play.  Time.  Do we take time to serve?  Do we give up time to serve and love?  Do we say ‘no’ to the right things or the wrong things?  Do you find yourself thinking, “That would be great if I only had time”?  Do you find yourself saying, “I’ve got other things that need to get done”?  Sometimes we are legitimately busy.  Most of the time we’ve just mismanaged out time, and then, we mismanage our service to others.  We mismanage our love and we shut out spontaneous love.

What would your marriage, your friendships, your family, your neighborhood, your church family look like if we all tried a little harder at living like Jesus wants us to?  Would we take more time to sit and listen and look for the needs of those around us?  Would we give up more of our time and our energy and our resources for others?  I know we would.  Let’s do it.
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