Marked by Love
Over the weekend, my husband and I drove a couple of hours down to Wrightsville Beach, NC to attend our friends’ wedding. I’d love to say that it was a beautiful weekend…but that just wasn’t the case. However, much like I said yesterday, God is GOOD and he was sure to bring in a small dose of sunshine just in time for their wedding ceremony on the beach.
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Ironically enough, the minister at the wedding spoke of the same thing that our minister spoke of just a couple of weeks ago (to listen to the original message, click HERE) – Love…specifically how we should love one another according to Jesus Christ.
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John 13:34-35 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

Months ago, I said that I wanted you to know that I am Christian by more than just my love. How am I doing? However, it is THROUGH MY LOVE that you will know that I am a Christ follower…not because of how many times I attended Church in the past year (or what church it was for that matter), not because of a bumper sticker on my car (or one of those fish symbols), not by the clothes I wear, etc. Most simply put, others should know that I/we are Christians because of our unfailing love for one another.
I actually ran across a controversial music video (above: Jesusland by Ben Folds) the other day that really caused me to question if I was fully committed to demonstrating this type of love. The kind of love that God wants us to demonstrate should run in us and through us…it should be unstoppable.
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And that is exactly the type of love that this wedding minister spoke of…the type of love described in Romans 12:9-13. As I listened to his message, I couldn’t help but ask myself two questions: 
  1. How am I doing (as it relates to loving this way)? 
  2. Does this type of love mark my life?
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If we are to love this way, that means…
  • Devoting ourselves to being affectionate, compassionate and courteous to one another. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” It doesn’t mean being moody. It doesn’t mean turning off when we’re not in the mood or pushing off the responsibility onto another person. It’s almost like the golden rule: treat others the way we’d want to be treated…or even better – treat others the way they want to be treated. Either way, loving this way includes affection, compassion and kindness. It also starts in a foundation of truth.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”
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  • Honoring one another above yourself – unselfishness. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 says, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
  • EnthusiasmNever be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” This reminds me of my friends on their wedding day. You can just feel the love and enthusiasm for one another. They are beaming ear to ear…and each of the guests are hoping for them that this love continues to grow stronger and stronger. The kind of Love that God wants for us is much the same way. He wants us to demonstrate our love for one another (stranger or neighbor) in much the same way.
  • “Be joyful in hope.” Hope is future focused. Love is not meant to get bogged down in the minutia of everyday chaos but focused on the endless possibilities that something better is just ahead. Love doesn’t give up!
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  • Consistency“patient in affliction.” Regardless of what happens in a person’s life, love remains…whether it be within a marriage, a friendship, or with your children. People have a tendency to screw up from time to time. This kind of love that marks our lives isn’t fickle. It doesn’t turn it’s back on you when you’ve messed up, but keeps coming back. In your life, who have you given up on? 
I have certainly not lived a perfect life and for approximately 6-8 months prior to meeting my husband, I came unhinged. For that short period of time, I partied way too much, I dated a number of guys (all of which were completely wrong for me), and had my friends really questioning my judgement. Then I met my husband. He’d spent two years prior to meeting me in isolation (well, he didn’t date…conscious decision). So, when I came along – he was absolutely certain that I was the one…even if I wasn’t quite sure at first. Within seven months, we were engaged. 

I recall several of my friends being shocked and a bit worried – again, they were still questioning my judgment and unfortunately my husband took the blame. In some cases, I had friends that completely turned their back on me…and who later felt like to come to our wedding would be supporting a bad decision…a failure. The kinda love God wants for us isn’t like that. When our loved ones are falling, we pick them up. Like a mother loves her child no matter what that child does, we are to love one another in the same way. 
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  • Finally, we are to be “faithful in prayer.” When you’re praying for someone, you can’t be mad at them. As I said in last week’s message (I think it was last week), as long as we’re praying for God to be glorified, anything is possible.
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So, if this is how we are to love, why don’t we always love this way?
  1. We’re afraid. If we love this way, what if it backfires?
  2. We’re passive. We need to be asked to do something rather than just doing the right thing.
  3. We’re preoccupied. We just don’t pay enough attention to the needs around us. We simply don’t notice when someone else is falling.
Now is the time for us to start owning up to the responsibility of not just loving when it is convenient, but loving even when it’s not. With that in mind, do people know that you are a Christian simply by how you’re willing to love one another? Are you truly marked by this kind of love?


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Have a wonderful Tuesday!
63 COMMENTS

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    This is what I have been talking about as you know for months on my blog.

    Ashley the photos with the verses along with your message – GOOD JOB WELL DONE FAITHFUL SERVANT!

    Praying for us to LOVE with reckless abandon!

    So sorry your friends judged and didn’t come alongside to hold you up! They are not friends afterall. A true friend loves at all times! AMEN!

    XOXO

    Beautifully written. And I love that 2nd song, we sing it all the time in Church and I seriously almost cry every time.

    P.S. The Brides dress is so pretty!! Kinda makes me want to break out my wedding dress and just lounge in it all day just for the heck of it. We got married on the beach too, in Nags Head.

    beautiful photos! I love the shot of the groomsman with his flip :) Beautiful post to match the images. We really do have to get into God’s Word to define love, our culture has it messed up in so many ways, and can easily influence our perspective and attitudes. Thanks for sharing the music!

    Love these photographs — so colorful, crisp and have a warm feel to them. :)

    Great photos and what a great remeinder of how to love that way that God loves. That David Crowder song has to be one of my favs!!!!

    Have a good one!!

    How awesome to get married on the beach! Beautiful images!

    amen ashley! you go for it girl. love is more than words; it’s action and we can’t use our own fleshly love, it has to be Gods.

    Beautiful images!!!! So glad that the sunshine came out just in time for the wedding, what a blessing. :)

    Beautiful post! Wonderful photos!!

    As someone said before: beautifully written post. I love that you are making the conscious effort to mirror Him in your life. I’m struggling right now with listening to him – about LOVE and also about becoming the me He wants me to be.

    On a photography note: love the framing with the audience in the first image. and your crisp color is enviable. I must reduce my noise!

    What a beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Lisa
    InspiredbyLisa

    How great to get married on a beach…beautiful post and great shots!

    Beautiful photos and inspiration to go along with it!

    I LOVE Ben Folds! Great song… Ben really nailed it with this one.

    Beautiful post and love the wedding captures. Such a pretty dress and love it on the beach!

    You would not believe how many times in the last few weeks this topic of loving as we should has popped up in my day to day life! That Ben Folds video/song is incredibly bold and strong and it made me take a step back. And I also love how today’s bands, such as the David Crowder Band, are making worshiping the Lord a cool and exciting thing! It’s not just standing on Sunday mornings, faking it through an old hymn. In my mind, singing TO the Lord should be a whole body experience. …just as living FOR the Lord should involve whole body, mind, soul.

    I greatly appreciate how you’ve taken this to a whole other level and the time you put into each of these posts! Like Jill said – Well done good and faithful servant!

    Beautiful post Ashley! I try to love that way all of the time, but I am human and certainly fall short as well.

    Such a wonderful and beautiful post!! And what a beautiful wedding! You captured some great moments!! Love th is post!!

    What a strong abd wonderful post Ashley.

    Nothing greater then LOVE!!!

    Awesome post!! :D

    Love the pictures.

    What beautiful photos. You are right, you can see their love and joy in their faces. Her flowers very much remind me of my wedding flowers.

    You make some wonderful points. The longer you are married, the harder it is not to get caught up in the insignificant things. Love is for better or for worse and it’s easy to remember that when things are better and harder when things aren’t so good. Sometimes, the love may be the only thing you have!

    What gorgeous colors! The sand was so white in the first shot, I almost thought it was snow!

    Beautiful photos Ashley. And what a lovely message.

    Lov eyour post! sorry I am late, playing catch up…

    Your friends will cherish those shot.. and this post….

    Thanks for a much needed reminder as I sit in my puddle of self pity and see that I have not been loving, as I should be…I will do better..

    Such a lovely post! I especially like it b/c I was married on the beach, too. :)

    What a beautiful wedding, her gown was gorgeous!

    Tamar – linking through Community Global

    What a beautiful post.
    Thank you so much.
    You spoke to my heart this morning.
    Praise God.

    Oh Ashley!

    This was incredible. And that video…I’m going to watch it again.

    Thanks for sharing it, and those incredible pictures too.

    The last song in one of my favorites.

    Gosh, you served up a feast today.

    Thank you♥

    Nicely put. Great pics as well :)

    What BEAUTIFUL photos!

    What BEAUTIFUL photos!

    Love these scriptures!!

    Someone must be praying for me (and my husband) overtime today. I keep finding all of the “right” posts, pointing to what I need to work on to be the wife that I should be, and am buried deep inside.

    Thank you so much for this. Congratulations also to your friends. They look so very happy. :)

    You have a gift. It was a blessing to read this beautiful message.

    Congrats to your friends! Their wedding looks beautiful.

    Beautiful post Ashley- & beautiful shots too! Love how vibrant they are!

    Beautiful post, beautiful pictures, and I think you are doing a great job:)

    Tiffany

    What a great post! I actually popped over to grab the button for S&E and saw this. It was quite fitting since my photo this week is about marriage! I love Ben Folds – our first dance was a Ben Folds song :). Thanks for sharing a moving post and great photos.

    I really like the photos with the Bible verses.

    These are wonderful photos, but I really enjoyed the videos and the words you shared. Certainly something God is working in my soul to show His love with more purity and passion–not me and my weak love.

    AWESOME. Really though provoking and inspiring and I will be praying on this the rest of the week. AWESOME!

    Dear Ashley,
    This is one of those weeks where blogging time is limited, but I just had to tell you how much I enjoy your posts where you share your faith. The post, “Contagious”, awhile back…one of my favorites.

    What a pretty wedding, glad the weather let up some!

    LOVE THIS POST!! Like I said, I look forward to these types of posts all the time. Beautiful photos of a beautiful wedding. I am glad the sun decided to shine on their special day! xoxo

    What a lovely post! Both photos and words!

    I really appreciate the time and thought you put into such a convicting post. You offer so much to think about here, and I come away wondering if I am simply going through the motions of love or if I even come close to the kind of love described in those Romans verses.

    The photos are beautiful — the new, fresh love of your friends fills me with joy and hope.

    Ashley, I am so grateful for your boldness in speaking of Christ when most of us (including myself sometimes), are not. I praise God for you!
    -Ashley :)

    Beautiful words and photos, Ashley.

    Wonderful post! And what a beautiful wedding!

    Marla @ http://www.blueskiesphotoblog.com

    Yay! Looks like an awesome wedding even if the weather wasn’t perfect.

    Believe it or not, we used to live in Jacksonville, just up the coast from WB.

    Love that David Crowder song. LOVE!

    Beautiful pictures and beautiful message. It gets better and better every week.

    Gosh Ashley you are amazing writer. You know how to put things in perspective. Amazing.

    Those verses from Romans are wonderful for a wedding. Your photos capture the moments beautifully. Your post is challenging my comfortable ideas about loving others sacrificially. blessings on your day!

    Amen! Nothing is impossible for God!
    your last statement … “Now is the time for us to start owning up to the responsibility of not just loving when it is convenient, but loving even when it’s not. With that in mind, do people know that you are a Christian simply by how you’re willing to love one another? Are you truly marked by this kind of love?” wow! AMEN! *when in prayer you can not stay mad or upset at the person, if you are SERIOUSLY praying that GOD BE GLORIFIED!! What we are praying for is won (or defeated) by our hearts attitude while in prayer…
    thank you for stepping out and sharing these words!
    blessings

    What a beautiful wedding, and a wonderful, honest post :)

    Everything in this post is just hitting the nail on the head. We all have flaws and have done things we aren’t proud of and made mistakes but we must remember that the past is the past, we can never let it hinder our future. We can’t look back. We must look forward. Things happen and people come in and out of our lives for a reason, we have good times and bad and those who remain with you through the good AND bad are true friends.

    Love never fails. It withstands many things. Always remember that you are who you are because of the past but never let the past get you down, pull only positive from it. I hope you have a great week!

    Amen Ashley – you spoke from the heart.

    Great photos! I love that David Crowder song. I had it on my primary blog (a defined life) awhile back. I just love. . .love!

    Beautiful post and beautiful photos. Your exposure is in incredible! I constantly get blown out faces at the moment and its doing my head in!

    A post clear full of things to think about – and some amazing photos.

    Just beautiful!!! I always looking forward to seeing what your blog has to offer every day!!

    Preach it, sister!!!!

    Loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing your faith, Ashley.

    Beautiful post! You are really an exellent writer; very good at getting your point across in a loving way.

    (OK, I know this isn’t the point here, but the photographer in me has to ask. I’m not seeing a lot of harsh, dark shadows on the peoples’ faces, and I see it’s a bright sunny day. Did you use a fill flash at all to fill in those shadows? They look really good!) Beautiful job!

    This is a wonderful post, so true. It was so nice to see you this weekend!


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