love is as strong as
death.”—Song of Solomon 8:6 (AMP)

way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”—G.K.

I start with this message, I just wanted to clarify something. The
quote for today is in reference to our love relationships with
humans. As it relates to our relationship with God, the Bible
clearly states that nothing can separate us from his love:

I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor
height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord.”—Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

said, I want to share with you a dream that I had a few nights ago.
I don’t know if it was the late-night French fries or what, but it
was actually quite profound. I was standing outside of a door
peeking into a room. In it, there were a ton of guys that I knew:
some family (minus my brother, father and Baba), some friends, some
ex-boyfriends, but all of them familiar to my personal space. And,
they were all saying the same thing…and laughing:

you have to do is tell her you love her.”

some of you, this will be no newsflash (because you’ve been praying I
would get this breakthrough for some time now), but they were talking
about me! It was so real that I woke up expecting some of
them to be hovering over me or in the next room. In this current
season of my life (Ecclesiastes 3:3), it seems that I have been
receiving this same recurring message in some shape, form or fashion.
For instance, last week, someone told me that one of my biggest
problems in relationships was that people make deposits into me, not
investments; they do just enough to keep me “open” and
“available” to them. “Shellie, you can leave a dollar in your
bank account to keep it from being closed. With an investment, you
take big risks to get big returns.”


still wrapping my mind around
, but I do know that as
I am coming to really understand my value to God (Psalm 139:14,
Jeremiah 31:3), I see why King Solomon warned me, all of us, to guard
our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). The Message Version of Proverbs 4:23
says that it’s in the heart that
life starts. One definition of life that I love is “the force that
makes or keeps something alive”. In other words, we should guard
our hearts because it’s our hearts that are the force that makes or
keeps something alive; including our relationships with others.

morning, as I was in my prayer time, all I kept hearing was “Love
IS…Love IS…
For a moment I was like, “Uh…I know”, but as the Holy Spirit
kept bringing it to my spirit (I Corinthians 2:13), I realized, for
perhaps the first time, that the word he was emphasizing was not
LOVE, but IS.

you recall me sharing that these days, when people tell me that they
are getting married, the first thing I say is not, “Congrats” but
“Why?” Why IS you getting married? (You get my point.) I mean,
if you’re gonna get yourself into something so serious that no man
can separate (Matthew 19:5-6), you should at least have a few
good, solid, sober-minded, MUTUAL AND BIBLICALLY SOUND (2 Corinthians
6:14) reasons for doing it, right? Currently, I am reading the book,
“80 Proven Ways to Become a Millionaire” (thanks Barbara Warren!)
and one of the chapters is entitled, “Your Best Financial
Decision—Selecting the Right Mate!” The whole chapter is bananas
(pick it up if you get a chance), but there is one sentence that is
still ringing in my head: Eighty percent of success in marriage
depends on whom you marry.

it would seem that my inquiry would be on point. If the majority of
your success in marriage depends on who it is and why you are, then
you should know something about “who” and “why” other than
just because you “love”. As a matter of fact, before knowing
“who” and “why”, you should know what LOVE IS, first.

but what do most people simply say when/if you get the courage to ask
them what brought them to the decision of “til death do us part”?
“Because I love him/her.” It’s like that sentence is supposed
to be the automatic trump card in the game of matrimony. However,
what God is showing me, even in spite of my vast trials and errors
(Romans 8:28), is that love is not some romantic blanket word; love
is something that should have meaning, purpose, principles, action
and yes, even expectations behind it.

Bible backs me up. According to I John 4:8 (and16) God is love. Through his servant, Paul, God took the time to define just
what his kind of loving is:

is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not
brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count
up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but
rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always
trusts, always hopes, and always endures.” —I Corinthians 13:4-7

we remind ourselves that God loves us, what that should immediately
mean to us is that he IS patient, he IS kind, he IS not jealous (in
the earthly sense, which is different from the godly sense), he IS
not proud (ditto), he IS not rude, he IS not selfish. When God says
that he loves us, that is not some stagnant or emotional filler word.
Every time he speaks it to our spirit, all of the assurances in I
Corinthians 13 are manifesting right at that very moment. The
Love Chapter doesn’t say “God/love said”, it says “GOD/LOVE

didn’t list those descriptions for his sake. He knows what he means
when he says things. I believe he did that because he loves us
enough to provide us with a standard. He wanted us to know what he
is saying/doing/being when he tells us that we are loved by him.
Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that his thoughts are not like ours and so
there’s no way he would expect us to be able to read his mind
his mind).
I think that’s also why he provided us with the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 20:3-17) Because we are made of both flesh and spirit
(Galatians 5:17), he knows that the carnal mind cannot/will not
properly discern what is healthy for our spiritual nature (Romans
8:7). He provided us with a list for safe measure, for our sakes.

wonder why
we don’t do
that—”that” being “provide those around us with a
standard”—when it comes to love? Sure, ideally, we all should be
(or at least strive to be) what I Corinthians 13 says. But here’s
the thing: “patient” to you, may not be “patient” to me.

may want me to
wait for you because you are always late. I may want you to be understanding of the
fact that it irritates me when you are. Both “wait” and
“understanding” are definitions of the word, “patient”, but
they manifest themselves differently.

may want me to
help you with editing your resume. I may want you to be considerate enough to ask me before the last minute (“last minute” to me
means less than a week before). Both “help” and “considerate”
are definitions of “kind”.

may find my candidness to be “harsh to your ears”. I may find
your expectation for me to be anything different as not knowing or
loving me in the way that is “properly or fully developed.” Both
“harsh to the ears” and “not properly or fully developed” are
definitions of “rude”.

this morning, I read a quote that cracked me up: “Part of the
reason that men seem so much less loving than women is that men’s
behavior is measured with a feminine ruler.”—Francesca M. Cancian

true, so true, SO TRUE and it’s time that
free! (John 8:32) We are all individuals (I Corinthians 12:11).
This means that we each have a distinct and indivisible identity,
which means that we each need to be loved in ways that are
“discrete”, “particular”, and “separate” from everyone
else. (This is why I don’t know how you can intimately LOVE someone
in a short amount of time. You have to KNOW to LOVE!)

really got to me about this “love revelation” is that because we
are all “exclusive”, it’s hard— actually pretty much
impossible, for people to love you the way you need/want/would like
to be loved, when you 1) don’t even know what that standard is and/or
2) don’t clearly articulate it. Everyone needs patience,
not in the same way
Everyone needs kindness,
not in the same way
Everyone needs people to not be rude or get upset with them, but
I’ll give you an example of how that can manifest itself to people

have one friend, who, probably before this day is over will say,
“Shut up, Shellie.” For him, it’s like the “I love you”
I know
(and his heart) well enough to understand that. It doesn’t bother me
in the least. I have another friend, however, that if I say that to
her, I might as well have cussed her out in an open forum. She
those two words! How do I know this? Because
I know her
One day she said something and I jokingly replied, “Shut up…(uh,
this person)” and she got offended.

would you say that to someone?” she replied. “That is so rude.”

TO HER. Her personality, her experiences, her standards brought her
to the resolve that she doesn’t like hearing that. Personally, I
don’t think that not saying “shut up” should be a blanket rule,
but because I love her, I don’t say it to her anymore. For her, Love
IS not saying “shut up”, and because I love her, I show her by
not saying it (in her space).

brings me to another definition of “love” in the scriptures:
“Love is not selfish.” It tickled me when I looked up what some
of the synonymous of the word were (asocial, egocentric, expedient,
gluttonous, grabby, intemperate, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing,
self-centered, self-serving), but in the context of this message,
there was a huge light bulb that went off for me. Philippians 2:3
says that we are to do NOTHING through selfish ambition or conceit.
As a matter of fact, God thinks so little of selfish ambition that he
tells us that people do use that as their motive to get things in
life will not inherit his kingdom, “the domain over which the
spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ extends,
in heaven or on earth
(Galatians 5:19-21)

great definition of “selfish” is “concerned chiefly or only
with oneself”. So yes, anytime you are consumed with what YOU
want, what YOU desire, what YOU think you deserve, with God or man,
you are leaning on the side of selfish. But, one of the synonyms
for “selfish” is “ narcissistic”, right? One of the
definitions for that word is, “a psychological condition
characterized by
self-preoccupation, lack
deficits in self-esteem”.

Empathy: the
intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the
feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

Bulb Moment: When you are in a love relationship with someone, it is
SELFISH of you to not take their feelings, thoughts and attitudes,
as it relates to their expression of love towards you
into account.

am a relationship columnist for a few sites. When a romantic
relationship comes to an end, one reason that I always seem to hear
is “He didn’t love me right”. What is “right loving”? Based
on the way you thought he should? And how was he supposed to know
that? Did you tell him? Do you take the time for him to get to know
you, your character, your personality, your expectations,
And, while you were so focused on what he wasn’t doing, did you
ever think he was trying to show you based on
his personal feelings, thoughts and attitude? Or were you so emotionally
narcissistic that you didn’t even care? Were you so selfish that the
love he needed based on
his character,
personality and expectations didn’t even show up on your love radar?

please believe that I’m the first one getting FREE off of this
message! (John 8:36)

it comes to the dream, a dream that I believe will stay in the front
of my mind as a “love gut check” quite some time, I believe that
was God’s way of encouraging me to set a standard/raise the bar of
what I expected in my love relationships, whether platonic or
romantic. If/when someone tells me that they love me, because “love
is”, there needs to be some action behind it. (This is actually why
I have come to respect the fact that most men seem to be a lot less
quick to say it. I think women underestimate the fact that they are
aware that some “doing” must follow “saying”.) Faith without
works is dead (James 2:26), yet, in many ways, so is love. Again,
the Word doesn’t say “love says” or “love wants to be”, but
“LOVE IS”. To keep it alive, you can’t just say something, you

the same time, because we are all different, and because one of the
definitions of love is not being selfish, I know that there was some
rebuke (Hebrews 12:6) for me in this message as well. If I love
myself, I should set a standard of the kind of loving that I expect.
At the same time, if I claim to love others, I am going to need to
their feelings,
thoughts and attitude about both themselves
and our relationship into account. One of the biggest mistakes people
make in relationships is giving people what
rather than what the other individual actually needs. You know what
that’s called? SELFISH. Do you know what the Word says about
selfish? That it ain’t love at all.

week, take some time to think about those you love and those who say
they love you. How do either of you
know that? What is the standard, the guideline, the “love map”, if
you will, that you follow? (And are you
both on the path headed towards the same destination? Whole ‘nother
message!) Proverbs 22:19 says that the Lord instructs, even you,
TODAY and that you should not concern yourself with tomorrow (Matthew
6:34), for tomorrow is certainly not promised. To me, as it relates
to my love relationships, that translates to me that I need to find a
way to let them know that LOVE IS, in a way that they can receive and
understand, as individuals, before the setting of the sun (Genesis

I would hate for them to have a dream with me believing that all I
had to do what say that I loved them. According to God, Paul and
today’s revelation from the Holy Spirit, that’s no kind of real,
true, lasting love at all.

real, true, lasting love is the only kind that

R. Warren/2008