2011 Theme: “Make GOD Greater!”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV).
A Love That Conquers: Babies are born. Boys develop into men. Men are molded into leaders. As I sit in meditation, absorbing the weekend of celebrating one of God’s creations, I am filled with lifted emotions but there are certain keywords that continue to resurface: faith, family, life and love. A few years ago, God orchestrated my path to intersect with a man that I instantly admired. He walked with pride, talked with boldness, exercised wisdom, moved by integrity, demanded respect, encouraged and challenged everyone around him. Reflecting on the life of my father-n-law, family and faith were valuable, yet priceless to him. All of his seeds and off springs are fruit from his labor and the grand love story of a life shared with his soul-mate. Real men are able to lead in every capacity, but God has commanded that man lead in the institution of marriage and family. This is a rare leadership that seems to be becoming daily extinct. Black love, Black marriages and families can and have existed. With all the struggles, opposition, and alliances that form against these unities, it makes new couples almost feel completely hopeless. How do marriages last for a lifetime and build strong families?
“Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (8a,13).
Spiritual Manifestation: The Word declares in Romans 8 that we as Believers are more than conquerors. Without our faith in Jesus Christ, we are hopeless and powerless. But through Christ we can do all things. God created the institution of marriage and family and anything God creates, He enables it to sustain. In the “Love Chapter”, it starts out only listing two things that love is (patient and kind) and lists many things that love is not and what it does not do. The reason why there are very few grand love stories that exist is because true love, in its riches definition, has not been planted or has not been nurtured. Many marriages consist of boasting in one’s self, disrespecting a spouse, easily angered, forever keeping a track of wrongdoings and delighting when one has stumbled. These are marriages that are not being nurtured; therefore, not growing and resulting in divorce and dysfunctional families and sometimes destruction of the family. When God’s design is traced, real men will be in their leadership role. These are God-fearing, faithful men who will love God enough to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. These marriages will produce strong families that will be able to conquer any and every obstacle through love. Love endures everything and it does not fail. This love was displayed in the life of Larry M. Hastings, Sr., one who protected, trusted, hoped and persevered until the end. Through his leadership, a legacy of love, life, faith and family remains. Love conquers when you make God Greater! –Dedicated to the Love shared between and Larry and Willeen Hastings Sr.–
With Love in the Spirit,
Evangelist SJ Hastings,