Tag Archive | love

the wounded.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about the 2 greatest commandments God has given Christians.

Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

(yes, as yourself)

Jesus spoke these commandments to the Pharisees, who he defined as law promoting, rule following, loveless hypocrites, known for their self righteous religion and pride.

They clashed with Jesus.

I wonder. Do we ever clash with Jesus?

Have we ever found ourselves promoting the law over loving a person and patiently allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them?

Do we find ourselves fulfilled in our faith because we follow the rules?

Have we ever fooled ourselves and rationalized a sin, making an exception?

Are we self righteous because we would not do that sin?

Are we prideful in our position at church? In the way we relate to others? Especially those who share our faith?

Have we dishonored anyone with our straightforwardness through “telling the truth in love”?

How is it that after our lives get on the straight and narrow, we become judge and jury for others? That like the unforgiving debtor, who was shown mercy and forgiven a huge debt, threw someone in prison for owing him a small debt?

We may not be a Pharisee, per say, but we certainly can find their sins in our own hearts.

If we’re honest.

Today, with all of the access to books, pod casts, 24/7 television programming, conferences, preaching, teaching, Bible studies, and more, our lives are filled with knowledge.

But really, are we any different than 5, 10, 30 years ago?

 But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.

                                                                   1 Corinthians 8

The remedy for pride, self righteousness, rule promoting and law abiding, is the patient, kind, humble, honoring others sacrificial love God has loved us with.

This is my commandment: love each other in the same way I have loved you.

1 John 15:12

That doesn’t mean we don’t follow the scripture. There is so much guidance because God loves us and knows the danger of going our own way.

We follow the scripture because we love Him. Period.

Not for any other reason.

And we love others because we love Him. Period.

Not for any other reason.

When we love people the way God tells us to, we are doing far more for them than giving them the rules first, which is often what happens.

Because they need to love God first so they will keep the rules.

People get hurt in church. And far too often they are not loved the way God says to love them.

They are told, “there is no perfect church.”

Or we go to the scripture to point out where their attitude or behavior is wrong.

That is not patient, kind, honoring, and humble. It carries with it an automated response that teeters on being arrogant from all of the knowledge we’ve gained.

It is not taking the wounded and bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, or enduring all things. Instead, it is failing. And when all the prophesying, tongues of angels, and knowledge comes to an end, it is only love that will remain.

There are people in our churches who must learn to persevere and endure hardship when there are disagreements. We grow through difficulty and suffering.

But too often, people are given a solution without the validation that comes with love.

I imagine churches being so filled with 1 Corinthians 13 love, which is much harder than giving the rules, because it requires sacrifice (love your neighbor as much as you love yourself).

A place where there is patience and kindness.

A place of humility.

A place of honor.

The world is watching. Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples by our love for each other.

Love defined in 1 Corinthians 13. If we want a rule, there it is.

If you have been hurt in church, don’t turn away from God.

Church is good and it is part of God’s design for you. God wants us to be committed to each other because no matter what, Jesus Christ and Him crucified binds us together, even with our differences.

Church is vital to the Christian life.

But if circumstances beyond your control have placed you in a season of not having a church, do not feel rejected, disqualified, discouraged, or labeled.

There is an old saying that’s been around for decades: Christians shoot their wounded.

Sadly, this is often true.

Love. Forgive. Be comforted.

Let God help you, guide you, and love you.

Nothing escapes God’s knowledge.

He is over all.

path

 

 

go and do the same.

Love is the one thing people want.

Love is the one thing God wants.

The world needs love because God loves the world.

Through Christians, love should be evident. Love should be the opposite of what people deserve because God loved the world despite what it deserved.

Here is what love is:

Patient.

Kind.

Protective.

Trusting.

Hopeful.

Persevering.

Here is what love is not:

Proud.

Jealous.

Boastful.

Dishonoring of others.

Self-seeking.

Easily angered.

God tells us this:

If it were possible, if one understands all the hidden mysteries of life, have all the knowledge that exists, execute enough faith to move a mountain, give everything they own to the poor, and sacrifice their body to death, but if they did not love, they are nothing.

We would say aren’t all these things proof of my love?

According to God, apparently not.

We can do all kinds of things for God and in the name of God, but not really love.

Love costs us something. It requires we treat others the way we want to be treated.

We can spin it however we want but God knows our heart.

The two greatest commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

God wants us to love him and love our neighbor.

The way we do this is we are patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering.

The way we do not do this is when we are prideful, jealous, arrogant, demanding, dishonoring, self-seeking, and easily angered.

When the world looks at Christians, this is what they should see. We are lights in the world. We represent God’s love for the world.

Anything less is just noise.

Noise that sounds like cymbals crashing.

Noise that does not settle gently into a weary soul.

The way God came for you.

Photo by Saved by Grace (100% God, 0% Me) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

emotions.

God created us with emotions.

Even God has emotions. Keep in mind, however, his emotions are not defined in human terms. Because we cannot fully comprehend him, we are prone to think of him humanly. For example, his anger is sourced in a divine response to evil.

In the article, God Without Mood Swings, Phillip R. Johnson states:

God is [not] literally subject to fits and temper tantrums. His wrath against sin is surely something more than just a bad mood. 

The Bible shows us some of God’s emotions:

love

grief

anger

joy

jealousy

compassionate

suffering

God relates to human emotions. In turn, we relate to him.

Don’t we turn to people who understand us?

Emotions can be wonderful. They make us feel alive! But, we cannot be led by our emotions. We need something solid to anchor our lives to. The wind carries a sailboat but it has to be steered and anchored to its destination.

Truth is our anchor.

Just like we live with physical laws (e.g., gravity), truth is an unseen law that has a way of settling things. The truth is often difficult (thus, “the truth hurts”), but if we embrace it for what it is, despite how we feel, our emotions will line up.

If you have found yourself in a muddled mess of emotions, truth will help settle you. The truth can be that there are no immediate solutions or answers to your situation and you have to endure it.

If you know God has emotions, you know he understands your emotions.

And because he understands your emotions, he will give you comfort, strength, and guidance.

 rexquisite / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

love.

letter lA four-year-old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,

‘Nothing , I just helped him cry.’

Photo Courtesy: h.koppdelaney / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Photo Courtesy: h.koppdelaney / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

God defines love like this:

Love is patient, love is kind.

angry?

Have you been confused by the way Christianity has been presented?

Have you felt disqualified because someone made you think God is angry with you?

For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.

God is not angry.

He loved the world just the way it was when he took the wrath toward sin upon himself. The payment for sin is paid in full. And God chose Jesus to pay for it.

He loves you the way you are. Like an earthly father loves his child, God loves you even more so.

rafaela-blank-augusto-etges_l

If Jesus died for the whole world, why would only you be singled out for God’s anger? But wait? What anger?

God knew we would trip and fall many times throughout life. He picks us up just like a father picks up his child.

Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.

This is the love God has for you.

He just wants you to love him back.

~~~

Photo credit:  Lost Control / Foter / CC BY-SA

1 Thessalonians 5

close.

God is close to us. Very close.

He shows us in very personal ways.

That’s because despite the wrong in life, God wants us to know what is right.

Like the time I spotted a cardinal when I couldn’t seem to draw one to the feeder.

cardinal-2016

And the time I found the perfect picture for $3.99.

DSCN0762

And the time I found the right color for my new bathroom for $2.99.

DSCN0763

And the time I discovered the watering can I’ve always wanted for $5.

??????????

But most of all, on that dark day, when out of nowhere, the wind playfully stirred the leaves around my feet, swirling upward, enclosing me in a protective embrace. I surprised myself with a small laugh. God had descended upon me. And I knew it.

009

These moments are not for a select few. God embodies true love. He reveals himself to you because he cherishes you.

Who else would surprise you?

Only the one who knows what you need.  And when you need it.

~~~

love.

A four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry , the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard , climbed onto his lap , and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor , the little boy said ,

‘Nothing , I just helped him cry’

generations-5_l

~~~

Photo Courtesy: h.koppdelaney / Foter.com / CC BY-ND