Tag Archives: love

Tough Love…

We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, maybe even experienced it in our adolescence as we clumsily navigated through some rebellious patch of our life growing up.  Hopefully you are not still stuck there.  It can be painful both as a parent and a recipient of tough love.  I however, have been experiencing tough love of a different nature lately and this morning took a moment to meditate on it.  What I’m dealing with is how love can be tough.  It’s hard to love people sometimes.

I have had a number of instances over the last year and especially recently where I was deeply struggling to feel and be loving toward people.  I have felt like the Apostle Paul in Romans where he said:

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”  Romans 7:18

Paul endured all kinds of things at the hands of other people and he struggled with doing the right thing, the loving thing.  He reveals our inner conflict between the spirit and the flesh in us.  I have a desire to do the loving thing but sometimes my mind is saying stick it to them.  We have a tendency to justify our feelings or subsequent actions, because after all we were done wrong, they are being unreasonable or we are the victim.  That all may be true but the conflict remains and reveals our true problem.  To be true to the Spirit in us, we must love and be loving. 

As I read Romans 5 I find the problem with and answer to my dilemma:

“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:5

The demands of life and the demands of God are so great that I don’t have a chance to do right without Him.  God knows the selfish and self-preserving nature of our flesh.  We are without the hope of consistent love without the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.  Without Jesus and the gift of His Spirit we do not have the capacity to love the unloveable.  We will revert to our flesh and flesh will always protect flesh.  It defaults to self-preservation. 

However, even as a believer we will have to believe the promise of God’s love.  Through His Spirit He has poured out His love in our hearts giving us His capacity to love even in the harshest of conditions.  Love is tough, but its impossible without God’s love.  So before we begin to excuse our unloving behavior by what others have done to us, we need to draw deep from the well of God’s love and remember that even in moments of injustice and persecution God gives us the capacity to manifest the love of Jesus through our mortal flesh.

Love may be tough, but not impossible.

Who do you need to forgive today?

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Love + Incarnational = Transformation

This gallery contains 2 photos.

I stopped by my Grand Mother’s house today to pick up some flowers she wanted us to have.  Granny Hobbs is 91 now and for as long as I can remember she has given everything away.  My daughter asked me, “Why … Continue reading

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Grace and Freedom in Christ…

For those of you who are a part of The Dwelling Place, here is a great short message by Francis Chan on Freedom in Christ and Grace. Francis Chan: “Grace, Grace, Grace”  (This and other massages at http://www.cornerstonesimi.com)

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Forgive them for they know not…

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  Hebrews 13:17

Having lunch today with my wife at TGI Friday’s, (great salad by the way) I was deeply saddened and angered as I sat by two older women.  One of them was speaking with great authority and let me say venom, spite, disrespect and self-righteous pride, about her church and specifically her Pastor.  I don’t think she could have found many more ways to verbally tear him down.  I’m glad I was almost done with my great salad when she said “I think we are just going to fire him.”

I wanted to walk over and ask, “What church do you attend, so I can know where not to go.”  I had many other thoughts, but had I said them, someone might be writing a blog about me right now.

No one knows the burden of a Pastor but a Pastor and/or his wife.  How can people become so arrogant and unloving?  According to Barna Research, in 2008 there were over 1700 Pastors that left formal ministry every month.

Let me encourage you to take heed to the passage in Hebrews and Paul’s encouragement.  Repent if you have been guilty.  If justifying yourself is at all running through your mind right now  or this blog personally offends you – you need to repent.  Make it your aim to make your Pastor’s labor on your behalf a joy.  Go out of the way to serve him as he serves you.  Love him with the kind of love Jesus died to give you.

Shared life…

Today I played golf for the first time in 1 1/2 years.   I was invited by someone in my church who loves golf and lives on the 6th fairway at Beau Rivage.  My Dad was home, so the three of us hit the links.  It was the most awesome weather; great temperature with a nice breeze.  Now I’m not going to give Tiger Woods a run for his money, so I don’t take things too serious.  But, I ain’t too bad; though I will admit being last today.  A bad day on the course is still a good day.  I think I lost 6 balls and my golf shoes obviously sat too many years in my garage, because on the 5th hole the soles of my shoes literally began to come apart.  By the 8th hole I was playing with one sole.  By the 9th I felt like I was walking in mockasins with no soles.  My back was killing me by the 10th green.  What an awesome day!

Why?  We may not always think about it, but everything that is worth anything is better when shared with people we love.  Think about it.  Just about everything in life is enhanced by the presence of others we can share the experience with.  A funny movie is funnier when you can laugh with someone.  Your favorite restaurant is better when sharing it with a friend.  Golf is even better when you can play with people you care about.  Even if you play badly.

All said, this journey with Jesus is enhanced by the community of intimate friend that I get to walk with.  Love if fuller if we can share it.  I am glad that God has me on the path I find myself.  Church has taken on new meaning and new life for me.  I am breaking free from lifeless religion and institutional spirituality into the beauty of organic church, oneness with Jesus and share community.  Life and life more abundantly. 

Does something in your spirit long for something more, something different that what you are experiencing?  Is there a longing for something deeper in Jesus and others?  Ask yourself, what is keeping you from experiencing it?

Romance…

Listening to this strikes a romantic chord.  I think I need to go out and buy one.

Keep your love alive!

Hearing Voices…

“In high school I was a friend of Herbert Orin Tubbs, a scrappy country boy from Alabama who loved to kill snakes, shoot guns and play basketball.  Herbert, despite what you might imagine from my description, was quite intelligent, and when he graduated was offered a full scholarship to a good private university. Surprisingly Herbert, turned down the scholarship, stayed home and went to a local community college part-time. When I asked him why he turned down the scholarship, he said, “I didn’t feel that tinkle in my nose!” He went on to explain, I won’t say yes to anything unless I feel a tinkle in my nose. I believe its God’s way of talking to me.” Over the next few years that tinkle, apparently, led him to quit college, float between various odd jobs and chase a girl across the country.

We all know someone who speaks with authority about how God or destiny has lead them to make certain decisions. If you are like me, you relish the ring of authority and confidence this brings to a person. But at the same time you are suspicious of such idiosyncratic declarations.”     Dojo @ ReImagine – Experiments In Truth Week 2

I read this the other day and it reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother about hearing God.  I encounter so many people who are Christ followers that say they hear God telling them to do things I know violate His nature and Word.  The problem is they are convienced at they have heard God.  I know at the outset of this post, you might think I am judging what God tells other people or maybe I’m wrong and missing God myself.  I realize this and am willing to take the criticism.  People have to make decisions all the time that are difficult and that affect relationships.  The problem comes when we are not honest with ourselves and make decisions with wrong motives driving us.  Our decisions always have consequences and many times relational ones.  God’s direction is always loving and redemptive even if the decision is a hard one.  Relationships are what God values – it is the core of our faith journey and where our growth happens. The issue here is the necessity to hear God and the dangers of not.  Not hearing God can leave a wake of relational carnage behind us or cause a lot of personal pain with major spiritual detours.

Like the above quoted story, there are people who say they got the tingle.  Now, they may use different words but it’s the same thing.  I’ve heard many people over the years in ministry say “I’m leaving my Church, God has released me or I’m leaving my spouse, God has released me.”  A friend of mine, after hearing one of these comments said to me “You know what released means; It means I can do what I want.”  Now last I checked, we are the church.  I mean the body of Christ’s followers.  How can you leave the body accept be cut off?  When we leave a church we are really leaving relationships.  This is why Jesus used the picture of marriage to symbolize His relationship with the Church and therefore our relationship with each other. Truth be told, most of the time it’s due to hurt or offense.  God wants us to operate in love in our relationships, even when it’s hard.  This is where growth happens.

Here’s the point – We must check whether the tingle (voice) we have is from God or just a feeling that will relieve us or absolve us or excuse us of the responsibility to love one another and bear with one another instead of signing God’s name to our decisions and then saying it’s about the need for a different type of Church.  It’s easy to feel intently about something and call it God’s voice.  The flesh always seeks self -preservation and self-gratification.  The Spirit seeks sacrifice, unity, love, generosity and thinking of others. The more scary thing is when we cannot distinguish between His voice and our fleshly desires.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”      Hebrews 4:12

We must be able to divide between the soul and spirit and discern by the Holy Spirit even our own thoughts and intentions hidden in our hearts.

A little advise:

1. Don’t make decisions when you are angry, hurt, or offended with someone.

2. Don’t let hurt dictate your decision making by clouding your ability to hear God.

3. Talk to your pastor. If it’s your Pastor, talk to your Pastor.

4. Seek unbiased, wise counsel before you make decisions.

5. Pray and seek scripture.

6. Make sure it’s your Spirit not your soul that you hear.

7. Love always fulfills the law of Christ.