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?
Posted in discipleship, Inspiration, love, Questions, Relationships
Tagged christianity, conflict, disappointment, discipleship, forgiveness, God, Holy Spirit, injustice, Jesus, life, love, persecution, Relationships, religion, spirituality, tough love
Can’t we all just get along! This expresses how I feel so many times when I read what people write about the church and others get their two cents worth in how they think. I am all for a free … Continue reading
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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
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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I was reflecting this morning on the effects of revelation on one’s life. Paul speaks several places in scripture about the revelation of Christ and His gospel and their impact upon his life. This revelation had a death and life … Continue reading
“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.
Posted in Church, love
Tagged christianity, Church, encouragement, God, Jesus, Leadership, leaving ministry, love, Pastors, religion, self-righteous, spirituality
Life is an incredible journey and it is easy to lose sight of it if we only focus on the moment. Some moments in life can be paralyzing if we let them. Those of you who have done much flying have been stuck in a city or airport when you needed to be somewhere else. It’s a layover, not your destination. None of us decide to permanently stay there. However, we are there. We make the best of it, maybe even find a way to enjoy it, knowing it’s a journey not the destination. We have to learn to enjoy the journey which means embracing changes.
Our Church has gone through many changes over the past 3+ years. These changes have reshaped and reoriented who we are and what we look like. There have been many moments in this journey that could have been paralyzing and maybe for a season even were. But weathering and savoring the good and bad continue to shape us for God’s plan – a people who genuinely reflect Him and reveal Him.
I am not the same nor is our church the same but what we are changing into is something glorious. This blog and our church blog will begin to reflect the changes we are going through. Tomorrow I am going to share a vision God showed me 3 years ago that has shaken everything in my life. (Vision: not something I desired or dreamed up, but an actual, literal vision from God.) This vision was the beginning of a journey.
Have you ever seen a literal vision? What did you see?
Posted in Church, Church Planting, Mission, Missions & Missional, The Dwelling Place CC
Tagged airports, christianity, Church, Church Planting, dreams, God, Jesus, journey, layovers, life, paralyzing moments, religion, spirituality, visions