To Love or To Hate

Radio Show Host: That person is walking in outright disgusting sin.

Radio Show Guest: Is it okay for me to hate him?

Radio Show Host: I would say, yes. It cannot be tolerated. In fact, I would like the audience to join me in mailing this person a letter telling him that he is going to hell. I am going to do that as soon as I get off the air.

Wow!

These words, though somewhat paraphrased because real names are not used, blew my mind! I was randomly going through radio stations and came across this Christian station. I was surprised. I have heard of individuals who have acted this way, but never really understood how this concept can exist in the Christian realm.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of this attitude staring me down. I have had people from church hang up on me, speak evil about me, turn me away, gossip, accuse me and criticize those whose lives are dedicated to the Lord.

But I took it all in stride, knowing that I was only accountable for my heart, that these individuals did not represent all believers and that we are all subject to fall. And so, I walked away from those with this attitude. That is not to say that I didn’t get hurt at times.

BUT –

It has also been church going Christians who have encouraged me and prayed for me and with me. Those I choose to rub shoulders with are those that have experienced their own difficult times yet have risen up as warriors and overcomers, filled with COMPASSION for the lost. They are those that believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and the power of God’s undying LOVE.

LOVE is the key. God is love.

It is because of HIS love for each of us that Jesus came to earth to die so that we can escape sin and death. I have heard testimonies from individuals who have had near death experiences. They desperately try to explain how MUCH the Lord really LOVEs each of us.

It is his kindness that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4) Condemnation will never lead to repentance. People who feel condemned always put up walls. I know, Ive been there. Love doesn’t condemn, that is the enemy of our souls who uses that measure.

BUT –

Love doesn’t compromise with sin either. That is also the enemy’s tool. All the talk about tolerance is dangerous because at times it means to tolerate sin. Compromise is an open door to confusion.

So, if we aren’t to walk in hateful anger towards those who flaunt sin as the opening statements suggested, and we are not to tolerate sin in our lives, nor compromise with it, something Jesus never did, what are we supposed to do?

How are we to love those that mock our Lord, those that make it their business to attack our values, or those that walk with arrogance or self-righteousness?

My personal answer: We fall in love with the one who IS love. IF we are consumed with HIM, HIS love flows out of us for others.

How can we accomplish this? It is by building a relationship with God. The way we build relationships is by spending time with those we say we love. In the case of our Lord it is through prayer or talking with him and reading his love letters (the Bible) and by being around those who have the same desire.

The Lord gives us the ability.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Consider Steven who was the first martyr for Christ. He was so deeply in love with his Lord that he didn’t compromise his stand for Christ; he also didn’t retaliate in vengeance.

And as the murderous stones came hurtling at him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he fell to his knees, shouting, ‘Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!’ and with that, he died.” Acts 7:59-60 (TLB)

I want to learn to love others with the Lord’s pure love. Am I willing to die for those who hurl insults or attack my way of life or verbally abuse those I love? Jesus loved so much he died for us WHILE we were sinners.

That kind of love does not attack others, BUT it also doesn’t compromise in sin nor agree with those that do. The more we fall in love with the Lord, the more we desire to become like him. Ultimate love would be to say like Steven, “Do not charge them with this sin.” It is also standing strong, as he did, WITHOUT compromising. Instead, we should desire to help those in bondage to become free.

“that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26

Father in Heaven, I ask that you baptize your people with your love so that we walk in its purity, not condemning those who are confused or lost, but instead, by your grace, mercy and wisdom, directing them to the way of freedom and truth. Amen

For God SO LOVED the world…

God Bless.

Unstoppable

All of us have been through those middle school years. For some the transition may have been smooth. Then there was the other half, whose transition came with many obstacles. Either way your life was changed. You entered as a little kid out of elementary school and left as a teenager ready to meet the high school years. Not only was your body going through transformation, but so was your mind and emotions.

If you are a parent of middle school children, or should I say tweens who end up as teenagers, it can be like a riding a carnival ride. You want to have fun, but you also realize that the ride was put together in only a couple days. It can be a little unstable and perhaps a little scary.

During one of those tumultuous rides I have had the privilege of experiencing, I was having a very serious talk with the Lord. I was asking for wisdom and felt the Lord gave me three areas that I could spend time praying over.

  1. Revelation of God’s love.
  2. Loving Oneself.
  3. Understanding the power of honoring (or respecting) one’s mother and father.

That sounded simple enough. But as I was thinking about those concepts, I needed to make sure they were stable in my life. First, I needed to adjust my oxygen mask, so to speak, then through prayer I could help adjust my middle schooler’s.

REVELATION OF GOD’S LOVE-

That is simple enough. We know the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve read the bumper stickers, “Smile God Loves You” that is inclusive of a smiley face. I know how cliché these words can sound without the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have been told that God loves me since I was a child. But it took me a LONG time to get the revelation.

In my youth I worked hard for that love so I could have a pat on the back. And as an adult I resolved to have a godly home. But it wasn’t always the case and when I would make unwise choices for my life, I would beat myself up. If I let someone down, especially my heavenly Father, I would be angry at myself.

But if I REALLY had the revelation of God’s love, it wouldn’t have been such a strenuous walk. There was a time while I was beaten down emotionally and spiritually when the Lord spoke to my spirit to trust him. My reply: but I don’t trust myself! I knew that I was imperfect and would make mistakes.

Then I heard him say, “I never told you to trust yourself, I said to trust ME.” It is hard for those of us who want to have control to let go and allow the Lord to work in our lives and in those around us. But it is necessary to allow him to display his love towards us. So, I chose to take the step to trust God’s love.

It was that same love that David experienced. Though he had made unwise choices at times, his heart was humble, and he was devoted to the Lord. God said about him, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22)

It was because of the revelation of God’s love that John could write, “the disciple that Jesus loved” about himself in the Gospel of John. He understood the deep love that the Lord had for him. It allowed him to stand with his Lord at the cross. It allowed him to endure suffering, as well. It also allowed him the honor to receive the visions to write the book of Revelation.

LOVE YOURSELF-

When I say to love yourself, I do not mean it to be a self-centered statement. It means to take genuine care of oneself. It’s concept: “I am worthy.” It gives a person the ability to make wise choices for themselves whether it is mentally, physically or even spiritually. It gives the individual the power to put up boundaries and surround themselves with positive input.

It loves the body you are in. It even makes it easier to consume the proper food, view clean content and make wise friendships and life influences. Believe me, this concept will keep you from much heartache.

Once you can love yourself, it will be easier to love those around you.

HONOR YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER –

Well, that is a nice statement and a great Bible verse. As parents is easy to want to share this one with our kids. But as I was meditating on it, the reality of its power became more evident.

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise; so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)

If you think about it, respecting authority creates peace. Respect for our elders, teachers, bosses, police officers, judges and our highest office –presidency, begins with honoring our parents. Those you see fighting police officers, destroying property in the name of protest, making rude jesters and comments towards those in authority probably never learned to respect their own parents when they were young. (Of course, perhaps no one took the time to teach them.) Regardless, honor brings peace, peace brings blessings. Blessings create the ability to enjoy your life with longevity.

Be Unstoppable-

Though there are many views and suggestions to help raise our children, tweens and teens, these three concepts are some of the tools they will need to face the giants that will try to defeat them. This isn’t just for the young. It’s for all of us.

There is transforming power in God’s love. We can only love him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

How can we share his love without the revelation of his love towards us? How we can love others if we do not first love ourselves.? How can we bring peace to our families and our societies if we do not first show them respect?

I pray that the youth today experience a God-encounter inclusive of the powerful revelation of HIS eternal love for them. I pray that they will take that revelation to their peers. I am believing and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform our children, tweens, teens, their parents and grandparents so that our land can rise up with the knowledge of God’s love.

Then we will be unstoppable and can spread his Gospel .

God bless

God’s intimate care

We walk through this life perhaps unaware,
Of what God has done in HIS intimate care.

So much we don’t know or understand,
But somehow our lives were guided by HIS hand.

We didn’t hear HIS voice as HE whispered in the dark,
“Let there be light” and light began to spark.

We didn’t watch HIM mold a man out of clay
Nor hear him breathe life into his lungs on that day.

We don’t know if HIS heart was stricken in grief
When those HE had made turned away in unbelief.

Sin is so retched and tarnished and black
It separates hearts and God wants ours back!

Since justice demands a penalty to pay
HE knew that HE’d have to establish a way.

We don’t understand HIS patience while waiting
Before sending HIS son into a world filled with hating.

We don’t know if HIS heart felt it could break
When his son spilled his blood to make a way for our sake.

But I DO know this: HIS Spirit won’t relent
Until each person has a chance to turn and repent.

So answer HIS voice if you hear HIS call
Salvation is for you, for me, for us all.

I thank you Lord, for your intimate care!
For making a way and for hearing my prayer.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no will snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

John 10 :27-28 (NIV)