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The Holy Spirit Was Wearing Pink

This morning I came across a blog that really hit home to me.  It was kind of perfect timing.  I have been trying to put words to some prayers for my attitude and how I approach people and situations.  This blog post hit it on the head.

The name of the post is called, “The Opposite of Love Isn’t Hate.”  It really caught my attention, so I gave it a read.  I am so glad I did.  I know that the Spirit totally set this one up, because this story doesn’t end here.  But before I get to the rest of the story, let me finish talking about what I read.

I can sum up the post in one statement from it, Hate is not the opposite of love, fear is.”  I had to get my mind around this.  The more I read, the more this made sense.  The tumblers started to fall into place in my head.  This is so true.  Fear really is the antagonist of love.  Debby went on to explain:

Fear the opposite of love? Yes, yes. That’s it. In my life that is true. It’s not hate but fear. Fear of those different from me. Fear of stepping out in faith. Fear my children will suffer tragedy. Fear those I’ve grown close to will relapse and fear for the day my mom won’t know any of us.

I can so relate to this.  When my son was born, I became even more paranoid about everything,  I can still be two and a half years later.  I found ways to micromanage everything.  I was, and can still be, so afraid of anything happening to him.  I am starting to see that this fear can get in the way of loving him and allowing him to grow and mature.

This fear can show itself in other ways, too.  I grew up moving a lot, so I learned at an early age not to form deep friendships.  This has led to a fear of losing friends or getting my feelings hurt by others that sticks with me even now.  I have a fear of allowing people too close to me.  That fear was overcome a good bit when I met my wife, but it still makes me distant from friends sometimes.

Even more so, this fear can keep me from growing in my relationship to God.  We are called to two commandments, to love God and love others.  When I am afraid of what could happen, I put a wall between myself, God, and others.  I am afraid of letting go and dying to myself.  I am afraid of what people will think.  I am afraid of completely trusting in the acceptance of God that comes through the work of Jesus Christ.  This fear stunts my spiritual growth.

1 John 4 holds the answer to the fear.  Love is the opposite.  Fear can keep us from love, but love can keep us from fear.  Only love breaking through to our hearts and mind can defeat our fear and allow us to love.

John wrote in verses 16-19 (NLT):

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.  We love each otherbecause he loved us first.

“Such love has no fear, because PERFECT love expels all fear.”  This is so awesome.  Because we have been loved perfectly, we do not have to be afraid.  Abiding in this love will allow us to overcome the fear.  We will be able to love!

So…this was on my heart as I drove to work this morning.  I can be a bit ADD with what I listen to (or don’t listen to) in the car.  Lately I have wanted to listen to music, but Christian radio can get repetative so sometimes I just put on a random station.  Today was a light rock station.  A song came on that I have always kind of liked when I have heard it.  It is by Pink.  As the song played, the Spirit brought these ideas back to mind and took them a little further.

Now, as a little disclaimer, I had no idea that I have been only hearing the edited version.  I went to look up the song to write this blog post.  It turns out that the song, which I thought was called “Perfect,” is actually named “F**ing Perfect.”  I had no idea.  I am sorry, if this offends you.  Just know I have only heard the edited version.  Any way, the song still totally spoke to me and the Spirit drove the message home (yes, through this potentially offensive song).

The part that spoke to me was the chorus:

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You are perfect to me

The message that came to mind is that it is my fear of not being accepted by God because of my sins is the overwhelming fear that holds be back from loving Him and loving others.  The thing is, if that I truly believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, I am accepted by God.  I am free to love.  I am free to serve.  I am free to obey.  I do not have to fear the wrath I know I deserve.  Through Jesus, in terms of the eternal consequences of sin, I am perfect in the eyes of the Father.  The passage from 1 John says, “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”  This sentence leads directly into the statement that “perfect love drives out fear.”  Our acceptance is the love that shines like a light on our fear and makes it run away like darkness!

How awesome is this!  We are perfect in his eyes.  This perfect love is the antithesis of fear.  We can live love because he loves us!  Halellujah, what a Savior?

Do you see how fear keeps us from loving?  How can the perfect love of Jesus change you and allow you to love without fear?

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Why Weekends–Why and WorldVision (Part 1)

Why Weekend?  What and why?

I have been trying to figure out when I will be blogging and if I will have occasional themes.  A part of this internal discussion was whether or not I would post on the weekends or not.  I know a lot of blogger don’t.  I just didn’t know until we were driving home from LA’s grandparents’ house (a long enough trip to have thinking time).  God gave the the thought about a weekend theme.  And that is the theme of “Why”.

“OneCupofJoe guy, ‘why’ is not a theme.”

Yes, by itself it is not a theme.  But my “why” is going to be a challenge.  These challenges are going to be based challenges God has been pounding my heart with as of late (and more that I have no doubt will continue to come).  They will vary from week to week, for the most part–except the first two, and will usually hover on issues in our world at large.

I have decided not to rest solely on the “Christian Spin” for this…actually I am going to avoid that as much as I can.  Why?  Because, though I do see everything I will write about as things Christians need to take a stand and fight for, I see all of these things as human issues that we all need to view a little more closely and work together to make changes.

That said, I will probably have my normal references to God and faith, especially when it comes to why I have taken on some of these causes, but please read on.  It is just a means to explain how I got there and have been challenged by these issues. However, these things are challenges that we all have to face.

There is so much hurting and need in the world.  It is not fair for us to hoard the resources and leave the rest of the world to fend for itself.  I think it is almost just as wrong for us to wait for governments to step in and fix things.  To paraphrase something I heard at a meeting about adoption and foster care this week, “These are not government problems, they are [HUMAN] problems.”  It is time for us to step out of our comfort and reach out to those less fortunate around our world (which is a vast majority of the residents of Earth).

So, I will start with my first “Why”.  This is going to be a two-parter.  I will delve into it more next week.  Because you have soldiered on through the long explation of my weekend theme, I will reward you by just dealing with the “set-up” of this challenge.

Why is there so much EXTREME POVERTY around the world?

Early this year, mid-January to be exact, God caused a radical transformation on my heart. Through a variety of sources and ways, he pretty much changed my perspective on almost everything. I will write more on this later (be on the look out for “My Time Travel Testimony”). One of the things that he changed is how I viewed the rest of the world in the light of poverty.

Now, I have always had a want to help those in need. I have sponsored children through both Compassion International and WorldVision (seperately most of the time, but for a little while at the same time). I have given to various ministries, worked at an emergency boys shelter for three years, and currently work at a school in a low-income area (going into my sixth year there). Despite all of this, God needed to teach me WHY this was important and lead me to take these things even more seriously.

I would love to get in to the Biblical reasons for why people in extreme poverty should be important to you, but like I said, I am going to take a different perspective. I want to appeal to believers and non-believers alike. I want to grip your human heart and make you want to reach out to the world because it is the right thing to do.

Did you know that as members as the “civilized industrial west”, statistics say that we (almost all Americans…even those considered poor) are a part of the 20% of the world’s income earners. 80% of the world lives off of less than $10 a day!! $10!!! But even more shocking…just under 50% of the world’s population lives on around $2.50 a day. WE PAY MORE FOR A BURGER FOR ONE MEAL.

Let me just say this. This is wrong! So wrong that I can barely stomach it. Even as you read this, can you believe it? And guess what? As bad as many people in the US may have it, even our poorest would be considered blessed in most of the rest of the world.

Before I move on, I will just say that I am by no means saying we should not support the poor in our country. Not in the least. I am even more motivated for those around me than I ever have. BUT, the rest of the world needs to be a part of your “giving/caring deal”. You CAN NOT just pretend the extreme poverty in the world is not there. You can’t. You just can’t.  (If you do want a perspective on poverty around us, though,  check out these blog posts: Saul 1, Saul 2, Saul 3, and Final Reflections on Saul.)

Now back to the numbers. Look at them again. Around 50% of the world lives on less than $2.50. A lot of people pay more for a cup of coffee. If I lost $2.50, I probably wouldn’t tear up the house to look for it or retrace my steps for the day (maybe, but not likely). This is insane. The fact that 30% of those who live off of more than $2.50 still live on less than $10 should make us all really take stock of our lives. 80% of the world makes a living on less than $10!! I would look for $10 if I lost it, but I wouldn’t cry over it if I didn’t find it.

“But, OneCup guy, these people don’t need as much to live on, so it is not as bad as you are making it out to be.” True and false. Yes, it takes less for most to scratch out an exsistance, BUT it still takes more than $10 a day…and way more than $2.50!!

I won’t get into the statistics on mortality, health, nutrition, and education this week, but just know, that you really can’t excuse being okay with the disparity between the top 20% and bottom 80%! You can’t. You just can’t.

If I am not mistaken (and I am pretty sure I am not) we live in a time of unparalelled resources.  Why are there so many people literally dying becuase 20% of the population lives in extreme comfort?  This is not okay.  This is something we can do something about.  Seriously.  What can you give up?  What can you do without?  What can you sacrafice?  It is more than easy to help.  There are so many organizations out there…they just need the resources we are hoarding.  Think about it.

I am going to be pushing WorldVision because I believe in them, I love the way they do what they do, and know they are making a difference, but I don’t care who you go through.  Just do something.  Your comfort is not worth other people dying for.

Okay, I have set this up. I will get into the just mentioned stats next weekend. I just hope your eyes are opened a little.

If this is something you would like to follow up on for yourself, let me lead you to WorldVision’s website (www.worldvision.com). I will talk much more about this organization next week, but the heart of their mission is to change the dynamics of poverty around the world one community at a time. Check them out. Please sponsor a child if you feel so led. Please do. And let me know if you did, I want to encourage you in this! It is an awesome thing!

Oh, and click on the picture to find out a really cool thing going on with WorldVision for the next week or so.  Awesomeness!

To be continued next weekend!

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