Tag Archives: love

Teenage bedroom–hard hat required.

kids-2030268_1920When our youngest went to Peru on a month-long mission trip right before high school, I decided I would take advantage of her absence to clean her room.  Thoroughly.  As in a full-scale geological excavation. 

I found a full laundry basket, only it was stratified with layers of clean, dirty, clean, etc. I unearthed underwear from elementary school, and (if I recall rightly) a hard, green mass under the bed reputed to be petrified Jello—lime, I think.  Continue reading

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How to Find Joy

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
Proverbs 14:10, KJV

A well-known (to this site) pastor recently wrote about the struggles pastors face. Pastors have such a weight they carry that can lead to bitterness that many other people may never understand.

Remember: we pastors hear everyone’s struggles, hurts, wrongs, and sins. We deal with the issues of everyday life for most people we know.

It is easy to see all that is wrong with the world when dealing with everyone else’s issues.

Intermeddling Joy?

The plus side, though, is that most people never feel the joy of seeing God work in those issues, seeing lives change, problems redeemed, and grace and love shine through hurt people.

You may have struggles and pains.

You may know your sin better than anyone, how it affects everything you do.

But if you want real joy, trust God to use you to help another. They may never know how blessed you are by their success over sin and pain, but you will find that joy that only comes from the Lord.

Choose joy by overcoming bitterness. Your own and others’.


The Poor Difference

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends. He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. -Proverbs 14:20‭-‬21, KJV

There are two different kinds of poor people:

  1. The person who owns little but is responsible and honest: They may be poor in possessions, but also being poor in spirit just means they acknowledge their status and keep striving.
  2. The person who is wasteful and irresponsible: They are poor in possessions, but they are also poor in humility and refuse to accept responsibility for their circumstances. They may even think others owe them.

It is easy to not feel bad (or to strongly dislike or even have hate) for the one who squandered everything and blames others. It is easier to feel sorry for and even be friends with the one who owns little but owns up to their station. (Trust me. I have been there.)

Even a rich person can be poor in humility and therefore be hated.

But God calls us to love the lowly of every type, whether of means or of character. We are not to despise them but show mercy acks kindness.

That may mean a handout (even if we think they may spend or trade it for drugs and alcohol), but it definitely means showing them God’s love, mercy, and grace. For that is what He did for us.


Love is Forgiveness

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. -Proverbs 10:12, KJV

Hatred holds a grudge.

Hatred causes problems for others.

Hatred causes division.

Hatred is taking things into your own hands.

But hatred is not the opposite of love.

The opposite of love is fear.

Fear is often the motivator for everything hatred becomes.

The best remedy comes out of love and is the definition of covering all sins:

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting the wrongs.

Forgiveness does not mean trust.

Forgiveness is saying, “I will not let fear control me.”

Forgiveness is saying, “I will not focus on what you did to me.”

Forgiveness is saying, “You are more important than that to me.”

Forgiveness is letting God take the wrong and change your heart. Maybe to change theirs.


How You Act Matters

Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. -Proverbs 10:6‭-‬7, KJV

Everyone loves justice. In fact, just looking around the world today shows this, with all variations of the protests and marches for equality and justice.

However, both those who are perceived as causing injustice and who fight against those injustices deal with public image.

Perceptions

How you pursue and create justice matters as much as finding justice.

Those who act and speak justly tend to be loved and (or, at least) respected. Others heap “blessings upon [their] head,” and they are remembered fondly when they are gone.

Conversely, those who resort to injustice in the search for justice are not only hypocrites, they may try to conceal violence and wrongdoing, lash out verbally and/or physically against those they disagree with, and/or condone injustices committed against their opponents. This ultimately leads to people speaking poorly of them, and it may not change after they are gone. Think of how Hitler is perceived so negatively. His name appears to be rotten.

How you act matters.

People will see what you do and judge accordingly. Further, justice is acting out the greatest commandments of loving God and loving others.

God has even told us His expectation:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 NKJV


How Do YOU Respond To Correction?

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. -Proverbs 9:8‭-‬9, KJV

Schooling

I taught 7th Grade mathematics last year. There were a handful of students who, whenever corrected or disciplined, would lash out. One in particular said he hated me. Who was I to tell him how to live his life?

Most of the students in the class reacted negatively to correction, to be honest, but a few (and eventually more) saw the benefits of following through with the correction. Somehow, I became the favorite teacher of many students.

The Church

Now look at the yourself and even others in the Church. When presented with biblical truth about sin, what is the response?

If your reaction is to lash out, deny, or get angry, ask yourself, Why? If it is not true, why get upset?

Fighting a correction can cost more than listening, such as hurt/broken relationships and/or wasted time.

The wise person wants to change, for the goal is to be Christ-like, perfect as God is perfect. You may even find you love that person more for helping you grow closer to Christ.

That is not possible if we continue in sin.

Refusing to even acknowledge the need for correction could imply you are heading the opposite direction, and you come to hate those who offered the correction.


Wisdom Leads to Love

Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. -Proverbs 9:1-2, KJV

In chapter nine, we see that Wisdom has established a firm foundation.

In these two verses we see that true wisdom is only from God. This is what is implied by “killed her beasts”, that sacrifices have been made.

The full meaning, though, is that wisdom also takes care of others, for she has “mingled her wine” and “furnished her table.” She is prepared to feed those who come to her.

Therefore, true wisdom leads to the two greatest commandments:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all you are;
  2. Love your neighbor.

Wisdom leads to loving God and others, because it is firmly rooted in who God is.