Search

Braking Points

Exploring the Adventure of Aging

Tag

love

Letting Go, Loving More, Living Full

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:26-27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To say I have struggled with this passage from the Gospel of Luke would be an understatement.  Perhaps it is the word ‘hate’.  Perhaps it is the completely wrong idea it plants–scripture is not always easy to understand.  If it were we could have avoided many millennium of division, wars, arguments or maybe not since we are who we are–human. Whatever the cause, I have struggled.

Then this morning as I read the 14th chapter of Luke, I realized that God was not asking me to reject or abandon the ones I love.  Nor was He asking me to act as if my life has no value.  He asks me to embrace the Life He has for me, to trust Him with the lives of those I love, to stop grappling with him for control, to follow Him.

When I follow, God’s love begins to flow through me allowing me to love others and even myself with greater goodwill and the more I do this the fuller and freer my life becomes.  Loving God first and foremost especially helps me love others when I find them less than loveable.  I hope therefore since I can be difficult at times–like frequently–that they also love God first.

And besides when I really wonder about what all this means I just remind myself.

Jesus left heaven for me. . .and you. IMG_6281

Two Days After Thanksgiving

Two days after Thanksgiving
Boy, am I grateful now that day has passed
For turkey and dressing, a bountiful feast
For family, for friends both far and near
For the sweetness of life
For the wonder of love
For surviving the cleaning with nary a scar
For the couch that provided well needed rest
Two days after Thanksgiving
And now that day has passed
For time to reflect, on the paradoxes that day brings
For some are still lonely
For some are still hungry
For some have no place to rest rear end or head
For some have no wonder of life or of love
For some have just anger not a thing from above
Two days after Thanksgiving
Boy, now Christmas shopping
For family, for friends, and dwell in the world
In the dark corners, times and places
In captivating emptiness
In human tradition
To chose roots of bitterness rather than love
To walk in the footsteps of a commercial god
So Two days after Thanksgiving
I read these four verses from an ancient letter

Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭6-9‬ NET)

And I choose to live in the One Who saved me
For to be thankful is more than a day
For to really live requires more than external cleaning
For the Wonder of THE LOVE, For Deity Incarnate
For the sweetness of life dwells only in Him
Two days after Thanksgiving until the world ends.

image

Questions from a Friend: “Can Intolerance promote Tolerance?”

imageI am lactose intolerant. So trust me on this, whether a single word I write after this makes sense, it is in everyone around me’s best interest that I do not have milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. Of course, I have discovered lactose free dairy products and I do enjoy these. Nevertheless, no amount of the “hair of the dog” in my case lactose products will make me tolerate them more. I don’t hate them. In fact, I am quite a fan of ice cream and do cheat at times, but the consequences are not pretty.

So NERD that I am, I looked up the word Tolerance and the following touches on several factions of that definition:

1 capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina

2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own b : the act of allowing something : toleration

3 the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece

4 a : the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure ; also : the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen b : relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor

5 the maximum amount of a pesticide residue that may lawfully remain on or in food

Should we settle for tolerance? Should we view our fellow human beings with a form of sympathy that sees those different from ourselves as victims? Should we choose to hold our tongues when someone obviously is making choices that are detrimental to them? Shall we embrace an attitude of indifference, so that we merely TOLERATE those who are different from ourselves?

Or as a Christian I ask myself shall I do what Jesus commanded:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35 NIV)

There was an ad campaign a few years ago to curb driving under the influence that asked the question: “Would a friend let a friend drive drunk?” And there are so many other endings appropriate to that question. I may love someone deeply and yet not ‘tolerate’ their choices. I may have to ask myself some tough questions as to my motive and my intent and I certainly will need to pray, but “Would a friend let a friend ….?”

Can intolerance promote tolerance? And Really, IS tolerance the answer. Or is there a finer goal for living in a free, society governed by laws such as the USA which is based on the premise that “all…are created equal”? Will we become a society of people who indulge ANYTHING as long as it is progressive, popular, and promoted in every venue? For those who are Christians, as I am, will we allow the masses who choose the broad road to destruction to march to blindly to hell? Or will we LOVE like the Master and snatch them from “sin and the grave”?

Today, Lord, help me love like Jesus loves and speak truth like He spoke and treat all persons as those for whom Christ died. Amen

Fear Less, Love More…Giving up Fear for Lent

image

“Fear – God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. (see Romans 8)” from “20 Things to Give Up for Lent”, Pastor Phil, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, March 4, 2014

You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them. If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because he loved us first. (1 John 4:4, 5, 15-19 NET)

365 times, one for every day of the normal calendar year, God proclaims in His Word, “Fear Not”, “Don’t be afraid”, or some version of the same. Fear crowds out love. Fear focuses on the temporary. Fear separates us from Christ. And so today on this second day of Lent, with the help of Christ Jesus, my Lord, I cast out fear. I give up the panic over growing old, senile, and feeble, the fear of what non-Christians say about the Church and Christians, the fear of death, the fear….oh, my goodness, I have entertained so many. Know what fear has held me captive long enough.

In 1 John 4, God clearly says, “LOVE drives out fear” and so when tempted to fear, I need to replace that fear with love, first the knowledge of that I am loved by God and then to extend love to others. Nothing can keep me from aging and eventually dying, but LOVE, God’s Love can dispel fear. As Romans 8 reminds us “if God be for us, who can be against us.”

Lord Jesus Christ, Draw me closer to living a life that LOVES as You Love. A Life that draws me out of the shadows, the hiding places and into your light. Help me GIVE up Fear this Lent and extend the grace of a loving life to others and myself. Amen.

image

Love is an Action Verb

image

People speak of falling in love

As if they stumbled upon it

Tripped over a crack

And landed in love on the flat of their back

But Love doesn’t just happen

Love has a voice

And frankly Love requires choice

I admit that it’s true for me and for you

Some loving is harder and some are harder to love

But with God for us, with us, and in us

When we cannot love, let him do it through us.

Many a family would not fall apart

Many a hateful word would not depart

To damage and hurt

Many a person needing a touch

Would be comforted and cared for and such

Many a child would be nurtured and fed

Many a wanderer would be guided and led

The lonely, the poor, the thief at the door

And so many more

Love is an action not an attraction

image

Love is a choice and we give it a voice

God’s love is for you, for me, for all

Love is not blind but a lamp in the dark

Love promotes loving not overlooking sin

But seeking the sinner and bringing him in,

Just as God loved me and God loved you

Love doesn’t just happen, it is something we do.

Beginning with God and seeing it through.

image

Before and After–The View from Right Now 1 Peter 4:1-11

image

“It seems so much smaller than I remember it.”  How did the yard, I played in as a child, with its enormous expanse shrink just as the house never large miniaturized.  The distances between home and school, between home and downtown shortened.  I recall my surprise as an adult revisiting old haunts, amazed that I remembered it so MUCH larger.  How could this be?  I was an adult 18 years old when I went away to college and it is true I never really lived there again.  No, I met my man, moved to the big city and only went back for short visits. Those short visits became farther between after my parents moved to be near us, consisting of a few highschool reunions.  Each visit, my hometown dimished in size.

The 1 Peter scripture looks backward and forward at the life of a believer.  After reading it, on my first morning walk with the dogs, I considered the shock–and yes, that best describes my reaction–when I revisited my hometown for my 15th class reunion.  In my memories I had imagined it so much bigger than the reality.  In most cases our pasts, including the actual places, diminish with time, but not so the rememberance of our sins.  NO, those memories revisited inflate into monsters.  Oh, as Christians, The Lord has forgiven us, removed our sins as far as the east is from the west, yet still I find them, mull over them, let them grow larger in my head, give them control they should not have and for HEAVENS SAKE!  It is time to stop.  Time to stop feeling guilty.  Time to let those memories shrivel and shrink, become minatures just like the old home place. So we can live in the Spirit as God lives.

It really doesn’t matter when the end of time or my end of time comes.  What matters is living freely in Christ into the New Future He has for you and me.

The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land. (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NCV)

So 1 Peter 4: 1-11 sums up how our response to Jesus should be.  Stay close to God, Pray, LOVE, Be open, Show hospitality, Speak as God directs, Serve as He enables….all this builds the Kingdom of God in Enemy territory…and do it all to the Praise and Glory of God.

If I keep my head clear
If I keep my mind set
My prayers will target God’s will

If I love deeply
If I love without fear
Forgiveness will blanket much sin

If I open my home
If I show hospitality
Grace will be manifested to all

If I speak God’s word
If I serve with God’s strength
In all I am. In all I do

God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit WILL BE PRAISED!

Carolyn

image

P.S. All grammatical, spelling, etc. are my own due to my poor skills as a proof reader.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑