What’s Real Love Like?

Love Shining Through

What’s real love like?

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” — Jesus

“Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Wow, what does that mean?! How can we love others like Jesus loved us?

> When everybody forsakes you—love one another.

> When the rejection, abandonment and pain are too much to bear—love one another.

> When you are being falsely accused and unjustly punished—love one another.

> When your closest friends want nothing to do with you—love one another.

> When all your good deeds are ascribed to evil motives—love one another.

> When your friends try to derail your calling for selfish motives—love one another.

> When the religious folks hate your guts and look for every chance to kill you—love one another.

> When those you are called to minister to want nothing to do with you—love one another.

> When your disciples try to keep you from embracing the cross—love one another.

> When you are abused by others in the name of God—love one another.

> When even your heavenly Father turns His back on you—love one another.

> When self has died, you have been resurrected back to life by the power of God, and your enemies make up lies to convince the church and the world that you’re still dead—love one another.

Jesus went through all that and much more for us, and He commands us to love each other in the same way!

“Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

Did you catch that?? The way everyone will know that we are disciples of Jesus is NOT by what we believe, but by whether we have love for one another!

If you call yourself a Christian, I have a question for you… Are you loving those in your family, the church, and the world like Jesus loved you and I? Or instead, are you focused on your rights? Are you holding on to bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness?

Jesus did not SUGGEST that His disciples love one another. He COMMANDED us to.

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” — Jesus

Are you a real disciple of Jesus? Do you love others like He loved us?

Scripture quotation: John 13:34-35 NET
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephh33269/3919428914/
Photo license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en

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Scars, Wounds, Pain, Hurt … Healing

reachinghands“I know that You are lover of my soul, healer of my scars…” Steady My Heart (Kari Jobe)

If a scar is the sign of a healed wound, why would you want to get rid of your scars? What if Jesus had no scars? Where would be the proof of His love for us? What if we had no scars? Where would be the proof of God’s healing power in our lives?

Physically, scars don’t hurt (at least usually). I should know, I have some physical scars. But they serve to remind me of past pain that no longer worries me. (Plus, they’re a great way to start a conversation with someone. People are naturally curious about scars.)

Medical doctors are usually not to concerned about wounds that are healed, even if they leave scars behind. They are more concerned about the wounds that refuse to heal, the ones that fester and ooze and smell, the ones that you really don’t want anyone touching!

Don’t you think it could be the same with our Healer who knows infinitely more than any PhD.? He also loves us, more than any human doctor ever could! And He always has our best interest in mind! Healing us, making us whole is more important to Him than sparing pain.

Perhaps you try to hide the wound. You pile old rags and dirty t-shirts on top of it to cover up the smell and soak up the drainage. You refuse to let anyone even think about touching that pile! Until one day, you’re so tired of hurting! So tired of pain! So tired of it not healing, that the pain it takes to remove your “bandages”, clean your wound, and start the healing process is less than the pain of hiding it.

As the Doctor gently removes your “bandages”, your ways of “just taking care of it”, you’re shocked to see how ugly and nasty the wound has become! It’s gaping, gangrenous, much bigger than you had imagined it! The flesh is dying!

It repulses you!

And yet, the Doctor just goes on about His business, seemingly completely unperturbed by it. Slowly, but surely, the whole wound is uncovered, and there you see it in all it’s gaping, smelly ugliness.

Then the Doctor begins to clean it. Perhaps you begin to yell at Him, “You don’t know what You’re doing! You’re crazy! Do You have any idea how much that hurts?! Stop!” Perhaps you jerk away from Him and hug the wounded part to yourself. Nobody’s touching that without your permission! You’ve been doing just fine on your own!

“The choice is yours, but this is a necessary part of healing. I know it’s painful. I’ve been through it before. All you have to do is trust Me.”

“But You don’t understand!!! You don’t know what it’s like!”

He makes no reply, just quietly holds out His hands. You look down, and see scars, horrible scars. He turns his back, and you see scars snaking up His neck. He takes off His shoes, and you see more scars. He moves His hair covering His forehead, and you see still more scars.

Every scar that you ever had or ever will have has been already imprinted on Him. He knows your pain, intimately. He’s felt it.

And now, He’s offering you the chance to be free from pain, for real. None of this painkiller stuff. He’s going to heal it, not just mask it.

Yes, it will hurt.

Yes, it will not be pretty.

It will be ugly and messy. Some days you will want to scrap everything and forget it.

Healing is a process. Oh yes, occasionally it happens miraculously instantaneously, but more often it’s a process. It takes time. But eventually, your wound will be healed, and all that will be left is a beautiful scar. Yes, I said beautiful.

It’s beautiful because it reminds you where you have been and how far God has brought you. Beautiful because people will ask, “What happened to your wounds?! How’d you get so many scars?!” And you’ll be able to share your story with them, point them to your Healer, and ultimately, make God look good.

All you have to do is trust the Doctor.

Will you?

Dear Little Girl That Grew Up

mb900-2041864Dear Little Girl That Grew Up,

I see you.

I see the makeup that hides the darkness under your eyes. I see the stiff smile that is about to break. I see the way you flinch when someone comes close. I see the clothing you wear and the things you do and the words you say and the status you create. But most of all .. I see the gut wrenching pain in your eyes. And I cry.

I cry for you because you never had anyone tell you you’re beautiful so you felt like you had to prove it. You never had anyone protect you, so you grew hard. You never had anyone provide for you, so you became independent and distant.

You are fooling many with your masquerade. They not only look past the little girl, but they can’t even see her. But I see her; she’s covered with many layers of hurt and self protection and bitterness and walls .. but she’s still there. Sometimes she feels so trapped she wants to scream, but you silence her and make her stay quiet. Because it hurts too much to let her loose ..

My precious child. Please. Let that little girl inside of you cry. Let her weep. Let her spill those tears that longed to be spilt so many times. Let her grieve those unprotected areas in her life. Let her release the pain she’s bottled up inside. And as you let that little girl cry like she’s always wanted to, something inside of you will break .. and give room for Jesus to come in. Because Jesus is really good at what He does. And He wipes tears from our eyes, lifts heaviness from our hearts, and brings joy and hope to our face.

So cry, dear little girl .. and then look up and let Jesus wipe each tear from your face.

Character is Cuteness

talk-to-womenThe character of a person makes or breaks their cuteness.

Some of the most gorgeous or good looking people I know are the way they are because the beauty of their heart spills over to their face. They have abandoned pop cultures idea of beauty and have run into the heart of Jesus Christ.

You become who you hang out with, so as they hang out with Jesus, they become like Him. And as they become like Him, the fruit of the Spirit is produced. This fruit comes in the form of character traits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. And as they live and breathe these traits, they become beautiful.

I never ceased to be amazed as I watch this happen. The girl who returns all evil with love becomes admirable and stunning. The joy in her eyes is captivating and the peace in her heart is desiring. The kindness in her touch is drawing and the goodness in her words is attractive. The guy who is faithful is the guy who is respected. His gentleness and care makes him adorable. And his self control and self discipline makes him a man of appealing strength.

And out of the quality of their heart, their weirdness becomes cuteness. The way he sheepishly scratches his chin when he’s nervous or she plays with her fingers when she doesn’t know what to say. The little odd things they do that maybe once annoyed you becomes precious to you because you love who they are and the uniqueness is just an expression of their personality. You find yourself laughing over the differences and delighting in the similarities; you treasure the little moments and dance over the big ones.

And suddenly you realize you’ve fallen in love with the quality of someone’s heart in such a way that has made them the most beautiful person in your life. And as this happens, you find something that will grow even better with time, because Christ will continue to beautify that heart with every passing day.

Be so lost in God, that someone has to seek Him in order to find you .. and the both of you will be beautiful because of it.

 

Don’t Cheat The Guy

guy-flirting-flirt-a-girl

I don’t understand when we decided its right to pretend to be someone else, then to be who we truly are. I’ve watched in sadness as one girl after another abandons who she was made to be in pursuit of who she believes everyone else wants her to be … especially to be everything she thinks that one guy wants her to be.

At the core, she loves classical music. But that’s weird and outdated these days, so she pretends she likes Taylor Swift because that’s known and accepted. She craves a double cheeseburger but always eats tofu because that’s what her skinny friends eat. Some days, all she wants to do is lie under the sky and look at the clouds; but she pushes herself to book every weekend night because that is what is expected. She likes vintage, but wears trendy. She prefers reading but watches movies. She wants quality of friends, but goes for quantity. She wants to be a mother to a houseful of kids, but pursues law school.

Does any of this connect with you? Your situation and scenario may very well be polar opposite or vastly different. But the underline message is still there. You feel a constant pull to be that which is respected, accepted, and recognized as cool.

Here’s a piece of truth, sista.

What I am going to say applies to ALL relationships but today, specifically, in dating relationships.

Girl.

You have to be honest and be you because if you’re not, the guy will fall in love with someone else (the person you pretend to be) and be stuck with you.

Don’t cheat the guy.

Just sayin’.

And, lemme tell you, a true man is going to be captivated by you. Because he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with a fake Barbie; he wants to do life with a real person.

 

 

(photo credit: www.bing.com/images)

It’s Like Coming Home

thCASTDLG0Have you ever stood in the midst of a sea of faces …

… and felt alone?

Yeah. Me, too.

The number of people you’re surrounded by has nothing to do with how loved and accepted you feel; it’s that moment when you look into the eyes of someone who will never love you more and never love you less because they love you so crazy much just the way you are … that moment is like coming home.

Jesus loves you like this.

And here at CHOSEN Ministries, we love you like that, too.

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: bing.com/images)

What Does A Boy Want?

Couple in RomeWhat does a boy want?

Most girls have a pretty good idea. A boy wants a girl he can show off to his friends. A boy wants a girl who’s spicy, and clever, and who lets him have his way.

A boy wants a girl who loves to have fun, a girl who doesn’t hold herself back from him. A boy wants a girl who understands that ALL of her belongs to him.

He wants a girl who won’t stand between him and his toys, either. A girl who won’t give him a hard time about looking at other girls now and then—maybe even letting him have a little fun with another girl once in a while.

A girl who won’t cry over every little thing.

A girl who’s tough enough to watch the kids while he watches his football games. A girl who can let him have his boats and bikes and not be complaining about money all the time.

Basically, a boy wants a girl who will give him what he wants and not ask much in return. That’s what a REAL boy wants!

So what does a real MAN want? Any ideas?

A real man wants a girl he can protect and fight for. He wants a girl who understands her dignity and saves it for him alone. He wants a girl who appreciates a man opening the door for her.

A real man is willing to wait till marriage. He doesn’t need to know how she is in bed before marriage because he plans to win her heart first, and then learn the art of sex together after the marriage vows.

A real man wants nothing more than to grow old together, so he’s not looking for a reason to separate. He wants a girl who’s worth fighting for, a girl who also wants to wait for marriage.

A real man is a follower of Jesus, and just like Jesus he’s willing to lay down his own wants and desires for his bride. He’s looking for a girl who has also made Jesus her own savior and lord.

A real man wants a girl who’s honest, trustworthy, and giving. He wants a girl who is sacrificial while also understanding her worth.

He wants a girl who will show him respect and honor. A girl who will become a lady. That’s what a REAL man wants!

Like attracts like. Become like the person you want to find, and eventually you will find another person who is doing the same thing! Trust me, it’s worth it. 🙂

–Jesse

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon)

Dear Defensive One

crying girlDear Defensive One,

Huni, I am not your enemy. I hold no accusation, I cast no judgment. Please. Lower your arms. Whether you realize it or not, you hold a crossed bridge between us. Your jaw is tight and your stance solid. You’ve held this position before. Your eyes snap at me and your brow is knit. You don’t silence me and yet neither do you offer voice.

Sweetie, I am so sorry. So sorry you’ve been hurt, so sorry you’ve been let down. I’m sorry people made promises and didn’t keep them. I’m sorry you shared your heart and people abused it. I’m sorry you felt you always had to be strong. I’m sorry people laughed at you. I’m sorry they neglected you, ignored you, and mocked you. I’m sorry they mis-used you and mistreated you and forgot you and broke you. I’m so sorry everyone in your life let you down.

Come here, dear child. Let me reach out to you. Let me speak affirmation to you. Let me just love you for you. Not because of what you’ve done or can do. Just for you. Because you are valuable. You are chosen. You are so loved by God.

Not everyone who wants to love you, wants to use you…

Try. Trust again, sweetheart. Let your arms drop to your sides. Maybe…maybe even let the tears fall. Because you were never meant to carry the weight of the world alone. Every broken life has the potential of becoming something beautiful. Because that is what Jesus does best.

Worth Loving

black-and-white-girl-looking-down-sad-scared-Favim_com-195487“You are so worth loving.”

“No, I’m not.”

You won’t even look me in the eye, huni. You can’t. You can’t bear to see pure, concentrated love fix on your soul because you can’t even love what you see there.

“Look at me, sweetie.”

“No. I can’t.”

You aren’t familiar with razor honesty and eyes that hold no condemnation. You don’t find that in your own eyes, even, and you don’t dare search for it somewhere else.

“Let me look at you.”

“Please, no.”

It scares you. If you let someone look into your eyes and to your soul they will see what truly lies there. They can’t help but stare down the jaws of hate and the caves of loneliness. It’s exposing to you. You don’t want others to know what’s there.

So you hide. You avoid. You retreat.

And you feel so alone.

But you’re not.

A shadow falls over your shoulder. Not a bad shadow. Not the kind of darkness or fear; one of comfort and strangely, familiarity; much like an old friend you haven’t seen for awhile.

It’s there. Right there. So close its touching you. You can close your eyes and deny it. You can walk away and try to retreat it. You can turn around and challenge its presence. But you can’t change the fact that it is there.

That shadow belongs to Someone. His name is Jesus. And He’s looking at your eyes, heart, and soul and whispering, “My daughter…you are so worth loving.”

Do Not Become My Name

I am surrounded by crisis

And yet blind to the scene

Swallowed by selfishness

Yet starving for more of me

 

I have no time for them

I want more for myself

They are crying and screaming

Yet I ignore their pleas for help

 

There is blood

I smell it

There is fire and smoke

And here I sit

 

There is hurt and pain

I feel it in the air

There is loneliness and depression

People dying everywhere

 

I know there are others

People with more need then me

Yet I am stuck in myself

And they will never be free.

 

I am Passive. Do not become my name.