The Power of Love

“If the fCross-FSear of death is preventing Christians from showing love then ISIS (Satan) has already won”

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There is a physical war currently taking place as bombs kill thousands of lives and airstrikes obliterate everything into a pile of dust, but that’s only just the beginning. A spiritual war is beginning to unfold; one where evil looks to conquer and engulf us in a constant state of hate.

That last paragraph may seem a big dramatic, but that’s really what it is (and it shouldn’t be taken lightly). I saw what happened in Paris (on TV) and became angry and scared. However, I realized that’s what they want. That’s what the enemy wants. He wants us to lose faith, to be scared, to be angry and not be compassionate. Ultimately, he wants to spur hate.

All the talk of closing our boarders and not letting in refugees breaks my heart. Many probably think I’m a moron because I’m not being practical, but since when has Christianity been practical? We talk to a ghost…granted it’s a holy ghost (ok I kid)! The way we live our lives is based on faith and I have faith that love will prevail. This may sound idealistic and childish, but I’m an idealist. Not only that, but love is how I came to know Christ.

When did we become so comfortable with our life on earth that we lost all sight of its temporary state? We as Christians need to stop hanging on to life and living as if we’re going to be here forever because we’re not. Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” No matter the circumstances we are commanded to love. Despite dying on the cross FOR US, Jesus still loved us enough to ask God to forgive us yet we’re scared to fulfill his commandment because we don’t want to die?

I could step outside tomorrow and have a gun to my head. We don’t know what’s going to happen! I’d rather die showing the love of Christ than sit on my butt and worry about my current state of comfort.

Satan isn’t a moron. He knows that the whole world is watching us. He knows that non-believers are going to judge us based on our actions not the Bible verses we post on social media. How we respond is crucial. The enemy wants us to be afraid. He wants to us be angry. He wants as my friend Kellie said to desensitize us and have us build up walls and have us turn our backs on the helplessness. You know what though – I won’t give them that power. I will not let them have that kind of influence over me. The only one who can control me is Christ alone. We cannot succumb to hate. In Matthew 25:40 it says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” How can we chant All Lives Matter yet turn our backs on the persecuted?

Now, one argument that is valid are the vets and homeless. I understand that we can barely take care of ourselves, but to you complaining about the vets and homeless are you doing your part to help? After I got baptized, I made a commitment to God that I would help as many as I can and that means randomly asking homeless people out to lunch, buying them food/clothing or doing the various volunteer work. However, there are instances when dirty looks are directed my way because I dared to bring a homeless dude to Chick-fil-a with me. I’m not saying this to be all holier thou art or whatever, but to really help put things in perspective. I agree that we need to help our own, but if you’re not doing your part you really don’t have the grounds to complain.

Evil thrives on power. The more we show fear and hostility, the more power they get. Love and compassion is the only way to defeat the enemy.

For now I will leave with this (Luke 6:27-36):

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

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The Yo-Yo Love Story

60ad7e391b7d3dc2f4924a316985e0f3Yes, I’m in a relationship. It may not seem like it sometimes, but I’m all in (or at least I try to be). Before you start asking, I’m talking about my relationship with the Lord. There are many of us who try to follow God, but it’s hard! We’re born as sinners, so it’s natural to gravitate toward sin. I strive to have an authentic relationship with God, but often times I fall short. It’s a Yo-Yo relationship: sometimes I’m super passionate about God and have a strong prayer life and other times I get complacent and go through life alone.

Today at church, our pastor preached Pslam 84 and it was definitely convicting. Basically this chapter is about a psalmist who is extremely passionate about God. He yearns to be close to God. He wished he was a sparrow so he could sit near God’s alter. He’d even trade 1,000 days just for one day with the Lord! Verse 10 also says, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”. Basically he’d rather have a lowly job because every time he opens the door, he’d be able to event get a glimpse of God. That’s pretty powerful.

My pastor went on to discuss the importance of being passionate about the Lord and having that hunger for him at all times. This is the Lord who created the heavens and the Earth; he provides when we most need him. He is always faithful even though we don’t deserve it. We deserve eternal damnation, but he sent us his only son to die for us! Now that’s true love. So why do we fall into this yo-yo love? I fall into this trap all the time and it’s something I’m working on, but when we think about how much God loves us and how faithful he is, how can we not have the same passion as the psalmist?

b4105296fdaa483e827d28b772b1d985-1Sin. The world feeds us lies about how following God is boring. However, if your life is boring, then you aren’t living it correctly! A life with God is filled with joy and I know this from experience. This time last year my relationship with God was nonexistent. I was going through the motions (well not really even that since I didn’t pray, read the word or go to church). It was definitely the darkest period of my life, but fortunately, God saved me from myself. A life without God is meaningless. All good things come from the Lord. Verse 11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” – Now this doesn’t mean he’s going to give you a $1 billion dollars, a nice house, etc., but he will give you exactly what you need. He is faithful and he will always come through. Now blameless doesn’t mean perfect in this context, because the Bible says no one, but Jesus is perfect. It’s basically those who follow the Lord.

Screen shot 2015-08-23 at 7.12.29 PMGod’s love is something words cannot describe. I can try, but I’ll fail miserably. However I hope this is something everyone can experience because it’s life changing.

This tree is a small symbol of God’s love. So basically pink cherry blossom is my favorite type of tree and while every other tree on my block was either another kind of tree or a white cherry blossom, the one by my apartment was Pink! Now, you’re probably like OK so God’s giving you a tree? It’s more than that. He knows us best – what we like, what we don’t like, etc. If you want a bigger example: NYC. I never had a desire to move to NY and only did because of my job. However, I fell in love with this city and God has provided everything I need and more. Now, that’s not always going to be the case. For example, the previous year I was going through a hard time, but God is still faithful and got me through it.

Having a relationship with God isn’t easy because sin likes to creep up on us. But once we have the same passion as the psalmist, we can live life to the fullest. God’s love is the ultimate true love and even when we stray, he always pulls us back – like a Yo-Yo*.

Cheers,
– The Real Swaggy P

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**Note: Yo-Yo refers to us straying and God pulling us back in addition us going back and forth because when God pulls us back that’s when we get our fire back. Once we get complacent, we start to stray.