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Archive for February, 2012

02-26-12 Tough Love

Tough Love –

“… the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son (daughter) He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it” Hebrews 12:6-11 (HCSB, parenthesis mine).

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, as our children were growing up, I would stand outside of their bedroom doors while they were throwing a fit, or were having a pity party on the other side. And yes, sometimes I would just be cracking up at what was coming out of their little mouths, “No one loves me around here, …”

“I don’t why they always tell me no, why they like all the others better than me?”

“This is the worst day of my entire life!”

“That’s so unfair, why am I always the one who ….?”

“They all hate me! I am just invisible to them!”

Of course none of it was true, Susie and I love them, we have never hated them, and we don’t have favorites (most of the time). I did tell them that “life isn’t fair,” but Susie and I have tried to treat them as fairly as we could and as was warranted. But since we did not want to raise brats we did believe in discipline, we did not and still do not belief in just giving them anything they wanted, we believe that real love knows how to say “No!”, regardless of whether or not that sets off  tantrums, comparisons, guilt trips, silent treatments, or any other kind of manipulative behaviors.

Real love is tough. It knows when to say no, when to reprove, when to let go, when to oppose, when stand up, when to wait, and when not to intervene. Real love, Christlike love supports holiness not evil, it doesn’t join manipulation games, it is forthright and honest. Christlike love is tender and tough, hoping but not desperate, serving but not enabling, pleading but not insecure. It is decisive and knows how to respond to the decisions of others. It doesn’t try to erase all consequences of bad choices. It does not support someone shredding their life, but it is ready to help pick up the pieces. It is unafraid of being accused, of being misunderstood, because it surely will be and because it is anchored not in the approval of others but in God.

I don’t know how often, after having my fun, I walked away from the above mentioned door and with the tantrum still going strong on the other side talked with my heavenly Father about teaching me and helping me to love like Him.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

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The little thing hit the window hard. So hard it knocked itself out. Luckily my daughter Andee was close by and picked up the unconscious little Hummingbird before our dogs noticed.

Hummingbirds, in spite of their size, are amazing creatures, flying acrobats. No other bird can do the areal maneuvers they are capable of, able to hover, fly backwards, sideways, or straight up and down. They slow their heart rates when resting, and if you and I were to burn calories like them we would need to eat 30,000 a day.

I have often watched them at the feeders in front of our large living room window, sometimes, when the light hits them just right incredible colors light up, especially on their heads and throats. And those little guys fight, they have fierce air battles and high speed chases. But for all my Hummingbird watching have never seen one as up close as the little knocked out one in my daughter’s hand. What a beautiful creature it was, delicate, feather light, and covered in bright, almost neon green feathers that had sparkles of silver; a true work of art, a testimony to the creativity, imagination, and sense of beauty of God, its maker.

Equally amazing is the fact that this bird’s crash not only was noticed by Andee. Almighty God saw it all even before she did, and who knows maybe that’s why she found herself in that spot at that time so she could scoop up the little flyer and care for it until it recovered and flew off. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent” Matthew 10:29 (HCSB). “Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” Matthew 6:26 (HCSB). It is astounding to me how much God cares for every single creature He designed and gave life to.

Birds, however, are not the only ones who crash, who knock themselves out, we do as well. Although no one might notice, God does. Though our world of resembles the dogs on my front porch, who have neither mercy or compassion for an unfortunate ( maybe even foolish bird), God wants us to remember that no one is more aware of us than Him, no one cares more about us than Him. Oh, all the things God has to tell us, remind us of, even through a Hummingbird’s crash.

The moment the little guy (or was it a girl?) flew off we lost track of him (her), but God didn’t. Even right now he knows the exact location and condition of that, and every other, Hummingbird – and ours as well. Jesus obviously thought it important to remind us of this truth, to help us with regular life, when we crash, when worry, and when we are afraid.

This week, “Look at the birds of the sky …”

            To God be all glory, love you Pastor Hans

 

 

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Choose – Choosing God = choosing to learn how to love like Christ

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (NASB)

You really don’t know what you’re getting into when you get married, and the same can be said for having kids. You can tell yourself that you do, but you’re only kidding yourself, there are way too many variables and unknowns. What is for sure is that you have to learn how to love to be any good at either one. After having taken a go at both marriage and parenting I do know this much:  They are two of the best choices I have made, and I am still learning about love.

You really don’t know what you’re getting into when make a decision to live with God, when you respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. If a wife and children can blow your mind, think of what living with God will can do to you. There is no one who will challenge you more, stretch you more, and shape you more than God, than Christ. What is for sure is that you will have to learn how to love. You cannot really live with God without it.

Jesus made no bones about it; all followers of His must learn how to love. Choosing Him meant choosing a life of love: “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” Mark 12:29-34 (NLT).

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:34-35 (HCSB).

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (MSG).

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love…. We love, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:7-8, 19 (NASB).

“… I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”
Matthew 5:44-48 (NLT).

When Joshua challenged the people in his day to choose God they responded with a, “Yup, we’re in. We choose God.” Joshua told them, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins” Joshua 24:19 (NLT). Why did he tell them that? Because they needed to learn how to love and what to love, because he knew that we struggle with love and that God gives us a pass when it comes to love, because he knew that at the root of all human failure and sin you find a lack of love.

I am challenged by God’s call for me to love, and I pray you are as well. If we are serious about following Christ we will make learning to love like Him our greatest pursuit.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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