Love God. Love People.

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Scripture: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
– Mark 12:30-31

This passage of Scripture calls for us to Love God and Love People, in that order. This is an important observation because we sometimes:

  • Mix up our priorities
  • Neglect our love for people
  • And sometimes forget both of them

When we don’t put into action Loving God and then Loving People, in that order the results speak for themselves. Jesus is found in the House of God speaking to the Scribes – a religious group of folk who were fixated on finding fault with him. In context, verses 38 – 40 tell us that this group of religious leaders were more concerned about their posture, clothing, traditions, reputation, greed, sitting in places of influence and being seen by men rather than having their hearts and minds transformed and realigned with God’s purpose by the living words of Jesus. They were so blinded by their religion that they weren’t able to see the Truth standing, speaking, teaching, healing and breathing in their midst. Consumed by their tradition they assumed that God would deliver his people in a different way rather than using a “blasphemer” and lowly carpenter from Nazareth – therefore, they missed God moving and doing a new thing altogether.

The implications of mixing up our priorities, neglecting our love for people or forgetting to do both of them (Loving God and Loving People) can be seen in our culture today.

Mixing Up Our Priorities

We mix up our priorities when we Love People more than we Love God. This practice manifests in a number of ways. Here are a few limited examples:

  • God’s standards are replaced by the cultural standards of those we love. Our perception becomes jaded and darkened with idioms, ideologies and practices that are built on sinking sand and not the rock of the Gospel.
  • People become our Savior. At the very best people can save others from certain circumstances but at the very worst they don’t have the ability, power or authority to save men’s souls from hell. In effect, when we Love People more than we Love God we establish them as our kings, prophets and idols. They speak on our behalf and give us direction for our lives. They occupy the thrown of our heart and God doesn’t take pleasure in being 2nd in line to the thrown – He’s a jealous God. He’s a God who breaks and exposing idols for what they are – limited in love, perfection, mercy, grace, function and not having enough authority or power.
  • Sacred becomes Sacrilege. So now, what was called sin is now patted on the back in the form of empathy, mercy and love. Now, what was deemed holy, right and moral is now backwards, old fashioned, out of touch and even discriminatory in practice.

violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred. – sacrilege definition

Neglecting Our Love For People

When we Love God and not people the the mission of Jesus is limited to our inability to be about the Great Commission and our Father’s work within the Earth. We become so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. We lose touch with the spiritual needs of the people we are called to serve and live with. More, one could argue that a person who love’s God and not people can’t Love God.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4:20

This idea of not loving people is contrary to the believer’s new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your new nature in Jesus Christ should produce new desires that point back to Jesus. Jesus’ whole mission was to do the will of his Father, connect sinners to God through the forgiveness of sins and then to commission those forgiven people to go make disciples. And in that process we are called to love one another and those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to 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

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… – Luke 6:27

 Forgetting to Love God and Love People

A question must be asked when we forget to Love God and Love People, are you saved? Again, we are called to love God with all of our being – body, mind and soul. Meaning, it’s going to take work on our part. Sometimes loving God flies in the face of conventional wisdom and cultural norms. Sometimes loving people calls for you to go the extra mile or to sprinkling our conversations and attitudes with grace. Once we’ve gotten our relationship with God right our relationship with people will fall in line. God will continue to work in us, for our good and his Glory. And once he begins a work, he’ll finish the work.

Questions For Spiritual Formation

  1. Do you Love God the way you say you love him?
  2. Do you Love People the way you say you love them?
  3. Does your love for people, within the context of Biblical Truth, extend beyond your prejudices?
  4. Are you saved (The Romans Road To Salvation)?

 

God Has Put Eternity In Our Hearts

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He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

This scripture tells us that our souls have a hole in them that only God can satisfy. Our deepest desires can only be quenched and satisfied by the One who created us.

The Hardest Thing Is Starting – Part I

Why do we backdown from our hopes, dreams, assignments and ambitions of doing the very thing(s) that God has placed in us AND called us to do? We are wonderfully & fearfully made AND created in His image. More, we were/are created to have relationship with God and out of that relationship produce work that honors Him and makes his name famous. We were/are endowed with the DNA of the Creative Genius who created the intricate universe we live in. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#dream”]We have been given the mental capacity and ability to think, dream and take action[/inlinetweet]. But according to the Biblical account, as humanity spiraled downward so did our view of Him. Therefore, in our brokeness and blindness we are left with gaping holes and fragments of knowing Him in his fullness and the beauty he has for us, save Jesus.

Temptation crept into our midst and we began to listen & entertain other voices that led us astray from our paths. We left the shores of raw truth and love and went to the deserts and wildernesses of lies and wickedness in search of something more, better and greater than what we already Had.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You choose dishonour, and you will have war[/inlinetweet] – Winston Churchill

Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1937-1940, received this backlash of brilliantly spliced words from Churchill (whether you like him or not) right before World War II broke because he conceded some of Britain’s territory to Adolf Hitler in an effort to make him happy. Hitler, being the tyrant he was, was not satisfied with the inch that Chamberlain gave him so he decided to go after the mile and tried to chop down Britain at the knees. Britain soon declared war against Germany and World War II had begun. I believe the same is true with STARTING! When you don’t FIGHT for the very thing God has placed before you or concede what is rightfully yours, you are in essence choosing dishonour. Only to go to war. Now, the war may not be against a visible opponent that had fists but rather the invisible opponent in your head, which is a result of your brokeness.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#start #faith #fear #riseandgrind”]The Hardest Thing Is Starting.[/inlinetweet] Don’t believe me? Check out some of these sayings:

  1. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run?” – Langston Hughes, A Dream Deferred
  2. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
  3. “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
  4. “The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face” – Napoleon Hill
  5. “It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
  6. “So long as you have courage and a sense of humor, it is never too late to start life afresh.” –  Freeman Dyson
  7. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –  Walt Disney

Not starting can ravage your hopes and instill fear in your heart. But what will happen if you start?

Trust God Who Can Protect You and Your Dreams

News flash, everyone is not for you but there is One who is.

There are people and forces in life who fight hand over foot to destroy your whole FACE, obliterate life, crush self-esteem, assassinate your family and end your career through lying lips, blunt force, subtle deception, indifference and a myriad of other games because they want to see you fail.

The keys to protecting everything that relates to you and your God given dreams rest in the hands of the Dreamgiver, The Lord. If God gave you the dream then he knows how to make it come to pass with the activation of your faith moving and aligning under His purposes. The God of eternity has placed an eternal sized hole inside every man and woman before they were born that only he can fill. Therefore, your beginning, your end and your dreams all lie within him.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NASB)

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses [a]indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB)

If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
– 2 Timothy 2:13 (NASB)

When you trust God with your everything, including your dreams, you don’t have to worry about the moths, the haters, the naysayers, the doubters and whoever else rears their face out of the woodworks to harm you. God is faithful to accomplish and complete the work He started in you. In addition, the beautiful thing about God’s faithfulness is that it never gives up on you even when you fail. So if you fall get back up and keep moving!

Take heart and have faith and live out what he placed within you.

God is Not a Random or Jump off but the God of Grace

God of GraceI submit to you today that God is not some random or jump off but the God of Grace.

I’ve purposely steered clear of mentioning God (with a few exceptions) on my blog over the years, but today is a different story. Today is a day of liberty for someone reading this. Today is a day that someone needs to get it right! Not the culturally “right” or “politically right” where we point fingers and have 3 to 4 pointing back at us. We’ve seen enough of that in our church, our communities and our political circles.

“Right”, as in… How is your heart with God? How is your walk with Christ?

Many, times we associate the God of the Bible with someone who is far off, distant, not relevant and not active in our daily lives. Or, if he’s real he doesn’t care or he’s constantly pissed and angry with us because of our sins or rebellious lifestyle. Our ideas of God that don’t derive from Scripture will come from some place…. the question is, what place will they come from?

When we keep God in a shoebox at the bottom and in the back of closet we limit him and his power. We limit God because of our unbelief, doubts, past experiences, family make up and sin(s). We only bring him out on special occasions like playing board games at family reunions, holiday gatherings or social events. More, we only open up the shoebox when we have a very desperate need; otherwise we fail to connect with him on a daily like he’s some random or jump off.

God is not a hoe. He’s no harlot that you can pimp whenever you need him.

God is GREATER THAN the box we’ve placed him in. Don’t put him in a box.

Let’s go Deeper

  1. Is Jesus who he said he was and is?
  2. How can a man claim to know him but is in the same place spiritually a year later?
  3. How can a man know him but not love his brother, sister and for that his enemies?

I believe God desires a deeper relationship with his people as evidenced in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 19:38-20:9). He desires more… he desires our hearts to be committed to him. We cannot allow past relationships and mistakes to frame the only relationship that should matter into a shoebox he can’t get out of. Now, he is God and he can get out of the shoebox at anytime. However, Scripture paints a vivid picture of Jesus not being able to do any miracles because the people he went to heal and save had a lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6).

Have faith, heart and commitment. If you don’t have any of these, good because he has already addressed it!

“…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

God will give you the heart and the power to please him. Take heart and commit yourself, entrust your life and your plans to the Lord and he’ll establish and work it our for your good (Proverbs 16:3, Romans 8:28).

He gives grace to the humble
He resists the proud

He gives grace to the fallen, broken and weak
He restores the strength of his people

He gives grace to the distracted
He awakens and illuminates their minds and restores their identity

He gives grace to the confused
He gives direction and a peace that is unlike anything this world can give

He gives grace in grief
He comforts the hearts of men

He gives grace to the sinner
He calls all men to repentance and faith in him

He gives grace so men can know him and walk in the abundance of the things the world cannot provide.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Drake’s Nothing Was The Same and Jesus

Hip Hopper Drake has an album dropping this month that has already leaked online. Go figure, what album doesn’t leak online these days. TAKE YOUR MASTERS WITH YOU PEOPLE. He’s already had some hit radio singles (Started From the Bottom & Hold On, We’re Going Home) that have pretty enticing beat and creatively batched together lyrics. However, the most interesting thing about the album is its title, “Nothing Was The Same”.

“Nothing Was The Same” could be looking back at the sudden skyrocket to stardom Drake has experienced over the last 5 years or possibly the set up for future success in other areas of industry that he has an eye on. Who knows, every rapper claims to be a mogul, have millions, be an entrepreneur and etc.

The bigger idea that I grabbed from the title was a spiritual one. This is not an attempt to analyze Drake’s spiritually nor is it an attempt to analyze tracks that someone may or may not agree with.

“Nothing Was The Same” reminds of a very unique and undeniably amazing human figure that graced the Earth 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. “Nothing Was The Same” and “Nothing Has Been The Same” since he walked the Earth. He has been called a good teacher and or a prophet by many religions and teachers throughout the ages. Some have called him a liar, others a lunatic and to those he calls unto himself Lord. What do you call him? And if you call him whatever you call him do you live with that “Name/Title” in mind?

I’m anticipating that Drake’s album, when it officially releases, will have some catchy hooks and dope beats. Clarification, I don’t look forward to the offensive lyrics about objectivation of women and glorification of drugs and etc.

Moreover, I’m reminded that everyone has something or someone that they listen to. Everyone (except the mentally disabled) has the ability to make choices and decisions based upon their own free will. Every action has a consequence, be it good or bad. I refuse to believe that the idea that “Nothing Was The Same” is just for the elite, or millionaire rappers, entrepreneurs, dancers, the wealthy, athletes who make it to the league, those who are truly gifted & talented at whatever they put their hands on and child prodigies who take the world by storm.

“Nothing Was The Same” could happen in your life if you take the necessary steps to take responsibility for your actions and put feet to your God given dream(s).

QUANTIFIER for the idea “God Give Dream(s)”:
God gives all men talents. And with those talents we have aspirations and dreams of the not yet. However, it is up to men to use his or her talents to point people to God versus detracting them away from God and pointing people toward his or her own empire(s). Don’t allow your God Given Dream to become perverted and something that God never meant it to be.

A Note To Fathers

Men, let’s step up and be men. Our children’s worldview of who God is rest greatly on what we present to them as fathers! Here are some helpful steps:

  1. In order to serve and treat our children the way the need to be treated is to come into a saving knowledge of who Jesus Christ, the son of God, is.
  2. Learn his way and apply his teaching and truth to your life through a church that teaches the Bible as foundation.
  3. Stay plugged into God’s love and heart…. allow him to heal your heart of hurt… seek counseling if necessary.
  4. In the midst and after you are being discipled (being taught) filter that love, grace, mercy and justice down into your children’s lives.

“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ” – Philippians 2:12-13

Simply put… walk carefully and wise knowing that people (your children) are looking up to you… In addition, God is with you and will give you the desire and power to live right before! O, and it’s goooooood! The blessings of God can’t be compared with the best that this world and sin have to offer.

Overcoming Failure: Pick Yourself Up

I recently watched Batman Begins, again, and was intrigued by a handful of statements in the movie that I’ll go over in the next few posts. However, the one I want to focus on today was mentioned throughout the movie by Bruce Wayne’s father and Alfred, his Butler.

At the beginning of the movie, after Bruce falls into a well and is overcome by a traffic full of bats his father pulls him out of the well and the dialogue went something like this,

Alfred Pennyworth:

Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce?

Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne/Batman’s father):

And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

More, when Wayne Manor is burning to the ground and Bruce Wayne/Batman is trapped under a burning log passed out about to die his butler Alfred comes through the fire and eventually saves him. Once Alfred helps Bruce/Batman escape through the basement drop he asks the same question that Bruce’s father at the beginning of the movie asks,

Alfred Pennyworth:

Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up

This is one of the most powerful lines in the whole movie because it reminds Bruce of something his father told him before he died. Simply, We Fall, Learn and Grow.

These quotes are so encouraging because by definition failure means the lack of success; an unsuccessful person, enterprise or thing. And at the end of the day we all know who Bruce Wayne came to be… Batman. However, what Thomas Wayne and Alfred, in my opinion, were eluding to were 4 concepts I think come into play as we seek the right paths in overoming failure:

1. Failing at something doesn’t mean you have to stay down… GET UP.
2. Getting up, Brushing yourself off, Growing and continuing on your journey is a natural part of growing
3. Sometimes having an external voice outside of your own thoughts can be very helpful as you seek to make sense of life.
4. Last, there are certain people in life, I believe God gives us, who push our hearts and minds to achieve the impossible regardless of our past, history, background, family, restrictions, perceptions and curent situations because they see and remind us of what is in us. Potential to change those around us and the world.

To be continued.