Jesus

TOUGH LOVE

When you hear the phrase “tough love” what comes to mind? For most of us, probably some form of discipline, right? Tough love is when you make the hard decision to exercise authority in some form of punishment in response to an unintelligent choice made by someone we love. We show them “tough love” by reprimanding them, even if we don’t necessarily want to, because we know that, in the end, they will benefit from it.

Quick 180! That’s not exactly what I am talking…typing about here. I am “typing” about something a little different. Have you ever been frustrated with someone? Unhappy with someone? Is there someone that you know personally or impersonally that you have to try really really hard to like/ tolerate but you tend to lose that battle? Maybe it’s a co-worker, family member, or church member. Or maybe it’s a celebrity, politician, or a well-known business man. We all have that one person – or two, or three, or nearly everyone haha – that, for some reason, tangible or not, that we just don’t like. And loving them? No way. Out of the question.

Which brings me to my next thought. Liking vs. Loving. To like someone or something means to find them, or it, “agreeable, enjoyable, or satisfactory,” whereas, to love means to have “an intense feeling of deep affection” towards someone or something. Okay. Good news then bad news. You don’t have to like everyone. It is okay to disagree with people. It is okay to not enjoy being around certain people, but the cold hard –  just the way I like my drinks! haha – truth is that being without love for other people is not okay.

You might be telling yourself, like I tell myself, “I do that. I love certain people, I just don’t like them.” But do you? Do you really? Regardless of how “disagreeable” or “unenjoyable” you find certain people, do you maintain an intense feeling of deep affection for them even when their actions towards you or other people are not “satisfactory?” Loving those that don’t treat you well, don’t love you back, or have ill intent for you is probably the hardest thing you and I will ever do, but it does not change the fact that being without love for other people is sinful. Why? Ephesians 5 says “Be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love.” In Matthew 22 Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and in Matthew 5 He calls us to “love our enemies.” And then in Romans 5:8 it says that God demonstrated His love – His intense feeling of deep affection for us – by dying for us, even though we were sinners. Did God find us agreeable? Did He find us satisfactory? Absolutely not. We were sinners. Which means we were openly and actively betraying God. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”

Isn’t that crazy! God’s love for us runs so deep that, regardless of how we treat Him, He would lay down His life for us, build us up, and help us to become better people filled with kindness and love and bestow to us the greatest blessings that He, the creator of all things, could possibly ever give us – life, hope, forgiveness, and making us members of His family with an inheritance in heaven.

So, when you and I say, “I love them, I just don’t like them,” Do you love them like that? Like God loves us? Because that is what we are called to do. Today, consider how you might bless, not only those people that you don’t like, but also those people that don’t like you, thus showing them an active love like Christ.

Unexpected Inconveniences

Today I was awakened by my alarm clock and the LAST thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. It is always miraculously comfortable in the morning! Reluctantly, I staggered out of bed and began to get ready for the day. As I was going through my normal morning routine I thought through everything I needed to get done for the day. I thought to myself, “perfect, I will have just enough time to accomplish everything on my list.” With a sense of exhausted determination, I walked out the door and drove to the office.

I sat down on my throne – aka. Delipadated office chair – and began working. Everything was hunky-dory. I was crossing tasks off my list in a surprisingly timely manner. Everything was going according to plan. But not for long.

I got a phone call around 10am and was informed that there was an urgent matter that needed immediate attention. My hopes for the day were crushed in an instant.

I thought to myself, “I have so much more to do.” “I don’t have time for this.” “I’m too busy.”

Ever been there? You have made for yourself a perfect road map for your day and then the wind blows and rips it right out of your hands. A lot of us, myself included, structure our days hour by hour and, often, minute by minute. We don’t have time for anything extra. Someone wants to stop and talk to us but we say, “sorry, I’m in a hurry.” Someone needs our help but we say, “No, I don’t have time for that.”

Unfortunately, for our perfect plan, things always come up. Stuff happens that requires immediate attention and we have to put our perfect plan by the wayside. How do we respond? Well, for me, I often become frustrated, irritated, agitated, and any other “tated” you can think of!

Here is my point. What if we, I, structured our days differently? What if we planned for unexpected inconveniences? Therefore, when someone wants to talk, we can. When someone needs our help, we can take time to help. When we see that beggar on the side of the road, or at an intersection, or outside of a business establishment, maybe we stop to say “Hi” and treat them like a normal human being. I would argue that we could better show love and patience to people if we penciled in time everyday for so called “unexpected inconveniences.” This might just become the most important part of your day!

Breathe New Life

Some thoughts that went in to writing this one….

When a baby is born a new story begins… There is beauty in the cry of a broken heart. For it is in our broken state that God will come in, put the pieces back together, and show us a taste of the abundance of his grace. Every soul needs to hear the good news of the hope and joy found in Christ. So…as we go about doing what we do every day, my hope is that our lives would tell the story of God’s grace in a way that would speak louder than any words we speak. The chorus is a prayer asking God to help us be who he has called us to be – a light that shares his great love with people. And the bridge to the song just declares the gospel – that God has seen us in our darkness and called us out to his marvelous light and that he has made a way for us to have eternal life, joy, and peace through him.

The Sunrise

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This is a picture of the sunrise this morning. It reminds me of the fact that God willingly veiled His glory and walked among us. He suffered and was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet did not sin. So, let us approach God’s throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. God is for us. He knows the struggle we face and he wants to help us through it.

Old Post I Found

I have always been a man of very few words. I never have much to say about anything. Writing long college research papers were always a daunting task because no matter how much research I did I never had much to say. I started this blog in the hopes that I had finally discovered my voice – music, melody, and words through song. I soon found out that making consistent posts is a lot harder than I thought.

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading and I have stumbled across some pretty interesting ideas and concepts. One of those things was on the power of words. The argument was based on John 1 which says

The Word Became Flesh
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This passage suggests that Jesus is the Word of God. Through him everything in creation was created. He is our light and he is our life. Therefore, to doubt the power of words is to doubt the power of God and last I checked he is not lacking any power.

I began to consider that maybe the reason I am a man of few words is because I have not listened enough, read enough, and experienced enough. Maybe, in time, through experiences and other things, my few words, might turn into many. Maybe as I seek the Lord earnestly, and immerse myself in the Word of God, the Power of God would begin make itself known in me through words.

On a different note, I stumbled across this post from a few years ago on a blog that I had forgotten that I created. It’s interesting to me that the words that were relevant to me then are still just as relevant to me now. I copied and pasted the post below.

My name is JohnMatthewWillis. I am 20 years old. I am a junior at Ouachita Baptist University where I study Worship Ministry. I believe God gave me a passion for leading his people in worship. Worshiping God brings me joy unexplainable. I also have a passion for writing worship songs. I started out writing songs that were my own personal words of worship to The Lord and words that I would pray through song, but lately I have felt lead to write songs that other people could latch on to. The work of God is evident in my life. It is because of his plan that I am where I am today and the work of the Holy Spirit continues to shape. One word that would describe how I feel is undeserving. I don’t deserve the grace that has been shown through Christ Jesus. God has brought me through a rough past but the beauty of it is that it was a part of his plan. For through the hardships my eyes have been turned on my Creator even more strongly. The hardships highlighted the good times and in the end brought me joy. The hardships ultimately glorified God because of the growth that I underwent. Another word that describes me is blessed. I am undeserving, yet I am blessed beyond measure. WHY? Because I am a child of God.

Light of the Cross

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The cross paints a gloomy and dark picture of suffering and death. But the cross is what we have hope in. For on the cross, the wrath of God was placed upon Jesus. On the cross Jesus became our sin for us. He paid the penalty of sin for us. On the cross Jesus, the son of God, the light of the world, the radiance of the glory of God, took the place of a sinner so that we would be redeemed. A debt that we could never pay was paid for us. So, the Light of the Cross is a paradox. It seems contradictory and absurd to associate light with an image of death, but it is in this image of death that we have hope. The cross was the instrument and Jesus was the sacrifice. The son of God died to give us life. Jesus is the light of the cross. I pray that Christ’s love will compel us to be different, to embrace the new creation that we are being made into, and to no longer live for ourselves but for for him who died and was raised again – Jesus.

Scripture Passages:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9 NIV)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV)

Lyrics Below:

You set the captive free

You opened eyes to see

Blind eyes are open

In your name we were chosen

By his grace

By his love

God so great rich in mercy

We were made for his glory

Christ has made a way

For us to enter

The presence of our God

Now our hope stands beyond the grave

Forever we are changed

We glorify your name

The Light of the Cross is chasing

Re- creating, always making

Broken into beautiful

Light is breaking Darkness waning

You are making Broken into beautiful

P.S. I took the original picture a few months ago and edited it in the shift app and then used the phonto app to add text.

In The Breaking

This song was inspired by a sermon I heard entitled “The broken Heart.” The pastor talked about how we all go through things in life that break us. We must never forget that God meets us in the breaking. At our lowest point God is there, builds us back up, and makes something beautiful out of what was broken. God uses the the things we go through in life to teach us and make us more like him.

When we feel like we have no control over our own life or a situation I pray that we would remember that God is in control, that we would seek him and remember that we are not our own but have been bought with a price.

The Lyrics are below:

God meets us in the breaking

God sees our falling tears

God sees us when we’re shaking

We can know that he is near

In trials he is making

In suffering he is shaping

There’s a purpose and a reason

God is near

We can be still

and we can know

Our Great God

Is in control

Through highest of highs

And Lowest of Lows

Our Great God is in control

Beauty will rise

Beauty will rise

Out of the dark

and into the light

Just look at the cross

And see what it cost

For our God

To give us life