True Love…or Narrow the Path but Wide with Love

I love the church…the good and bad of it. And I will keep going to church as long as I am able. But there are things in the church that make it hard—humans! People like you and me.

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We are real people with different families, personalities and traditions.

As a new believer I drank in God’s Word, but I was confused about the rules imposed upon me. Since I was a teen, I figured it was part of keeping us under control. Maybe they thought teens were frightening, after all, it was the Hippie-drugs-anti-war era.

But why, when Christ set me free, do I now live with the rules of man?

When I became an adult, and learned more about grace, I realized it’s not about the rules.

Moses was given the Ten Commandments for the people of Israel…and they couldn’t keep them. Because they couldn’t, the people had to continue to sacrifice to God.

What people needed was a remedy to fix the problem once and for all.

Christ became that remedy.

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Christ is not about rules—He is about life, real life—even as we struggle in everyday life. He makes it possible to live it to the full—now on earth…while we wait for his coming. His example is written plain as day in the New Testament. We just need to follow it!

Once our eyes were blind to the fact that He is Creator of the universe…of humans. We are not gods—He is God.

When He reveals his holiness, we realize our great unworthiness. We must believe! We know He is our only hope…then grabbing onto Life we find we are finally at rest. This is the craving that we searched for since we were old enough to reason.

We have no desire to hurt Him, because His love fills us. The Good Shepherd fills us continually when we listen to him. We don’t need mankind’s rules to tell us to be good. We desire to be good!

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As an adult I saw the contrast between two churches. I saw a loving church vs. a church where works and image were most important. Works are important, but works don’t get us to heaven.

When I stepped away I was astounded at the difference. Love draws, criticism and judging only repels. It does nothing to draw others to the body of Christ.

If we do not carefully speak in love, it’s not done right.

Honey words are sweeter than vinegar.

Here is a well-known dialogue in a favorite movie of ours, The Princess Bride. At this point of the movie, Fezzik and Inigo bring the Man in Black to see Miracle Max because he is dead and they need a miracle:

Miracle Max: Hey! Hello in there. Hey! What’s so important? What you got here that’s worth living for?

Westley: [faintly] Truuuuueee…. looooooovvveee…..

Inigo Montoya: [excited] True love! You heard him! You could not ask for a more noble cause than that.

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How do we show true love? How do we speak to another believer about a perceived problem without acting high and mighty? We must be careful we don’t act as though we have been given the golden key to knowledge, and then use it as a weapon.

Whose job is it to speak to them? Is it the minister’s job, someone in the family, or church member?

Narrow is the way to salvation, but wide should be our love toward others.

Don’t get me wrong—if a believer is choosing a wrong path, a strong believer should come alongside him and encourage him in the right path. But do we have a clue what path they are on? Or do we know what is life throwing at them? Who is the one leading them? Not us.

We are not designed to be the Holy Spirit in the lives of other believers. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to correct or instruct. We are designed to encourage, strengthen and build up. A believer in a spiritually intimate relationship with another believer has the responsibility to speak the truth in love—even if it hurts. But apart from that relationship, he has no right.

For decades our nation has been in spiritual decline. Theological terms we may be familiar with mean nothing to an unchurched person. In fact, they complicate our relationship with him or her. Are we in touch with the world?

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It is refreshing to see younger believers without judging attitudes who have an attitude of love. It’s more important to truly love someone then hand them a list of things they are doing wrong. How do we know someone’s spiritual temperature? We can’t unless we spend real time with them, know their real struggles in life, weep with them, pray with them.

It is not our job to fix people. It is the Shepherd who binds up the sheep; the Vinedresser trims the dead branches and grafts in others. It is He who tends to the work in his people to change them for good.

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Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Cor. 4:10 KJV

 

We are Christ dying for people, not Christ condemning people.

 

One Little Dirty Shoe

Our family room in the basement has been a mess recently. We had a TV cabinet, but no TV, a couch no one was sitting in, and boxes and stuff all over.

We were getting ready for a yard sale.

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With the wedding over, and still no job in sight, we thought to lighten our house and hoping to move sometime in the future to a smaller one-floor house. The question still on our minds is where?

The yard sale was a fairly good success; and along with Craig’s list we are finding a lighter house!

Today I vacuumed the carpet and found a Polly Pocket shoe too late. Up it went into the dirt-filled canister. I thought of S____ who still wants to buy a whole bin full of mini Polly Pocket houses, and mini people.

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Later as I sat on the porch, sifting through the dirt and dust, coughing and sneezing, I found it hard to find this one little bright-colored shoe.

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How could it be so hard to see it in a small pile of gray dirt? How could it conceal itself? I found the shoe looking mostly gray like the dirt. Its bright colors were covered in gray.

I think of how often we fall into the trap of seeing things the same as everyone else. We dip into accepting a lifestyle, a lie, a dirty movie, an affair, or dishonesty in doing business, even though we had not approved of it in the past. People once with sound moral convictions have swept them away as they try to “fit in” to our modern times. Instead of speaking up, we are silent.

All seems not to be black and white, but gray.

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When the family unit falls apart, so goes the country.

When all morals have failed, so goes the country.

Inch by inch over decades, the godless have fought hard against God until God lovers are considered to be the wrong ones, the ignorant people, the out-of-touch with the world Jesus freaks. And we have often been quiet until we are nearly silenced…

We are not so far removed from the years when most mothers stayed at home, and husbands needed only one decent job to support his family. Mother was looked upon as the stabilizer of the home. Always there in case a child was sick at school, needed a ride to Scouts, or being herself—another mom watching out for the neighborhood children.

 

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The family ate meals together, all the time. Families went on vacation together. There was less structured play; instead it was bikes, roller skates, swings and jump ropes. We used our imaginations making up our dream stories outdoors.

You might think I am about to say—those were the good ole days. But in fact, these are the days we are meant to be a part of. I lived those days, and now these days are mine as well as yours. We were born for these days. Hard times seem harder. Nothing seems black and white anywhere. What is right for one is not right for another. Individuals are making up their own “religions”, when instead they should be seeking God, not their own selfish pleasures.

At this very moment–one political party is going against the majority of the American people’s wishes and want abortion on demand at any stage of development. (And wants us to pay for it).

(I’ll give you a clue it starts with D).

I’m tired of political correctness, tired of people making bad decisions, for their own pleasures, but someone else’s grief. I’m tired of a self-serving government.

We have lost sight of who God is!

How can you love when you push away the Lover of Your Soul? How can you trust one another to be truthful when the Truth-Giver is not present in your soul?

How can you commit to a lifetime of loving one person, when the Committed One who gave His life for all of us, does not live in you?

Some of us are the bright-colored lost shoe in a pile of dirt. If we don’t light the way, who will? If we compromise our integrity, accept all that is acceptable in this country without a word, we will be silenced forever and the world will be lost.

I don’t pretend to know all the right answers, but this one thing I know…

The One True God lives, and out of his great love he sent his Son to die for our sin-selfishness. It is an old story, but it is History and the story of mankind. We are all in this story together.

You may think me a fool, narrow-minded, or a Jesus freak. I’m not arrogant when I say I know I am right.

None of this will change because others tell us differently. Stand for what you believe.

We were made in God’s image. We are His glory. Ultimately to look upon his face will be far more a pleasure than this world could ever be.