Tag: love

3 Steps to Clear a Foggy Outlook.

3 Steps to Clear a Foggy Outlook.

A heavy fog suddenly draped one of the world’s largest cities. Darkness reigned at noon as if midnight had arrived early. Those on foot managed the dense moist air while in route to work. Those in cars struggled to make out silhouettes of people through dirty windshields and frantic wiper blades. The lungs of many a soul struggled to find breathable air. Therefore, a stroll in the park was not recommended. Walking the dog was now low priority. And life as everyone knew it was suddenly hazardous, even toxic, especially outdoors.

            Unfortunately, said conditions were perfect for such a weather phenomenon as this; a mixture of smoke from commercial chimneys, residential fireplaces, and motor vehicle exhaust, all to mingle with nature’s wet air to create a lung-choking smog.

            The fact that it was a windless day in London didn’t help matters. And the fact that it was December didn’t help either, it was cold. Furthermore, the fact that it was 1952 wasn’t good news because any effective legislative steps toward environmental preservation had yet to be conceived. Guidelines that were currently in place? Well, some said it made things worse.

            The locals refer to these events as a “pea-souper”, because it colored the air to a yellow-blackish hue. The color alone caused alarm. But this particular occurrence was the worst ever seen in London. Various pollutants such a Sulfur Dioxide and the particles of soot from coal, the primary source for fireplaces in the city, were wreaking havoc on the air supply, and the human respiratory system.

            Initially, it was estimated that about four thousand people died from the event. Later estimates however put residual casualties at about twelve thousand, all from an event that lasted only 3 days. The great fog event in London is probably the worst weather-pollution event in history. In the world today however, there’s a proverbial fog that’s amassing even more casualties.

A Different Kind of Fog      

            Since the 1950’s, both Europe and the United Sates have taken effective steps toward cleaner air and the restriction of emissions from all types of “chimneys”. What has not improved however is the spiritual fog that plagues so many in our culture here in the U.S.A. In fact, it’s getting worse. More and more folks seem to be walking around with an uncertainty, a confusion perhaps about what to believe, and what’s real. What’s true.

Increasingly, people aren’t sure what to believe, especially as our society waxes secular and once highly regarded Christian values come under attack. Many are left to make up their own rules about life, society and interacting with others. Problem is, most of them are self-serving. Which brings great harm to society as a whole.

Perhaps as a result, more weary souls than ever are drowning in depression and a sense hopelessness as they look for answers from the drug companies, alcohol producers and a myriad of pleasures of the flesh. Never before have so many been addicted to legal meds, let alone the illegal ones. Sounds like a perfect time to legalize even more drug use. What in the world are we thinking???

Whatever your fix however, there are 3 authentic steps one can take in order to eliminate the fog of life, restore clarity and clean up both heart and mind.

  1. Seek the truth of God first thing everyday. There simply is nothing more important in your life. The Bible has this remarkable ability to cut through the lies, deceptions and false promises of this world, and then provide real truth you can rely on. Basking in the pages of this ancient and wise book has kept many a foot from stumbling, as it is the truth of God. Daily doses of Scripture make it very hard for lies and deception to invade both heart and mind, and from creating that depressing and destructive fog within.
  2. Take a few minutes each day to praise and thank your Creator God. He’s given us life. He’s created our bodies and minds, the universe and the lives we now live. It all may not be perfect, but we sure in Heaven didn’t create any of it. So lets give credit where credit is due. I also like recognizing God for the compassionate God He is. And for how quick He is to forgive, as demonstrated faithfully through our Savior and life giver, Christ Jesus. Wow, what a gift Jesus is.
  3. Take every part of you heart to God. Your dreams. Your disappointments. Your struggles, etc. Yes, the good, the bad and the shameful. Just spill it. Hold nothing back. If you do this in faith, you’ll be amazed at the freedom that will ensue. Anything we bring to God, He promises to forgive, and to help you address. As we’re willing to face the truth about ourselves, God will bring us into the truth of life, love and freedom. Not to mention great peace. Things won’t change overnight, but keep doing this daily and the fog will eventually rise.

So many folks today are lost, and mostly within themselves. Maybe that’s you. Which is why so many reach for external, but very destructive solutions, which just make things worse. But you can stop today. Try these 3 steps, and then get plugged in with a Bible believing church somewhere. Christian love, healing and enlightenment awaits you there.

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1. Believe in the Forgiveness, Generosity and Love of God; Not a single one of us can take a single breath without it being a gift from God. His benevolence is nearly incomprehensible. Trust in this, it’s for you. As you do, the trajectory of your life will change.
2. Honor God in Every Aspect of Your Life;
Take inventory of your life and make sure it all honors God, even down to your thoughts. Set your mind on what is pure, right and integrity driven. When junk comes your way, reject it. Refuse to have any part of it. This will honor the God who blesses you and will advance your own life. It’s not the things that come at us from the outside that derail our lives, it’s what we allow in and then express outwardly.
3. Honor Others;
Don’t speak ill of others, speak well of them. Don’t bemoan the success of others, celebrate it. Never engage in gossip, it’s still a sin. Rather, honor God by honoring others, and your life will be blessed. If someone’s behavior is something you don’t approve, go to them directly or pray for them, but don’t berate them publicly or with others. Mind this approach to life and God will bless your efforts.
4. Be Honest with Yourself;
If we can’t be honest with ourselves about what we struggle with, we’re not able to be honest with God. And this will make us phony in the eyes of others, delusional in fact. We are all inspired by the person who is authentic in their flaw and humble in their desire and effort to improve.
5. Take Everything to God in Prayer;
No single thing has changed my life more. This includes your dreams, concerns, hopes, even what angers you. God cares what we think, especially as we go to him in faith. After all, we are his children. A good parent always cares what their kids think. I dare you to take all to God in prayer, to keep doing this, and watch your life change.
6. Be Generous to Others;
When God sees us having compassion for and being generous to others, he’ll be generous to us. Enough said.
7. Take Care of Your Body;
The single greatest physical asset you’ll ever own in this life is the body God gave you. So, treat it with utmost care. Pay attention to these four man areas; Diet, Exercise, Water and Sleep. Do this, and you’ll perform at peak levels no matter your age. There are so many things that come and go in our life, but none of them have the affect in terms of loss or gain like our health. You can be successful in every aspect of life, but if your health is failing you, what good is it?
8. Ask God for Healing;
God is a healer. His Word speaks of his desire to heal through out and many Christians today have experienced his healing. Don’t be afraid to ask or believe in his ability to heal. The same Jesus who healed 2000 years ago is the same Jesus today.
9. Make a vow to look to your Savior Christ Jesus everyday this year; Make sure he’s involved in all you do. And he’ll establish your steps and bless your life.

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The Value in Godly Love

The Value in Godly Love

Tears flowed as she told me of horrid details of a tainted childhood. Struggling to articulate an ugly truth about her own father, the facts awkwardly came forth. As a friend, I sat and listened to her tragic story as she tried to come to terms with the bond of trust broken at an early age. Now grown, it appeared she was just then able to face a truth that had been long suppressed.

A decade would pass before the subject came up again. This time however, she reminisced about her father in a favorable way, and went on about what a perfect dad he was for her. She even said she was blessed to have a father such as him. Confused, I asked her about the things she had told me all those years ago, if she remembered the abuse and the pain? “This is positive thinking” she explained. “You must think about the good only, and block out the bad.” There was something deeper going on however; she was trying to find a way to love and accept her father without having to look at the dark side of what he had done.

I eventually realized she had adopted a new philosophy about what it means to love someone; “turn a blind eye to the ugly side of someone’s character, whitewash them, and only see the good.” This perspective launched an interesting conversation about love, and the way it functions, especially human love. It also raised questions about the way God loves.

We both acknowledged that humanly it’s impossible to take in all of a person’s characteristics, including their flaws, and then love them completely. We simply don’t have the capacity, we’re not equipped to see the whole person, let alone love and accept that person in all their complexity. Her way of dealing with this reality was to deny some of the unattractive and questionable aspects of her father, and cling to the few good memories she had. And who could blame her, any kind of abuse can put children into an emotional and psychological tail-spin that can last a lifetime.

As we pondered the insufficiency of human love however, we also explored how differently God’s love functions. First of all, he is not only capable of taking in the whole person; all our beauty, complexity and flaw, he really wants to. There is simply nothing that he doesn’t see in us that is not plain, clear and fully understood, and yet he still desires fellowship with us. God is not repelled by our flaws. One can’t help but wonder; how does he still love us and want a connection with all the junk that’s inside all of us?

Some try to answer this by saying; “When God looks at you, all he sees is a white, clean and pure vessel, and no sins or blemishes whatsoever. And that is how he is able to accept you and not condemn you.” Don’t be mislead by this theological gobbledygook.

There is something unsettling about that point of view. If you say you care for someone, but all their weaknesses, bad sides and sins are hidden, what good is that love? Would a love like that have any depth or meaning? Any real value?

Therefore, the value in God’s love is not found in its deniability of our flaws and sins, but in the full awareness of them. This may be best described in a wonderful irony I’ve experienced in Jesus; I have never been more aware of my own flaws and weaknesses, but also of God’s full acceptance and love. It’s a humbling place to be in, but a beautiful one. It’s allowed me to focus less on what I’m not, and more on who God is, a God of love. No truth has reached deeper into the depth of my own heart than this one.

It’s easy to think that God’s agenda is to clean us up as soon as possible, make all things right and to correct every flaw, every weakness. “And if he doesn’t”, we might reason, “God must be disappointed in us.” That’s not the way God works however. I’ve come to see a different agenda from God; He wants us to learn to know, believe in and completely trust in his love for us, even in our remarkably flawed state. In fact, that’s where love shines the brightest, where it means the most. He wants us to know why grace is so valuable; because it springs from God’s remarkably stubborn love for us.

Yes, God wants to rid us all of sin and flaw eventually, but if he cleans us up too quickly and corrects every flaw before we fully know and trust his love for us, we may never fully know that God’s love is the whole point. Not mere correction.

What’s even better news however is that we can learn to love the way God loves, and this is where life really gets good, and where our freedom is best found.

A Godly love allows us to accept people in their flaws and sins, but without condoning any sin or inappropriate behavior. Humanly, this feels contradictory. Theologically, it feels uncouth. But with God’s spirit, this is authentic love. As God’s love flows from us, it sets us free from having to negotiate whether someone is worthy or not of our love, a struggle that only imprisons us. Besides, nothing points the way to right behavior better than love and acceptance.

Humanly, we’ll never achieve this kind of love, only the spirit of God in us can rightfully accomplish this.  And the more we know this grace filled love from our Creator, the more we’re able to take that kind of love to others. Some say forgiveness is hard, but when we’re filled with God’s love for others, it easy. Forgiveness in fact flows from a loving heart like water from a faucet.

After our conversation, the woman who struggled to remember her father both in truth and favorably, was off on a new journey of learning to love her father with a new kind of love; a grace filled love. She eventually discovered the joy of seeing her father in the true light of who he was, but in the new light of God’s love. She was now free to accept her father without having to condone his misguided behavior, or to cast him in some unrealistic light. Best of all she was now putting her trust in God’s love, a love we’re all in need of, one we all secretly want more than anything in the world.

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When Forgiveness Comes

When Forgiveness Comes

Jennifer’s story was one of family abuse. As a little girl, she watched her father beat her mother until bruises appeared on her face. She remembers walking on the sidewalk that led to their church entrance as her mom wore sunglasses to hide the bruises. She refused to remove them as they entered the sanctuary. Jennifer was hurt beyond words to see her mother treated this way, but she knew as a child of God, she was expected to forgive him.

But most people find forgiveness hard, if not impossible. Especially for someone entrusted to our care, such as a parent or family member. Neglect alone can be enough to harbor resentment and bitterness. If you’ve had someone in your life who is tough to forgive, you know it takes everything to be civil and polite, let alone forgiving.

But as believers, God makes no exceptions. He calls us to forgive everyone, even our enemies. No matter what they’ve done. So why does God expect us to do something that seems impossible? Even unjust? Something our hearts just can’t endure? Doesn’t God understand what this person did to us and how we feel? In reality he does. And God empowers us to forgive by way of another command; to love one another.

God says to us “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” To “fulfill the law” means to meet all the demands of the spirit of the law, which we do only when we love. And this ability to love comes only from God and is a part of the grace he has extended to us.

Love is the pinnacle of the Christian faith. And as the Holy spirit matures us to the highest place in the Christian walk, we love as God loves. And a natural part of loving others is forgiveness. The spirit of love is so powerful that it overlooks the flaws and sins of others. It’s not naive to the sins of others, it just chooses to focus on the redeemable value in someone. This is the way God looks at you and me through the eyes of grace. In short, we are able to forgive only because we love, thus fulfilling this command from God.

Surprisingly, Jennifer wasn’t angry at her father. She longed for her dad to be healed of whatever ailed him. Not too long after the abuse, her dad left them and was not to be seen for many years. But one day, after Jennifer was grown and had a family of her own, her dad wanted to talk. He appeared at a family function and wanted to come clean. He approached his daughter and apologized for what he had done. As Jennifer recited the story through broken speech and tears, she told us of her response; “oh dad, what is there to forgive?” as she embraced him and welcomed him home.


I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard her say those words; “what is there to forgive?”. It was apparent that Jennifer’s love for her Dad was much stronger than any other emotion she might had felt for him. Her unwavering love for her father overshadowed even the crimes he committed against his own family.

None of us would have the power to forgive, or do anything of the Christian call if we don’t abide in the love and strength of God. If we try to do anything apart from God, even something as noble as forgiving someone, we’ll fail. We must ask God for the ability to love, and forgiveness will follow.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Luke 6:27 NIV

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