Love is dead.
Everywhere I go and in everything I see – love is dead. When I walk down the street, I hear cursing and lies – I smell fear, unhapiness, despiration…death. When I go into a public place I see people, absent mindedly rushing to buy. To sell. Time dwindling as the clock spins faster and faster; pages of the calendar flipping swifter than a bird flying to it’s hungry squalling chicks.
The outlook is bleak, to be honest. What do you see when you look out your window? Do you see people helping one another, neighbors extending kindness and caring without condition of repayment or returned weed-eaters? I see selfishness. I see secret judgements passed in the comfort of a dark corner in the mind. I see covetness.
Life is beyond the car you can’t have and the house you want. Have you been to a store lately? Black Fiday sales, people literally killing one another to score a $10 blender. Is this what the human race has been reduced to? Surely the Creator had bigger plans when he created us.
We’re dust. But must we act like it all the time? Can we not scrounge up some compassion? Can’t we squeeze out a drop of humanity? All we can muster is a courteous handshake at the annual blockparty, followed immediately by a wetwipe. This is what society has become. America in particular, but the same principal applies to all nations. The Middle East is in termoil. Always has been. India, China, South America. People are in pain. People are hurting. People are in need. Where is love when you need it?
The 60′s marked the age of free love. Although it wasn’t exactly love. It was lust that became the springboard for a campaign of one sexual and moral escepade after another. It was lust that championed the revolt over war. It was lust that became the mountain which avalanched into mass back-room abortions, countless gatherings – excuses to get naked and burn flags (a thing the radicals refered to as “protests”), and collapsed onto a road which became known as “political correctness”.
A monumental disservice has been done to this country and every other. We have forgotten what love is. Is it packages of senseless expensive electronics and jewellry packaged in shiny paper? Is it a kiss on the cheek, subsequently wiped off? Is it a tipsy climb up the stairs to an apartment bedroom with a man you barely know?
Walking through a store, often times I catch myself say “I LOVE THAT!” in reference to a piece of furniture or clothing. Can I truly love a thing? Or do I just like it? Do I just admire it because I believe it will give me temporary satisfaction. That my eyes will be appeased and my hands will be busy for a moment; and for that moment, I will be happy.
Love does not come in a wide variety of color and style options. Love doesn’t have a price sticker on it, and will not become half price after Christmas. It doesn’t curse at you when you steal its taxi on a crowded street when it’s raining, and it most certainly doesn’t invite you into it’s apartment for “drinks” after one date.
Love isn’t a red dress with a slit so high you can see places your mother used to diaper. No, love is not a car with genuine leather seats and 5 cup-holders. Love isn’t a story in which man meets woman on a train and falls hopelessly head first over the course of 120 minutes. It doesn’t carry a brand name and you won’t be able to find a gift box big enough to contain it.
And, if that’s what you think love is, well, LOVE IS DEAD.
Love is beautiful. But you already knew that. It’s also ugly. And bloody. And ripped. Torn, disheveled. Broken. Dead.
It is a man on a cross with blood spewing out of wounds deeper than any dress slit. A man nailed to a cross you can’t fit onto a necklace or package in a gift box or hang on your wall. And actual cross. Sometimes we forget that. That it’s real.
Love is a man, who has the power to do everything, yet does nothing to save himself because he cares so deeply for you. No, love is not a word you say or something you demonstrate by racking up credit card bills.
Love is a body ripped to shreds and a crown of thorns. Love is a face so mangled it can no longer be recognized as human. Love is immense pain and torment suffered at the hands of mockers. Love is being spat on to defend the one you care most for. Love is leaving the 99 sheep to search for the one. Love is taking on the burden of the entire world because it can no longer hold it. Love is carrying a 300 pound cross up a mountain, only to die on it, while carrying millions of tons of sins on your back, when you’ve never done anything wrong in your short life. Love is doing what makes you uncomfortable for the sake of others. Love is paying a debt you can’t pay. Love wore a crown.
Love is a man. And love is dead.
“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
- Matthew 28:4
Love has vacated his tomb and placed an eviction notice on death. Love is dead no more, for the maker, holder, and manifestation of love is ALIVE.
LOVE IS ALIVE.
Why aren’t you?
This is great!
What is YOUR bread? The thing you’re trying to fill yourself up on instead of consuming God’s words…. the TV you turn to when your soul needs rest….the facebook feed you scroll through when you are bored and seeking an answer…the man or woman who’s arms or text messages you turn to when you feel lonely.
The funny thing about doubt is, it’s sneaky. It begins as a question, and then like a termite in a lumber yard it becomes a ravenous posse, seemingly impossible to stop.
Suddenly, your simple, innocent question has become a full-on war in your head. This is especially evident in our relationships with God. A question as simple as “Why do you allow bad things to happen to good people?” becomes the doubt that God is real. Instead of asking why people do bad things, we question our Creator like a suspect in a crime drama.
doubt: uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something
Now, sin is extremely similar to doubt. In fact, some may say doubt is a sin. Sin is a disease – a sickness. Adam, the father of all us humans, was the first to become infected. And, through his lineage we all have this disease. Worse than plague, worse than polio, worse than leprosy even. Why? Because it infects you internally, the parts of you modern medicine cannot accurately fix. In reeks havoc on your mind, your heart, and your soul. Because it’s not something easily noticeable. Its become normal and it’s a part of our lives.
Sin, in its simplest form, is falling short of perfection. There are millions of ways to be imperfect, but there is only one way to be perfect. And because of this brain-heart-soul eating disease, sin, we are incapable of doing it. We can’t. It’s impossible.
Jesus, a man who was never infected with this highly contagious disease, was able to achieve perfection. Why? Because he’s God in flesh pajamas. God knew pretty quickly after hanging out with us for a while that we could not achieve perfection and be like him because we’re sick. So he, in his beautiful mercy, decided he’d live perfectly for us, like a brilliant scientist in a laboratory creating an antidote. Then he gave us this cure, this antidote, this miracle cure-all serum he created, in the form of his blood as he lay dying on the Cross. Not only that, but while he was at it, he decided to carry all our emotional, physical, and mental baggage as he went through the death we all ultimately should have had. You see, like any other disease, sin eats away at you until you eventually concede and die.
A lot of people are overwhelmed by this information. I, myself, would sometimes rather believe that I did not cause the death of an innocent man. That my imperfection did not soil his perfection. But, like a super hero in a blockbuster action flick, if Jesus had not given his life as a cure to my disease, I would not be alive to write this. I guess some people cannot understand or fathom the love, the determination, the sheer God-given ability it would take for one man to do this for mankind. So they rule it out as a possibility. Other people may accept this information, but become confused about ‘discrepancies’ or ‘errors’ in the Bible, so they determine they can no longer believe what it says.
You know those scenes in treasure hunting movies, where the brilliant anthropologist has removed something ancient and valuable from a booby-trap, and must quickly replace it with something of the same weight or they’ll be crushed by a giant bolder?
That’s what happened on the cross.
Jesus Christ is the something of value. He’s taken on our sin and our grief and our everything yucky. He’s on the cross. We would like to remove his righteousness from that cross and run off into the Mayan Jungle with it and claim it as our own. But we must first replace what we take with something that is of great weight.
faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing
We put our faith on that Cross, (actually, what He did for us on that cross), and we take his righteousness.
Your doubt is normal. Because we are deeply flawed and broken individuals, it is normal for us to question God. His ways, his Word, his Son…these are things we will never fully understand. But taking on Jesus’s righteousness, becoming free from that disease called sin, and walking into a new life of purpose and joy is going to take faith. You will never have it all figured out. You will never know everything. You, like a secret agent in clandestine government missions, will only be told what you need to know.
But don’t ever let that stifle you or cause you to doubt in God. He is real. He is alive. He cares for you. He has the antidote. You only have to believe that is true to receive it and change your life. You will have questions. You will wonder. You will not ever be perfect. That’s okay. If you have a question, if you have a doubt – ask God to give you the knowledge to understand. Ask him to give you the faith to believe, even when you don’t have all the answers.
You didn’t start believing in the first place for no reason. What was it that got you believing in the first place? Personally, I had been taught my whole life God was real. I just assumed it was true. At a church service one night (we usually only went on holidays) the presence of God became so tangible, so real, so undeniable, that I could not stay the same after experiencing it. And that’s when I knew for myself. Without anyone’s guidance or direction, I knew that He is real, and that I must be apart of Him and what he’s about. Forever. Nobody cajoled me, no one spoke to me…I don’t remember what the preacher said. I have no idea what songs they sang. It was simply God’s presence, all by itself.
Remember, it is so much easier to not believe. It is so much easier to give up. It is so easy to bow out and reject God’s love. Because we aren’t used to it, it’s foreign to us. But I promise, and I know from experience, even your worst day with Jesus will be better than your best day without Him. He is so worth it. Faith is so worth it. Heaven is so worth it. And you are worth it.
Scriptures to reference (you can click on them to read immediately):
Think about the famous prodigal son. He started wondering, ‘What am I doing here?’ “Why do I live like this?” he doubted that the life his father gave him was truly the right one. You may wonder if Jesus is truly God, or if God actually does exist. If you’re believing in vain. But the same doubtful child returned to his father, whose arms were wide open to receive him. In the end you may find yourself once again saying ‘What am I doing here?’ “Why do I live like this?” in your life of disbelief. You can always come home.
Jesus loves you and so do I.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
It’s the fourth commandment, a super important one – one that most of us already-saved people don’t give much thought to. We think that by keeping the Sabbath holy, we’re supposed to go to church, and in going to church on Sunday we are keeping it holy.
But have you ever wondered how to really keep the Sabbath?
In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “rest, interruption, cease, sit sill, loss of time.” We cease from working on the 7th day of the week because God stopped His work on the 7th day of the week.
I used to think that meant assembling together at church, then coming home, kicking back with the family and some fried chicken, watching TV, taking a nap and waking up to do it all over again next week.
There’s a lot more to it than that….
Isaiah 58:13-14 says:
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
To keep the Sabbath holy, (holy: to consecrate and make separate and special) we’ve got to honor God with how we spend our time. It’s not just about getting a break from work (which is still really important) or spending time eating with family (also a good thing!). But rather it is about showing God we appreciate and love him by what we do on the Sabbath.
Ignoring our own pleasures, desires, wants, and “gimme-gimme’s”, puts our flesh (human flaw maker) on the back burner and allows God’s Spirit to be more effective within us, and externally. For example, I realllllly don’t like getting up early. My human nature would rather sleep in instead of getting up in the morning for church. But when I ignore that “five more minutes” voice in my head and go to church anyway to honor God and thank Him for His many blessings in my life, that is keeping the Sabbath holy. Or when, after church, I have to help my mom around the house. I’d rather be selfish, lock myself in my room and do what I want. Have ‘ME’ time. But I know God would be pleased with me if I did the right thing and helped out.
Our attitude is another huge part of keeping the Sabbath. The scripture says to “call the Sabbath a delight“. We’re not honoring God when we grumble and complain about the Sabbath, when we get aggravated because we’re behind on work and can’t finish because it’s a day of rest. Or when we want to hang out with friends instead of going to church. Or even when we’re complaining because it’s Sunday the day before – MONDAY. Dun dun dun.
We are called to “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4). When we act as if we’re doing God a favor just by showing up and singing a song, we’re not honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
Watching what you say is more than just a matter of etiquette, it’s a matter of spiritual growth. If I sit around all Sunday long talking about myself, preaching sermons of my own invention, making fun of others, or faking my way through worship service – I’m not honoring God and I’m not going to grow in my relationship with him, or in my life’s success. Our words bring life and death (Proverbs 18:21), and we harvest the fruit that our words produce.
Spending God’s holy day, the day we are meant to share with him in fellowship and communication, on stupid earthly pleasures, selfishness and meaningless talk doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts God, too. He intended for the Sabbath to be a ‘date night’ for you and He to refresh you, revive you, and to gain a closer relationship with you.
When we put aside these distractions and spend the day doing what pleases God, we make room for ourselves to truly experience and enjoy God’s goodness. The scripture says God will then cause us to ride high and inherit the promises of Jacob!
Our human side (the flesh) is just a coat, a jacket or robe that we wear over our souls. We were never intended to live in them 24/7, rather than physically shed them like some crazy horror movie scene, we have to take breaks often so we can reach our full potential and become everything God destined us to be. God is a spirit, and he doesn’t have conversations with our flesh, only with our spirits, which he uses to reveal his mysteries, secrets, plans, and heart. With our focus on Jesus during the Sabbath, we are able to push the ‘PAUSE’ button on our human nature, and communicate with God on a deep, spiritual level without the daily distractions in our way.
On the Sabbath we should a.) keep a positive attitude, b.) speak words of life and wisdom, c.) honor God with our actions – everything we do on this day should honor God…and that is how we keep the Sabbath holy.
Dear Christian women:
For your maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name – your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, he is called ‘the God of all the earth’. (Isaiah 54:5)
I am a lazy person. No, I’m not self-deprecating, it’s actually true. I had always claimed to be a lazy, or ‘relaxed’ person. One might even say, lackadaisical. Slothful. Apathetic.
I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, or if it’s something that is new, but here lately I realized something even worse. Not only am I lazy by the world’s standards, but I am also lazy by God’s standards. We’re not just talking hanging out in bed during a rainy day. We’re talking un-Christ like habit, Which is far worse than being conventionally lazy.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 25:26-30
So you can see from the scripture above why this lazy attitude disturbs me. I don’t want to be a wick, lazy, slothful, arrogant servant. I want to serve Christ in a manner that pleases him and helps others. A way that provides me with a life full of blessings and purpose.
I think perhaps the reason the master in the parable was so mad (the reason God is angry with us when we are lazy) is because we’re wasting his time and resources. And in wasting that time and resource, we are actually stunting our own growth and causing ourselves unhappiness. I guess you could equate it to giving your child the gift of a new computer, only for them to slam it down on the ground right in front of you, and then complain to you they need a new one.
If we waste what God gives us (talent, time, energy, etc) why should he trust us with anything else? If we aren’t managing what he already has given us, then it’s useless for him to add anything else to us – or to even let us keep what we already have. And if we destroy what he’s given us, or don’t use it at all, we end up the crying child who’s all upset because they smashed their own computer and now have none.
the truth is, we were created to WORK.
“But work is haaaaaarrdddddddd…..”
Yes, this is a very difficult concept for me to accept. Because, ya know, I’d rather sit on the couch all day long in a house by myself with cable and a gallon of ice cream, no dogs to walk, no dishes to wash, no dinner to prepare. But God CREATED me with the ability and the responsibility to do those things. (Proverbs 20:12, seeing and hearing is a gift from God, which would also suggest that all of our other body parts working is a gift from him, too.)
“Lazy people sleep soundly, but idleness leaves them hungry.” – Proverbs 19:15
And on top of that, we’re never fully satisfied unless we are working. In order to be a well-rounded, happy individual you must put your mind (and hands) to something.
Laziness is defined in Hebrew as “Idleness, slack, slothfulness, and indolence). Indolence is a persistent state of comfort or luxury. I bet after working a long day you’d like some indolence. WRONG!
My pastor was preaching recently about the call of Abram. God called Abram to leave his house and family – what was familiar to him. Why? Because if you stay connected to what you are familiar with, you tend to take shortcuts around problems, rather than relying on God to take you through the process necessary to refine and purify you.
Do you think Abraham became the father of many nations by kicking back with a root beer and watching Monday night football? NO! He went through a trying, intimate, personal, and completely uncomfortable process. God had to become the only one he could lean on, in order for him to advance to the next level of his life and blessings. As my pastor likes to say, “God has to take you through a process to get to the next level, because if he were to give you your future blessings now, he would blow your mind and you wouldn’t be able to handle it!”
The possibility of giving up or running away is stronger for a lazy person. So often we (myself included) are eager to get the process over with and we will take short cuts, give less than 100%, slack and complain while we are climbing that mountain toward the goal. But God’s word says:
“Work hard and become a leader; Be lazy and become a slave.” – Proverbs 12:24
The consequences of being lazy are poverty, unhappiness, stagnation, no growth, strained relationships, and eventually, death. Because laziness is wickedness and wickedness leads to death, eventually that’s the path laziness (and all sin) leads toward.
How do I know if I’m Lazy?
1. You love sleep. I loveeeeee sleep. Too much. In fact, I’ve begun using it as a coping mechanism in my young adult life. If a problem is stressful, I sleep. If I’m happy, I sleep. If I have a stomach ache, I sleep. If my stomach feels wonderful, I sleep. If I’m angry, I sleep. If I’m bored, I sleep. If I’m working, I sleep. I’ve literally had days where I’ve gotten 10 hours of good uninterrupted sleep, then took a nap. I could sleep right now if I tried. Sleep is a good thing, but we should never spend more time sleeping than we do living. The time we spend napping could be spent doing so many more important things!
“As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.” – Proverbs 26:14
“If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!” – Proverbs 20:13
“A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.” – Proverbs 10:5
“But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit, scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” – Proverbs 6:9-11
How many times have you whispered “Five more minutes……”? We’ve got to be on our P’s and Q’s, if we’re going to work in God’s Kingdom. We can sleep when we’re dead!
2. You make excuses. This would be the modern day equivalent of “I can’t get a job without a car, but I can’t get a car without a job, so I guess I’m just stuck on the couch! …oh look! A Seinfeld marathon…”
- “The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!’” – Proverbs 26:13
- “The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!’” – Proverbs 22:13
3. You don’t value things as you should. You know those people, the ones who don’t care if their rooms are clean, throw their clothes around, squander their money on stupid things? Yup. That’s a symptom of laziness. Have you ever noticed how a lazy person NEVER seems to have any money of their own?
“A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.” – Proverbs 18:9
“Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.” – Proverbs 10:4
4. You expect others to do your work.
“Lazy people take food in their hand, but don’t even lift it to their mouth.” – Proverbs 26:15
“Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.” – Proverbs 12:27
5. You have dreams/desires but no drive.
“Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.” – Proverbs 21:25
“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” – Proverbs 12:11
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” – Proverbs 13:4
“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!” – Proverbs 14:23
“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” – Proverbs 6:6-8
6. You’re self-centered and seek material gratification. Laziness often goes hand in hand with arrogance and greed. Do you often find yourself lusting after indulgencies and pleasures? How often do you think about others above yourself? Is window shopping a blood sport for you? Are you more concerned with things than people?
“Those who love pleasure will become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.” – Proverbs 21:17
“Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.” – Proverbs 25:16
7. You let others down. A huge reason to ditch laziness, is because you’re hurting those that depend on you. In the midst of my napping-potato-chip-eating luxe fest, I’m letting my responsibilities go and disappointing Jesus, and my family. A perfect example, in Mark chapter 14, Jesus asked the disciples to stay awake and watch his back while he prayed in the garden. They were tired, yes, but couldn’t they have just kept their eyes open for an hour?? To fulfill the wishes of Jesus Christ?? Seriously!! I do not want to have that fumble on my conscience…
“Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.” – Proverbs 10:26
“Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” – Mark 14:37
See, this laziness problem goes beyond Saturdays of iced tea on the porch. Laziness, revealed by God’s wisdom, is a far greater problem than I ever thought.
“A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway.” – Proverbs 15:19
Bottom line is, God formulated a plan for us to have success long ago, work = equals profit and blessings, fulfillment, and laziness = poverty and unhappiness. Until you begin to work hard, apply yourself and your talents, you will never experience the fullness of what God created you to be, and the blessings that lie therein.
God despises laziness simply because it holds his people back from becoming all that we are destined to be. Because it stagnates us. It stops us from accomplishing what he created us to do. It’s sinful and just downright bad for us. Jesus came so we could live life abundantly, not from a recliner, not from a bed, not confined to a couch, but with happiness and purpose and a thirst for him. Do you ever feel like your life just NEVER works out? Have you considered that it’s because you aren’t putting the work into it? Into your relationships, your walk with Christ, your job…? If you give him 100% in everything you do, he will return that 100% back to you in every area of your life.
“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3