What Love Looks Like..

Currently, my husband and I are counseling a few folks regarding relationships. In the course of conversations, we hear similar themes play out time and again. The theme of “If he/she really loved me, they would not act this way, do this or that” .. To which, the other responds, “If you would stop doing this or that, I would stop too”… and around and around we go.. The blame game. The ole, if you do x, then I will do y song. The deal maker, the bargaining, negotiating etc.. You name it, we’ve really kind of heard it all. blame game

When I hear couples speak in such a way, I have to inwardly cringe, then, smile recalling that before I became grounded in the Lord, and put through some serious situations in my own relationship, my husband and I could and would act the same way!

Then I take a deep breath, pray and say what God has put on my heart to say to the individual, couple etc.. 

I am so very thankful that Jesus Christ did not play the blame game. I am grateful that He sacrificed Himself and gave up dimensions of His being that we may never know about! All because He extended to us LOVE in place of blame and took away our sin and shame! THAT is what LOVE looks like my friends. THAT is LOVE. To put aside pride, personal feelings and just forgive. To extend grace and mercy to those who don’t deserve it.

THAT is LOVE. Christ-like LOVE. 

Christ_CarryingCross

This photo is the closest I could find and doesn’t even come close to accurately depicting the suffering of Jesus according to scripture.

When I challenge folks with that kind of love.. I often hear.. “They did this and that to me! Could YOU forgive THAT?” To which, I respond, “Yes! Because, I have been forgiven, I too forgive those who trespass against me!” “I have and will continue to forgive because Jesus Christ, was taken to be scourged, beaten to the point that His face no longer bore any resemblance of a man, then the Roman soldiers wove a crown of thorns (not just rosebush kind of thorns) Jerusalem thorns which are very long, thick and sharp! Felt the need to smash it down on His already beaten and bloody head and brow…

THEN

made to carry a heavy wooden cross to the point of collapse so that Simon of Sirene had to take it up and carry it for Him! Then to be laid on said cross and NAILED to IT! Hanging there, scourged, beaten, practically disemboweled, lungs crushing under the weight of hanging there… He suffered in AGONY!

Let’s pause a minute.. I can’t see through my tears.. My heart is aching and burning, Forget the clean, peaceful looking crucifixes of Jesus on the cross.. They are not reality. In my very humble opinion, too much artistic license has been taken to “clean up the cross” so to speak. It gives a sanitary and far too watered down image. It does no one’s soul any good to look upon a peaceful Jesus hanging on a cross…  OK now back to the article…

And died for me. Me! Jesus Christ died BECAUSE OF ME and FOR ME! An undeserving, sinning, wretch! My sins helped hang Him on that cross” So YES!!! I CAN AND DO FORGIVE!! Anything less is unthinkable. Ilovedyouatyourdarkest

When we do not forgive others, we are telling God what He did, by sacrificing His son for us, wasn’t enough. Nope.. sorry God, not good enough… WHAT?! I would hate to be you when you stand in front of Him at the end of your days. (Just sayin’)

So now that I have painted that picture.. What do you think? You think you are still in a position to point a finger? Not forgive? Not live in peace with your loved ones? Friends? Even strangers? I will leave it there and let your own conscience and convictions take it from here…..

Selah (Think Upon These Things)

Until the spirit moves me again, Love one another in His name..

Patti (Yeshuazgirl) <><

 

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Yesterday No Longer Matters

True, it is important to learn the lessons of the past but, it is not good to get hung up on past mistakes. ImageForgive yourself and others and then move on. Strive to make better choices in the future. That’s really a key thing for living life in general right? Simply, do your best to make the right choices most of the time. One of the chief mistakes that we, as Christians make all too often is that we consistently beat ourselves up, condemn ourselves for non-Christ-like behavior. So many of us try to be too perfect and then become discouraged when we make mistakes or fail in some way.

God’s word tells us that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.” (NKJV) What does that really mean? It means simply that Jesus finished everything on the cross so live in peace. He forgives you so you should forgive yourself.

It is not right to simply use this fact as the “safety net” or rather as an excuse to willfully sin. Making continual choices to sin and know that God will forgive you anyway. That is not how it should be. There is a balance in everything. Walk in grace but, do not abuse it.

Romans 6:1-4 says, “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.”  (NKJV) Meaning that once you accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and savior, your old self dies and you are a new creation! Isn’t that amazing?!

My pastor loves to teach simple truths and I love that about him. One Sunday he taught on this very subject.

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My pastor used the example that when a caterpillar goes through metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly, people do not say, “Oh look, there goes a converted worm” – they call it by its new name, because it is a wholly and completely new creation. No longer is it a caterpillar but, now a butterfly, just as we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

That is the best example I think I have ever heard to explain how we are made new once we become believers in Christ.

Once we have become a new believer in Christ, and begin our walk with the LORD, it is almost like when you get new clothes, you’re so excited to have the new clothes and you tend to be more careful with them as to not “mess them up”.  Reading the instruction label on how to care for them in the wash etc… You are careful for a while but, then “forget” or the new thing becomes not so new and we stop being so excited or careful – just like our walk with the LORD.

When we are first saved, some of us go bonkers, completely on fire for God not knowing an epistle from an apostle but, still wanting to share Jesus with everything that breathes! Then over time, that fire diminishes and becomes more like a low glow instead of a roaring flame. Some Christians condemn themselves for that diminished flame and do not recover well – they may feel like they are lacking in their spiritual life or not truly walking with the LORD because they cannot seem to recapture that “first saved euphoria”.

We cannot help but “mellow out” over time and I think that mellowing is just a natural part of maturing as a Christian. I am not referring to mellowing to the point of needing to take your pulse, but rather a calm and gentle sort of mellow, a quiet confidence, which one can only develop by years of walking with and trusting God.

Even the most mature Christians do not always walk perfectly with the LORD. Paul the apostle writes to us about this in Romans 7:14-15 “14 For we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (NKJV)

Apostle_Paul_Vatican1

So you see, even the apostle Paul who walked with Jesus literally, still sinned, still made mistakes and in the scripture above, is writing about his own struggles in his life. So be encouraged beloved! It’s OK to make mistakes but, do not stay there! Don’t condemn yourself, forgive and move on. Seek to walk closer with the LORD daily and you will stumble less and less over time.

So my dear brothers and sisters, yesterday doesn’t matter. I encourage you to forgive yourself and others, learn from your mistakes, live, love and move forward leaving the mistakes of yesterday behind. Walk with God’s word as the lamp unto your feet illuminating each step. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (NKJV)

I hope that you have been blessed and encouraged by this article today.

Blessings in Christ Jesus,

Patti Cianflone

The Lord’s Lead Line