Archive for love

The Man Who Died for Me… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , on September 20, 2019 by paulthepoke

Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely….He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. —Dieter F. Uchtdorf

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.” Oftentimes as Christians we try expressing the love of Christ through kindness alone, but as Lewis stresses, kindness is but one attribute of love; it is not actually love itself. When we consider how we love others, what is our motive? Are we satisfied if we are just the seed planter? Are we satisfied if we are simply serving?

In the book of Luke we read, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)

Love your enemies…

If this is how we are to treat our enemies, how should we treat those for whom we have compassion and want to see brought into His Kingdom?

Loving others is an act of obedience, but we cannot trick God. He alone sees our hearts. He knows if we are giving food to the hungry out of love, or if we are merely baiting the hungry so we can guilt them to repentance with our message—our message. God’s message is not one of trickery or condemnation, nor does it demand that broken people turn from their vices before crying out to Him. God alone can fill our empty spaces, cleanse us of our sins, and buff our rough places. He alone can draw us in.

The Lover of Our Souls draws us through compassion. He alone meets us where we are, wipes away our tears, and saves us. When we give to those who are in need, it should be the overflow of what we have been given, and it should be truly free. When we put a price or a demand on these actions, we are cheating the very ones who move His heart.

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:40, NLT)

The question is: How, then, are we treating Christ?

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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Precious in His Eyes… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , on September 7, 2019 by paulthepoke

…My hands were shaking. As I looked up, I saw a truck flash his lights as he drove past and turned the corner. I jumped out of the fountain and ran and jumped in his truck. I knew that if I had money to get dope, I could cope. It was the only way I could cope. It was how I removed myself and made the pain go away. It was how I kept the shame at bay and survived.

I heard once in a meeting that if I had not chosen to use, then I wouldn’t have ever faced the horrific situations I faced. I have often been perplexed by that statement. I am responsible for using, I guess. I suffered from a disease of addiction and the endless cycle it created.

However, I am not responsible for another’s evil actions. I am not responsible for those who seek out the broken, the weak, the invisible of our society, the ones everyone knows no one will go looking for if they go missing, the ones no one dares make eye contact with, the ones society has deemed less than human, without equal value as a human being.

Years later, as I reflect on my growth, I value myself as many things. From addict to child of God, I am human with as much value as any other. I understand the Word of God, and have my own relationship with Him.

The God of my understanding loves the outcasts, those who are shunned and viewed by others as disposable. I can’t help but remember the women and men who were homeless, who were prostituted, who were mentally ill, who were addicted, who were vulnerable, and who died horrific deaths at the hands of those from a higher socioeconomic class, death by people who see themselves as worthy of life while others are not.

What people like me and like them need is to be seen as the priceless treasures they are to the God who created them. Then, and only then, can they truly believe that a way out is possible, that the cycle can end, and that there is another way of coping and living with the pain they have experienced. They need to be set free from the pain and trauma, no matter who caused it or why they are the way they are. They need someone to look at them and say, “You are precious in His eyes, and He loves you. Oh, how He loves you.”

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Oh, How He Loves You… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2019 by paulthepoke

Genuine love and compassion, the kind that truly come from Christ and are imaged in us to a broken world, view every human being as treasured and precious. People, all people, were the single motivation God had that compelled Jesus to the cross. His sacrifice was made for all sins committed before He came, all sins committed during His earthly journey, and all sins we would think up, dream up, and commit after He died and rose again.

This means that every human being has equal value and access to God’s love and amazing grace. It means that none of us are worthy or hold more value in and of ourselves, but through Him we are redeemed to become treasures. Before you accepted Him, He loved you passionately and saw you as a “not–yet–redeemed” treasure. He wanted you before you were cleaned up and polished by His blood.

That redemption transforms our value to reflect His value, and He is priceless. That redemption also cleanses our hearts and minds so that we can take on His viewpoint. Our role, as believers, is to be the human extenders of what God grants us daily, moment by moment. If His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), then it is sufficient for us and a sufficient supply for us to give others. Christ is the great equalizer!

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Relationship Killers and Choosing Love… Featuring Paul Beverly

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Our Daily Bread with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2019 by paulthepoke

Thinking about my post I shared from a few years back, if you truly want a relationship to work you can NOT be selfish, controlling, or jealous. Those 3 things are what pop in my head immediately because I see it way too often. These 3 things are poison to a relationship. Each person needs their own identity, not just so & so’s wife or so & so’s husband. If one feels they aren’t trusted & not valued, their heart will slowly withdraw from the relationship.

If you want happiness in a relationship, Give without expectations. Trust wholeheartedly. Listen with sincerity. Forgive easily. Love unselfishly. Be proud of your partner. Do not place blame. Do not point out faults. Make their happiness as important as your own. Want every day to be a little better. Give them space when needed. Hold them close when needed. Never stop dating. Don’t be too proud to seek counsel or attend a marriage seminar. Seek God together.

Make your relationship amazing…. Have a happy week my friends!!!

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Tread Gently… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Gospel with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2019 by paulthepoke

In John Chapter 8, we see Jesus intervene when a group of men wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery. We don’t know precisely what her story is. Was she a willing participant? Was she someone who had been used by others? What we do know is that while she was “caught,” there was no man being condemned alongside her. Whoever she was caught with wasn’t even part of the story. The man who stood up for her, however, was the only perfect and blameless being to ever walk the earth.

If anyone had the authority and was justified in condemning this woman, it was Jesus. He was, after all, the Son of God. But instead, Jesus addressed her accusers, challenging them, “…but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (Verse 7, NLT) Jesus alone held that right; yet when all of them had left, one by one, He turned to her and offered her freedom.

When we encounter those who need this Gospel, yet have been cast down by life over and over again, are we offering them freedom? People know who they are. Even without ever picking up a Bible, people know when their actions are morally objectionable. What Christ offers is more than a light to illuminate the darkness. His light offers freedom. This freedom does not require that we be changed before we accept it. In fact, we can’t. The changes we require to be clean and holy in His sight can only be made by Him.

Perhaps our job as believers isn’t so much about raising a mirror to people so they see their sins. Perhaps, deep down, they already see them. Perhaps our responsibility is to show them God’s reflection of love, grace, and freedom. Perhaps, through our words and actions, consistently and patiently, we can offer them hope.

If you have not walked in the shoes of someone who has been exploited or marginalized by society, tread carefully when speaking about the hope of Christ. Be mindful of their past experiences and formulated ideas of Christians, people of faith, or believers. Their lived experiences may not have been those of goodness and love and grace. It takes a thousand good things to replace one bad thing, so tread lightly and gently, my Christian friends. You never know what brokenness someone might have experienced—even at the hands of a person who claims Jesus as Lord.

Tread gently, therefore, when speaking about the hope of Christ to those who are leaving the life, or those attempting to restore their lives from brokenness of any sort you don’t know. Many other “Christians” they have
interacted with were, like the man in this story, antithetical representations of the gospel of Jesus. If this is all they know, then the concept of God and hope and goodness is a much more difficult sell!

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Neck Bones and Taters… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , on July 5, 2019 by paulthepoke

There was an older black woman who lived off Prospect, and every year around the holidays she would holler at me. She called me “Blondie.” She had a large bowl of neck bones and taters with amazing tiny peppers. The peppers weren’t hot, just spicy enough for flavor.

She’d always tell me, “Now, honey, you can keep that bowl, but don’t you be leaving it out just anywhere. If you can make it back this way, just leave it on the steps. If not, then at least find it a home in a trashcan. You eat all of that, honey, ’cause you ain’t nothing but skin and bones, a walking skeleton. I say now, go on now and eat all of that, and God bless you.”

Those neck bones and taters were amazing. Year after year, she never forgot me. Once she even walked down the street about two blocks from her house because she said one of her boys had seen me out there. She always reminded me to eat every bit because I was just skin and bones. She always offered me a warm smile. She always made a point to touch my hand and look me in the eyes when she spoke to me.

One year she put $5 in my hand and kissed my cheek. Another year she tossed me a pair of gloves and an old jacket and cautioned me not to catch a cold. She even told me I had a lovely smile. I never knew her name, and she never asked mine, but I did feel human each time I heard her voice. I wasn’t invisible to her.

In the wee hours of many nights, doubtful thoughts would drift through my mind, tormenting me for a while. Would someone eventually find me? Did anyone even know I was alive? Would someone look for me if I were dead?

Everyone else who offered me food or other such necessities had strings attached—I could have it if I provided sexual services for them. After all, I was a prostitute, and my purpose in life was for their pleasure.

My neck bone and tater patroness, however, never forgot me and never asked for anything from me. When she saw me, she simply acknowledged my humanity. I always felt that, for some reason, she loved me just as I was. Somehow, this woman, if only once or twice a year, gave me just enough hope and genuine compassionate care to keep me going. Her gentle concern ignited small embers of hope and made me question if there might be more to my life, after all.

From time to time I would wonder: Did she watch for me so she could speak to me or bring me food? Was she the one person in her home, with her family, who truly knew I existed? Did she ever wonder about me? Did she wonder if I were cold or hungry or alive or dead? It seemed like she thought of me. Maybe I did exist. Maybe she alone had the ability to see my invisibility.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Dear Christian: Starting Today – Starting With Me

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Michael Stone with tags , , , on May 1, 2019 by paulthepoke

Featuring Michael Stone

The words ring in my ears sometimes. “You need to write!” I cannot even begin to count how many times I’ve heard that over the past twenty five years. I probably even heard it a lot before that, but those years are so much of a blur that I wouldn’t recall.

From time to time I’ve actually tried to write, then lost focus and just quit. I’ve done it on paper in a spiral notebook, on our laptop while on the road in Kenya, and again in Kansas City, and again in Charlotte, and again in Orlando. I even copy and pasted what I wrote while in Orlando on an online message board. Every single time that I’ve tried to start writing, I’ve also abruptly quit writing. Now I’m inspired to try it here on the God In A Nutshell Project. We’ll see if I can be disciplined enough to follow through this time and actually write whatever else Divine inspiration brings to mind.

We all desire to see positive change in the world. What do we do about it? The Holy Spirit tells me that it starts in my heart, in my mind, with me – with me allowing Him to mold me into who I was created to be. I will be changing the world – starting with me.

“If MY people who are called by MY NAME will humble themselves and pray, and seek MY Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (my paraphrase)

Notice that Scripture states clearly that GOD is calling HIS people to turn from their wicked ways, to humble themselves, and to pray. In this context HE’s not speaking to the lost, but to those of us who call ourselves by HIS NAME. “Christian” means “like Christ”. I don’t know about you, but I’m nowhere near like JESUS the CHRIST. I mean, I’m a man, I have a heart, a spirit, flesh and bones, and a desire to serve HIM but, like most of us, I believe, we sever more than we serve. We’re so spiritually dyslexic that we see the letters, transpose them, and cause more division than unity. 

Our first and most important commandment isn’t to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News…”, as much as we’d like to think that it is. Our first objective, and the only commandment that JESUS the CHRIST gave was to love HIM with all of our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our strength, then to love one another….AND to LOVE OURSELVES! 

We have this self-pleasing culture here in western civilization. I’ve even seen it in 3rd world countries, so it’s a human thing. We may see it as self-love, but it’s a poor substitute for love. It’s not love at all. It’s just selfishness. It’s pride. Pride in no way can be compared to love. The verse from 2 Chronicles that I mentioned earlier calls us to humble ourselves, not to be proud. When we are humble, we can actually receive all that the LORD has for us…INCLUDING HIS LOVE. The whole key to the world changing and turning right-side-up is for GOD’s people, people of THE WAY, “Christians”, to humble ourselves and fully receive HIS love. Only then will we truly love one another. The Bible even tells us that our love for one another is how the world will know us. Only then will we serve instead of sever.

I love how Donald Miller puts it in his book, “Blue Like Jazz”. “I AM THE PROBLEM!” We look at things in our republic, and in the world, that do not at all line up with TRUTH, and we attack those things in our self-righteous indignation. There’s no love in that. We have to deal with our own hearts first. We need to let the HOLY SPIRIT move in and clean house. We need to totally receive the LOVE that the LORD has for us. When we do that, HIS love will just naturally pour out of us, and things will change. It starts with me. The problem isn’t abortion. The problem isn’t the homosexual agenda. The problem isn’t anything but my heart. Attacking symptoms of the worldwide lack of love will not change anything. I need to start with my heart. We all do. Nothing miraculous comes from activism. Miracles come from love, and that’s an action worth taking. 

“Receive, receive, receive the love of JESUS. Wrap up in HIM. Wait on HIM. Become intimate with HIM. Get to know the true love of the FATHER. Let the HOLY SPIRIT speak to you. Be still and wait.” I just keep hearing those words in my spirit. I pray that I will finally be able to pick up that simple key of love. It’s not enough to know it in my head. I need to KNOW it in my heart…to intimately know the love of the FATHER. ABBA…Daddy GOD. I need to intimately know the fear of the LORD. YHVH is as terrible as He is loving. Like C.S. Lewis put it, He is dangerous, but He is good. In JESUS’ name, FATHER, please help me receive all that You are. I’m so empty and lost without the fullness of YOU!

You know, I could read an article by someone else, and totally want to write to that person and try to help them receive GOD’s love, the whole time not knowing it myself. That’s so sad. I honestly believe that, for the most part, the Church is in the same position. We all want to help, but we’re not fully equipped, because we rely on too many other things other than JESUS in our daily lives. Our jobs, our bank accounts, our cars, our pickup trucks, our hobbies, our “stuff”. All of that crap violates “have no other gods before ME” when we allow it to consume our time, our priorities, and our lives. Most of us would say we’d surely die for JESUS, but we fight kicking and screaming if we lose any of our “stuff”. How can we die for HIM when we are so selfish that we won’t even live for HIM unless we can have our “stuff”. What a total chaotic farce.

I want to lay it all down. Whatever HE wants to give back to me is fine, or if HE gives nothing back, I want that to be fine as well. HE knows what I need. I really only know what I want. I put GOD in a box way too much! HE’s not my little “jack-in-the-box” that I can crank up when I need HIM, then shove back down and close up when I want control. Why, oh why do IDO that??!!??

OK, this is the start of the journey. I need to be in the Light. We all do. We’ll see how this goes. I truly do purpose to intercede for the world… as well as for myself. JESUS is at the right hand of the FATHER always interceding for each of us. HE sets the example. I need to follow HIS example. I believe that we all do…starting today.

PaulthePoke

Prophecy Watch & Bible Study

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