Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Kingdom Builder - Visionary Strategist - Inspirational Writer
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

REST is a Good Promise
Exhaustion Calls for REST. Period.
On Second Thought
The Key to Stay in the REST Zone
Rest AFTER War

Most Popular Posts

Joyful Gyrations! Make Some NOISE!!! - Psalm 100:1
THANK YOU BlogFam! PRE-Birthday Celebration Post - Col. 3:17
#ONEWord - ORDER
Lord, I Pray that YOU Remember me! - Isaiah 38
#ONEWord - DEATH

Categories

#100PoundsOfExcuses
#FREEFlowFriday
#iThrive
#TheAffirmation
#TheSHIFT
2012 End of Year Reflections
3:17
40 Days of Fasting
A NEW DAY!!! 8-1-2012
A Proverb A Day Keeps the Foolishness At Bay
AFTER He Rose!
Best Practices
COPYRIGHT - Permissions Policy
Cover Up!
CROSS-Eyed
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
Disciples Dos and Don'ts
G.R.A.C.E.
GAIN SOME WAIT!!!
GET A CLUE...About Me
HOME is Where YOUR Heart Is
HOPE & HEALING
HOPE!
INTRODUCTION
Isaiah Reflections
John 3
MY VISION FAST
NEW YEAR, NEW LOVE
NOT SO RANDOM THOUGHTS
ONE WORD
REST. Period.
Saying Goodbye
Starting Over Starting Fresh
STEP OUT OF THE BOAT - Matthew 14
The EIGHTH Day
The EIGHTH Day 2
The Good Samaritan
The KEY of LOVE
The Living Room Christian Fellowship
The POWER to be PERFECT!
The Prayer Bridge
Things We Left On the Mountain!
VISION
Wholesome Habits of Healthy Disciples
WWJD = What Would JUSTICE Do?

Archives

May 2017
April 2017
January 2017
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
January 2014
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011

powered by

Salvation and Stilettos Blog

TOUGH LOVE: Moving From Lenten Reflection to Resurrection Action

TOUGH LOVE: 
Moving from Lenten Reflection to Resurrection Action


Scripture: Matthew 5:43-44
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,    that you may be children of your Father in heaven."











 
Greetings!

BlogFam, On today, I would like to share with yo a reflection that I wrote almost two weeks ago.  This blog post was written as a closing reflection on the season of Lent that has just finished, looking toward the changes that should have come as a result of your Lenten sacrifice.  I hope you enjoy!  Most of all, I hope that YOU are different!


Lent.What is Lent?  Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.  The word Lent itself is derived from the words lencten, meaning "Spring," and lenctentid, which literally means not only "Springtide" but also was the word for "March," the month in which the majority of Lent falls.


Lent is a six week period, 40 days, not including Sundays and while the explicit practice of Lent is not in the Bible, all of the spiritual disciplines most often associated with Lent are...fasting, repentance, moderation, prayer, and meditation.  Although the practices associated with Lent may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.


I have personally always found Lent to be a time to repent for the ways I have fallen short of God's glory, to remember God's great Love for me, and to revive my faith in God.  And so I usually keep a prayer journal and commit to writing everyday for 40 days.  I have done several types of fasts - giving up TV, or my Favorite Foods, Daniel Fast, Total Fast.  I have also incorporated certain healthy practices or other spiritual disciplines into my routine... early morning corporate prayer once a week or reading a daily Lenten Devotional or other kind of book on Spiritual Renewal/Leadership/Self-Awareness or Empowerment.


Lent is a very special time.  A sacred time on the Christian calendar.  During Lent, we pray, fast, meditate, quiet ourselves, sacrifice... AND there are so many changes that happen during Lent. There are wardrobe changes... [at least in our part of the country, we put up our winter coats and wear light jackets] color changes...  nature changes... the season changes... time changes.  So much changes around us during Lent before we celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  
But what about us...you...me?


As we look toward celebrating the resurrection of our Savior in about one week or so, what has changed about you?  How have you changed during this season of Lent?  Or was it simply another annual ritual?  


Now, please hear me.  I did not ask did you lose weight or whether losing an hour of sleep when we changed our clocks caught you off guard?  NO!  As we move from Lenten reflection and look toward the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, has there been ANY change in you, in your heart?


For I hope you did not practice Lent just so you could "fit in" with the rest of your congregation.  I hope that you did not practice Lent just because the pastor said do it and you do not want to feel guilty for not doing it.  I hope the prayers and fasting, the meditation and the sacrifice meant more to you than some self glorifying, self rewarding, self aggrandizing effort to pat yourself on the back.  Surely, Lent has meant more than ALL of that!
BlogFam, I want to believe it did.


So, as we move from Lenten reflection and look toward the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, has there been ANY change in you...in your heart?


Let's take a deeper look at our Scripture.


First of all, I know that this might seem like such an odd passage of Scripture for our sharing.  For after all, in the Gospel of Matthew, these verses are part of the infamous Sermon on the Mount. Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount at the early part of His ministry as recorded by Matthew.  Jesus was born in chapter 1 and visited by the Wise men in chapter 2.  By chapter 3, Jesus is a grown man who gets baptized by his cousin John the Baptist who has been on the scene preparing the way for the Lord.  Immediately after his baptism, he goes into the wilderness for a 40 day period of fasting in chapter 4.  Then  he preaches a sermon of repentance and selects the disciples to COME and follow Him because He would make them fishers of men.


Chapter 4 concludes...  Matthew 4:23-25 NIV
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.


So by Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus has a multitude of men and women who have gathered to hear him speak... and a few of those words are contained in our verses for today...And I know that this might seem like such an odd passage of Scripture for our sharing but I think that it truly speaks to the transformation that should take place in our heart after Lent or after ANY period of prayer and fasting.


You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,    that you may be children of your Father in heaven


This is TOUGH LOVE.  For the most part, when we hear the term TOUGH LOVE, we are most often referring to those whom we love who need to be taught a lesson or need to experience some sort of discipline as a consequence for their previous actions.  And we teach those lessons or initiate discipline or certain restrictions out of our love for our family and sometimes, in our circles beyond our families or immediate household.


Showing someone TOUGH LOVE is not always easy and it does not necessarily feel good but then again, at our core, because we love them, we do so and pray to God we have made the right choices.


However, on today, I want to push us a little bit on our idea of TOUGH LOVE.  Because the text for today is really about TOUGH LOVE.  It is about Loving people who are TOUGH to LOVE...loving our enemies and praying for people who put us down or try to trip us up, or push us out of the way.  This is TOUGH LOVE!


Jesus says to the multitude: You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 


NOW this is what we want to hear.  This is where we want to stop.  Love those who love you back and Hate those who hate you back.  We basically do not have a problem with that. That just seems to make good sense.


You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
 We can handle that BUT Jesus keeps talking...And I love what it says in the MESSAGE BIBLE...


Matthew 5:44 MSG
But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you....... 


This is TOUGH LOVE.  This is the kind of Resurrection Actions that should come after our time of Lenten Reflection.  This is the kind of change of heart that comes when we connect with God.  This is the kind of response that calls for us to love people who are TOUGH to love.


It is the kind of Love that Jesus displayed and physically embodied on the cross at Calvary when he died for you and for me...when he died for men and women, boys and girls who would treat Him as if he was their enemy, curse Him as if he was their worst nightmare, hate on Him as if He had no good bone in His body, and persecute Him without a second thought.


Jesus loves people who are TOUGH to love.
Jesus LOVES you and Jesus LOVES me.


And I do not completely understand it and I cannot say that it is the easiest thing I have ever been told to do....BUT when I think about God's AMAZING love for me, I cannot help but want to at least try one day, one person at a time.


One 18th Century songwriter, Charles Wesley, put it this way... 

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,  joy of heaven, to earth come down;  fix in us thy humble dwelling;  all thy faithful mercies crown!  Jesus thou art all compassion,  pure, unbounded love thou art;  visit us with thy salvation;  enter every trembling heart. 

2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit  into every troubled breast!  Let us all in thee inherit;  let us find that second rest.  Take away our bent to sinning;  Alpha and Omega be;  end of faith, as its beginning,  set our hearts at liberty. 

3. Come, Almighty to deliver,  let us all thy life receive;  suddenly return and never,  nevermore thy temples leave.  Thee we would be always blessing,  serve thee as thy hosts above,  pray and praise thee without ceasing,  glory in thy perfect love. 

4. Finish, then, thy new creation;  pure and spotless let us be.  Let us see thy great salvation  perfectly restored in thee;  changed from glory into glory,  till in heaven we take our place,  till we cast our crowns before thee,  lost in wonder, love, and praise



Or simply... I don't know why Jesus loves me.  I don't know why he cares.  i don't know why He sacrificed His life.  OH but I'm glad!  I'm so glad that he did!

Again, I know that this might seem like such an odd passage of Scripture for our sharing but I think that it truly speaks to the transformation that should take place in our heart after Lenten reflection.


You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,    that you may be children of your Father in heaven


So, My Friends, Will we love God, love ourselves, love our neighbor better after Lent?  Will we be more consistent in our prayer life after Lent?  Will we rise from the death of bad habits and harsh attitudes?  Will we love people who are TOUGH to love?


BlogFam, it is time to move beyond our Lenten Reflections towards Resurrection Actions and ONE of the most profound ways we can do so is to LOVE those who love us back and LOVE,  BLESS, DO GOOD, & PRAY FOR those who hate us back.  That is what Jesus would do, has done, is doing, and will continue to do...starting with you and me.


After all of this fasting and praying, I think you can handle it!!! 

God Loves You and I Do Too!!!
Delesslyn
FOLLOW on Twitter @AudraSunshine or @SpiritedConcept

0 Comments to TOUGH LOVE: Moving From Lenten Reflection to Resurrection Action:

Comments RSS

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint