The Power Of Love

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” is a story about the power of love.  April, the main character, is living a life less than what she deserves; and she is ok with that.  She is in a relationship with a married man to keep from being committed.  She would rather be by herself than take a chance to fall in love and have to suffer the pain of losing it.  Sandino (Adam Rodrigez), the border who takes a room in her basement, comes along, and is not afraid to show vulnerability.  He is strong and macho; yet sensitive and caring at the same time.  At one point in the movie, when April found out her mother died alone on a bus, Sandino held her and when she asked why, he simply stated, because you needed to be held. 

Can you think of a time in your life when you needed that: a human touch with no strings attached; but you felt you had no one to fit the bill?  I know it is the “Christian thing” to say “Jesus is all I need”.  But that is not God’s desire for us.  We were created to not only have a relationship with Him; but also to have fellowship with one another.  Unfortunately, we do not always want to obey the word.  We would rather be alone, than appear before another human naked.  We would rather hide our hurts; conceal the pain of broken promises; and disguise our wounds of despair.  We would rather cover up who we really are – than reach out and let the Lord heal us.  And contrary to popular belief, His preferred method is to use someone close by.  My pastor always says “favor comes on two feet”.  Meaning, God uses people.  And that is absolutely true about healing those obscure, mutilated internal wounds inside of you. 

Did you ever consider volunteering or visiting a loved one in a rest home may be the cure for your broken heart?  What about helping out at the children’s hospital?  The healing power of giving love is stronger than you think. 

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:12-13)

So can you do bad all by yourself?  Yes, when you take the lyrics to the title song to heart:

“Yeah
Since everybody knows what it is that I need to do.
Well do me a favor, let me worry bout me and you worry bout you.

[Chorus]
I don’t need no one to put me down,
I’m on the ground, can’t get no lower.
And I don’t need no one to hang around and make me frown just makes me look older.
And I don’t need no one to black my eye and tell me lies
Don’t wanna cry over nobody else
No no no no I can do bad all by myself.”

But when we sacrifice ourselves, our wishes, and our preferences for a friend, we give the greatest of all gifts and prove our love beyond any doubt.  And the hose that waters has to get wet.  Simply put, the love you give has to come back.

OMG You Are a DG!

In this last segment for this month’s movie “Daddy’s Little Girl”, I want to talk about the one person we have not mentioned in depth – Jennifer (Tasha Smith), Monty’s ex.  We briefly meet her mother in the beginning of the movie before she dies of lung cancer.  But where was her father?  Did she ever know him?  Had she ever experienced his warm embrace, only for it to be prematurely snatched away by death or divorce?  Does she blame her mother for driving her father off?  What caused her so much pain to grow into the cold & callous woman we see?  Perhaps she did know her father’s touch, but it was not warm and certainly not invited.  After an encounter with her, Julia says Monty has lousy choice in women.  But he says that was not the girl he knew in high school and the one he married.  What caused her to morph?  What would make a person change so much/be despised so that no one sees the need to even tell her when her mother died?

 Think back to your relationship with your father, another relative, some childhood friend who you have not spoken to civilly for a number of years.  What caused the breach?  What were the exact words said?  Most of you can’t remember and yet you play the recording in your mind “they hurt my feelings and I hate them.” 

If the episode was twenty years ago and the pain is still too great to apologize, you have become a certified DG – oh, I am not referring to a daddy’s girl, but what I like to call a Dust Gatherer.  A Dust Gatherer is one who allows one incident to dictate the rest of their life.  You become a magnet for sin.  It does not negate the fact it could have been a traumatic experience, but the problem is you let a speck of dust grow into a big fur ball that’s stuck in the back of your mind; causing even trivial things to reek havoc in your home, church, job, and friendships.  How?  Sins of the attitude just seem to multiply when left unchecked. 

 Take for instance bitterness.  Bitterness refers to a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man. Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him. Bitterness leads to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside. This fierce anger often leads to fighting – fighting with fists, or fighting with words. It is difficult to believe that Christians would act this way, but they do, and this is why Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 4 to dwell in unity:

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

Does this not describe Jennifer to a T?  Can you also see a little of yourself in there too?  This type of behavior stems from an attitude of entitlement.  When you have experienced lack, harm or rejection, especially when you are missing the presence of a father, you begin to feel the world owes you and you will go to any lengths to collect.    

Well, Paul gives three reasons why we must avoid bitterness. First, it grieves the Holy Spirit. He lives within the Christian, and when the heart is filled with bitterness and anger, the Spirit grieves.  The Holy Spirit is happiest in an atmosphere of love, joy, and peace, for these are the “fruit of the Spirit” that He produces in our lives as we obey Him. We certainly lose the joy of our salvation and the fullness of the Spirit’s blessing when we harbor ill will.

Second, our sin grieves God the Son, who died for us. Third, it grieves God the Father who forgave us when we trusted Christ. Here Paul put his finger on the basic cause of a bitter attitude: We cannot forgive people. An unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground, and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive him, then we begin to develop bitterness within, which hardens the heart. We should be tender-hearted and kind, but bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others.

Most people say we should forgive because all that stuff is not hurting the person – we are only hurting ourselves.  Because when sin is full grown it brings forth death – your death.  Jesus said if you don’t forgive, you will not be forgiven.  He knows he cannot move on your behalf if you do not let stuff go, so learn how to forgive and forget so you can experience a happy Christian life.

And think about it, after all you have been through, why do you still want to wear the grave clothes?  Right now you have an opportunity to take your mind back, your freedom back, and your authority back.  Declare over your self – “I have been raised from the dead by the blood of the Lamb; I am shaking the dust off of my past, and I speak the words that Jesus said of Lazarus: “Loose me, and let me go!”  I belong to God:  I am special, I am forgiven, and I am loved.

A Father’s Love

A few months ago I was talking to a woman who was an alcoholic: in & out of rehab.  I cannot remember what she said that opened the door, but I asked her if she knew God and she said some.  So then I began sharing Christ with her, and she stopped me and said she believed in Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  She said, “Oh I love him.  But I just don’t like God”; and that was unusual for me.  Most people believe there is a God, but reject Jesus.  So of course, I asked her to explain why.  So I was ready for He killed my father when I was 6 – but she said “I don’t like him because I read in Ezekiel how he punished his people and turned his back on them, and how could God love them and turn his back on them?  And if you love me, how can you send me to hell”?  And I told her that was a valid question and we continued to talk until she had a better understanding. 

 But can one of you DIVAs (Divinely Inspired – Victoriously Anointed women of God) help a sister out: how are you supposed to be highly favored and be deserted?  When you are experiencing God’s wrath, where is the love?

  It is this same feeling of abandonment many children feel when their fathers are absent from the home or disciplining them.  It may be how the three little girls in the movie felt.  One was being abused by their mother’s boyfriend and another forced to sell drugs.  They probably could not understand why their father had not come to get them.  Did he not love them like he said?  Was he punishing them for complaining about the lack of space at his place? 

  You may never have been abandoned, but perhaps before dishing out some form of cruel and unusual punishment, your dad (or mom) would say “this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you”?  How?  I am the one who can’t sit down; I am the one without phone privileges.  I am the one stuck in this God forsaken house for the weekend.  They say it’s because they love us, they are hurting us.  Did you think, are you kidding me?!?!  What kind of love is this?  Well, I have come to find out, they did not write the book on tough love – God did.

Hebrews 12:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
      and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”[a]

 7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

Now, there was probably never a truer saying than ‘there is a thin line between love & hate’, and if you will not admit it, I will – in our finite minds, God has crossed that line sometimes!  Yet it is when God displays this side of himself that his love is most auspiciously displayed.  The problem is we mistake his judgment for hate because we don’t understand with love comes chastisement.

 Take for example the Israelites in Numbers 21.  They complained because of the monotony of the manna provided. As punishment, God sent serpents with deadly bites; but He also provided a way of escape and healing if those bitten would express their faith by looking on the bronze serpent Moses had made & set in the middle of the camp.

Jesus also compared His own purpose with that of the bronze serpent in John 3:14-15. The serpent, lifted up in the wilderness, had been God’s chosen process to provide physical healing. Jesus, lifted up on the cross, is His way of providing spiritual healing for all afflicted by sin.

John 3:14-16 (KJV)

 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God illustrates to us that one of the biggest expressions of love you can show another person is through self sacrifice.  He was willing to be separated from His son, and Jesus was willing to give his life in order to save us.  What love!

 It reminded me of a scene in the movie Daddy’s Little Girls where the father was willing to sacrifice his relationship with his daughters by going to jail, just so he could protect them from their mother’s boyfriend.   What love!   

 And fathers are still making some real life changing sacrifices.  One signed away visitation rights so he would spare the mother any more pain than he had already caused her.  That’s still love, even though it caused sorrow, confusion and lack in the daughter’s life.  Because sometimes love hurts.  We may not agree with the method; we certainly may not understand the process, but that is still love! 

 And if it’s hard to see the good God does because you missed out on a good relationship with your natural father, remember Jesus promised if we would lift him up, he would draw all men: and that includes your father and you. 

 So Look & live  by loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, body and strength – that’s love!

Daddy’s Other Girl

Over the years, females have been labeled many things: prima donnas, BAPs, JAPs, princesses, Divas, and even witches among other things.  Where did this so called negative branding come from?  May I suggest from growing up being daddy’s girls (DG).  For our time of sharing let’s just talk about two types.  The princess type who got to where she is because of who her father is.  And the 2nd is a woman who excelled because of whom her father was.  While they are similar in a lot of ways like both have uncommon favor; there is one thing that makes them quite different: the girl.  Take Julia in the movie “Daddy’s Little Girls”. 

 Many believe her success as the youngest partner ever at one of the most prestigious law firms in Atlanta is because she’s the boss’ daughter.  She went to all the best schools, ate in the best restaurants, shopped in the best stores – had all the best opportunities. 

 But Julia was not the little princess who got to where she was because of her father.  She made partner because she was a reflection of the father: of what he had instilled in her.  She has her father’s eyes – meaning she sees life as he sees it.  She worked hard, knew what she wanted, and did not settle for less than the best. 

 Even though we never meet him, we know she is just like her dad by the way she and others talk about him.  For example, on a blind date, Julia met a lawyer her father would not hire.  Chris said the old fart (referring to her father) had called him shallow.  She said her father could be hard on people he did not know well.  This immediately reminded me of how she treated Monty her driver in their first encounter. 

 It also reminded me how we should reflect our heavenly father.  When people meet us, even without ever meeting him, they should feel like they have been in his presence.  Which should compel you to ask:  what do people see when they look at me?  Does God the Father shine through me?

 Yet even when we are a spitting image of our daddy, our other nature sometimes kicks in.  Most of us are good with the so called big stuff like thou shalt not kill; and thou shall not steal.  But what about the little foxes that can creep in? 

 Julia, like most of us, missed the father’s still small voice whispering in the midst of danger.  It should have sent up red flags when Chris said her father would not hire him because he was shallow.  Instead she relaxed even more.  Yes, Chris had a good career as a lawyer; he had manners, was handsome and charming.  What was there not to like?  But her dad instantly saw what she could not.  And it turns out he was married with children. 

 And that is one of the best parts of being a daddy’s girl.  Our father may speak to us, we miss it, don’t understand it, or sometimes just plain ignore it.  But He does not throw us away.  He wraps his arms around us when we miss the mark; and when we fall down – He lifts us up with his love.

 So while some try to distance themselves from being labeled a daddy’s girl, I gladly embrace it because if I am a princess, that makes my dad king: King of kings and Lord of lords!

Dear Dad,

As I prepared this week’s blog on our latest movie “Daddy’s Little Girls” by Tyler Perry starring Gabrielle Union as Julia Rossmore and Idris Elba as Monty James, inspired by our live discussion group, I determined I should begin it with some famous quote about dads.  When I went to look one up, I found some delightful notes to dads and decided to share. I also want to give you an invitation to do the same.  Some of you may find it hard to think of anything good.  But if you let it, love can cover a multitude of sins.  I Corinthians 13:11-13 reminded me that all the hurt, pain and disappointment will vanish away when you grow up.  When you look in the mirror and see the best you-you could be; if you are honest and take the blinders off, you will know your father was too.  And if he wasn’t, God our Father has been.

1 Corinthians 13:11-13

(TNIV)

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

The Message (MSG)

 12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

  

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

- Jim Valvano

They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.

- Unknown

who is the one person who can always make me smile?
Even when I’m mad at him?
Even when he makes me cry?
Even when he makes fun of me or laughs at me.
He is one of the people who has always been there for me, one who has always loved, cared, and provided for me.
He is one of the two most important people in the world to me. Someone I LOVE with all my heart.
He is my friend,my hero, but most importantly he is my…

Daddy!!!!

I Love you dad!   (to my father, who is in the hospital right now.)

- M

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.

- Sigmund Freud

I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.

- Bartrand Hubbard

Everyone can be a father, but it takes a lot to be a daddy

- ?

 A father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be

- unknown

 

A “daddys little girl” is the one who would rather get her hands covered in engine oil with dad, than stay in the house and bake buns with her mother!

- Mishelly

 

 A dad is someone who

-is a daughter’s first love
-will be there for you no matter how bad of a mistake you’ve made
-will stand up for you when you need him
-will give you their hugs and shoulders to cry on
-promises you that you will always be his little girl
-loves you so much and will sacrifice whatever it is to make you happy again

A father is supposed to be the one man who will never give up on you …

- -A Broken Hearted Daughter

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