Love

Christ’s Perfect Example of Love

Jesus Love on the Cross

(Photo Credit: CNN)

Christ is the highest expression and embodiment of love.

Suffering the most barbarous and mortifying sacrificial death one can ever witness or imagine—all to proffer an invitation for eternal union and fellowship with Him—Christ loved everyone even before anyone ever loved Him.

Giving those willing to believe in Him and His redemptive work on Calvary’s Cross as the final atonement for all sins, Jesus offers an everlasting love, a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never separates.  

Faithful to us when we’re unfaithful to Him, Jesus loves unconditionally because He is love.

To know love, therefore, is to know Him.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Happy 38th Birthday to Dr. Santresa Glass

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

(Photo courtesy of Dr. Santresa L. Glass)

Although you’re hoping that this will be the year I propose to you, don’t hold your breath; that’s never going to happen. Your endless and undesired pursuit of me is becoming, to be frank, frightening. I have repeatedly told you that I have no interest in an intimate relationship with you, but you don’t seem to get it. Some people never learn, though. You will have to settle for fantasizing about me using the limited pictures of me available.

Now that we are clear about those things, hopefully, I want this to be your best year. For the remainder of the year, invest more in yourself, in your dreams and aspirations. Before we can pour into others, we need our cups to be full—and running over—which permits us to give freely. When our cups are running over, this means we have so much to give to others—without taking from what we need. Others have benefited greatly from your giving, your kindness, your thoughtfulness. The time has come for you to show yourself gratitude. You are worth it!

Random note: I hate the Falcons! #RiseDown

So, this very discursive piece is my attempt to let you know I love you and that I’m grateful that God has gifted (and cursed—lol!) me with you for another year. Without question, it’s a blessing (and cursing—lol!) to have you as a best friend. What I love the most about you—besides your wholesomeness—is your ratchetness. And you know how much I love women with a perfect blend of class and ratchetness (i.e. Joseline Hernandez and Keyshia Cole).

Well, get ready for these songs I’m about to sing to you! It’s about to go down! A concert.

As Jack would say, “And now, a song.”

Love ya,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Jesus is the Answer to Poverty

Poverty

(Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

Jesus is the answer to poverty: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). What Jesus accomplished at the Cross—at Calvary—provided every believer with access to experience victory over poverty in every area of his or her life—not just in the area of finance. Each day, believe that you have already received freedom from poverty in every area of your life. Mark 11:24 states, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This verse, therefore, informs you that to possess this liberation from the bondage of poverty one has to receive it by faith. Begin each day with this confession of faith: “Jesus, I receive the victory from poverty in every area of my life that your shed blood on the Cross has made available to me. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this precious free gift.”

According to II Corinthians 8:9, Jesus loves you so much that He took upon His own body the viciousness, ugliness, heaviness, and bondage of poverty for you. The most brutal beating in human history that Christ suffered empowers you to triumph over poverty. Without the Finished Work of the Cross, you would have had to bear the tremendous burden of poverty. Christ has such a great love for you that He does not want you to be dominated by poverty, for He desires for you to enjoy everyday life (John 10:10).

True believers have an intimate knowledge and understanding about how the grace of Jesus Christ has already supplied them with everything they need for this life: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). How does one receive this blessing of Christ? II Peter 1:4 divulges the precise answer to this query: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” One must, therefore, “partake” of this blessing that has already been made available to him or her. How does one “partake” of this blessing? Each day, declare and believe you have everything II Peter 1:3-4 reveal that you have.

When you believe something, you will open your mouth and confirm it—and keep confirming it.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: God’s Pulpit Isn’t a Bully Pulpit

 

Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Christianity Expert)

Before you step into the pulpit, surrender your personal agenda(s), for the pulpit isn’t a space to take spineless, milquetoast shots at folks. Ephesians 4:15 calls us, ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to “speak the truth in love”—keywords: “truth” and “love.” Ministries become ineffective when preachers and pastors use their positions as weapons of carnal warfare, ultimately leading to their own undoing (II Corinthians 10:4). Pastors are called to “feed” and not beat, not condemn (Jeremiah 3:15). Unfortunately, in numerous churches across the nation, pastors beat more than they feed, essentially functioning as tools for Satan. If you’re a pastor or preacher who has developed acrimonious relationships with individuals, then work on ameliorating those relationships in private—not from God’s hallowed pulpit.

When bitterness and discord accompany you to the pulpit, they win; the anointing fails to flow. You inevitably begin to see that God cannot employ you in the ways He once was able; you inevitably begin to see that your spiritual gifts—like the gift of healing—do not work for you any longer; you inevitably begin to see that your personal and ministry’s finances dwindle significantly—as does church attendance. Why? Because you’ve “given place” to the Devil and not concentrated solely on Jesus (Ephesians 4:27). Issues, problems and people have taken Jesus’ spot. Why? Because you’ve become self-occupied instead of Christ-occupied.

Again, settle your issues and problems out of the pulpit—in private. For I Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before” (New Living Translation).

True Believers, we pray for a day when all pulpits are genuinely reverenced by those who frequent them.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison               

“Pain is Love” by Jason “Juice” Williams: A Critical Assessment

Jason "Juice" Williams

One of the most talented independent artists in America is irrefutably Jason “Juice” Williams. Juice’s exceptional talent and oeuvre have been acknowledged by Soul Train, Revolutionary Paideia, and many others. On March 9, 2013 at the Albany James H. Gray, Sr. Civic Center in Albany, Georgia at 9:00 p.m., he will be performing live with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. The purpose of this article is to provide an assessment of the dominant messages about love and relationships Juice’s “Pain is Love,” which is a single from his album A&J Live (2002), offer.

One recurrent theme in Juice’s full body of work is the notion of love being a nuanced phenomenon that’s never devoid of conflict. Even in his second album, 100% Concentration (2005), one can see how this aforementioned treatment of love is conspicuous. In “Pain is Love,” the artist communicates that problems can emerge even when they are not intentionally created. Those inadvertently engendered problems can cause pain for one or both individuals involved in a relationship. Even if the relationship terminates, Juice exposes the enduring pain often left unresolved.

The artist asks the lady for “just one minute” of her time to articulate how he feels about her and the love they have shared. The song, therefore, advocates for frank communication to be a significant part of the healing process in a relationship impacted by emotional pain. For those involved in relationships, it’s crucial to understand that candid communication is essential to overcoming problems. This candid communication must be guided by love, of course. Too often the lines of communication are shutdown when people are hurting in a relationship. If the lines of communication continue to be shutdown, the relationship is doomed to end inevitably. It will ultimately not be about the pain that caused fissures in the relationship, but it will be more about the failure to communicate that’s the authentic reason why the relationship ceases.

“Pain is Love” informs the listener that when you have real love for someone, you don’t intentionally inflict pain on him or her. This is an important message many people in relationships need to hear and embrace. Too many people, especially men, talk about how much they love the one they’re in a relationship with, but that “love” often is not strong enough to keep them from cheating on their partner. True love keeps you from being deceitful and unfaithful.

Jason "Juice" Williams

The artist longs to be with his lost love but she’s no longer by his side.

How frequent do we think about how our foolish actions can lead to the end of our relationships?

We should think more about how the things we’re doing can result in us losing the one we love and can cause us to experience a lifetime of pain.

The artist discloses that love will turn into pain if you are negligent in your relationship. You should never forget about showing the person you love how much you love him or her. If you abandon your duties in your relationship, you may discover just how much pain is love.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Got a Crush on Someone?

Crush

I’ve been wanting you for a long time.

When you have a crush on someone, it can be a beautiful thing.  Having a crush on someone can make you appreciate nearly every aspect of him or her.  You may find yourself lusting over pictures you can find of him or her, especially pictures you discover on Facebook.  Finding the courage to speak to the person can be a difficult thing: your nerves can often get the best of you.  If you want to move your crush on someone beyond it being just a crush, then you’re going to have to defeat your nerves and pursue him or her.  You’ll never know what can develop between you and the person until you pursue him or her.

You may find that the person you have a crush on feels the same way you do.  He or she may have been battling the same nerves you have been combating.

If you let a person you have a crush on remain single too long, you may lose your opportunity to be with him or her.  It’s not guaranteed that he or she will always be single.  Don’t let someone capture your happiness by snatching up the person you want to be with simply because you didn’t have the courage to let him or her know your true feelings.

Yes, having a crush on someone is a fun, beautiful, exciting, and interesting phenomenon.  As adults, we cannot maintain the same attitudes and behaviors about our crushes as we did when we were children.  I’m not saying that some attitudes and behaviors we had as children will not work, however.  For example, it may be useful to give the person a short note that simply says, “I like you.”  If you do this, the person will know how you feel about him or her and this will begin the serious and thorough discourse that needs to take place about how you truly feel.

When you’re having a conversation with your crush, don’t feel childish because you cannot keep yourself from smiling and laughing.  The difficulty you’re experiencing holding back your smiling and laughing indicates that you truly like this person.  If you’ve ever been in love with someone, think about how smiling and laughing were common phenomena you experienced.

In order to overcome how nervous you may be about pursuing your crush, you might need to embrace the idea of taking risks.  You’re going to have to take some risks if you want to receive some high rewards.  You will be surprised at how relieved you will be once you simply disclose your feelings about the person you have a crush on to him or her, even if you don’t get the results you desire.  You will not have to wonder what would have happened if you would have let the person know how you feel.

Go ahead and let the person who you have a crush on know how you feel about him or her before it’s too late.  You’ll thank me later.

Have you ever had a crush on someone you had a challenging time expressing to him or her how you feel?  Did you overcome what thing or things were preventing you from expressing your feelings?  If so, how did you overcome what was keeping you from expressing your feelings?  If you did not, why do you feel you weren’t able to overcome the thing or things that held you back from expressing yourself?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rekindling Old Flames

You should always be open to the possibility of reuniting with someone you’ve had a relationship with in the past.  Now, in no way does this piece argue that you should always get back involved with your past loves, but it does contend that you should not close your mind to considering getting back together with any of your past loves.  Of course, if you are currently married or in a relationship with someone right now, this article is not addressed to you.  This article is focused on those who are single.  Never close your mind to an opportunity to give someone a second chance, and never close your mind to giving yourself a second chance to be loved.

People can change.  The conditions and circumstances present when you were together can and do change.  When you were once with a past love, the person could have been too immature for you or you may not have been compatible at the time.  However, we all know that time brings about a change.  A possibility exists that you could be more compatible with the person now and he or she be more mature now.

Since you’ve been apart from the person, you may have grown too.  You may have worked out some inner and outer things that make you a better fit for the person.  Your views and evaluations of the person may have changed, considering time offers you an opportunity in all areas of your life to grow.  Things that were such serious problems at the time you were with the person may be insignificant to you now.

Time may have afforded you an opportunity to focus on the value of a past relationship and caused you to realize that you missed the real meaning, purpose, and significance of the relationship because you were too focused on the wrong thing(s).  After you’ve had some relationships with other people, you may have learned that your past loves are not as horrible as you once thought.  Time may have provided you with an opportunity to realize that you’re still in love with someone and never have stopped loving them.  Your pride may have prevented you from expressing your love to them, considering they may have hurt you so deeply in the past.  Your pride can also cause you to try to bury your true feelings and love for a person.  Don’t let your pride keep you from rekindling love.

Now, if you know that a person has not changed, and you know that you’re still not compatible with a person, then please don’t waste your time with going down that same failed road.

You can begin the discourse with a past love about the potential of getting back together by just communicating that you want to talk about the potential of reuniting.  Don’t shy away from expressing how you really feel about the person right now, and never be afraid of discussing the positive and negative moments from your past relationship.  If you are to have a successful relationship with the person this time, frank communication is mandatory.  Many relationships fail because people are not willing to have open and frank communication with one another.

Again, this piece does not attempt to communicate that you should get back with your past loves just because you’re single, but it does assert that you should never close your mind to the possibility of considering rekindling a past relationship.  True critical thinkers are always open to consider anything.  This does not mean that you have to act on everything you consider—you shouldn’t.

You may never know what the power of renewing a love with a past love can do for you right now, especially if you completely close your mind to considering it.

Be open.  Consider the possibilities.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison