Monday, December 12, 2011
The Message (MSG)
9-20So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it:
There's nobody living right, not even one,
nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.
They've all taken the wrong turn;
they've all wandered down blind alleys.
No one's living right;
I can't find a single one.
Their throats are gaping graves,
their tongues slick as mudslides.
Every word they speak is tinged with poison.
They open their mouths and pollute the air.
They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year,
litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
Don't know the first thing about living with others.
They never give God the time of day.
This makes it clear, doesn't it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it's clear enough, isn't it, that we're sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God's revelation doesn't put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else's sin.
I have been reading this excellent and challenging book called “Revolution of Character: Discovering Christ Patterns for Spiritual Transformation”- By Dallas Willard and I must confess to you that this is a hard read for anyone who truly wants a radical change in their life. It literally confronts you on every level: The heart, your mind, soul, spirit, will, and the physical. It takes you to places that you have forgotten about and throws your sin right in your face and says DEAL WITH IT! The main focus of the book is to address the human heart and how we are dangerously sinful and how we as people live self destructing spiritual lives that are in totally opposite of what Christ wants for us. Even when we think that there are areas of our lives that are “good” this book makes the argument that there are not and the only good in your life is that you have been covered by God’s grace and that you are experiencing and walking daily in the Grace of God through Jesus Christ.
The book talks about the term “Gehenna” often used in the New Testament for the place of the lost which may be thought of as a cosmic dump for irretrievably lost and useless souls. When we think about our sin and how we have offended God with out hearts, souls, wills, minds and bodies we must recognize that but for the grace of God and the new mercies of God on a daily experience we all would be in this place. This book takes your sin dumps it in your lap and leaves you there with it to examine, repent and think about the wickedness of your heart, but the good news that while you are feeling the weight of your sin, you can also feel the covering of the grace of God that clothes you and gives you hope during your period of repentance.
One of the most profound things about this book so far that I want to expand on is this quote “the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves”. When I think about my own life and the path that I have tried to carve out for myself and the failures personally, and in every area of my life my soul laments in agony over the fact that I have obeyed myself in so many ways. I have obeyed myself in my desires, my will, my heart and even with the people that I have chosen to accompany this path of life with me. I have taken Jesus as my Savior and forgot about him as my Lord. I have taken the benefits and walked in denial of my own pain, problems and purpose. I must confess that I have been hostile towards God.
Sin is something that we all try to deny. We call it a mistake and tell ourselves we will do better next time. We don’t take sin seriously because we don’t take our lives seriously and we don’t take our spiritual destination seriously. We have gotten caught up in a half hearted delusional form of Christianity that doesn’t call us to sacrifice anything. We try to gain but end up loosing in the end. When we look at what God has done for us and his love for us that “while we were yet sinners CHRIST DIED FOR US”, it should make us all grateful. Not the worldly grateful where I am grateful for a gift or grateful someone thought to call me today to see how I was doing; but the grateful where it calls you to abandon ALL of your plans, desires, and wants and do whatever Jesus tells you to do. I repent in dust and ashes and I ask that you all would pray for me as I continue reading this book. I don’t know what I am going to get out of this book. I confess that I started reading it in order to hope I would change externally some of my actions but now I realize it’s not the things I do on the outside that’s the problem but its my wicked, deceitful, hostile, in denial, egotistical heart. Lord Help Me.
Read This Book If Your Looking For More Than What You Have On The Inside...
Sunday, December 4, 2011
2 Chronicles 31:20-21
Hezekiah did this throughout all Judah, and he did what was good, right, and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in keeping with the law and the commandments to seek his God [inquiring of and yearning for Him], he did with all his heart, and he prospered.
In 2 Chronicles chapters 29-31 we see that Hezekiah’s’ greatest focus was on his worship to God and his personal response during his worship. In the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopens the temple for worship which had been closed during the reign of his evil father. He immediately calls all the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the seven day celebration of Passover. This important religious festival had not been observed for many years. The joy is so great that the celebration is extended an additional seven days. The people respond by returning to their homes and destroying the idols and shrines that have polluted the land.
When we think about the depth of theology that is wrapped up in these chapters we learn so much about the weight of God’s jealously and how he wants all the glory for himself and how he is determined to get all of the glory for himself.
God directs everything in his sovereignty and for his own purpose and after years of not receiving the Glory because of Hezekiah’s evil father Ahaz God appoints him to the throne to become king over the great Assyrian empire. And immediately he reopens the temple for worship. This is not a surprise to God, this is not an accident, this is not luck but rather this is divinely planned out because God loves his people so much that he knows that the safest place for them spiritually is to be in his presence worshiping him because he knows its “for their own good” to worship him. And the other thing about this is that the joy is so great that the celebration is extended for another seven days of praise and worship to Emmanuel. We learn that: God is jealous for his worship, that worship is good, worship will bring joy, being in the presence of God will make you want to STAY there, but the most important thing that I think we take from this is: worship is for our good spiritually. These people started out with a small celebration but then it was extended for another seven days, so my question for myself is: how does worshiping God change me? These people where changed so much in the presence and adoration of God that they couldn’t leave, their souls needed to stay and bathe in the glory of God because they where thirsty for him. It wasn’t just some passive religious moment that they where going to out of obligation but rather it was what they NEEDED.
Today I repent because I need to desire worship like that, I need to stop worrying about my problems and the things that I feel like should be better and focus on my eternal worship of Jesus. Its not about the job, its about Jesus. Its not about the wife & kids, its about Jesus. Its not about being ‘happy’ its about Jesus because when I am in him worshiping then I will find joy because worshiping him is for my own good…..
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, '“The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."
Sitting today thinking about a lot of different things and waiting on God to make a career move for me and thinking about several different projects that I have been working on I stopped by one of my sister Hanna’s Facebook page and this verse from Lamentations was there and it made me start to think, wonder and meditate on the faithfulness of God, so I would like to share some thoughts with you today.
In 2 Chronicles 35:25 the prophet Jeremiah who said “uttered a lament for Josiah” is believed to have written the five poems of the book of lamentations. These poems are all expressions of deep grief over the fall of Jerusalem. Like a mourner giving a eulogy these laments are intended to express a loss and in this case the loss of a nation. The latter half of chapter 3 implies that the purpose behind Lamentations graphic depictions of sorrow and suffering were to produce hope in God whose compassion is “new every morning” (Vs. 23) & whose faithfulness is great even to a people who have been condemned for their own unfaithfulness.
When you and I reflect on our own sin and the trouble of being hostile towards God for continually making mistakes and treating others bad out of selfishness we ought to be lamenting over the death of Jesus daily because of what he had to do on the cross in order to rescue us from deaths final judgment. It should also make you appreciate how faithful God has been to you and how undeserving you are to be adopted into his family.
Granted there are a lot of things in life that suck: bad relationships, lack of financial stability, horrible parents, lack of job opportunities, loneliness, sadness, death, disease, poverty and this list goes on. But throughout all of those things God has been faithful to you because he has promised if you trust him then your reward will be eternity in heaven. If I could change a lot of things about my life I would past and future I would try to change things but here is the solid thing I can stand on. Because Jesus died for my sins and has been faithful in keeping me to himself I will see him one day for myself in heaven. With all the misery that life brings, heavens brings undeserved joy and I want it for myself. So how every your feeling today remember God is faithful and new is his compassions every morning.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
In thinking about the importance of fatherhood in the black community today and the importance of being a father and using your parenting skills on your children it has lead me to thinking and researching about the severity of the emotional and physical damage that takes place on a child and how as a culture we don’t appreciate the responsibility to be a parent.
At one point in American history millions of black men where stripped of their responsibility to raise their children when they where separated from their families during slavery. These men who valued their families and wanted to be apart of their children’s lives where taken away from their sons and daughters never to see them again. Their hearts where broken because they knew that their children would be forced into slavery and not only that but they wouldn’t have their father to guide them and help them deal with a difficult life.
We have a society that doesn’t punish fathers for being absent in their children’s life we tell them to pay child support and that’s enough. The value isn’t placed on raising your child and being present in their life rather it is if you pay your child support. I hope you can see the difference in that. And most of the time the little pay that is suggested by the court system is ignored.
We have become a society that has buried its morals and have bankrupted our children emotionally and spiritually because of our lack to be present and responsible to the children that we create. We sell them to the public school system rather than instructing them ourselves. We surround them with falsehoods that are sold as permanent when really the things they value should be eternal.
When appreciating where we have come from and the struggle of the people who came before us and what they endured I know they would be highly disgusted with our society and the lack of value we place on our roles as parents today. We murder our children through a legalized mass holocaust called abortion, we equate the value of time with our children to a check enforced on us by a judge, we allow a government ran politically machine to endocrine our children with philosophies that have hurt our society, we don’t value what black male slaves died for. They died to marry their wives and to have a family, they jumped over a boom in hopes to makes themselves feel special since the government didn’t recognize their love and now as black men when don’t think about marriage and respecting our women we thinking about not having a “Babies Mama”. These men fought for the family, they fought to just be allowed to be with their families and now we as a society have given up. If our child is having a problem we send them off to be taught how to behave from total strangers rather then parenting toward their individualism.
The men who came before us, the society of unfreed men who fought for freedom and for their children would be ashamed of us today. The graves are weeping for failed marriages, aborted children and fathers who don’t show up for their own. And to be honest with you the excuses have to stop. We can’t blame the children rather we must blame the lack of parenting. You don’t have to know everything to be a parent just show up and be present and give unconditional love and your best advice in the moment. Yes you will look back and say maybe I should have done things a little different but don’t look back and not be there.
For those who marched, for those who died and for those who wanted to be present but where separated from their families may we all as a society today hear your cries, see your blood and remember your pain that we may turn this tragedy into a victory.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
In Jeremiah 16 we can summarize it up by saying this: God gave Jeremiah a difficult task that had to be accomplished for the glory of Christ. Jeremiah is told not to marry and have a family because of the terrible future that is in store for Judah. He is told not to mourn the deaths of friends. He is not to take part in any feasting. He is to spend his life speaking words of condemnation on the sins of the people. He is to let the people know that their generation will only see and experience death. It is not surprising that the people who hear these words shun Jeremiah and leave him isolated and alone.
In the simplest form we can see that God has commissioned him to an unspeakable task. God says to Jeremiah DON’T FALL IN LOVE and not only that but no sexual encounters with a woman for you all the days of your life and when you go through life your going preach a message of condemnation for the people sins and their going to isolate you so your not going to have any friends and the friends you do have don’t even mourn their deaths because of their sins.
Can you imagine what that must have felt like for Jeremiah? We get so caught up in worldly pleasures and wanting God to bless us with material positions when really what we need to do is to seek the Glory of God. Jeremiah was ok with the task that God had given him because his soul was satisfied in God alone. His feasting was in God, his relationship and intimacy was with God and he enjoyed himself in God. He was given a mission and a task to forsake all worldly pleasure and to preach what God had told him to. We as people need to “break up with our egos and love God more”. We should not desire the things that are suppose to make us “happy” but rather we should desire and seek after eternal Joy and that is only found in a relationship with God.
We must be determined to pick up our daily cross, abandon our own lives, and seek whatever God is calling us to do. This life can’t be about you and I but rather it must be about God and what he is calling us to do. My prayer for myself this next year is that I would get over my goals, ambitions and my own way of thinking physically, mentally and emotionally and that I would seek havens joys everyday and not my own.
Monday, October 17, 2011
For all of us who have been born again and our completely leaning on Jesus we find that in our discovery of him and in our desire to know him more we tend to learn towards different lanes in Christianity and focus on them. For me as most of you know theology, the concepts of faith, and Christian education, how do you grow a church & minister to the people of the church, have been my two main focuses on this journey. In this blog I want to share with you something that was reveled to me through the preaching of the word to encourage you in your faith because I know that we all go through tough times and we need to be reminded of the faith that is assured in the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This year has had its difficulties for sure at one point I was apart of two ministries and had to leave them, I moved back to St. Louis from Kansas city leaving behind a lot of good relationships, some of my friendships that I have had ended and for several months I was unemployed living off of the Grace of Gods blessings to my grandparents. When you look at all of the transitions that I have been forced into some people ask me “how did you make it” and I have to say at times I didn’t think the sun would shine again but I was never doubted that Jesus was the captain of my ship and designer of my destiny. For that I am thankful that God has given me a strong self constitution because when trouble comes and ,it will , I have been blessed to always know who is in charge and thankfully God has created a spot in my heart from past tragedies’ that has given me the strength to know that my redeemer lives. I want to encourage you that God can do anything but fail.
When I look at the ministries that I had to leave I realize that I learned a lot about the next ministries that I will be apart of and how to deal with myself around people and how to deal with Christians in the church and non Christians in the church. The most important thing I gained from the lost of those ministries is that your cant love people more than God. You can want what is best for people but you have to let God love them and change them and help them to grow. Don’t move from your convictions, stay with what you know and what you have been educated to know but the most important thing about ministry is to Love God and to worship him and in doing that the emotions of loving people will be balanced because if there comes a time when you have to leave, your feeling wont get bruised and you wont leave with hate in your heart for people and disappointment with yourself. So love God and worship him fully and don’t worry about the church critics, you just stay focused on Loving Jesus with your whole heart.
In moving back to St. Louis I was discouraged because I thought I had failed personally by coming back here but what I realized is that in a time of being by myself I have learned a lot about myself. And I know that God has great plans for me, so the transition has been “soul opening” because I have been able to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and mother and that has been priceless. Also in losing some relationships with people I know that some people are only meant to be here for a season, you cant get mad at people if they have to go for whatever reason and even if they cant say goodbye because here is the thing there is a reason their not going to be in your future because God is trying to get you somewhere and there presence is not going to help elevate you to where you need to go. So don’t be angry or upset with them just remember that your process is progress and the master is trying to make you into gold.
The book of Revelation is a powerful book because it deals with so many issues prophecy, theology depicted from the apostle John descriptions, revelations of the beast or the Antichrist figure energized by Satan and so many other important things. But for me recently I was encouraged by the preaching of the word when it comes to Revelation 19:1-8 read this:
The Sound of Hallelujahs
I heard a sound like massed choirs in Heaven singing, Hallelujah! The salvation and glory and power are God's his judgments true, his judgments just. He judged the great Whore who corrupted the earth with her lust. He avenged on her the blood of his servants. Then, more singing: Hallelujah! The smoke from her burning billows up to high Heaven forever and ever and ever. The Twenty-four Elders and the Four Animals fell to their knees and worshiped God on his Throne, praising, Amen! Yes! Hallelujah! From the Throne came a shout, a command:
Praise our God, all you his servants, all you who fear him, small and great! Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, and the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong! Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, and let us give him the glory! The Marriage of the Lamb has come; his Wife has made herself ready. She was given a bridal gown of bright and shining linen. The linen is the righteousness of the saints.
Beloved the beauty of the verse is that depicts those who are in heaven now. It gives you a front row seat those who are in the full presences of God now. They have no more suffering and no more pain. They have seen him with their own eyes and are experiencing him forever in eternity fully justified, fully sanctified and fully perfect. So what we must get out of this verse is this: Jesus Christ reigns for all of eternity as the Only True Everlasting God. What this does for you now here on earth is gives you complete reassurance that your troubles are not in vain. That your struggle will end in victory if you continue to trust God with you whole life and being. Even if the ship is sinking in your life be assured that one day you will see him for yourself if you don’t faint or give up. So hold on. Praise him, sing Hallelujah and make it the anthem of your soul because you win. Yes you are going to have many problems on this side of heaven and God is not going to bail you out of all of them because there are lessons in all of them but one day you will be with those who have made it to the shore praising and lifting Him up for all eternity. So when you’re pissed about life- Hold on. When your heart is broken- Hold on. When your kids are making you crazy and your money isn’t right- Hold on. When your family is driving you nuts- Hold on. When a love one is sick- Hold on. No matter what hold on because victory is coming and we have the facts right here in this verse that one day you and me and all those who hold on to our faith will see him. Jesus Christ reigns for all eternity- That is your assurance and the anthem of your soul. Be encouraged Beloved!!!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The truth is life is a constant process of letting go, growing, realizing what went wrong and what you could have done better. Life is just one big lesson. You can’t get caught up on where you failed at you just have to realize you messed up that time and hope that you do better the next. If we are always down on ourselves for not being perfect and for not making the right decisions in the moment we will never grow. We will become the killers and blockers of our own destiny. God is trying to get is to our destiny here on this side of heaven and that comes with knowing him and loving yourself and your neighbor. It doesn’t mean that you will get it right every time it just means that your willing to raise your hand and say I messed up when you do and take the lessons for the journey. I think that I have figured out for me the key to my happiness here on earth and that is this accepting that I am unconditionally loved by Jesus he loves me just because and I cant earn his affection it is just there and the other part is this admitting that I don’t have all the answers and that life is not meant to be solved. A person cant blame their parents or their past or even the untimely mistakes that happened to them in life all you can do is learn and hope that you get it right the next time and in the mean time of going through the process of life try and love a few people and appreciate the moment. You cant change the past, there’s only so many times you can say sorry, so you might as well accept what is, admit to what was, and anticipate with hope what will be…..
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"Believe you can and you're halfway there"
The truth lies in the discovery of not being afraid to make the change or to take the next step. It’s the mysterious that scared us and the unknown that paralyzes us but if we don’t grow and don’t move on then we will have missed out on what was created for us. We can beat ourselves up for a moment but then we must move on. We either can settle for where were at or we can see what’s behind door number 1, 2, 0r 3. But at some point for every dreamer you’re going want to pick the door or live with the regret the rest of your life that you didn’t step out and take the one chance. My sister whit was counseling me last night and the gift she gave me was to walk in my own truth. Whatever defines it or whatever I call it; just to walk in it. So my gift to you is to move on and forgive yourself. You cant change the past and you cant make up for what you didn’t know at the time. So today change your thinking and move on. Face each day as it comes because tomorrow has enough problems of her own. My lesson today is: not to have so much self hatred and to move on.
Friday, July 22, 2011
What is happiness? What is Joy? What is peace? What happens to a person when they are stripped of everything and stuck so low that they almost don’t want to be found? Your soul is desperate your mind is confused and your heart is empty. You long to be loved and the pain and guilt of the past has overcome you so terrible that you don’t know where to start all you can do is open your mouth and say help. I am scared because I don’t know what’s on the other side but I know I have to take the risk. Get to the heart of the issue.. what is wrong with me… why am I completely and totally self destructive in every area of my life…. Why do I choose to go right when the map says left… I am scared to death but if I don’t move now I will loose everything… Pray for me on this journey and I will keep you updated… Day one… I don’t know what else to do but to loose everything and hope to gain some peace of mind…
Friday, June 24, 2011
Judas, The Man Who Never Knew
I’ve wondered at times what kind of man this Judas was. What he looked like, how he acted, who his friends were.
I guess I’ve stereotyped him. I’ve always pictured him as a wiry, beady-eyed, sly, wormy fellow, pointed beard and all. I’ve pictured him as estranged from the other apostles.
Friendless. Distant. Undoubtedly he was a traitor and a quisling. Probably the result of a broken home. A juvenile delinquent in his youth.
Yet I wonder if that is so true. We have no evidence (save Judas’s silence) that would suggest that he was isolated. At the Last Supper, when Jesus said that his betrayer sat at the table, we don’t find the apostles immediately turning to Judas as the logical traitor.
No, I think we’ve got Judas pegged wrong. Perhaps he was just the opposite. Instead of sly and wiry, maybe he was robust and jovial. Rather than quiet and introverted, he could have been outgoing and well-meaning. I don’t know.
But for all the things we don’t know about Judas, there is one thing we know for sure: He had no relationship with the Master. He had seen Jesus, but he did not know him. He had heard Jesus, but he did not understand him. He had a religion but no relationship.
As Satan worked his way around the table in the upper room, he needed a special kind of man to betray our Lord. He needed a man who had seen Jesus but who did not know him. He needed a man who knew the actions of Jesus but had missed out on the mission of Jesus. Judas was this man. He knew the empire but had never known the Man.
Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Christ.
We learn this timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan’s best tools of destruction are not from outside the church; they are within the church. A church will never die from the immorality in Hollywood or the corruption in Washington. But it will die from corrosion within—from those who bear the name of Jesus but have never met him and from those who have religion but no relationship.Shaped by God
Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Christ. Let’s make it our goal to know … deeply.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Love is Patient
(1 Corinthians 13:4)
by Max Lucado
Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us.
The Greek word used here for patience is a descriptive one. It figuratively means “taking a long time to boil.” Think about a pot of boiling water. What factors determine the speed at which it boils? The size of the stove? No. The pot? The utensil may have an influence, but the primary factor is the intensity of the flame. Water boils quickly when the flame is high. It boils slowly when the flame is low. Patience “keeps the burner down.”
Helpful clarification, don’t you think? Patience isn’t naive. It doesn’t ignore misbehavior. It just keeps the flame low. It waits. It listens. It’s slow to boil. This is how God treats us. And, according to Jesus, this is how we should treat others.
He once told a parable about a king who decides to settle his accounts with his debtors. His bookkeeper surfaces a fellow who owes not thousands or hundreds of thousands but millions of dollars. The king summarily declares that the man and his wife and kids are to be sold to pay the debt. Because of his inability to pay, the man is about to lose everything and everyone dear to him. No wonder “the man fell down before the king and begged him, “Oh, sir, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.” (Matt. 18:26–27 NLT, emphasis mine)
The word patience makes a surprise appearance here. The debtor does not plead for mercy or forgiveness; he pleads for patience. Equally curious is this singular appearance of the word. Jesus uses it twice in this story and never again. Jesus reserves the word for one occasion to make one point. Patience is more than a virtue for long lines and slow waiters. Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us.
Had there been no patience, there would have been no mercy. But the king was patient, and the man with the multimillion-dollar debt was forgiven. But then the story takes a left turn. The freshly forgiven fellow makes a beeline from the courthouse to the suburbs. There he searches out a guy who owes him some money.
“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. “Be patient and I will pay it,” he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the debt could be paid in full.” (vv. 28–30 NLT, emphasis mine)
The king is stunned. How could the man be so impatient? How dare the man be so impatient! The ink of the CANCELED stamp is still moist on the man’s bills. Wouldn’t you expect a little Mother Teresa–ness out of him? You’d think that a person who’d been forgiven so much would love much. But he didn’t. And his lack of love led to a costly mistake. The unforgiving servant is called back to the castle. “Then the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny” (Matt. 18:34 NLT).
Whew! we sigh. Glad that story is a parable. It’s a good thing God doesn’t imprison the impatient in real life. Don’t be so sure he doesn’t. Self-absorption and ingratitude make for thick walls and lonely jails.
Impatience still imprisons the soul. For that reason, our God is quick to help us avoid it. He does more than demand patience from us; he offers it to us. Patience is a fruit of his Spirit. It hangs from the tree of Galatians 5:22: “The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience.” Have you asked God to give you some fruit? Well I did once, but … But what? Did you, h’m, grow impatient? Ask him again and again and again. He won’t grow impatient with your pleading, and you will receive patience in your praying.
And while you’re praying, ask for understanding. “Patient people have great understanding” (Prov. 14:29). Why? Because patience always hitches a ride with understanding. The wise man says, “A man of understanding holds his tongue” (Prov. 11:12 NIV). He also says, “A man of understanding is even-tempered” (Prov. 17:27 NIV). Don’t miss the connection between understanding and patience. Before you blow up, listen up. Before you strike out, tune in.
“God is being patient with you” (2 Pet. 3:9). And if God is being patient with you, can’t you pass on some patience to others?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”
(Galatians 5:6B, NIV)
So often, it’s easy to get caught up in our to-do lists of life. You might even have a spiritual checklist in your mind of all the things you think you need to do in order to please God. And we should have the desire to please Him and follow His commands, but pleasing Him starts with our heart condition. Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians that only faith, hope and love will last into eternity. We can’t have faith unless we first have hope, and our faith won’t work without love. The point is that we have to remember to adjust our focus and make sure that we aren’t just going through the motions in our spiritual walk. We can do a lot of “good” things, too. But if we don’t have love, they won’t matter in eternity. We can have a lot of knowledge, but if we don’t have love, it won’t do us any good. However, when love is the foundation for everything we do, it honors God and opens the door for the life of victory in blessing He has prepared for you!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father God, thank You for Your blessing and peace upon my life. Today, I choose love, knowing that it fuels my faith. I don’t want to go through the motions; I want to love the way You love me. Show me ways to grow in love as I keep my heart and mind fixed on You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.