Worthless Words

Worthless Words

Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV)  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths. If only our tongues were not the wayward beasts set ablaze and out of control, imagine if our words were under the control of God’s Spirit and not the rebellious heart and mind of mankind (and woman-kind). If the door could be slammed shut and the hurtful, ugly and worthless words swallowed up from whence they came but that’s just not how it works now is it? Oh for the reckless, careless tirades if only could be taken back. Images erased from those who received them and now dwell on the hurtfulness which is becoming bitterness. Using only a vocabulary to encourage, build up, fit for every occasion and full of grace to the listener, it is the desire of God for us to communicate in such a way that builds the Kingdom rather than tearing it apart person by person.

Proverbs 18:20-21 (ESV) From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

It says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” and I believe that wholeheartedly. Sticks and stones will break bones but I also am convinced that words penetrate much deeper. People survive broken bones but some cannot survive a broken heart. Relationships, once strong, can be eroded by careless communication and unfiltered anger. Robust outbursts that feel so right and relevant at the time are meaningless when our partner, loved one, friend, coworker, or whoever are hurt beyond repair. What is the fruit of your lips today? I must consider mine. It is important. I was cooking dinner. Our new diet requires quite a few fresh vegetables. Though I stopped by the store, I did not purchase any because there were plenty in the fridge. However, as I pulled the packages out to prepare them for our meal, I noticed that some of them were going bad. The ones clearly soft and gross that touched others were causing them to rot, too. I ended up throwing away several packages because one vegetable went bad and corrupted the whole pack. Can we learn from this? Absolutely. The one bad vegetable did not intend to destroy the rest but it happened as its inward condition began to manifest outwardly and contaminated them all. The fruit of our lips can have the same effect. Whether intentional or not, they can pierce the heart and soul of another quickly adding our toxicity to their thoughts, feelings and emotions. I want my words to give others life. The life I have thanks to Jesus Christ has the potential by faith to produce good fruit in me that will become the offering of my lips if only I pay attention.

From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Proverbs 18:21 is the popular and well-known verse. However, God always has a promise to us in our faithful stewardship to others. Our words will satisfy our own soul first. As the soul prospers, so do we. The abundance of fruit that pours from our lips is not a fake fruit but the productivity of authentic faith. By allowing God’s Spirit to filter every single word through the Truth of His Word, the Light of His Love, and the Hope of His Glory – suddenly those unnecessary banters and tirades are softened to swallow. Being right becomes a little less important when righteousness is highly sought after. God wants to bless you. He has a purpose and promise that will meet its full potential and exceed the perceived abundance in your mind when you choose to say what He says about you, to you and for you and then decide to communicate His Message to the world.

Matthew 12:34-37 (ESV) You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Our words are evidence of what the heart truly believes. Good people can say good things, but godly people only say good things like good fruit. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good. Jesus warns us explicitly that our words are a prime indicator of the condition of our heart. I know that when I am angry, hurt, frustrated and tired the thoughts circling in my head will form words that I cannot take back if released. I am learning to discipline my heart and mind to take those rebellious thoughts and smash them along with my pride to close my mouth tight. As they cannot to try to stir up a fire in my, I ask the Holy Spirit to stomp them out before they flare up again. It is not easy. I am not always successful. God gave us His Grace so there is always enough to share with others. True believers say, “I’m sorry” and mean it. Pride tells us the person deserved it or it was their fault. Humble hearts understand that it doesn’t matter what the other person does because my life – mind, soul, body and yes, even my tongue – belongs to Jesus Christ. End of story.

Lord, close the door to my mouth and prevent any offensive thing from spilling out of it. Teach me only to speak life and love to others. Help me to effectively communicate your love, grace, joy, peace and hope to others because what I think about other things really doesn’t matter. Humble me, God. Help me to filter every single word for kindness, relevance and truth not according to my standard but raised to Your Standard. In Jesus Name…

Proverbs 10:11-12 (ESV) The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

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Soft Heart

Soft Heart

Philippians 2:1-2 (ESV)  So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

In I Corinthians 13, or Love Chapter of the Bible, love is described in lengthy detail. Not the kind of love experienced in this world or through ordinary people but the love consistent with the character of Christ. How many weddings use this text going in yet shortly after embarking in life decide it is not all its cracked up to be? I have been married almost twenty years. While most days are unicorns and rainbows, there are some days when the trolls and storm clouds rule the day. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love doesn’t envy and is never boastful. It is not arrogant. It is not rude. I doesn’t insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. Love doesn’t rejoice when others fall on their face or glory in “I-told-you-so’s.” It rejoices in truth. (Let me just drop the definition of truth in there – it begins with God’s Word.) Love bears ALL things. Love believes ALL things. Love hopes ALL things. Love endures ALL things. Love NEVER ends. So why talk about love when I didn’t even reference it in today’s passage? Well, glad you asked…

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the love described in I Corinthians 13. Love is not a characteristic but a character or real person. It is in His Demonstration of true love that our life is changed both inwardly and outwardly. The same chapter also concludes that if we do not have this kind of love then we have nothing at all. We must all have the same love to achieve Kingdom living. So if there is any encouragement in Christ…complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord or one mind.

Unity and harmony are the very channel that God’s Anointing and Blessing flow. Though the most basic Kingdom principle, probably the hardest to achieve. Hard hearts to not bear deep roots. In fact, the harder the heart the less likely that faith will be watered by His Love and emerge into the flourishing life that God has promised and Christ secured for us. In fact, just like the Word of God says, without love there is nothing. Without love, we hold doctrine rather than hope. Without love, it is a religion never a relationship. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the source of love, joy and peace in our life meeting and exceeding every expectation. If this is true, unity and harmony will emerge.

Matthew 11:28-29 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

How many times is this promise longed for but never fully achieved? The promise of rest for the weary, labored and heavy laden. Is that you today? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Is hope waning in your weary soul? Are you wondering where God is? The Lord is closer than you think. He lives on the inside of you. He invites us to “come to me” so rather than yoking to Him in the morning and partnering with Him through the day – it is human nature to come crawling when we need just a crumb of hope or spoonful of peace to get us through one more day. Where is the victory in surrendering to our feelings? Where is the triumph in doing the same thing every day? He invites us to yoke our life with Him and learn from Him. He is gentle and lowly of heart. A humble heart will receive rest for your soul. A hard heart that refuses to break will ultimately be shattered by life – devastation, disappointment, and the like will crush the one not fully yielded to God. Why would a loving God do such a thing?

My son is a police officer. He works the night shift. While the community is sleeping, my kid is patrolling the streets and keeping them safe. Many mornings I will wake up to text messages of injuries and reports of near misses just to tell me that he is safe nevertheless. Is protecting and serving my first choice for our kid’s career? Do you read the news? Even high profile figures have blatant disregard for law enforcement and incite hatefulness in others yet are celebrated even compensated for it – so the answer is not really. It is his occupational choice. When he was a little boy, he lived in my house. I was able to provide for him and protect him. When he needed assistance or guidance, I was with him. But now, how can I protect him from harm in another city? Or give him guidance in the middle of a pursuit or arrest? I can’t because I am not with him. It is in our proximity and position that God is able to work in us and through us. It is by invitation only that Christ will teach us a better way of life. He would never force it upon us. Love links us to Christ but it is only with a humble heart that the maximum effect of His Love will change our life.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

A humble and soft heart allows the Light of His Love to escape. It is in the cracks and crevices created by giving up those things contrary to His Love that allow His Love to truly penetrate our heart, fill our mind, and make us amenable to unity. The flexibility in our heart is not subject to abuse, offense, or harm from others because are full of Christ. The building of God’s Kingdom is a commitment to love Him first over ALL things. It is a call to step out of our former self and become a new creation in Jesus Christ by allowing Him to change our heart and mind bringing them into agreement and allegiance to His Word. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Everything needed, wanted and desired is fully satisfied in Him by humbling our heart and giving the Lord full jurisdiction. Suddenly the things that truly lead to contentment, fulfillment and a flourishing life are within reach or should I say within us making its way out of us. This is the first fruit of God’s Spirit – love. Unconditional and unfailing love found in us and distributing through us for the building of the Kingdom and life in the everlasting. Amen and Amen.

How’s your heart today? It is up to us to examine our heart. Like a loaf of bread in the local market, I am not going to purchase one that is stale and stiff. I want soft bread for my family that is delicious. Such is the task for us as believers, to give our heart and gentle squeeze for softness, the humble heart always remains soft. It is the only way it can be freely given to others like Jesus has asked us to do. Lord, created in us clean (and soft hearts) today. Holy Spirit, renew my spirit and refresh our souls in Jesus Name.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Shine Bright Little Light

Shine Bright Little Light

Psalm 27:1-3 (ESV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

In Genesis 1, God created light. He literally spoke it into existence and immediately called it good. There is nothing quite like the morning sun shining on your face. In fact, there are actually vitamins that come from the sun necessary for good health. It is warm and inviting. There is no place that I would rather be than sitting in a chair on the beach with the waves crashing, sun shining mediating on the goodness of God. The Lord declares Himself to be my light. He promises to illuminate my way and be a light for the pathway of life. Light has a purpose. It is on a mission to drive away darkness so naturally the light of the world and that which dwells in darkness are constantly in opposition. It is our purpose in life to reflect the Light of His Love and Salvation to a dark, dying, desperate people. Just as in nature is in the spirit and there will always be darkness – it is only permitted to cover the earth when given its proper place. We have complete authority and the power to have dominion over darkness in life. The dark things that try to invade our heart and mind have no place when King Jesus lives there and the Most High is our dwelling place.

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

Jesus came to the world and revealed to us that He is the Light of the world. He went on to promise that those who choose to follow Him will not walk or wander into darkness, but always will have the light of life. Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart? Asked Him to be Your Savior? Do you strive to make Him your Lord? See if these three elements are present the Light of the World has moved from His Heavenly Throne to the inside of you. The power of light to drive out all darkness is hidden inside of you ready to burst forth and draw others to it like a moth to a flame.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I have wonderful news for you – Christian believer! You are the Light of the World. I have a warning for you as well. You are the Light of the World. The most powerful force of repentance is grace which is a product of perfect and unfailing love that gives off a light so bright that the darkness must flee. It must retreat when a new flame is started and begins burning. Obviously the enemy wants to stop the tiny spark in your heart from becoming any brighter so he attacks ruthlessly to put out the light that is changing you and reaching into the darkness pulling others into the Light of God’s Love and Salvation. Darkness is always overcome with light. You are the Light of the World – a city on a hill – to reflect and captivate others with God’s Love. Shine bright little light – the world is watching.

Psalm 37:5-6 (ESV) Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

In our enthusiasm and zeal to serve the Lord, sometimes our little light gets dimmed by religion. It is not intentional at all. However, a lack of understanding, God doesn’t need workers – He needs vessels. People who He can pour the entirety of His Unfailing Love and Goodness into to carry it as Light into the darkness. Caught up in doing we are no longer able to allow Him to bring forth our righteousness as light. We must commit EVERY way to the Lord. Trust Him in ALL things. This gives the Lord space and permission to move and fill our life with more and more of His Love, Grace and Goodness which is exactly what people need, want and desire.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (ESV)  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

God doesn’t use lamps or lanterns to give forth such brightness. He chooses to bless the broken with such an honor. It is in our brokenness being made beautiful that the Light of His Love is undeniable. His Work in us shows that it is His Power not us. When the one who should not be filled with joy, love, forgiveness and light gives forth a mighty illumination that God is gloried and others notice. Let light shine out of the darkness means it doesn’t come up on the edge but is exposed in the middle of the dark place. Oh, shine bright little light – the Father is with you! He is for you! He will help you! Fill you! Spark you! Ignite you! Jesus lives in you! He is more than enough! So shine bright little light for all the world to see!

Psalm 43:3-4 (ESV) Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

Get Off the Bandwagon

Get Off the Bandwagon

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV) Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Social media is a wonderful way to connect and keep in touch. It is a good resource for encouragement and ministry. But like everything good that God has given us to enjoy in this life, it comes with some traps and snares that must be avoided. One such trap is that of offense. To become offended opens our heart to many things that are contrary to successful Christian Living and a prosperous life. Resentment builds a wall of bitterness and suddenly there is a breach in the Body of Christ. The bandwagon came to my house today. I was ready to hop aboard. Anger building inside me at the blatant disregard of my feelings or opinion made retaliation seem justified. However, this time I have set aside for Jesus is good for me because in these quiet moment His Spirit would hold keep me from the sin that would so easily beset me.

The media thrives on the emotions and feelings of others. Political opinion and opposition is a favorite. Anything that will create division and cause an uproar. Media has no feelings but it does have an objective which is to gain attention. It is good at its job. Many believers fall privy to its tactics and what could be a resourceful tool to build the church of the Living God becomes nothing more than a sparring match that leads to hurt feelings, revved up emotions and seldom points to Christ. Oh how I wanted to jump on the bandwagon today and ride along with the others. I wanted to share my opinion. Voice my concerns, but the Hand of God on my shoulder reminded me that to do so would carry me away from Him.

Proverbs 17:9 (ESV) Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

To cover an offense is the death of pride and ultimate act of love and humility. It is to put away our emotions and rightness in order to exact the Love of God and His Grace to others. I can make those things that are offensive to God stop right here – if I choose to avoid the bandwagon and stand on the firm foundation of faith in Christ that I have been given. Can I share a secret with you? This is not my home. I am a resident of heaven. I am a child of the Most High God. His Kingdom is where I live. These temporary things really don’t matter in the Light of Eternity. I must be a good and focused solider of God and keep myself from getting caught up in civilian matters. It requires extreme discipline because this culture longs to draw us in and pull us along with the current affairs. I will not be moved. Will you?

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

The Lord has called us to be one – united in Jesus Christ. In our partnership with Jesus, it is a commitment and firm dedication to lay our life down for others. Hatred stirs up strife. It can also say that strife can stir up hatred. You have a right to your opinion and so do I until it interferes with the Work of Christ in us bringing us to completion. Offensiveness or to be offended – it really doesn’t matter what side of the truck chosen the destination is always the same. Such feelings and emotions – do not lead to anything but disappointment. The hope offered in Jesus Christ allows us to overstep offense and shake off its shackles to continually live in full freedom. After all, who the Son sets free is free indeed. It is only His Opinion of me and others that matters so why waste my time and energy destroying relationships when Oneness gives Him joy!

I Peter 2:1-5 (ESV) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

You are a member of a holy priesthood and a living stone in building the Body of Jesus Christ that He will soon return to. Christians and believers must stop getting lured into pointless political arguments and temporary trivial matters in order to focus on unity and reaching those who live in darkness. This means putting away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. The post on social media meant to be a joke or express your personal view that offends or hurts another is not Christ-like or godly. It is a knife to the throat of your ministry all for your own glory. It says that your opinion matters more than God’s and it doesn’t. It is far more difficult to keep scrolling and disengage – believers must be conscious of this constant trap and threat to our ministry. Grace will not allow us to cut down and hurt others in our own rightness. It is not the way of Christ. Let the bandwagon carry off its merry revelers but pray for them as they go.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Friends, examine your heart as I do mine today. Faith must be found in us. Faith that allows us to disconnect and disengage from pointless opinions to clearly reflect the truth of God’s Love for us. Our life must be transparent for others to see the Love of God inside of us. Those who are offended by us surely will have no interest in getting to know us or the Christ in us. Evaluate the message – every message you send out in the world – is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy for these must be the focus and projection of our life. Not me, but the Christ in me. Test yourself as I do my own heart and mind. Before posting or sharing your opinion on a soapbox or rant, fall back on mama’s advice – is it kind, necessary and true? I repeat – is it KIND? NECESSARY? TRUE?

Oh sweet Jesus – help my heart to not be offended while I strive not to be the offender. Keep my heart fixed by faith and full of You – Jesus! Keep my eyes focused and the way clear of such traps and snares as the enemy tries to lure me off course. Holy Spirit do your job as I give you permission to sift through all the contents of my life and remove all that is impure. Point out anything offensive so I may live for the everlasting and bring others with me. Stir up the fire in me so that all they see is You – Lord! And when tempted to step on the bandwagon, God – keep me standing firmly by faith. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Psalm139:23-24 (ESV) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Basic

basic

John 3:16-18 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

Basic. It is an urban slang term for someone who is unwilling to express individuality. If you are basic, then you are considered to be an ultra-conformist, not unique or someone who seeks status within your group association but no more. Just the implication of the word in modern culture may be what sparked your interest in this writing. However, the original meaning of the word “basic” is forming an essential foundation or starting point. Have we missed the starting point that changes everything? The beginning that builds a Kingdom beyond this world? The fundamental concept that God set forth before time in order to save a people bent on rebellion and compromise? Yes. We have. Religion has somehow compartmentalized a union of people that were meant to work together as a streamlined body edging to eternity together taking as many with them as might go. It’s all about a relationship. God who loved His Son yet would accept His Life as blood payment for the sins of all. God gave His Son for you and me. It doesn’t matter if you accept Him or not – He did it anyway. The basic truth behind Christianity is that Christ died for us all again. The Love of God for us clearly demonstrated yet the point missed completely most of the time. God did not send His Son to condemn us because our sin already did the job. He sent His Son to provide the grace needed to set us free again. Free to love. Free to learn. Free to lead. Every single person is a candidate for God’s Love and Salvation. Every single one…

Romans 3:21-25 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.

We are all basic by definition. There is no distinction. Everyone has sinned. Everyone fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Everyone worthy of His Love through Christ alone. Everyone. If only it was possible to grab hold of the basic concept and truth that everyone is the same and there is no distinction, perhaps our individuality could begin to be revealed because competition and comparison ends in such a revelation. My purpose and plan set forth by God is for me. I am a Child of the Living God. No one can take my place. God does not have favorites. We are all favored by the Lord God. It is the gift of His Grace that makes us righteous again. It is independent of an organized religion but the basic truth behind our relationship with Jesus Christ apart from anyone else that can bind us to everyone else without expectation. It is received by faith.

I John 4:16-19 (ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. 

I know a lot of Christians. People who call themselves believers. I am a Christian. I do believe. My employer has never called himself a Christian or even a believer. Probably just not terms that he would use. In fact, if you catch him on a good day you may hear some language you haven’t heard in a long time – like maybe a sailor if you know what I mean. BUT – there is no kinder more generous person that you will ever meet. His ability to love and give to others is truly Christ-like. He recognizes the blessing of God in his life and chooses to give his life away. We don’t really talk about religion so I am not sure if he attends church EVERY Sunday or serves on any church committee. I don’t know if he prays every single day or adheres to the long list of do’s and don’ts prescribed by religious people. No clue. But I know this…he gives every single day. He gives his time, talent and treasure to all walks of mankind in an effort to love others. I wonder if we have set our eyes on the wrong set of rules, doctrines or mandates and somehow bound our ability to be basic again. To live and love like Jesus who did not come to judge others but that through Him they would saved and set free. Definitely food for thought today at least for me…

The basic concept is that Christ loves me so I love other people. All other people. If the Lord decided in advance that everyone was worthy of His Love, how can I pick and choose the way I give my life away? I must give it all away. This is the example of Christ the fundamental basis of the Kingdom of God and binding force of the Body of Christ. Lord, make me aware of every opportunity to love and give today. Keep me from judgment because it is not the example that you have set for me. Teach me to be a generous person in all ways every day. In Jesus Name.

I John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Just Plain Wrong

Just Plain Wrong

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

There is a temptation far greater than our weaknesses. It is unforgiveness. The do’s and don’ts in the Word of God are for our benefit. The greatest commandment is to love. Not just any kind of love, but to love others as God loves us. Jesus gave His Life for love. I encountered such an instance this week and even now three days later – I am still building my proverbial bridge to get over it. The details are unimportant. In this predicament – there is no question that the other party wronged us. Those who know of it will quickly attest yet as grace is applied – I am miffed. I am just being transparent because I know that others struggle with me. Old hurts, betrayals, and abuse that leave a void that bitterness quickly fills if forgiveness is not instilled. I must forgive others to be forgiven. If I choose unforgiveness, I cannot be forgiven. It is right there in black and white. I must forgive the person who hurt my family. I have no other choice and remain in fellowship with my Father.

There are very few sore spots left in my healing heart that are vulnerable to unforgiveness and bitterness. It has taken two decades and will probably require a couple more to allow the Lord to touch those places and make them whole as well. I have learned over the years that unforgiveness is an open wound constantly seeping poison into our thoughts, mind, will and emotions. It is a thorn in our flesh that requires all of God’s Grace to completely cure. It is clear without question that my Heavenly Father requires me to offer the grace I have been given to all mankind and it must be from my heart. (Matthew 18:35) I cannot pretend to forgiven but choose not to forget.

Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 

I have tried to pray for my “enemy” of late. My heart is struggling with sincerity as I do. I am reminded that I am to love my perceived enemies and those who persecute me. The person who made an error in judgment is loved and desired by Jesus just as much as me and yet in my rightness I am still offended and appalled so the Word is the water washing such emotional overtures in waves of overwhelming grace. God makes the sun to rise and rain to fall on the just and unjust because it is His Will that none should perish but have everlasting life. The struggle in my heart is real, but the evidence of God’s Spirit working and massaging at the hard and unrelenting place inside me is obvious. Lord, how do I forgive those who hurt me? How do I overcome the just plain wrong that has come against me? How do I move past the insult to pray for the one who did this to me? Well, maybe it’s not all about me…

I John 4:18-19 (ESV) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

Oh, how the Lord has a way of sticking it to the part of our heart that hinders us. I must love and learn to forgive fully and completely simply because He first loved me. I had no right to His Love yet He gave it. I had no claim to His Life yet, Jesus laid it down for me. There is nothing innocent in me except Christ lives in me now. He paid the price for my life so the life I give away is His to give not mine. I may be right but righteousness is my lifelong pursuit. I have every right to be offended, mad and seek justice. However, I am a product of selfless love and unending forgiveness therefore I cannot continue in the state of mind or risk losing what matters most to me.

When Jesus told Peter to forgive those who sin against him “seventy-seven times” maybe he wasn’t talking about that many offenses but that it might take our heart that many tries to forgive a single offense. Forgiveness is against human nature. Self-preservation and pride demand recourse and even revenge. I am challenged today to remind myself seventy-seven times seven plus one to forgive. Forgive this person. Bless this person. Pray for this person continually until I mean it from the innermost depths of my heart. Why? Simply, because Jesus chose to love me first. While I was still a sinner, He died for me. He fought for me even when I was His Foe. I can love fearless when I do not let insecurity to produce unforgiveness in me. Perfect love expects nothing from others but gives it’s all just the same.

Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV) Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

When I Want to Fight

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Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV) And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

A church leader shared this passage in Sunday service last week. It was good then…but this morning, I wasn’t sure I liked it quite so much. The Lord told Moses and the people to fear not…stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord – He will work for you today! The enemy in their sights would be gone forever. This is the good part. Now comes the struggle in certain situations – “the Lord will fight for you and you have only to be silent.” There are situations in life when one might prefer to wage war against other people or vilify themselves and seek revenge in order to give the other person what they have coming to them. When facing the giants in this world, it is much easier to let the Lord have His Way and slay them. But when the foe that is faced is of a sizable match – it is up to us to let the battle be the Lord’s and to remain silent.

I Timothy 6:11-13 (ESV) But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

There is only one fight that I am called to as a believer. I am ordained to fight the good fight of the faith. Faith is confidence in the Lord and putting all expectation in Him. It is an act of trust that causes us to stand and wait rather than pursue and overtake. We must fight the battle within our flesh to let the Lord fight our battles, win our wars, and even to be silent while watching and waiting. As believers, the encounters and engagements with the enemy become more and more unjust as our life is aligned to Jesus Christ. To hold on to eternal life rather than prideful rightness is so hard when right. Our good confession in the presence of many witness is always faith in God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We must stand in victory because Christ lives in us and not fight amongst each other.

As believers, our lifelong pursuit is righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. Ugh! Sometimes these qualities and characteristics of the Lord that He is attempting to create in me cause a war in the flesh. I must stand on the Word of God and walk in His Ways even when the enemy knocks on the front door, meets me at work or even shows up in the church parking lot. The struggle is real. It is an everyday battle of our mind, will and emotions to remain in partnership with Jesus Christ. To maintain our relationship so that it is thriving, growing, maturing and constantly developing into an inseparable bond both now and forever.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Is it a coincidence that the great cloud of witness are mentioned immediately after the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11? A reminder that faith is not easy. Trusting God is hard. When the enemy comes throwing his weight around, trying to stick sin on us, and attempting to trip us with lies, we must continue to run the race of faith to the prize that waits before us. It will require endurance. You will get tired of turning the other cheek. Standing doesn’t release the adrenaline that fighting for your right will, but righteousness comes from living as one with Christ. We must keep our eyes fixed on our Champion. The One who is the Founder and Perfecter and Author and Finisher of our faith in the first place. The Lord will fight for you today. He will fight for me. I must be silent and wait on the Lord even when it hurts. To know whose I am and who I am in Christ must lead me down a pathway of peace in life so that others will entertain His Presence through my influence. Peace lives in me. The war waged in my mind and heart are against flesh and blood that seeks retribution. My flesh is called to die so new life will take its place. Lord, help me to be confident and silent as you fight my battles today. Help me to stand firm and having done to stand firm. In Jesus Name…

Ephesians 6:12-13 (ESV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

It’s a Setup

It's a Setup 2

Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

The blessing of God in our life is a divine setup. God decided to impart every spiritual blessing to us before He created us. Not only that, God the Father also had already purposed to adopt us into His Family before the realization that sin had orphaned us ever came into play. God knew you and me and yet still had already made the decision to love us no matter what the cost. I don’t think that many Christians know and understand just how profound predestination is and what a great factor it plays in life. When God decided that He would make us holy and blameless, He already knew the cost and was willing to pay it. Jesus Christ was always part of God’s Magnificent and Perfect Plan for us because God knew about our sinful nature from the very beginning. You can have the perfect Will of God because our life is a divine setup.

The Perfection of God is not compromised by His Love for imperfect people but rather He has chosen to secure the debt so there is no penalty. He gives us His Grace instead. Therefore, no matter what a depraved wretch I was before I met Jesus Christ and invited Him into my life, I am still made holy and blameless by the Perfect Will of God that He already planned and paid for. Persistence, patience and perseverance are required by us because of our rebellious nature and raging flesh that must be dealt with and put to death on a regular basis. We must learn to let the Lord’s Grace and Mercy cover our imperfection and live in His Perfect Will. It was never possible for you and me to be perfect but rather step into His Righteousness and be perfected by Christ.

Shame and regret attempt to turn our head from the possibilities of God in our life to the past that once kept us from them. Doubt keeps our neck locked in a backward position when God’s Promises whisper “just turn around”. If we believed in the sufficiency of God’s Grace, it would lead us to conclude that He is always good. We are blessed not because of our personal abilities but completely in the fact that God is good and full of grace. He has a plan that will lead to fulfillment of purpose. He is worthy of my praise simply because His Grace is always enough. It is all because of Jesus so there is no performance pressure or assumption that I can or ever will be perfect – but can fully rest on His Plan, Purpose and Promises just the same.

Ephesians 1:7-10 (ESV) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In Christ alone fulfillment is possible, outside of Him our attempts to have a fully satisfying life are impossible. Jesus fills the void that sin left behind. Habits can be changed. Discipline achieved. Schedules shifted. New life can be demonstrated in human behavior but it must begin in the heart to become the new person who can have fulfillment and prosperity in God’s Perfect Plan. We must accept His Grace by being covered in His Blood, its messy process. Yet God “lavishes” grace upon us in copious amounts knowing full well that our nature is otherwise corrupt and self-seeking.

Keeping our eye on the prize is beneficial. My daughter, who six months ago had her first child, sent me a picture of an extremely healthy woman who was in excellent shape. She claimed this to be her in a few months. She is dieting and exercising. It takes self-control not to indulge in all the good food that is permissible but not beneficial. She looks at the physique she would like to achieve and it inspires her to make better choices and do the workouts on the plan. It is our nature to desire immediate and even constant gratification but what if we could see past the process to the outcome. Looking at the prize certainly justifies the price. Why do we as believers expect God to just wipe away all the consequences of our past and pave a path to our future without the suffering born of transformation? There must be a death to achieve new life.

Ephesians 1:11-14 (ESV)  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, I was taught that God had a perfect will but that sin kept us from it. In other words, each sin committed cost us something from God’s Plan. I am convinced now that is impossible. God prerecorded every single moment of our life before our creation. (Psalm 139) He must have considered every single detail including our sin and shortcomings – otherwise God would be considered delusional. He knew beforehand that every person created would sin. Therefore, His Grace is sufficient in the price fully considered and paid completely. It is by His Grace that I am saved through faith. Faith is the confidence and blessed assurance that I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in advance as an inheritance. It means that though I fell short – Jesus (precious Jesus) filled the gap and voids in my life that once kept me from God’s Perfect Will. Jesus is enough to secure righteousness for me.

Does this mean that sinning will not keep us from God’s Perfect Will? No. The only way to receive the fulfillment of God is to be united with Christ. What relationship will ever survive if taken for granted? If I am unfaithful to my husband, surely he would want to end our marriage…I know that I would. True love doesn’t seek after itself but perfect unity with its Beloved. Christ died because of my sin. He endured awful torture and horrendous pain to see me completely forgiven and fulfilled. To engage in willful sin and rebellious behavior would clearly show that I was only attempting to use Jesus for my own personal interests without any regard for the relationship of righteousness to be formed so there is no salvation without a personal commitment to Christ deeper than the surface.

Psalm 139:15-18 (ESV) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

I have lived more than 50 years now. Long enough to see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the living as prescribed in Psalm 27. I share this with you because it still blows me away when God works all the details of my life for my good and His Glory. The Lord was with me as I was intricately woven. Intricately woven does not imply a careless conception but rather careful creation with divine attention. He saw my substance. Not who I was but who I might become in Him. The Lord recorded every single day of my life before I ever lived it. God’s Thoughts concerning me are precious. He is always looking to perfect my way so I am living the best possible life because His Plan for me leads to full satisfaction and complete fulfillment. He is a Perfect God who loves the most imperfect people. He predestined you for a prospering life that begins in the innermost part of our soul and works its way out. Not because we are perfect, but simply because He is.

Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Slow Leak

Slow Leak

Psalm 34:4-7 (NLT) I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

My vehicle comes equipped with a tire pressure sensor. It is very sensitive to the amount of air in each tire. Recently, I noticed that when the systems did the initial ignition check that the warning light would come on. It indicated that one of the tires was registering low on pressure. Upon inspection, it did not look any different than the other wheels. Yet each time, the light would consistently come on. I took it to the mechanic on the way to work for a manual pressure check. He looked at the tire agreeing that it did not look low but his pressure gauge showed it was indeed low on air. Over the next few minutes, he did a quick look to see if there was a nail or sharp object protruding but nothing. I made an appointment for the next day. To find the source of escaping air, the shop filled the tire with air and then slowly ran water over the tread until sure enough a little puncture was found. Thankfully the tire was under warranty and with the new one in place, I was on my way.

I have noticed lately that my heart feels a little empty, my soul just a bit dry, and I have been wondering if maybe I sprung a slow leak like my tire. Even strong Christians have days when they feel weak and tired for no apparent reason. There is usually a reason but since life is good – we focus on the good things and ignore the nagging in our spirit and warning signs that something is a bit off. That’s what believers do, right? Faith it until we make it. Recite memorized scripture and spout Christianese? Pretend it is hope that we hold on to rather than the fear, doubt, anxiety, and worry that develop into disappointment, devastation or depression? Everyone has fears. Everyone has certain doubts. Everyone worries about something. Even the strongest Christian has disappointments. We are called not to perfection but perseverance and persistence. To keep pressing past the challenges of life to grab hold of the possibilities of faith. It is messy. It can be ugly. There will be a lot of tears. We must deal with those slow leaks in our heart that cause our love, joy and peace to be emptied.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

In the believer dwells the Holy Spirit, the very essence of Jesus Christ. He is always busy producing good fruit for soulful consumption such as love, joy, and peace. These are the fruits that allow us to thrive. Living water flows in and out of us. Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life. We have everything needed to live a rich and satisfying life full of abundance. The Kingdom belongs to us. We are connected to it so if we feel like less than enough, failures or fruitless – it warrants our immediate attention. A thief is among us.

Ephesians 6:16-17 (NLT) In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

In John 10:10, there comes a warning that there is a predator of our soul who seeks to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. You can choose to ignore him but that will not keep him from firing fiery arrows at your heart and soul. If the lie of the enemy can make it past our shield of faith and penetrate our mind, it will produce a leak in us. We must be deliberate and vigilant in our faith holding it tightly and protectively over our heart and mind. While salvation is the helmet to protect our thoughts, it is important to be on the lookout and constant defense for the enemy and aggressor the believer’s body, mind and spirit. He is always aggressively attacking seeking who can be devoured.

Ephesians 5 tells us about natural relationships such as husband and wife. It refers to Jesus who loves the church. Christ loved us so much dying was not a second thought but His Sheer Determination to have us. We are offered the Mind of Christ. To allow Him to transform our mind from the inside out. I love the illustration in Ephesians 5 where Jesus washes the wounds of His Bride with His Word. He is the Word. The Lord had to pour Himself out to wash, bind and heal our heart and mind. To make us holy and whole. To cleanse us. To restore us. To renew us. To refresh us. To revive us. Do you need to be restored, renewed, refreshed or revived? Let the Lord wash you in the water of His Word to find the leaks where love, joy and peace are escaping.

Psalm 34:17-20 (NLT) The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!

Oh friends, do you feel dry, thirsty or a bit empty today? The Lord is ready to heal you. He is ready to fill you to capacity with the abundance promised to you as His Beloved. God does not forsake His Children even when we are broken. In fact, the Word of God says just the opposite. He rushes in to the broken. Grace turns to power in our weakness not personal strength. Faith is a shield meant to protect our heart not to be a logical defense but the powerful force that keeps us standing under pressure and pressing when on the verge of giving up. Life in Christ is not always easy but promised to be work it. Psalm 34 invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Allow Him to change our appetite and productivity in life. Yet know and understand that even strong lions sometimes go hungry…oh but those who trust the Lord will lack no good thing which means the current situation or condition is temporary. Oh if only our natural eyes could see life from the spiritual realm – we are always living half full and never half empty. God is constantly producing good things and pouring out every spiritual blessing. Lord, show me the leaks. Come in close and heal them so I may overflow with love, peace and joy again.

Ephesians 3:17-20 (NLT) Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Lay Me Down

Lay Me Down

John 15:12-14 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

The more in love with Jesus I become the more evident the loveless places in my life. When invited the Light of His Love shines into the deepest and darkest parts of the human heart and illuminates all the places where love is not definitive. Pride tries to brush it off in the name of self-preservation but the Spirit continues to press on the sorest part to make the change and trust the Lord. Over the years, I have developed the uncanny ability to shut off the switch of my emotions when it comes to hurt, betrayal and devastation. To become indifferent is a dangerous quality that should never be embraced but carefully extracted. Life’s experience give us certain coping abilities that are unhealthy to the spirit man and contraindicative to growth, development and maturity of the new creation. The command is to love each other as Christ has loved us. He establishes that there is no greater love than for one to lay down our life for a friends. The Lord goes on to evoke that those who master this concept will be called and considered His Friends. Faith makes us a friend of God. Love makes us a friend of Jesus. The key to laying our life down properly is love. We must get it in the right order to have the desired effect!

In Revelation 3, the Lord talks about indifference. He calls those who live in it as “lukewarm” and tells us that He will spit such people out. It goes on to say that Jesus will correct and discipline us to love everyone. It comes with the warning to be diligent in pursuing passionate love and turning away from the tendency of humanity to live in indifference. Indifference makes us disinterested, inattentive, uncaring, and self-centered. Intentional Christians cannot be indifferent but must live passionately in love with Jesus Christ. It all begins with our acceptance of His Love and commitment to learn love like our Savior. But this is not always the case. Some will come to Jesus and attempt to lay down an incomplete life for others to follow which will only lead to despair and disappointment. The beginning and end of our faith is the Love of God for us. Lord, teach us to love like you do!

I John 3:16-18 (NIV) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

I must lay down my life for my brothers and sisters. The Kingdom of God is reserved for every man, woman and child who asks Jesus to save them. God’s Desire is to save, heal, deliver and restore them all. Am I working with the Lord? Or working against Him? Friends work together. We give up our time, energy, resources and more to help out those who are called family and friends. But what about the rest? Oh I hear you! I give. I help. I share. I am generous. There are many philanthropists who give away their wealth. The Kingdom Economy called wealth is not measured in such things. It is our capacity to love others and from that love give our life away. We cannot get it out of order. Love is not a compulsion it is a commitment.

John 13:36-38 (NIV) Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

Peter was probably one of the most enthusiastic, passionate and zealous Christians to ever live. He believed it when he told Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you.” How devastating to discover just hours later that the Lord was right when Peter denied Him the third time and the rooster sounded as promised. Peter already had the revelation of who Jesus was. He knew that Jesus was the Son of the Living God. I know a lot of people but I am still learning to love them. Not everyone is lovable and not everyone understands love. There are many people who have only experienced brokenness and devastation in giving love away so they give their life but withhold their heart.

In I Corinthians 13, it says “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” When Peter saw Jesus walking on the shore after the resurrection, he dove in the water and swam all the way to shore to meet Him. Peter was different now. Indifference was now filled with passionate love for the Lord and a willingness to give his life from that love. We must fall completely head over heels in love with Jesus in order to make the laying down of our life meaningful.

John 10:14-18 (NIV)  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Love cannot be forced. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. To love or not to love. It is a personal choice made each day. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is not distant but constant. His Sheep know Him and respond to His Voice. Why? Because they love him so. He offered His Life as a sacrifice for our sin so that our relationship with God the Father could be reestablished. He did so out of love. To properly lay our life down for others it must always be from the same love that God gave us through His Son, Jesus. It is in that capacity that our power and authority to lay our life down and pick it back up is possible. No one can take your love from you. You must choose to give it. We have the full power and authority of Jesus Christ – King of Kings and Lord of Lords – on the inside of us. Full dominion is ours because Jesus gave it to us. To lay down my life for others and fulfilling the commandment of Christ means receiving His Love. Allowing Him to teach me to love through correction and discipline. Continue to love until He comes for me or I go to Him. Lord, teach me to lay down my life properly. In Jesus Name!

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”