Thursday, March 31, 2011

Living in the Light-DD 3/31/2011

"And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me." Acts 22:9

Contextually, the apostle Paul was in the middle of what has become known as the Damascus Road experience. It was here that he met the Christ that he had been prosecuting as a dyed in the wool Jew. In fact, he was on his way to kill and persecute Christians when this event occured.

Paul was initially confused, but heard the voice of the Lord loud and clear. Ultimately he was obedient to that voice for the rest of his life. His companions, however, knew that something was going on but did not know what, nor did they themselves hear the voice.

Beloved, we who call upon the name of the Lord have all had our Damascus Road experiences. There was a point in our lives that we stepped out of the darkness and, at the Lord's invitation, stepped into the light. We were told what it was we must do and we spend the rest of our lives trying to do it.

We must also realize that there will be others around us that have no idea what is going on. They will see the light of love and the light of Christ taking over our lives, but will not themselves hear the voice. Our great challenge is to lead them to their own Damascus Road experience. Let us all live in the light as He is in the light.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thank You Lord


Today is the one year anniversary of the beginning of an amazing journey. On April 29, 2010, during a conversation with my Father, it was decided that I would get to know Him and His word better. You might think with me serving in the capacity of a minister that I know plenty. Well, one can never know enough and no one knows everything there is to know about His will and way.

On April 30, 2010, I wrote the first of many DDs (Daily Devotionals). A goal was set to study, pray and produce this devotional every Monday through Friday of each week (except holidays). I must tell you, faithful reader, that this started out as a God and Lee thing. It was an opportunity to avail myself of His knowledge and His opportunity to really teach me. By forcing myself into the word and into prayer on a DAILY basis, my hope, trust and prayer was to become closer to Him and to better perform His will. I am and I have.

Later, it occurred to me that others might benefit from this very personal journey. I then decided to make it available to all who desired it. I was careful not to just start sending it to people, but instead, informed them that it was available and then add to the distribution those who were interested. Over the past year I have received quite a bit of feedback that lets me know we are on a journey together. It seems that as He deals with me, He is dealing with you also. In fact, many of you distribute the DD to your family, friends and acquaintances. Others have asked me to add them directly so that they can receive it right away. Surely it is to our collective benefit to be in touch with God in this way with this frequency.

I thank God for his amazing faithfulness and this wonderful journey. I thank Him for the things he has revealed to me over the past year. I think Him for all who read these thoughts sprung forth from His word. I thank Him for keeping me strong and disciplined, even when I didn't feel like doing it (we've never missed a single day). And most of all, I thank Him for his love and long suffering nature. He is patient with me and I love Him for that. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.

Remember that you can always go to the blog and access past devotionals. Of late, I have begun to categorize them by key word and scripture. Remember also that if any of your acquaintances would like to receive them, just have them drop an email and I will add them to the list. So what do you say? Another year? Let's do it!

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Looking Back to Move Forward-DD 3/29/2011

"We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."
James 5:11

Life can sure seem hard at times. It seems that we are all struggling to make it most of the time. Yes, there are good times when we are happy and satisfied, but when we cast our minds back, we so often remember the tough times. This is especially true when we are enduring them currently. We sort of pile our present circumstances on to what we feel is a history of tough times.

Why do we find it so easy to look upon our lives with such pessimism? In what nirvana do we really expect to live? There is no life without challenges, complications and difficulties. Even a scant survey of the life of Christ will reveal the most difficult life ever lived. Jesus, however, never lamented his circumstances.

Beloved, if we choose to look back, let us not seek consolidation of woes. If we look with the proper focus, we will see that God has always been there to deliver us through those challenging times. Perhaps the job we lost was to make way for a new and better one. Perhaps running late saved us from an accident. Perhaps the end of a relationship preserved us from a future with the wrong person. We cannot know the things that God is working out in our future, but we must know of the things He has accomplished in our past.

There was a time when it seemed that every time I got a little ahead, something would come along and take it away. I eventually learned that God had so fixed it that every time something would come a long, there was a way for it to be taken care of.

Let us remember that if we can look back on difficult circumstances, God has already delivered us through them. And if you feel that you are enduring much now, be assured that He is in the process of delivering you through current circumstances as well. The only things we need to do is have faith and fix our attitudes.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, March 28, 2011

Being There-DD 3/28/2011

"Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." Gal 6:2 Beloved, none of us are Christians in isolation. When we obeyed the gospel, we became members of a family; the family of God. More importantly, we became members of the body of Christ. In every body, each member has its place and its function. Each one depends on others to provide functions it cannot provide itself. Each member also finds its purpose in being able to provide the functions it is uniquely qualified to provide. The fact is, we need each other. Each of us knows what it is like to hurt and to be alone. Each of us knows what it is like to have need. As Christians, united by a common faith and a common Father, we are siblings in the best sense of the word. Who better to be there in a time of need? When things get a bit heavy, it is our Christian brothers and sisters to whom we should be able to turn. Let us remember that a big part of our Christianity is other Christians. As God is, we must also be a present help in a time of need. Loving Like Jesus, Lee

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spiritual Evolution-DD 3/25/2011

"For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." Rom 5:19

This one scripture so encompasses the spiritual evolution of man. Though created by Divinity, humans were not themselves Divine. From the beginning there was a lack of righteousness displayed through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. This sin, once introduced, traveled throughout the human genealogy to every person that has ever lived. This places each of us in the same need of restoration. It was all started by one man.

Praise be to God for the "other" man. This man was born without sin. He is truly Divine. He came to seek and save all who are lost. He came to be an example of obedience and righteousness. Ultimately, he came to die. It was only through this ultimate sacrifice that we who are in need of restoration have the ability to obtain it.

Beloved, this is the greatest love story of all time. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. The son so loved the world that he gave his life. This allows us to evolve from sinful man to spiritual man. Let us not remain in the condition from which we have been offered salvation.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, March 24, 2011

About Giving-DD 3/24/2011

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." Mal 3:10

It is interesting how antsy people in general and Christians specifically get when the subject of giving comes up. The man of God is often criticized for speaking on the subject. "Here he goes again talking about money," some say as they roll their eyes.

The focus should not be on the fact that the man of God is saying it, but instead should be on what God Himself has said. He challenges us all to give sacrificially. The amazing thing, however, is this: He invites us to test His ability to provide a return on our investment. To be clear, the reason for giving should never be driven by the potential to receive, nevertheless, God promises blessings that we will not be able to contain.

Beloved, giving does not necessarily come naturally to us. Do you imagine dying came naturally to Jesus? Sacrifice is something that must be learned. In that the command to give came from God, the focus should be on Him, rather that anyone that delivers the message. Surely the benefits will come from Him. Just another message about money? Look closer. It may be just another message about blessings.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Restoration-DD 3/23/2011

"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted."
Gal 6:1

We all know what it is like to make a mistake. Unfortunately, many of us know what it is to have that mistake publicized, thereby exposing us to ridicule and public shame. It seems that we are far too willing to expose others for benefits that are at best, questionable. It is as if we somehow take pleasure in seeing others humiliated. Even if we are not the source of the exposure, many play the role of a grape on the vine.

To be clear, sin should be avoided at all costs. We know that God is not pleased with sinful behavior of any type. We also know, however, that we serve a forgiving God. In this case, blatant and premeditated sin is not the issue under consideration. This is about times and situations that a brother or sister might be overtaken by sin. This indicates that it is not habitual, but more accurately, a mistake.

Beloved, as Christians, we have a responsibility in this situation. Our role can never be to stand idly by and allow our brethren to be captured by Satan. We must move to protect members of the body, sometimes from themselves, as we would a member of our own family who may find themselves caught in activities and habits that are detrimental to them. This is not to say that we should hide sin or even ignore it, but that we should usher them back into a righteous walk through rescue, reproving and restoration.

While we are rendering this aid, it should be in a manner that we ourselves would have aid rendered. In other words, it is not to be made light of or publicized, but dealt with discreetly and with love. The scripture so importantly says that any of us could find ourselves in the same situation. Let us not find cause to add to the shame and pain of a brother or sister. Let us instead cover them with love and restore them.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Handling the Little Things-DD 3/22/11

"He said, " Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Job 1:21-22

Most everyone is familiar with the story of Job. We seek or are referred to his story during times of duress and great tribulation. We are fascinated by the depth and breadth of his calamities. We are also fascinated by the grace and humility with which he faced them. He always kept God at the forefront. These thousands of years later, we still draw strength from his life.

This is presented not to give us inspiration to endure our lowest lows, but to cast in relief our smaller trials. Let us consider the things that send us off the deep end. We are subject to road rage in traffic. We often argue with the ones we love over trivialities. We are ready to feud if someone slights us socially. If the boss has a less than complementary word for us, it turns into a bad day for everyone with whom we come into contact. If our child has a disappointing showing on the field of play, we forget how proud we are to have them as flesh of our flesh.

Beloved, we spend an inordinate amount of our time majoring in minor. Let us not allow the smaller things to be blown out of proportion. To be sure, the significant accidents, diagnoses, employment situations, losses, etc., will come to us personally or to someone with whom we are close. Proportional reactions in those case would be able to be understood by anyone. Remember, however, the grace with which Job handled the worst incidents imaginable. Consider then, how would he have handled the smaller things.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, March 21, 2011

We Are Zaccheus-DD 3/21/2011

"Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." Luke 19:5

Zaccheus was a tax collector during the time Jesus walked the earth. It is important to understand that he was not merely the equivalent of someone who works in today's IRS. The Roman government required that the population be taxed, but those who collected taxes often collected much more than was required. They took advantage of their positions and enriched themselves while contributing to the degradation of others. They were also citizens of the occupied country. This caused them to be vilified and even hated. They were spoken of in the same vein as the worst sinners.

Zaccheus sought Jesus. To his delight and the derision of others, Jesus not only recognized his efforts (being short in stature, he climbed a tree to get close to him), but honored him by being willing to be a guest in his home.

Beloved, there are two glorious lessons that can be taken from this event. First, we are all Zaccheus. Each and every one of us is, by nature, sinful. Despite the awful things we have done, the darkness in which we have lived and the incredible distance we stand from purity and holiness, Jesus came to seek and save we who were lost. Second, if Jesus can condescend to embrace the lowest of the low, to sit and sup with them, surely we must do likewise. He has provided us with a great example of tolerance and love. We must be able to look beyond the sin and see the need.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, March 18, 2011

Confidence in God-DD 3/18/2011

"I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Ps 16:8

This scripture is regarded by many as a prophecy of the trials endured by Christ. Embedded within these words can be seen the very confidence of Jesus in the Father. Surely this is an example for us.

First, we must make God and His will and way for our lives an absolute priority. Once we have been called from the darkness into the glorious light, we owe it to Him and to ourselves to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth. We must avoid giving lip service to our calling, but ensure that we live it every day.

We must then realize that He is always with us. There is no place that God is not, nothing that He does not know and nothing that he cannot do. Only He is deserving of our full faith and trust. Again, it is important to know this on every level of our existence. Only then can we live in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to Him.

Finally beloved, living in a godly manner that is indicative of our faith in Him will give us the absolute confidence to do what He requires of us. Surely there are many things that fit this bill, but they can all be categorized as loving Him with everything we have and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Jesus lived his life this way. Let us follow his lead.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, March 17, 2011

God is Calling-DD 3/17/2011

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hos 4:6

The people were surely in a sad state of affairs when the prophet Hosea penned these words. He was directed by God to communicate to the people that He was angry with them. He said, "For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed." These words were written in the 8th century BC.

It is unnecessary to compare what the state of things were then to what they are now. It is necessary to point out that God was telling the people then as now to turn from wicked ways and embrace Him who created us. The context is that He suffers when we are unfaithful to Him, He cannot condone sin and that he will never cease to love His own. He constantly seeks to win back those who have forsaken Him. Do any of us deserve such love and long suffering?

Beloved God is calling upon us to invest time, effort and energy into knowing Him and His ways. Paul exhorts us to not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is. In Him we live and move and have our being. Without Him we are certainly doomed.

Let us not repeat the mistakes committed centuries ago. Let us gain knowledge of our Redeemer. Therein lies protection, security, love, provision and abundance. Brothers and sisters, we need not perish. We need not perish at all.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When We Are Threatened-DD 3/16/11

"Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.'" 1 Sam 24:10

Saul, in the rage of his jealously, pursued young David with 3,000 men in an effort to kill him. He happened into a cave to relieve himself where David and his men were hiding. As the king was indisposed, David's men reminded him that God promised to deliver his enemy into his hand and that this was that moment. Listening to this counsel, David approached the king and clandestinely cut a piece of fabric from his cloak.

As Christians, we must consider with a great deal of gravity, how we respond to those who array themselves against us. Throughout our lifetimes, we endure slander, mistreatment, lies, verbal and sometimes physical attacks at the hands of others. In these situations, what type of advice do we receive from our friends? Is their advice in keeping with our Christianity or our humanity? What, then, do we do with that advice and how do we conduct ourselves?

David felt guilty for taking the limited action that he took and went to his enemy Saul, apologized and appealed to him to be reasonable and stop threatening his life. His reason for doing this was his love and respect for God. Because Saul was anointed by God to be king, David felt that it was wrong to lay a hand on him, even in his own defense.

Beloved, when we are threatened and scandalized, we must remember whose we are. The command that we have been given regarding our enemies is to love them. Vengeance is reserved for the Lord and is His sole domain. He has also said that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Let us place our faith in God, our protector and our redeemer.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Equipped for Parenting-DD 3/15/2011

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Eph 6:4

The role of the family in a child's development is to love, nurture and teach. Naturally there are many things that go into each of these categories, but the point is that parents have a responsibility to their children.

When we look around at the world we live in, it is not unusual to wonder what is really going on. Why is there so much death, destruction, fighting, corruption and unrighteousness? We see bad acting on the part of both children and adults. A breakdown in family love, nurturing and teaching is most surely at the root of our problems. According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today). This is not how God intended the family to be structured. Parenting is more than a full time job and requires all the help and resources we can get. This is not a criticism of single parents, but a lament against things that cause these situations to be so...whatever they may be. Children need the positive influence of both parents whether they are together or not.

Beloved, we must return to a focus on the family. Marriages must not be entered into lightly and must survive. We must not be unequally yoked. We must be willing to give instruction in the Lord at least as much time as karate, soccer, baseball and scouts. Just as we prepare our children to thrive and survive in the world, we must with even greater fervency, prepare them for eternity.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, March 14, 2011

Tough Love-DD 3/14/11

"For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good." 2 Thess 3:11-13

In order for the local body of Christ to work as it is designed, everyone must do their part. It is easy to mark those who are more interested in sowing seeds of discord than doing the work of the Lord. Everyone knows who the "troublemakers" are. The question is, what are we to do with such brethren?

We must first and always love our brothers and sisters in Christ, despite their actions. Know that it is some times necessary for love to be tough. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." Prov 27:66. We must reprove, rebuke and exhort when there are those of our number who are acting outside of what is best for the body and for themselves according to the word of the Lord.

Suppose tough love does not have the desired effect? If their behavior involves immorality, covetousness, idolatry, drunkenness, swindling or gossiping, we are instructed to refrain from associating with such "so called brethren" according to 1 Cor 5:11 Let it be known, however, that this is to cause them to repent and return due to the discomfort of isolation and the error of their ways.

Beloved, we are often very hesitant to employ church discipline. We must understand that it is called for by God and very beneficial to the health of the body. Just as He chastens us because He loves us, we must do likewise. It is said that a little yeast causes the whole lump of dough to rise. This implies that it takes a very small amount of sin and bad behavior to negatively impact the entirety of the body. Let us be sure to employ love and discipline when and where needed for the overall health of the body.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, March 11, 2011

Take God at His Word-DD 3/11/11

"If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chron 7:13-14

We can all agree that the world is in a sad state of affairs. It should be known, however, that this is not the first time that this statement could be made. In fact, it is not even the first time in our lifetimes. Throughout history, there have been times when it seems that the whole world is going to hell. Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind.

Of course there is nothing wrong with the planet itself. The problem is with the people who occupy it. From the Garden of Eden, we have behaved outside of God's will and instructions. Despite his warnings and the consequences that man has always faced for his rebellion, the defiance persists.

Despite this beloved, there is a solution. It is the same solution that has always been apparent and available. We must serve God in all that we do. This is certainly directed at the individual, but individuals make up families, groups and nations. We need to serve God as a whole. He has promised to provide healing, prosperity and peace. Unfortunately, we so often fail to take Him at his word, we end up enduring unnecessary hardship and pain. Let us take our God at His word.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Experiencing Anger-DD 3/10/11 [repost]

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." Eph 4:26-27

It goes without saying that there is no shortage of things in life that can cause us to become angry. Between traffic, co-workers, the kids and yes, even brothers and sisters in the church, it is not unusual to find ourselves experiencing this emotion from time to time.

You might be surprised to know that in the 234 times it is mentioned in the KJV, the bible does not speak against experiencing anger. In fact, God is described as being angry on a number of occasions. The scriptures do, however, give parameters. Among others, we are to be slow to anger. Eph 4:38 advises us to put a great deal of distance between anger and ourselves. Our scripture of the day encourages us to not allow it to linger.

Further, we must continue to evaluate within ourselves what makes us angry, why any given thing causes us anger and perhaps most importantly of all, how we handle that anger. When Jesus became angry at the cleansing of the temple, it was due to a failure in righteousness. What would life be like if this was the only thing that upset us?

In all things, let us be sure to not give place to Satan. Surely it is a better use of our time to rejoice in the Lord and again I say, rejoice!

Loving Like Jesus


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Faith Worth Fighting For-DD 3/9/11

"I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." Jude 3

As children of God, we are heirs to a legacy. It is a legacy of truth, of true reality and of love. True reality is mentioned because the temporary lives we lead are the slightest prologue to eternity. This eternity of truth, reality and love are a gift, but it is one that must be chosen. It is not received simply by being born. Though available to all, it takes a conscious decision to obey the gospel and become children of God.

Beloved, for this matter we must exert intense effort to attain and maintain the faith. As the context of the passage shows, their are many who not only do not believe, but actively oppose righteousness and its author the Almighty. They are described in very specific fashion and their characteristics can be seen all around us. Make no mistake, the intense effort is necessary because the opposition is strong.

God has given us not only the reason to strive for righteousness, but the tools to do it. Remember the brevity of life for the child of God. Time is limited to make the right decision and to live the right life.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Suffering and Comfort-DD 3/8/11

"For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ." 2 Cor 1:5

When the apostle Paul penned these words to the church at Corinth some 2000 years ago, he was speaking from an experience that is completely foreign to us. We have the ability to worship our God in relative ease and comfort and are not often challenged due to our belief. In fact, we spend more time challenging each other on the nuances and disputable matters of religion than we do celebrating the unity proscribed in scripture. That said, consider some of the things suffered by Paul:
  • "Are they servants of Christ? — I speak as if insane — I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches." 2 Cor 11:23-28

Beloved, this narrative goes on. Paul knew what it was to endure for the cause of Christ. In fact the Lord himself told him that he would suffer many things. Today, we have about as much appreciation for that as our children do for the struggles of living in a segregated society with its restrictions on everything from water fountains and bathrooms to education and jobs. They simply do not think about it because they do not have to endure it.

We must never lose touch with our history or, as the saying goes, we will be doomed to repeat it. Because we do not know the suffering, we do not realize the comfort. We are so well taken care of, we take our lives of relative ease for granted and then fall back to that from which we have been saved. The remedy? Study, reflect, remember, serve and praise.

Loving Like Jesus,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do the Word-DD 3/7/2011

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” James 1:22

Undoubtedly, we as Christians attend bible studies and worship services where the word of God is taught and preached. It is hoped that the man of God in particular and all of those who have taken on the responsibility to expound upon the scriptures and teach sound doctrine, do so after taking a great deal of time in prayer and study in order to act as the oracles of God. Surely they are messengers of the Almighty and the messages they deliver are gifts from Him who made us.

As with any gift, it is only as effective as the receiver’s value of and use of it. This in no way expresses the absolute and immeasurable value of God’s word, however, what is the effect of a cure to the afflicted who will not avail themselves of it?

Beloved, we must not just attend classes and worship for the purposes of fulfilling some requirement or to be entertained. We must live by the very word of God, Matt 4:4. God has given us our marching orders. We must carry them out to the letter in order to be found within his will. The word of God is living and active. Its power is seen, felt and experienced when we carry out His word in all that we say, do and think.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, March 4, 2011

A God Who Feels-DD 3/4/2011

"The sons of Israel said to the Lord, "We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day." So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer." Judg 10:15-16

The people of Israel found themselves outside the will of God. They forsook His ways and began to serve other gods. To compound their problems their old enemies the Philistines and Ammonites pursued them in war. It was at this time that they cried out to God to save them. Interestingly enough, God was very irritated with the people and invited them to seek assistance from their new gods.

Beloved, it happens far too often that we repeat this mistake. We turn away from the Lord, find ourselves in trouble and come running back to Him to bail us out. It is difficult for us to imagine being refused by God once we have repented. As it would happen, forgiveness and help is available from Him. Our Creator loves us passionately. Despite the long list of human failings, He has always made a way back to Himself for us when we have rebelled. And He has always accepted us when we returned.

It turns out that we serve a God who feels. As a doting parent, He is moved with compassion by our suffering, pain and plights. He comes to our aid and He continues to love us. This is not a license to rebel, but a reason to stay at home.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

To Know Better is to do Better-DD 3/3/2011

"The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here." Matt 12:41

Nineveh was the capitol city of the Assyrians, a vicious and evil people that persecuted their enemies, including the Jews. The famous story of Jonah centers around his mission to these people to whom he was sent to warn of their impending doom should they not repent of their wicked ways. The bible records that they heard him and made immediate changes in an effort to please God and avoid his wrath.

Today, even members of the Lord's body are being swept into the habits and activities of non-believers. We are seen listening to the same songs glorifying debauchery, licentiousness, and over indulgences of all types. We go places where the wicked go and do things the wicked do. We spend more time in front of the television and on the internet than we do attending to the things of God which have eternal implications.

Beloved, there are those whom the Lord will call from the lowest depths to be his children. They will come out of all kinds of sin, even as we once did, but they will understand the true meaning of obedience and love. They will not consider the pew the dwelling place of their Christianity, but will be as the Good Samaritan, the widow with her mite, the one evangelizing in the wilderness; they will be like Jesus. And it will be those who will rebuke those of us who are lukewarm and "playing church." The Lord has said, the last will be first and the first will be last. Let us heed him who is greater lest we be condemned by our children in the faith.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Keeping the Habit Kicked-DD 3/2/2011

"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. "Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. "Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." Matt 12:43-45

Most of us know what it is like to overcome something. Some come to the faith by leaving a bottle or drugs, others bad relationships, others still, a life of crime or some other bad and destructive habit. We were saved from ourselves and our own bad decisions by the grace of God.

Many of us likewise know what it is like to continue to struggle with our past. Some, unfortunately, are overtaken and captured by that past and made to be worse off than they ever were before.

Beloved, when our lives are swept clean and we are given a fresh start, a recipe for failure is neglecting to fill the holes that were left by the destructive elements' departure. We must replace the negative with the positive, the dirty with the clean, the bad with the good. Study of the word, prayer, fellowship, worship attendance and even acting as a sponsor or mentor to someone who is going through what you have been delivered from are all great things to fill those spaces. It is those who have been tested that have the greatest testimony. Let us not allow Satan back into our lives once he has been successfully evicted.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Keeping Your Word-DD 3/1/2011

"But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment." James 5:12

In biblical times, it was common practice for people to make a profession and base its validity on things greater than themselves, such as heaven or earth. Sound familiar? Have you ever heard anyone swear on their mother's grave or their children's lives or some other such thing?

It was also common to make these professions without them being held or understood as binding oaths. Rabbi Akiba taught that "a man might swear with his lips, and annul it in his heart; and then the oath was not binding."(from Adam Clarke's Commentary) To us, it would be like making a promise or a statement and crossing our fingers. We feel that it relieves us of the burden of fulfilling the statement should it be necessary to do so. In short, it is a license to lie.

Beloved, we must be a people of our word. When you are telling the truth, it is not necessary to fortify it and it is not necessary to hedge it. The danger in doing either is one of becoming a hypocrite. Where there is hypocrisy, there is judgment. Let us be people of our word in everything that we do and say.

Loving Like Jesus,