Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Almost Slipped-11/30/2011 (rp)

"Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Ps 73:1-3

To this day, many are concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses." We look at their lives, the possessions they own, the jobs they have and the things they are able to do. We also take note that often, they are not members of the body of Christ. Whether the "Joneses" are luminaries like the Gates' and Oprah, or the guy with the biggest house and the nicest neighborhood, we some how feel that it is all so unfair.

Beloved, we must be careful about thoughts like this. To the Christian, life should not be about the material. Jesus said, that we are not to concern ourselves with earthly possessions, but to store up our treasures in heaven.

Though the wicked may seem to prosper for a time, it is not worth losing our inheritance to do what they did to get what they got. There is a consequence for unrighteousness, be it prosperous or not. The Psalmist further relates, "When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my mind until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. How they are destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!" Ps 73:16-19

Let us maintain our footing in the Lord.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Righteousness is as Righteousness Does-11/29/2011

"Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" 1 John 3:7

What comes to mind when you think of the word "righteous?" Think of integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness and correctness of thinking, feeling and acting. The apostle John, in his penning of this epistle, was addressing a scourge and a threat to the young Christian faith called Gnosticism. This system was a belief that involved among other things, the thought that pure knowledge was the key to salvation and that only things of the spirit mattered while things of the flesh did not. This, in turn, gave them license to behave in any fleshly way they chose because it did not affect their protected spiritual side. Of course a fuller treatment of Gnosticism exceeds the scope of this writing but suffice it to say that they viewed righteousness as separate and apart from the things they actually did.

Beloved, scripture is replete with exhortations for us to "walk in the light," "accomplish what is good," "put to death the misdeeds of the body," "season your words" and the like. There should be no confusion by anyone that God has expectations of us that involve behaving in a righteous manner in word, thought and deed. In fact, we are commanded to be holy because He is holy. We are without excuse when it comes to conducting ourselves in any other way. Further, seeking other interpretations, understandings or even religions that are counter to this teaching only gives place to that which God has prohibited.

Conversely, righteous thinking, speaking, acting and believing is in fact righteousness. In so doing, we gain the approval of God and participate in His righteousness. This is a far better plan than trying to live unrighteously and calling it righteousness. Let us pursue what the Lord says.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Gift of Time-11/28/2011

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet 3:9

Contextually, Peter is addressing the taunts of those who question, at worst, the existence of God and at best, the prophesied return of the Lord. He reminds his audience that God is not on man’s timetable. Before we ever existed, He created all that there is and that there was never a time that He did not exist. Citing that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” he establishes that God is above and beyond time. This said, Peter further relates that God is doing us a tremendous favor by delaying the end of the age.

Beloved, there are some that are anxious for the return of the Lord. Looking as we do at the prevailing condition of this world and the people who occupy it, some are hungry for righteousness and justice to prevail and things to be set right by He who is the Master of the Universe. Others are not so anxious for the day to come due to the root cause of a lack of readiness. Regardless of one’s position, all should rejoice in the wisdom and love of the Lord. For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, know that the delay is due to God’s fervent desire that none are lost. What could be more righteous? For those who are “not ready” you are the object of His longsuffering. His coming, however, is as certain as the fact that the past has already occurred. In that when the time comes it will take place in an instant and that we do not know when that time will come, we only have this moment to be ready. The next moment is not promised. We therefore must not delay as He has done on our behalf. Surely whatever motives anyone has for doing so are nonsensical. The time He is giving is a gift and that gift has an unknown expiration date. Better use it. Now.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, November 25, 2011


"Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isa 6:8

Far too often we are settled in our Christianity and in our faith. Once we have "made it in," we tend to have a seat and wait for whatever is coming. Though we are grateful, we sometimes feel entitled and that we have done all we need to do. Surely our benevolent God will provide for all of our needs and send us through a minimum of inconvenience and discomfort, right?

I wonder if we are acquainted with God at all. Throughout the divinely inspired scriptures, He is shown to be a God of action. He is never one to sit idly by and just let things happen. There is always a purpose for what He does and what He allows. Further, a casual survey of the scriptures reveal that He almost always requires something of us. Noah had to build the ark. Abraham had to leave his country. Moses had to lift his hands to part the sea. David had to pick up the 5 smooth stones. God is fully capable but requires us to do our part.

Beloved God is not looking for us to do things grudgingly nor out of necessity either. He loves it when we give of ourselves cheerfully. I believes that He enjoys enthusiasm and zeal as well. When we are commanded of God, we should run to the task like no other. Never should we shrink back and do the minimum if anything at all. God has given us so much that there is no task from which we should run as Jonah did, but in all things do as Isaiah did and volunteer to be sent!

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks-11/23/2011

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations." Ps 100:4-5

We are taught from the earliest age to simply say "thank you" when anyone gives to us or does for us. Michelle and I have a 20 month old grandson who is still formulating his vocabulary but "thank you" can already be found in his limited repetoire. It is one of the most polite yet fundamental things we can say in response to everything from the a "God bless you" when we sneeze to the very sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Beloved as our nation and the world set aside this day to stop, reflect and be thankful, let us as Christians, in our own way, lead this effort. Let us do so by placing our thanks where they belong, at the God's throne of grace. Let us do so by encouraging one another to count blessings rather than complaings. Let us give as we have been given. And let us do so not just on the 3rd Thurssday of November, but every moment of our lives. Surely God blesses us so.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Loving Like Jesus,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Keep Going and Going and Going...11/21/2011 (rp)

"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good." 2 Thess 3:13

The Christian life lived right involves a lot of work. To be sure, the work is good, fulfilling, rewarding, beneficial and the right thing to do. In fact, we were made for it. It can, however, get tiresome from time to time.

We all lead busy lives. While most of our "mandatory" time is spent earning a living, getting an education or taking care of a household, for some of us, most of the rest of our time is built on pursuing the things of the Lord. There are classes to be prepared for and taught. There are members to visit in both homes and hospitals. There are things to be done to maintain the place of worship. There are meetings to be had, people to be counseled, administrative work to be done and prayer time to be spent.

Sounds exhausting right? For those who are doing it, there is no doubt that it can be and often is. But the encouragement today beloved, is to not become weary in the good that you are doing. Let us continually be motivated by the tiresome good that is done to us by God, despite the fact that we could not possibly hope to deserve it. Let us also be encouraged by the promises that have been made to us. The greatest of rewards awaits those who remain diligent.

The Christian life is a race of endurance rather than of speed. We need to remain consistent, steadfast and committed to doing that for which we were made. Let us be living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. When He calls for us, let us not be asleep, but working while it is day, for night surely is on its way.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, November 18, 2011

The Rewards for Works-11/8/2011

"For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints." Heb 6:10

Have you ever done something for someone and walked away feeling un(der) appreciated? Oddly enough, this is particularly likely if you are doing the work of the Lord. Christ himself experienced this phenomenon:
  • "As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, " Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine — where are they? " Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" Luke 17:12-18

The good news beloved, is that God never forgets. The scriptures tells us that the things done in secret are rewarded publicly by the Lord. The key, however, is to do things for which to be rewarded. Though salvation is full and freely given by the grace of God through faith, not of works, we were indeed created for good works and have been encouraged to "work out" our salvation. In short, we need to be busy for the Lord, just as those who have shared with us have been busy.

If we do His work, not out of the expectation to receive, but because we have ALREADY received His great love, sacrifice and bounty, we will find that God is generous in His recognition and appreciation.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being An Example-11/17/2011

"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." 1 Cor 11:1

The apostle Paul offers himself as an example to a young church in trouble. The church at Corinth was located in the New York City of its day and was subject to the outside influences that could be found there. There were issues with quarreling among members about who they were to follow, shameful incestuous behaviors, lack of concern for the needs of the poor, idolatry and failures in compassion to their fellow human beings. The church that was supposed to be helping others, itself needed help.

Beloved the world should be able to look to those who are members of the Lord's body to understand what love, grace and mercy are all about. It is not suggested for a moment that perfection is involved, but there should be an observable difference when the world looks at Christians. If there is not, how will any be won to him? Why would anyone even believe that God is? Instead, we earn the label of hypocrites for claiming to be one thing and actually being something quite different, something quite like a non-believer.

We have been called to a better way, to better behavior, to better practices and to a better life by He who made us. In so doing, we are called to share this illumination with others who remain in darkness. Paul offers himself as an example of one who was converted from some pretty bad ways to a devout follower of Christ willing to sacrifice all to know him and to share him. Each of us should strive to be able to make that same offer to those with whom we come into contact.

Loving Like Jesus,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Can You Hear Him Now?-11/16/2011

"So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, for you called me.' Then Eli discerned that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel,"'Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, 'Speak, for Your servant is listening.'" 1 Sam 3:8-10

God in His divine wisdom saw fit to call a young boy into his service. Samuel was a product of a devout father and a mother who struggled to bear children. For years she cried and prayed that God would bless her and that if He did, she would give the child to Him. God answered her prayer and she kept her promise. She left the boy with God's man Eli at a tender age and he began to be instructed in the way of the Lord. Then at a God determined point in his life, he was called into service by the very voice of the Almighty.

Beloved, there are many things that call to us today. We are inundated with messages from a variety of media that contend for our attention. Some of these messages are positive, some neutral and some negative. We must ask ourselves, however, if we are tuned in to God. It is His call that is quiet but firm, powerful and consistent. He placed within each of us to recognize His voice. Paul writes, "...that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" Rom 1:19-20. Contextually, this is a chastisement for those who have ignored the call of God and have acted unrighteously. But it clearly reveals that He has placed within us the ability to know and Him.

Further, His voice can be heard in our morality; our sense of right and wrong. Whether one is a believer or not, we all have a sense of what would we should do over against what we should not. This is then the God channel. It is not here stated that we hear God's audible call today. In fact Heb 1:1-2 tells us a bit of the history of His communication with us. The point is He still speaks. Be it through observed nature that make His existence evident or the conscience He has placed within us to respond to Him, He still speaks. When He calls, we need to turn everything else off and respond, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can You See Him Now?-11/15/2011

"Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly." Mark 8:25

This passage is merely the midpoint of a fascinating trilogy of stories concerning faith, understanding and the identity of God's son. There was a man born blind found in the city of Bethsaida whom the residents brought to Jesus to be healed. Jesus responded favorably to the request due to his compassion for the man suffering. He would not, however, perform the miracle within the bounds of Bethsaida because they had not repented despite his many miracles previously performed there. Jesus proceeded to apply healing to him, but when first asked if he could see, his reply was in the affirmative but only partially so. Jesus applied additional healing and he was then able to see clearly. Do not doubt that Jesus could not have healed him on the first try if that was his aim. He is in fact making a point.

The first episode of this trilogy occurred among Jesus' apostles. Having just come from feeding the 4000, they entered a boat to journey to the other side of the lake. One of them discovered that they had very little food and began to worry. Jesus instructed them to "beware of the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees and of King Herod." They mistook his words to be chastisement for not bringing more bread. When Jesus detected these thoughts, he reminded them of all that was left over from the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 when they had begun with so little. His reprooving question to them was, "Do you not see clearly? Have you no understanding?"

Part 3 of the narrative involved Jesus' famous question of the apostles regarding who the general population thought he was compared to who they thought he was. Peter supplied the answer, "You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." This confession was evidence that the apostles could now see clearly who is.

Beloved, before we meet the Lord, we are blind, struggling in spiritual darkness, unable to find our way and without hope. Yes we live our lives and raise our families, but without Christ, we have not received illumination beyond this secular world. When we do meet him, we do not experience immediate clarity because a relationship is a process. The apostles had been with him for some time and witnessed things never seen before on earth, yet they, those closest to him, still didn't quite understand. They only saw partially. In the end, however, the experienced perfect understanding of who he is to the universe and more importantly, who he was to them.

Let us, in all that we do, pursue clarity of who Jesus is that we may understand all he has, does and will mean to our lives and eternal souls.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, November 14, 2011

Embracing Your Role-11/14/2011

"Thus he said to him, " Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also." 1 Sam 23:17

Beloved there are times when we have the grandest of plans for our own lives. We pursue education, athletics, apprenticeship in construction or the arts with the greatest of intentions to make a significant impact on the world. Whether through hard work or birthright, we sometimes feel that we deserve to have a particular function or station in life.

Consider Jonathan, the son of King Saul. In monarchy, it is a foregone conclusion that the son follows the father to the throne and that the family would rule in perpetuity. Johnathan had every right to expect to become king after his father. Scripture reveals, however, that God had other plans. He had already chosen David to be the next king early in Saul's reign.

Despite what we think or plan, we must realize that we do not have all of the answers and that God has His own ideas about what He wants us to do and where He wants us to be. We may serve His purpose best by working at a not for profit organization rather than holding the office of CEO at a Fortune 500 organization. It may be that we are placed with a spouse of questionable values and morals rather than a steadfast and upright mate for the glory of God.

Surely we must place ourselves in the hollow of the Father's hand and embrace whatever role He has for us with gladness. Not only was Jonathan not angry about David being the future king, but he made a covenant with him and "...he loved him as he loved his own life." 1 Sam 20:17 It may very well be that God put you exactly where you are. It is from there that you can get to exactly where He is.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Cost of Christianity-11/11/2011 (rp)

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23

What an eloquent verse this is that describes the requirements of the Christian faith.

First, you must believe. Heb 11:6 tells us that "He that cometh unto God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Following Jesus necessarily involves belief. No one would get on a plane that they did not feel could fly nor a boat they did not think could float. The desire to follow him means that the individual has been compelled to do so by recommendation, personal experience, need or fear of the alternative. All of these have belief as a foundational component.

Denying oneself contextually means to die to oneself. Clarity is found in Rom 12: 1 where we are told to make our bodies a living sacrifice. Otherwise said, we are no longer our own but now are to lead lives dedicated to the service of the Lord. Through baptism, we die to the flesh spiritually, are buried as dead and are resurrected into the newness of life even as Christ was. In so doing, we live lives dedicated to the accomplishing of his will rather than our own.

Taking up our cross demonstrates that our commitment is not to be entered into lightly. It involves the gritty reality of suffering, pain, ridicule, persecution, sacrifice and potentially, literal and figurative death. The cross is a heavy burden, but it is one that Christ shouldered for us. He now invites all that are weary and burdened to come to him from whom rest is available.

Finally beloved, we cannot just talk about it, but we must be about it. Calling ourselves Christians is meaningless without living the life that exemplifies that calling. A young man of many great possessions and authority was once invited to follow Christ but turned it down, once he heard what it involved. We must follow him in word, thought and deed regardless of the cost. Remember that we are bought with a price paid for by the blood of our savior.

One might ask why we should endure such things since they have already been done for us. The answer is that we should endure such things because they have been done for us. By taking up his own cross, Christ serves as an example for us. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Though we may sometimes find our faith to be challenging to maintain, we will find that the benefits to doing so are out of this world.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forgiving Yourself Because You Are Forgiven 11/10/2011

"He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep." John 21:17

As any of us might imagine and certainly feel if we were in his place, Peter was wracked with guilt over what could easily be the second greatest sin of all time (the "original sin" being the first). He had denied his Lord and Savior not once or twice but three times. You will recall that he even cursed while doing it. Having had his Lord restored to him after the greatest miracle known to man, he was forced to endure what he felt was the shame of having to profess his love for the the Lord not once or twice but a third time.

Beloved, Peter need not have felt this way. Rather than being persecuted by the Lord, he was actually being restored by the Lord. If any among the apostles were a leader, it was surely him. Though he was arguably closest to Jesus and therefore committed the greatest seen by denying him, he was now being given the ultimate forgiveness. More importantly than this, however, is Jesus' implicit message that Peter needs to forgive himself. It can clearly be seen that Jesus is over it (if in fact he was ever bothered by it) evidenced by his charging him to shepherd the flock. Peter was not in a position to wallow in his own misery. Jesus had work for him to do.

Forgiving ourselves can be among the most difficult things in life to do. We have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. We all have skeletons in the closet. We all have things we regret. If we allow those things to weigh us down and keep us in guilt laden misery, we will never be able to do the things with which we have been charged by our Lord. Whatever it is that you have done and repented of, know that Christ has forgiven you. Forgive yourself. Get to work.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Proximity Warning-11/8/2011

"Now the men of Sodom were wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord." Gen 13:13

It is now as it was then that we live in a wicked world. One need scarcely cast a glance to see that the effects of sin are all around us. It is piped into our homes via the television and the internet. It is broadcast into our ears via the radio and popular music. Our eyes are assaulted by morally impure billboards and magazine covers. None of us need go looking for its evidences. It is all around us.

So it was in Lot's time. You will recall that at the time it became necessary for he and his uncle Abraham to part ways, Lot was given a choice. He chose the lush and fertile plains and "pitched his tent near Sodom." Chapter 19 finds him sitting at the gates of and ostensibly living in the city itself. It was already well known what type of place this was yet he evidently chose to live there.

Beloved we must be aware of our proximity to wickedness. Often times we watch certain movies or television shows, listen to certain radio programs and read certain books and maintain certain relationships that are not in keeping with what is best for our spiritual development. We tell ourselves that we are mature enough, strong enough and discerning enough to glean from them without becoming subject to them. 2 Cor 6:14 asks, "What fellowship does light have with darkness?" What would we be missing from our lives if we rejected and eliminated the unholy and the impure from our lives?

Lot began his life in close proximity to God. By the end of his life, he had lost his possesions during the destruction of the city, his wife, who could not distance herself from her past and he unknowingly fathered children by his wicked and incestuous daughters. From these children came the Moabites who then became enemies of God's people. These are ample enough reasons to watch your proximity to wickedness.

Loving Like Jesus,


Monday, November 7, 2011

You Did It To Me-11/7/2011

"The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’" Matt 25:40

Judgment for some will be a great day. Jesus here relates a scene from the throne at which is said, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" Matt 25:34. He then proceeds to relate to them all of the things that they had done that contributed to their favorable judgment. Those things outlined each involved caring for others.

Beloved, we should never think that we can earn salvation, however, Phil 2:12-13 instructs us to "work out" our salvation, stating that it is God who works in us to fulfill his purpose. In essence, we have work to do because we are saved by grace through faith rather than working to become saved. Among other things, that work involves being God's representatives on earth. When we visit the sick in the hospital, God is there with us and in us to minister to those in need. The same is true if we buy a bag of groceries for someone who is hungry or babysit for a couple who has no other support system but could use some alone time. There are countless ways to serve others. The Lord has said that when we do so for others, we are doing so for him. For this, there are rewards.

Additionally, we must understand that while today we have the power to provide God's presence to others, there may very well be a time of need when He shows up at our bedside in the presence of a brother or a sister. Let us all continually do our part to carry out His will.

Loving Like Jesus,


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Gain of Pain-11/4/2011

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matt 5:12

Too often we suffer from spiritual myopia. In our shortsightedness we are too focused on things that are right in front of us rather than the things that are yet to come. To our human side, this is understandable. How could one not be concerned with the things that are happening now? To our spiritual side, however, it should be another matter entirely.

Contextually, Jesus is preaching his famous sermon on the mount and relating how "blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." The two important things to note here are the fact of persecution and the reason for it.

If we are living our Christian lives correctly, we should expect to be persecuted. Jesus has said that the world will hate us because it first hated him. This will only happen, however, if you are actually doing the work of the Lord.

Beloved the point of all this assumes that we are leading Christ like lives. The encouragement is to not be downtrodden of heart. Many of our spiritual ancestors experienced the same and worse. The Savior is telling us that we should be glad to be counted worthy to suffer for his namesake. It is true that no one wants to suffer, but this is the kind of pain that comes with great gain.

Know that Christ suffered the ultimate for you. Any stripes you may endure have already been healed. If we would look just up the road a bit, we would see the light of our awaiting reward.

Loving Like Jesus,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Overreaching Our Grasp-11/3/2011

"Better is a handful with quietness than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind."
Ecc 4:6

It is a beautiful thing to go about your life taking care of your responsibilities to God, family and man in peace and harmony. To do anything less is a denial of the faith and causes one to sink to the level of an infidel, 1 Tim 5:8. God designed our lives to be lived in a way that we would never know want, pain, hunger or even extremes of temperature. He intended for us to always be in close physical proximity to Him as He cared for us. As evidence of this, consider the ethereal existence in Eden. Even the word is used as a metaphor for the perfect paradise.

Tragically, we could not be satisfied with having all of our needs met. We began to experience want. When these misguided, ill advised desires (lusts) caused us to reach beyond our grasp, we violated God's law and cost ourselves perfection. For a mere bite of fruit, the consequences amounted to the worst relationship and real estate transaction in the history of time. We were shut out of paradise and forced to labor and travail for our needs.

Beloved, we can all come up with things that we want despite having our basic needs met. There is nothing wrong with wanting to provide your family or your fellow man nice things in life. When we lose sight of what is important and commanded of God, however, we make the same mistake our progenitors did. When our desires outweigh our obedience, we fall into idolatry and again cost ourselves paradise. Then as now, for all our efforts, all we will end up with is a handful of hot wind. Let us bend our backs to His righteous labor. He will supply all of our needs and many of our wants.

Loving Like Jesus,


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Benefit of Being Good-11/2/2011

"For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Pet 3:12

It is not a stretch to say that we are drawn to the pleasant and the positive. Given a choice, we would much rather spend time with someone who is friendly and kind than one who is mean and nasty. We delight in being in the company of someone with a sunny disposition and an encouraging word to say as opposed to those who are grouchy, always complaining and constantly negative.

It stands to reason then beloved, that our Lord enjoys those who attend to his teaching through love and obedience. We know from the Gospels that he calls those who do his friends. We are known as his followers by the love we share with one another. He has said that where we are gathered in his name, there he shall also be. And he has promised to prepare a place for his friends that where he is, we may be also. As we seek the kingdom and the righteousness of God, we can look forward to all of our needs being met.

Though his watchful eye favors the righteous, his protective face is against those who would bring us harm. As a parent is inspired to protect a child from all threats, Jesus stands at the gate to ensure that we are spiritually safe. As long as we attend to him and do not leave the gate, we can look forward to all of his benefits.

Loving Like Jesus,


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Choosing to be Godly-11/1/2011

"The Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'" Job 1:8

Most of us are familiar with Job. His name is synonymous with patience, virtue and suffering with grace. Many of us turn to the pages on which his story is recorded for inspiration and reassurance during times of trouble.

Though the answer may seem to be obvious, have we really ever considered Job? Satan accused God of protecting him and thereby allowing him to maintain such integrity. I believe his statements were tantamount to saying that Job had been made that way by God. This is proven not to be the case. God merely identified him as a unique individual among all men. Noah was so identified in his time as well. They were both men that chose to lead godly lives and in Job's case, continued to make that choice under the most extreme conditions.

Beloved we all have trials and tribulations that we endure in this life. We suffer discomfort, want and loss at various times throughout our lives. Who among us, however, can claim to have endured what Job did? And if any among us can, who can claim to have steadfastly maintained such a beautiful perspective on his relationship with God and the realities of life? Who among us has avoided sin regardless of those trials and tribulations?

We all have the same ability to choose. We all serve that very same God. We can all look forward to the same rewards. Why do we seem to wilt under much lighter circumstances? Was Job anything special? Being just a man who made the ultimate choice to remain faithful no matter what, I would say so. But you and I have that same ability.

One last thought: It is amazing that Job lived such a life among men that it was known in heaven and offered as proof that we as His creation have the ability to truly live and serve as intended. Further, God had so much confidence in Job and his steadfastness that He allowed him to be tested severely. As much confidence as we have in God, can you imagine what it would be like for God to have that much confidence in you?

It could happen.

Loving Like Jesus,