Show Your Love

Show Your Love

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Yesterday I touched on the idea that not only should we say what we mean but we should mean what we say. Christianity is far more than lip service. Imagine if Christ had pulled the greatest prank of all mid-crucifixion and said that it was all a hoax. It’s uncomfortable even writing that because I feel like in a way the satire of it is a sin. I’d expect the thought of that is not comfortable either. Christ showed us the path to redemption in the way he would show love to everyone. It did not matter who they were, what their transgression. Show your love to those who are lost, those broken. We are the same but we have salvation. That is the thing that sets us apart, small in word but vital in every aspect of our lives.

No Hoax, Show Your Love

For me, one of the best parts of reading about Jesus in the Bible is when He shuts down the naysayers by giving them Old Testament words that they choose to ignore so that they profit from their work and not God. In Matthew 15:1-9 the Pharisees had come to Jesus from Jerusalem and were asking why the disciples of the Savior broke the tradition of elders by not washing their hands when they ate. Jesus pointed out to them their greed and then quoted the prophet Isaiah (Matthew 15:8-9) when Isaiah said, “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Drop. The. Mic.

Final Thoughts

If we have not only accepted the fact that Jesus is the only way to heaven but have also submitted ourselves to the reality that He alone is King then how we treat others is going to change. It is not easy and we may struggle with being nicer at first because our hearts love sin but the Spirit is there to help push that away with the light we gain. Acts of kindness go a long way to improving anyone’s day. It happened yesterday with Bethany and I. We have a small (not really) desire to drink Dunkin’ Donuts on the daily. So often that the guy at the drive-thru last night knew our order and gave us the drinks gratis. I don’t know if he was saved, he doesn’t know if I was either but how awesome would it be if someone asked, “Why are you so nice?” and we could just say one word to explain it. Jesus. Yahweh. He taught us to show your love and that is a far better example than an angry zealot causing pain and hurt then breaking out our Bible and saying the work was God’s.

I cannot fathom any reason we would want to pay lip service in God’s name. We have no right to do that and frankly I don’t want to. I want words of love to spout forth form my mouth and to not defile others with my words. The moment church, your salvation, the things you say and that you do become more than just a thing you do to get by, that is when you are following Christ. That is where you can show your love and that is when your lip service has stopped. We are expected to stumble and get back up because we aren’t perfect but doing that shows more strength and faith then the falsity of Christianity that has been portrayed.

Give Me Strength

Give Me Strength

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians 4:7

Paul was a passionate man for Christ. His epistles to churches are some of the most studied letters that make up books of the Bible. He is the author of at least 13 books (Scholars question authenticity of Hebrews often) and his second letter to the church at Corinth to me is where we see Paul’s humanity laid bare. God gave Paul immeasurable strength to pursue the ministry Jesus had laid at his feet on the road to Damascus. Through his imprisonment and until his death he still witnessed and never lost the light that he received from Christ. He epitomized the short prayer of supplication we often ask, “God, Give me strength.”

The Treasure and the Jar

The treasure Paul talks about in this chapter of his letter refers to the light Christ puts within us when we are redeemed by His blood. It is the ministry we are charged with. We are taught about this very important lesson as children with “This Little Light of Mine.” Our treasure is the Holy Spirit and we the redeemed are the jar. It is fitting because the jars that Paul would be referring to are the clay pots that were used by the common person. Many of the rich would use metals or wood for their vessels but the clay jars of commoners were frail like we as humans are. We are God’s vessels who carry the light of Christ in us. Those jars of clay were fragile and easily broken like we often are. It is why the potter who created them can repair them so that the precious treasures in them can be shared and not lost.

God, Give Me Strength

That’s the amazing thing isn’t it? We may face terrible circumstances and even death depending on the season we are in but God gives strength to endure those trials. I do think it is important to point that out. Endure and not fix. Endure but not escape. It sounds cold but it isn’t because it gives us testimony. It gives a Christian the ability to say what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. The explanation Paul gives us is about a thorn placed in the flesh and that it was agonizing. He begged 3 times for the Lord to take it from him and God’s response was perfect, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s revelation in that is to boast about his weakness because if the Lord tells you that His grace is sufficient for you in your weakness then your faith in Him will carry you through the darkest of valleys. Admit your weakness and cry out to give me strength Lord and the Father will help.

Final Thoughts

God provides us everything we need. Love, Redemption, Grace, Comfort, Strength etc. He tempers it because can you imagine if we knew that as soon as we asked God for strength it happened, every time. We would become prideful or arrogant. Instead God does not give us strength to become free of our weakness but the strength to endure it and to continue walking with Him despite our frail nature. We are the vessel that Christ has chosen to extend His grace to. We are frail like a Palestinian clay jar but God’s strength given to us allows us to be repaired from the cracks and chips we have so that we can contain that treasure so that we can show it to the world and pour it in to other vessels like us. Jesus is an amazing artist and the potter of man, there is none greater and I know that if I call out, “God give me strength.” I have assurance that He will give me the strength to endure the season.

Full Assurance

Assurance

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1

Light does something unique, it eradicates darkness. It is not a gradual thing but an immediate desolation. When you walk in to a room and turn a light switch on the room brightens and everywhere the light reaches darkness cannot overcome. No matter how much it may want to it simply cannot exist at the same time. Light provides assurance that darkness cannot overcome it because it is a fact we can see and observe.

So why is it we let the enemy win and cause doubt when God is the light? The very first words God spoke during creation were “Let there be light…” and then immediately darkness was separated from the work God was doing. His word commands the universe and move things just by that alone. We can see the light He created, the darkness of night, the air and land and sea He spoke in to existence. We have all these awesome tangible proofs that God exists and that God’s word can literally move mountains. Still we question his omnipotence. God is not as simple as a light switch but we get more assurance from a light switch than God and there is something wrong with that.

The first five verses of John 1:1-5 are the introduction of Jesus to the world. God not only gave us the Bible, His word and history put to paper but His Son as well. Jesus was with God from the beginning and through God all things have been made. Jesus is life for the dead souls buried in sin, the light in Him is given to us when we recognize and submit to God’s will for us. Believing in the divinity of Jesus and that His suffering has absolved us of sin on our judgement day is the assurance that God has given us freely.

Christ is Assurance

Sin is equated with darkness because that is where the serpent hides. Salvation through Christ is equated with light because of what light does. It is the simplest way God can show us the change that happens when you are redeemed. Light removes darkness and as such it removes sin. Light can make the serpent slither away because it prefers dark warm places where it can continue it’s work against God. These visualizations help us better understand why Jesus lives in us. He is the light and our hearts are dark and full of sin. The assurance that light eradicates that darkness is why we should be placing more faith in God than a light switch. God is eternal, the switch will eventually wear out or the bulb will blow. Jesus isn’t going anywhere. He is here and always has been.

Daily Devotional: Get Involved

Get Involved

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – Philippians 1:9

The ministry that Jesus built was a call to every person to reach out to someone hurting and broken (Matthew 5:14-16). To show them the gospel and bring them to God through Christ. We know that He is the only way to Heaven. He is the keeper of the key that unlocks the bountiful blessings that God will lavish upon us by living in His will. We need to be involved in more than just Sunday service. Not because the church needs us (it does, it always needs good folks) but because our Savior, our God desires it!

Why You Should Get Involved

Aside from God’s wish that we connect to our family in Christ we should want to for our own benefit and the chance to benefit others. When we get involved we are being servants of God and showing our brotherly love for our community. We are taking a huge next step because now we are moving beyond being saved and attending church to proactively showing and speaking our testimony. We become the army of Christ who helps people fight through troubled waters. Have you ever felt the reward of helping a friend through a rough patch? Amplify that a hundred times because when you speak life in to someone who is spiritually dead and they turn from a road to perdition and take the expressway to salvation. How awesome of an award is that?!

How To Get Involved

Getting involved in your church should not be hard. It should be easy because many offer programs like small groups where you can commune with other people who you may not have met otherwise. Stop by their guest services desk and ask them about a small group. Maybe you’re gift is your love for children, ask about volunteering to educate the smallest of the bunch and help raise them in God. For me personally this is huge. I cannot express how much I love hearing my kids talk about the Creator. Maybe you aren’t good with social functions and that is okay. The church has something for everyone, how can we grow if there are no opportunities to do so? All it takes to get involved is the intentional action of asking how you can help and a willingness to do God’s work in whatever form He has gifted you to excel in.

Final Thoughts

Loving people means you help when you can and where you can. You support them in the same way. Do you know how Jesus showed us love?  He shared the gospel with us. He walks with us as we come to the realization of salvation and then we receive that gospel in to our darkest places. Then He died for us because He knew that His sacrifice was capable of getting rid of every wrong man had or would commit. To put it in a rather geeky sense, the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few or the one. He knew that His destiny was death for our sins. Yet he persevered and put aside any doubt and fear to still be betrayed as man has done time and again, arrested and accused of being false again as man has done and then He was slain just like man has done since the beginning.

We should get involved and let the world know the history of their savior. If only for that we should speak life and we should do our best to show love. Jesus did and He paid the ultimate penalty for us.

Daily Devotional – The Person in the Mirror

Person in the Mirror

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. – James 1:23-24

When we exercise spiritually we are practicing for the potential spiritual threats we may experience in life. I say may because we have been guaranteed to face hardships but I do not wish to come across as a person speaking hopelessness! I speak life! It is why I started this, I want anyone who comes across this to get something spiritually from it. We may be focused on the Christian male but that does not mean we exclude anyone. Spiritual fitness is not like riding a bike you can lose your agility to combat the enemy if you do not keep in touch with God. When we look at ourselves in the mirror do we confront the person we are or do we look and see a person we are pretending to be and live in denial?

Fearing the Mirror

A person who looks in the mirror and sees a person they have fooled themselves in to thinking they are is a person that is spiritually shallow. I in no way mean this to be condemnation because a whole chapter of Romans was dedicated to why we should not condemn anyone (Romans 2:1-29). The first part (Romans 2:1-4) deals with the hypocrisy of the Christians in Rome against the Gentiles. In many ways these Christians were not looking in the mirror  because ultimately the saying, “we’re all human” applies to this so much. The new covenant dissolved the idea that only the Israelites were God’s only people. Sometimes, we as Christians get so caught up in the righteousness that we have through Christ that we also forget that the very righteousness we have is given through faith and that it doesn’t matter who you are (Romans 3:22). We should not be hiding ourselves or trying to because fact is, God sees us even in our hidden place.

Owning the Mirror

I can’t even remember this guy right here. Not who he was but that I looked like that.

Scott - Freshman Football

When I look in the mirror every day, and let’s be honest, I got to keep my hair looking good, I mean look at the brillo pad I have.  When I look at myself I want to be happy with the man I see because ultimately I represent my faith. Am I happy spiritually with who I am, with how I lead my life, my family? If I can say yes to that then I am owning the mirror. Whether it is at work or home take a minute to look at yourself. Not your physical shape, you have the ability to change that just as much as you do your spirituality. Can you say you’re leading a life that represents Jesus to the best of your ability? Maybe you don’t realize the full potential you have for being a disciple. Don’t fret, we all don’t know that. Only God does. We can however ask Him to help us understanding or guide our decisions to be His will. That is why praying is important. how can we ask God to help us if we don’t talk to Him? Own the mirror. You’ll see a happier person.

Final Thoughts

We need to own the mirror every day and we can only do that by diving deep in to the waters of faith. It is a great unknown but He walks beside us. Reading the Bible every day is a great way to start. Do a daily devotional and you’ll start hungering for me. Who was Jesus? Who can I help see Jesus in me? The Bible is God’s word put to ink by men that He breathed words in to. Read, Pray and then get rid of that fear of the mirror and own it. Be what God wants not only in public but in private. He sees it all. Since the beginning he has watched man sin and then try to hide it. Since the beginning He has called man out for those sins and their desire to keep it hidden. When we look in that mirror what do we see? A paper Christian or a man who wears the armor of God and is ready to do battle with hell wherever it is at?

Daily Devotional – Light in the Darkness

Light in the Darkness

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

When talking about Spiritual Fitness there is the need to exercise not your body but your faith. We do that by prayer, worship, devotionals and more importantly service to others. As men of families we are given the precious duty of guiding our family through darkness and troubles. In those times we must keep our family’s gaze on God. This is why service is so important to any Christian and certainly should be a focus for the husband who has a family looking up to him.

If you are a single mother reading this, I’m sorry that you are in that position and I will pray about that but this can be applied to you! As the head of house you are charged with caring for the way your children see God. You have the ability to set the tone that your home experiences. There is a reason the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” exists and that is it.

As a couple, as parents you mutually set the tone for your home. That means being a team. A wife is not a bondmaid but a participant. There is a great difference and for an example of this you can see it in this message from Pastor Kurtis Massey at Harvest Bible Chapel of Hickory

Fill the Darkness

While spiritual fitness will help prepare you for an assault by the enemy it does something else. When we accept Jesus a void is filled immediately. That is the light of the Holy Spirit expanding in you and taking that spiritually dead heart and filling it with life. That’s where the change happens and when we start speaking life because that light, the joy of the Lord fills us. As we become spiritually fit we make more room for that light to expand in us. It is much like losing weight in the sense that you are shedding off fat and that fat leaves space in your physical body where it used to reside. Light fills that darkness and seeks total eradication.

Final Thoughts

God yearns for a relationship with us but he will not force us in to that. What reward is there in forced submission? Sure you have these souls who must bow to your whim but there is a joy in the willing worship of your children. As parents we see that when our kids look up to us in that wide-eyed wonder and listen to us intently as we converse with them. Some of the most awesome conversations I have are with a six-year old and a three-year old. God wants that with us! We have to make room for it though because only God can bring light in to our hearts. We must make an intentional effort to not only strengthen our relationship with God but to have those awesome conversations with our wives, our children, our family. Don’t just listen to them but hear what they need because if you aren’t making time for God and helping your family make time for God by serving them then no one in your house is growing spiritually. That will cause more strife than if we just take the time that we might think is inconvenient and set it aside purposefully for God.

Daily Devotional – Who Am I? Discover Yourself

Discover Yourself

This is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

This kind of question is right up my alley. I spend a lot of time in reflection, examining what I have done so that I can improve my future. Let me be clear on this, there is a distinct difference between reflecting for improvement versus clinging to a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it. We should see our salvation as a catalyst for doing more than just changing our status in God’s eyes. It should show us how to discover who we are as a person and in Christ.

Discovery

I think that I have learned enough about myself to give you some advice on self-discovery. I know exactly who I am. This is going to be secular advice that will lead into why it is important in a non-secular manner! Understanding who you are is going to help you communicate better in showing the love of Jesus. How you discover who you are can vary based on your actual desire to and the life you’ve lived. I have a penchant for doing everything the hard way. So finding myself was a 10 year journey into depression, overeating, lying and being someone I wasn’t just to fit in. That needed to change, I had nephews and siblings that I wanted to see grow up. My sister had married, my brother had married. I was the oldest and here I was in my mid-20’s living at home eating myself to death. I wanted to see them grow up and I wanted to be there for them, all of them.

Like many lost or wandering souls I turned to God, after I had basically pushed Him away and did what I wanted I came back. Then I came across Psalm 40:1-3 and I had been asking what can I do, what can I change, what more do I need to be better. God answered me there and gave me hope. I would’t be perfect, I know I can’t be but He told me I was enough. I was enough. My sister had a gastric bypass and so then I worked towards having one done. I began eating better before hand and had dropped almost 50 lbs before I had went to see the surgeon and jump through the hoops to get everything done. I still was doing a lot of the things I probably shouldn’t, my language was not great among other things but I was trying and while I didn’t go to church I read the bible on my phone or tablet. Eventually I had the surgery and I lost a lot of weight. I learned a lot about myself in that time because philosophy is a hobby of mine. I came to learn some of my fears, my flaws and my strengths. I was an entirely different person. Who people know me as today was not who I was 3-5 years ago.

It took a lot for me to understand who I am and honestly, I think that in tragedy we do learn the truth. Being honest with ourselves is the hardest thing you can do (Psalm 51:6) on the road to self discovery. Like lots of other step programs admitting the truest facts are the first steps needed to restoration of the former person. It is a hard road to discover yourself but you can do it. It will increase your understanding of how things were, how they are and help you see what you can do for the future.

Testimony

How you view yourself is going to affect your testimony in Christ. If you are an introverted person it may be harder for you to be a witness to God’s work because you have a natural reluctance to reigning in your actions and emotions. Think about this though, David danced in glory of the Lord and sang His praises because of something God gives to us. The Holy Spirit. The Bible instructs us to use the Spirit to reach out to others (2 Timothy 1:7) not fear them. Yes, that is easier said than done but remember, God wants us to grow and we grow by reaching outside of our comfort zone and learning new things. We should let that light increase and touch other lives so that they know the joy we have in the security of salvation.

Discover Who I Am

I am a Child of God. I’m also a father, soon to be a husband, an uncle, a brother, a son. I have many titles and I have many obligations. They all make me up a part of who I am. I’m a man who has made mistakes and I have made some pretty awesome triumphs. I have been a liar, I have been a misogynist, I have been a terrible cook. That stuff doesn’t define me in the way I see myself today. They are chapters to my life, secrets I keep between God and myself. It is also things I have let go. I don’t get it right all the time and God doesn’t expect me to.

It is interesting that this devotional came up today. I was speaking with some co-workers and one brought up what Maya Angelou had said, “You are enough.” It made me think back to my experiences and then I open my devotional tonight and here is this devotion telling me that I am a child of the Most High God. I am important and precious to Him. I have a purpose in this life and I am enough. Yes, I am enough for God, that makes me enough for myself, for those I love and those who may scorn me. Thank you Jesus, thank you for the tears and the heartaches. Thank you for the times that were rough and you let me dwell in them so that when I was ready to spread the word it would burn through me like a wildfire and maybe just maybe reach someone needing it. Someone who may be hurting.

I am enough.

They are enough.

You, God, our portion, are more than enough.

Daily Devotion – The Only Light

The Only Light

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows – James 1:17

Part of considering who God is to you is about seeing him as a beacon. He is the only light we need in those times when we are about to walk off the path and in to the darkness of sin. Even if we choose to step off the path He is there waiting to show us the way back (Psalm 119:105). There is an eternal struggle between good and evil and since the beginning they have been light and darkness. Before God chose to create the universe there was darkness but God said light should exist and it should defeat darkness and so it has for millennia now.

His Light in You

When we are truly saved, I say that meaning that salvation comes with a change of heart and is not just lip service to the Lord, He knows the difference. When that salvation happens you are imbued with a light that is meant to carry you through the times where your mind and heart are tempted to wander. Salvation gives you the desire to be better, not just for yourself or for your family but for God because no one wants to disappoint the Father. Satan wants us to fail, he whispers that it’s okay to do something because we will be forgiven. We should remember that the light chases the dark away. It’s true we will be forgiven but the spirit God instills in you is prismatic.

His Prismatic Light

When you look at a prism you see pure light entering into a crystal and it is transformed into several colors. The prism is like a chrysalis in that what enters causes a change and that change reflects outward. The light God puts in you and me should be the same way! God wants us to show the world His light in every way. In fact Matthew 5:16 tells us exactly that. To not do so is like saying God’s word (The Bible) is not good enough for us. By using the light to affect others we display how His light not only changes us but can be used to reach everyone around us. There is a reason that people will say that they can see Jesus in them. I strive for that, I will not proclaim I am a Godly man in the sense of purity that is attached to that word but I do love God and want to show the prismatic light that He has gifted me with.

Final Thoughts

Satan wants us to distrust the light that God offers. He wants us to doubt Him and turn from Him. It’s because he hates the light. He was once in the presence of it and now he cannot be around it because of his own loss of purity. We have to trust God with all of our heart so that His light blazes inside and leaves no room for darkness. When we give our lives to Jesus we become an even more important piece in the war between God and the fallen. A doubting Christian is more dangerous than a lost soul. We represent God, we are His ambassadors in this life. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit. That Spirit is pure light and with it we can deal terrible blows to Satan and his plans. God has given us the tools to not only survive but to win. Men, we are the General’s of God’s army here on Earth and that means we are charged with making sure our family is equipped to make those fights in God’s favor. Help your wife and children use the spirit in battle and you will become more equipped to do so yourself. It is how God works, we are built up by helping build others up. We only need one direction to follow and in turn lead those around us. He is that beacon and if we keep our gaze fixed on Him then Satan can never win.

Scroll to top