Love and Boldness

My TV consumption has dropped considerably. I watch an occasional football game and some news.

I recently watched one of the new detective dramas. The underlying tone disturbed me. “Hate crimes” provided the theme.

Now I believe prejudice is a sin. Eliminate it from your attitudes and actions! But, to me, it is obvious that this “hate crime” legislation is the foundation in America to persecute Christians. In fact, it already is.

If I disagree with someone does not mean I hate them. But now, in America, if I disagree with the abortion law, then some define me as a hate-monger. If I say that homosexuality, adultery, or pornography are not good lifestyles, then some define me as having a “phobia.”

Society’s treatment of first century Christians “scattered” them. That means they fled for their very lives! Their society defined them as haters of Caesar and haters of Judaism because they loved the Lord Jesus Christ..

America is quickly moving back to this barbaric attitude that condones the imprisonment and even killing of Christians.  To love God more than this world, stand for salvation in Christ alone, and call sin a destructive force will increasingly cost us more.

As a nation, we have moved back to the secular attitudes the early Christians knew in the first century. Peter and Paul in the New Testament faced these situations with courage and spoke the gospel story of Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose hope! Jesus still changes lives! The love of God in John 3:16 is still the center of the gospel.

What was true for the Psalmist centuries ago is still true for us today!

O Lord, how many are my foes!

Many are the rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Psalm 3:1-4

Our Father, the tide is shifting just as you prophesied in Your Word. Keep us confident in You. We believe in Your Son Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We believe every knee will one day bow to Him. Thank-you that you love us and live in us. Fill us with boldness and love.

 

Don’t Give Up!

What if God gave us the desires of our heart? Could we define what our heart’s desires are?

The list would likely become very long.

  • Stop the tide of militant Islam in our world.
  • Heal a disease or injury.
  • Give a few more months of life to the dying.
  • Free the captive and persecuted Christians enduring severe persecution.
  • Bring my neighbor, grandchild, or friend to salvation.
  • Save my child’s marriage.
  • Ignite a wave of revival and spiritual awakening.
  • Heal the consequences of my sin or my loved one’s sin.
  • Stop the evildoers from robbing our freedoms.
  • May our nation be obsessed with repentance and revival instead of sexual expression in all kinds of perverted ways.
  • Make me happy.
  • Grow our church.
  • Bring thousands more to saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Psalm 37 gives hope! Meditate on these verses for a few minutes:

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!

2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act.

God wins! Keep doing the little things you can do here and now. Fret not. Don’t worry. Don’t envy the seemingly successful evildoers. They will wither away soon. Trust in the Lord. Be faithful. DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD! Commit your way to Him. God will act!

Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Share the transforming power of Jesus Christ in spite of the growing antagonism in our secularized society. Jesus changes lives!

Our Father, forgive us for fretting. We commit ourselves to DELIGHT in You! We pray for spiritual awakening and revival in our nation and in our world. You are our only hope and salvation. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

What If?

  • What if you knew you could make a difference, would you do it?
  • If you could be certain a particular act of ministry or kindness would be effective, would you act?
  • Would you work differently for the Lord if you were assured God would use it to make an impact in someone’s life?

“Of course I would!” you might say, “but I don’t know what to do.”

Did God create you? “Of course,” you respond.

Did He put IN you a unique set of gifts, likes, abilities, personality, and experiences? “Well, yes He did,” you conclude.

THEN TAKE WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO AND DO IT! Its really that simple. God has already qualified you to work in His kingdom for a specialized task that you can do as well or better than anyone else.

A principle which has permeated by soul is the “cup of cold water in Jesus’s name” principle. It only has two simple parts:

  • Whatever it is I’m capable of doing can be used by God, even if its handing someone a cup of water.
  • Whatever I do, do it in “Jesus’ name,” do for Him and literally SPEAK his name in the process of doing it.

For God loves a griping giver, right? Nope! God loves a CHEERFUL giver. So as you give yourself away in Jesus’ name in cups of kindness and service, ATTITUDE makes all the difference in the world.  Be enthusiastic!

Well, brother Paul said it better than I did anyway. Read this verse and see if you get the same thing I did!

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Cor. 15:58 NLT

Our Father, we praise you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You created each of us with a unique set of capabilities. Thank-you for the opportunities you put right in front of us each day to serve you by serving people. Thank-you for the assurance that what we do for the “least of these” we do for your Son Jesus. What a joy to serve you with assurance that nothing we do for You is ever useless!

Humble Pie

“He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Mocking is putting others down so that you think more of yourself and think of yourself more.

Our new nature (2 Cor. 5:17) in Jesus Christ will think of God and our neighbor before we think of ourselves.  Why?  The new nature is guided by the greatest commands: love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself.

Our old nature, corrupted by sin, always thinks of Self first. Sin always misses the mark because we aim at pleasing ourselves, rather than pleasing our Creator and Savoir and serving Him by serving others.  Notice sIn always has an “I” in the center of it.

So mocking pride is very simple.  It is all about me, mine, myself, and my preferences to which you and the rest of the world ought to give your full attention.

So also, humility is very simple.  it is all about pleasing God and serving others.  It is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.

Our Father, forgive us our pride that looks at others to mock and put them down in order to push ourselves up.  Fill us with an awareness of how much You love us.  May we be so secure in that awareness that we think of ourselves less and think of You more. May we have a servant’s mindset to love those around us you put into our paths by serving them in Jesus’ name with simple cups of kindness.

My Favorite Things

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. (‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭23-24‬ HCSB)

“Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens … these are few of my …” You know the Julie Andrews song, right?

What are your favorite things? What do you get enthused about?

Golf. Bridge. Cooking. Eating. Giving. Travel. Grandkids. Something else?

Whatever it is, do it for The Lord with enthusiasm.

Robert was enthused by his joy for giving. He bought frozen apple pies, the deluxe ones, and put them in the freezer at the church kitchen! He spotted visiting families in the worship service each Sunday morning. He baked the pies in the church kitchen while I preached the sermon. He then boxed the hot delicacies and gave them to the guests as they left. He spoke the name of Jesus as he did this.

Teresa loved to sew. She found another lady at the church who loved it too. Monthly they got together and made little stuffed animals. They attached gospel tracts and encouraging notes. They delivered them personally to children in the hospital. They spoke the name of Jesus as they did this.

Joe loved golf. He took a couple of teenage guys to the driving range occasionally. He introduced them to golf and Jesus.

What do you get enthusiastic about? Do IT for The Lord. Make IT your cup of cold water you regularly use to talk about Jesus. Use it “in Jesus’ name.”

When you spend time with people doing your favorite thing, those people will eventually have a crisis of faith, question, difficult circumstance, or diagnosis. Be ready to be enthused!

Enthused? “En” means “in.” Duh! “Thu” comes from “Theos,” the greek word for GOD, as in “theology.” Do it “in God,” “as something done for The Lord.”

So, in a way, you are to be a “theologian” as you do your favorite thing. Everyone has a cup of cold water to give away.

Jesus said:
And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple—I assure you: He will never lose his reward! ”Matthew 10:42 (HSCB)

Our Father, we gratefully praise you for our salvation in Jesus Your Son! Remind us everyday to give away what we have so freely received as we do our favorite things.