Tag Archives: Christ

Searching for Love

This morning as we were finishing our walk, I was looking for my keys as we approached the house. For some reason, likely because coffee was not in my system, I was looking in all the wrong places. I went through each pocket to no avail, because I was not looking where they always are put. When I had a moment of clarity, I scolded myself and got some coffee.

Always, we look for things in the wrong places. For many of us, it is simply a matter of searching for our lost keys, a misplaced wallet or purse, or losing some paperwork you thought you put in your special spot. For some of us, we forget our “secret hiding place,” because it’s extra secretive. Yes, I’ve been there.  Sadly, one of the biggest things we look for in the wrong place is LOVE. The greatest love is the love of our heavenly Father. There is no greater love. Yet we turn every corner in life trying to find a person to give us the love that we think we need. The truth is a person can never give us the love we need—only the One Who created us can offer that love.

Today, be reminded of the love of God. He is singing over you (Zephaniah 3:17). He loves you with an everlasting, unfailing, overflowing love. It is unending. It is not based on circumstances. It is a love that sent His one and only Son to spread His arms wide upon a cross to the point of death just for you! It is a love that is forever reaching out for you, forever wanting to share life with you. Nothing can separate you from His love.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 [NLT]

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All Else Worthless

One of things that grieves me the most is seeing people who are not passionate about Jesus. I remember a time when I neglected to live for Jesus, when I was neglecting the Word, neglecting a lot of things. One day priorities changed. I had a thirst for Christ Jesus. I wanted nothing more. If I didn’t get to read my Bible, I felt starved. If I hadn’t taken the time to pray, I felt lacking.

Paul wrote about everything being worthless when in comparison to knowing Jesus. Paul noted how he discarded everything so he could gain Christ. The person who sold everything to buy a field with hidden treasure had the same desire Paul had for Jesus (Matthew 13:44). Nothing else mattered.

Today, look at your priorities. Is everything worthless compared to Jesus Christ? How do you value your relationship with Jesus? Are you putting things before God? What matters most to you?

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” – Philippians 3:8 [NLT]

Privilege to Suffer

Suffering is never on our to-do list. We don’t leave our homes in the morning saying, “I really hope I suffer today.” We are not looking for opportunities to suffer. We run from suffering and when we undergo suffering, it is painful and we usually appreciate when it ends.

Paul writes of the privilege of suffering. The privilege of suffering. This is a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron, but if you are in Christ, then you realize that Christ Jesus promises suffering would come. As His representatives, it’s guaranteed. It’s going to happen. It is a privilege because He has allowed us to be His representatives. It is a privilege because in the suffering we grow deeper in Christ. We grow in our love of God and others. We grow in our revelation of God.

Today, in whatever comes your way, embrace suffering. Thank God for the opportunity. Remember, it is a privilege.

“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.” – Philippians 1:29 [NLT]

Sin of Knowing

We spend a lot of time trying to label sin and rate sin. We will list certain sins as worse than others. We group some sins together. Some sin is more acceptable than other sin to some people.

The truth is that sin is far stretching. Some sin we overlook because we don’t have a label for it. We forget that sin is anything that goes against what God says. Sin is desiring something more than God. Even knowing what you should do and not doing it is a sin! Yes, if you know the right thing to do, but you don’t do it, that is a sin.

Today, recognize that you are a sinner. Through Christ alone are you made right with God. Consider if there is any sin lurking in your life. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you need to address. Remember, it is a sin to know what you should do that you fail to accomplish.

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” – James 4:17 [NLT]

In Such a Way

Today’s devotion is hard to write. I must admit that as a pastor, this verse is one I think upon often. One day I was hit with this overwhelming truth—that my actions—my words and my deeds – could cause someone to stumble and fall. This great responsibility caused me to reevaluate everything. I asked the Lord to please reveal to me if I am being a stumbling block, and to give me the wisdom and discernment to not get in the way of His work and His people. I was deciding “instead to live in such a way that (I would) not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” This doesn’t mean I haven’t done it, but that I pray for more of Him and less of me. I pray that I can live in such a way to embrace and encourage others on their walk, pointing them to Jesus, speaking life, equipping the saints for His kingdom.

Fall on your knees today and seek the wisdom and discernment so that you, too, will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. Seek out the best interests of others. Live with the eternal perspective. Today, decide to live in such a way that you build others up, that you show the love of Christ, that you reach down and raise up. This is grace. It is the same grace that God has shown us when He reached down in our broken world, and through Christ Jesus raised us to new life. We are now co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Live in such a way.

“So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 [NLT]

The Trap

Boundaries are important. The Bible speaks out in warning of any alignment with non-believers. We read of not making treaties with outsiders. We read about not aligning with those who are non-believers, because if we marry a non-believer it is likely that we will be drawn away. Deuteronomy 12 warns us not to fall into the trap. This trap causes us to be led astray to worshiping other gods.

The Bible tells us to be careful. We read these words often. We must be able to balance our time between people strong in the faith and people who do not know Jesus. We must surround ourselves with these strong, faithfully obedient men and woman for support, encouragement, and accountability. But we also must be able to reach the world by building relationships with those who have not received Christ.

As you go through your day today, remember that there is a trap waiting. Be mindful of the way you spend your time. Make sure you have strong Christians in your life, people who are walking in faithful obedience and who will point you to Jesus Christ, desiring for you to grow deeper with Christ. Also, make sure you are building a relationship with some non-believers. Through your actions, may they be able to see Christ.

“Do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’” –  Deuteronomy 12:30 [NLT]

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.” – Deuteronomy 18:9 [NLT]

Belong to Each Other

As Christians, we understand that we are each part of the body of Christ. We understand that the Church is comprised of many parts that each has a special function. The Church is people. Each of us are different. Each of us are part of the body of Christ. We also know that Jesus Christ spoke of unity and prayed for unity. This is important.

Paul wrote that “we all belong to each other,” as translated in the New Living Translation. I love this translation. We all belong to each other. I think this helps us to get a better picture of unity. If we belong to each other, it should mean that we care for those who belong to us. Don’t you care for your belongings? If we belong to each other, it should mean that we treasure those who belong to us. Don’t you treasure your belongings? Don’t you treat what you own nicely because it is of value to you? If we belong to each other, that means that not only does a person belong to you, but you belong to the person. This speaks of humility, connectivity, loyalty, and so much more.

One of the biggest areas we struggle with is unity. Jesus spoke a lot about unity because He knew of the struggles we would have with harmony as a body. When you take a group of imperfect people and join them together, there will be problems. But what links us together is the Holy Spirit. If we allow the Spirit to move freely and guide our steps, we can live as if we belong to each other. We can seek out the best interests for our brothers and sisters. We can think more of our fellow believers. We can treasure those God puts in our lives and ask Him how we can bless, encourage, and strengthen them on their walk. We can live within the unity instead of trying to break out on top. Remember today, we all belong to each other.

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” – Romans 12:4-5 [NLT]

God is True

God is true. In a world where there are lies all around, God is true. No matter what we think or believe, God is true. No matter what someone says otherwise, God is true. It is not something to be debated. It is not something that can change. The word used here means true, reality, undeniable, something that will ultimately be shown to be fact or authentic. God is true.

What does this mean for us? First, we can rest in Him. We can trust that He is faithful and that His Word is true. Knowing that He is true and His Word is truth should cause us to boldly walk forward with Him, no matter any struggles or circumstances. Despite the lies that surround us, we can trust that He is true and unchanging. He is a sure foundation.

It also means that we do not need to try to prove that God is true. Apologetics are great, but be careful not to force the truth on someone. He is true. God is true. God never asked us to get others to accept He is true. He commanded us to share the Good News. When you speak about God, share the Good News. Revelation 12:11 speaks of a victory, a victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. When you share your faith, share what God is doing in your life—not why you are right and the non-believer is wrong because the person disagrees about God. You do not need to make God true for someone. He is true. The Spirit will open eyes and hearts. Share your testimony through words and action.

“Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, ‘You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.’” – Romans 3:4 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]

All Sin

The Message translation of 1 John 3:4, says that “sin is a major disruption of God’s order.” Sin is anything that is against God. We know that “everyone who sins is breaking God’s law.” God is holy and He cannot look at our sin. He has a beautifully orchestrated plan and He knows the best way. When we go against His will, we sin.

Note that the New Living Translation says that “ALL sin is contrary to the law of God.” All sin. It’s important to never get caught in the habit of labeling sin and deciding what sin is worse. Sin is sin. All sin is contrary to the law of God.

Today, remember that sin is anything that goes against God. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all need a savior (Ephesians 2:1). Remember that, “Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin.” He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Our debt has been paid in full, but this does not mean we should keep on sinning (Romans 6:15-16). Allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit guide you. Reach for the freedom that Jesus Christ offers and follow Him (Romans 6:17-18).

“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” – 1 John 3:4 [NLT]

“All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.” – 1 John 3:4-6 [MSG]