Tag Archives: Christian

Divided Loyalty

Jesus said that we could not serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We know it’s true. Time and time again we find ourselves with divided loyalty. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates it as “an indecisive man… unstable in all his ways.” Other translations say “double-minded.” That wasn’t even a word until it appeared in the Bible!

All of us have a divided loyalty. We can say we are devout Christians and that we have placed God first, however, we are still in this world and we are still in the flesh. Romans 7:15 says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (NLT). This is the Apostle Paul saying that he wants to do what is right, but yet he doesn’t do it. He recognizes that we have a sinful nature. The struggle is real. We keep on doing evil.

As we are living in this world, trying to live for Jesus, we need to keep in mind that our loyalties are divided a times. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your focus on His Word. When the world tries to pull you closer, remember that we are not of this world. God has a bigger plan for you and I, and it requires a desire for Him. Always aim to take steps toward Him, and the loyalty will become less and less divided, and more and more God-centered.

“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” – James 1:8 [NLT]

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Who Are You

Trying to figure out who you are is one of the hardest things to do in life. I remember when I was younger, it was a big question that would be bounced around in my head. Many people would ask what I had planned for my future. I remember the “are you going to college” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” type questions. Now my kids hear those same questions.

The truth is, we live in a world that tries to tell us who we are, and so often we listen. We listen when the world tells us what we cannot do. We listen when the world tells us what we are “supposed” to do in the eyes of the world. We listen to what the world says about how we should think or what we should wear. We constantly are listening.

All of the listening we do, we forget to listen to the One Who is Truth. We miss out on truly grasping who we are—a child of the King. As we are busy trying to fulfill the titles of mother/father, sister/brother, friend, co-worker, parent, teacher, doctor, cashier, drama queen, youngest child, cat lady, etc., we look in all the wrong areas to figure out who we are and what makes us and moves us and completes us. We don’t understand our place in the world or what defines us because we aren’t looking in the right place.

May today be a reminder for you—for who you truly are in Christ Jesus. As a believer in Jesus Christ, many things are understood about you. You are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a child of God (John 1:12). You are a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8). You cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). You have access to God (Ephesians 2:18). You are united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). My friends, THIS is who you are—now live it out!

Dry Hands

I have a very bad memory. I write everything down and I use technology to remind me of everything short of breathing. Many days I will find myself noticing my hands are dry. It is then I remember that I did not put lotion on my hands. I have lotion—lots of lotion. But it never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for me to neglect to put it on my hands.

I have a shelf full of Bibles, each a different type or a different translation. But they will not do anything for me unless I actually take one off the shelf and read it. Nor will it help much if I neglect to pray and seek the Lord’s will. It is so easy to neglect what Jesus gave us as a Comforter, as a Helper. It is so easy to neglect His Truth.

Today is a great day to start making a habit of connecting with your Lord and Savior. Did you know experts say it takes about ten days to make something a habit? As you continue to spend time with God, in His Word and in prayer, you will be more aware and responsive to His presence. Before you know it, you will spend more time acknowledging His presence and you will have a great relationship with your Father. I’m going to go put on some more lotion, as I am realizing I forgot once again. Then let us open up His Word and seek His face.

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” – Psalm 105:4 [NLT]

Labeled New

Recently my son had a problem with his gaming system. I decided to reveal my tech geek side and began to look deeper into the issue. I realized that the disc drive was malfunctioning and had another drive ordered. When it arrived, the sticker on the box said, “new.” I quickly learned that it was anything but new. It had a padded wrapper over it but inside told another story. I found things broken and a stripped screw.

The people who sold me the disc drive can easily slap a sticker on a box and say the merchandise is new even though it is anything but new. With us, we can pretend to be a particular way; however, if we have the Spirit, if we accepted Jesus into our lives and were baptized, then there should be a sign of fruit—fruit from our lives.

You cannot fake a relationship with Christ. You cannot slap on a label (ex: “Christian”) and think it makes the reality change. There’s a song that says, “You’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Today, are you a box with a deceptive sticker or are you the real deal? If people look around will they see the fruits of your labor or will they get lost and confused from the image you try to uphold?

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” – Matthew 7:16-18 [ESV]

Align with Jesus

To align with someone is to give someone support. To align with someone is to take a side with, to agree with, to root for, to fit with someone. When I think of align I think of getting the car tires aligned. They have to be a particular way for the car to move properly. They have to all be in agreement with how they are to work so that the car will run smoothly.

In today’s passage, it speaks of what God wants—His will for us. He wants us to have eternal life, to align with Jesus. We simply must believe and trust Jesus and align with Him. Then we “will enter real life, eternal life.” How awesome is that?

It is so easy to make an altar call and think that everything is good to go; however, being a Christian, being a true follower of Christ, means so much more. It isn’t about an altar call. It’s about aligning your life with Christ. You believe. You trust. You continue to side with Jesus. You root for Jesus. You fit with Jesus. You agree with Jesus. Your life is built on Jesus. When you are aligned with Jesus, life is always smooth no matter how rough the path, no matter what comes your way.

“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
-John 6:39-40 [MSG]

Disrupt and Confront

When you live your life for Jesus you will find that some people are not so eager to be supportive of you giving up your will for His will. There will be people who do not understand. There will be people who do not want to spend time with you. There will be people who want to argue with you. There could be confrontation.

Jesus said He came to “disrupt and confront.” You may be on the receiving end of hurtful words and actions. You should expect disruptions to how things were in the past to how they are now that you are living for Jesus. The relationships you have might change. It may be tough to cope with as people treat you differently.

If there is not disruption and confrontation, then there is a Christian tucked away, fearful of moving forward. Remember those who told Jesus they would follow Him, but wanted to turn back to their family? Remember those who said they wanted to make Jesus their number one priority, but they could not quite let go? My friend, it may not be easy but I pray each day you may say, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” May each day be a day where you give up your will for His will.

“I’ve come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now! I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront! From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be—
Three against two,
and two against three;
Father against son,
and son against father;
Mother against daughter,
and daughter against mother;
Mother-in-law against bride,
and bride against mother-in-law.”
-Luke 12:49-53 [MSG]

Out in the Cold

This last winter was horrible. I remember being stuck out in the cold many days having to shovel and shovel some more. I remember once my kids locked me out too. I did not have my keys with me because I wasn’t leaving. I was simply shoveling the inches of snow that had once again come our way. But I couldn’t get inside. I was cold. I knocked. They didn’t answer. Thankfully they came to my aide a bit later. It was no fun being outside in the cold.

The Bible says that there will be people who “will find themselves out in the cold.” It is sad but it is true. When you read the verse, something has to stick out—THOSE WHO GREW UP ‘IN THE FAITH.’ Wow. They will be in the cold?!? But they grew up in the faith. The second part says BUT HAD NO FAITH. It’s much clearer then. You see you cannot save your family members. You cannot grow up in a church and say you are a Christian because you were raised Christian. What even is that? YOU, yes YOU PERSONALLY, need to repent of your sins and give your life to Jesus. You need to say, “Not my will, but Yours.”

Growing up in a church won’t save you. I cannot save my own children. I try to follow God’s Word to parents. I take them to church. I lead by example. But they ultimately have to make the decision on their own. If you have been going to church all your life but you have never fully accepted Jesus, never repented of your sins and given your will for His, pray about it today. I don’t want any of you outside in the cold. I know God doesn’t want you outside either. He wants each of you saved. He wants each of you with Him.

“Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.”

-Matthew 8:12 [MSG]

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Gold Calf Assistance

Providing gold calf assistance is not something we should strive to do in life, but sadly it happens very quickly. Every time I read Exodus 32, I get upset to see how fast Aaron was to lead the people to sin greatly without hesitation. We do not read of any attempt to sway the people. We do not read of any dialogue he had with the people of Israel. Yes it could have been left out, but whether there was hesitation and then folding, or he simply agreed immediately to follow their wishes, either way he helped them to make an idol knowing that it was a sin.

We all have the option of following God’s Word, standing firm in Christ, or swaying and giving in to people around us. We also have the opportunity, whether in a leadership position or not, to speak out when we see another Christian going down the wrong path. Jude mentioned snatching people from the fire. That is something each one of us can do by simply speaking up and reaching out to those who are heading down the wrong path.

Aaron helped people –joining in with this great sin. Perhaps it was because it was him versus the large group of people. Perhaps he was looking at things with his own strength. Perhaps he thought like them and desired the same thing. Whatever it may have been, he folded and offered gold calf assistance. We find ourselves doing the same thing at times. Today, find your strength in Christ, stand firm, and thank God that He has provided us with His strength and His forgiveness. Aim to point others to Christ.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’” – Exodus 32:1-4 [NIV]

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Tribute Poem

This is a poem that I wrote for a very special person. See you soon.

Mary Got A Promotion

God said

“Love Justice & Seek Mercy

And Walk Humbly with your God”

Mary did

 

God said

“Love your Neighbor as yourself

Be Kind and Compassionate”

Mary did

 

God said

“Work Hard at Whatever you do

As Working for the Lord”

Mary did

God said

“Honor your parents

Teach your children”

Mary did

 

God said

“Follow My example

Walk in the way of love”

Mary did

 

Today is a day of celebration.

Today is a day to rejoice.

God said “Good job My faithful servant”

Mary got a promotion.

 

 

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Away with the Noise

“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” – Amos 5:23 [NIV]

This verse probably is not one that could be found on an inspirational Christian verse card to be given away as a gift to share Jesus. It might be hard to read God saying “away” in regard to the songs you sing. The word “noise” stands out to me, because noise is typically a word we say when we don’t like the sound something makes—when something is troubling us. The car is making a noise so we take it to the shop. The kids are making noise so I cannot hear the person on the telephone. The floorboard is making some noise because it’s out of place. The computer is making a loud noise because it’s been used hard over the years.

So why would God not want the songs we sing to Him? Why would He call our songs noise, as if they are painful to His ears? Like today, the people in Amos’ time thought it was not so bad to sing to God in sinful disobedience. The belief was and still today is that even if we walk in disobedience, that our songs and sacrifices will be sufficient and acceptable.

Yet again and again we read that God desires love and obedience over sacrifices.  We read in 1 Samuel 15:22: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’” (NIV).  Hosea 6:6 tells us what God wants: “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings” (NLT). First we must love and obey, and then we would want to sing praises out of that love. If we have a heart for the Lord, the rest will follow. We sing with noise when we come before Him without a heart devoted for Him, in willful disobedience. He wants you to know Him. He wants to have a relationship with you. He doesn’t want to be a small part of your life—He wants to be your life. Today, are you offering Him you or are you offering Him some noise?

 

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