Tag Archives: show love

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 Tip

My daughter went out to eat for her first sit down dinner with a group, where she was then required to take care of her own bill and tip accordingly. She was well prepared for the trip and was excited to have some time to spend with her friends dining out. When it was time to pay the bill, my daughter figured out the tip like I taught her using a simple math trick. She rounded up as well, something else I taught her. Hey, I like my kids to be equipped.

My daughter was ready to pay, but then a few people questioned the tip she was leaving. You aren’t leaving that amount are you?!? That’s too much. A few gasped at the thought. But she was determined to bless the person with a good tip like she saw in action so many times. Nonetheless, there were more gasps and some people telling her it was too much to give. Just an FYI, it was only $5 for a $15 meal; it wasn’t something outrageous. Even so, she didn’t give the tip she planned. She listened to her friends who told her it was too much, and followed their instructions to get change and leave precisely the exact percentage down to the penny as best she could get.

Often during tip time, people do what reminds me of doing a duty, giving what had to be given by society’s terms. Like paying union dues or a gas bill. My daughter felt bad that she caved in. I told her that for the next meal, she can say she wishes to bless the person and just give what is placed on her heart. This was the first time she was in this situation, and with her innocent eyes, she hasn’t witnessed people trying to tip the minimum. All she sees is an outpouring of generosity. Today, stand bold. Don’t allow the people around you to dictate your actions. God is generous, more generous than anyone. You will never out give God. Truth. If the Spirit leads you to bless someone, whether it be a nice tip, some cash, a gift card, some manual labor, etc., listen. We are blessed to be a blessing. And it’s such a blessing to be a blessing. This world is a dark place. We are called to be the light. Don’t hide it. Shine it. Be the difference. Show the love.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 [NLT]

 

Treat Them Gently

When a person holds a young baby, they hold it differently than something less fragile. You support the head. You wrap both arms around the baby. You keep the baby close. You protect the baby. You treat the baby gently.

In Romans 14, we are told to treat other believers gently. People will not always share the same opinions. People will not always understand a passage in the same way. People might have a different opinion when it comes to what music they think should be played at church or which Sunday School curriculum to use. Some people will want to stand firm on a particular agenda while others are more focused on other things.

The bottom line is we are to “treat them gently.” We are not to “jump all over them.” We are to be gentle. When you try to push your opinion so hard, it is more about being right (pride) then it is about Jesus. When you get all caught up in rules and regulations and agendas, Jesus is lost in the shuffle. So today, as fellow believers will come in your path and possibly not agree with you on some matters, remember that each of us is on our own walk with Christ and treat everyone gently. Encourage. Equip. Embrace. Empower. Show love.

“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” – Romans 14:1 [MSG]

Love That Lasts

It is so easy to get caught up in a routine. Even with our relationship with God, we can get into a routine. In time we might even start to consider the fulfillment of this weekly routine as what matters. Well I attended the elder meeting and I made it to the prayer meeting. Well I tithe every Sunday. Well I made it to choir practice and I even have the solo. Well I have perfect attendance for this quarter. Well I have done my daily devotion each day this week.

Your relationship with Christ is not about meetings and checking off a list. Your relationship with Christ is not about works. Your relationship with Christ is not about offerings and sacrifices alone. We should want “a love that lasts.” Hosea 6 says, “I want you to KNOW GOD.” To know God.

God wants you to know Him and to show love. Yes we should aim to read our Bible daily, to attend church, to tithe, and to serve the Lord however He leads. There are works; however, there is something else that is more important. Relationship. Knowing God. Loving God. Never take your focus off of those things. When this is your focus, everything else comes with it. When you are focused on the meetings, on the offerings, then it becomes less about God and more about something else.

“I’m after a love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know GOD, not go to more prayer meetings.” – Hosea 6:6 [MSG]

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]

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Darkness Bright as Noon

When the season of fall comes around, we turn the clocks back and it gets dark very early. My dog is afraid of the dark so if I work late it means that he will be in a panic as we take our nightly walk. It can get so dark even at only five o’clock in the evening.

Today we live in a fairly dark world but we are told to shine the light. In Isaiah it gives us a way to shine the light. Feed the hungry. Help people who are in trouble. When we do this, Isaiah wrote that the darkness will be as bright as noon. Noontime is when the sun is the brightest. Are you following me here?

Feed the hungry. Help those in trouble. Have you done that lately? The world is a dark place and we are told to shine the light. It really isn’t a difficult thing to do though we might perceive it to be complicated. In reality, feed one person who is hungry. See what happens. You aren’t told to feed an entire continent on your own. Remember you have Jesus. Remember that you have the Light. Now shine!

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” – Isaiah 58:10 [NLT]

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Know and Love

We tend to complicate things as humans. I have seen so many writings and videos providing instructions that seem unnecessary. The problem is we overcomplicate things even to the point of piling on extra baggage. In Hosea, it says that God does not want sacrifices above all else—he wants us to show love. Further, he doesn’t want burnt offerings—he wants you to know him.

Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that once and for all there would no longer be this separation between us and God. Nothing ever again can get in the way of the relationship we have with God—that is unless we allow it. Unfortunately we often overcomplicate things. Some of us are legalistic. Some of us focus so much on sacrifices and offerings, but we lack the love. We put other things above knowing God.

You might love things and love people, but do you show love? Consider how you showed love this week. Is it a daily thing? Is it a way of life? You might know your neighbor but you don’t know your neighbor like you know your spouse. You know a spouse differently. God wants for you to know him in this type of way. That requires time. That requires a desire to know him. But it’s not a complicated thing to show love or to know God. Focus on him. Complications are just stumbling blocks.

“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]

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The Anywhere Ministry

A person does not need to be at church or doing specifically labeled ministry work to minister to others. Whether you have considered it or not, everyone can minister from anywhere. There are people ministering in libraries, on the school playground, in bars, and even in the grocery store.

Today at work I was having a conversation with a customer. At the same time, I did not realize that there was another customer listening from out of view. We were talking about serving the Lord, about His blessings and providence, and about His faithfulness and trusting in Him. It was a short conversation. It was an unplanned conversation. I was not thinking about how to minister to a person and I did not consider myself doing ministry work per se. Then the listening customer came around and said she “loved” the conversation she just heard. Without even realizing I was being used to do something, God spoke through me to her.

Too often we think that ministry is simply something done at church or when we put on our ministry caps and run an outreach event or knowingly minister to someone. In reality our greatest ministry is done when most people are not looking, in those uncalculated moments. You probably heard that you could be the only Bible someone will read—today, consider that great responsibility. Don’t confine your ministry. Don’t over think what God can do through you. Simply ask Him to use you and show up for duty. There’s no need to complicate things. God has a great plan. You can make a difference from anywhere. Just do everything in love.

“Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NIV]

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Happy Holi…… Merry Christmas!

We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to share Jesus, to show everyone Jesus, to point to Jesus. This is not something that we can take lightly, and it’s not something that we simply pick up on when Sunday comes around. This is a 24/7 call from God. We don’t need to have a title, hold countless degrees, or have a class we teach on Sunday to obey this command. The Great Commission is all about a way of life.

Around the holiday season, we have Christians who wish to not offend anyone and to include all people, and so they say “Happy Holidays.” There are also those people who simply say “Merry Christmas,” whether they are believers or not. Then there are the others, the Christians who hear someone say “Happy Holidays” and feel this great need to “correct” the person. I’ve seen people tell a person they were “doing it wrong.” When I hear this, I think the person talking needs to consider that quite possibly they are “doing it wrong.” It is important to remember that Jesus wants us to share the Gospel, not shove it down someone’s throat. Jesus wants us to show love, not to put ourselves on a pedestal. Remember, we all fall short.

This holiday season, I hope you remember the importance of taking Jesus with you, and that it continues on throughout the new year to come. I also pray that you remember the importance of the 3 A’s.

Approach with care. Put yourself in the position of others. Remember that we are all unique. Do not try to force someone to see things your way. Jesus never forced someone to believe in Him and we can’t either. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Absolute truth. Do not attempt to change the Word. Stand firm in your faith. It is okay to accept others, but it is not okay to try to tweak the Gospel. You can change your methods and your approach, but the Truth never changes. (Romans 1:18-25)

Always show love. God is love. If you are truly representing God, you are showing love. If you are not showing love, rethink your motives because if love isn’t present, God is not in it. (1 John 4:8)

Recommended Further Reading: Romans 12



God Bless.

Unashamed

As the school bus passed by, my daughter waved to me, unafraid of what her classmates might say if they spotted her waving to her mum. She was not ashamed to show her love for me. I’ll admit that after the bus was out of view, I thought of her wave and was teary eyed that she shows her love despite the consequences she may face. I sometimes wonder if we are that open to show our love for Christ.

We are told that if we are ashamed of Christ, that He too will be ashamed of us (Mark 8:38). Yet, we are not always boastful of what Christ has done for our lives. We are not always quick to tell our co-workers about Jesus because most of the staff is not Christian. When we get through a difficult situation, we sometimes would rather attribute it to some self-help book or quick fix solution instead of sharing what God did for us. Some people skip praying when they are out at a public restaurant because they do not want people staring.

Jesus stood on trial with humility. Jesus hung on the cross with humility. Jesus was not ashamed to undergo whatever it took– and it took everything– so that we could have a relationship with God and have everlasting life. I pray today that you will ask the Spirit for guidance to share your faith today. I hope you will be able to step out and share Jesus and see how greatly it blesses you and others.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
– Romans 1:16 [NASB]