The Least Of Them

What if we really saw THEMCaring? What if we chose not to look past THEM? What if did not criticizeTHEM in order to make our disregard of their presence okay? What if we trusted God with THEIR motives? What if we didn’t sidestepTHEM on the sidewalks? What if we didn’t ignore THEIR phone calls? What if we didn’t pass on the opportunity to touch THEIR lives? What if we chose to empathize? What if we carried their burden with THEM?

Who are they? They are the ignored, the marginalized, the forgotten, the hurting, the needy, the lost, the sick.  They are the ones that need something from us that they can never pay back. As children of The Most High, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation; leading the lost back to a right relationship with our King. But how can they hear the message of the cross, when they have not seen a good picture of His love for them in the people that say they serve Him?

When my sons were small boys they had such compassionate hearts. When Joe was 8 years old, he cried when we drove through a skid row type area in Dallas; he wanted us to bring the homeless home with us. When Jeremy was around that same age, he saw a family’s house burned to the ground on the news and felt that we should clean out our whole house and give it to them. We nurtured their compassion and we were careful to teach them that this compassion was a necessary part of the gospel message. It is not by happenstance that they both care deeply for the souls of people AND for the lives of people.

Here’s the deal:  everything that we have and everything that we are can only be credited to The One who made us;The One who provides for us; The One who has gifted us. So … to complete the message of the gospel it is necessary that we not only live holy before men, but that we live before them in a way that says that we love them. We are not autonomous beings, though we live like it most of the time. It is not okay for us to hand out tracts to people and then treat them like they should fend for themselves. It is our duty, and it should be our joy as a part of the gospel message that we see them — really see them. They might need money; food; clothing OR they might need love, a hug, an encouraging word; prayer — but whatever the need is we should be standing ready to give or to be a connector as we preach the salvation message of the cross.

Don’t worry because He won’t call you to do anything at all without ensuring that you have the filling of the Holy Spirit to get it done!

The Body of Christ is powerful! We have within us the power to change the world; to bring life, hope and peace into the world. We should live our lives fully for Him as a blessing to the world; as messengers of both hope and salvation, so that when the end comes we will have exhausted the resources He placed in us to be a blessing in this world. Blessed to Be a Blessing!

What if I was ‘they’? What if you were ‘they’? What if HE were ‘they’?

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭40‬)

The Power of Testimony

When we fail to tell people what the Lord has done in our lives; we fail at giving them opportunity to know and serve Him.

I get annoyed when I hear people say to a person sharing their experience with God, “You are always telling that story!”  Why?  Because there are so many texts in the Bible where generations of people fall away from the Almighty God because  – they did not know the Lord and what He had done for their fathers.  Think of the amazing things the Lord did for the Israelites – think about their deliverance from the Egyptians and how their children after them fell away to false gods!

The Word of God tells us that we overcome by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.  I am not inclined to think that this word of testimony is talking only about our salvation from sin and death; but every victory that we have won in the power of Christ!

No matter where you are, there is sure to be someone in the room who is deciding whether or not Christ is the answer for them.  You can not always know what people are struggling with, but you can rest assured that whatever He saved you from – there is someone else who needs to know His power in that same way!

I am always telling my children about the power of obedience to Christ.  I know for certain that my life would have been very, very different had I not heeded His call even though I did not like what He was calling me to!  So, whenever any of them have a decision to make my first question is, “Have you talked to the Lord about it?”  That is quickly followed up with my testimony, which they have heard now hundreds of times.  I don’t call it beating a dead horse – I call it reinforcing for them power, peace, victory and joy that comes when you obey.  If my children don’t obey God, it won’t be because I didn’t teach them.  They can never say that no one ever told them to just obey God.

19225458_1832950003388471_1539705968881985503_nThis photo is of my mother-in-love, Beatrice Evelyn Sorrell Chinn.  She passed away in 1996.  One of the most beautiful memories I have of my mother-in-law is her journals.  She wrote down her prayers for her children, her daughters-in-law, her grandchildren.

We found those journals after her death.  They served as a reminder to us that she trusted in God for all that concerned us and it reminded us to place our trust in Him as well.

Will your posterity know in whom you trusted?  I don’t know what your testimony is — but especially in your family and in your spheres of influence – Tell Your Story!  You were once blind – but now you see!  You were once lost – but now you’re found.

You were once ___________________________; but now you’re ________________________.  Tell It!


Joshua 2:10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.  And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.  

Don’t Get Caught Up In A Bunch of Spare Rituals!

Grace Changes EverythingIn order to live under His grace – we must believe that He is exactly who He says He is and that we are exactly who He says we are!

We’ve all made these types of statements and one time or another:    “Well, at least I’m not as bad as ???”; “Yeah I did that, but at least I didn’t act like ???”; “I’m a Christian! I go to church every Sunday!”.  We have all, at one time or another, had an established list of must do items that we believed made us more righteous than another; or we have all held ourselves out to be better than someone else to justify or glaze over our own sin.  Some have gotten caught up in rituals that they think make them more righteous — thanking God for food loudly in a restaurant; participating in an annual church outreach event; using all the right words (blessed and highly favored, I’m doing well by his grace, etc.); wearing Christian t-shirts/fish/crosses; etc.  Still others have become legalistic in an effort to prove themselves ‘holier than thou’.  Well, none of that will cause you to live fully under the grace of God.

If we want to live victoriously, we have to take Him at His word.  If we want to experience His favor, we have to believe Him in such a way that our faith can be counted as righteousness.  There is no way – absolutely no way – to please Him with rules and rituals.  Rules and Rituals only give us cause to judge one another.  When my boys were younger, they loved listening to The Cross Movement.  They had a song that said:

Without Christ it ain’t spiritual – you’re just caught up in a bunch of spare rituals” – The Cross Movement

If our spiritual lives consist only of rules, regulations, and statutes; then our reward will be self-judgment and the judgment of other fallen people — we will never walk in victory!  However, if we define our spiritual lives by our belief in God; in who He is and in what He says; then we walk under the Grace of God!  Christ has given us the privilege of living as heirs with Him, but we must choose to walk in faith.  Not trying to justify ourselves against another’s failings, but instead accepting the justification that we have not earned – but have been freely given by God the Father through His son Jesus Christ.

I pray that the Father will help us to live for Him and not for ourselves.  I pray that He will help us to reserve judgement and instead show mercy.  I pray that He will help us to appreciate fully what it means to be given justification and to be counted as righteous through Christ. I pray that He will liberate us from the desire to check off a list of good deeds and ‘righteous’ acts.  I pray that we will allow Him to teach us what it means to be free indeed.

However, the law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them” (Galatians 3:12)

Put on the Whole Armor!

fruit gnatsAnnoying little creatures they are! Fruit flies! I detest them.

When we were still living in Nkwanta, Ghana – one of my sons and I were talking about where in the world they come from.  I mean did they just  – you know – just APPEAR.

We did a little research and found that when you bring a piece of fruit into your home there is a very high risk that a fly has laid an egg on the skin/rind/shell of that fruit. So, if you bring the fruit home and do not wash it until you intend to eat it – the chances that you will see gnats flying around are high.

In Ghana the fruit is so very good so we always brought home fresh pineapples, avocados, mangoes and watermelon. I always washed them well before storing them. One particular day I awoke and there were still my little flying friends in the morning!  I checked my fruit well and found a very small soft spot on my watermelon – that was the culprit! We got rid of it – and my little flying annoyances disappeared. They were attracted to “live” trash – fresh fruit, yeast, etc. They were attracted to things that show that they have life.

As I thought about this I thought about the myriad of issues that we are facing in our ministry life.  It seems that not a days go by that we are not dealing with some issue that threatens the effectiveness of our ministry – nothing major, just annoyances that make you want to shoo them away. Annoying – these little darts that the enemy keeps throwing at us. We pray, we fast, we practice silence before God, even lectio divina – and yet they persist. It occurred to me that like my little flying friends – these darts are attracted to life. The enemy would not be annoying us so much if he didn’t see that our ministry was alive and doing well. You see, the enemy too is attracted to life! He wants to steal, kill and destroy – and if there is already spiritual death, then there is nothing for him to take, execute, or annihilate. So I guess we are in good company!

Fruit Flies!! I do despise them – but as for the annoyances of the enemy, I say bring ‘em on. I am alive in Christ, I am fully devoted to His mission in this world – and if that brings on attacks from the enemy, then I have the faith to conquer them, to withstand the test, and yes – to expect the incredible and the impossible! I am clothed with the breastplate of righteousness — and that will extinguish the darts!

I encourage you to put on the full armor of God when the enemy comes your way.  He wants to discourage the army of the Lord; but trust that God has you and will keep you.  If it is for the sake of the Kingdom of God – Don’t Quit!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Breathe! You’re winning!

Psalm 62-5A life of faith is a life of battles.  This is difficult line to read – but one that is so very true.  Victory is assured …  that is indeed true – but we win only in Him and we keep the advantage on the battleground only as we continually pray.

The enemy is always seeking to wreck us; to turn us on our heads; to confuse us; to make us feel like we are at a loss. But the battle belongs to Our Lord – and yes, Victory is Our Savior’s!

The lesson of the believer, one that must never be forgotten, is that we are in battle!  Somehow, it seems, we have come to believe that we can sit back and feel like royalty because we’ve already won – but this is not nearly true!  The battle will not end until He has returned!

Stand firm! Hide the Word of the Lord in your heart! Have faith and do not fear! Stand on the Rock of Our Salvation at all times!  In times of trouble, remember that God is your salvation, your strength, and your glory.  Don’t get proud when it seems you have won – NO! Remember to whom the victory belongs – He is your glory!  You are not the victor – it is the One to whom you have given your life; the One who gave the life of His Son to save you.  The hope for peace is not in any other being but Him!

The riches of God’s lovingkindness Will Not Fail!  The supply that comes from His hand Will Always Be Enough! The Prayers we bring to His throne Will Always Be Heard!

Don’t put your arms down – stay in the battle and expect to enjoy the victory with your King! He will give you rest – don’t doubt it! Breathe – Trust – Expect!

Psalm 62:5 – 6

God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.