acc58b69-f4c2-497e-b8c8-86a310dbc6bd-7037-00000835c83dded1-1Picture it!  A world where every Christ follower acts in love in EVERY situation. I’m not talking about loving the ones who love us.  I’m not even talking about loving those who are not so loving but are yet dear to us (you know, those crazy family members you don’t really like!). What I am talking about is loving those who mean us harm; those who commit wrongs against us intentionally; those who purpose to bring to ruin the plans that God has for us. I’m talking about going beyond forgiveness and showing them love.

When I look at my wedding ring, I see many facets – sometimes it glistens bright white; at another angle it is a colorful prism; sometimes it looks like clear glass. My point is – no matter how I look at it or how it looks to me – it looks beautiful. Love too – in all of its facets is a beautiful thing. So then, why don’t we just try to take every experience of this day and respond to it in love. My oldest son, Joseph, signs his notes “Live In Love”, a great reminder of what our Christ’s life was like and what His example was for us.

As for me I have to ask myself daily: Can I be love in every situation? Honestly – I don’t know!  But I can certainly try.  My prayer today is that each person that I have contact with on this day (whether in person or electronically) will know that they are loved!

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

Know The Gospel of Jesus Christ

1-john-4_1I grew up in the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church – 4th Ward, Houston, TX.  My pastor was Rev. C.W. Kimble Sr.  and my Sunday school teachers were some of the most knowledgable women about the Bible you could ever imagine! (my favorite was M. E. Prescott)  As I was growing up, I was taught that a preacher had “preached” when he had aroused our emotions AND said something that caused real life change/impact. We should not be bored to sleep, nor should we walk away without a changed hearts.  ‭‭Our Sunday school teachers told us that you could judge a sermon by whether or not a preacher made it plain to you that He knew that Jesus was The Christ; AND if he presented in a way that you could not help but confess it too.

Recently I was watching Christian television with my mother – now that she is older, she loves listening to church services.  I was amazed at the number of preachers & pastors &ministers on that television from around the world that preached a gospel of man. Do you know what I mean?

A gospel of man is one that says that God favors us in such a way that nothing will ever go wrong or be difficult in our lives. Really? I was called to missionary living – my colleagues and I cannot embrace that one. A gospel of man is one that says that if you don’t have an over abundance of cash, you just aren’t trusting God enough. Really? I served God in rural West Africa and some of the most devout and committed Christ followers I know have just a bit more than nothing!

These are just two – but there are many other crazy teachings out there that don’t highlight God’s desire that we be committed completely to Him; that our lives reflect His love for all people; that our hearts have concern and care for the poor. There are many who preach that the word prophet means future teller and not justice enforcer.

I’m grateful that I grew up with a Bible teaching pastor; am currently under the shepherding of a Bible teaching pastor, and that I’ve had Bible teachers all along the way!  Grateful!!

My friend, I want to assure you that the Almighty God did not create you for your own benefit and your own prosperity. I can assure you that He did not send His Holy Spirit to live in you in order for you to be able to see the future or in order that you will never ever have any difficulty in life. I can assure you that He did not send His only son in order that you could “have thine own way”!

Watch what you’re listening to. Every one that cries Lord, Lord – is not a mouthpiece of our Jehovah.

1 John‬ ‭4:1‬ My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

Your Just Due

When you work to earn something; that “somethingis your reward.  Walking in the righteousness, blessing and favor of God requires our belief in and devotion to Him.  If by being righteous we hope to earn something (blessing/favor) from Him — then it is not the right motive.

If we are called to a particular task in the body, we must do it out of devotion to and love for Him in order that He might grant us favor and blessings.  Because if we do it for a certain blessing and then receive that thing — our wages have been paid.  How much more will we receive when we stop working for favor and start serving out of devotion to Him?!

Father, correct our motives.  Help our hearts to discern rightly what we are to do for You and for Your Kingdom.  Teach us to serve out of our gratitude for Calvary; and out of our gratefulness that You have dressed us in Your own righteousness; clothing of splendor and honor that we could NEVER purchase on our own!!

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.  Romans 4:4 

Tainted Water – The Solution Is Discipleship

Tainted WaterOnce while driving in Ghana – we passed by a water well that had been drilled for a local community and saw some children fetching water. They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can! Because we lived here among this particular people group, we KNOW that no one washed the container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. We love these people and our hearts went out to them.  We immediately planned a healthy drinking water training for them.  A training that would help them to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

Not only is clean water important — but understanding what can contaminate water is important.   

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for an entire congregation. What is the solution to this issue?

The solution is to teach the complete gospel.

That means that we go beyond salvation. We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. But what if they can’t read?  We’ve encountered this many times where we work.  Then the solution is discipleship.  We have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But this takes TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple any believer in only 8 weeks!

Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives.  In fact – we ought to be modeling the life of Christ in view of people even before they know who He is!!  What a change in the world we could make!

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Weeping for Lost Souls

hearttearsReading the account of Lazarus death and resurrection in John, I was struck by the grief of our Savior.  The onlookers remarked about his love for Lazarus.  I re-read the account and it occurred to me that because He is God – what He grieved for was probably not what we might think he  grieved for.  Yes – He loved Lazarus; but it seems unusual to me that our Lord who knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead would be weeping over the loss of life; so I re-read the passage several more times and then it occurred to me that the humanity of our Christ came face to face with the reality of the wages of sin and what it means for a fallen humanity.  He was fully human – Yes! – but he was without sin!  He loved these people deeply and what was happening here brought our Lord face to face with the effects that sin would have not only on the sinner, but on those whom the sinner loves. I believe that He grieved for their sinfulness. He grieved the effects of their unbelief.  Continue reading