True Love Part 2

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

How would you describe “true love”? Do you get that sweet, warm feeling when you think of love? Maybe you think of commitment as true love. Or maybe you think of acts of service for someone whether they ever know it was you who acted on their behalf.

Imagine you are dying, but the doctor hasn’t told you that yet. Someone you don’t even know finds out you are dying and gives the doctor your cure which he has to hold until you ask for the cure. You finally are told you are dying and there is nothing YOU can do about it. BUT Someone has the cure for you, all you have to do is ask for the cure and it will be given to you. You immediately ask for the cure and it’s given to you. You are healed! You can hardly believe how close you came to dying and you realize that the cure is available for everyone, they only have to ask. Wouldn’t you tell everyone you know?

Well God loves us so much that He provided the cure for me and you BEFORE we ever knew we were sick (sinners). Jesus is the Cure and all we have to do is ask Him to save us.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
— Romans 10:9-10 ESV

That’s love! If you’ve received His free gift of salvation, are you telling everyone you know? It’s the best gift ever!

4 Things Christians Should Start Doing

Photo by Ben White

Photo by Ben White

There are many things we, Christians, should be doing.  But I have four things to challenge you to start doing if you are not already doing them.

  • Have a daily quiet time
  • Practice gratefulness
  • Practice kindness
  • Share the gospel

First, have a daily quiet time with our Lord.  Get alone with Him and pray, read the Bible and take notes on what you learn, and listen to His still small voice and write down what He says to you.  Do this every day, preferably in the morning so you can think about it all day.  You'll be amazed at how your relationship with Him will grow AND how better your day will be, even when things go wrong.

Second, write down at least three reasons you have to be grateful every day; don't repeat the last month's worth. You'll be amazed at what really matters and you may even find your mood lifted as you realize how grateful you truly are.

Third, practice kindness.  This means you have to pay attention to what's going on around you.  Take notice of the ones you're with and find ways you can be kind.  "Please" and "Thank you" are great starting points.

And last, share the gospel.  That's good news about Jesus!  Man, do people ever need to hear that these days!  This doesn't necessarily mean you have to ask someone if they want to be saved right this second, but it does mean to always be ready to give an account of your faith.  You never know what a difference you may make in someone's life by telling them about Jesus and what He means to you.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
— Lamentations 3:22

Wow!  The verse above is a great reason to be grateful.  Wouldn't you say?

Four Things Christians Should Stop Doing

Photo by Sam Xu

Photo by Sam Xu

Have you ever thought about things we, Christians, should NOT be doing?  Most likely, you have. Especially, before becoming a Christian, most of us only thought of things that Christians "can't" do.  

May I remind you that Christians are not perfect people.  We are broken sinners just like everyone else.  The thing that sets us apart is not us, but Christ.  We have accepted His forgiveness and new life in Him.

With that being said, sometimes we fall into the same old traps as before our salvation: 

  • Blame game
  • Fence sitting
  • Focus error
  • Comparison

The Blame Game - it's not my fault.  We know that line all too well, don't we?  We start that thinking when we are just kids and many of us take that same train of thought right into adulthood and right into our Christianity.

The Bible says there is none good, no not one.  That tells me, I am to blame for my sin.  Praise the Lord, Jesus paid the way for my forgiveness and yours, too.  So, fellow believer, stop the blame game.  If there is sin in your life, own up to it, repent of it and move forward in restored fellowship with our Saviour.

Fence Sitting - I won't choose sides because I'll get hurt or hurt someone else either way.    There is no fence sitting in the Kingdom.  The Bible spells out right and wrong.  We are to stand behind Jesus Christ in everything. He fights for us.  Our job is to obediently follow Him.

So believer, remember Who you belong to and align yourself with Him.

Focus Error - staring at our problem makes it bigger.  Often times we forget just how big our Great God is because we've stopped looking at Him and are focused on whatever problem we have going on.

He spoke the world into existence. He breathed life into man.  He is the KING of kings and the LORD of lords.  There is NOthing too difficult for Him.  Believer, focus on Jesus.

Comparison - he/she has a perfect life.  Funny how we compare someone else's best snapshot to our worst thing. We beat ourselves up sometimes by our perceptions of others or vice versa.  Sometimes we "feel" better about ourselves because we compare ourselves to someone we "think" is worse than us.

There is only ONE Standard.  His name is Jesus.  We will never compare to Him.  But He gave us His righteousness when we got saved!  Be thankful for that. Serve Him as best you can in the way He calls you to do so.  He created you to be unique - one of a kind.  So be who God created you to be!  

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17

Christian, stop playing the blame game.  Stop sitting on the fence - choose a side.  Stop focusing on things other than Jesus.  And, finally, stop comparing yourself to others.

Jesus saved YOU to have a personal relationship with HIM.  Let's get on with that!

Growing in Grace

grace.francesco-mazzoli-360651-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Francesco Mazzoli

As believers, we are often asked to share our testimony.  And many times when we do that we think back to our conversion.  That is a very important place to start, but out testimony covers so much more than that, at least it should.

In thinking about sharing my testimony on the blog, I paused to think of the new things Christ is doing in my life.  I know you can probably recount several things that God is doing in my life such as:

  • preparing us to move to a new geographic location
  • writing a book (hopefully, with more to follow)
  • changing ministries from inside the church walls to outside

But one thing I may not have shared at this point is how Jesus is growing me in grace.  I am a Southern Baptist by denomination and there are many great things about our denomination like establishing the cooperative program and the International Mission Board and home missions and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, there is something that I have been guilty of as a believer most of my life.  (Maybe that stems from being a Southern Baptist or maybe it was just me and those close to me.) That something is being judgemental.  This has been one sin that I was guilty of for a long time and felt totally right in so doing.  Over the years, I've come to understand that I want God's GRACE and MERCY, but I wasn't good at extending it.

Talk about an eye-opening revelation!  God is LOVE and He proved it by sending Jesus to the cross to pay our debt when we didn't ask for it to be paid.  He stands at the ready to forgive us the very second we repent and receive Jesus as our Lord.  NO. QUESTIONS. ASKED.

Just BAM - Forgiveness - BAM - GRACE.  There is no way to describe the peace that follows.  You have to experience it for yourself.  Oh, I hope you do!

So God is changing me every day.  He is growing me in His grace.  Reminding me all the time that I didn't earn His grace and/or forgiveness; therefore, I must freely give His grace and/or my forgiveness to others. (I can't presume to offer His forgiveness. BUT He will!)

If you have ever, I mean ever, felt judged by me, please forgive me!  I totally want the love and grace of Jesus Christ to flow through me onto all those around me.  

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
— Ehesians 2:8

I am so thankful for the grace of God.  And I want you to know that same grace.  It is the most precious gift!