the divided states of america

the divided states of america

i am about to wade into deep waters. i love The United States of America, even in its divided state. We still live in a country that allows anyone to accomplish anything they set their mind to…allbeit some, unfortunately, need to work harder than others based on factors that shouldn’t be, yet are. For the sake of not being ambiguous, race, sex, social class etc. are some of these determining factors that increase or decrease one’s ability to achieve their dreams with some work or tons of work, relatively speaking.

Let me first express the ideal. This ideal is based on Scripture. It is not ambiguous, it is straightforward, it hides nothing, there are no muddy waters, no questions, it is simply truth from God’s Word. This message is to the Church, it is available to anyone, yet directed to the Body of Christ. Are you ready?

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are His heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us. Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:10-15)

Life isn’t perfect, in fact, there are injustices every day! Life¬†is, unfair. There are mean people, they will spitefully use you, treat you poorly, call you all sorts of names, steal from you and gossip about you. This does not excuse it, it just explains it. People suck. We are not called to live like that, we, who name Jesus as our Lord, are to act the opposite. Sadly we often forget to, hence this gentle reminder. Even those that treat us as stated above are to be prayed for, forgiven, shown grace, given from our abundance…the Word is not ambiguous, leaves no doubt, gives no out.

How you respond to being offended matters! How you respond to folks you do not agree with matters! How you respond to someone who is not treating you the way you want to be treated matters! What we do as Christians matters, and because it matters we need to run everything we do through the filter of the cross. Love the unlovable, pray for those that spitefully use us and forgive everyone, quickly! Love covers a multitude of sins. Love uncompromised, all believers should love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.

You are Loved,

cj

Imitators

Imitators

 

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1,2

You are new in Christ, the old is gone. Therefore, it is time to start imitating God, walk in love. We need to look up to Jesus in such a way that we desire to imitate Him in all we do. He should be the filter for every one of our decisions. Have you ever had a friend or relative that you looked up to that you wanted to be like? In that way, we should want to be like Jesus.

you are LOVED,
cj

Sit and Listen

Sit and Listen

“One day as He (Jesus) saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples (students) gathered around Him, and He began to teach them.” Matthew 5:1-2

Jesus saw the crowds gather and sat down. His disciples then gathered around Him and He began to teach, i love this. So often we want Jesus to come to us and teach us…and He absolutely will meet you where you are…however if we are His disciples we must be willing to go to Him. To sit with Him and allow Him to teach us.

“Come and See”

Are you willing to put things down, come to Jesus and listen? He wants to teach us! Set some time aside this week to sit in the Word (the Bible) and listen to Jesus teach you.

you are LOVED,
cj

Unconditionally, Love like that…

Unconditionally, Love like that…

Life at times can seem a bit unfair. The struggle of family, work, friendships, living, can and often times does become cumbersome. Balance, which one tries to keep is quickly lost in the ebbs and flows of life; finding it again is the challenge and the struggle is real.

No one is immune to the struggle, some are better at being proactive in recovering from being unbalanced but it takes a real effort. The verses and quotes from last week are for me the starting point of my journey back to balance and perspective. First, before i dive into this journey a little let me express to you that Jesus is fundamental in any recovery effort. You might be saying, of course, you are using scripture…yet for some using Scripture and leaning into Jesus, sadly, are not always the same thing.

Here are the verses again in case you forgot them or are reading this and you didn’t read last weeks devotional with the added insight following each verse…i will then summarize¬†things at the end.

1. 2 Thessalonians¬†1:11¬†“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to¬†live¬†a life¬†worthy¬†of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

***i want to highlight this incredible challenge, “…live a life worthy of His calling.” Talk about balance and perspective. This little part of this passage tells us this is the goal. But we need His Spirit in our lives to do it…Paul, writes, “…asking our God to enable you…” that’s the key, May He give you the power to… Why do we try and manage this on our own when clearly the challenge requires the Holy Spirit? Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus and His Spirit.

2. Psalm 139:1-3 “O Lord,¬†You have examined my heart¬†and¬†know everything about me.¬†You know¬†when i sit down or stand up.¬†You know¬†my thoughts even when i’m far away.¬†You see¬†me when i travel and when i rest at home.¬†You know¬†everything¬†i do.”

***When we are out of balance, we often attempt to hide this from God and those who God has placed in our lives to help us, “…live a life worthy of His calling.” Yet it is pretty clear in scripture that nothing is hidden from God, NOTHING. This Psalm is a gentle reminder that God knows everything about us. To regain balance and perspective…step one,¬†Jesus and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows.

3. 1 Timothy 1:5 “The purpose¬†of my instruction¬†is¬†that¬†all believers¬†would be¬†filled¬†with¬†love¬†that comes from a¬†pure heart, a¬†clear conscience, and¬†genuine faith.”

**** “…be filled with LOVE that comes from a “pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” God is Love, i know that you have heard that before…it also says in Scripture, “Love the Lord your God with everything you have and to love people, all people”. No motive, just love, love because God loved you…love from a pure heart, not perfect, pure meaning unconditional, without the motive of getting something in return. Love from a clear conscience, not guiltless, clear…confess your sins one to another and love. Genuine Faith, be authentic, be real, be honest, love like that. Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus¬†and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love.

4. Ephesians¬†5:25¬†“…husbandslove¬†your wives,¬†just as¬†Christ loved¬†the church.” For you married ladies, “…wives,¬†submit¬†to your husbands¬†as to the Lord.”

This applies to the marrieds that are reading this…if we do not honor our marriages do not expect your life to reflect or honor God. Our marriages are a reflection of our heart for God…granted this is a two-way street you are responsible for your side, which is to love your spouse as directed, to honor them, respect them, cherish them. If you are not married, you should reflect on this verse as you date, as you think about marriage…do not be unequally yoked with non-believers.¬†Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus¬†and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love. Step Four,¬†to¬†love and to cherish.

5. 1 John 4:8 “But¬†anyone who does not love¬†does not know God, for¬†God is¬†love.”

***If you do not love, you do NOT know God. Ouch. Jesus said if you hate anyone you have committed murder in your heart.¬†Balance and Perspective, step one, Jesus¬†and His Spirit, Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows. Step Three, love, simply love. Step Four,¬†to¬†love and to cherish. Step Five, don’t just say, “i love you,” show “i love you.”

We have come full circle, We start with Jesus and we end with Jesus. We start with love and we end with love. If you truly want balance and perspective in your life you need to follow these five steps.

Balance and Perspective:
Step one, Jesus and His Spirit.
Step two, stop trying to hide what God already knows.
Step Three, love, simply love.
Step Four, to love and to cherish.
Step Five, don’t just say, “i love you,” show “i love you.”

you are LOVED,
cj