Tag Archive | if you love one another.”

YOU and I are His disciples!

John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

There is so much going on in our world right now that could cause us to be distracted from the calling on our lives. We have sports, entertainment, family responsibilities and gatherings, jobs, electronics etc.. It is easy to become waylaid from the purposes God has called us to accomplish.  Each day it is a choice as to whether we will fulfill His purposes for our lives  or we will fulfill our own goals and purposes.  Do we spend more time in front of the tv than in the Word of God? Do we waste time gossiping instead of interceding for others? Do we choose to stay home and relax instead of getting ourselves to church on Sunday? We are daily faced with these type of decisions and sadly many Christians are choosing the way of their own comfort.

We have been given the gift of salvation through a Savior that lovingly died for us yet often we can’t even bring ourselves to spend any time with Him in prayer or in the Word of God. Too often, we would entertain ourselves with things that have little to no lasting spiritual significance. When we made the decision to follow Christ, we became His disciples. As disciples we have a purpose that involves more than our own comfort.

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following definition of a disciple..

dis·ci·ple

noun \di-ˈsī-pəl\

: someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person

: one of a group of 12 men who were sent out to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ

A disciple has a very distinct purpose and that purpose is to accept and help spread the teachings of their leader, who as Christians, is Christ.  This is not the purpose of just a select few but is the purpose for each and every one of us who calls Christ our Lord and Savior.  Each of us will have a different group of individuals that we are to impact but we are all His disciples and therefore we are all called to share the gospel.  When we choose our own comfort over sharing the gospel we are not being true followers of Christ.  Let’s take a look at a few verses from the Bible on being disciples…

Matthew 28:19-20 NIV 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

John 8:31 NIV 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 13:35 NIV 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:8 NIV 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:16 NIV 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Romans 10:14-15 NIV 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

And finally…

Hebrews 10:25 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If we are to be true followers of Christ we cannot be Christians in name alone. We must daily make the decision to obey Him and His leading in our lives. We are to share the good news with those who desperately need to hear it! We need to encourage our brothers and sisters who may be struggling and we need to continue to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every single one of us has been called with a purpose and we all need to be doing our part in the body until Jesus returns or He calls us home.

If you have become a Sunday seat warmer only, ask God to forgive you of your spiritual idleness and stir up in you a desire to fulfill the purposes He has called you to do. Don’t waste another day!

Lord, I ask that you would forgive me for my spiritual laziness that has allowed me to put my comfort before Your purposes for my life. Please stir up in me the giftings that You have given me and show me what I can do this day to further Your kingdom. Give me a heart that loves what You love and hates what You hate and empower me to demonstrate that love to those who need it.  In the precious name of Jesus,  Amen.

Sharing the gift that keeps on giving

When I was a teenager I remember singing a song with the following words, “Signs of the times are everywhere. There’s a brand new feeling in the air. Just keep your eyes upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.”  Lately, I can’t help but notice that there really is a brand new feeling in the air. It’s a feeling of urgency. It’s a new surge of evangelism being shot into the veins of God’s people.

There are prophetic signs everywhere we look. Surely the Lord’s return is not too long off. What prophets of old have been foretelling us through the scriptures for years, are now unfolding before our very eyes. Along with that there is a new surge of evangelism rising up.  Young people are being drawn to Jesus. Old people are coming to or being drawn back to Jesus. The people of God are being directed to live lives of commitment that sometimes appear radical in order to follow Christ!  It is a beautiful thing!  However, there are still millions upon millions of people that don’t know Jesus or are dabbling in sin.

Let’s take a minute to remember all that Christ has done for us, and all that He wants to do for others that still don’t know Him as Lord and Savior…  Ephesians 2 NIV  2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Though I have never felt the call of an evangelist, even I have been feeling a stirring deep in my spirit to share the gospel with others as never before. Sharing the gospel is not just for preachers and evangelists. It is for everyone who follows Christ.  Jesus said in John 14:6 NIV “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  If we believe Him, and we do, than how can we not share this with others that we know and love.

I am certain of one thing, Christ did not call us to keep the gospel to ourselves. To live fulfilled lives in Him, with little regard for the tens of millions of others who are being sucked into the pit of Hell. We in North America, have often become comfortable and complacent in our walk with Christ. My prayer is that God will stir up the gift of faith that is in each one of us and that we will seek Him for daily direction in ways we can share the love of Christ daily with others. Not in deeds alone, but in sharing His word for it is by the hearing of His word that many are saved.  Romans 10:17 NIV 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Lord, I pray that throughout this year,we will draw closer to you than ever before and that you will give us a burden for those around us who need to learn of you. Keep us from falling into a state of comfort where we hoard our faith in you as others around us die in their sins. Stir up the gift of faith in us and a deeper love for others so that we may fulfill the purpose that you have called us to. As Jesus said in John 13:34,35 NIV 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  If we love others as Christ loves them, we will not be able to ignore their need for Him.

This love doesn’t come natural!

John 15:35I am so glad that Jesus loves me. His love has transformed me and will continue to do so till either I go to be with Him or He returns. This is a promise from Him for everyone of us that are followers of Christ.  2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  

It is truly awesome to know that He will never give up on us.  He will continue to change us more and more into His image. One of the ways I have found Christ changing my heart is in my attitude towards others. Through the Word of God and His Spirit moving in my life, I am discovering that many of the things I used to feel and believe are no longer applicable. He truly does transform us and sometimes we don’t even realize when it is happening until we find ourselves seeing a situation from a different perspective than we ever did before. There were times in the past where I would take a haughty attitude towards others and their messed up lives. Christ is melting my arrogance and hardness towards others. It is a slow procedure but it is definitely happening.  My prayer these days is that God would break my heart with what breaks His heart!  It is too easy to get settled into an attitude of judgment and arrogance towards others.

I am not suggesting turning a blind eye to sin but I am suggesting that the only one worthy of  judging another’s heart is Christ. People that don’t know Him as Lord and Savior are not lead by His Spirit and until they are they will not behave in ways that bring glory to His name. They need Jesus and we need to tell them. What they don’t need is us pouring condemnation on them in anger or bitterness. God’s Spirit is more than capable of wooing them to Jesus. It is through sharing the good news,  prayer and  demonstrating the love of Christ that people will be won. Treating them like lepers or with bitterness will never draw anyone to the lover of their soul. Our focus should be on doing what comes the least natural to us and that is loving like Jesus does!

I want to share several scriptures today to encourage you to live a life that glorifies Christ. Though these are only a few verses, they are powerful ones and when we take the time to meditate on them and ask Christ to help us to walk them out they will bring about the kind of change in us our fellow believers and the world needs to see.

James 2:12 NIV 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

This is an incredibly powerful verse for us all to remember!

Matthew 18:21-22 NIV 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  

This is certainly not a popular teaching today!

  Luke 10:25-37 NIV 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise!”  Jesus used this parable to demonstrate to a man determined to live by the letter of the law that he was to show mercy, just as we are!

Romans 12:17-21 NIV 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;  if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And finally I will finish with  1John 3:15-16 NIV 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

When we find ourselves looking down on others in judgment, we need to examine ourselves and ask Christ to bring about the change that will result in our living as He lived, loving as He loves and allowing  us to each be a light in this dark world of ours. It is the fact that Christ died for us while we were sinners that demonstrated His amazing love! We didn’t have to clean ourselves up first. He took us just as we were. Thankfully He doesn’t leave us as we were but continues to change us from glory to glory! Just as He longs to do for all those who have yet to know Him as Lord. For those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, be an example and a source of encouragement. Love them as Jesus loves them. Rebuke when necessary but don’t allow any bitterness to spring up in your heart towards them.  We fail in our walk with Christ when our love is limited to those who we deem worthy. We are to love those, who at times appear very unlovable! Ours is a higher calling. Let your life demonstrate the love of Christ to others. By doing so, we are demonstrating our love to Him.

John 13:35 NIV 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“That world outside there is not waiting for  another definition of  Christianity, it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

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Vengeance is not OURS, despite how we may feel.

We live in a world where the media tries to manipulate us every day. They encourage us to think one way or another and are quite happy to put their world slant on their reporting.  It is refreshing when you read or hear from a reporter that reports what they saw, heard etc. without putting an individual or corporate slant on their version of the truth. However, this is getting to be quite rare.

I have been amazed at the medias response to the Trayvon Martin vs George Zimmerman trial. They have made it into a racism case from the get go. NO one was there at the time of the confrontation except George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. I watched and listened to the trial and have my own opinion about it but the fact of the matter is, I have heard Christians calling out for revenge on George Zimmerman. This is wrong on so many levels. The fact is the case went to court, the jury decided and the verdict stands. Vengeance is not ours! I can understand non-believers being vengeful but NOT Christians. We have the Spirit of God in us. If we think the verdict in this case  is wrong, we still have no right to call out for vengeance!

I remember being sickened when I followed the Casey Anthony trial and she was acquitted.  It bothered me for days, but I did not have the right to call for vengeance on her. It’s not my call to make!  Jesus made it very clear, how we are to demonstrate our love for Him when He said in John 13:34,35 NIV 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

And as Paul tells us in the book of  Romans 12:19 NIV 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.

Instead of complaining and griping about the verdict, why not make a decision to do what you can during your lifetime to reach out and help others outside your own personal circle. God does not see us as different races in Christ.  He sees us all as His children and perhaps it’s time for each of us to do the same. Not just in our words, but in our actions!

Galatians 3:28 NIV 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11 NIV11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

As followers of Christ, too often we spend more time complaining about the way things are instead of trying to make a difference in the way things can be. If you have followed the trial and believe the verdict was wrong, use this as a platform to try and make a difference. Reach out and show love and understanding to people outside your personal circle. If you happen to  agree with the verdict, do the same!  Complaining, tweeting and griping won’t do anything. Do something tangible to demonstrate the love of Christ to others! Make a real difference! Don’t be an armchair quarterback. Get involved and bless others.  Ultimately, George Zimmerman is answerable to God for his response in this crime, not us!

Luke 6:37 NIV 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.