Thursday, October 31, 2013
Beware of today's modern version of Christianity. One that accepts all sin, one that does not offend the sin or the sinner.
Lest we offend someone and the sin that is their idol. We would not be accepting enough, we would not be loving enough. We love them, not their sin. This is what Christ died for. He loves us, but redeems us from our sin.
“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just. Such a God is an idol of your own.” JC Ryle
Lest we offend someone that the media and Hollywood and the latest fads do not dictate our lifestyle. The word of God dictates our lifestyle.
“Be very sure of this,-people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it only too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment.” JC Ryle
Lest we offend someone that materialism does not drive us. Our house remodels, our cars, our latest smart phone does not determine our days. It's not what drives us. The love of Christ is.
Lest we offend someone that we teach our children the word of God. We desire for them to walk God's path, not the deceiving one laid out so appealing by the enemy.
“Better to confess Christ 1000 times now and be despised by men, than be disowned by Christ before God on the day of Judgment.” JC Ryle
Lest we offend someone we want to spend time with our family, that we love our children and our spouse and that God gave them to us to love on.
Lest we offend someone that we do not put things in our hearts and minds that are deceitful and wicked. We carefully determine what is taken in and what is shut out. We determine what we participate in and what we do not. We don't need to say "yes" to everything this world tries to offer.
“Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.” JC Ryle
Lest we seem to offend by taking the path less traveled and by not being mainstream, popular, or becoming gluttons of this world
Do not be concerned with "offending" this world. It will pass away.
“Laughter, ridicule, opposition and persecution are often the only reward which Christ’s followers get from the world.” JC Ryle
Lest we be concerned with offending God, not man. He is eternal. He is the great "I AM."
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
"His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21
"A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious rubies and valuables." Proverbs 24: 3-4
A house built by wisdom. Through knowledge it is filled with valuables. These valuables are not material things. Rather they are something of eternal value. Godliness, character, wisdom and knowing the peace and love of God. These valuables will not rot or rust. Building a strong home based on virtue, learning and digging into the deeper things of life is lasting.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
A home is not built up by the fact that it is custom made or how many electronic devices and tv's reside there. The cars and gadgets and toys within the walls of our home hold no value. The home is built up by the people in it seeking God and the love of family. Many homes today are built upon money and materialism. The goal in the home is to have it look as nice as possible while everyone is separated into their own world's on their own gadgets and devices. No one spends real, deep and true time together. Words of life, God, love and encouragement are not spoken. The devices and gadgets and facebook likes and time spent online do not take the place of the loving family unit and the loving interaction God designed us for.
Our home has lasting impact. Though children may grow and leave and change happens, the memories and lessons learned have built them up inside. They take from their home environment and it spreads out into the world. This is why home is so important, the lessons of home ripple out into the world.
Seeking God's wisdom and knowledge takes time, work and diligence. It takes a conscious decision to build up your home. The easiest thing to do is to acquire material things and allow that to fill the home. It's easy to go out and buy the latest and greatest technology has to offer. That takes investment of money. To fill our home with good books, good music, the word of God, and breathe love and life into our homes takes daily work and it takes time. Setting the atmosphere of peace, learning and life takes real work in today's world.
Does the atmosphere in our home reflect worldliness, materialism, humanism, entertainment media, or does the atmosphere smell of the fragrance of Christ?
"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ." 2 Corinthians 2:15-17
Investing in those we love takes being fully present with them. It's easier when we are tired and weary to "escape" into our computers and devices and tv. It takes being present in the moment with those we love to make memories and spend time with each other. Making the effort to make times of connection, times that are technology and media free is so important. We are able to slow down and make these memories and speak these words of love and life when we are fully present and disconnected from distraction.
"Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16
The people make up the home. Not the money, possessions, or perfect decor. The home is built on the memories and God's love. God gave us our family to invest in. May we make wise use of the time and the home He has blessed us with and may the presence of Christ in it go out into the world.
“Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go." Sarah Dessen
“Home is the nicest word there is.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.” Robin Hobb
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” George Augustus Moore
"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home." Luke 10:38
"When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home." Mark 2:1
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
"The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Romans 13:12
This time of year we should be especially aware and spiritually sensitive to casting off the darkness of the halloween culture.
Purposefully not surrounding ourselves with books, movies and various media with witches, vampires and the occult year round makes us sensitive when these things are suddenly more prevalent.
Because the Prince of Peace and Light reigns in us, we should be seriously concerned if we become deadened to the occult symbols, decorations and practices around us. Our hearts would begin to become deadened to Christ. We should not become immune to these things even though they surround us more and more. We should do the opposite---becoming more and more aware of them and keeping them out of our homes and casting them out.
Jesus died and conquered the grave. His resurrection is cause for celebration and victory. As Christians we celebrate that we have been given eternal life.
"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57
When we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we should not hold the door open even a crack to evil. Evil is repulsive to God as He sent His son to conquer evil and death. We do not celebrate death as it holds no power over us.
"Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." Ephesians 5:11
We expose evil the more we are spiritually sensitive and aware with God's leading our hearts. We expose it by rebuking it! We rebuke evil more and more as we shut the door on it, take no part in it, and do not invite it to dine with us. We need to keep our homes air tight to evil.
"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." I Corinthians 10:21
There is no combining the Lord and evil. Evil is opposite to God's character of love. The Lord casts out all evil from Him forever, and we are called to this in the Lord's name. If there are things that are not reflecting God's light in our lives, even the smallest things we try to justify as harmless, let us cast them out.
Evil is made very cute in our society. It comes in in every form of media, costumes, books and is marketed to children. It is all the rage and is popular. Satan is very clever and subtle in his ways. We say it's ok because it is cute. Slowly and steadily it creeps it's way into our mindsets and our eyes and hearts become hardened to evil, witchcraft and the occult. We say "so and so does it, reads it, watches it, so it's fine." Death, demons, and evil should not even have the smallest portion of our time, vision or hearts.
"Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the LORD God of Heaven's Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people. " Amos 5:15
Jesus dwelt among the heathen and ministered to them. He did not participate in their practices. He never had a good laugh or chuckle at any evil, nor did He ever call any of it cute. He rebuked it, cast it off and took no part in it.
“You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!" Acts 7:51
May we be able to witness quietly and lovingly or boldly and with grace---with love for God's people however He calls us today as children of light.
"Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." Matthew 9:37
"Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God." 3 John 1:11
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons..."1 Timothy 4:1
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14
Saturday, October 26, 2013
"No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
Looking out of the window away from our lives, casting our vision outside instead of inside makes us feel that the life we have is not enough. We look out and our heart jumps over the life placed in front of us onto some imaginary life we think we should be living. This perfection we have embedded into our hearts and minds, is it attainable? Is it from God or have we given ourselves this task? Visions of some life that will make us happy or wishfully more fulfilled.
Always striving for something more. A better car, a better house, more money, more vacations. Yet we miss the life placed in front of us. We skip over those meant to be the apple of our eyes and hearts. The people in front of us were not given to us from our striving, from our promotions, from our bonus money. They are gifts from God for us to love and minister to. Yet we so often say without anything spoken, "you are not enough." And God hears this from us too "God, you are not enough."
We are so busy looking to our next dreamed up life and crossing the mundane off our to do lists we can't stop to be filled by the God of the universe. The very God who breathed life into us. We don't even stop to hear His voice and be filled by Him. To dwell in God's presence and be filled overflowing with grace, God wants this from us.
"You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Psalm 27:8
Here is something counter cultural---God requires that we spend TIME with Him! Seeking God's face does not happen in the thirty to sixty seconds we feel we can so generously give God every day. It takes blocking out intentional time and saying no to some things, even seemingly good things. Seeking God and His word and hiding His word deep in the corners of our heart takes time. It might mean we can't watch a tv show we "need" to watch or spend our time on some other thing we feel is pressing.
Soak in the life you have now. The people you have to love now. Can you see the gifts God has given? Stop long enough to see them. What if our looking outside dreams, turn to looking inside dreams? Can we possibly stop to see the dreams already fulfilled and come true? If we look back and realize we were so busy looking out to our self fulfilling dreams, we missed what was already in front of us, the God dreams---what a sad tale that will be. Do we want to honestly miss the life God has for us because we're too busy dreaming up the one we have for ourselves?
To love those God placed in the sphere of my world well, is enough. To live a simpler life, uncomplicated by the webs the world wants to entangle me in, God tells me this is enough. To spend time with God alone each day listening to His voice, to purposely live a different pace of life than those around me, is what God requires of me. I don't have to pile more, more, more on my plate. I don't have to think that my simpler life of living for others isn't enough and I better do something else to feel more fulfilled. It won't fulfill me more, it will just add busyness and chaos and trick me into thinking now it's enough. Now I am doing what the world requires of me---so that I justify to them doing what Christ requires.
"Oh, you're just a stay at home mom?" "Yes, I reply, but I do this and this and this other thing too." How many times have I answered like this, when God tells me it is enough. Trying to justify walking with God to those of this world who don't understand. I don't need to justify myself when behind closed doors that the world can't see beyond my family is loved well and I strive to love them better every day.
And so I am removing the "this and this and this" other things off of my plate, to do more of what Christ requires of me. It is enough, and my dreams are pointing inward to God instead of out to the world.
God is so simple and direct with us. Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Let's focus on doing these well where God places us, it is enough. May it wash over us and seep into our hearts.
"God gives us time. And who has time for God? It makes no sense. " - Author Ann Voskamp from her book "One Thousand Gifts"
"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10
"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way." Psalm 25:5-9
Thursday, October 24, 2013
"For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." Psalm 107:9
A small salad with feta cheese, sliced almonds and your favorite dressing. A dinner of sweet potatoes, vegetables and some grilled lemon chicken. Small portions on your plate, you feel full after your meal. The perfect amount of food. You don't feel the heaviness in your stomach of overeating and you know you ate a nutritious meal. Your stomach satisfied, your body healthy. You know you could have eaten a few more bites, even another plate---but the overly full stomach would have left you feeling poorly. Having learned your lesson, you know the satisfied, full feeling and you know when to stop eating. The meal was perfect, and it was enough.
What if we satisfied our desire for more from this meal---a second plate, a third plate, dessert, a snack-- it's so good, maybe just one more plate? It won't hurt. Let feeling sluggish, exhausted, and with an overly full stomach we regret the seconds. We think of all the calories and the exercise we have to do the next day to burn it off. We feel uneasy, unsatisfied, we partook of too much food. Again the next night, we do the same thing. We ignore the satisfied feeling, push past it and eat more. Shouldn't all this food leave us feeling satisfied? Instead the "more" bug has bitten. The satisfied feeling is ignored, the more bug has it's grip. It's become a habit now and it's hard to break. Night after night we repeat this dinner routine.
God has put things on each of our "life plates." The things He wants us to focus our attention to---perfectly portioned by Him. Maybe it is our work, our children, outside ministry or focusing on a talent God has called us too, keeping up our home for our family, friends and relatives. Our plates will vary with our seasons of life. Instead of leaving our plate with these portions given by God, we feel we need seconds, thirds, fourths. Pretty soon the plate is piled so high with this unnecessary food, we can't even remember what the original meal was. We get used to this overly full feeling. We accept it and become numb to it.
Exhausted and unhealthy, our stomach tied in knots, we accept that this is life. We don't realize the seconds, thirds and fourths were piled on our plates by ourselves. Did God give this to us to eat, or did we feed it to ourselves? We are eating off the world's plate and not off of God's. The world's plate will leave us starving for more, God's plate will satisfy.
What are these second, third and fourth helpings? Joining things that we were never meant to join, being in this and that and every activity possible thinking it will fill our appetite. Enrolling our children and ourselves in every activity so they and we "stay busy." Planning things for every spare moment of our time. Thinking more of ourselves than we ought, we are "chairman of the board" for every thing we are involved in! Exhausted from our own self importance, we continue participating in this gluttony. Overeating is not the only form of gluttony. Having a schedule that is full of self serving, self important busyness is gluttonous.
Overextending ourselves, we are telling God the plate He has served us is not enough. We try to satisfy ourselves and we become sick and unhealthy by partaking of unnecessary time fillers. We are never satisfied and we wonder why. Our soul stirs and tells us it is not at peace.
We are never satisfied because we are eating the food that is never going to satisfy! It is not the manna given from God, so our stomachs will never be full. We want more, and more and more. We don't stop with what God has laid for us that is enough. Now we are making ourselves into God, and serving ourselves more helpings of the world.
This world will never satisfy your appetite. We were made and created by God to only have our hunger filled by Him. Filled by God, we long for more of Him. Our longing for Him forces us to focus on Him and the things He fills our plate with. Our appetite for the world causes us to focus on more of the world, more, more, more...pretty soon our soul is heavy and exhausted from the things of this world we were never meant by God to partake in.
"Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away." 1 Samuel 2:5
Let's take the second, third and fourth portions off of our plates that we have piled on. The exhaustion, the poor health, the anxiety, the unnecessary busyness we have served ourselves on our platter of life. Left with God's perfect portions, the things He wants us to focus on, we are satisfied. "Don't you want to eat more?" our friends ask. "Your plate isn't full enough, here is a second helping, " well meaning friends and relatives will say. "No, we answer, "I am satisfied." We may be some of the only ones eating off the satisfying plate, the plate not piled too high. But our soul is at peace with God, and we are satisfied with His food.
Our soul is filled with His goodness. It no longer longs for more of this world. It longs for more of God. And we are full.
"They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away." Psalm 107:5
May our lives not be ebbed away by chasing after this world's hunger and thirst, but be satisfied and full filled by God.
Prayer: "Lord, fill me with you. Show me what you want on my plate, and remove the unnecessary. May I see that the plate you have served me is full of your perfect goodness. Fill me with your strength to remove the excess and give me the courage to stand out as one satisfied by you." Amen.
"The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked." Proverbs 10:3
"The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry." Proverbs 13:25
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12
Saturday, October 12, 2013
"Farewell to Anger"-By Leonid Afremov
"Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools." Ecclesiastes 7:9
The weather is perfect. The sun shining and a breeze blowing, you set off on a short hike. The views are beautiful and after about an hour of hiking you hit an area where some brush and plants are particularly dense. After a few minutes of walking through, you hear a rattle. Before you know what hit you, you've been bitten by a rattle snake. You need help as soon as possible.
Able to make it to the hospital in time, you recover. But the nice breezes and the beauty of your hike was marred by the snake bite. Etched in your memory of that day was the incident with the snake. From now on, if you choose to hike again, you'll be wary and on guard.
If this hiker goes on a few more hikes and each time is bit by a snake or stung by a scorpion more than likely they will just stop hiking. The views and breezes and great moments of the hike are not worth the risk of being poisoned or injured again.
Anger is similar to this hike. We are living a normal, ordinary day, but one with a measure of peace to it---and the anger monster strikes. Out of nowhere. Stunned, we try to recover. But like the hiker there is now a measure of wariness to us, we tread carefully. There is now fear. Fear of being bitten, stung, bruised by anger. Sure, most of the day was good, but there is now a stain to it and a bitter taste that will be remembered.
This anger could be from someone else, or from within ourselves coming out against others or maybe even only affecting ourselves. In any case it is toxic and poisonous. Those around it want to recoil and hide away to protect themselves. They don't want to feel the sting anymore.
The anger is like accidentally putting something red in with a load of all white laundry. The red has colored the whole load.
The whites are now stained and the stains may be permanent.
"It is better to cry than be angry, because anger hurts others while tears flow silently through the soul and cleanse the heart." Pope John Paul II
"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Colossians 3:8 12-13
Thursday, October 3, 2013
"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..." Philippians 1:27
In America, it's not frequent to be taught that the way we choose to live our life-our lifestyle-is to line up and be worthy of what we believe as Christians. We will look like strangers and pilgrims on earth and different than the society we live in. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..." 1 Peter 2:11
It's often an off the cuff, flippant phrase "oh yeah, I'm a Christian. I read my Bible from time to time."
Being a Christian is so much more than a label or an accessory.
It's a heart state, a mind state, a soul state. It overtakes us and washes over us until we cannot help but make decisions that reflect our beliefs.
We must start examining our decisions, our way of life, our way of thought. Christ breaks down the walls of our thoughts, and builds new ones. He sheds light on the areas of darkness and idols in our lives and shows us how to make changes.
God wants to be involved in all areas of our lives. Our schooling, our health, our minds, our hobbies, we are to line them up with our faith. Yet often faith is separated from these decisions. Christ is life---so why do we separate Him out of compartments of our lives?
Often God is only allowed into certain "parts" of our lives. We allow Him into our church life. We allow Him into our hearts---a little. We never stop to examine how He is allowed into our everyday lives. The small and large decisions we make on a daily basis, the beliefs we hold, the WHY of our daily activities. Why are we doing this, why do we believe that, why do we participate in this and that?
This is why in America it is often seen as people being "overly religious" when they allow God to permeate the corners of their lives. But they have done the hard work. They have examined their minds and souls and spent time in prayer asking God what He would have for each and every area of their life and their families life.
God is not a cookie cutter God. Each of our lives will look different and this is not about legalism. Each decision He asks us as individuals to make will not be the same as another believer. This is where God shines His beauty. He shows His grace and light in many different areas. It's about truly allowing our faith to make our lives be lived in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. God will be reflected in our lifestyle and our choices in the ways He chooses. We will not all be the same, but we will be listening to the same God and reflecting the same God. People will see God in us and they will see a light that is different than the world's.
We will make mistakes, fall short, we strive and seek God and His grace covers us. We won't live a perfect Christ like life. But we are striving to make our manner of life worthy. Worthy of what we reflect. Christ---holy, unblemished, a life lived as a sacrifice for us all, covered by grace.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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. " Hebrews 10:24-25
Labour to travel through the world like a child of God and heir to glory. Let men be able to trace a family likeness between you and Him that begat you. Live a heavenly life. Seek things that are above.
Do not seem to be building your nest below. Behave like a man who seeks a city out of sight, whose citizenship is in heaven, and who would be content with many hardships till he gets home." J.C. Ryle
"Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14
There are things that are easy to do in love. So easy that many of us do them without thought. Giving a nice gift, a kiss to our kids, being kind to those who make it "easy" to be kind to. It's easy to do those things in love and we put God's command to do everything in love in action and we seem to be following through.
But what about the things that are just plain hard to do? When we are asked to do something that really takes effort and God asks us to go our of our way. Do we do those things from love? Most of the time we just hastily rush through it to "get it over with." So then we can be on our merry way and get back to the things that are easy. To do the hard things with love is to take God's command seriously.
If we view even the smallest tasks as things to be done in love for God, this will change our daily lives. Even when we don't feel God's love for a person or task, we show love to them or do the task not because we find the laundry brings us joy overflowing---but because of God's love for us and our love for God's kingdom.
We do everything from love, even the laundry, dishes, sweeping, the most mundane and repetitive tasks. We probably won't be dancing with the dishes and kissing them and saying "I love you dirty dish plate," but we will not feel that all is wasted. Because the dishes, the laundry, the person we need to serve, and the hard task God is asking us to do, is it not done all for Him? "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24
God made us to care for and be diligent with the people and things He has placed before us. He sees the attitude of our hearts. If we love begrudgingly, if we don't take the work He sets before us seriously, He sees the state of our heart attitude. He sees if we work at it with diligence or if we are lazy and apathetic. Because our diligence or our laziness is an attitude of the heart towards God.
When we overflow with the joy of the Lord, we see these tasks as God given responsibilities to be done unto Him. If everyone put their best effort into each small task, imagine how the world would change for Christ. The smallest and largest, done in love. The proud and the humble---loved.
Sometimes, we do things with a wrong attitude and wrong motives. "Do nothing from rivalry and conceit..." Philippians 2:3
When we do things with rivalry, to "one up" the Jones', to appease our pride and our ego, we are only giving ourselves a high that temporarily appeases our impure motives. This attitude and thought process bears no fruit in our spiritual lives and it does not further God's love. We are taught by the world to compete, compete compete! And we are taught that we need the best of the best. We need a better house, a better car, the better clothes, the best of luxuries to really show who we are to all those other people. After all, we MUST show our status--- our rivalry, our conceit. It is so fleeting and temporary.
When we do things in love, we are investing in eternity, putting our relationship with God first. We have a pure heart and the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. We never know how the smallest of things done in love can make the biggest change for God's plans and kingdom.
God's commands are so clear to us. Do EVERYTHING in love and do NOTHING from rivalry or vain conceit. Even when we are weary, and even when it seems pointless.
We can trust in God's word and His commands. He doesn't ask us anything that is not for our good and for the good of others.
Prayer: "God, help me to do everything I do to reflect my love for you and my relationship with you. Help me to make a difference for you even in the smallest things you ask of me." Amen.
"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galations 5:13
"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart... "1 Peter 1:22
"with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.." Ephesians 4:2
Love should be seen in little things as well as in great ones. Remember, not least, the words of Peter: “Love each other deeply”; not a love which just barely is a flame, but a burning, shining fire, which everyone around us can see. (1 Peter 4:8) It may cost pains and trouble to keep these things in mind. There may be little encouragement from the example of others. But persevere. Love like this brings its own reward." -J.C. Ryle