BLOG
Check here weekly for new blogs, and peruse our archives for dozens of great resources.

Making A Good Connection

two person holding papercut heart
 
Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:4-5
 
The energy in the battery in your car wants to make a connection. It wants to flow energy from the positive terminal to the negative. That’s great when the connections are all clean and the switches work. Turn the ignition switch, make the connection, and energy flows through to the starter. The engine turns over and starts.
 
Your battery so wants to make that connection however that it sometimes won’t wait. If there is a short, a worn wire that rubs on the frame somewhere, then the power will simply flow there. A short circuit like this takes the energy through the frame and back to the battery.  Energy is flowing but not the way that’s intended. Energy is flowing but nothing good is happening.
 
Kindness is the good connection that God intended. In our text, Paul reminds us to be connected in kindness to the concerns of ourselves. We are a battery of interest in the life of someone.  The connection Paul wants seeks someone else as the place for our energy. Take the energy of interest in someone else and let the energy flow. This is the wiring diagram God had in mind. The pattern of Jesus is the model. How easily he could have spent his energy only on himself. But instead his care flowed to others even to the point of his death.
           
A short circuit of kindness never makes it to others but takes the shortcut to return only to itself. But the point of kindness is an energy that flows to someone else. And surprisingly, a short circuit will only drain the battery while the correct circuit will start the engine and run the alternator that recharges the batter. How strange:  self-interest drains energy, while sending the energy to others replenishes our battery.  Let the energy flow.Our Heavenly Father, thank you for the energy of interest in others. Keep us from the short circuit of caring only for ourselves. Instead let the energy of kindness flow to others, just as it did with you.  Recharge us as we send kindness to others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 


Read more...

Be Hopeful

white ceramic teacup on white ceramic saucer on table
 
17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.  Job 11:17-19

So often I find myself with little hope of what is to come because I lose sight of the bigger picture and the great eternal kingdom to come. In the secular world that we live in today, it can be so easy to accidentally put faith and true Gospel on the back burner of our lives and live our life day to day without the hope and promise that Christ has given to us.

As we see in the book of Job, he rarely lost sight and remained a servant to God throughout it all. Now I am not saying we all have to be like Job because of how difficult that may be, but we should strive to live a servant life and serve others around us with hope and faith. We must never give up our faith in our Savior Jesus.   If the day comes when we do, all will be lost. We must be a light to others and to everyone around us.

Keep these verses in mind when going out from day to day and remember that our hope is not lost and we shall not be afraid to sleep at night for we know the kingdom and power that is coming and is our’s through Jesus. The world can have great influence on us, but we must remember to provide faith based influence back into it, so that they might see what a great hope and kingdom is waiting for them.

Prayer: Almighty Father, you have given us these gifts of hope, faith, and love. I pray that you guide us through our lives using these gifts and provide solace for all of those around us so that they might see your kingdom and your beauty so that the world may not lose hope but gain it. It is through your Son, Jesus Christ that we pray these words. Amen.


Read more...

Always Present

Love scrabble tiles on book page

“And behold, I am with you always, until the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Have you ever had someone who was always there for you? Maybe it was a friend you could trust with anything, or a parent who would listen no matter what, or a grandparent who would tell you constantly how loved you were. A coworker, neighbor: someone who was always there.

I can think of a few in my own life, and we should all make sure to thank God for those people- and also thank them for their faithful friendships. But we always run into issues even with our most faithful friends: they cannot be always there.

Whether it’s a transfer to a different city, a death in the family, internal strife, a breach of trust, etc., we can’t rely on another person to be present always. It just doesn’t work that way. We are finite people. We have a beginning and an end, and so do the people around us.

There’s only one Person to whom we can turn who will be always present. It is the One who is, was, and always will be. The One who promised never to leave us nor forsake us. The One who promised to be with us always, to the very end of the age.

Jesus is always present, the only person we can turn to no matter what, who will never fail us or let us down. He has made a promise to us, and he has proven faithful.

We can and should be present for others like Jesus has made himself present for us. And part of the task of being there for others is to point them to the One will always be there for them, no matter what. Faithfulness is being always present. Let’s join with Jesus, as he proves faithful to us.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, You are always with us. You never let us down. We cling to your promises. We hold tightly to Your Word and Your presence. Make us aware of your daily presence in our lives, and help us to see who in our lives needs us to be present for them. In Your name we pray, AMEN.

Faithfulness is always being present.


Read more...

Become Like Children

boy sitting on bench while holding a book

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:1-4

“Become like children.” 

This must have been quite an ego-buster for the disciples.  After a hearty discussion of who is the greatest, Jesus picks a random child, puts him in the middle of them all, and says:  “Become like children.”

Now, before you laud your own personal immaturity as a faith virtue, let’s talk about what Jesus had in mind with this comparison.  Children are trusting.  They’re unassuming.  And they generally are less interested in being the “greatest” than adults are.  In short, Jesus says that they’re humble.

Humility is becoming a rare virtue in our culture.  Self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, and self-obsession are not only accepted these days, but are encouraged.

But in the Kingdom of God, humility never goes out of style.  Maybe that’s because our Leader has shown what true humility is: becoming like us, suffering in our place, dying for our sins.  Jesus doesn’t just tell us to be humble, He shows us how.

The world’s disdain for humility will continue, no doubt.  But that just means that a truly humble, Christ-like person will stand out in this world that much more as a beacon for Jesus. 

What a joy to be given a child-like faith by our God.  May He grant us the strength to live in true humility, that others might see the love of Jesus in us!

Gracious Heavenly Father, give us child-like faith!  Help us to trust in You, take away our egos and arrogance, and focus our eyes on Jesus and only Jesus.   In His name, Amen.


Read more...

Following Through

brown leather cover bible book
 
If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. [2 Timothy 2:12-13]
 
Did you get it done? Did you do it yet? BUT YOU SAID YOU WOULD!
 
We humans come in with a built-in promise detector. If someone gives us their word, we remember. If somebody makes a promise we remember. And when they fail to follow through, we remember.
 
What was the last promise you failed to keep? What was the last task you failed to get done? Who was the last person to hold you accountable for not following through? I know these things happen with way too much regularity in my life. I confess, and I seek to repent.
 
The problem is we can’t even judge others for failing to follow through for us, because we ourselves have done the same thing. We are a bunch of let-downs in many ways, not living out the words we speak.
 
But our God functions on a whole different level. What he says- it happens. “Be light!” and there was light. “Be well!” and there was healing. Promises made, and promises kept. Our God follows through. He is faithful.
 
God even promised to rescue us from death, and he sent Jesus to be our deliverer. Even though it meant giving himself as a sacrifice, he followed through. Even though it meant pain and humiliation, he followed through. Even though it meant death, he followed through.
 
Because Jesus followed through, we have life. And we have renewed conviction to be like him, to endure with him, to remain faithful with him. So remain faithful. Look at the example of Jesus, who has never failed to follow through for you. And follow through for those people in your life. Follow through on your promises. Live out the faithfulness of God.
 
Prayer: Dear God, you never let us go. You never let us down. Not one of your words has failed or fallen. Thank you for supporting and providing for us for our whole lives. And help us, dear Lord, to be faithful, too. Fill us with Your Spirit, that we might live out our faith by word and deed. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Read more...