Church: Love One Another as God First Loved You

A church is made up of imperfect people, like you and me. It doesn’t matter what position you hold or role you play in your church body or how long you’ve been walking with the Lord, none of us achieve perfection this side of the Pearly Gates. When a brother or sister in Christ fall, it can be tempting to ostracize them, ridicule them, or banish them from our lives. After all, we don’t want to go hang around sinners now do we? The problem is, we’re all sinners. Being saved and becoming a Christian neither immunizes nor incubates us from sin. Such is not the nature of the world we inhabit.

As a Christian, I’ve made a conscious effort to walk a different road than the one I ventured down before I encountered Christ. Having a relationship with Christ makes me think about sin and view my shortcomings differently than before I knew Christ on a personal level. Yet, daily, I find myself dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct my way. I don’t want anything to come between me and God. That doesn’t mean that nothing will be vying for my attention. To the contrary, it seems like the opportunities to mess up and fall amp up dramatically the more pronounced in my faith I become.

There’s a reason that the Apostle Paul urges us to put on the full armor of God every day. He understood better than most that ours is a daily battle to pursue the righteousness of God versus succumbing to the vices and devices of the Enemy. There’s a reason Scripture instructs us to be careful about assessing judgment on the words and deeds of others. It’s no accident that the Word emphasizes us to treat others like we would want to be treated.

Ephesians 6:10-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

When a brother or sister in Christ falls, they need our love, not our condemnation. Who can they rely on to love on them in the hour of their greatest need if not us? This is what it means to be family. We love one another because God first loved us while we were yet sinners. God demonstrated that love through the atoning sacrificial offering of His precious Son, Jesus Christ and He continues to show that love through the power of the Holy Spirit abiding in us.

As a friend of mine once encouraged me: If you find a perfect church, don’t start attending. You’ll just mess it up.

In the meantime, cast no stones.

Peace be with you.

Blessings,

The Devotional Guy™

Find Jesus

Finding the Answer in a World Burning with Questions

People are battling discouragement and are seeking encouragement. They want to see change and experience transformation. People are hurting. Lacking confidence many are searching for answers in a world burning with questions.

So who can you turn to for hope amid the struggles that accompany our journey in a seemingly upside-down, chaotic world?

Jesus.

The presence of evil is as clear as the day is long.  An ever-increasing desensitization to suffering and violence, and the devaluation of life in all its forms fill the news headlines. We have become experts in pointing fingers, lacking accountability, and failing to accept responsibility. We shout at God when misery wreaks havoc in the world while simultaneously screaming that no such God really exists. We have grown to believe that the power of prayer is irrelevant and view the words of Scripture as  powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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We have grown immune to violence, deception, and corruption. If we are all basically good, how did this happen?

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15 (NIV)

Sin.

Humans separated themselves from God because of sin. While we would like to see ourselves as being basically good, the ugly reality is we have an innate tendency to do the wrong thing (Psalm 51). We have selfish hearts living in a world that celebrates seeking one’s self-interest.  We like to follow our own will rather than the will of God. We seek to satisfy the desires of our own heart instead of seeking to have a heart for the things of the Lord. Scripture is clear. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we claim to have no sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8-10).

God provided a solution to our sin problem that separates us from Him (Mark 2:17).

While forgiveness and salvation can’t be earned, (Titus 2:11), we have a bridge that can help us find the way back to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Scripture tells us that all we have to do is ask God to forgive us and make a conscious choice to follow Christ (Acts 20:21). The death and resurrection of Jesus provides the only way to restoring our relationship with God. Trusting in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and confessing our sins to Him, opens the door to salvation (John 3:16, Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, giving each of us the power to live a Christian life (Romans 8:2, 6). The Spirit gives us strength to withstand the trials and temptations. All anyone of us has to do is accept through faith the gift of grace God has provided for us through His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

Alone, you can’t change the world. But you can accept the One who is able to transform you exceedingly abundantly above all you can think, ask, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Life change begins with true heart change. That change comes through Jesus. He alone is the answer.

Personlized Serenity Prayer Edited

Keith & Kristyn Getty-“In Christ Alone”

#MondayMorningCup #AMDevotional #TheAnswer #ChristAlone

There is a God and He Loves You

The world received news that early Wednesday morning God called the Reverend Billy Graham home. A giant of the faith whose sharing of the Gospel to over 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades is unparalleled in modern times. Truthfully, only Jesus’ ministry reached more people.

Whereas God used Paul to spread the Gospel through the written Word, He clearly used Graham to spread the Gospel through the spoken Word. Graham shared biblical truth and the Good News of Jesus all over planet Earth. Through his evangelistic rallies, Reverend Graham exposed people to the saving work of Jesus in more than 185 countries. He delivered the message of a loving God who gave His son so that all who believed in Him might experience eternal life. Graham did this through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books. He is known to be a humble and gracious man whose private walk matched his public talk. While it is unlikely that there will ever be another evangelist to reach hearers with the Gospel in the magnitude Reverend Graham did will certainly reap the fruit from the seeds of faith he faithfully sowed for generations to come.

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“I guarantee that you can know peace with God, peace of soul, peace of mind, and joy such as you have never experienced.”
– Billy Graham

Steps To Peace

The good news is, that although the Lord has called this faithful minister of the Word home, the message of love and hope that Reverend Graham preached remains as true today as yesterday and it will remain true tomorrow. There is a God and He loves you.

We live in a world full of hurt and heartache. Honestly, apart from Jesus Christ, no man is fully equipped to change the brokenness of this life. Only with Christ and Christ alone can you and I be saved.

You and I are born sinners, separated from a holy God who loves us immensely. In fact, God loved us so much that He gave His son as an atoning sacrifice to pay the debt for our sins and pave a path of reconciliation to Him for us. Scripture makes clear that anyone who calls Jesus by name, recognizing Him as their Lord and Savior, will receive the gift of eternal life—-life in the presence of God, forever.

I have no doubt that God welcomed the Reverend Graham with the words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” He wants to say that to you too. So if you haven’t already, I urge you, give your life to Christ and let Jesus welcome you home.

Thank you, Rev. Billy Graham.

Billy Graham

Read Reverend Billy Graham’s Official Obituary here.

Andrew Peterson-“Well Done, Good and Faithful”