Posted on Leave a comment

Don’t Let Your Enemies Become Friends

“Satan will do all he possibly can do to remind you of past sin… He will tell you the Lord is disapppointed in you… never believe a word of this” (Stanley, 2008).

 

Let’s get one thing straight: Satan is NOT your friend. He never was, he isn’t now, and he never will be, under any circumstance. Satan is no friend of ours. He’s no man. He’s just a little boy who has nothing better to do with himself than to mess with our lives. He’s not even worth the capitalization of his name.

Satan is, well….Satan. He wants to hurt us in any way possible. His goal is to put us through every battle, every hardship, every tiff, every anxiety filled moment that he can. He wants to tear down every dream, everything we’ve worked for. His mission is to be the jealous ex-girlfriend watching her ex-boyfriend from the sidelines get very close with someone. He just can’t stand it. So what does he do? He intervenes. He’s determined to get in the middle of your relationship with someone special. Not because he wants the other person. But because he wants you.

He wants you.

But there’s someone better with a better life plan for you that you can run to. I hope I don’t have to say who that is.

Satan is like spam mail. You have to keep deleting those useless emails out of all the good emails you have. And once you click on one bad email, your whole computer is infected with this virus and it’s not working the right way, like it should.

Under no circumstance should we ever find ourselves making a bargain with Satan. Even on those lonely nights when you’re emotionally drained and have nowhere to turn and you feel like you can’t hear God talking to you, you should never listen to the devil sitting there on your shoulder, telling you to give up everything and turn against God. Because Satan will sit there and plea with you that he has a better life for you than God ever could. But it just can’t add up.

Satan is like a stranger in a van, offering you candy. Don’t let him tempt you. One piece of temptation is enough to tear down everything.

Because Satan is your enemy. And the enemy is not your friend.

Posted on 2 Comments

Yeah, I Wanna Get Married Young

Yeah, I do want to get married young.  And I’ll openly talk about that desire.  But if you dismiss that idea as stupid or never going to happen, I’ll probably shut down.  Why the heck do people think it’s okay to shut down other’s dreams?  Let me rephrase that …  Why would you want to diminish someone else’s desires?   

Yeah, I Wanna Get Married Young

Let’s frame this in the lens of Scripture, because, especially in this circumstance, it’s incredibly important.   

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV).  

If you’re not first delighting in God’s presence this verse is not applicable.  Nor can you fake delighting in God’s presence.  I hate the phrase “fake it till you make it.”   It makes me cringe every time I hear it.  No, how about actually be honest about where you’re at and be joyful and content with where you’ve made it to.   Now, if you’re not in a good place spiritually, that’s a different conversation altogether. That was a little off topic, though.   

This verse is telling us that God does promise to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  So when someone says that they have a desire to be married whether young, old, anywhere in between or any desire that is honoring to God, don’t shoot that down.   

I have had so many people say, “Yeah, well, life doesn’t turn out like you plan.”   And I kinda just nod my head.  Because I feel like if these people know me at all, they should know that I know that my life hasn’t turn out how I planned already.  However, I also am completely and one hundred percent aware of the fact that God has bigger and better plans for my life than I could ever imagine.  So when it comes to marriage, there is no exception.   

Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to be horrified and angry if I don’t get married young.  I’ll be content with it.  However, when that’s something I talk about, it’s because it’s a desire that I have.  It’s like a little kid saying they want a toy or a piece of candy.  Do you tell them they’re never going to get that toy or piece of candy?  Probably not.

That escalated quickly, but seriously, just use your words wisely.

Posted on 1 Comment

One Nation Under God

Salt_And_Light_In_The_Midst_Of_Crazy_Political_Season

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

First, let me say that whether or not you believe in God does not affect whether or not you are under His authority.  His existence is not dependent on whether or not you believe in Him.  In the same way, this nation’s being “under God” is not dependent on your beliefs in God, or lack thereof.

That is truly all I want to say about the fact that we are under God and His authority.  What I primarily want to address in this post is the first part of this phrase: “one nation.”  The division among citizens after the announcement that Donald Trump is the President Elect is absolutely ridiculous.  So I have a few words to say to a few different groups.

To Those On the “Winning Side”

I won’t say congratulations, because you didn’t win. Your nominee did.  I want to primarily start by thanking you for going to the polls.  You exercise the right you have as an American citizen and showed that you are grateful for it by using it.  You may not have recognized that you did, but you did.  Next, I want to say stay humble and on your knees in prayer.  Pray for the future. Pray for the policies that our President Elect and the majority Republican Congress choose to pass to be God-honoring. Do not engage in anything but positive discussions on social media and in person.  It’s not worth it.


To Those On the “Losing Side”

In the same way that I didn’t congratulate the “winning side,” I won’t apologize to you because your side lost.  But I do feel for you.  I understand that you are scared.  I don’t believe that anyone took their decision lightly going into the polls.  I know I sure didn’t.  But I want you to realize that the President isn’t the only one who makes decisions.  Yes, the Republicans did gain control of Congress.  However, not all Republicans are like Donald Trump.  I hope you can find some hope in the fact that most Republicans care deeply about your individual rights and will fight to protect them.

To Those Who Didn’t Choose Either Side,

And I don’t mean you chose not to vote.  I’m talking about voting third party. You said a lot this election. Didn’t quite get where you wanted to get.  But made the statement you wanted to.  Evan McMullins managed 21% in Utah! Anywho, Gary Johnson got 3% of the overall and even though it’s not the 5% needed for federal funding, your vote was worth it.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you wasted your vote by voting for a third party.  That’s a total lie.  Kudos to you for standing up for what you believe in.

To Those Who Didn’t Vote,

May I simply start with a question: WHY NOT? Unless you’re under the age of 18 or were for some reason incapable of getting there, I’m not one for excuses about not voting.  Yes there are legitimate ones.  But for the most part, get there or know you’re not going to that day and fill out an absentee.  You may have stayed home because you thought that you just couldn’t vote for either of the two main candidates.  I know the two primary options were not exactly ideal, but let me ask you this, you’re a flawed human being too right?  Couldn’t you decide who most aligned with your ideals, even if it was an independent and get out there and vote?

Also, let me say this.  If you didn’t vote and could have, you have no room to complain about the results of the election.

This is the division we see today, the day after the election, primarily between Republican and Democrat, or those who see themselves as winners and those who see themselves as losers.  It should not be that way.  The President cannot truly “fix” the issues you face on a daily basis long-term.  Why? Another one can come in and get rid of whatever he does.  That’s what we’re likely about to see happen.

So here’s what needs to happen:

  • Rather than complaining and gloating, we need to help one another and be unified in our communities.
  • Our communities are where real change takes place. If we come together rather than focusing on who is about to be in office, a lot of real change can occur. 
  • If we stand together so much more can get done.
  • Christians are to be salt and light so that others may see Christ in us.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 NASB). 

 

Liked this post? Go check out other “Real World Issues” Posts:

Is it Biblical for Women to Lead?

Number 70

One Nation Under God

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Called to Worship

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

What do you think of when you think of worship? I think it’s fair to say most people think of singing praises to God.  Singing is a form of worship, but it’s not the only way we can worship God.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 ESV).

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).

If our purpose is to glorify God, we are worshipping Him in spirit and truth.  On the other hand, you could be in a church service during worship and not really worshipping God because your heart is not focused on Him but on every other possible thing you could be focused on.  Don’t get me wrong, I love worship music. 

 

God deserves to be honored and glorified in everything we do, not just in song.  All Christians have spiritual gifts that allow them to do that in a specific way.  We can also use hobbies that are not necessarily spiritual gifts to worship God.

Bible Art Journaling

I started Bible Art Journaling a little over a year ago, but just recently started diving back into it.  And when I say diving, I mean head-first.  For the past two months or so, I’ve been more focused on getting consistent Jesus Time.  The last two weeks, I’ve needed something to do as stress relief with an overloaded school schedule.  So with knowing that I had a journaling class coming up this past Saturday, I just started doing it more and more.

1John4:18-19

Here’s one that I started before the class, worked on during and finished after, because this one was one I really wanted to do but I wasn’t sure how to tie it together.  Who knows, I may always add more later. 1 John 4:18-19 has always been one of my favorite passages of Scripture:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19 ESV).

There’s so much to this verse and I want to encourage you to study it on your own, but there’s just a few things I want to mention:

    • God is love.
    • God’s perfect love dispels fear.
    • If we are His, we should not fear.
    • Because God loves us perfectly, we are able to love others even though we are imperfect.

 

The class I went to Saturday was taught by Tai Bender, who sells the hymnal cards that you can see in the picture. I had all but the card that reads “Tune My Heart” on it done and wanted to add something because I had a lot of white space at that time.  So, looking through the cards, I realized that that card has “Come Thou Fount” on it, which is my favorite hymn. So I added that at the last second because that song was on my heart and seemed to fit there as well as with the worship theme that I knew I was about to be writing about.

Worship God in everything.  Your work, your hobbies, your relationships; everything.

 

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Obedience of Faith

If_You_Love_Me_Keep_My_Commands_John_14:15

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

I just started classes this week specifically devoted to studying the book of Romans in context as well as a class about the book of Acts.  They both already have individual categories under Bible Study. That’s your “head’s up.”

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bing about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to be saints” (Romans 1:1-6 ESV)

As I was reading this, one phrase in particular jumped out at me: “obedience of faith” (v. 5).  Faith means trusting that God knows what is best for you better than you do.  Then, in that trust, you must submit to God’s plan for your life.  We have to be able to simply obey Him and His Word.  No, it’s not always easy, in fact most of the time obedience to God will be the harder path to take.  However, obedience to God is always the right choice. 

 

Faith_Means_Trust_In_Gods_Plan

The most simple way this is stated in the Bible is found in John:

“If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15 NIV)

These are the words of our Savior Himself.  Please don’t skim over them.  A relationship with Jesus starts with falling in love with Him, but Jesus came to give us new life here and now.  That new life is abundant because it doesn’t involve worldly things.  Look at the example of the early church and see how drastic the life change was.  We are not to continue living however we please and expect that whenever we die we will be in heaven with Him.

If_You_Love_Me_Keep_My_Commands_John_14:15

What obedience looks like for each one of us may honestly look different.  Some actions, mentioned in various places throughout the Bible, are clearly disobedience.  Others may not be so clear.  Let me give you an example: I’ve written before about feeling God calling me to be a pastor.  I initially felt that call during my sophomore year of high school and honestly I completely ignored what God was calling me to do and focused on my plans and my goals for my life.  It took me three years to finally accept God’s calling for my life and be okay with it.  It still makes me really nervous just thinking about it.  But the entire time that I was chasing my own dreams instead of following His will for my life, I was disobeying Him.  I was still saying no to His plans and yes to mine.  But at that time I had zero contentment in my spirit about what I was going to do and would constantly say “I wish I knew what I was going to do with my life” even though I thought I had it all figured out.  The second I made the decision to accept that God’s plans for my life are so much better than mine and to trust Him with my career path, that contentment that I lacked was there.

So for me, obedience in that area of my life didn’t require a change of schools or even a change of major but instead a change of heart and a willingness to go wherever God takes me.

I don’t know what obedience needs to look like in your life right now, but you probably do.  If you truly don’t, just pray about it and ask God to show you what area of your life you need to trust Him with.

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Watch Out for Ticks

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.    

I was supposed to do a mud run yesterday but because my truck broke down and I have been sick for a week and a half I decided it would be best to better prepare myself for a future mud run.  However, as the name implies, you get pretty muddy during a mud run.  So I had gotten myself pretty excited about getting really muddy and was rather disappointed that I was missing out on that.

As somewhat of a consolation, I talked my mom into walking a muddy horse trail at a local park with my dog yesterday instead. Great idea, not! 😉 My shoes are covered in mud, I had mud halfway up my calves and so did Toby. Even worse: when we were almost out of the wooded area of the trail I looked down and had a tick crawling on my finger.  Yuck!  The worst part: Toby had not one, but two on him.

Ticks are parasitic; they bite and then live off their “host.”  The host can then develop Lyme Disease if the tick was infected with it. Lyme can affect any organ in the body and have a detrimental affect on the tick’s host.

What does this have to do with our relationship with God?

DesiresoftheFlesh_InstagramPicture

Just as ticks may “seem” harmless; we know they’re not because they can carry a disease that could seriously harm our bodies.  Some of these sins are more obviously harmful than others, but some may not seem so blatantly harmful; but they are detrimental.  They, just like a tick, will “bite” and continue to swell as long as you allow them to have that power.  Things like envy, anger, jealousy, strife, and idolatry may not seem like sin at first because they do not immediately take over your life.  However, once you allow these sins into your life, the devil will continually take more and more of your attention from God by using these things.  Sin is parasitic! 

If you watch out for spiritual “ticks” constantly, you will be able to, through the Holy Spirit, get rid of that sin before it overtakes your life.  Don’t even let the “tick” bite.

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1 John 1:6 NIV).

Live Out Truth, Not Lies

The devil wants you to live a sinful life because he is a liar, he wants you to go against God’s will for your life and give in to sin.  Don’t; trust that God knows best and is Truth.

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15 NIV).

Right after Paul explained what not to do, he tells the church in Galatia what kind of behaviors the Holy Spirit produces; not by our power, but His. When we are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, it’s not only about Him saving us, it’s also about Him changing us. Jesus came not only to save us but to change us.  He left so that the Holy Spirit could come and change us. A Spirit-filled life is the only way to live a full and abundant life; the life Jesus came to give.

jesuscametochangeusnotjustsaveus

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

The fruit of the spirit indicates a Spirit-filled individual.  Not one of us can constantly maintain those qualities without the help of the Holy Spirit. We will all still fail, but as we grow in our relationship with the Lord, the fruit of the Spirit should be evident.

Liked this post? Go check of my other favorites:

Silent Saturday

Jesus Time

Don’t Follow Your Heart

Posted on Leave a comment

What Is Separation of Church and State?

SeparationChurchStateQuote_Owens

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

I had to write a discussion board post for school regarding legal issues in a public school setting and I really just had to share because I believe that we need to be reminded what the real intentions of Separation of Church and State were.  Here’s my post:

“A coach participates as a club advisor in Fellowship of Christian Athletes-led activities held on school properties.”

In a case in which a church organization is ministering in a public setting, the original intent of the phrase “separation of church and state” needs to be examined. According to Owens in “Separation of Church and State,” “The doctrine of the separation of church and state was conceived primarily to keep the state out of the church, not the church out of the state” (Owens, 2001). By this, Owens describes the original intent of the concept of separation of church and state, which was to protect the church from persecution and from being limited by the government to practice the religion of the state or hide the practicing of religion. This came from a people who had just been persecuted for their Christian faith in England. It was fresh in their minds and therefore, they would not allow the same thing to occur in the new country that they were working to develop: the United States. Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to the Banbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, wrote “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State” (El-Mallakh, 2007). Jefferson was addressing a church body on the fact that their right to exercise their religious beliefs would remain intact.” Biblically, people of faith were in political positions often, so the idea that the church should not have influence over the state is new and definitely not a Biblical idea. Throughout the Bible, prophets, judges, and kings all exerted strong influence over their nation even when the nation had strayed from following the Lord. When the judges of the nation of Israel were chosen, they were reminded, “‘Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the LORD. He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case. Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:6-7 NLT). Although the Biblical example is strong for church political influence, Owens continues: “Yet that has been, and will continue to be, the primary effect of this policy–the “church” will remove itself more and more from developing a strong, prophetic public witness in relation to the ‘state’ The shortage of religious leaders who will take the risk of speaking truth to power is critical enough, but it is truly tragic when the development of such a voice is rendered impossible by cozy financial relationships with the powers themselves” (Owens, 2001).
Although in the case of a coach participating as an advisor in Fellowship of Christian Athletes activities on school campus, they should be permitted to do so through the original intent of the wording of “separation of Church and State,” they would most likely not be allowed or they would be afraid of getting in some sort of trouble for doing so.

References
El-Mallakh, O. (2007). Separation of Church and State: the myth. Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table. Retrieved from http://p2048-ezproxy.liberty.edu.ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=vic_liberty&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA192639837&sid=summon&asid=b4be56524cfaab4a87503bb2a940c8c5
Owens, R. F. (2001). Separation of Church and State. (Issues). Social Policy, 32(1), 45+. Retrieved from http://p2048-ezproxy.liberty.edu.ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=GRGM&sw=w&u=vic_liberty&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA81005828&sid=summon&asid=d0dff31fe69a509886c8faeecc8efded

But is that the way it feels? That this concept was meant to help the church not to hurt it?Absolutely not! The church needs to be aware that Separation of Church and State not meant to harm us. It’s supposed to protect us from government interference in the church; the exact opposite of what it’s currently doing. This does not mean that Christians should not serve in public offices: they should! There are plenty of biblical examples of this, and our nation and world needs Godly  people in office.

Posted on 2 Comments

Waiting on God’s Timing

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

First thing’s first: listen.

Don’t rush whatever it is that you want.  If you are clearly being lead to by the Holy Spirit to “wait” there’s a reason for it!

If it’s not so clear whether the answer is “wait” or “no.” That doesn’t mean keep trying.  You can put it aside for now to see if God leads you back to it. If not it wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

In the mean time, grow closer in your relationship with God, listen for His leading and grow in your relationships with others.

If it’s others you’re waiting on, be patient and graceful with them.  Reflect God’s grace and love with them through it. Help them, distance yourself when you need to and allow them to do the same, but always be there to encourage them in their faith as well, even if you can’t do it face to face.

It is not following God’s plan for your life to disobey Him and rush anything before He had it planned for you.  Don’t, it will be better for your life and significantly better for your relationship with Christ to obey Him.

Second, be willing to allow God to work in this season of your life!

He’s going to work whether you “let” Him or not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fully submit to His authority over your life so that He can better use you. You can grow significantly in a season of waiting.  They can be some of the sweetest seasons when you look back on them, even though they don’t feel like it at the time.

Even at 18 I’ve had enough seasons of waiting to prepare me for a lifetime. They’re not fun, and they may seem like you’re at a standstill.  They’re often a season of immense growth, though. But God’s always at work, even if you don’t see it.  We may not be able to see His work today, tomorrow, or during our lifetime, but His plan will prevail.

“The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken — who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” Isaiah 14:27 NLT

We serve an all-powerful God, so when He is leading you to wait on something, there’s good reason.  Trust in that.  There’s better for the moment or possibly even for the future..

Posted on 1 Comment

To My 15-Year-Old Self

Photo taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/fimbrethil/2234680879/in/photolist-4ptjLF-mKwwTF-dPr76P-anwS5-dPr75i-9jhdzx-7FAYag-dPr7bM-5qRJMr-7XM2LD-3re8Vn-8vVgyt-63BkSm-nYKCNi-auMp7d-81E8jh-riBfpt-8ZskX-5dVz3R-fS62rv-bnpKyd-9gZUpz-ct6D4w-65ssGg-quTjAF-gJGdV-6CC5sy-wYXqV-dPwJDU-GMW8t-hsW8c-863qeH-eanJyY-e58a5Z-6JAN6w-5Xjkxs-8MLeTC-5T35cA-2y8SKm-bDk4Z6-cvXZYf-dqKGS-PMdLk-pw5dsi-6pdw2k-bdP2AT-CFfmr-b14TCP-9qUmLf-8AJYj4. Used under Creative Commons License
Photo taken by Nikki Tysoe from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

If I could tell my 15-Year-Old Self a few things about the past few years;

First and foremost, just keep going. You’ll get there.  

The next two years might seem like you’re walking through hell and you won’t know which way to turn, so you’ll just want to lay down and take a nap instead.  Don’t.  Pick up a book and read or pick up a pen and write.  I wish you wouldn’t have wasted your precious time.

It’s okay to ask for help. 

With anything and everything, you waited way longer than you should have.  Ask sooner, it’s okay.

You’ll lose friends, but you’ll get through that too. 

I’m not saying don’t try.  I wish you would’ve tried harder.  But the friends that stick around are good ones.

Life never was and never will be about material possessions. 

Give to others, show them how much you care about them, and tell them about your faith.  Create relationships that last.  That’s what matters.  What doesn’t matter?  Stuff.

Remember saying “God will use this?” He will.

Just keep trusting Him, always.  You don’t have to be angry, but it’s okay to be mad that you are where you are as well.

It’s okay that you’re not happy, but don’t stay there. 

For whatever reason you’re not happy, there’s a reason.  You’re walking through this dark world around you and you know that there is so much more than this, so at times it makes you miserable.  Don’t hide it, deal with it.  Be honest with those around you, they’ve probably experienced similar things.

Don’t fight God’s plan for your life. 

It’s not worth the pain and confusion it’ll cause you.  (Hint: you’ll never win anyways.)  There’s a real battle between what your flesh desires and what God has for your life.  The day you decide that what you want more is what God’s will is for your life, will be one of the best days of your life.  I promise. Find your worth in Him and Him alone.

On that note, don’t make so many plans, because God’s going to change them ALL

anyways. 

 

“This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Every day, find something to thank God for.  It’s not that hard, I promise.  It’s being grateful for the little things that grows into being more joyful in the longterm.  But when you find yourself without any joy, don’t let that define you.  Let the Word of God tell you who you are.  Not anything you’ve been through, not anyone else, nothing but God deserves to define your worth.

Step outside of yourself, tell people about your faith, love others.  Not everything turns out as you wanted but God’s working everything out His way.  You’ll eventually learn to live with the beautiful mess that you will learn to trust that His will is greater than anything you could ask or imagine. 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Second Greatest

Love_The_Second_Greatest_Commandment

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  

“Love your neighbor as yourself, as long as they love you equally in return, vote the same way you do, dress according to your standards, and meet the ethical code that you believe you think they should.”

Where in the Bible does it say that? Nowhere.  But that’s how a lot of erm, “Christians” act, isn’t it? So what does the Bible say?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

To give you some context, this is Jesus responding to a question of what the most important commandment was.  This question was coming from the religious leaders, who were known not by their intimate relationship with the Lord, but by their outward acts and Jesus exposed their hypocrisy. So, I have a suspicion that this question wasn’t aimed to ask “What can I do to grow in my walk with the Lord?” but “What can I do to make myself look better to men?”

Now something strange happened, the religious leader responded positively to what Jesus said:

“‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ Mark 12:32-33

We don’t often see teachers of the law in the New Testament that Jesus comes into contact with that just simply get it.

Our lives aren’t about what we do.  They’re about how we are loved and how we love God and others. They’re about serving the needs of our communities, our churches, our families, and reaching out when we can out of love. If we don’t start loving, we’ll never see a change.

What change do we need to see?  Jesus commanded us to love no matter how we are treated in return.  He didn’t say if someone else doesn’t love you, it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say if someone else has different beliefs it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say if someone else is on the opposite side of the political spectrum, it’s okay to hate them. He didn’t say under any circumstances that it is okay to hate anyone else.  Jesus commanded us to love each other as ourselves and that is not dependent on someone else’s action, beliefs, or identity.