Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Love More, Do More

“Love More, Do More”

1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
Three things that will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.

Several weeks ago as we were attending the food packing session for Feed My Starving Children, I noticed a new shirt they had.  The shirt had this log on it, “Love More, Do More”.  Ever since I saw that shirt, that phrase has stuck with me.  There are so many places in Scripture we find the command to love others.  It is so imperative in life that we live with the intention of showing God’s true love to other people.  Yes, that is often so hard to do.

When we love people more as God calls us to do, greater things can happen and we will see God do amazing things.  When we take the time to love others, we see truly amazing things take place. 

Loving others and doing loving things for others can often be difficult, especially if we are on bad terms.  No matter what, God has called us to do our very best to follow His example and love others as He has called us to love.  It is often not an easy task, but when we do this, the benefits are just amazing.  We come to discover that we learn so much more and that love we show goes far beyond what we might think.

We must love even when situations become difficult and people oppose us.  As we go to Feed My Starving Children each quarter, we continue learn how difficult it is so often for these meals to reach kids who are hungry.  The meals have to go through a lot of barriers to get to the destination.  As we pack these meals and we do so in love, we know God will do incredible things as we send them off. 

The more we love and become intentional about loving, especially in challenging times with others and situations, the more God can work in the hearts and lives of others.  He has called us to be faithful in loving.  We cannot control how others will react to us, but we can do our best to be loving.  Are we being faithful in loving? 

I know I have a long way still to be loving to others.  It’s often hard, but I know the more I do it, the more others will see Him through what I say and do.  Like I said before, when we love more, we do more than we can possibly ever imagine. 

I pray that we will all learn to love more so that God can do more through what we do and say.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Letting Go

“Letting Go”

Proverbs 22:6 NLT

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

A year ago, my wife and I started working with our oldest daughter to learn driving when she got her permit.  We spent much time working on instructing her and helping her as she learned more and more about driving rules.  This past week, we took her to take her driving test for her license on her sweet 16 birthday.  My wife and I waited anxiously as she was out driving with an instructor and hoping and praying she would pass.  As she stepped out of the car, my wife and I walked toward her and she threw her hands in the air with an excited run and smile toward us!  She passed her test and was officially licensed!

We are so proud of her, but I cannot help but to feel emotional still today as she embarks on this new adventure in her life.  It is really hard for me to let go and watch my little girl grow up so fast and take on a new phase of life.  I want her to learn and grow, but so much of me does not want to let go.  We’ve raised her in a Christian home and have done our best to teach her God’s ways and will continue to do the best we can as she continues to grow. 

As hard as it is for my wife and I to watch her drive off now by herself, we have to be reassured that God will take care of her and that we have worked hard to train her in His ways so that she makes good decisions.  It’s a time of life I thought would never come and it came too fast.  This passage came to mind this week as we transitioned from her having her permit to her passing her test for her driver’s license. 

Friends, it can be hard to let go of many things in life.  We grasp so tightly to many things and we don’t let go.  We’re afraid of what we might lose or what might be ahead.  It’s the unknown that scares us so often.  We want control and we have a hard time trusting that God will lead and take care of things.

As I am working on letting go of my little girl into a new phase of life, I am being reminded by God that He will guide her still and take care of her as we have worked hard to train her and raise her in a Godly manner. 

Whatever it is that you are finding yourself having a hard time letting go of, I encourage you to trust that God will lead and guide, whether it’s a child who has grown up into taking on more responsibilities or if it’s letting go of something you need to part with.

Letting go is hard and I will do my best.  We must trust things are in God’s hands.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Keep Away

 “Keep Away”

1 John 5:21 NLT

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

When we were all kids, we probably remember seeing signs different places and being told certain things were off-limits.  It probably drove most of us nuts and just made us want to go to those places and behind the closed doors even more!  I know it did for me.  Any sign reading “Keep Out” or “Keep Away” or having someone tell us that we can’t go somewhere or get into something just made us want to get into even more.  We are curious, right???

Children are often told to “keep away” or “keep out” because it is for their own good.  As adults, we are responsible for teaching them because they need to learn and we can’t just let them go wherever and do whatever.  They want to, but adult supervision is to help teach them right and wrong.  If kids went anywhere and did whatever, they would get hurt and terrible things could happen.

Even as adults, we often have many areas of life that God tells us to “keep out” or “keep away”.  There are many directions we could go in life and some of those will no doubt do nothing but hurt our relationship with Him and with others.  God is serious about wanting us to stay away from the things that will do no good at all for our lives.  However, no matter how much He tries to steer us away from bad things, we just continue to be curious and we follow temptation right back into those directions. 

God’s heart breaks when we allow anything from the world to take precedence in our hearts over Him.  We often end up forcing Him out when we think something better comes along.  It’s not that we purposely want to hurt our relationship with Him, but we get just get so consumed with what we want that we throw Him off the throne of our heart. 

So, there is a very good reason why God tell us, as His children, to stay away from things that will corrupt our lives.  God should always be the center of our lives and bad things should be kept out.  It’s a daily struggle.  Just as we teach our kids and other young people to stay away from bad things, God teaches us as His children and so often we don’t listen.  We want to go where we shouldn’t go and touch what we shouldn’t touch.  Often we have to learn the hard way. 

When God says to Keep Away or Keep Out, He means it and it’s definitely for our own good.  When we obey, we discover an even more fruitful and satisfying life!

Friday, March 4, 2022

Thankful For His Service

“Thankful For His Service”

Matthew 27:50 NIV

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

We have all had encounters with people we meet who have served in the armed forces.  Whatever branch of service, I often find others and myself immediately saying, “Thank you for your service” when approaching these people.  Why?  Because there’s a certain respect we want to pay these people for all that they have committed to doing in their lives for their country.  It often brings tears to my eyes when I watch and listen to people react this way.  It’s a great reminder to them and to myself of the amazing service they have given for freedom in this country.

If you are reading this today and you are in the service or have served in the past, I want to say thank you for your dedication to this country.  I appreciate you making that commitment to being of service and contributing to the freedom we so often take for granted.  Thank you!

As I think about being thankful for the service these people have given, my thoughts also turn toward the greatest act of service anyone has ever known.  Jesus Christ gave the ultimate price of anyone in the world.  And, what’s sad is that we often take that for granted.  He went to the Cross and gave up His life for you and I so that we could have eternal life.  It’s definitely something we all take for granted way too much.  It becomes commonplace and so often, just like those who have served in the forces, we take for granted and don’t think twice about it. 

Just as our freedom in this country came at a great price, so our life in Christ came with the ultimate price. So many have given their lives to serve this country.  Jesus Christ served and gave up His life to give us life. 

Are we truly thankful for the service Jesus gave?  He gave it all.  We should be thankful every day for the great sacrifice Jesus gave so that we could have eternal life through Him.  We need reminded each day of that great gift He gave. 

Be thankful for His ultimate service.