Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Love God, Love People

 YouTube Video Devo

“Love God, Love People”

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


This past Saturday night, I took my wife on a concert date to go see Danny Gokey, Jordan Feliz and Blanca.  They were all very talented and gifted singers.  I had never seen Blanca or Jordan Feliz in concert before and it was a blessing to hear their music live.  This is the second time my wife and I have seen Danny Gokey in concert and he was a favorite of ours back when he was on American Idol.


One of the songs Danny sings is “Love God, Love People”.  I’ve heard this song many times, but it was a great reminder hearing it once again and got me thinking about our lives and our mission as followers of Christ.  As Danny’s song states, we are called to love God and love people.  I think back many years ago a devotional I read from him and he stated, “So many times I think we overthink our calling and over complicate the Gospel, when really our purpose in this life comes down to two simple things; loving God and loving people.”


I want to ask us all a very simple question.  Do we make it our daily life mission to love God and love people?  This should solely be our life call each and every day.  No matter where we are and no matter what we are doing, we are commanded by God to love Him and to love people. 


Friends, there is nothing about this requiring a Seminary degree.  It’s a very simple concept, but it can be very tough to live out some days when life doesn’t make sense and people are treating us terrible.  However, we must remember Jesus was very mistreated, but He kept loving people because it was His mission and call of life. 


I really like the chorus of Danny’s song which says, “Gotta keep it real simple, keep it real simple.  Bring everything right back to ground zero.”


I hope that we can all take a step back, look at life and see how we can make it our daily life mission to love God and love people.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Keep Away Means Keep Away

 YouTube Video Devo

“Keep Away Means Keep Away”

1 John 5:21 NLT

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


Many of us, if not most, probably remember the famous game of keep away when we were kids.  We all most likely remember times at recess or in gym class when we had a game of keep away with other kids.  If we were the ones trying to keep the ball away from the person in the middle, we recall doing all we could to keep the ball away from the person in any possible way.  If we were in the middle, we were determined to stop that ball by reaching quickly or reaching up high enough to catch it.


Another idea of “keep away”, we remember being told by adults to stay out of something that might be harmful or something we just were not supposed to touch.  For one reason or another, we were commanded to keep our distance from a certain area or certain things.  I remember how it drove me nuts to not touch or go near something or an area that I couldn’t access.  The more I was told I couldn’t touch or go near, the more I wanted to!!!


As I consider these ideas of keeping away from something or some area while growing up, I think about how it still applies even today as an adult.  There are still many things and places I have to remember that I shouldn’t go near, whatever it might be.  I might be able to access a certain area or touch a certain object, but the consequences could very well be disastrous if I don’t heed the warning to stay away. 


God commands us to keep away from anything that takes His place in our hearts. I want to emphasize “ANYTHING”.  When He says “ANYTHING”, He means “ANYTHING”.  If it doesn’t encourage our walk with Him, it will most likely take us away from Him.  Day after day, we need to take into consideration anything and everything we encounter to determine if it will steer us nearer to Him or take us away. 


So often in our lives, we find ourselves running to things that will not help us at all. As Zach Wlliams’ song “Chain Breaker” says, “We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right”.  We spend each day of our lives making choices that will either draw us closer to God or pull us away.  I so often find myself going after worldly things and thinking somehow they will bring me joy or happiness, but instead I just feel more and more empty, longing for fulfillment even more.


God promises that if we keep away from things that take His place in our lives, we will experience true fulfillment. 


Let us not forget, when God says “Keep Away”, He has something so much better for us if we turn to Him instead.