Monday, February 25, 2013


Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord.  Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (Ph)

To rejoice is a choice.  The focus of joy and the source of joy are in your relationship with the Lord God.  It’s in your time spent with Him.  When you’re getting your joy from the Lord you can show forbearance with people.  When you choose to share with the Lord all of your heart and all of your needs, thanking Him for what He’s done in your life, and you choose not to be consumed with worry, then God will give you peace of mind.  He will guard your heart and mind with His peace.

Practically speaking:

1.      Take time with the Lord to experience joy with Him.
2.      Take that joy with you throughout the day.
3.      Then you can be forbearing with others.  Why? Because your inner joy and peace is not based on how people act or react to you, but on your relationship with the Lord.
4.      Take the emotional hits and burdens back to the Lord and talk to Him about all of them.  Leave your anxiety with Him.  And then His peace will guard your feelings and our thoughts.

Three things about God’s relationship with the committed believer in Christ will never change:

1. You will always be together.  Rest in His security.
I can never escape from your Spirit!  I can never get away from your presence! Psalm 139:7 (NLT)

2. He will work everything out for your good.  Rest in His goodness.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

3. He wants you to know how deeply He loves you.  Rest in His love for you.
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it, … There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 3:1; 4:18 (Mes)

Monday, February 18, 2013


Jesus didn’t say not to “judge”.  For example He said, “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57), and “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” (John 7:24 NLT).  Yes, we should judge between right and wrong, and stand for what’s right and stand against what’s wrong, because there is a right and a wrong.  There is good and there is evil.  There is the Lord God’s way that leads to life and there is every other way that leads to death.

Jesus didn’t say don't judge; He said don’t be “judgmental.”  We must keep ourselves in check that we don’t take the place of God in judging others.  We’re all ultimately accountable to Him.  He will have the last word.  We all will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5 NLT). 

What’s the difference between a “nonjudgmental person” and a “judgmental person”?  Nonjudgmental people are aware of their own flaws and potential for failure.  They are therefore cautious about criticizing others.  Judgmental people classify wrongdoing into acceptable and unacceptable categories.  For example they decide it’s unacceptable to steal from others, but acceptable to tolerate sexual lust as long as it’s not acted out.  “Acceptable” and “unacceptable” are decided according to what the judge tolerates in his or her own personal life.  Jesus said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.  The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Matthew 7:1-3 NLT).

Monday, February 11, 2013


     You were making splendid progress; who put you off the course you had set for the truth? Galatians 5:7 (Ph)
      Most boards and CEO’s want to hire people who have shown measurable results.  But when they overvalue the short term results that are more easily measured, they reward those who produce immediate advances over long term significance. 
     Something similar can happen in the church.  We can place too much emphasis on the short term immediate visible results, and when they don’t materialize as soon as we want, we’re tempted to move on to something else or somewhere else, or just give up.  And our spiritual growth is stunted. 
      Though it may be challenging to value the long term results over the short term results, it’s that “stick to it” kind of attitude that is rewarded more.  With a long term view of results, godly values are absorbed deeply and take root in our lives.  We are transformed over the long term.  The kind of results looked for – Christ-like character, love, joy, peace, authentic vulnerable community, a strong motivation for connecting people to God and growing spiritually and serving people – materialize over time.  Transformed lives, Christ-like character, and spiritual/emotional maturity can only be produced over the long term.   The final results will be measured in eternity one day.  So stay the course.  Stick to it.  Look for long term results in the future for yourself and for others, because those are lasting results – lives truly transformed and matured.  So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective, Colossians 3:1-2 (Mes).

Monday, February 4, 2013


For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:14-15

The love of Christ is that which not only compels us, drives us, urges us on, but it also defines our life purpose.  His love “closes us in.”  The King James Version says it this way:  For the love of Christ constrains us.  The meaning of His love which gets hold of us and pushes us forward also means His love “constrains” us.  It’s the idea of being confined between two walls to one purpose.

God’s love for you sharpens the focus of your life.  It gives direction to your life.  It’s in His love for you that your purpose is defined.  It’s by His love for you, His love for human beings, and your love for Him that you’re able to narrow down your life purpose.  The love of Christ puts you in a hallway, so to speak, and the direction of your life becomes clear and focused.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!  Just look at it—we’re called children of God!  That’s who we really are. 1 John 1:3 (Mes)

Just look at God’s love for you.  Take the time regularly to pause and… just look at God’s love.   Gaze on it.  Stare at it.  Take it in.  Soak it up.  Delight in it.  Marvel at it.  Wonder at it.  Let His love for you dear child of His go all the way through you.  And… your life will transform.  And… your life purpose will form in a direction for you.