Where Is The Love? (Part 2)


I just can’t seem to get away from John 13:34-35. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." According to Jesus, showing love for each other is what reveals to the world that we follow Him. With that said, just the opposite of that (not showing love to one another) reveals to the world that we follow a god who is not genuine. If, instead of loving each other, we are divided, critical, and judgmental who wants to follow any god who produces that?

When Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you”, who was He talking to? He was talking to His disciples (now you and me). His first priority was not that they love the rest of the world, but after God, they love first each other! Jesus knew people would be drawn to Him through those He loved, by their loving each other. Here’s a great example from the Word. Acts 13:32, “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” It goes on to say there was not a needy person among them. People sold their property and laid the proceeds at the Apostles feet. Folks opened their homes for meals, fellowship, and church!

Most people think that the early church was so successful because they met in homes, shared meals, and fellowshipped from house to house. There is always a push from some group or organization to go back to the methods of the early church to regain the power and influence the early church had. If we do it like they did, we will have the same power and influence they had. But that is not so. The early church folks did it that way because they loved each other and demonstrated that love unconditionally. There were no multi-purpose buildings, campuses, or church buildings. There were only small synagogues and homes to meet in. Out of supernatural, Holy Spirit, love they were motivated to open their homes, meet house to house, and share all things with one another. Can you imagine the effect this had on people? Many were drawn in by their love. Jesus said, “Love each other the way I have loved you.”

Jesus loved you and me by becoming one of us. He loved us by giving up His Kingly privileges and becoming God’s bond servant on the earth. He took upon Himself our sins, sicknesses, and pains. But He also demonstrated to His disciples His love for us for three and a half years! Then, He gave Himself completely for us. For you and me to love like Jesus is to minister the way He did! To minister the way He did is to minister in power and with influence that changes people forever. (1 Peter 4:8-11), “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

If we can restore that kind of love to God's church in the earth today, imagine the power and influence we would have in the lives of those yet to know Jesus. Yes, it would definitely stir up some stuff! But O the joy of the souls saved and the glory of God revealed....through you and me His church! Join with me (and thousands of others) who are praying for revival in our land. O how we need it!

Graveyard Shift? No, Not Me!

Having been in the ministry for a number of years now, and having worked in retail quite a bit, I've learned a lot about people. Most people live in cycles. You know, we do certain things at certain times of the day, week, month, year, etc. In all fairness, much of these cycles are developed around the rising and setting of the sun. Who can escape that, right?

But as I have learned to apply the Word of God in my life over the years, I've discovered that many of the cycles we naturally slip in to can be broken. Yes sir, they can! For instance, are you naturally "chipper" in the mornings? Or, are you a member of the "walking dead" till noon? Most people who are like Count Dracula (opening their eyes in a nano-twinkle early on), usually shut down just after a hearty dinner. On the other hand, the not-so-morning person seems to hit their stride about the time of the 11 O'clock (PM) news.

When I was in the military we held training exercises often. There were times I would have to work a schedule I deeply abhorred. Graveyard shift (12am - 8am)! I was so accustomed to my regular day shift routine it was hard for me to break out of it. About 5 am every morning (on graveyard) I was ready melt into a sleep-induced coma. Simply driving home from work was the greatest challenge of my graveyard days! But...I did it. I still hated it...but I did it! My point is there are times when we simply do what we have to do in order to accomplish a mission.

It's the same way with serving God. The truth is (just like the military) when you signed on with God, you signed on to be available to Him 24 X 7. We don't serve, obey, and trust Him only when it feels good to do so. We also don't do the above only when we want to, or only when it is comfortable for us. There are times we must obey God's Word, even when we don't want to! Jonah is a good example. God commanded him to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel. God's plan would have an entire, evil city repenting at the preaching of Jonah! But Jonah didn't want to do it so he fled and ended up in the belly of a big fish! He eventually obeyed God and preached to Nineveh. There was a big revival.

There were several reasons why Jonah didn't want to obey God (see the book of Jonah in the Bible). But my point here is that even when God commanded Him, he didn't want to. It's no different for you and me. God's Word is His blueprint for our lives. Yet there are times when we don't want to abide by His Word. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes we fear the rejection of our peers. Sometimes we simply want to go with our flesh instead. But ALWAYS it makes us effective for Jesus when we obey God's Word. I can imagine Jonah felt pretty good when he finally obeyed God, preached the Gospel, and the city of Nineveh repented at his preaching! I certainly would.

Always remember, we must conform our flesh to God's will as we renew our minds with His Word. It is always the flesh, because of an un-renewed mind that will many times resist the Word of God. In the military I hated the exercises. I hated graveyard shift! It made me very uncomfortable. Yes, I had no choice but to participate, but I still didn't want to do it. However, the result was that we were prepared for what a potential enemy might throw at us.

It's more comfortable for you to sleep in instead of rising early to pray. It's more comfortable for me to cradle the TV remote tenderly for hours when I could be dedicating that time to my God. It's not always comfortable for us to uphold Godly living standards in the midst of our work place. But we must! We must live by standards that are not of this world. Some people will not understand why. Some will reject us. But like the city of Nineveh, there will be those who observe us, listen to us, and embrace the message of Jesus. It starts with a firm commitment to obey Him instead of ourselves. It starts today. How about you?

Where Is The Light?

What I'm about to say will probably offend some Christians. This is not up for debate. There is too much of that on social media. This is my heart, and I know is the heart of Jesus. That's what this Blog is all about!

It's past time for we believers (Christians, followers of Christ) to awaken and come to the realization of who and what we are! Sure, we're "blessed and highly favored". And yes, we are "King's kids". Of course, we are a "royal priesthood", a "holy nation", and "God's own possession". We are very quick to let each other know these things, because that's what the Bible says about us. But there is something else the Word of God says about us. And if it's the Word...it is true. We are the "Light of the world"!

Jesus proclaimed, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:14) We are the light of the world. So where is the light? One of the closely related meanings of this word from the original language simply means "to make manifest". As followers of Jesus, we are on this earth to make manifest the life and love Jesus offers to all mankind. Jesus died for the whole world, no one excluded. And we the church exist to make this incredible news (and much more) known to those who have yet to receive His love and life. The church is commissioned by Jesus to be the light of the world.

Here's where it gets a little sticky. I've noticed over the years a nasty trend among Christians. As the world pushes harder and harder against the things of God, Christians tend to push back more and more. This is not of God. Here's what I mean. A company, business establishment, or corporation makes it known they support an ungodly agenda. So Christians push back. "We will boycott you." "We will hit you where it hurts...in your pocket book." They don't talk like Christians so we reject them. They don't act like Christians so we cut them off. But they're not Christians, and nowhere in God's Word does He say the world will act just like believers. And just so it's clear I'm not talking about establishments or businesses that are illegal or any who outwardly promote sin. I'm talking about every-day establishments we frequent, and then choose to punish them because their agenda (which is born of the world anyway) opposes God's Word. Where is the light?

There are many establishments and businesses I believe Jesus would see as an opportunity to make contact with young millennials. How do they feel when they (steeped in the world's agenda) hear Christians saying "boycott, boycott"? How would you feel if anyone threatened to tinker with your livelihood? I think we born again, Spirit-filled Christians ought to deliberately frequent such places in order to make contact with someone who may never enter the church.

Jesus help us to wake up! We quickly cry boycott, but at home we watch movies we know Jesus would NOT approve of. Movies that drop the "F" bomb in practically every breath. Movies that take the name of our holy God in vain and spew out vulgarity and immorality as if God Himself accepts it. It shouldn't be so! Where is the light? You are the light of the world.

Quite frankly we the church don't need to change anything until we do one thing...repent. It's time. It's time for the light (that Jesus says we are) to shine again. It's pretty dark out there and the light of the church has dimmed. We need to repent of what we have done in secret so the light of Jesus will be made manifest through us publicly to a very dark and hurting world.

I'm convinced of one thing. We live in the most opportune time ever for the church of Jesus. We have the commission. We are the light. What will you do? God sees all, and He knows all. Nothing can be hidden from Him. I ask you again, where is the light?