LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

Gal 5:13-14

“For you have been called to live in freedom-not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
NLT

I urge you to live in this freedom Jesus has called you to! Love your neighbor as yourself. Serve your neighbor. Do you know if your neighbor has a relationship with Jesus? Do you know if they are active in their faith? Perhaps get to know your neighbor. Pray for your neighbor. Care for your neighbor. If they are not saved, begin to pray for them to come to know Jesus. As you care for them and pray for them, the Lord will give you a burden for them. Invite them to come to church with you. When they see people worshiping the Lord and hear about the love God has for them, they will be drawn to Him. I have seen it happen time and time again. When you have done this, then you have truly loved your neighbor. Keep loving, praying, and inviting until every neighbor hears.

Life Lesson: Jesus has called you to live in freedom to serve one another in love.

Dear God,
Thank You for those You have placed around me that I can be a witness to. Please give me opportunities to love them and to talk to them about Jesus. I ask that You would prepare their hearts beforehand that when I invite them to church they will go with me. I also ask that You would give me a desire to see my whole neighborhood come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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SHOULD WE FOCUS ON PROSPERITY..

In Luke 12, Jesus has some very direct and clear teaching on prosperity.  For instance, take a look at Luke 12:13-15,

Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”  And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

It’s easy to read these verses and believe that God is against prosperity.  But if you look at what I call the Genesis Principle, I think you can see that prosperity is God’s will.

When God created man, He gave him abundance.  You can’t read the story in the Garden of Eden and think that Adam lacked for anything.  And God’s plan, His idea, His heart for humanity has never changed.

But God did not give Adam all that abundance so that the abundance itself would be the focus of his life.  His focus was to be his relationship with the Father as they walked and talked in the garden.  His life did not consist in the abundance of things, but in his relationship to his Creator.

So what is abundance?  Abundance, or prosperity, is having all that you need to meet any circumstance, with enough left over to give wherever God might direct you.

Jesus certainly is not against prosperity.  In fact, prosperity is what I believe is God’s will for all of His children.  I don’t think God wants any of His kids to be in poverty.  Poverty is not a virtue unless you choose it for some reason. 

God wants you to be prosperous, but there are some principles to properly understand prosperity, which we will discover in the next few devotionals.

WE CAN AVOID THE TRAGEDY..

In HIS Presence:  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female (Genesis 1:27).

There are no counterfeits in the kingdom of God.  However, in Satan’s evil realm, there are only faulty imitations of what the Lord created to be good.  The Enemy is determined to destroy God’s work, and he always begins by seeking to tear the family apart.  He tempts us into compromising and doing exactly what we know is wrong.  In times of sin, we may think so one will get hurt but ourselves.  However, we are wrong.  The ripple effect of sin goes on and on.

God promises to deal with every deed done in secret and darkness.  We will have to bear the consequences of our actions.  Usually, once sin begins, it does not stop until something tragic takes place.  Sadly, our children often are the ones who suffer the most as they wonder why Daddy is not home or why Mommy left so quickly.

God’s plan for marriage has an instruction guide that is easy to follow.  It begins like this, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:;37).

When you obey His principles, life becomes bright and full of joy.  There may be some touch issues that you will have to tackle along the way.  However, because you have obeyed Him, He will give you the strength and wisdom you need to get through every difficulty.

 

God wants men and women to partner together to fulfill his plan for the family. 

DO NOT CONFORM TO THE WORLD..

In HIS Presence:  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female (Genesis 1:27).

It’s amazing to listen to what people are saying about marriage and the family.  Many do not expect to be in either type of relationship very long.  Therefore, they treat their family commitments as if they were temporary—something that is here today and gone tomorrow. 

It’s like the cartoon character preparing for his wedding.  He says to a friend, “Man I’m getting married today and I’m nervous.” 

His friend answers, “Yeah, you need to think very seriously about something that will occupy the next five years of your life.”

People no longer expect marriages to last.  In fact, they expect them to fail.

The reason many marriages do fall apart is because people trade in God’s idea of marriage for their own.  They take His plan and adjust it to theirs, making a horrible mess.

Husbands and fathers seem to be more interested in following the crowd than God.  Many women no longer seek to be what God called them to be—godly wives and mothers who put the interests of their family above their own.

Most of us would not consider buying a complicated product without knowing how to work it.  Yet, we enter marriage and never pick up the owner’s manual—God’s Word.  Obviously, the Manufacturer knew what He was doing when He packaged the product.

MERRY CHRISTMAS..THANK YOU CHRIST..

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
NKJV

To my extended family, I wish you all the joy that Jesus brings with the deep meaning of the season. In the middle of this busy holiday season, it is important for us to remember that Jesus is not only the reason for this season but He is the reason for all seasons. This Christmas, as you gather gifts for family and friends, may you remember the One whose grace-gift is greater, Jesus. May we cross the bridge to a deeper and more meaningful life as together, we change the world. Let your light shine. I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Luke 2:13-14 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” NKJV

Life Lesson: Keep the focus on Jesus.

Dear Father,
Thank You for the opportunity Christmas brings to worship You through selfless acts of love and giving. I want to keep Jesus the focus and bear light that others might see the way to the Prince of Peace. Please give me opportunity to be that light of love in the lives of many. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

SATAN WANTS TO DESTROY THE FAMILY..

In HIS Presence;  The serpent was more crafty [shrewd] than any beast of the field (Genesis 3:1).

We may mistakenly believe that we get to decide what our families do and don’t do.  However, God is the architect of the family.  When we choose to bypass His principles, we set ourselves up for failure.  Adam and Eve discovered this in a very painful way.  They knew what God had commanded them to do.  Yet they made a choice to do the opposite.

By yielding to Satan’s wicked scheme, they lost everything—their home, the opportunity for a safe family environment, and, most importantly, the loving fellowship they once had with God.  Suddenly, they felt emotions that they did not know existed—guilt, fear and isolation.

Under no circumstances is sin acceptable. For example, adultery is always wrong.  Yet often, what we see portrayed in our society is the opposite of this. Why? The Enemy wants to trick us into believing that sin is just a normal part of life, and God is the one who is out of touch with reality.

The family is under Satan’s full attack today. In fact, from that moment in the garden of Eden, the Enemy has been seeking to destroy what God created because he knows it is the very best and will lead to eternal joy and fulfillment. 

If you have fallen prey to his attack, ask the Lord to forgive you.  Turn back to God’s principles, love your spouse and joy will return to your heart.

 

Satan must destroy the family in order for his plan to work. 

I DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING..

John 6:6

But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
NKJV

Praise the Lord that we don’t know everything that is going to happen because that keeps life fragrant. Uncertainty can also be frustrating, because we want to know everything but we can’t. There are things we go through that surprise us and catch us off guard. There is, however, nothing in your life that catches God off guard or surprises Him. The things you are dealing with right now, at this moment, God knew before we even came on the scene. That’s pretty mind blowing, but here is the kicker… He also knows how you are going to get out of your tough situations. He saw the curve coming long before you did and He prepared you for what He already saw coming. He knows what fruit this trial is going to produce in your life. For your benefit He allows this trial or that test to proceed. Oh but take heart saints and be strong. While we may wonder how it works out and what happens next, we can trust in our God because He knows all along what He is going to do.

Life Lesson: We don’t know everything, but God does.

Dear God,
Thank You for Your provision of growth in our lives. You love me so much that You do not want me to remain who I am but to grow in Your good gifts. What an incredible comfort it is to know that my Father in Heaven knows who I am and who I will be and will see me through the changes. Thank You. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

SHARING CHRIST IS SIMPLE..

John 5:15

The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
NKJV

How quickly this man was turned into a witness for the Lord; it was the same day! Sure, he still had problems in his life, but he didn’t let those things hinder his witness. He began to tell people about Jesus who had healed him and made him whole. He was very sincere, very simple and unhindered by problems of the past.

I think sometimes we try to complicate things when it comes to telling people about Jesus when it’s really very simple. One of the most powerful tools we have in sharing our faith is simply telling people what Jesus has done in our own lives – the simple yet compelling testimony of God’s goodness. We should tell everyone what God has done in our lives and we should begin to do it one by one. Let’s not stop until the whole world hears.

Life Lesson: We should tell others what Jesus has done in our lives.

Dear God,
Thank You for saving me. Empower me to be a witness to the ends of the world, starting in my home, my neighborhood and my work. I once was blind and now I see. Help me to keep it simple. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I AM JUST A VESSEL…

John 4:10

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
NKJV

Jesus desires to give living water. After all of our mistakes and all of our failures, He still desires to give mankind life eternal. He wants to give it to the atheists and those who defraud and defame His glorious name. He wants to give it to those who try to silence the good news by false interpretations of church and state. He wants to give it to Muslims, to New Age gurus, to those who say He was married to Mary Magdalene. If only they would ask for it.

He gave it to a woman with a sordid past. He gives it to those who do not deserve it. He gave it to you and to me. Now Jesus wants to use us as earthen vessels to distribute this ‘living water’ into a world that is dying of thirst.

Life Lesson: We should be vessels for God’s grace to others.

Dear God,
Thank You for the grace You have so abundantly heaped onto my head. I want to be established each morning in Your new mercies, and I am ever dependent on Your grace and love. Let me be a light of Your grace to all who I come across today. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

TRAINING CAMP..

 (Psalms 128:3)

Most people have learned what they know about how to act within a family from one of three places: their own family in which they grew up, the families of friends and others that they experienced, or the media.  Certainly, the media is the wrong example of what a family should be.

On the other hand, without realizing it, our concept of the family can be limited to what we learned from our parents. If this is the case, we could either be in deep trouble or set for life.  For example, godly parents usually teach their children godly principles.  While they may make mistakes, they are committed to one another and to God.

On the other hand, parents who are abusive will often watch as their sons and daughters grow up to mirror their anger and frustration.  Many adults who were abused as children wonder if they will do the same.  However, the destructive behavior does not have to be repeated.  We can take control of our emotions and say no to sin.

When we are set on living the way God wants us to live, we will have all we need to become men and women of godly character and faith.  When we do this, there is a good chance that our children will grow up to love God and will seek Him above all else.  When He is first in our lives, everything else falls into place.

 

Your home is a training camp for the families your children will have one day.