Monthly Archives: March 2023

Serving In Love

When my wife and I were faced with a dilemma, we went to our pastor for advice. If we did something we felt led to do, we knew we would disappoint a lot of people who wouldn’t understand. If we didn’t do it, we would disappoint someone we wanted to reach for Christ. Our pastor simply asked, “What would love do?” We chose to show love to a person many wouldn’t have in hopes of winning them to Christ one day.

In John 13, Jesus was having dinner with the disciples for the last time. Verse 1 says He loved the disciples throughout His ministry, and still at the very end. He knew that the devil had already prompted Judas, but He also knew He had all authority. It was then that He got up from the table and demonstrated love. He washed the disciples feet. They didn’t understand, and even Peter pushed back against Him. In His explanation Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (NLT).

Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (ESV). The word for “love” here is agape. It’s the type of love that is not driven by emotion. It’s the type of love that does something for the benefit of another person regardless of how you feel. That’s the kind of love Jesus demonstrated. It’s the kind of love the calls us to regardless of what others think. It’s acts of love that help win the lost. It’s acts of love that show grace which is what God did for us while we were yet sinners. We need to follow that example more.

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People Of Light

In the beginning, the first thing God spoke into existence was light. All life and growth are dependent on light. It’s no wonder that John compared Jesus to light and said that His light was the life of men. Jesus didn’t wait very long into His ministry before He called us to be light. Not only are we to dispel the darkness wherever we go, we are to bring life and growth. Don’t hide your light. There are too many people who need you to shine it into their lives. Be a person of light!

Here are some Bible verses on being people of light.

1. The light of the righteous [within him—grows brighter and] rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked [is a temporary light and] goes out.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭9‬ ‭AMP‬‬

2. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

3. “Believe in the light, then, while you have it, so that you will be the people of the light.” After Jesus said this, he went off and hid himself from them.

‭‭John‬ ‭12‬:‭36‬ ‭GNT‬‬

4. For you are all sons of light and sons of day. We do not belong to the night nor to darkness. So then let us not sleep [in spiritual indifference] as the rest [of the world does], but let us keep wide awake [alert and cautious] and let us be sober [self-controlled, calm, and wise].

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭5‬-‭6‬ ‭AMP‬‬

5. So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Thanks to Chris Moore for making this photo available on unsplash


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Start Planting

One of my favorite quotes says, “I don’t measure my day by the harvest I bring in. I measure it by the Seeds I plant. For in planting seeds, I’m assuring a future harvest.” There are so many applications for this quote, but the common question it begs is, “What am I doing today to make sure I have enough tomorrow?” We all love it when we reap the rewards for things we’ve done in the past, but we can’t measure our successes by that. We must always be doing something that is going to make sure we have another harvest, but too many of us hesitate because we’re waiting for everything to be just right before we act.

The problem with planting is that there are no immediate results for your work. We live in a world where we are conditioned to instant gratification, but many times the things you plant are hidden beneath the surface germinating where you can’t see. However, the longer you wait to start planting, the further away the harvest will be. Conditions will never be just right to plant for the future, but don’t let that stop you from doing what God has called you to do today. Fear will lead to hesitation, and hesitation will lead to procrastination. After you procrastinate, you begin to make excuses as to why you can’t do it.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything” (GNT). Today’s the day to quit your excuses, to stop your hesitation and to put fear behind you. The longer you procrastinate, the less impact you’re going to have. When you step out in faith and do what God has called you to do, you’re trusting Him to bless it. When you wait for perfect conditions, you take faith out of the equation. Whatever it is that’s on your heart to do, find one thing you can do today to begin planting the seeds. Those seeds, no matter how few, will always produce a greater harvest than the ones that never get planted. Stop procrastinating and start planting.

Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Storing Up Treasure

I remember doing a paper in college on the brokenness of the United States’ Social Security system. All the research I had done showed that the system was upside down and would not be able to sustain the retiring Boomers. It was recommended that Xers and younger should invest in their retirement through 401k’s and other means. Because of all that, we each have a mindset of doing what we can now to make sure we have enough in our former years. Even this week, I spent a few hours researching stocks, their performance, their diversification and ability to grow over time. I think it’s good to have a plan for the retirement years, but I’m left to wonder how much time, effort and energy do I spend planning for eternity.

When compared to eternity, a lifetime here is nothing more than a nanosecond. How much more should we be investing in the afterlife? In Matthew 6:20-21, Jesus said, “Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure” (TPT). That last verse should have each of us looking at what we’re pursuing in this life. Where are your energies focused? Are they for things that matter now or for eternity? Again, I think it’s wise to plan for your financial future here, but it’s critical to plan for your eternity there. God’s economy is different than ours and how you invest in it is different too.

You and I must value the same things that God values if we’re going to store up treasures in Heaven. God has always valued and cared for people, especially the members of society we seem to ignore. He values giving justice to those who need it, but don’t have a voice to get it. He values mercy and grace, specifically to those who don’t deserve it. He also giving of our possessions more than hoarding them. Finally, later on in this chapter, Jesus reminds us that we must seek His Kingdom first before we seek our own. I believe when we put His priorities above our own, we store up treasures in Heaven. You can’t check your heavenly bank account through an app, but you can measure it through lives changed.

Photo by Ashin K Suresh on Unsplash


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God’s Ambassador

I was researching the difference between a diplomat and an ambassador. It shows that a diplomat is an occupation, while ambassador is a title of the highest ranking diplomat. Ambassadors represent their home country and have full authority to represent their government. I only know one ambassador personally. She travels the world building and strengthening ties between different countries and hers. Everywhere she goes, she’s on a mission to connect people with her cause. I’ve watched her tell stories, share videos and answer questions all in trying to get as many people as she can to visit her country and rescue their citizens who are scattered abroad.

Even if you haven’t read the book of Jonah, you know a little about his story. God called him to be an ambassador of Heaven to a city called Nineveh. However, Jonah didn’t want to be an ambassador. He didn’t like the people where God was trying to send him, so he went in the opposite direction. God caused a great storm to envelop the ship he was on until he confessed that he was running from God. They tossed him overboard and he was swallowed by a great fish that God had prepared for him. While in the darkness, he agreed to be the ambassador God called him to be. The fish spit him out and he started out for Nineveh. When he told the people God’s message for them, they repented and were spared from the wrath of God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God” (AMP). You and I are on a mission from Heaven just like Jonah. When you accepted Jesus, you became His ambassador to this world to share His love with them. Your goal is to connect as many people as you can to God so they can be reconciled to Him and receive their salvation. Like my ambassador friend, you must use any means necessary. Share your testimony, show videos of people who may be able to explain the message better than you and answer questions. You speak for Heaven and carry the authority of the Son of God because He lives within you. Don’t take your mission lightly. You have been commissioned and sent. Go and make disciples wherever you go as God’s ambassador.

Photo by RODNAE Productions:

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Soul Care

Proverbs 24:30-31 says, “I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense; And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns, And nettles were covering its surface, And its stone wall was broken down” (AMP). Like many proverbs, this can be taken at face value for what it is. However, many scholars believe it is intended as a parable as well. Some say this is a person who doesn’t take care of his soul. The thorns are bad habits, the nettles are wrong companions and the broken down wall is lack of following God’s plan leaving our lives defenseless. Either way you look at this, there’s something to learn.

In 2 Samuel 11, it was the time when kings went to war. They would go and fight to take each others crops to feed their people. Yet, the Bible says that David stayed home. He was neglecting his duty as king and allowing someone else to do the work. When the battle was all but won, David would show up and claim the victory. In this instance, he was wasn’t where he was supposed to be, nor doing what he was supposed to be doing. He was home walking on his roof when he saw Bathsheba. His spiritual walls were broken down and he sinned. Then, he thought he could cover up her pregnancy, but ended up murdering her husband when he refused to neglect his responsibilities. David’s lack of care for his field and vineyard cost him dearly. Thankfully he repented in Psalm 51 and asked for a renewed heart, steadfast and willing spirit, as well as joy so he could go back to tending his soul.

In Luke 21:36 Jesus warned, “Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage and grace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur and that you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with a clear conscience” (TPT). You and I can’t afford to neglect our soul. We must keep watch over it and tend it. We have an enemy who is seeking to devour us. When we neglect the little things around our soul, we create big problems for ourselves. The people we’re around and the habits we create will either build our defenses or allow them to be broken down. If you find that your walls are broken down and you’ve neglected what matters, be like David. Repent and seek forgiveness from God. He is able to restore the broken places in your life.

Photo by Magda Vrabetz on Unsplash

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Pay Attention

There was a study done to see how well preschool children could pay attention while being distracted. When the distraction was going on, they had to repeat the instructions and reminders several times to keep the kids on task. I’m not sure the study would be much different for most of us. As we mature, we should build the capacity to pay attention even through distractions. Our lives have many distractions trying to pull us away from the things that matter and from what God is saying. Now more than ever, we need to learn to focus and block out distraction, so we can pay attention. “Paying” attention will cost you something, but the return on that investment is invaluable.

Here are some Bible verses on paying attention.

1. So pay careful attention to your hearts as you listen to my teaching, for to those who have open hearts, even more revelation will be given to them until it overflows. And for those who do not listen with open hearts, what little light they imagine themselves to have will be taken away.

Luke 8:18 TPT

2. Pay attention to what you are taught, and you will be successful; trust in the Lord and you will be happy.

Proverbs 16:20 GNT

3. Heed (pay attention to) instruction and be wise, And do not ignore or neglect it.

Proverbs 8:33 AMP

4. If I pay attention to all your commands, then I will not be put to shame.

Psalm 119:6 GNT

5. Then He (Jesus) said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By your own standard of measurement [that is, to the extent that you study spiritual truth and apply godly wisdom] it will be measured to you [and you will be given even greater ability to respond]—and more will be given to you besides.

Mark 4:24 AMP

Photo by fran innocenti on Unsplash

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Hot Pursuit

I know it’s politically incorrect to say this, but as a kid, I used to watch “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Roscoe P. Coltrane was one of my favorites in the show. He always made me laugh. I loved it when the Dukes would speed past him and he would turn on his police lights to chase them. Inevitably he would get on the CB and radio back to Boss Hogg. He would tell him he’s after the Duke boys and utter his famous catch phrase, “I’m in hot pursuit!” That show is where I learned what it meant to be in pursuit of something.

Believe it or not, all of us are in pursuit of things in our lives. Some of us are in pursuit of riches. They’re always looking for a way to make money. Some are in pursuit of love. They need that affirmation of another individual on this planet and we desperately seek it. Others are in pursuit of fame. They leave everything behind in order to make a name for themselves. There are even some who pursue perfection. Whether it’s in sports, work or other areas of life, they want to be perfect at it.

The question is what are you in hot pursuit of? Will it matter for eternity? King Solomon had a thing or two to say about pursuing things. In Proverbs 21:21 he said, “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor” (NLT). There’s always an end result to our pursuits. Sometimes, they result in good things, and other times we get things that we weren’t expecting. Here, he tells us that we’ll get good things if we will pursue righteousness and unfailing love.

In Matthew 6, Jesus told us to pursue His Kingdom first and His righteousness, and all these other things we desire will be given to us. Is what you’re pursuing for His glory or yours? If we’re seeking things that lift Him up, we are guaranteed good things. Before we get into hot pursuit of things in this life, we need to first think about all the other things we’ll get by pursuing that. For me, I like the idea of finding life, righteousness and honor. I want to be in pursuit of His righteousness and unfailing love.

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Standing Before Kings

Years ago I read the autobiography of Ben Franklin. He was an incredibly gifted person who spent a lot of time learning and developing his sold. He was always testing things and inventing solutions. He was very diligent in his studies and in solving problems. He invented bifocals, rounded glass for street lights, lighting rods, fire departments and so much more. He was the oldest person to sign the Declaration of Independence, which he helped draft. He also was able to stand before five kings.

When Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, he used around 150,000 workers and it took just over seven years. 2 Chronicles described what it took. People from Tyre were gifted in cutting trees like no one else so they provided the wood. There was a man named Huram-abi who was an extremely skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. To build such a magnificent building it took many skilled workers who all got to stand before kings.

Proverbs 22:29 says, “If you are uniquely gifted in your work, you will rise and be promoted. You won’t be held back— you’ll stand before kings!” (TPT) Each of us are born with raw talent in something. If we want to rise, be promoted and stand before kings, we must develop that talent. In the same manner, God provided wheat. However, we must harvest it, separate the chaff, mill it and combine it with other ingredients to make life giving sustenance. The same is true with our raw talent. If you want to stand before kings, we must be willing to work at developing our talents.

Thanks to Willian B. for making this photo available on unsplash.

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Faith Of Friends

It’s been said that you become like those you hang out with and that you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most. When you’re growing up, your friends are pretty much chosen for you. They’re limited to kids in your neighborhood or in your class. As you get older, you get to choose the people you have around you. It often depends on where you choose to go or hang out. I’ve had friends in my life who have encouraged me to do some pretty stupid things (and I’ve done them). I’ve also had friends who encouraged me to try some pretty amazing things (and I’ve done those too). Our friends affect our beliefs, our actions and our life.

In Matthew 9, when Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee and arrived in Capernaum, a group of people met Him. They had a friend on a stretcher who was paralyzed. Verse 2 says that when Jesus saw how much faith these people had, he told the person on the stretcher to take courage. He then forgave that person’s sins. The religious people flipped out and Jesus asked them which was easier, to forgive sins or to heal someone. Both were impossible for man, but possible for God. He then told the paralyzed person to get up and walk. The man stood up and walked away with his friends. It never mentioned his faith though, only the faith of his friends.

Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous person is a guide to his friend, but the path of the wicked leads them astray” (GNT). We are all guiding others around us, and we are being guided by them too. When your faith is low and you need God’s help, will the people around you carry you to Him and believe for you when you can’t? If not, it’s time to find new people because we all face times when our strength and hope are gone. The people we surround ourselves with will either guide us to God or lead us astray. It’s important that we also look in the mirror. Are you the type of friend who would get a stretcher and carry a friend to Jesus when they can’t? God doesn’t just rely on our faith and trust in Him when we need help. He looks at the Faith of the people around us who are praying too.

Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash


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