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Selfless Love


Several years ago, I took my first trip to Haiti with coreluv.org. One of the things we did was to go to a very poor part of town to feed some children whose parents didn’t have enough money to feed them. I’ll never forget this little girl who couldn’t have been more than five years old. She had her baby brother with her who was around a year old. She took her food and began to feed him. This plate, with a small mixture of rice, beans, and pasta, was all she would get to eat until the next day. Instead of scarfing it down, she took care of her baby brother first.

I have worked with kids my whole life, and I cant think of any other kid who acted so selflessly. Her mom wasn’t standing there telling her what to do. She did it out of love while starving. I was broken in that moment. I grabbed another plate, put a couple of spoons of rice on it, and grabbed her brother to feed him so she could eat as much as she wanted. After her brother ate, he fell asleep in my arms, and I began to reflect on what I witnessed.

In Philippians 2, Paul starts out asking if God’s love has made a difference in our lives. He then says, in verses 3-4, that if it has, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (NLT). This little girl in Haiti exemplified who we are supposed to be as Christians. 

If you and I could act as selflessly as this little girl, the world would stop and take notice. I’ve read many stories where Christians have acted selflessly and won entire villages and towns to Christ. If we are going to be called by His name, we should be trying to have His attitude in our lives. Do something today that puts someone else’s needs above your own. Bless them selflessly, putting their needs ahead of yours, and then tell them God loves them. We become more like Jesus one selfless act of love at a time. 


This is the brother as he fell asleep. The sister is right beside me. 

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Risk Your Gift

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


A few years ago I had my nephew read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. After he read it, we went to dinner to discuss it. He explained to me how the king had given servants silver and asked them to invest it while he was gone. When he came back for his money, one servant made ten times the original, another made five times and a third just buried it in the ground. The king was happy with the first two, but furious with the third.

After he explained it to me, I pulled out a hundred dollar bill and set it on the table. His eyes lit up. I slid it across the table to him and told him to invest it for me. I told I wanted him to think of a ministry he wanted to support with the profits. He quickly named a missionary in Kenya who had made an impact on him. I then told him I was going to come and ask for the money back and that we’d give whatever he had left to that missionary. Three months later, he ended turning that $100 into nearly $500. Not bad for a 12 year old.

It got me to thinking about what am I doing with the talents God has given me. Am I using them? Am I growing them? Have I invested them so I can show a profit from what He gave me? Yes, the story with my nephew is about money, but I’m talking about gifts God has enabled me with. Each of us has been given certain gifts and talents. Not one of us is talentless. Sure, some have more talent and gifts than others, but that doesn’t give us the right to bury ours in the sand.

In Romans 12:6-8, Paul tells us that no matter what gift God has given you, you should use it well. And in I Corinthians 12:7, he says that a spiritual gift has been given to each one of us so we can help each other. That means that God has given you a gift and He wants you to take a risk with the gift He has given you by using it. There’s a saying in business that says, “No risk. No reward.” Don’t be afraid to take a risk today with your gift. You might fail or you might succeed. You’ll never know until you try

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Beautiful Feet


When most people think of feet, “beautiful” is not a word that comes to their mind. In the Middle East, feet are used to convey negative emotions rather than positive ones. The Bible discusses feet in that context over and over. In Genesis, it implies that we will bruise the enemies head with our heel. Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when people wouldn’t receive the Good News. It was a really big deal that Jesus washed feet. By holding them up to wash them, He was teaching the disciples to be lowly servant leaders.

In light of all that, it is significant that in Isaiah 52, God called feet beautiful. If you think that doesn’t compute with us, imagine the significance to that culture. Verse seven says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (NLT). God took what was once used to insult someone and showed how it could be used positively.

We all know that the Great Commission is to go into all the world, to carry the good news of salvation to every tribe, tongue, and people. God sees it as a beautiful thing when we obey His command and share our faith. You were never meant to keep it inside of you or to yourself. Your feet were meant to help you carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I like how Bob Goff says that if you don’t know where to go, grab a globe, spin it, and put your finger down. You’ve already been called to go. God will bless you when you follow His command.

If you want these “beautiful feet”, then go into the world spreading the Gospel. I understand that some of us can’t physically go, but there are still a couple of ways to have beautiful feet. We can all pray for those who go and live apart from family and friends, and give up the comforts of a familiar place called home. The other is that each of us can support those who go. No gift is too small for those who live and serve on the mission field. The money you sow into their ministry will yield a harvest of souls that you will be a part of. Each of us can have beautiful feet in God’s sight.

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Go Without Going

  
When I read Mark 16:15 where Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, (NLT)” I get excited and want to grab my passport. I want to spin a globe, put my finger on it, and go immerse myself in that culture so I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. To many of you reading this, that is the scariest thought you could ever have. You have no desire to leave home, and that’s ok.

So many think that the only way to fulfill the Great Commission is to leave home and to go. I believe there are at least two other ways you can “go”. One way is to send your prayers for those who are around the world winning the lost to Christ. Having lived over seas in a missions capacity, I can honestly tell you that you can feel the prayers. You know at that moment that someone is praying for you. Those people who pray will inherit a reward for those souls as well.

Another way you can go without going is to give to those who go. It costs more than you think to be in full time missions. Beyond housing and living expenses, they have to create and print literature, deliver it or mail it, visit various parts of the country, and so many more things that require money. If you can’t or won’t go, give to those who will and are. You will reap where they reap.

In I Samuel 30, David and his men were chasing an army that kidnapped their families and burned down their town. A couple of days into the journey, about 200 men decided they couldn’t go any further. The rest caught the other army, fought them, and recovered everything and more. When they got back to the 200, they didn’t want to share. David said in verse 24, “We share and share alike – those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” He set the precedent that all of us involved, in whichever way we can, will receive the reward. 

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How To Never Stop And Still Find Rest

This is a guest post from Chris Brown, Missions School Director with Coreluv.org. You can visit his site BrownsMission.com to follow his journey.

Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (NLT). In Chip Ingram’s book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, he points out that the later half of the verse is as equally important as the first. When we step out in faith, to fulfill the work He called us to do, our lives must be marked with an active faith. It is the only way to truly know Him and have a genuine, intimate relationship with God. While his love is unconditional and unending, His pleasure in us is limited by our faith in Him. 

We must seek Him first (Matt 6:33) and stop seeking the things, career, people, and possessions that only serve to ensnare. Yes, it goes against our very nature, but we must resist the urge to take a break from God, and instead, fan the flame of our love for Him and smother-out our love of self. Solitude with God is the fuel of longevity and success in the Kingdom. As we pour ourselves out in service to God, we must not give into the desire to take a break and escape – for fear of burnout. Instead, we must withdrawal only to “sincerely seek Him” and to receive the rewards of endurance, peace, faith, strength, restoration, and joy that He gives. 

Live your life seeking Him above all things and never let anyone or any circumstance tell you that HE is not enough or able to be all you will ever need. Vacations and sabbaticals will come and serve to make us stop the busyness of life, regroup, and connect with friends and family. But they should never entail absence from God or our service to others. They should actually provide us the time and opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the biggest possible way! So GO – pursue God and find your rest in Him.

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Showing His Love: Haiti Day 1

 

 On our first full day in Haiti on this trip, we started off going to a church service with the orphans and the local community. As they sang songs of worship, it was incredible to watch young children raise their hands and sing. During times of prayer, many children would get down on their knees and face the benches they were sitting on. It was moving to see so many of them engaged in the service knowing that very few of them had probably ever been to church before coming to the orphanage. 

After church, the kids changed clothes and we got to play with them. One of the incredible experiences of coming on a journey like this is that you get chosen by the kids. They run through the crowd of the team looking up at each face and determine who their “blanc” is. For the rest of the trip, the children who chose you will find you each time you’re there and climb in your lap, hold your hands and love you. Watching it happen reminds me of how God seeks us out like the one lamb who got away. Once He finds us, He holds us and gives us unconditional, undeserved love.

As we were playing, a bell started ringing from the cafeteria and the kids immediately ran to go eat lunch. While they were eating, we took a walk into Maya to visit with some of the locals. On every other trip, they have come to us, but this time, we went to them. On our first stop, we encountered a man who was proud to show us his two bedroom home made of rock and mortar. It had a tin roof, dirt floors and no electricity. His face beamed as he showed us his handiwork. He then walked us over to a 3′ by 3′ house looking structure. He proudly proclaimed that is son built it. You could see from wall to wall how much his son improved each time. This father had now passed down the ability for his son to survive. 

After visiting a few more houses, we returned to the orphanage. We played with the kids some more and then went to the covered porch during the heat of the day. Several kids layer down on our team members to rest. As I looked on, I thought of how my own son loves to lay up against me or my wife. Doing so provides them with a sense of security and love. These orphans don’t have parents to give them that. It was a blessing to watch our time provide those emotional necessities to these children.

After playing some more, we then returned to our guest house in the city of Gonaives. The team cleaned up, ate dinner and then met for our own service. We shared stories of things that we had seen that touched our lives and how we saw Jesus in those things. We were reminded that Jesus shows up every day in our lives all around us. We will see Him if we take the time to look. We also have the opportunity to be His hands and feet to others if we will be available when the opportunity arises. 

God’s desire is to use each one of us daily to show His love to someone. There are hurting people that sit next to us, walk by us on the street and post on our social media feeds. It’s up to us as believers to reach out to them and show them the love of Christ. If you don’t, who will? Jesus said in John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (NLT)” How will you show love today to prove to the world that you are His disciple? 

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Listo Para Cristo

On one of my previous trips to Haiti, as we were beginning our final decent into Port au Prince, one of the young ladies on our team looked over at me and said, “Listo para Cristo.” If you’re unfamiliar with Spanish, she literally said, “I’m ready for Christ.” What she was saying was that she was ready to see Him and to be used by Him on that trip. She was opening herself up to His will in her life. That’s a great way to live and really should be the mantra for our lives each day.

When I think of bring ready for Christ, I think of the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25. They were all waiting for the groom to show up for the marriage feast. When he was delayed, they fell asleep. At midnight, the cry rang out that he was coming. Five of them realized that they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. The other five were ready for whatever. They had extra just in case he was delayed. The five without oil left to buy more, but while they were gone, he showed up. The five who were ready went in with him. Jesus concluded that parable with, “You, too, must be ready.”

Not only do we have to be ready for Him to come, we must be ready to do what He asks when He asks. Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.” Being ready doesn’t mean when the need arises, you go get everything you need. It means you are prepared beforehand. You need to be mentally prepared to help anyone that God lays on your heart to help. Pray and ask God to keep your eyes open to those who may need your help today. That’s the first step in being ready.

Another step in being ready is to have some funds ready to be disposed of in order to help. I know a man who carries a hundred dollars in his wallet at all times for the sole purpose of giving it away. He wants to be ready to meet the needs of anyone God brings into his path. What he’s doing is not just being ready, he’s putting extra oil in his lamp so that he is ready for whatever. I know a hundred dollars is a lot for many. Pray and ask God how much you should keep on you in order to be ready. You never know when God is going to put someone in your life who needs you to buy some gas, get some groceries, pay for their lunch or to just sit down and listen to them.

Listo para Cristo is a way of life. It’s how God wants each of us to live. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that no matter what your circumstances are, there is always someone who has it worse than you. We are without excuse when it comes to being ready to help others. We have the opportunity right now to do something to get ready to be used by Christ. You can begin by praying and asking God to use you. Then have something on you to give out. It can be cash, it can be a gift card, a stroller you don’t use, a bag of canned goods or anything that God puts on your heart. If you’re going to be used by God in the future, the time to get ready is now.

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Haiti Day 5: We Said Goodbye

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Instead of going to a traditional church on Sunday, we took church to the Myan orphanage. We sang a couple of songs in English and then did one in Haitian Creole. Some children got up and recited memory verses and others sang a song they had learned. A few members from our team shared scriptures and short messages for each child. We then stood in a large circle around the room and went one by one telling one thing we are thankful to God for. The answers from some of the children were clothes, a bed, food, a beautiful house, someone to wash their clothes and one just thanked Him for everything that’s been done for her.

After we said our tearful goodbyes, we went back to the guesthouse to put our work clothes on. We headed to the Gonaives orphanage to finish the job. The children loved the warm yellow that we painted it. The old gray didn’t have a happy feel to it. It’s amazing how a little paint can transform not just a house, but a child’s outlook on life. Every new orphan that walks through the freshly painted gates will be greeted with a heart to show them love and a beautiful house to welcome them home.

The words “home” and “family” mean so much when you see the world through an orphan’s life. They don’t have a mother or father that they can go to for advice. They don’t have a safe place they can go when it storms. There are no family reunions that they can go to in order to connect with their roots. They aren’t even guaranteed their next meal or clothes when they grow. They miss the chance to be children when they have to grow up so fast in order to survive. That’s why orphan care is so important.

We may not be able to help every orphan in the world, but we can make a difference in the lives of a few. At our nightly devotional, we each shared the name of an orphan who changed our lives or touched our heart. We collectively smiled as each name was called out. It was the smile that says, “I know that kid! They touched my life too.” These team members may not have known the name of an orphan before they came. As we are leaving, I can tell you they don’t just know the name of an orphan, they know one personally.

I often think I would like to have known James in the Bible. He was hard nosed and didn’t pull any punches. His book in the Bible is short, but power packed. In the first chapter verse 27, he said, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.” This week, each member of our team got to experience what pure and genuine religion feels like. My hope is that what was born in Haiti will carry on with each of them for the rest of their lives. May they never stop giving what God has placed in their hands or serving Him faithfully.

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Haiti Day 3: God Refreshes Us

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Exhausted. Tired. Wore out. These words aren’t strong enough to describe how this team felt at the end of yesterday. Have you heard the saying, “Leaving it all out on the field”? That’s what this team did yesterday. They worked their hearts out in the hot, Haitian sun. They gave everything that was in them to these orphans and God has rewarded them. When they were tired, they kept going. When they wanted to take a break, the kids kept coming up for love. At the end of the day, everyone was talking about an early bedtime.

We started by eating an early breakfast. We separated into three teams who each had a different purpose and team leads. We loaded the trucks with the supplies we needed for the day’s work and then headed to the Gonaives orphanage. As we pulled up, you could hear the excitement in the children on the other side of the gate. We went over the plan one more time before the gates were opened. As we walked in, the kids grabbed our hands and asked to be held. We sat down with them and then explained we had a surprise for them.

On my last trip, we took many of these children out to Myan to see the new orphanage and to play with them. They’ve heard stories about that orphanage so we thought we’d introduce them. As they walked around it, many kept talking about how nice it was. One even asked if they had TV’s. They began comparing it to their home. So on this trip, we decided we would paint their home and make it look nice. They cheered when they heard the news. We told them that they were going to go play with one team while the other two painted.

After painting the window frames and trim all day, I met with the missionaries and we decided to take the team to the ocean to swim and cliff dive. We made the drive winding down a dirt road through the beautiful scenery. It took about an hour to get there. We unloaded and then had to walk down a beach and over a half mile of boulders with jagged edges. Our knees and hands were skinned up. Our bodies were covered in paint. As hard as it was to get there, we all made it to the cliff. People who were tired became exhausted. The ocean waves became more difficult to swim in as the tide came in.

Jumping off the cliff into the water was fun though. It was an exhilarating reward for the work it took to get there. I jumped off with my sister in law. We were among the last to jump. We counted to three and over the side we went. It seemed like forever until we hit the water. When we did, we must have gone under around 20 feet. It took a while to come back up. When we did, I grabbed her and we decided to try to swim around a big rock and head for shore. The more we tried, the harder it got. Fear set in. Hopelessness started to creep up. Our exhaustion was beginning to overpower us. The waves and current were stronger than we could manage and the group had already moved on.

We made our way to a rock. The edges cut our hands as we tried to hold onto it. The waves hot us and pushed us into it time and time again. We stopped and prayed for peace, wisdom and safety. She said, “We have to get on this rock.” I made my way up it and pulled her up too. We then started to make our way back to the rocks that would lead us to the group. We got the attention of one of them and he stayed back to help us navigate through the boulders. She said, “Jumping was the easy part.” If you’ve ever stood on a 30 foot cliff and thought about jumping, you know the first time isn’t easy.

We arrived home, changed clothes and went to dinner. The team was beginning to ask if we could just have our nightly devotion at the restaurant. We toyed with it, but decided it was best to keep the routine. We arrived home and headed for the balcony. As we began to sing the first song, I recognized there was something different about this service. During the second song, one of the missionaries spoke what God told him. We began to push into God’s presence despite our exhaustion. We sang louder than before. Our hearts opened wider to receive from God. People stood in the street and watched as we worshiped corporately.

Mike Reizner spoke up and shared how in Acts 4 it talks about the disciples praying and being filled with the Holy Spirit. They had already been filled in Acts 2. Why did it mention that they were filled again? It was because when you give out what is in you, you need to be filled again and again. We had given everything in us and all needed to be filled up again. We were on empty. One by one people walked into the middle and we prayed over them. The presence of God was thick and refreshing. We could have stayed on that balcony all night singing and praying.

As I spoke to them, I remembered what Isaiah 40:31. It reads, “He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind (MSG).” I recited it to them and reminded them how tired we all were. No one wanted to go to bed at that point. Everyone was energized by God’s presence. We refreshed and renewed. We’ll need it because we are only half way done.

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Haiti Day 1: Called To Do Something

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The first day in Haiti is always a long one. We arrived at the church at 3:30 in the morning to head for the airport. We had a quick layover in Miami before boarding another plan to Port au Prince. We were delayed for what seemed like hours before take off. In reality, it was only about 30 minutes. We were so excited to get here. When the plane finally took off, there was a sense of relief. We arrived safely and got through customs with no problems. After stopping for a quick lunch, we headed to Miss Dorothy’s Faith, Hope, Love Infant Rescue center.

She and her team care for children with medical conditions that cost more than their parents can afford. Our team got right to work loving on each of these kids and began to play with them. It started off with the orphans coming up and sitting with our team. It quickly turned into chasing, soccer, swinging and a lot of laughing. One team member was playing with four boys and wooden swords that were there. The kids were “attacking” him and he fended them off. It was an incredible moment to watch.

After everyone had their fill of fun, we headed back to the guesthouse for dinner and our nightly devotions. The prevailing message was simple: each of us are called to do something. There’s no where in the Bible where is God ok with anyone doing nothing. We were each created with a purpose. If you don’t know what it is, it isn’t an excuse to do nothing. We need to be about our Father’s business. There’s always someone we can help. There’s always someone we can pray for. There’s always someone who needs to be shown God’s love.

As we all shared our story last night, I looked up and saw a tree across the street. It was taller than all the other trees and it’s growing at an angle. I wondered when it was planted and by whom. I wondered what caused it to grow at an angle. Was it the earthquake? Was it poorly planted? Was the ground bad? I looked at the other trees and saw all different shapes, sizes and types of trees. Each one was growing in its own way and at its own rate. Each one served a specific purpose. If that tree compared itself to other trees growth, it could think it was better. If it compared itself to their straightness, it would think it’s a failure.

The problem with comparisons is that we are all different. We’ve all been planted in different soil and come from different seeds. Each one of us grow at our own rate, produce different fruit and have our own purpose. When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of who God made us to be. We each are called to do something that only we can do. We have been planted where God wants us. It’s up to us to grow and produce what He wants us to. It’s up to us to keep our eyes on Him and to stretch ourselves as high as we can so we can get more of the Son. When we do that, we will be success by God’s standard.

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