Posted on October 19, 2019
Do this and you will live!” Luke 10:28b NLT
How often do we sacrifice our comfortable daily routine to help someone?
Sometimes we need counselors and other resources to fight the battle of our mental health. That’s not what I’m addressing here today. There are everyday moments we avoid to help people who are being isolated, picked on, and left out. Wearing an inspiring t-shirt is a wonderful reminder, but are we brave enough to leave our comfort zones in pivotal moments? We can’t help a hurting soul if we don’t make a radical move.
The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) tells of a priest and a levite, the religious people of Jesus’ day, passing by a man who had been robbed and badly beaten. The priests would become ceremonially unclean if they touched a dead person, so that excused them from walking clear around the injured man to avoid him, right? Jesus clearly taught that it was not. The Samaritan man stopped, and with what he had on him, helped the man. He inconvenienced himself, and accepted the risk of possibly being robbed and attacked, to do the right thing.
“Which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? Jesus asked.” (Luke 10:36 NLT)
An “expert in religious law” who’s questioning led to Jesus’ telling of the parable, knew how to answer questions correctly. But Jesus applied God’s truth to a realistic situation in which the expert could apply to everyday life.“The one who showed mercy.” the expert replied, “Then Jesus said, ‘Yes, now go and do the same.’” (Luke 10:37 NLT)
Comfortable Christianity isn’t living life to the full as Christ calls us to. Everything in this world will pass away. When Jesus returns, our safety nets will exposed, but so will all of the suffering we took on in His honor. Jesus knew we couldn’t shake the power of sin, so He crushed it’s chains for us. He healed, loved, and taught in parables so we could understand.
The man knew the law before Jesus told the parable: “’You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27 NLT) But Jesus clarified whom it applies to.
“‘Right!’ Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you will live!’” Luke 10:28 NLT
When we ignore those in need, we are no better than the priest who walked all the way around the injured man. Everything we do on this earth is meant to honor Christ. Sitting silent when someone is hurting doesn’t. Being kind like Christ takes boldness and courage, because it isn’t always going to be an acceptable move by society’s standards.
We live in a world hyper-focused on what people can do for us …but it’s backwards. We sing, “all we need is love,” but we’re not a loving society. Love isn’t everyone getting what they want or deserve. It’s literally engaged in looking for those who need us to DO something for them. The reciprocity of love isn’t self-focused, it’s them-focused.
“Do this.” (Luke 10:28 NLT)
Don’t just sit there.
“Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:37b)
Make a radical move.
Posted on October 17, 2019
“I just can’t wait to be friends with everyone!” My friend, more reserved than my hyperactive, people loving self, laughed as if I’d lost my mind. The infamous mantra sticks nearly two decades later. When we seek God’s standard for friendship, and follow Jesus’ example, the Holy Spirit will help us spread the love of Jesus.
But what about unhealthy friendships? What is God’s standard for our friendship with those who drain our energy, deplete our resources and leave us feeling stressed and frustrated? God’s Word speaks truth into all of our relationships, and there is wisdom to be found for how to deal with that friendship that isn’t quite as healthy as it could be.
Here are 10 potentially unhealthy types friends, and how to love them within the good boundaries God has given us.
Posted on October 15, 2019
Being a kid can feel pretty helpless, but learning how to unlock a conversation with God is like discovering a secret superpower. Suddenly, the people placed around them will mean a little bit more. And turning them outward by teaching them to pray for their friends allows them to experience God’s love.
We can teach our children to pray for their friends using the acronym LET’S PRAY.
L – Love
“A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17)
When children understand how much God loves them, their light begins to shine into the cracks of other’s lives. And the foundation of a good friendship is love. When children are just learning to pray for their friends, keep it simple:
“Dear God, thank you for my friends. Help me to love them like You love me. Amen.”
E – Encourage Forgiveness
“Mom,” my daughter cried from the backseat, “I had a really hard day at school…” and off she went about how someone made her get in trouble and someone else was snotty to her and then someone who was “supposed” to be a friend didn’t really act like one that day.
Friendship can be an emotional battlefield, and learning to forgive quickly is vital. Injustice is a part of existence, and it’s not a new trend or a surprise to God. “In this world you will have trouble,” He promised, but He sent Jesus to show us the perfect example of how to react:
Posted on October 10, 2019
Even surrounded by people, we can still be painfully lonely if our relationships fall out of alignment with God’s purpose for them in our lives. When we’re looking for others to fulfill our every need and comfort our every hurt, we are bound to be disappointed. And in my own lonely season, I was. But the wonderful thing about our Almighty God he is always with us – we are never alone, never apart from his unfailing love.
Seasons of loneliness leave us vulnerable – we begin placing our trust in things or people other than God. In one such lonely season of my life, I began to rely on the people around me more than the Father who placed them there. Suddenly, their opinions mattered the most to me. I began blindly following their advice, assuming my best interest was always at the center of their universe.
Posted on October 8, 2019
“Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” – James 5:8 (ESV)
What is Patience?
Patience is the capacity for us to tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. And the Bible has a LOT to say about learning how to be patience – it is a fruit of the Spirit that God strongly desires his children to grow in.
Patience requires endurance. When we are severely pressed, this gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a product of our cooperative submission to His authority. Hearts established in God’s Truth grant us the grace it takes to be patient. James 5:8 connects the idea of an established heart and patience when it says, “Be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
How to Strengthen Your Heart and Build Patience in the Process
The NASB version of James 5:8 says to “strengthen your hearts.” The Greek word for strengthen is sterizo, meaning to make stable or place firmly. The heart is the center of our being. God’s Word should be the firm foundation of the heart of our souls. When it is, are prone perspective allows us to be patient. A habitual commitment to read Scripture is the highest priority to achieve healthy spiritual functionality.