Love is an Action Plain and Simple

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NIV)

These are profound words from the apostle John. Such words are even more profound with some greater context.

Let’s back track to verse 17…
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17 NIV)

Having pity on someone in need goes beyond merely feeling bad for them. What help is that? I think this also goes beyond the knee jerk “I’ll pray for you” response.

Notice it says if anyone with material possessions… This clearly implies that if you have material resources to help, then help by providing those material resources. Right?

Another verse is highly relevant here from James:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15, 16 NIV)

Love is an action…plain and simple. If you and I aren’t loving in action, we aren’t loving. We are commanded to love God and love others. So don’t stop at “I’ll pray for you”. Love by giving what you have to help someone in need. Amen!

Ps, here is a link to a dear christian couple in need. Becky and Larry Knight are facing eviction from their home. Help (love them) if you can: http://www.gofundme.com/aa65w8

Better than Sacrifice.

Gift box / present or christmas gift hand close up. Decorative g

“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” (1 Sam 15:22)

What could be better that coming before God and offering praise and worship with gifts and offerings? Surely this is the pinnacle of our relationship with God and the ultimate expression of worship and  faith.

Apparently not; God has a different view, and His opinion is that it is much more important to obey and to heed. We know what it means to obey, but the definition of heed gives us more insight: “to pay attention, to give consideration to, and to mind what someone says.” It gives the sense of one listening with intent to act in obedience.

Quick Prayer: Help me to hear, and compel me to obey. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

True Religion.

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“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

 

 

 
What is religion all about? Is it worship on a Sunday? Is it working hard? Is it letting others know about Jesus? All these things are true, but what does God say is the real heart, pure and faultless religion that He accepts as true?
First, there is a demonstration of an inward transformation: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Pure and simple, we have a significant God-given obligation to help the poor.
Second, we are called not to hide away from the world because this would make the first part impossible but to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Live in the world and fully participate, but don’t take on its values and distortions.
Quick Prayer: Thank You that true religion has a practical application. Amen.

 

best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

“Prayer Works” and 2 Other Things Christians Should STOP Saying Now

Vintage Christian button, Prayer worksThis article originally appeared here on the Church Leaders~ Pastors Blog. By Carey Nieuwhof

 

 

 

One reason people stay away from Christianity is not because they don’t know any Christians.

It’s often because they do.

Our actions and our words as followers of Jesus have the power to attract or repel people from Christianity.

The number of people who never go to church or follow Jesus keeps growing. And their thinking keeps changing too (I’ve outlined 15 characteristics of unchurched people here).

So what can we do about it?

Well, in addition to modeling humility, grace, truth, love and so many other things that describe the earliest Christ followers, we Christians can watch our words…  Click here to read the rest of the story on the Church Leaders ~ Pastors Blog site.

 

 In addition to serving as Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada, Carey Nieuwhof speaks at conferences and churches throughout North America on leadership, family, parenting and personal renewal. More from Carey Nieuwhof or visit Carey at careynieuwhof.com

 

Asked.

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“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Mat 5:42)

 

 

 
How are we asked to respond to those in need around us? What is our response to be to those who ask for help? Give and do not turn away. As we open our hands, we open our hearts. As we walk in obedience, we open our hearts and our hands follow suit. It is a virtuous cycle of love and giving.
If we live our lives this way, God will pour out His provision as He finds vessels willing to be His hands and His feet with His heart. Ministering to those around us is not only telling them about Jesus but also demonstrating His heart by meeting the needs of those who need help.
Quick Prayer: I am available to bless someone today. Send me someone who needs help. Amen.
best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

Amending “Ancient” Sins

 

Hello,

42 years ago, I , along with my husband (now ex) committed insurance fraud.  I was 22 years old and found out that I was pregnant.  We had no health insurance and no money for the costs of having a baby.  I panicked and came up with the idea of getting rid of our car in a deep lake in order to get money.  The car was worth $1700.  We did this and reported the car as stolen.  The insurance company sent a check for $1700.

I became  a Christian a year after this  episode.  It has bothered me off and on over the years and I confided in some people about restitution, but they said because my sins were forgiven I did not need to pay back the money.  Lately, I have really been seeking the Lord, and this matter has again come up in my mind and heart.  How does one make restitution when something has happened so many years ago, and will I have to go to jail.  I don’t have the money and am on a fixed income.  I want to do the right thing.  Can you advise me what course to take?

[Read more...]

How can you reflect the love of Jesus to others?

I Love Jesus - Crucifixion

How can you reflect the love of Jesus to others?

Where Mentoring Goes Wrong

Mentorship Concept.This article originally appeared here on the Christianity Today blog.

Why do good discipling relationships derail?

 

 

Through the mentor’s eyes

Sharon scooted between cars, hurrying through the stifling parking lot to make the meeting on time. Although only August, she already felt the pressure of a busy fall schedule. She was unsure how becoming a mentor would fit, but involvement in the life of a younger woman interested her. At least she was willing to attend the training meeting and see what it was all about.

Refreshed by the cool air in the room, Sharon found a chair. Looking around at other women, a wave of nervousness rushed over her. Was she even qualified to mentor?  During the next hour, she learned the requirements of the mentoring program, looked over the recommended mentoring resources, filled out a personal profile, and signed up to bring a dessert for the kick-off event. Still the question nagged:  Did she really have enough wisdom to do this?  Probably not, she thought, but her love for God and young women encouraged her to press on.

Two weeks later at the kick-off event, an eager greeter handed Sharon a bright green crayon and instructed her to find the young woman with the same color crayon as hers—”‘Caribbean Green.’  Isn’t it peppy?” Sharon returned the beaming smile, grateful for a game to help her find her mentee. The energy-filled room lifted her spirits. This was fun! She leisurely worked the room, smiling and displaying her crayon as she went…

~ By: Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann

Click here to read the rest of the story on the Christianity Today Leadership Journal Blog.

Give as you Can.

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“According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” (Ezr 2:69)

 

 

The seemingly eternal question: how much should I give? If we have moved on from, “Should I give?” to the next stage, the question remains. We are called to give “according to our ability.” Each one of us has been blessed in different ways and with different measure. We are to give according to our resources, yet we all have a part to play.

It is not the amount or even the proportion, but we are all able and willing to be a part of God’s work and a reflection of His heart. Look at what God has already blessed you with.

Decide in your thankful heart what to give, and give cheerfully according to your ability.

Quick Prayer: Thank You that You ask me to give according to what You have already given me. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

 

 

Why do Christians sometimes (or often) act like such jerks?

This article originally appeared here on the Missio Alliance blog.

Ok so maybe that’s quite a blunt way of asking ‘Why, while believing in what is good and right, do I choose to think in a way and engage in behaviour that accords with a “lesser version” of myself?’

I’ve asked this question for some time but I think it comes to the surface even more at the beginning of a new year when we are reminded from pulpits everywhere that we are a new creation in Christ and also by our broader world that this is a perfect time to set some New Year’s resolutions so that we can improve and be better people this year.

We enthusiastically respond by nodding to the truth that in Christ we are a new creation and we agree that it is good to set some goals for the New Year, so we faithfully set out to practice these truths. But inevitably we sooner or later hit a wall when we experience that our ideals quite often fail to measure up to reality. Everyone has experienced this dissonance no matter how long we have been followers of Jesus.

A godly and mature Christian friend when we were talking about this recently, said that he holds close to his heart values like generosity, care for the poor and compassion however as he walked past a homeless person once, he thought and felt the exact opposite of those values regarding that person. I can say that I’ve experienced a similar thing! I would guess that we all struggle daily as we sit in the uncomfortable gap between what ought to be and what in reality is. There’s no need to beat ourselves up about this gap but perhaps we need to think about what does in fact bring about deep transformation in our lives so that our behaviour more matches our status as new creations in Christ…~ By:

Click here to read the rest of the story on the Missio Alliance blog.