Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unequally Yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

God’s word is full of wisdom and truth, and it’s also full of practical application. So often, much of the trouble in which we find ourselves is our own doing. If only we’d read God’s word and would apply it, we would avoid a lot of difficulty.

Today’s verses deal with being in intimate relationships with unbelievers. While we tend to apply this verse to marriage, it also relates to all relationships. While we can be friends with unbelievers, those with whom we are closest should share the most important part of who we are: our faith in Christ.

We are sons and daughters of the God of the universe, the Creator of all things. We reflect the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. And our greatest earthly fellowship comes from those intimate relationships with other believers.

When we’re in what some translations call “unequally yoked” relationships, we’re trying to harmonize disparity. We’re trying to make light and darkness coexist.

And if we’re not careful, the darkness may very well overtake our light.

I’ve been in an unequally yoked marriage for over 21 years, and it’s not easy. Loving someone deeply and sharing a life with him, yet not sharing the most important part of who I am, can be very painful. I confess there have been times when it would have been easy to either let go of my faith or let go of my husband. I feel incredibly blessed that God has kept me close to Him—and close to my husband … but I would give just about anything to be able to have a marriage centered on God.

If you’re reading this and you’re contemplating a relationship—especially a marriage—with someone who doesn’t share your faith, listen to Paul’s words ... and listen to my own. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Speaking as Children (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13

I recently spent a few days with my family in Oregon, and I especially enjoyed seeing my four great-nephews. They range in age from nine months to nine years. It’s fun to see the baby’s reactions and the energy of the older three.

Sometimes when we read the Bible, and it deals with children, we often interpret it to mean we’re to talk in simpler terms. I think these verses mean something slightly different. I think it means we’re to be open with one another, speaking with affection and transparency, just as we do with children.

When I talk with my great-nephews, it’s true that I don’t use lofty words. I certainly speak in terms they easily understand. Even more, however, I use tones that clearly demonstrate my affection for them. My heart is “opened wide” when I interact with them.

This is how we should be with each other: open and affectionate. We should demonstrate our love through active listening and careful—and caring—words.

As one commentary puts it, “I speak to you with the utmost freedom and fluency because of my affection for you. It is expanded to take you and all your interests in; and to keep you in the most affectionate remembrance” (The Adam Clarke Commentary). 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Taking God's Grace "in Vain" ... (2 Corinthians 6:1-10)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Paul went through so much more than most of us will ever have to experience: beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment. Yet he was able to rejoice in all things. He never wanted to take God’s grace for granted.

I have to confess: I have been guilty of “receiv[ing] the grace of God in vain.” I am so very blessed in so many ways, and yet I neglect time in God’s word. I casually throw out a prayer here or there. I take my focus off of Him and put it on things that have no eternal value.

And then God blesses me with an answered prayer, or He gives me a splash of joy through an encouraging message from a friend.

My Lord Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice in payment for my sin. God’s grace—His unmerited favor—bridged the gap that separated me from Him. He gave everything for me.

How can I do anything but give everything back to Him? How can I take His amazing grace in vain?

Lord God, I pray for a heart that focuses on You. Help me to be overwhelmingly grateful for what You’ve done for me. Let me not take Your grace for granted. Ever.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Such Amazing Grace (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

I am so very frail, fleshly, and flawed. I struggle with sin so much more than I wish I did. And frankly, it breaks my heart that I so resonate with Paul’s words to the Romans, “… what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do …” (7:15-16).

If it weren’t my sin, Christ wouldn’t have had to die. It is only because of the spilling of His blood that I am righteous in the eyes in the Father. He was willing to take on my sin—my ugly, habitual sin—so that I can be cleansed.

We’re offered such amazing grace. Such amazing grace.

And because of the grace we have been granted, we should gladly and gratefully be Christ’s “ambassadors.” We should share God’s grace with everyone we meet, begging them on “behalf of Christ [to] be reconciled to God.”

So that they too can experience God’s amazing grace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

We are new creatures in Christ. When we accept the gift of salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection, we are completely different from whom we were … or at least we should be.

I wrote yesterday that so many of us are still living our own selfish, fleshly lives even after we claim to commit our lives to Christ.

I’m far from perfect. Believe me. But I really, truly strive to live differently than the world does. I’m careful of the words that come out of my mouth. I try to demonstrate God’s love to others. I stay focused on God and His word. I pray. I meditate on God’s word. I avoid those things that might cause me to stumble.

I try—in my fleshly, frail way—to live as a new creature in Christ.

When I think of all my God did for me, I can’t do otherwise.

Trust me when I say, I have no right—none whatsoever—to judge anyone else. I have a big old plank in my eye, so I cannot point out the sliver in the eye of my brother or sister. However, it breaks my heart when I see others who profess to be Christians speaking and acting and living no differently than those who don’t claim to know Christ.

How will nonbelievers be attracted to Christ if they don’t see something attractive in us? When they see us being hateful or vulgar or uncaring?

When we’re the same old creatures we were before ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

He Died for All (2 Corinthians 5:14-16)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-16

“He died for all …” All means … well, all.

He died for all people, regardless of gender, cultural background, race, socio-economic status.


He was willing to take the sin of each and every one of us on Himself so that we might live. He suffered from betrayal and denial, beatings and ridicule, desertion … for all of us.

And how do we respond to such an amazing, selfless gift?

So many of us respond by saying, “Thanks, Jesus,” and then we go on our merry way, living however we choose. We continue down our selfish paths, doing our own thing. Oh, every once and a while, we pray or we crack open the Bible. But mostly, we’re living for ourselves.

When we accept the gift of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, our lives should change. We should be living for Him at all times. In fact, we should be almost unrecognizable to those around us. We should be so loving and humble and kind and joyful that people look at us and say, “What’s different about them? I’m not sure, but I want what they have.”

Instead, because we’re so focused on condemning others or wanting our own way that they look at us and say, “I don’t want to be anything like them.”

How this must break the heart of our Savior … the one who gave His life for us.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Godly Pride (2 Corinthians 5:11-13)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:11-13

Pride is a sin. The Bible says so. One of the more familiar passages dealing with pride is Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” And according to the apostle John, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world" (1 John 2:16).

Throughout God’s word, men made disastrous decisions because of pride. Cain killed Abel because he was angry that the Lord honored his brother’s sacrifice over his own. Because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, the latter’s pride almost annihilated every Jewish man, woman, and child in Persia.

And yet, Paul writes of how he was giving the church in Corinth “an occasion to be proud” of him. Is that arrogance? Is that a sin?

I think there’s such a thing as godly pride. It’s that pride that shines a light on God instead of man. It’s that pride that says, “It’s all God’s. His gifts. His talents. His provision.”

For example, in 2 Chronicles, we read of how Jehoshaphat’s pride—his pride in God—led to the removal of false idols: “So the LORD established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. He took great pride in the ways of the LORD and again removed the high places and the Asherim from Judah” (17:5-6).

I can say to my brother or sister in Christ, “I’m so proud of you,” when they’ve done something that honors God. And when someone commends me for something I’ve done, I can say, “Thank you. God is so good!”

We can be proud of what God does through us always remembering that it’s about Him. Not about us.

Friday, June 19, 2015

At Home or Absent (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:6-10

I’m totally with Paul. I definitely “prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be home with the Lord.” I honestly cannot wait until I meet my Savior face-to-face.

But, as I often say, every day that God gets me up out of bed is another day He’s choosing to use me to fulfill His purpose. And so what should I do? I should have the same ambition Paul did: “to be pleasing to Him.”

I need to follow His “greatest commandments”: loving Him—heart, soul, mind, and strength—and loving others (Mark 12:30-31).

I need to be loving, joyful, gentle, kind. I need to have self-control, to be patient, to be faithful (Galatians 5:22-23).

I need to seek His will in all things (James 4:15).

Yes, we each have a purpose, and God will continue to use us until He takes us to heaven, either through death or Christ’s return. And even though we may long for the day we stand in His presence, our focus must be on living to please Him.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Heavenly Clothing (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Living with chronic health issues isn’t fun. And those of us who deal with these kinds of issues would prefer not having to do so. Truly. If God were to completely heal me this moment, I’d be perfectly happy!

But—and I’m speaking only for myself—there are a few positives about ill health. Knowing I have little strength of my own, I’m much more dependent on God’s strength. I have the blessing of encouraging others who deal with chronic health issues.

And most of all, I long to be “clothed with [my] dwelling from heaven.” I groan here on earth as my earthly “tent” continues to fall apart. I’m burdened every day by my body’s lack of energy, limited capacity, and relentless pain. I look forward with great anticipation to that day when I can shed this earthly skin, when I will feel pain no longer.

So when I struggle to get out of bed and when I just don’t think I have the strength to go on, I remember the words of a great old hymn:

This world is not my home; I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in this world any more. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kingdom-Focused (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The older I get, the more I understand Paul’s words “our outer man is decaying …” I certainly feel that way. As my health gradually decreases, I have much less capacity to do what I’d like to do.

But I also better understand “our inner man is being renewed day by day.” I find myself clinging more and more tightly to my Lord. I more eagerly await eternity with Him in heaven. I better understand how today’s “light affliction” is for God’s glory as I’m able to show true compassion to those who are hurting.

And I absolutely understand temporary versus eternal. Life is short. Really short. And the things that seemed so important a mere five or ten or twenty years ago just don’t seem to matter. I’ve been abundantly blessed with material things. We live in an increasingly lovely home (still a work in progress after only two weeks …) in a beautiful new environment. We drive cars (with no debt). We have ample food.

But when it comes down to it, none of this matters any more. The only things that matter—that truly matter—are my God, my family and friends, and how I’m serving them. Is what I’m doing building God’s kingdom? Will it matter for eternity?

In John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life, he writes of a couple who retired early and spent their days traveling on their yacht. They walked along the beach picking up shells. One day, they’ll stand before the Lord’s throne and say, “Look at my shells.” What a waste of this life God has given us. Elsewhere, Piper writes:

God created you—and me—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying His supreme excellence in all spheres of life … The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.
Yes, we’re all slowly, but surely, falling apart (sorry, but it’s true), but if we focus on the eternal, if we strive to bring glory to God by serving Him and others, our lives will not be wasted.

Our lives will have eternal meaning. And that’s all that really matters. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Believe ... Therefore, Speak (2 Corinthians 4:13-15)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:13-15

As often happens, today’s verses both convicted and encouraged me.

The conviction comes from verse 13: “… we also believe, therefore we also speak …”

I believe in God—Father, Son, and Spirit—with all my heart. I believe this world was created by Him. I believe sin entered the world when Adam and Eve chose to follow their own way instead of God’s. I believe God always had a plan of salvation that culminated with the death, burial, and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

I believe this with all my heart.

Yet, how often do I speak about what I believe? Not often enough. And I have such easy “openers.” I have a speaking ministry. I teach for a Christian university. There is nothing that should keep me from telling others about my beliefs … nothing except my own feelings of inadequacy or fear, that is.

I’m challenging myself to take every opportunity to just say, “This is what I do,” and see how the lines of communication open.

But I’m also encouraged by these verses when I remember how the story of God’s grace is “spreading to more and more people.” Even if I’m not speaking as often as I could, I’m so grateful for those who have heard God’s call and speak His name with boldness.

As I write these words, one of my nephews and his wife are preparing to move half-way around the world to serve as full-time missionaries. They go with boldness and enthusiasm, eager to share Christ with others.

God’s story will be told, with me or without me. With you or without you.

I think I’d rather it be told with me. What about you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Purpose for Adversity (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Adversity isn’t a new concept to us Christians. Paul experienced more trial and tribulation than most of us ever will. Beatings. Shipwrecks. Imprisonment. Yet he was able to look at those adversities as part of his refining process.

He wasn’t crushed or despairing or forsaken or destroyed ... How could that be?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not certain I could have as positive an outlook as he did. When I’m feeling particularly unwell, I sometimes despair wondering if I’ve fallen to a new plateau. And to be honest? Every once in a while—not often, but sometimes—I feel forsaken.

But then I have to remember that God has a purpose for adversity. Just as iron sharpens iron and the fire purifies gold, difficult times make us stronger. They make us more reliant on God. They make us seek His truth.

If we keep our eyes on God, if we understand the purpose behind affliction, then we can withstand being afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. We can, in fact, trust Him to use the difficult times to refine us and to glorify Himself.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Living in the Light (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:5-6

Many of us live in darkness. The darkness of physical pain. The darkness of emotional turmoil. The darkness of troubled relationships.

Some of us even live in spiritual darkness.

Only One person can bring us into the light, no matter what darkness we face.

Jesus Christ—Messiah, Savior, Redeemer—is the Light. He shines through the darkness, and He leads us through whatever murky valley we’re traveling.

As the psalmist wrote, “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me …” (CEV, 23:4).

John also wrote about the Light: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (NKJV, 1 John 1:5).

When we commit our lives to God, we too walk in the light, and we should reflect that light to others. Just two verses later in 1 John, we read, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1:7). And as Matthew wrote, we are to be light to others: “Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven” (CEV, 5:16).

God’s light does and will shine out of darkness. We can cling to His hand, and He will lead and guide us.

And most wonderful of all? One day, we will live with Him in heaven where darkness will be abolished forever:

Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age. (MSG, Revelation 22:5)
I can’t wait!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Life the Veil (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

We are in a battle, as Paul wrote, not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). And the enemy of our souls, “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), wants nothing more than to keep people from coming to faith.

He uses the enticements of this world to seduce unbelievers and convinces them that they don’t need a Savior. They’re basically good, they think. Christianity is too restrictive, and Christians are hypocrites, they say.

They view all religious beliefs as the same, and everyone will get to heaven. Or they don’t believe in any religion and figure they might as well live this life to the fullest.

They’re blinded to the truth. To them, the gospel is veiled.

We can help to lift that veil. We need to be the light of Christ, attracting unbelievers to the “gospel of the glory of Christ.” We need to help them see their need for a Savior. We need to illustrate the joy that comes by being in relationship with Christ.

One day, we’ll all stand before the throne of God. Those of us who know God’s truth and who have accepted the gift of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ will hear, “Well done” (Luke 19:17). And those who have rejected Him will hear, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:23).

What will you do to lift the veil?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

No Need for Shame (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

How often have you let past sin cause present shame? That momentary indiscretion. That ill-advised choice. That spark of rebellion.

It’s past. It’s done.

You’ve asked for forgiveness, but sometimes, you still feel shame.

You don’t need to feel that way. You can “renounce” those things. Why? Because we serve a merciful God. We don’t have to live in shame any longer because all our past sins have been wiped away by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are, in the Father’s eyes, white as snow.

While grace is getting what we don’t deserve, mercy is not getting what we do deserve. We do deserve condemnation. We do deserve to live in shame. But our merciful God has wiped away our sins, and He remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25).

And if you think about it, continuing to live in shame is almost saying that Christ’s sacrifice isn’t enough. That God’s promise to forget our sins is a lie.

In the words of Paul, may that never be!

Once we’re saved through the acceptance of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we don’t need to feel any shame.

Just tremendous gratitude for God’s grace and mercy.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A Future and a Hope (2 Corinthians 2:12-18)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Sometimes, it seems as though there is little to have hope in. We can’t hope in our politicians or leaders. We can’t hope in our jobs or in the economy. We can’t even hope in some relationships.

It seems … well, hopeless.

In this broken, fallen world, there is only one source of true hope: Almighty God. No matter what is happening, He can be trusted to provide, to guide, and to protect.

Ten years ago, I wrote a book that flowed from a retreat talk I give. The Best Laid Plans is based on three of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11-13. In the section about “a future and a hope,” I wrote:
What would a future be without hope? Why in the world would I, would you, want to look forward to another day on this earth without hope that every new day would bring the peace that God promised? … I often wonder how those who don’t know Jesus have hope. What is it they hope for? Is it wealth? Is it possessions? Is it a relationship? And when money or things or people let them down, then what do they hope for? (© 2005)
I still ask these same questions. Without the confidence I have that a loving God is in control, I would have no hope. None.

But because I do believe in God, because I believe His word to be true, because I believe He has a plan for my life, I have hope.

I have hope in His guidance here on earth, and even more, I have hope that one day I will be with Him for eternity.

That’s where my hope is.

Monday, June 08, 2015

So Inadequate (2 Corinthians 3:4-11)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

Oh my word … whenever I read today’s verses, I want to shout, “YES!” I am so very, very inadequate in myself. Nothing I am, nothing I do, nothing I say is from me. I am only able to do anything because of Jesus Christ’s work through me.

This is especially clear to me when I speak or perform. My ill health so often drains me of energy, so my resources are low anyway. Then, when I have the privilege to share God’s truth through a speaking engagement or am able to be on stage, I give all I have … which often isn’t much.

Many times, I have stood off stage or have waited for an introduction, and I have prayed, “Lord Jesus, I have nothing. Please speak [or act] through me. I cannot do this without You.”

And every time, He carries me through.

I cannot fully express how I feel when I leave a stage or finish a talk, knowing that my Lord has brought me through. I am humbled and grateful all at once. And I can point to Him as the One who gives me exactly what I need to do and what I need to say.

And I am blessed.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Words of Affirmation (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:1-3

This is not a commercial for the book, but I’ve been reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman again. While I’ve read it a few times over the years, now that Russ and I are in a new season of our lives, I thought it would be helpful to be reminded of effective communication based on our primary love languages.

My primary love language is “words of affirmation.” Like many of you, my “tank” is filled when I am affirmed and encouraged. I try to fill the tanks of others by doing the same.

So many today need words of commendation and encouragement. Teachers. Pastors. The girl at the checkout counter. The guy making coffee.

Your friends. Your parents. Your kids …

Your spouse.

Too many go through their days with little encouragement. In fact, they live or work or go to school in places where all they hear are put-downs and belittling words. Their “tanks” are constantly bordering on empty.

Your co-worker. The person sitting across the aisle at school. The person sitting across the dinner table.

What an amazing gift you could give by saying, “I’m proud of you” or “you did a great job” or "thank you for your help" or "I appreciate you."

Simple words, but oh-so-powerful.

Fill someone’s “tank” today.  

Thursday, June 04, 2015

A Fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:12-17)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 2:12-17

The title of one of the talks I give through my ministry is “Are You an Annual or a Perennial?” The premise is that some people are day-in, day-out totally committed followers of Christ. They “bloom” year-round. Others are those annual, go to church on Easter “Christians.”

I talk about how those who “bloom where they are planted” are pleasing to the Lord, and I mention verse 15 of today’s scripture. Those who are surrendered to the Lord are the “fragrance of Christ to God …”

When we commit fully to the Lord and live as Christ has called us to live (see Mark 12:30-31), we are fragrant examples of Christ to others. Rather than spending all our time and energy on pointing out what’s wrong with others, we could be loving, kind, gentle, and patient. We could help those in need. We could, as we looked at yesterday, encourage and affirm those around us.

We could attract unbelievers by the sweet fragrance of Christ rather than repel them with foul-smelling words of hate or abuse.

I don’t know about you, but I want God to smile as the fragrance of how I’ve lived for Him wafts heavenward. The alternative just isn’t acceptable …

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:1-22)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 2:1-11

Yesterday, I wrote about how sad—tragic really—it is when people who call themselves Christians, part of the very body of Christ, bicker over irrelevant things. Even more tragic is when a brother or sister in Christ refuses to forgive another.

So much pain and suffering comes as a result of unforgiveness … and not necessarily for the one who needs to be forgiven.

I’m not certain of the source, but I’ve heard a saying that goes something like: “Anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” May I say the same thing about unforgiveness?

When a person refuses to forgive another, bitterness leaches into her own heart and soul. In fact, the other person may not even know he has slighted her. He goes on his merry way, and she is left with a bitter, unforgiving heart.

I think the enemy loves it when we refuse to forgive others. He knows that long-held unforgiveness can steal our focus off of serving and loving others. We can’t allow that to happen.

Even more, who are we who have been forgiven everything to harbor any unforgiveness? Jesus forgave the vilest of sinners—including you and me.

Two last thoughts: first, you can forgive someone even if he never asks for it; and second, forgiveness doesn’t mean approval or reconciliation.

Forgiveness is releasing the burden of anger and bitterness from one’s own heart; it is breaking free from the shackles of unforgiveness.

It is being Christ-like. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Working Together (2 Corinthians 1:23-24)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:23-24

It is a true tragedy when really painful things happen because of denominational differences. Just because one person worships differently than someone else or practices another ritual or tradition, that other person is somehow wrong.

Contemporary versus traditional.

High church versus low church.

Praise songs versus hymns.

I’m certain all our bickering and nit-picking breaks the heart of our Savior. If we believe in and follow the God of the Bible, some things are foundational: salvation and eternal life come by grace only through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9); Jesus Himself is the one and only “way, truth, and life” (John 14:6); one day, those who have chosen to follow Christ will spend eternity in heaven (John 14:2-3).

What kinds of songs I sing (as long as they’re glorifying God) don’t matter. Whether I kneel or stand or sit doesn’t matter. If I worship at a Saturday service or wake early on a Sunday … It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I’ve committed my life to serve the one true God. What matters is that I choose to live like Christ, to serve Him and others. What matters is what I do for eternity.

Let’s be fellow workers for our Lord, standing firm in faith.

Loving and serving each other. Loving and serving God.

Monday, June 01, 2015

God's Promises (2 Corinthians 1:20-22)

Today's scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Last Thursday, I wrote of God’s faithfulness. Today continues that theme. God faithfully keeps all His promises. His yes is always yes. And what does He promise us?

He promises to provide for our needs—not our wants, mind you, but our needs (Philippians 4:19).

He promises to love us with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

He promises to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5).

He will provide for us, care for us, heal us (Genesis 22:14; Psalm 23; Psalm 30:2).

He will be our refuge, our strength, our help (Psalm 46:1-2).

He will forgive us, cleanse us, make us righteous in His eyes (1 John 1:9).

When we commit our lives to Him by accepting the gift of salvation and eternal live through the death, burial, and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ, we become sons and daughters of God the Father. And just like any other loving father, our Heavenly Father always keeps His promises.