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Why vs. How

About 7 months ago I was listening to worship music. One of the songs I listened to that day was listing several reasons “why” the songwriter loved God. This is very typical in a worship song, but for some reason on this day something struck me. It was something that I had never thought of before. I felt as though God was saying “why do YOU love me?” Why do I love God? This question began to plague me. It honestly kept me occupied for a few weeks. Why do I love God? It’s not a question I had ever been asked, and now I felt as though God was asking me. Talk about humbling!

Before I go any further I would like to ask you, why do you love God. Take a minute to allow the question to set in. Put some thought into it. I’ll warn you it’s a loaded question, but let’s roll with it.

As I was pondering this the question deepened. Why do I love at all??? I seriously lost sleep because of this. I was dealing with a deeper question than I maybe ever had up to that point.

I’ve learned that sometimes growth in faith happens when we wrestle with God. Just like Jacob wrestling with God I had decided to stick this question out until I received a blessing. Why do I love? By this point you may be thinking this is an easy question to answer. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 john 4:19) I went to that verse as well, but I gained a new understanding that day. This verse explains HOW we love not WHY. We love because he first loved us. We are able to love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:7 says: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” LOVE COMES FROM GOD. As I was reading these things it became abundantly clear that the HOW is because God loves us, the HOW is through Him and Him alone. John makes it abundantly clear that God is the source of love. He is the HOW we love.

The ability to love is a gift, there is no reason to it it’s just a gift from God. God pours his love onto us and that love becomes the fuel for the new creation we are to become. God calls us to be like him. He wants us to be ACCURATE image bearers for him. At the fall things stop being accurate and Paul refers to this new way of life as “looking through a cloudy mirror” As a result of sin we have blurred the image. It’s still there but it’s blurry. But I think the bible clearly points out that that is not an excuse! 1 john 4:12 says “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” WHOAH!!! Sit on that for a minute. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us And his love is made complete in us “no one has ever seen God”….we don’t have visible confirmation he’s there… we don’t have eye to eye contact… I believe we have something more tangible than even that.

“But if we love one another” The Greek word for LOVE used here is “Agapao” which means- to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly. This word for love is a love that requires interaction. The original Greek here is saying that if we live in community and LOVE one another…. Welcoming and entertaining…. Those are communal words! You can’t welcome and entertain without interaction. We haven’t received visible confirmation but if we welcome, entertain, love dearly one another then… “God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”!!! The New American Standard Version words it this way: No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. Abide- does not leave…. God does not leave us. His love is perfected in us! This is prefaced by our love for each other… a love that is not merely verbalized but tangibly expressed to one another in community, then the reward we receive from that is the presence of God abiding… dwelling in us, and his love that was smeared like a cloudy mirror is now being perfected in us! 1 john 4:16-17 says: “and so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” “In this world we are like Jesus” In this world we are the unstained image of Jesus… We have been made like Jesus! Are we allowing ourselves to fully experience the love of God? Are we allowing his love to be perfected in us? Are we allowing him to abide in us? Are we experiencing community with believers AND God? Or are we trying to do the comfortable thing and keep others at a distance?

John makes it clear, that to experience the perfected love of God we must fully experience what it is to love others. I believe that the best gifts that we can receive are ones that we can share with others. Gifts that go on a shelf aren’t much a gift. The ability to love is a gift, a gift to be shared with whoever will accept it. True love requires sacrifice. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only son” John 3:16 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 All of those verses show that love is not cheap. Love that is not made up with word but of action. Love that is backed by sacrifice. This is the kind of love that comes from God! The earthly forms of “love” are focused inwards but the truest, and only real, form of love is focused outwards. Earthly love looks to how the object of “love” makes you feel… Heavenly love does the exact opposite and looks to how the object of love feels.

When we go back to the original question “WHY do we love?” it becomes a bit more difficult now. It’s a bit more tricky. Why do I eat Mexican food? Because it tastes good Why do I drive my car to Dallas? It’s a long walk. The “why” to those questions is easy. But when we get to love it becomes more complicated. And it begins to cheapen things. Why do I love my kids? Because they are adorable. Because the way they hug me and tell me they love me makes me feel invincible. Why do I love my wife? Because she is beautiful. Because she is the perfect gift from God to me. Because she loves me in a way that can only come from the father. Why do I love the youth kids? Because they are going to be the source of my grey hair… I love the Lighthouse! When we put a “why” on love we cheapen it. It becomes because that person makes me feel this way. It becomes a self-seeking thing. 1 Corinthians 13 says “love is not self-seeking” To love because we receive a benefit isn’t love at all, it’s appreciation. The truth is, I can’t tell you why I love my wife or kids… I can only tell you that I appreciate them on a level that is beyond comprehension and that I love them in a manner that is fully self-sacrificing. There is no “why” in the love that I have for them. To say that I love my wife because she’s beautiful is cheap and superficial. I would die for her. There is no benefit in me dying… only sacrifice. True love requires sacrifice not gratification. DO NOT CHEAPEN LOVE WITH “WHY”!!! “Why” does not exist in love. I have come to a point where I can fully explain the “how” and it’s simple… because he first loved me. And I can explain the “why” … because… it’s that simple, just because. I’m fine with not being able to go any deeper than that.

If love comes from God and God is love then I fully believe that there are aspects of love that I should never understand. I take comfort in a God that is bigger than my comprehension. As I’m laying in bed I can safely look at the question from God of “Why do you love me?” and respond with “because” and then curl up in his arms and sleep like a newborn in his fathers arms. My God loves me. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 Please do not cheapen love. Do not look for a reason “why” you love. Understand that the only thing that matters is, “how” you love! Now go back to the original reason that you love God. Reevaluate it. Have you simply been appreciating God? Have you been appreciating the good things he does for you all the while keeping sacrifice at a distance? Have you been too afraid to fully love God? Have you been too focused on the “why’s” which keeps our relationship with God superficial rather than being immersed in the “how” which makes our relationship to God intimate and personal. “We love because he first loved us” 1 Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

BLESSED ARE THOSE THAT GET BURNED

One Sunday I was asked to give a sermon over a selection from the beatitudes. If you’re not familiar with the beatitudes it is a section of scripture from one of the greatest sermons ever delivered, the Sermon on the Mount. It was a Sermon delivered by Jesus, the Son of God.

How do you give a sermon on a sermon and how do you add to the words of Christ? He’s the Son of God, God in the flesh; all things were created through him…. How do I give a sermon on one of his greatest sermons?

Then it hit me, I don’t need to add to anything. Our American English is so weak that all I have to do is go back and try my best to repaint the vibrant picture that Jesus would have. The Jewish culture is poetic in nature each word paints a bright picture. So lets try to look at what Jesus was saying in just these few words:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

-Matthew 5:8

Blessed simply means happy.

Happy are the pure at heart.

Let’s break it down even more.

The Greek word for pure is katharos. It alludes to purified by fire or pruning so as to bear fruit.

Blessed is the person whose heart has been purified by fire.

This starts to sound more familiar, blessed are the pure in heart didn’t quite fit in with…

Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are the hungry

Blessed are poor

But “Blessed are those who get burned” does.

Jesus does this crazy thing where he flips the world upside down. He makes us view things from an unfamiliar perspective. Jesus looks at the world through “Kingdom Glasses” he sees the world with a “your kingdom come” mentality. A first will be last and the last will be first type of thing. His logic seems opposing to worldly logic.

As Jesus starts to speak of these blessed people I can only imagine the reaction from the audience…

The majority was probably thinking, “that sounds like me, I can identify with that!”

And then you had the Pharisees, the religious people, who were probably thinking, “yeah right, these people are so far from clean they will never see God”

Jesus was opening the Door to the kingdom to a whole new group of people that religion had locked out!

People that have lived life in a very familiar way,

People that have suffered through loss

People that have wrestled with addiction

People that have ran into the law

People that have LIVED life.

Jesus was killing the rules of religion and bringing to life a relationship with God!

Jesus wasn’t just hitting on the surface and outward appearance he was hitting the core of the matter.

The Pharisees thought they had it down.

They washed religiously. They prayed where everyone could see them. They called out the sinners.

All of these things gave them the appearance of purity but it was just the appearance.

In fact Jesus called them hypocrites which is Greek for “actor”. They were acting… their purity was just surface deep. Actors can be convincing, in fact that’s what they are paid to do. The Pharisees made it their life’s goal to be convincing, they had honed their craft. They were the Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Morgan Freemans of religion.

Jesus went so far as to say they were white washed tombs, clean and pretty on the outside, but full of death on the inside.

Jesus is calling the hearts purified by fire into the kingdom.

The Heart that has suffered trial.

The greek word for heart is Kardia. It denotes the center of all physical and spiritual life. -the soul or mind as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors

Jesus is saying happy are those who’s inner most being, the core of who they are has been purified by fire…. Whose impurities have come to the surface and been made known….

To purify silver or gold the impurities are separated and become obvious. They are laid out before the refiner and cannot be hidden.

Proverbs 17:3 – The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

Proverbs 24:5 – Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

Isaiah 48:10 – Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Job 23:10 – But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Zechariah 13:9 – And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God

We have no way of purifying ourselves, It is only God that can purify the inner most recesses of who we are. If we purify ourselves it is like the Pharisees and is only surface deep. The purity that Jesus is talking about can only come through him.

Hebrews says “God is an all consuming fire”

The impurities of our hearts are only purified by the ALL CONSUMING fire that is God. His fire burns the brightest and hottest as we LIVE life. As we go through struggle. As we battle with the flesh. As we feel pain.

Malachi 3:2-3 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.”

As we go through the purification process, which is painful, we are not alone. In Malachi it says he will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. A refiner must sit and watch carefully as the silver is being purified…. The silver is delicate and can be damaged by too much time in the heat or too much heat. As we go through life, and suffer the trials of the purification process, God is right there with us. He is keeping a close eye on us… so that we are not damaged Making sure we are not damaged but rather come through the end of the process precious and ready to be used and adorned by him.

Isaiah chapter 48 says that he has chosen the furnace of affliction for our purification. The Hebrew word there carries the root that literally means “to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down” God has chosen this to be our furnace, in these times of trial we experience God in a new way. We experience the presence of God as he carefully watches over his precious creation to make sure that we are not harmed, knowing that the process is painful, but also knowing that it is necessary for our purification. He gently watches over us like a father watching over his baby after a surgery…. Concerned for our well being but knowing in the end we will come out of this better. That this is necessary for us to achieve life to the fullest. That without the trials and tribulations we are only able to experience life on the surface we are only able to act our way through life.

James chapter 1 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

As when we go through this purification and stand the test Jesus goes onto say:

Happy are those whose inner most being has been purified by the creator of life for they shall see God.

The greek word for see is horahoh – to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience

Blessed are those who have stood the trials of life, who have leaned on God, who have laid their impurities before the refiner and allowed him to remove them for they will come to know God by experiencing him in the trials, by interacting with the refiner of life…

Blessed are the pure at heart for they will see God.

Today allow your impurities to be laid bare before our father. Allow him, the all-consuming fire, to burn away the impurities of your heart. Step into the presence of his all-consuming flame and be cleansed. See God… experience God!

Rev. 22:3-5

“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”

This is the final image of the pure in heart….

This is the end result of what Jesus was preaching….

They will see his face, his name will be on their foreheads, they will not need a light, God will be their light, and they will reign forever and forever.

But don’t live for the end result, live as Jesus said “to the fullest” live as he prayed “your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” live as James wrote “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Know what Paul meant when he wrote “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”

I think it is appropriate to end with a prayer; a prayer of repentance and thanks giving… this is a selection from Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God,

because of your unfailing love.

Because of your great compassion,

blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.

Purify me from my sin.

For I recognize my rebellion;

it haunts me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;

I have done what is evil in your sight.

You will be proved right in what you say,

and your judgment against me is just.

For I was born a sinner—

yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

But you desire honesty from the womb,

teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

AMEN.

Today I Choose Love

I feel a Revival coming to the Church, or should I say the Body. I don’t think that this particular revival will be a Todd Bentley “BAM YOU’RE HEALED!” revival, but a revolution of Love that goes throughout the Body and cleanses everything… that includes healing, prophetic words and signs and wonders we can’t imagine. A revival of Love throughout the body of Christ!
We have a faith that is grounded in Love. And if you think about it, the Bible is the most epic of all love stories!
It’s a tale of 2 lovers. One who is uncaring, unloving, and very much unfaithful to the other… the other, well the other is Love. In a story that beats all others on a scale of romance Jesus Christ came to Earth and took on all of the iniquities of his bride, he clung to his bride, despite all of her short comings. And in the marriage proposal of all proposals he died on the cross for his bride.
We have a God that leads by example.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from
God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who
does not love does not know God – for God
is love.
-1 JOHN 4:7-8

OUR FAITH IS SHOWN TO THE WORLD THROUGH LOVE! LOVE IS EVIDENCE OF OUR FAITH! SCRIPTURE ECHOES THIS OVER AND OVER!

…SHOW THESE MEN PROOF of your love
-2 Corinthians 8:24

For in Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.
The only thing that counts is faith EXPRESSING itself through love
-Galatians 5:6

… Serve one another in love
-Galatians 5:13

SHOW, EXPRESS, SERVE…. these are the types of words that go along with Love, I hate to say it but DC talk said it best when they sang “Love is a verb”. When we begin to live in Love we begin to truly exhibit the Kingdom that Jesus said dwells in us. This leads to a new life, a new mentality.

…the kingdom of God is within you.
– LUKE 17:21

The Kingdom that Jesus is speaking of is upside down from any worldly Kingdom.
It’s a Kingdom where the first will be last and the last will be first; personal gain is not the motivation for anything, love reigns over all The Kingdom Mentality changes you from the inside out and in turn changes the people around you.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your
heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
-Matthew 6:31-33

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them.
-Acts 4:32-34

…see that you excel in the grace of giving
-2 Corinthians 8:7

Each man should give according to what he has decided in his heart….
-2 Corinthians 9:7

DO NOT WORRY
NO NEEDY AMONG THEM
EXCEL IN THE GRACE OF GIVING
This is the kingdom I want to be a part of, everyone is taken care of! This is the Kingdom that God designed for us, a kingdom that dwells inside of us! Not a Kingdom that any politician can bring to fruition, but the Creator!

Paul said in Galatians that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through Love. True love tends to needs. Its not full of words, its full of action. It’s full of compassion. It’s important to remember that it faith doesn’t require change but true
faith does create change. And we have a faith of love, so the change should be a change that is manifested in Love.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
-James 2:14-16

you see a person is justified by what he does, not by faith alone.
-James 2:24

As the body is without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead
– James 2:26

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love
&
Faith without deeds is dead

I think it’s fair to say that we are blessed to be in America. America is probably the most stable country in the world, even during these trying times. Let’s try and put our blessings into perspective. Let’s narrow the entire population of earth down to just 100 people, while keeping the current ratios:

59 would be Asian

14 would be American (North, Central and South)

14 would be African

12 would be European

1 would be from the South Pacific

50 would be women, 50 would be men

30 would be children, 70 would be adults.

33 would be Christians

18 would be Muslims

14 would be Hindus

6 would be Buddhists

13 would believe in other religions

16 would be without any religion or atheist.

20 are undernurished

1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.

6 people own 59% of the wealth, 74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.

20 people consume 80% of the energy, and 80 people share the remaining 20% of the energy.

20 have no clean, safe water to drink.

56 have access to sanitation

15 adults are illiterate.

7 are educated on a secondary level

1 has an university degree.

7 have computers.

3 have internet connection

1 Adult has HIV/AIDS

In one year, 1 person in the village will die, but in the same year, 2 babies will be born, so that at the year’s end the number of villagers will be 101.

If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups, then you are more fortunate than 20, who do.

If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture or death, then you are more fortunate than 48, who can not.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house, then you are among the richest 8.

Those numbers are staggering. Let’s look at some of those numbers for just today blown up to to reflect the actual statistics:

today 25,000 people will starve to death

another statistic I’ve heard is that 36,000 children, most under the age of 5 will die today from preventable diseases

the average US citizen will consume the same amount as 520 Ethiopians

the US will use over 43% of the worlds resources with less than 6% of the world’s population

Thats just in one day. It’s Easy to look at those numbers and think there’s nothing you can do about it because the problem is so far away, over seas or at the very least in another country; but let’s look at the statistics for America, right in your back yard:

In New Orleans,since Katrina, 1 in every 25 people are homeless

National Homeless Estimates: 700,000 per night; 2 million/year..

66 percent of the homeless have problems with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness.

22 percent have been physically assaulted.

7 percent have been sexually assaulted.

38 percent say someone stole money or things directly from them

30 percent have been homeless for more than two years.

One in five people in a soup kitchen line is a child

Families are the largest and fastest growing segment of the homeless population

Nearly 1 in 5 children (more than 12 million) in the U.S. live in poverty

In 1999, more than half of all food stamp recipients, 9.3 million people were children

33% of the homeless population are veterans. that’s 500,000 – 800,000 veterans that are homeless

1 John 3:17 says:
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

We are commanded by scripture to take care of God’s people. It is a scriptural mandate. Take care of the ones in need. It is what the Kingdom is based on, the first will be last and the last will be first all out of love. Jesus has some very powerful things to say to those that are in a position to help. We can all agree here that we are blessed with our necessities and often more than our necessities.

“Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
LUKE 12:

FROM WHOEVER MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN MUCH WILL BE DEMANDED.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus used the masters possessions as an example. Our possessions are truly God’s possessions. And if you’ll notice half way through the parable Jesus drops the mystery, it’s no longer a random “master or land owner” he is talking about, he says that the master in this story has the power to cast the people out with the unbelievers… Only God has that power!
What are we doing with God’s possessions? Well I can tell you how Americans, of which 82 out of every 100 claim to be christian, spend their money:
$75 billion on cable TV each year
$5.5 Billion on Health foods and beverages
$97 Billion a year on beer
$550 Million on Ringtones for their cellphones
$3.2 billion on energy drinks
$34.5 billion on coffee
$163 billion on non-fuel items in convenience stores
$450 billion on Christmas…..

It would cost an estimated $10 billion to solve the world water problem, lack of water or lack of clean water kills more people everyday than anything else, and we spend $450 billion on Christmas, is that the kind of Christmas God had in mind?

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger
and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
-Matthew 25:34-45

How can we take care of world hunger if we have brothers and sisters right here that aren’t being helped? I’m fairly certain that when we meet Jesus in heaven he will say “i was cold and you payed my gas bill, I was walking and you stopped to give me a ride, My children were sick and you paid for their medication’”

We have been blessed so that we can bless others. These aren’t our possessions these are God’s and just like we insist that our children share, God is insisting the same from us.

We have been given much!!! We have been entrusted with much!!! and there will be much demanded from us.

This doesn’t have to take place in the streets, it can take place in thechurch building, there are people in your church that have needs that they can’t meet, there are people in your neighborhood that have needs that they can’t meet. But you know what? We have people in this body that can meet those needs, whether it be through a financial contribution or physical labor.

Our faith should show through our love and a faith without works is dead.

Jesus said to love our Neighbor. The Greek translation is Plesion which, according to Christ, was any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet. How can we begin to take on the problems of the country or the world if we can’t master just loving the people we know.

We are called to be a kingdom of love, that kingdom should dwell in us and shine to the world, are we shining now? Are we confident of our faith? If faith should be expressed
through love and faith without works is dead, I don’t believe that I’m doing my part.

Don’t get me wrong here, we are not saved by works we are saved by FAITH, but the deeds of love are a byproduct of that faith and you can’t have a byproduct if the original product doesn’t exist.

So let’s spur one another on in Love and encouragement. Let’s work together to be a stronger church and do God’s work in the community, the nation and the world. Let’s be the Light that God designed us to be! We are an amazing church family and I firmly believe that God has built a foundation here that is built on the most sound of rocks

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

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