“The Good Giver” 5/04/2016 Written by Beth Andrews

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Beth Andrews for https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com

Original post @   https://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/the-good-giver/

The Good Giver

giftgiving“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .” (James 1:17).

“Please sir, I want some more.”

You probably recognize those words spoken by Oliver Twist in Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the same name.  Oliver is a young boy, orphaned at birth in Dickens’ story set in 1830’s England.  He is one of many orphans who are kept in cruel near-slave conditions and given meager rations to survive on.  He warily approaches the master and makes his plea, but his  request only causes the boy even more trouble.  How dare this no-account waif ask for more!  Who does he think he is to presume upon the charity of the master?  We see the cruel irony of a hungry orphan approaching the well-fed head-master, and we understand that he at least deserves a decent meal to sustain him.  He is not acting out of greed, but out of need.  It is a reasonable request, we think.

Yet how often do we approach God with the same trepidation as Oliver Twist?  How often do we approach Him as if we think He is a harsh master who will refuse us even the humblest request?   We assume He rations out His blessings only to the most deserving, or worse, that He is holding back His blessings from us.  That is what Satan implied to Eve in the Garden when He told her, “God knows that when you eat [of the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . .” (Genesis 3:3).  You can almost hear him hissing: “God is holding out on you missy, don’t be a naïve fool!”  But we know that Satan is a liar, and the Bible reveals God as a generous Father who loves to give good things to His children.

Jesus compared our Heavenly Father with earthly fathers who provide for their children’s needs.  And even though it is really no comparison at all, the Lord said if we, as human parents give our children what they need and desire, “how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).  How much more will the God who gave us life (Romans 4:17) give us what is necessary to sustain life?  Why then, do we hesitate?

James 4:2 says “You do not have because you do not ask.” And Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Jesus Himself said “Ask and it will be given to you…” (Luke 11:9). I think we can all agree that this isn’t so much about stuff—houses and cars and a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, although God has generously provided a home and a vehicle for me when I needed them. (Still waiting on the shoes:) But God promises to bless us when we ask for those things that are in His will, such as wisdom (James 1:5), healing (James 5:14-15), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), faith (Luke 17:5), joy (John 16:24), strength (Philippians 4:13), love (1 John 4:7), grace—actually “more grace” according to James 4:6. Best of all He gives us what we don’t even think to ask for: peace (John 14:27), hope (Romans 5:5), light (John 1:9), a future (Jeremiah 29:11), glory (John 17:22), revelation (John 17:26), direct access to the Father (John 16:23), and eternal life (John 17:2).  He gave His only Son for you (John 3:16).  Does that sound like He is holding out on you?

2 Peter 1:3 says He “has given us everything we need for life and godliness;” those things we need for life, like our daily bread (Matthew 5:11), clothes on our back (Matthew 6:30) and “all these things” that are necessary for life (Matthew 6:33).  I’ve been the recipient of His practical generosity and kindness many, many times.  He also promises to give us everything we need for a godly life: chiefly His Word (John 17:8) and His Spirit (John 14:16).   God provides with a generous heart and an open hand.

I love John’s affirmation in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”  The writer of Hebrews echoes the same thought: “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  That is an invitation we should jump at!

You do not have to come to your Heavenly Father with a sense of apprehension, as if you are asking for more than God is willing to bestow.  He has so much he desires to give you—till your cup overflows (Psalm 23:5).  Don’t come crawling to Him with a little teacup in your hand. Come running to your Father with the biggest bucket you can find, and He will fill it till is spills over and you can’t contain it all.  He is a God who loves to give!

Holy Father, I cannot count the number of times You’ve blessed me—You have given and given and given even more.  Not only do you give from an endless supply, but You give from extraordinary generosity.  Please help me to always come to you with the confidence of a child coming to her loving Father.  Amen

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Our Duty Before The Lord.” 5/03/2016 Written by Pastor Rob Barkman

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Pastor Rob Barkman for “Settled In Heaven Ministries” @ http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/

View original post @  https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/ecclesiastes-chapter-12-verses-13-14/

Our Duty Before The Lord…

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 12 Verses 13-14

 

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 41 )

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 12:13-14 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Solomon now shares with us the end lessoned learned from all his research and life experiences…

 

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 

Solomon’s conclusion is three-fold…

  1. fear God – recognize His greatness and His authority over us. Humbly recognize we cannot stand before Him of our own merit.  Recognize our inward and outward sins we have committed against Him.  Recognize our dangerous condition apart from His grace shown to us.

  2. keep his commandments – seek out, protect and follow his desires for our lives.  Keep in mind He only desires what will be for our good.   We only gain by following His instructions for our lives.

  3. these are the “whole duty” of man – Please note “duty” is not in the original manuscripts.  Solomon is telling us that fearing God and keeping His commands is the “whole of man”.  In others words, they should be the center of our lives.  They are the whole purpose for our existence.  These are our “whole” life.

These three give our lives true meaning and purpose, apart from them all of our accomplishments and life experiences are truly vain.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Solomon not only shares with us the need to fear God and keep His commandments, but he also gives us a motivation to do  these things.  The future judgment.  The Bible makes it clear that in the future every man will stand before the Lord and answer for what we have done with our lives….

2 Cor 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all heed Solomon’s advice to us all and “fear God and keep His commands”.  Folks this is what our life is all about.  May we all be motivated to fear and obey Him knowing that we will stand before Him in eternity and answer for all we have done with our lives.

The first, and most important way we are to fear Him and keep His commandments is by turning from our sins and coming to Christ believing in Him as our Lord and Savior.  It is through faith in Him that we will receive the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in Him.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

1.

2:1-3

The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)

2.

2:4-11

The pursuit of material possessions through human labors

3.

2:12-17

The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly

4.

2:18-23

The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1

5.

2:24-26

The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2

6.

3:1-8

A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1

7.

3:9-15

A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2

8.

3:16-22

A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.

9.

4:1-3

A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.

10.

4:4-16

The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly

11.

5:1-7

The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises

12.

5:8-17

The pursuit of worldly riches

13.

5:18-20

A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man

14.

6:1-2

A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.

15.

6:3-10

A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God

16.

6:11-12

A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.

17.

7:1-10

The pursuit of prideful living

18.

7:11-23

A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom

19.

7:24-29

The pursuit of Godly enabling

20.

8:1-5

The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom

21.

8:6-15

A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.

22.

8:16-17

A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth

23.

9:1-3

A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events

24.

9:4-12

A recognition that life is better then death

25.

9:13-18

A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom

26.

10:1-15

A recognition of the dangers of foolishness

27.

10:16-17

A recognition of principles for good rulership

28.

10:18

A recognition of the dangers of slothfulness

29.

10:19

A recognition of the value of money

30.

11:1-6

A recognition of the need to sow our seed for the benefit of others.

31.

11:7-8

A recognition of the need to enjoy the days of blessings and expect the troublesome times of life.

32.

11:9-10

A recognition of the need to use the blessings of youth in service to the Lord.

33.

12:1-7

A recognition of the devastating effects of the aging process on all mankind.

34.

12:8-12

A recognition of the vanity of all the world’s offerings and the need to appreciate Solomon’s dedication to proclaim the truth to us.

35.

12:13-14

The Conclusion of The Whole Matter

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

*****************************************

Picture credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=picture+ecc+12:13-14&sa=X&rlz=1C1VFKB_enUS610US619&espv=2&biw=1096&bih=874&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0ahUKEwjH3aX13L3MAhUBej4KHSERDywQsAQIGw#imgrc=3q9w3mioq1VsjM%3A

 

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why should I not commit suicide?” 5/02/2016 Written by Michael for “Altruistico”

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Michael for “Altruistico”  May 1, 2016  @  https://altruistico.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://altruistico.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/why-should-i-not-commit-suicide-2/

Why should I not commit suicide?

Our hearts go out to those who have thoughts of ending their own lives through suicide. If that is you right now, it may speak of many emotions, such as feelings of hopelessness and despair. You may feel like you are in the deepest pit, and you doubt there is any hope of things getting better. No one seems to care or understand where you are coming from. Life just is not worth living…or is it?

If you will take a few moments to consider letting God truly be God in your life right now, He will prove how big He really is, “for nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Perhaps scars from past hurts have resulted in an overwhelming sense of rejection or abandonment. That may lead to self-pity, anger, bitterness, vengeful thoughts, or unhealthy fears that have caused problems in some of your most important relationships.

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, no matter how bad things are in your life, there is a God of love who is waiting for you to let Him guide you through your tunnel of despair and out into His marvelous light. He is your sure hope. His name is Jesus.

This Jesus, the sinless Son of God, identifies with you in your time of rejection and humiliation. The prophet Isaiah wrote of Him in Isaiah 53:2-6, describing Him as a man who was “despised and rejected” by everyone. His life was full of sorrow and suffering. But the sorrows He bore were not His own; they were ours. He was pierced, wounded, and crushed, all because of our sin. Because of His suffering, our lives can be redeemed and made whole.

Friend, Jesus Christ endured all this so that you might have all your sins forgiven. Whatever weight of guilt you carry, know that He will forgive you if you humbly receive Him as your Savior. “…Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…” (Psalm 50:15). Nothing you have ever done is too bad for Jesus to forgive. Some of His choicest servants committed gross sins like murder (Moses), murder and adultery (King David), and physical and emotional abuse (the apostle Paul). Yet they found forgiveness and a new abundant life in the Lord. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Why should you not commit suicide? Friend, God stands ready to repair what is “broken,” namely, the life you have now, the life you want to end by suicide. In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet wrote, “The LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Come to Jesus, and let Him restore your joy and usefulness as you trust Him to begin a new work in your life. He promises to restore the joy you have lost and give you a new spirit to sustain you. Your broken heart is precious to Him: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:12, 15-17).

Will you accept the Lord as your Savior and Shepherd? He will guide your thoughts and steps—one day at a time—through His Word, the Bible. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8). “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). In Christ, you will still have struggles, but you will now have hope. He is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you in your hour of decision.

If you desire to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, speak these words in your heart to God: “God, I need you in my life. Please forgive me for all that I have done. I place my faith in Jesus Christ and believe that He is my Savior. Please cleanse me, heal me, and restore my joy in life. Thank You for Your love for me and for Jesus’ death on my behalf.”

If you are considering suicide, please seek help now. Call 1-800-273-8255, the national hotline, get yourself to a hospital if you can, call 911, go alert someone in your home, apartment, or workplace, or wherever you are, and do whatever it takes to get help.

National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
To Write Love on Her Arms: http://twloha.com/find-help
Befrienders.org: http://www.befrienders.org/directory
Suicide hotlines available in most countries: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KIDS IN CHURCH

Are you taking your kids to church today !!
Blessings in Christ, bruce

atimetoshare.me

th0CT45OQ5This post was made in May of last year, but suitable for today as well.  Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

When Jesus’ disciples tried to dismiss the children from the large crowd,  Jesus rebuked and reminded them that His kingdom consisted of those with a childlike faith.  Kids believe without hesitation – accept with open minds – come with no preconceived ideas or years of theological study.

Looking back, it wasn’t easy getting three kids ready for church.  They complained, many times refused, would much rather crawl back into their warm beds and preferred to watch Sunday morning cartoons – but we went to church.  It was simply a part of their childhood.

Once there, we faced short attention spans, fidgeting, teasing each other, not paying attention and trying to discretely open a bag of Cheerios to satisfy them for a while.  Sometimes their loud singing brought stares. There were several trips to…

View original post 227 more words

Posted in Daily Devotion | Leave a comment

“Knowing When The Enemy Is Working!” 5/01/2016 Written by Mary Hall-Rayford

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Written by Mary Hall-Rayford @ https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/

View original post @  https://maryhallrayford.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/knowing-when-the-enemy-is-working/

Knowing When The Enemy Is Working!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:11-13, 18 NIV

There are some passages of scripture that are relevant and worth repeating for any number of themes or expressions of caution. Paul’s admonition to the church of Ephesus is certainly true today.

We live in a society in which a lot of people talk about God, without knowing Him and without being in a relationship with Him. But then that’s true of people when it comes to celebrity worship. People talk about celebrities, go into swoons over them, celebrate them no matter what they do, and then mourn them as if they were close relatives. The truth is–they never met them, the celebrities didn’t know them, but they talked about them as if they did. Some even emulate them in their manner of behavior and dress. 

The sad part about people talking about God is that they actually think (most of them) that they know God, but refuse to live by His Word. They don’t exhibit the same type of worship for Him as they would a celebrity and they certainly don’t emulate Him and adopt His ways.

The reality is–they have been fooled, duped, manipulated by the enemy into thinking that just talking about God is good enough. We see that in political candidates, in Supreme Court Justices, and all manner of people in authority–and these are the people the enemy seeks to deceive. After all, his job is to kill, steal, destroy, deceive and lie.

The enemy has convinced people that it’s okay for same-sex couples to enjoy marital relationships that God has said was intended for a man and a woman. The enemy has convinced people that it’s okay to change their biological genders to pacify flesh. The enemy has convinced people that it’s okay for a man–pretending to be a woman–to use the same bathroom in which children and women can become their prey. The enemy has convinced people that God didn’t know and still doesn’t know what He’s doing and therefore, it’s okay to change–whatever a person wants to change about themselves–and then expect others to celebrate them for defying God.

And the people that the enemy has convinced–proclaim to know God and they sit in the pews of churches on a regular basis. They sing about God, they dance to the songs about God, they pray to a god (not sure it’s the God of heaven), they read God’s Word and talk about it, but they refuse to live it.

But this in itself should not surprise us since we know that The Word says, that at the end, some of very elect (chosen by God) would be deceived and see it now. For those of us who know God and have a right relationship with Him, it’s time to stand up, speak up, and maintain our stance in promoting living The Word before all mankind.

If we do as God as told us to do, “Preach The Word, whether it’s convenient or not,” and that means whether people receive it or not. It is not our job to make them receive anything, but we must tell them what God says and warn them about the enemy who so easily deceives. It’s time to shut the enemy down by standing on God’s Word, fully armored up with God’s Truth!

********************************************************

Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?q=picture+full+armor+of+God&rlz=1C1VFKB_enUS610US619&espv=2&biw=1096&bih=873&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj2sdbZ2rjMAhUEaD4KHRfzAH4QsAQIJw#imgrc=ONWNhQVZpcQUzM%3A

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“AND SO IT BEGINS …” 4/30//2016 By Kathy Boecher

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

 

By Kathy Boecher for “atimetoshare” @   http://atimetoshare.me

Original post @  https://atimetoshare.me/2016/02/15/and-so-it-begins/

AND SO IT BEGINS …

temptations-of-jesus-in-the-wilderness-1-728

40 days without nourishment – living in a vast emptiness – alone, weary, hungry, weak, easy prey for the adversary.  Jesus was about to begin His ministry as the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  No, He wasn’t being led into temptation. He was being prepared for His remaining time on earth. It was  necessary for Jesus, in His humanity, to face the slings and full quiver of arrows Satan was preparing to throw His way.

There are many beautiful lessons in this event in spite of the difficulty that went with it.  Jesus acted in humility.  He was led by the Spirit and accompanied through the ordeal with Him. (What a comforting thought for us as we face difficult times.) He defeated the devil with the use of Holy Scripture.  The devil’s goal during the temptation was to subvert God’s plan for salvation, but Jesus had other plans.

Jesus is the perfect example of how we should live our lives during adversity.  We’re going to face tests as we travel through life.  If we remember that God is by our side through them, we can be confident. By using God’s Word, we have the strength and ammunition we need to defeat Satan and his lies.

When the devil at last realized that his misuse of scripture was no match for the sovereignty of God, he left Jesus.  At that point, God, the Father sent His angels to minister unto Him.

We will never have to face the torment that our Savior did, but when faced with temptation, we have the necessary armor to repel it.  The Holy Word of God – the Bible.

 

Dear God, remind us that you remain steadfast through your Word.  You are all we need to defeat the power of the devil.  Amen!

*************************************************************************

P.S.  (from bruce)   You have to spend time in the Word, to allow the Holy Spirit to write it on your heart !!   Found this amazing app for “Reading the Bible in one year”, with a 10 minute audio by Nicky Gumbel, which daily adds a preacher and teacher to your reading of God’s Word in a year !!        

 

http://www.bibleinoneyear.org/

 
 

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Naked Before God: In Community” 4/29/2016 Posted by Don Merritt

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

Posted by Don Merritt  for “The Life Project” @  https://lifereference.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/naked-before-god-in-community/#comment-20481

 

Naked Before God: In Community

There’s a title you don’t see every day!

Up to this point we have been discussing being naked before God in our own personal worship, individually; just God and you. This can and should be a wonderful time, regularly observed. Yet it is not the end of matter by a long stretch; rather, it is the beginning. God made humanity for community, and His purpose and will is that this community would be in fellowship with Him, thus becoming His very expression of who and what He is; we saw quite clearly in our examination of His image that this was His intention from the very beginning.

For most of us however, it is one thing to be naked before God in privacy and safety, but it is quite another thing to be naked before one another in any sense of the term. Certainly in the literal physical sense of the term, the notion of baring all in front of others is simply outside the scope of what is even thinkable or acceptable, and you will no doubt be relieved to learn that I have no intention of going there, for that is entirely too simplistic and hardly scratches the surface.  You see, this isn’t a matter of simply baring body; it’s a matter of baring soul, of being real, genuine and letting people see who we really are. It is about trusting, caring and loving others in a way that allows us to put their interests ahead of our own, not just in word, but in deed.

Last week, paulfg commented on one of these posts that he saw for the first time that “naked” actually means “relationship”, and I thought that was a very wise and insightful observation, for that is what it really comes down to. Yet it isn’t just relationship, it goes deeper, to the quality of the relationship. Recall that for us to be naked before God means that our relationships with Him are intimate, open, no holds barred, with everything out in the open. There is no holding back, no attempts to deceive and no barriers of any kind. To be naked before God in community with other believers is that there is the same level of openness between us and the others as there is between us and God, and obviously, such a human community requires that there be many who have matured enough in their relationships with God to be able to handle this level of intimacy with other people.

This dear reader is what it means to make disciples; it begins with godly love.

Far too many Christians are under the mistaken impression that making disciples is little more than making “converts”, but nothing could be further from the truth. Making disciples is really the ultimate act of love in action wherein we lovingly guide another into the kind of maturity that will enable them to become makers of disciples themselves. One who “makes” disciples is a mentor, a teacher, a trainer, and most of all, an example. He or she is one who can share the love of God and love of others in a way that brings their younger brother or sister into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. That person is one who loves, shares and leads others, he or she is one who lets their guard down, who respects, who trusts, who sets ego aside for the benefit of others and who lives in such a level of transparency before both Man and God, that they inspire the legitimate trust of others; they are naked before God and in community with others.

To be honest with you, most of us haven’t quite attained the ideal we’ve been talking about here. Most of our churches are not doing as well as we’d like, many are shrinking, others may even be on life support. Many have left “church” behind, and are happy to share a litany of complaints about churches they used to attend. We can come up with a long list of possible causes for this sort of thing, yet most of our lists, while accurate, don’t really tell the story. They will speak of over reliance on traditions, forms and details, but these are only the symptoms; the causes of the problems run much deeper than that. If I might be so bold, the biggest problem in American (and I suspect other) churches today is that there are not enough people who are really naked before God, needless to say, there are even fewer who are “naked” in community. I’m not sure about you, but I think this is worth getting into next time.


Picture credit:  https://www.google.com/search?q=Picture+God+sees+our+heart+Bible&rlz=1C1VFKB_enUS610US619&espv=2&biw=1096&bih=873&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZnq–o6_MAhXMdj4KHZn-CqMQsAQIGw&dpr=1#imgrc=cNQtX4uND_XY8M%3A

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Gospel, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
anansi2050

Deep Thoughts and Ideas

Unashamed of Jesus

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

crookedroadfaith

Walk the road to spiritual growth and enlightenment with a touch of humor

Elihu's Corner

press on to know the lord

LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Passion is key

susanne matthews

Living the Dream

doc2poet

Poetry & Me

I Just Have to Say...

and I'm sayin' it here.

RAINDROPS & ROSES

Raindrops of love land on my heart

Joseyphina's World

Writing is one thing I passionately love and sharing with you is my greatest joy...

Me In the Middle

a beginning, a middle, and an end…but not necessarily in that order

Project Prose

Exploration through writing, photography and art

Introvert Playground

A magical land of quiet introspection and peaceful alone time.

A Reading Writer

I write because I read. I read because I write.

Vanessence

Essentially Vanessa

A Joy of Health Nutrition and Beauty

Your Health, Your Lifestyle, Your Choice

Manee Trautz

Inspired to Write. Writing to Inspire.

inkyfire

ink of love in fire - design is my desire

An Artist's Path

A space for creative seekers.

Church Set Free

Love is the answer - now what's your question?

Random Musings And Wanderlust

Curious thoughts from a vivid imagination, with no rhyme or reason weaving them together.

Words dipped in Happiness

Words which will fall into your Heart, once they reach your Brain

Making Life an Art

Finding the miraculous in the mundane

An Array Of Blogs

Showcasing some of the best blogs the Internet has to offer...and more

Pattern$ oF R@nD0mNEsS

However random it might seem, everything in this world has a pattern

jamesedwardsharp

Musical Notes For The Sent Ones

Only a Season

Faith during laundry, devotions during dishes.

Scribbles & Crumbs

Hope. Kindness. Faith. Love

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

Garcia Talks about the How To's of the iPhone,iPad,MacBook & Apple Products for Non-Technical Users

usage of of iPhone,iPad, MacBook & other Apple Products such as the Airport Extreme

Mihranpiano

In the words of the artist, "My intention is toward cultivating a greater sense of the present moment, and inviting the listener to open more fully to his or her own experience."

Diary of an Aesthete

The Global Pilgrimage of a Modern-Day Aesthete.

Paving My Author's Road

...one writing step at a time

Walk On

The Champions Who Walked Among Us

WomanofGod2017

Messages & Devotionals glorifying God profitable for teaching, edifying, encouraging and ministering to anyone seeking sonething deeper...

rollingblogger

I.M.P.A.C.T. Is All Around Us!!

Beholding Him Ministries

Grace, hope and Truth for each day.

markflorendo

Write without fear.

ipekseyhanpoyrazkarayel

Asla İdeallerinden Vazgeçme Asla! Never Give Up Your İdeals Never!

by_luis7

"me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser"

Walking In My Destiny,

Living A Life Of Purpose...

elements of emaginette

Anna Simpson's blog

Joys of Joel

The Poetry of My Life through My Writings and Journeys

I am a woman and I can

"I have always believed that one woman's success can only help another woman's success." - Gloria Vanderbilt

Tomorrow News Network

by James S. Pailly

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,042 other followers

%d bloggers like this: