What are We Standing For?

All this talk about standing for the anthem got me thinking about the circumstances surrounding it and what we truly need to be thinking about today…and I’m here to tell you….I’m not so sure that it’s the flag or whether we stand or sit that we should be paying attention to.

In fact, while I do believe that we should respect the country we are in as Jesus told those who asked about taxes, to “Rend Caesar what is Caesar’s”, but he also added that we should give to God what is His also.  That means we owe God our lives…we are His, created in His Image…we bear HIS likeness, just like the coin bore the likeness of Caesar.

However, here is what we are missing while this is going on around us…that division has always been around…we have always been told that, “if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.” While that may be true in some cases, I think that we are choosing to stand for the wrong things. Christians, why are we not standing for the WORD OF GOD? If we showed half the passion for the scripture that we have shown for the flag or for social issues this country would be a different place than it is.  If we stand for God’s Word, we will see love take precedence over hate…we would see unity rather than division…we would see things in a much happier and better light.

We have gotten so wrapped up in the idea of battle, that we have forgotten that Jesus has already fought and won the battle…but instead, we feel that we need to fight it…we feel we need to “guess” what Jesus would say today because, “Times are different…it’s just not the same today as it was then culturally.” We don’t need to guess anything….it is high time we realize this today: GOD’S WORD is the same yesterday, today, and forever….it is timeless…it is boundless…it is His bond to His people.

I challenge you to stop the hate…stop the bickering….stop the arguments…who cares if someone doesn’t agree with you…is it the Christlike attitude to attack personally or fight back in a way that destroys your witness? NO! It is our duty to be the example…why is the country in a battle today like we have never seen? Because the Church is fighting the same battles…don’t believe me? Which Version of the Bible to you use? Is there a fight about it? Are you in the midst of a church split because someone got upset with someone else?

I challenge each of us to look at the circumstances surrounding our lives…are you living in bitterness toward someone because they don’t share your opinion? Are you constantly upset because something didn’t go your way? It doesn’t matter what side of an issue you’re on, it is something that we have seen for decades in this country…we are broken…

Love like Jesus loved, who didn’t come to divide, but unite…through love. The greatest division ever recorded on earth was caused by sin, but Jesus came to unite us back to God through his blood…so let’s let the blood of Jesus continue to work today! Show love to one another today and stop with the hateful speech and bickering that only feeds division…because we are dividing the church and pushing people away from Jesus rather than winning them to Him…What are you standing for?


Puzzling Times

Life is one big puzzle sometimes, and the problem that we have as Christians is our inability to see the big picture.

The best example I can think of for this is a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. There are a lot of pieces that may look the same, they may even be shaped similarly, but there are no two pieces that are fully alike.

In the same way, there are no two Christians that are exactly the same. A puzzle will only fit together one way; in the same way, Christians are shaped and shaded to piece together according to the picture that is on the box. The difference between a puzzle and God’s children is that we don’t see the big picture. We can only see the pieces that are around us.

Too many times we as Christians want to assume we know how the final picture is supposed to look. We try to fit in where we don’t belong, and at times try to force ourselves into the spaces that are not reserved for us. God wants to work our puzzle. He wants to place us where we fit. He wants to show us the right place to fit in. It is up to us to allow God to place us where we belong.

There are many times in life where we try and take the reigns; where we try too hard to fit into a space where we were never slated to be. These are the times that we feel depressed, discouraged and torn apart by the world around us. It is in these times where we cry out for help; where we allow God to pick us up out of the wrong, and place us in the right direction.

We differ, however, from the puzzle in that we have the freedom to move and look for our space. A puzzle will lay there until you pick up the piece and look for the space in which it fits. God does not try to fit us in to His puzzle; He tries to show us the direction of our space. It is up to us to head in that direction.

God is showing us the right way to go. Why do we as Christians try to avoid it? We are selfish. We tend to think we know best what is right for our lives…this is where we as Christians forget how we arrived where we are.

This is the reason many churches seem to sit dormant. The pieces that have been placed are trying to force themselves into spaces that are reserved for others. The only true way for us to successfully piece the puzzle together is to become fully accepting of the plan that is laid out by God.

We have to allow God to place us where we fit. We have to stop holding on to the things that are tying us down to a spot that is not reserved for us. Allow God to place you in your proper spot; surrender to the plans He has for your life, and let go of the baggage, let go of the world. Cling to God…let Him work this puzzle; after all, He’s the one with the box to look at.


I want to take the moment to address something that has been on my heart and I feel is important to each of us as part of The Church today! This is the title of Christian.

The struggle that I have seen is that there are too many today who are “Christians”. I know this may sound like I’m saying that there is only a select few who are called, but that is not the case. What I am saying however is that we need to stop being “Christians” and start being Christians.

There are many non-believers who refuse to come to church or to get involved because they see many in the church who are calling themselves Christians, but are not living the life that is worthy of the call that is placed on their lives. There are many today who live like they wish during the week, but when it comes to the Change in the life that is to take place, it is absent. They are going through the motions on a Sunday morning or a Wednesday evening, but they are not living the life that they claim.

I’m not pointing fingers, and in no way am I saying I have it all figured out, but friends, we need to address this problem in our churches today. If we want to see the church grow we must show that there is a difference in our lives. If we are claiming to be Christians, then we need to be the change we want to see in others. We cannot look like the world and win souls for Christ.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Brennan Manning who passed away earlier this month on April 12 and it states, “The GREATEST single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

I think we can all take a look at our own lives and see if we are living what we say we live. Paul mentioned it to the Church at Ephesus when he said in Ephesians 4:

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:17-24, ESV

To give the non-believer a reason to believe we must look like the One in which we claim to have belief…We must look like Christ if we want the world to see the change that He can make in a life. Today, I encourage each of you to not just be a Christian in word, but also in deed. Do not be afraid to allow God to do a great work in you; don’t just say you are a Christian, but show them in how you live your life.

Being the Change, Bringing the Change

I once heard two quotes from Mahatma Gandhi that truly got me thinking about Christians and the way that we live our lives and exemplify Christ to those around us.

The first quote that really got me thinking is the quote, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians; they are so unlike your Christ.”  Is this what we really show the world?

Too many times I feel that we are much like this statement, we don’t show the world the example of Christ that we should.  The trouble with many so-called “Christians” today is that they are wrapped up in their own lives to see the impact they are having on those around them.  Many times we find ourselves struggling to show the world the Christ that died for us.

As Christians we are called to live our lives in the same way as Christ, living in His example in everything that we do.  The trouble with the statement that Gandhi made is the truth behind it.  Gandhi may have gotten it right, but he may have changed his mind if he had known a true Christian.

If Gandhi could see it, why can’t we? Why do we have so much trouble being like Christ?  We need to be like Christ to those around us if we want to lead them to Christ; which brings me to the second quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

For us to be the change that we want to see means that if we could exemplify the first statement, we can be the second.  If we can exemplify Christ to the world, then we are the change that we as Christians would like to see.  As Christians the change that we should want to see and want to be should be to show everyone who Christ is.  Think about the examples that He set forth in His life, the times that he stepped in and did what He wanted to see others do.

Christ led by example, and Gandhi’s biggest problem with Christians are that they are not like their Christ…and the problem with many non-Christians today is the same.  If we want to see others come to Christ we need to get out and show them Christ, we have to be what they need us to be.

I have spent the past few weeks thinking hard about these two statements, and I want to challenge you to do the same.  The truth of it all is that whether Gandhi meant it to change the world for Christ, the statements that he made can be used to help us understand what we need to do as followers of Christ.

I challenge you today to be the change you want to see by being the Christ that Gandhi never saw in other Christians.  Being Christ will change the world, because He is the best example that any of us could follow.

Train Your Children in the Way of Christ

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

I have talked a lot lately about our walk with Christ and our searching for meaning in life and the need for us to share the true Gospel of Christ.  As the past couple weeks have gone by I have begun thinking of the need to share this Gospel with our children.  Whether you have children or not, this is vital!

In my years working with youth, I have seen the need for Christ in the lives of many young people.  I feel that this scripture can show us how important that it is.  Deuteronomy 4:29-31 shows us that when we seek God with our whole heart we will find Him.  For this to be true in our lives, however, we have to have a spiritual base to fall back on.

The issue with this that I have seen today is that many of our youth do not have this base because they are not being brought up in the way that instills this base in them.  Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  We must be willing to train them in this way, or we may lose them for eternity.

We can’t water down the Gospel, we must lovingly show them the truth, without wavering.  One of the problems today is that we tend to pick and choose our messages.  We, at times, tend to look over certain scripture if it causes us to feel guilt for things we need to deal with in our lives.  We cannot continue to live this way, because if we do we can keep ourselves from experiencing the true blessings of knowing Christ.  In other words, we do not want to miss out on the promise of the Lord that we will spend eternity with Him.

With this in mind, we do not want our children to miss out on this blessing either.  I urge each of you to consider this when you go about your day…what examples are others seeing in you?

If we want our children to have a base to return to, we must show them what it means to live with discipline and dedication to the Christian walk.  We must show them what the love and mercy of Christ looks like in action, not just through words.  It is best summed up by Deuteronomy 4:39-40:

“Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

Living in the Shadows

Let’s face it…all of us struggle with something similar to what Leah dealt with in Genesis 29…we all struggle with living in the shadow of someone else.  Whether we work with them, go to church with them, maybe they live in our home…whatever the case might be, we find ourselves struggling to get by in life because we see others who seem to have success that we think should be ours.

In Genesis 29 we see the story of Rachel and Leah, where Jacob is lobbying for a wife, and the scripture there even tells us that Rachel was more attractive than Leah in some ways. “Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was astonishingly beautiful. (v. 17)”

Leah had to learn a lesson we all tend to need to learn, that is how to deal with being in someone else’s shadow…unfortunately in the world today, no one seems to deal with that well.  We all think we should be the star…with YouTube, Facebook, and the like, we see folks more worried about destroying the other stars with their political jargon, with rants and raves, tearing others down to the point that they are made out to be the worst of the worst around us, when in reality they are simply trying to deal with some of the same struggles we all face.

Leah appears to have been gracious in her struggle, because God saw her where she was and blessed her. Look at Genesis 29:31-35: ”31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.  Then she stopped bearing.”

God saw her where she was…dealing with her struggles, and he met her there and blessed her.  When we shine as we can, whether we are the brightest start or not, we will be seen by God because we are bringing glory to HIS name, not our own.  Are you striving to simply shine the way God intended? Or, are you trying to become the next star? How are you dealing with the shadows?

Look at the words of Jesus to Nathaniel in John 1:

“47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.””

He sees us….He knows us…He always has and always will.  Strive to shine for Him today…you were created to be you…no one else…just you.

Have Mercy

Mercy is something that has long been a key element to living the Christian life. From the scripture we see that mercy, along with grace, were afforded us on the cross when Jesus gave His life for our sins.

We, however, have lost sight of what Christ did for us today. Too many times we neglect to offer the same to others when it comes to our own lives. Many of us are quick to judge others based on circumstances and situations, but are also quick to justify our own actions if facing the same judgement from others.

Why is it that we want to be offered mercy from others but have such a hard time granting the same? Truth is, if we look at the cross, we should all be willing to have mercy on each other. Christ cleared our debt mercifully on the cross, taking our place in so we could have eternal life.

John 3:16-17 tell us of this mercy in that Christ didn’t come to condemn but to save the world. Paul tells us of mercy and grace, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4, 5 KJV).

Another verse that tells us how we should be freely giving with our mercy is found in Luke:

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 KJV)

So we see how God showed us mercy, and we also see that we are asked by Christ to also show mercy to others.

Today, I encourage you to exercise mercy to one another. Take the opportunity to look at controversy as a chance to exhibit the love and mercy that was shown to us on the cross. Let’s not be quick to judge, but quick to mercy, we may find that our merciful attitude is contagious.