A Faith That Saves Is A Faith That Loves

Birds fly.  Flowers bloom. Honey sweetens. Water dampens. Light illuminates.  It’s automatic and appropriate that they do these things because that’s how they were made.  This is their nature and design, and it is right to expect them to act in a certain way just as it is right to expect saving faith in Jesus to work itself out in love.  It is normal.  It is natural.  When God’s grace remakes us into people of faith, the new love we have for God will burst forth in acts of love for others.  We can’t help but love.  We can’t stop loving.  We will live this out imperfectly, but this is for sure:  A faith that saves is a faith that loves.

You Have Been Blessed … Now Go Be A Blessing

God has not blessed us with time just so we can use it binge-watching Netflix.  He has not blessed us with money just so we can spend it on more comforts.  He has not blessed us with abilities and skills just so we can serve our own interests and passions.  The generosity of God has been extended to us with blessings of time, talent and treasure that we might both enjoy them ourselves and extend them to bless others. Those of us who are trusting in Jesus have been entrusted with showing the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet and mouth to them.  You have been blessed; now go be a blessing.

You Are Not Someone Else

You are not someone else; someone else is not you.  God has ordained that each of His children be equipped with gifts, abilities, opportunities and resources to fulfil a specific purpose in a specific place to a specific people.  Some are more visible and more vast than others, but all are important. To avoid falling into the trap of comparison as we seek to live out the plans Jesus has for us in His kingdom, it is important for us to remember that the measurement of godly stewardship is not fruitfulness, but faithfulness.  It is not the size of your platform that is most important; it is what you do with what you have been given.

God Wants You To Be Great

God wants you to be great.  But… It’s not about size.  It’s not about strength.  It’s not about superiority. It’s not about success.  At least, not in the ways that the world calculates those things.  In the world we live in, the more people who serve you, the greater you are.  In the kingdom of God, the greater you are, the more people you serve.  God intends for your greatness to be in ways that are radically different than the world’s standards, for He measures greatness in the cross of Jesus Christ and in every act of His children that expresses that same kind of servant love towards those in need of it.  By grace, be great today.

There Is No Plan B

God certainly works in supernatural ways at times, but He also works at making supernatural changes inside of His people so we who have been touched by His grace and generosity will pay it forward to others. You can’t do everything, but you can do something to make a difference … one need at a time, one moment at a time, one person at a time. Therefore, show the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet to them.  The church of God, His people, you and me, are His Plan A for blanketing the world with good works and spreading the good news of Jesus everywhere we go.  There is no Plan B.

The Golden Rule, Not The Exception

Even as Christians, one of the human weaknesses that we must continue to seek divine strength to overcome is our bent to be selfish.  We need the mind and heart of Christ:  a mind that regularly thinks of others rather than just ourselves, and a heart that is compassionate enough to serve and support others even at our own expense.  It should be the golden rule, not the exception, to give up what we want so others can get what they need.  That is when we are like Jesus. Today, go out of your way to do for others, joyfully remembering this:  Jesus went out of His way from heaven to earth to the cross to do for you.

One Way God Shows His Grace

God helps us help one another by giving spiritual gifts of His grace to every person in His family. We don’t earn these spiritual abilities; they are gifts.  They aren’t all the same; they come in various forms.  We don’t let them gather dust; we use them.  They aren’t to be used selfishly; they are to be used to bless others. We don’t use them to bless others so we are praised; we do so that Jesus may receive the glory. So, let us do our part today with the resources we have been entrusted to steward for the good of those around us. One way God shows grace to us is through others; one way God shows grace to others is through us.

Grace To Begin Again

There are three questions we should regularly ask in an honest-as-we-can-be evaluation of our spiritual journey with Jesus. First, how am I relating to God through my daily prayer and Bible time? Second, how regular and authentic is my corporate worship with others? Third, how am I stewarding my time and resources for the kingdom of God?  These are essential parts of us knowing Jesus and making Him known so that God is honored in us and we are happy in Him.  When we have been less-than-faithful in these areas, let us ask God for grace to begin again, rejoicing that He will never stop being fully faithful to us.

Grace-Driven Effort, Not Human Effort

There are many things that God requires us to do as followers of Jesus.  But it’s important we understand that it is grace-driven effort and not human effort that enables and encourages all of our obedience, service and every form of performance as Christians.  We do everything secure in grace, by faith in grace, through reliance on grace and in gratitude for grace.   His work saves us before we do our work.  His work guides us to do our work.  His work gives us power to do our work.  His work makes us happy to do our work.  Let us remember… Whatever the will of God calls us to do, the grace of God will cause us to do.

Not I, But Christ In Me

There is nothing that I have which was not given to me.  Everything about who I am and what I do that is good is a gift from God at work in me, for me and through me.  Every ability I possess.  Every resource I use.  Every opportunity I take. Every person I serve.  Every task I complete.   I am what I am by the grace of God.  I do what I do by the grace of God.   It is the provision and power and presence of Jesus with me that makes everything possible.  Here is the one thing I know to be true, the one thing I count on every single day, the one thing I will say about any good that comes from my life:  Not I, but Christ in me.

It Will Be Worth It All

There is a heavenly scene that should run through our minds often as we run the race of life.  When we grow weary from serving, we should think of it.  When the good we do doesn’t seem to be doing much good, we should think of it. When the risk or sacrifice of living out our faith is high, we should think of it. Here’s the scene:  We cross the finish line.  We see the smiling face of Jesus.  We fall down before Him.  And we hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your master.”  Know this… Every long day.  Every hard day.  Every costly day.  In that moment, it will all be worth it.

Consumers And Contributors

Christians are to be both consumers of and contributors to the mutual building up of the family of God.  In our role as consumers, we are to let others do for us.  In our role as contributors, we are to do for others.  All of the “one another” commands in the Bible for how we are to interact with each other are two-sided.  We are to be encouraged by others, and we are to encourage others.  We are to be served by others, and we are to serve others.  We are to be cared for by others, and we are to care for others.   Every Christ-like act of love should flow in both directions. By grace, let’s do two things today: give and receive.

Time, Talent And Treasure

God has given spiritual and physical gifts to each member of His family to be used in serving others.  We steward His grace by using our “time, talent and treasure” to extend His help and express His love to the people in our lives.  God graciously does at least six things as we receive and use what He blesses us with:  He gives us these gifts, brings us enjoyment as we use these gifts, fulfills a divine purpose with these gifts, blesses others by these gifts, brings about eternal results from these gifts, and glorifies Himself through these gifts.  Therefore, let us aspire by grace to do the very best we can with what we have been given.

The Only Score That Matters

We’ve been conditioned our entire lives to keep our eyes on the scoreboard.  The metric may come as points in a game, likes on a social media post, balances in savings accounts, members of a network, or notches on whatever kind of belt you’re wearing.  However it is measured, the attitude is the same: the one with the best score wins.  But in God’s kingdom, it’s not about how we rank against others or how we are rated by others. Instead, it’s about depending on Jesus to faithfully use what we have been given to do what we have been assigned.  The only score which matters is the one in which Jesus wins in our lives.

Overflowing Cups

We are to be generous with our words, actions, time, money, forgiveness, kindness, hospitality, patience, service, friendship, compassion, skills, truth-telling and love.  Even as we enjoy what God does for us and gives to us, we can confidently share every good resource in our lives as He leads us, knowing that even as we give away, there is always enough.  God is continually pouring out more forgiveness, goodness, kindness and blessedness so we can be more of a witness to His generosity by giving away part of what He gives to us.  Overflowing cups are not for us to choke on, but for us to let others drink from too.

It All Belongs to God

What you and I have is ultimately not our own; it all belongs to God. Our time is His.  Our Talent is His.  Our Treasure is His.  Little or much, temporary or lasting, tangible or unseen, everything in our lives is the property and possession of God. We have been entrusted to steward it faithfully, dispense it liberally, and credit it clearly to the One from Whom all blessings flow. Our stewardship will not be judged by the amount we are able to give, but by the readiness, cheerfulness and faithfulness of our giving. It is not a matter of how much we have to be generous with, but how generous we are with how much we have.

Heirs To Possessions And Pleasures

Human beings tend to be treasure hunters.  We are inclined to attach too much value to, and become too attached to, earthly possessions and pleasures.  We often want to have more of these for ourselves and have more of these than others do, so we spend our lives collecting and comparing.  When we remind ourselves of all that we have in Jesus, this frees us to pursue better things.  As adopted children of God, we are heirs to every good possession and endless pleasure in heaven. This means on earth we can be joyous no matter what we have, generous with what we do have, and unenvious of what others have.

Why Go To A Church Service?

The singing lauds the greatness of Jesus.  The preaching proclaims the message of Jesus.  The offering furthers the mission of Jesus.  The discipleship equips the people of Jesus.  The prayers unleash the power of Jesus.  The Spirit transforms the image-bearers of Jesus.  The communion celebrates the finished work of Jesus. The invitation welcomes new believers of Jesus. The fellowship encourages the good deeds of Jesus.  The service nurtures the joy of Jesus. The gathering sends out the representatives of Jesus.    Why go to a church service?  Because it leads to greater honor for Jesus and greater happiness for you.

You Are Not Done Shining Yet

God will bring you through 100% of your dark days until He brings you home.  He will not forget you a single moment.  He will not forsake you a single time.  He will not fail you a single day. Will it always be easy? No. Will it always be comfortable? No.  Will it always be the way you want it? No. But it will always be under the careful, calculated and compassionate rule of a Father Who loves you and has a purpose for you.  You are alive and breathing today because God made it so; God made it so because you were made to be a light in this dark world.  And you are not done shining yet.

He Can Do Great Things Through You

Don’t waste it.  Don’t misuse it.  Don’t underestimate it.  God has graciously given you a life that is rich with meaning and purpose in this world, at this time, for His kingdom.  Your home life, work life and play life are all a part of His divine plan to make a difference in the lives of the people He has connected you with and entrusted you with.  You were made to shine His light!  The ordinary things of your everyday routine can be done in a way that counts forever.  Today, prayerfully consider what steps of faith He wants you to take in living and loving like Jesus, remembering this:  He can do great things through you.