Faithful Thought-How do you love others?

by Shawn Stegall James 2:8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. I am not sure if I’ve written any thoughts on this before, but it’s something I was just thinking about. To love someone as ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean loving someone in the same method or mode that we personally want to be loved in.   For instance, if in “love” you cook YOUR favorite meal to enjoy with your friends because you want them to feel the delight and joy you feel as your favorite flavors dance on your tongue…you will likely miss the mark. What happens when in love you serve your favorite cut of meat to your vegetarian friend? Will it be received as love or as a careless insult? Though this may be a silly example and you might be saying I would never serve a piece a meat to my vegetarian friend… Isn’t that what we do when we show love to one another the way we personally want to receive it? We must all be mindful that we don’t all receive love the same way. To love as yourself is to love someone enough to find out how they need to be loved. One thing that happens in relationships all the time, two people who love each other end up having a great level of animosity towards each other because they are unable to receive the love that is being communicated to them. They are unable to receive it because one person is loving in a mode that they want...

Faithful Thought-Become like Christ?

1 John 3:3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. I’ve recently been called a false teacher because I hold the belief and teach that we should pursue holiness with the mindset that we can in fact break free from sin.  As scripture says, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure”.  Our end goal through the power of the Holy Spirit, as crazy as it might sound to some, is to become like Christ.  We must understand that our pursuit of holiness in this life is a direct result of our desire to draw ever closer to God.  While we may not be able to obtain a completely sin free state before our end comes, we should be pursuing purity as if we can.  We should pursue it with all of our heart, souls, minds, and spirits because of the hope we have in Christ.  We must truly believe, all things are possible with God.  I must not become a person who is unwilling to forge ahead against sin because someone has attempted to cast their lack of faith upon me by saying that I will be unable to accomplish it.  How many obese people have you met that have given up and “accepted” the fact they will always be trapped in layers of fat?  Yet, we watch the biggest loser year after year and see that EXTREME changes are possible if people are willing vessels.  If we say we cannot, we will not…but if we believe all things are possible through Christ, we can...

Faithful Thought-Got faith?

Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  48Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  51″What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52″Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. “…but he shouted all the more” Did you catch that?  This lowly blind man shouted all the more in the face of opposition because he was desperate for the touch of Jesus.  The modern day Christian cowers at the thought of being politically incorrect in simply speaking the name of Jesus in the presence of just a single person.  What has happened to us?  Unfortunately it’s really simple… a lack of faith! A lack of truly believing what we say we believe which is likely the result of us thinking we do not having a desperate need for His presence in our lives… and we wonder why Jesus just walks by.  If we would...

Faithful Thought-my Father’s hand

by Shawn Stegall John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” Have you ever shook hands with someone and as you tried to release your grip from the handshake the other person held on a little tighter and didn’t let you go?  This happened to me recently and believe it or not, it wasn’t one of those weird awkward moments.  I was having a conversation with a pastor I had recently met, we talked about the future and myriad of other things and as I was leaving we stood up and shook hands and as I was letting go from my grip I felt him squeeze my hand a little tighter as if to say, “I’m not done yet”, and then he began to pray.  As I reflect on it, it reminds me of the statement Jesus made in John 10:28-30… “No one can snatch them out of my hand.”  I’ve heard many people say, “Sure, no one can snatch you out of His hand… but you can jump out!”  Can you? I don’t believe that is true, I believe its very similar to that “handshake”.  When those rough times come and we try to let go of our union with Him, He holds us tighter and says, “I’m not done with you.”  If as a child you’ve ever played that game with your dad where...

Faithful Thought- Remember the Lord

Deuteronomy 8:17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. I think most people have heard the idiom, “God helps those who help themselves”. While it is a not a verse found anywhere in the bible, there are biblical principles that would support it…  I think one of the greatest things that we are ungrateful for is our God given abilities.  I am not referring to certain spiritual giftings, but our general ability to work hard at a task and persevere under difficult conditions and so stand and be used as an instrument of God.  I’ve heard people often pray and I myself have prayed, “God I thank you for the blessing you have given me in my life”, but maybe it would be better to add to that sentiment… God, I thank you for the ability You have given me to join in the blessing You have produced through me.  I believe adjusting our mindset would bring about the thankfulness that God so desires from us.  The end result would be the understanding that everything I touch, everything I strive for and bring about is not a work of my own hands but a work of the almighty God through me.  So it is no longer my pride and arrogance that says “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this”,...

Faithful Thought

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. Terminal illness, suicides, sickness, foreclosures, and corporate politics… I am not talking about the headlines on Fox News or CNN, these are just some of the things that are touching or are within arms reach of the people I am close to. How do we respond to all of this? How do we not succumb to doubt, depression and the anxiety of having general unrest in our souls? We respond by revealing the life of Jesus that is within us, in our most difficult moments we trade our sorrows for the joy of the Lord. We will find our strength by rejoicing in who He is and who He will always be, Faithful and True. We will not lean to our own understanding concerning the events that are transpiring in our lives right now and we will simply trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and souls… Though it may seem like your world is falling down upon you, He will give you the strength to stand up under it, you may not understand or comprehend how it could all be happening, but He will give you peace, He will not leave you nor forsake you…. That’s a promise from God Himself. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean...

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