BELIEVING “ON”… AND BELIEVING “IN”

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe ON His name.  -John 1:12

That’s the promise I pulled from my box today.

I want you to look at the wording.  It says, ” …to them that believe ON His name…”

There is a difference in believing in something, and believing on something.  My dad, who most of you know, was a preacher for over 40 years.  He used to give an illustration in one of his messages regarding this very subject.  It goes like this…

“You can believe in something…but it will do you no good until you believe on it!  The Bible says in James 2:19, ‘You believe that there is one God. That’s good! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.’   But that belief and fear for them is not going to do them any good.  You must believe ON the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved!

 That reminds me of a story I once heard.  An uneducated fellow came from the back woods, and went to see his cousin in New York City.  He was overwhelmed by the sky scrapers he saw!  The cousin had a meeting in the Empire State Building, and took his back woods relative with him.  He tried to persuade him to get on the elevator and go to the top to have a look around, but all the coaxing in the world could not convince him. Old ‘back woods’, would have nothing to do with it.  Instead, he sat in the lobby all day long and watched the folks get on the elevator.  They’d get on, go up or down, and then get off.  He knew it worked…he saw it with his own eyes.  But he wouldn’t trust it enough for himself to get ON and try it out.  So, it did him no good.  He was on the ground floor, and would stay there until he decided to trust the elevator to work for him.  

The same holds true with Salvation.  You can believe in God.  You can look around and see everything He has created, and know that He exists.  You can even see what He’s done for others…how their lives have changed….  You can believe in Him….  But until you TRUST Him with your soul, your heart, your life….  Until you believe ON Him…that belief will do you no good.  You can’t make it to heaven until you believe ON Him.  In Acts 16:31 it says this, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”  -M. B. Schuessler

I urge you….  If you don’t KNOW Him….  Call ON Him today!  Believe ON Him today!  And, you will be saved!

Anita

DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING…SIT THERE!

I read the following on one of the blog sites that I follow called, Those Who Sin Differently.   I must admit, I see myself in much of this!  I’m a “Doer…a Git ‘er Done” kind of person.  Most times, I do and speak before I listen and think.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to be sure to check this out.  Good advice! -anita

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(If you missed the title of this article, be sure to check it out.  It’s not a typo.)

While others take the time to carefully consider a measured course of action, I’m usually in favor of trying something, and seeing how it turns out.  Sometimes, I’m sure that we’ll get more done if we do anything, rather than nothing.  In some cases, my approach works.  In other cases, it’s easy to find myself well down the wrong path, or running headlong into a problem.

There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are directed to live a life of action.  While doing a lot of the right things won’t get us into Heaven (only accepting Jesus’ perfect sacrifice can cover our failings), there are lots of opportunities for us to step up and do our part in the plan that God has for us.

However, just doing a bunch of random “good things” doesn’t necessarily line us up with God’s plan for us.  We can run out and tackle whatever needs or injustices that we find, but we may find that we either bring embarrassment to ourselves, or do more harm than good.

For those that rush ahead, we would do well to consider this advice from Solomon:

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
Psalms 127:1 NASB

http://bible.com/100/psa.127.1.NASB

Building a house and guarding a city aren’t inherently bad things to do.  But, without God, benefits of any accomplishments we achieve are probably limited to human accolades.

Note also this Psalm, where the author called out the importance of God’s word to daily life:

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalms 119:105 NASB

http://bible.com/100/psa.119.105.NASB

It may be subtle, and I don’t want to read too much into this, but the psalmist didn’t suggest that God handed out detailed maps of our entire lives.  In the dark, a lamp or a light would just give direction for the next few steps.

1 Kings 19 tells of a prophet called Elijah, who had been working powerfully for God, but feared for his life and ran from a queen who was out to kill him.  God called to Elijah, sending a windstorm, an earthquake, and a fire.  After that, God called to Elijah with a quiet sound, like a whisper.  At this point, Elijah spoke with God, and learned that God already had a plan.  Elijah was called to appoint another prophet named Elisha, who (as some, who have read ahead in subsequent chapters, already determined) probably worked even greater things for God than Elijah had done.

Elijah ran, but when he listened to the direction of God, Elijah became part of something even greater in history.

Having said this, we don’t have an excuse to do nothing for the kingdom.  I believe that much can be accomplished by trying different things, or just doing something simple, while we are waiting for God’s direction.  He can easily speak to us through these things.

However, we will be most successful (in the plan that matters most) when we pause to listen to God’s direction – whether loud or soft – and only then move in that direction.

M. Dennis

ONE-LINERS…

My husband, Mike, is always on the look-out for witty remarks and great quotes with meaning.  He was on Facebook the other evening, and read the following statements to me.

If you’ve already heard/read these…please forgive the repetition.  Even so, they do bear repeating!  Take a look…then take them to heart! -anita

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  •  Forbidden fruit makes many jams!
  • Dust on your Bible leads to dirt in your life!
  • If life is a puzzle, ask Jesus…He’ll help you find the missing PEACE!
  • God wants Spiritual fruits…not religious nuts!
  • Need a life guard?  Mine walks on water!
  • Prayer is access to God without ‘roaming fees’!
  • Sin makes a hole in your bucket of joy!
  • Easter is something to dye for…
  • What is missing from Ch  ch? ….  U R!

And my personal favorite…

* ” Will the road you’re on get you to my place?” –  Jesus

Facebook quotes

WORKS LEAD TO GOD

Here’s one from Lee!  Enjoy! -anita

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I had an interesting conversation with one of my grandsons the other day; a 16-year-old who lives in North Carolina and out to Denver for a month-long visit. We were discussing some of his questions about God, religion, Christianity, and Jesus—a conversation which he initiated (I’m convinced God provides opportunities like this for us and we need to seize them with love and enthusiasm).

 

He had somehow gotten the impression that all religions are pretty much alike and that they all talk pretty much about the same god (or gods…he brought up the many gods of Greek mythology as one example). While we were driving along, I responded as best I could (I know full well that Christians need to be ready at any moment to share the reasons for their faith, but it’s always more difficult for me when the other party in the discussion is someone close to me). While talking about the many religions followed by men (he had some exposure to several of the world’s main religions in one of his classes), I made the point that I believe all men seek after some religion in their lives (even humanism/atheism is a type of religion with the god-figure being the self). In my view, I think we all have an innate sense that there’s more to life & the world we live in than we can take credit for; that there is some other source of power that illuminates the universe we live in. At the same time, I told him, while we all seem to have a need to worship something/someone, we’re definitely not all worshipping the one, true God (the old myth that all paths lead to the one, same god).

 

I told him about works and their importance in all the main religions with which I’m familiar. That, somehow, if we work hard enough, we’ll be good enough to please our god, which is a key tenet of all those other religions. Of course, I told him that Christianity is significantly different from all those other religions in that sola fide (by faith alone) we are saved by God and not by our works. And yes, if we are believers (lovers of God), there will be good works that come out of our love for Him, but none of that is what saves us. In short, we don’t work our way to heaven.

 

As an aside, just this morning, I came across a passage in a devotional that puts this another way. The author of that devotional asks this: “The question is not whether we are going to be saved through works; the question is whose works. We are saved through the works of the one alone who alone fulfilled the terms of the covenant of works.” Clearly, the works of the one man, Jesus, are the works that matter.

 

My grandson also brought up the story of Adam & Eve, asked me if every person on earth came from those two people, and asked me if I believed that. Interestingly, his main concern was that in-breeding is viewed as very bad in genetics and how is that avoided if we all came from these two people (I suspect this topic came from something he encountered in his biology class). I told him emphatically, yes, I believe every single thing written in the Bible!

 

At any rate, I cherished the time with my grandson to talk about these things and I’m so glad that he felt comfortable enough to raise those questions with me. What an opportunity! I’ve since bought him a book written for young people who addresses many of the questions they have as they move through the early years of life. I know my grandson lives in a home where God is never worshipped and where religion of any stripe is never important, so this might be the one time/place where God chose me to help reach this young man. If I was able to plant any seed, I’m truly thankful. And I know God will be faithful to continue to work in my grandson’s heart to bring him home to Jesus! And, for that, I’m eternally thankful and in awe once again to experience God’s workings in our lives! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Lee Pierce

Applying What He is Supplying – sermon notes by Daniel Leavitt

2 Peter 1  (NLT)

Greetings from Peter

1 This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.

 

I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

 

2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

 

Growing in Faith

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence (aratae). 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

 

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

 

8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

 

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Paying Attention to Scripture

12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.  14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

 

16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

 

19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines  in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

 

What more could He give?

Oh how He loves you and me.  Oh how He loves you and me. 

He gave His life, what more could He give. Oh how He loves you.  Oh how He loves me. 

Oh how He loves you and me.    – Kurt Kaiser

 

Exodus 15:18

“The LORD shall reign forever and ever.”

 

 

  1. Applying what God is already supplying

 

1 Corinthians 8:6

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we exist. And there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we exist.

 

Philippians 4:19   (KJV)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Ephesians 3:8

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ

 

Col. 2:10  (MSG)

Everything of God gets expressed in him (Jesus), so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

 

Acts 16:14  (MSG)

On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!

 

Colossians 1:29

For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

 

 

­2 Peter 1:5-8 King James Version

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Giant Generosity

John 3:16New Living Translation (NLT)

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

 

Jesus paid it all, all to thee I owe 

Sin had left a crimson stain

Jesus washed it white as snow    – Elvina Hall

 

 

  1. Miraculous Motivation

 

1 Peter 2:9New Living Translation (NLT)

for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 

Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

 

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights

 

2 Corinthians 5:15    New Living Translation

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

 

Can You Add to Your Faith?

 

2 Peter 1:5 Living Bible

But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do.

 

  1. TO YOUR FAITH, A RICH SUPPLY MORAL EXCELLENCE.

 

  1. TO YOUR MORAL EXCELLENCE, A RICH SUPPLY KNOWLEDGE.

 

  1. TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE, A RICH SUPPLY SELF-CONTROL.

 

  1. TO YOUR SELF-CONTROL, A RICH SUPPLY PATIENCE.

 

  1. TO YOUR PATIENCE, A RICH SUPPLY GODLINESS.

 

  1. TO YOUR GODLINESS, A RICH SUPPLY KINDNESS.

 

  1. TO YOUR KINDNESS, A RICH SUPPLY LOVE.

 

Conclusion

 

God gave you everything you need

God gave you everything he had

 

 

Application Questions

 

  1. What has God given you? ___________________________

 

  1. What does he want from you? _______________________________

VICTORIOUS, AND LIBERATED!

My good friend, Galyn and I were having a conversation the other day as we prepared for the SWAP.  We both commented that we are tired of satan getting the best of us.  He seems to know when and where to strike to cause the most damage.  When we find ourselves in these situations, he whispers in our ear and tells us that we are losers…victims.

When we got to that part of the conversation, my friend Galyn said, “Yeah…most people walk around with a big V on their forehead and believe the enemy when he says they are victims… losers… but if we KNOW Jesus, we need to remember that the V on our forehead stands for VICTORIOUS! …Not victim!

I said, “Wow!  That’s a good blog subject right there!”  Hence today’s little ‘sermonette’.

We must remember that with Christ in our lives, we are no longer victims, nor losers…we are victorious and liberated!

If satan comes knocking at your door today and begins to whisper the words, ‘victim or loser’ ….  Shout out, and declare, “I AM VICTORIOUS, FOR I HAVE BEEN LIBERATED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

Galyn/Anita

Loving v Judging

I just started following a new blog site called, Wilderness Joy.  This particular blog really spoke to me, so I wanted to share it with you. -anita

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Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side
you have not heard, a story you know nothing about,
and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.
~ Traci Lea Larussa
All of us have made mistakes.
All of us have made errors of judgement.
All of us have hurt another person. At one time or another,
all of us have behaved less than admirably.
~ David Hamilton

judge

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,
and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Matthew 7 v 1-2

 

When I think judgmental and unkind thoughts,
may I quiet ourselves in the Father’s embrace
and hear Him speaking to me.
How can I know the pain and struggle in another’s heart?
How can I understand another’s innermost fears and longings?
How can I know of tears unshed and needs unmet?
How can I see another’s deepest pain and childhood anguish?
When unkind thoughts rise up within me, may I ask
my Heavenly Father to heal those areas of need in my life,
and then ask Him to fill me with His unconditional love
for the other person, for that person too is His precious lamb.
That one too, He carries close to His heart.

 

This is such an ‘owchy’ subject. Criticism is ‘the act
of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems
or faults of a person or thing’. I want to be healed of doing this.
I really want to change in this area, as reach I out with empty hands
to touch the hem of the garment of the King of Love,
for He alone can forgive me,
fill me with His grace and heal me of this trait.

Reblogged from Wilderness Joy

BROKEN PRAYER/BROKEN HEART

I read the following post on Fat Beggars School of Prophets yesterday, and had to reblog.  As I read it, I was convicted, for I saw myself like God must see me.  Yes, I see the poor, the homeless, the drug addicts, the prostitutes, and my heart is broken for them…but not enough to actually do something…most times anyway.

As I post this, I would like the folks that live in Denver, Colorado to pay special attention to the content!  Thousands of homeless people have been displaced and banished from the 16th St. Mall.  “It is bad for tourist business“, they say; so all the folks down there were pushed out…but left with no place to go.  This is wrong!  Many of us rant and rave, and even march in support of homeless refugees that flee to the US for asylum…yet we refuse to take care of our own!  There’s something terribly wrong with this picture!  Jesus tell us all through the Bible that we are to care for the poor, feed the hungry, take care of widows and orphans.  Then He goes on to say, in the book of James…

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. -James 1:22-25

You see, Jesus saw the throngs of hurting people and was moved to compassion.  The movement in His heart, drove Him to do something…this compassion that He felt for mankind drove Him to the Cross to die for the sins of the world!

Conviction is good…but don’t let it stop there!  Conviction should drive us to make a change.  When we pray about things, we need to then put ‘feet’ to our prayers and go do something about the evil in this world.  WE ARE the hands and feet of Jesus.  WE ARE supposed to be Jesus, with skin on!

Enough from me….  Here is the post from Agent X.  Read it.  Then get off your Blessed Assurance and BE Jesus to those around you! -anita

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Thomas, Mark, Jerry, Jason, Heather, Dennis, Ricardo, Ishmael, George, Belinda, Leo, Pedro, Sylvia, Charles, Autumn, Jeremy, Damien, John, Gina, Jessica (and her friends from Denver), Andy, Aaron, Dustin, Aaron, Justina, Mike, Faith, Erika, Rudy, Catman, Daniel, Daniel, Jennifer, Steve-O, Patty, James, May, Lee, Suzi, Matt, Mary, Tex, Ryan, Roadkill, Scarlett, Harry, Happy, Hank, Kate, Kathy, David, Tasha, William-Lee, Johnny, Lucio, Trip, Stephen, Sarah, Mamma DJ, Craig, Antwon, Allison, Cassandra, Melissa, Michael, Daniel, Qurran, Raul, John, Alabama (and the one’s whose names I am prohibited from sharing)

This is the prayer list.

Have you ever made friends with a homeless person living on the streets?  And then having become friends, have you ever lost touch with that person for a spell – say maybe a few weeks, a few months, a year or more – and then met this person again after all this time has passed?  Have you ever had the privilege of looking that homeless friend in the eye and say in all honesty: “I have prayed for you by name on a daily basis since the last time we met.”?

I have.

I have numerous times.  And I don’t know how it feels to be that homeless person and hear that, but I think it is a powerful moment for them.  It usually puts a sudden pause in the greetings.

But as you can see by my list, it is quite long.  It is burdensome.  Cumbersome.  Hard to remember everyone on it.  Time-consuming to pray for them.  A challenge.  Tiresome.

Today I was defeated.  Not for the first time, exactly.  I have fumbled names and the prayers for them on a few occasions, but today it was just too much.

I pray for people who do not know or appreciate it.  To a God who has yet to answer the prayers that I have offered for years.  And the churches who have shunned me and kicked me out for my trouble are no encouragement, but a discouragement instead.

Sometimes I feel anger over this stuff, but usually I just embrace patience and settle in for the long view, the long haul.  But today, I just felt broke down.  Busted.  Tired.

These names are not the sum total of my prayers.  I have a long list of thanks as well.  I have personal matters I pray about.  Not all of my intercessions are for the homeless either.  But this list of names is the burden on my heart that drives my vocation.

I made no vow to pray for them.  I just feel the hurt for them.  I attempted to sleep at the all-night prayer vigil for the homeless several years ago at the Mahon Library downtown (before the city ran the homeless off the property) and my heart just broke.  This is not how precious humanity is supposed to live.

Humanity.

There is nothing of higher value.  God’s crowning achievement of creation (Gen. 1:26-27).  But these humans slept outside in the cold next to a building that housed books – books kept safe and dry inside while God’s crowning achievement languished on the concrete in the cold night.

Books – inside… safe and dry.

Humanity – outside… cold and wet.

And that broke my heart.

And now the load, the heavy load of praying for them, breaks me down too.  I am busy.  I have things to do.  I have dreams put aside so I can minister to these.  I have responsibilities that have nothing to do with them, and which compete for my attention.  And I am broke down from it.

Please forgive me.

I really need an answer to prayer.

Meanwhile, I am broke down.

But still, this burden won’t let me go….

Agent X

IS THERE A “KINK” IN YOUR HOSE?

Have you ever been out watering your garden?  Every flower you meet is thirsty for a drink!  With your fancy nozzle in hand, you begin showering each plant with life-giving water.

Everything is going right…the water is flowing freely.  But…then it happens!  All of a sudden, the flow of water stops!  Nothing is getting through that fancy nozzle.

WHY?  There’s a “kink” in the hose!

You see, the power is still happening at the main source-the faucet.  The problem is not the main source, it’s the conduit-the hose that got twisted.  That happened to me this morning as I was watering my garden.

The Christian Life can be the same way!  One minute, you’re so close in fellowship with God, you feel as though you can almost touch His face!  His Life-giving Water is flowing through you-spilling out on the thirsty souls you encounter.

Then, something happens in your life to twist you all up inside.  It may be health issues, loss of a job, family problems….  At any rate, the “water” stops.  The joy is gone.  Only bitterness, anger and rage are present.

There’s nothing wrong with the Power source.  God is still there in the midst of your troubles.  He’s still pouring out His words of love, peace, joy and blessing; but you can’t hear them now…the anger inside of you is too loud!

The only way to get rid of a kink in the garden hose is to walk back to where you see it twisted, and straighten it out.

The only way to rid yourself of kinks in your troubled life is to go back,  find what it is that’s twisting you all up inside, give it to Jesus-lay it down, walk away (don’t pick it back up!),  and allow HIM to straighten it out!

If you do that, His love joy and peace will once again spill out to those thirsty souls around you, pouring out Life-giving Water, and you, yourself will be refreshed!

Anita

AM I BETTER THAN “HIM”?

Here’s a really good one from one of our own congregants…Lee Pierce!  We haven’t heard from him in a while, but I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this one.  So, grab yourself a cup of something and get nestled comfortably in your easy chair, sit back and enjoy…but take heed as well to the message below! -anita

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Have you ever found yourself immediately judging someone you encounter? Maybe they’re poorly dressed, or deficient of proper speech…or maybe they smell of body odor a bit. Whatever it is, something about them repels us from them. And the thought of discipling them…well, probably not. This person is too offensive and repulsive.

What about the person who is crude, abrasive, and arrogant? That one who pushes passed you to get ahead of you in line. Or cuts in front of you on the roadway nearly causing an accident (okay, that one hits me close to home since I know how I’d probably react, and it might be neither pretty nor very Christian!). Or, as we’re sitting in a group of people discussing something…you have something to say, to contribute, and this one person won’t stop talking. In fact, he or she literally talks right over you as you start to say something.

I read something recently that caused me to stop for a few minutes to consider the types of people I describe above and how I often relate to them (or not!). The article I read posed the question of whether I, as a Christian, really believe that no sinner is beyond the grace of God. I would quickly confirm for you, if you asked me, that God is all powerful and capable of doing anything He sets His mind to do. So, as I thought about some of the repugnant individuals I’ve encountered along the way, the thought entered my mind that maybe, just maybe, God could work in the lives of any of the folks I describe here. In fact, I got rather upset with myself as I confronted the awful truth that I probably would hesitate to even speak to or like such a person as I describe above, let alone try to tell them the gospel story. Then Matthew 7:1-2 came to mind, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” And very tellingly, Scripture says, how we judge others, “…you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

What is our Lord’s position on this? In John 13:34 He tells us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” In Romans, the Bible even introduces the concept that we are honoring one another as we reach out to them. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Rom 12:10.

I don’t know about you but I struggle like crazy to reach out to—and even somehow forgive—someone who has just slighted me. Or as the Urban Dictionary might put it: I was dissed (disrespected or dishonored). My deepest held typical reaction is always an eye-for-an-eye. Yet how can I overlook the fact that the Lord I love was cruelly and unfairly dealt with at the end of His earthly life but He did not strike back in any way.

I didn’t say any of this would be easy, at least not for me. I’m sure I will continue to struggle with trying to act in the manner I see Jesus act in the pages of Scripture. But what’s important to me is this: I do in fact want to be more like Him. I want the Holy Spirit to guide my life, to change me, to make me more like my Lord. I know He is capable of changing me; my hard task is to let Him!

Lee Pierce