Church is not about your needs.
“Are you a hero or a hero maker?” Our society tells us that we have to be the hero in order to make a difference. And yet, heroes will be forgotten in time while a hero maker’s legacy will last for generations to come.
You see, the essence of what it means to be the church is for the Spirit of God to use each believer to produce Christlike character in…others. That is hero makers, whom Jesus, the hero, is looking for more hero makers.
Be the church by being a disciple who makes more (others coming to faith in Jesus) and healthy disciples (others growing in their faith). As you do, you’ll see Jesus smile on His return because you’re letting Him be the hero as you make more hero makers!
I’m proud of you.
Rarely, if at all, do we get a glimpse into the heavenly realm, but our failures make the demons howl. The “Gotcha your kid again!” of the demons is ever before our Father (Revelation 12:10). I know this doesn’t bring a smile to our Dad’s face, but our victories sure do!
The hard truth is that this side of heaven, we don’t get to see His smile or hear His words, “I am proud of you,” as Jesus did. As a human being, He needed it. Don’t we?
We do and our Heavenly Father wants to use us to do it! Hebrews 3:13 instructs us to encourage each other on a daily basis to keep us from getting so down that we want to quit walking with Jesus. I find it interesting that the word for encourage comes from the same word used to be church – helping each other move toward Jesus.
We can’t see our Father’s smile, but we can see the one He puts on our faces. We may not verbally hear from Him, “I’m proud of you,” but He can say those same words through you. Stop going to church and be the church!
Take a step of faith empowered by the Spirit to overcome the “I need a smile” to reflect the Father. Let the Spirit use you today to smile your Father’s smile and to tell someone those four special words.
You will not only encouraged them, but their return smile or tears of joy will encourage you as well!
Victory through the pain, not around it.
I was talking with someone who believed they should never have to live in or with pain, which they had for years. Oh, how I wished that were true! Then they asked me, “Why did God cause evil and pain in the world?”
“God didn’t cause evil and pain.”
“What do you mean, God didn’t? If God created everything, then He created evil because I’m experiencing the pain of it right now!”
“I understand,” I replied. “But God didn’t create evil, Adam and Eve brought it into the human experience. They would have never experienced death and all its painful causes, if only they had chosen to live God’s way. Once they chose to live their own way, however, they chose to pass this pain and death onto us.”
Shaking their head, this person said, “That seems so unfair that what someone else did so long ago is still affecting me today.”
“True, it is unfair, really unfair. The reality we live in, however, is that we must live with other people’s choices regardless of whether we believe it’s fair or not. Yet, there is another reality…Jesus. He came to show God’s tremendous love for us, a love that gives us the ability to live both with and/or through that pain, even if caused by other’s or by our choices.”
All the while a friend of mine, who lives in constant pain, was listening. He was able to back up this truth with firsthand experience. Oh, what a sweet Jesus story that was!
Don’t believe the lies that if you experience pain that you somehow deserve it or that you’ll live pain free by living a godly lifestyle. Nope, we all face pain. And it’s our choice as to how we’ll handle it, not whether it comes or not.
Jesus lived victoriously with and through pain caused by others, including ours! Let Jesus help you make good choices despite the pain – physical or otherwise. And when He does, you will be ready for His return.
Your Focus Affects Your Thanks
In the US, we’re in a special time of the year where we slow down, eat way too much, and express thankfulness for all the freedoms we enjoy.
As believers, we’re told to give thanks throughout our day (1 Thess. 5:18). As we do, a smile comes on our face, peace pours out our hearts and our step is just a little lighter. And, when we’re thankful, we also put a smile on God’s face because we’re doing what He asked us to do, which is an expression of love for Him.
Being thankful is not a suggestion either! It’s a command. Our God knows that focusing on being thankful throughout our day is extremely good for us. Think about it. What happens to your list of things you’re thankful for when you start thinking about tomorrow while it’s still today? It goes out the window along with your smile and peace!
Today is the time to be thankful. Show your God you love Him through being thankful. It brings a smile to both of your faces. When you do, you’ll be found smiling upon Jesus’ return as well.
Bonding not Begging
The meaning behind the Hebrew word for prayer (tfilia) is about bonding with the one you’re talking with. As one author put it, “In Jewish Hassidic traditions, tfilia is understood to be an introspection that results in bonding between the creature and the Creator, as a child would bond with their father.”
When asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught His followers to start their conversations with God with Our Father. In other words, talking with God is not simply a request-making session, but a time of great relationship building.
Jesus is called our friend, one who loves to spend time talking about life and all that goes with it with His friends. The Spirit is a great listener (aka comforter) with whom we can get things off our chest, which makes us feel better and closer to Him. And the Father, well, He cares more about us than we do ourselves.
Let me encourage you to stop having prayer times! And start having conversations throughout your day where you’re sharing life, bonding rather than begging, with the God you say you love. Talk about how you’re feeling, about what you are thinking and above all, BE REAL.
As you do, you’ll be ready for Jesus’ return.