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One of the greatest dichotomies of the Christian Life is the treatment of our enemies. To give without expectation of return? Ludicrous! If people were truly honest, even those who donate to charities of various kinds want something in return. That something may be the gift of self-satisfaction, “look what I did!”

To go further, the church has often been guilty of lashing out at those who are ‘wicked’ in the Lord’s sight. To be sure, Godly standards must be taught and held to by his followers, but Jesus was a friend to many we would shy away from.

Take a stand for what is right. Stay true to your calling. But never forget that we are called to love those who contradict the very standards we hold to. People will know us by our fruit. The fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

Live the life the Spirit empowers you to live.


Next week, an annual phenomenon will occur. All across the country people will make decisions regarding healthy eating and exercise. Fitness centers will see a huge increase in memberships. In fact, the industry will often offer sign-up savings to coincide with the new year. It’s a good deal for them because more than half of these members will not come in, meaning more profit!

At the same time, church attendance will decline after the annual increase of attendance to do people making their annual Christmas visit. Kids school work, sports, work and family time will be the main excuses for ‘just not having time for church.’

Most people put far more time into taking care of the physical body than they do the spiritual. Jesus addressed that when he reminded his followers that just pursuing the physical is meaningless if you don’t add the spiritual dimension.

Don’t emphasize the temporal at the expense of the eternal.


It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about him. It’s not about what I can do or what I have, it’s about him and what he’s done. It’s not about you or what you’ve done or can do. It’s about him. I’m convinced that no one needs to be told they have problems or that they aren’t perfect. Even if they claim they are okay, in reality, they know better. The best way we can share the goodness of The Father isn’t by pointing out others faults, it’s about showing them a better way. One doesn’t need to be a theologian to proclaim Christ to others. In fact, often it’s the less educated in the depths of scripture that are most effective. The average person is best reached by simple facts. “Jesus loves me, this I know.” That’s all I really need to know and that is the basis of joy!


He did this so that we could be the kind of people the law correctly wants us to be. Now we do not live following our sinful selves, but we live following the Spirit. Romans 8:4 (NCV)

I don’t understand genetics. I’m not sure any of us do, but some understand far more than I do about what makes a person the way he/she is. For example, how is it that two people, born of the same parents can be different as night and day in personality, looks, and body shape/size? Or, how is it that a child, separated from parents at birth will have many of the same traits, likes and dislikes at their parents even though they have never ever seen them? These are just a few of the amazing things about how we are put together as human beings.

What’s even more amazing is how we can be ‘put together’ in Christ. We are born into a human body. We are influenced by our surroundings in more ways than we can imagine. The older we get, the more the effects of our past can dictate who we are and how we react to things in our environment.

Jesus came to give each of us a new start in life. Because of his grace and forgiveness we no longer need to be imprisoned by the things that happened along the journey of life.

“But,” you may say, “You don’t understand. I was abused as a child.”

“I know but” you may say, “my parents divorced [died, abandoned me, were drug addicts, are in prison,]. So that’s why I am the way I am.”

I won’t minimize the fact that life experiences have a huge impact on us. We are wounded, bruised and scarred by a whole variety of things. With Jesus in our lives those things that once were destructive influences on our ability to live free can be used for the glory of God. Because of Jesus we don’t need to walk as wounded any longer. That’s what grace is about. That’s what mercy is about. That’s what forgiveness is about.

Jesus Christ is well aware of your past. He sees the scars. He saw the abuse. He knows the feeling of being rejected. He came to free you from the effects of all the bad stuff that’s happened in your past. We no longer need to live the way we once did. God’s Spirit in us gives us new life through Christ. God’s Holy Spirit in us allows us to use the struggles of our past to strengthen those who are hurting.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, my past continues to haunt me. I see myself becoming the very type of person I don’t want to be. I relive the abuse of my past on a daily basis. Forgive me once and for all for the mistakes I’ve made. Free me through your grace to leave the old life behind and live the new life you have prepared for me. Amen.


I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 1:16 (CEV)

All of us want to be a part of something really big. That’s why we line the streets to cheer for our champions; to be a part of a protest rally; to join in a big race. It’s all because we want to be able to say, “I was part of that!”

One of the reasons we all have this desire to be part of something ‘big’ is that we are all born with a desire to make a difference. We make a difference by changing lives, defeating an enemy or solving a problem. When we do that we can take pride in ourselves for our accomplishments or the accomplishments of our group.

Paul testifies in his letter to the Romans that he’s proud to be part of the gospel message. Some translations put the words “I am not ashamed” but I sort of like the Contemporary English Version’s rendition of the verse. “I’m proud of the good news…”

This phrase gives the verse a meaning I hadn’t thought of before, and in reading it I have to ask myself, “Am I really PROUD to be a follower of Christ?” When I ask myself that question the obvious, quick answer is, yes, of course. But then I think of what it really means to be proud of something I’m a part of.

When I’m proud of the group I’m in I would never to anything to hinder the success of that group. Ah. There’s a problem hidden deep within that. How many times do I hide my prayer of thanks for the food I’m eating because I’m in a school lunch room, a restraint or with someone I know is a non-believer.

How often am I short with someone who is inept at their job, pushy or arrogant?

How many times do my words, my attitudes and my reactions to others bring embarrassment to ‘the cause’?

How often have I failed to speak up for Jesus because I don’t want to be ridiculed or considered some religious nut?

I don’t agree with every social action group out there, but I admire their pride in their cause. Even if they are what we may consider some fringe group, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind about their cause. They aren’t afraid to make the plight of some life form or the destructive action of a political system of government action known to the public.

So, I wonder. How would the world be different if we as Christ-followers took the position in our daily lives that said, “HEY, I’m a follower of Christ? Do you know what he’s done for us? Do you realize how he changed me and how he can change you? He’s not concerned about your past, your present or your cultural or religious background. He won’t judge your lifestyle. He’s about healing relationships! He’s awesome.”

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you for all you have done for me and for the promises I have of life with you. I confess to you that there are times I feel weighed down trying to live the Christian life. There are times I’ve not taken the pride in my faith like I should. Empower me with your Spirit to live the life I live for you with pride. Remind me on a daily basis that I’m part of a group that changes lives for eternity. In your name, Amen.

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