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One of the most sobering statements Jesus makes comes from the gospel of Matthew. In the midst of warning his followers about false prophets he makes the statement that, “not everyone who calls him Lord” will enter God’s kingdom. He was addressing people who had done many good things (healing, prophesying, performing many miracles, etc.), however they had done all those things without doing the most important thing, giving him their heart. Their actions were noble but in done in the interest of appeasing a god they did not know, thereby rejecting a Son who longed to know them.

As believers, we should pursue excellence, not for our own satisfaction but for God’s glory. We serve and excellent God who desires to see excellence from us. What drives you to succeed? What is your motivation to get up every morning? Is it a paycheck and a few atta-boys or is it to look forward to another day of bringing glory to God through our thoughts, words and actions?

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It’s interesting that when Jesus offered up his last prayer before his death he prayed for unity among believers. Unity is impossible when hatred is present. Love of the brethren is, in some ways more important than loving the ‘pagan’ because we are being watched. When I ask people who don’t attend church why they don’t, most of the answers center around church politics and hypocrisy. We say love the sinner and hate the sin but that starts in the church, in the body of Christ, the Family of Believers. It was the love/unity of the body that attracted people to the early church and people haven’t changed that much! All of us have people that annoy us for a variety of reasons — things they have done; personality conflicts; actions they have taken. Yet first and foremost we need to see others as God’s creation, not define them by their actions. We don’t love them because of who they are, we love them because of who Gd is. Jesus died for us when we were at our worst, the least we can do is to love others when they are at their worst through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us.


When calamity comes we often ask, “Why did you do this God?” But maybe we should really ask, “Why did you do this God?” Yep. You read it right. The question is the same, it’s the attitude of heart that’s different. In the first instance the tone and intent is accusatory. In the second instance it’s reflective. King Hezekiah was a Godly man greatly used for God’s Kingdom. God “left him to see what his heart (his character) was like.” This wasn’t so his character was revealed to God, he knew. Rather it was to reveal Hezekiah’s true character to himself. God is sometimes silent so we can see ourselves as we truly are. His goal isn’t to harm or frustrate us, but to draw us closer or make us stronger.


Focusing on differences brings conflict; focusing on commonality brings peace. Jesus Christ came living a message of acceptance of differences and living according to God’s standards not mankind’s. Jehovah God sees things completely different than we do. In Him there are no Lutherans or Baptists or any other denomination. These were often born from conflict. There is no traditional or contemporary music. There are no races or genders. Focusing on differences and being judgmental feeds darkness not light. The closer we draw to the light the less effect the darkness has on us. Jesus is the light that unifies.


One of the hardest things for any of us to do is to be people of honor in an argument. This is especially true when we know the truth or are being personally attacked or wrongfully accused. It is during these times that honor is difficult if not impossible to hold on to. For the believer in Jesus Christ it is imperative that we remain people of honor; that we are salt and light not purveyors of darkness adding fuel to the fire. To the unbelieving pagan Jesus simply spoke the truth and by his actions showed love and acceptance. To the arrogant religious people, who were bent on attack, he lashed out at their shallow actions but in the end said “Father forgive them”. It’s no wonder that James writes, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James‬ ‭3:2‬) Knowing when to hold our tongue is a sign of spiritual maturity and honor. It is a process accomplished over time and with reliance on the Holy Spirit.

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