~ Word ~
December 30, 2022
““No one can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one
and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”
my two cents…
a very sensitive subject for so many people. the grips of this false idol are very tight, intertwining status, pride, security, control and freedom, and they create a deception that is so deep and convincing.
the world teaches us that money is the way to all your heart’s desires. the world convinces us that money does a whole lot of things: makes us happy, gives us control, gives us security, gives us freedom, makes us attractive to others, and gives us a sense of superiority and status. well yeah, that sounds like a large list of very enticing rewards… sounds like this thing called money has a lot of power, but how can that be true when we have studied the Word and learned that all goodness, love and power- and everything- comes solely from our Creator, God? and He teaches us to rely completely on Him and not our own understanding...
our world raises us to think that our success and worthiness is based on our ability to make lots of money. we automatically think of doctors and lawyers, politicians and bankers, to be of the most prestigious positions to be in. we see the sway that money has when lawyers can be bought out and convinced to turn a blind eye to justice, or when a doctor’s pockets can be lined just enough to suggest that unnecessary treatment is right for a patient. there are endless scenarios where humans let money, and the rewards that it promises compromise their morals and integrity. and often, those that have more of it become more corrupted as their morals and values stray far from what they once were. that's why it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. the pull of worldly desire is so strong and money seems like the perfect answer. money can be used as a tool to distract others, to convince others that we are someone that we are not. money can be used in a ransom, holding others hostage until desires are met. money can temporarily hide a person’s lack of knowledge and skills, or their fears, as it works as a great illusion. we are taught that it’s a practical thing to focus on and that anyone who says otherwise is ignorant.
how does money have all this power? well, it is our worldly currency… need shelter? just exchange the money. need a car? hand over the cash. we are trained that money enables the transaction. but let us not lose sight of the actual Truth: “you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” Deu 8:18
our Lord is the ultimate conductor of all that happens on earth and in our lives. He can give you one million dollars and He can take it away the very next day. or He can give us just enough for each day, whereas we might have anxiety over never having a comfortable stockpile in the bank. whatever His will is, it will be done. don’t be fooled. money holds no power and lack of it is nothing to fear. let it be a test to those who struggle between two masters. one is a fake and the other is real. the pull between the two keeps you at a standstill. next time you feel like leaning on the fake wall that is money, think again quickly before it caves. the Lord is patient as we stumble along our path, but He will choose the perfect moment to switch gears and have us learn that next lesson. He will take care of us, even if that means a hard lesson is in store. praise Him who created us, gave us freedom, saved us from our sins, gave us Word and Spirit to guide us, granted us a ticket to eternal life, and loved us along the entire way.
Jesus Washes The Feet Of His Disciples by Alida Bothma
December 28, 2022
“And he preached, saying,
“There comes One after me who is mightier than I,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.”
i have read this verse multiple times this season, and until this morning, i did not understand it. i thought maybe john felt nervous about baptizing Him. in a way, i guess i was close… in this verse john is trying to express how holy Jesus really is. that something a servant would be honored to do for a king, he cannot even come close to doing himself. Jesus is so much higher than a king, he is the King of Kings, He is Holy. yet despite this fact, Jesus did come down and ‘stooped’ to our level. He lived in the same flesh that we live in, so far outside of the realm that we would expect His Holiness to experience. and to add to that, the moment after He was baptized, His Spirit sent him directly into the wilderness to be tested, fasted, and to live with wild animals while satan taunted Him. if that is not walking in our shoes what is? Jesus truly stooped right next to us, to live and walk in the same mud as us. he felt the threats of the elements, the pains of hunger, the ridicule of peers, friends and family, and the complete devastating effects of sin. he lived a sinless life on earth and His sacrifice cleansed us and overcame sin. He rose from the grave and gifted us with His Spirit so that we can continue His good works here. that is something to dwell on and to soak in as we consider how close God wants to be to us, to love us for an eternity. He doesn’t just sit high, playing with puppet strings and judging us. He loves us so much that He sent His son to live and breath the same air as us, and then to be sacrificed to save our spirits. Jesus said, “and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Matthew 20:27-28] His love is so great; it truly conquers all. i pray that we can consider our Lord’s humility in the body of Jesus: the example He set to teach us how to live upright lives, the modeling He provided to teach us how to serve others, and the love He showed to teach us how to love.
Cleaning The Sky by Ekkachai Khemkum
December 26, 2022
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
although we were born into sin, into a sinful world, the lord planted a seed in us while were still in the womb. a seed of faithfulness, truth and wisdom. we grow and the seed grows and we are blessed to be reunited with Him in spirit. we are cleansed. exhilaratingly refreshed as the dark veil is lifted and we can see in a whole new light. let us stop a moment just to rejoice. let us stop for a moment to feel joy for the first time. we still know sin, we are familiar with our old ways, and we still have skin to shed. so then we continue working, but now we are working for the Lord. but how do we progress when we still feel guilt and shame? it doesn’t exactly go away overnight. the light of truth that He shines makes us feel naked. the guilt of bloodshed and images from the past seem so hard to erase. but the Lord is gentle and He works in perfect ways as we continue to be faithful and learn what faith is along the way. sometimes we must sit with our discomfort and continue praying, as God is teaching us in that moment and building our wisdom. pray that we may become wise enough to teach others of the Lord’s ways. how great will it be to convert sinners to the Lord? pray that we may become loving like the Lord and become able to speak words of love. may we speak words of true righteousness and not self-righteousness, for there is only one source for righteousness. as we seek the Lord, may we be humble and may our pride and stubbornness shed away, so that as it does, it reveals joy and love and the image of our true self as He created us. we come to the Lord on our knees, in our pain of sacrifice, truly, our heart is broken as we mourn over our own death and those that are dead still yet walking around us. truth can be painful, but the Lord gives us a Comforter. each day we take another dose of truth, really taking it in like medicine. it doesn’t taste good, it makes our stomach queasy, but it is working to heal us and change us. we keep exercising, tearing down muscle and letting it rebuild itself with truth. the soreness is there everyday but its also a reminder of good, hard work. how can our lips speak lies when it's muscle has been reformed with truth? we have sacrificed, given up, what did not work for us: our broken spirit and broken heart. this, the Lord does not despise.
Orange Grove of Citrus Fruit Trees by Jane Small
December 24, 2022
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited,
provoking one another, envying one another.
as i was reading matthew 3 today in the Christmas devotionals, i noted how john the baptist instantly rejected the pharisees who came to his baptism. john was filled with the Holy Spirit and he knew that these people didn’t have their hearts in the right place as they visited. he told them to ‘bear fruits worthy of repentance’. what does this mean?
well, we can reference galatians, which explains the fruit of the spirit. it says, as we live in the Spirit, we still have a role to play, the ‘walking’ part. this is a responsibility of ours, not contrasted by law, but by design. with faithful hearts for the Lord, we have to take each day and put forth our effort in the walk. there is work to be done, there is something to focus on everyday. these things we focus on cultivating: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. oh boy - that’s a tall order, huh? yes, but it’s worth aspiring to as we grow with the Holy Spirit. we aren’t expected to reach a completion point and pass a finish line. we are called to focus our efforts on daily spiritual aspirations instead of worldly ones. “i know i have my work cut out for me, but with a Holy guide available to me in every moment, how can i complain?” and that part about long-suffering explains exactly this feeling. maybe similar to the feeling Jesus had as He walked this earth. there is a pain of suffering that lasts a mortal lifetime, but it’s for a Holy cause and for the glory of God. that feeling of sorrow for the broken world, the aches of our fleshy body, and the intermittent feeling of loneliness and disconnection from our peers at times, and our God at times. this is why cultivating the fruit of faithfulness is right there in it too. we need faith everyday to drive us. and what helps support faithfulness? love and joy! when we are uplifted by goodness done unto others and our selves, we gain this momentum, energy and motivation. our cup is filled and we have vigor and faith to achieve our goals. then we meet self-control. how do we manage our ‘inventory’? how can we be thoughtful with our resources and allow for rations to spare and share? hard work and discipline is often the baseline here, but as taxing as it sounds, it is also the most rewarding. no one ever felt accomplished by sitting around doing nothing. truth is, we do have to move and make waves. we need to be in motion, with our eyes set on the Lord, and our hands out to our neighbors. working the orchards for fruit can sound tiring, but notice the Lord as you’re working... that cool breeze to calm your brow, the satisfying gulp of water to quench your thirst, the songs of the birds surrounding you encouraging your work, the colors and beauty of the fruits changing as they grow- knowing them from when they were just tiny bitter bulbs… only our glorious God can defy our logical anticipations- when we expect pain to hurt so bad, it doesn’t, when we expect loneliness to be so bitter, it’s sweet, when we expect labor to be painful, it feels invigorating, when we expect a storm, He displays calm. i pray that as we stay present in the moment with the Lord, we can rely on Him to show us truth and give us strength to do things that our minds just can’t understand. our environment just isn’t what we think it is, because we just don’t know all the factors. so let us be open to endless possibilities! we aren’t God, rather, we are blessed to be loved and cared for by God, our Father, our Creator.
Parting The Red Sea by Earl Mott
December 22, 2022
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
You may ask me for anything in my name,
and I will do it.”
wow, how generous is our God? that is a bold statement! in this passage, Jesus is explaining to His disciples how He is the Way and He is in His Father and His Father is in Him, and then when we believe, He is in us. it seems a bit complex and confusing, but Jesus is God. God works in infinite ways, beyond our mortal understanding, but we do know from the Word that He works in form of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His ways can be mysterious but He is always reliable. we don’t have to know how he does it - if He told us, we probably wouldn’t understand anyway. what matters is not the how but the faith. when moses struck the staff to part the red sea, the striking of the staff was the demonstration of moses’ faith, and the miracle working was God’s. we must see walking with Him with these roles in mind: we show our faith obediently, while He works and is ultimately glorified. as His light shines, as He is glorified, darkness cannot win. (and it will never win anyway) the miraculous things Jesus achieved on earth will be continued through us. His love is so great that He can give Himself eternally. His Father is glorified while He works through us. He’s worked through multiple generations and His power and love shine through us all in a constant fashion across the timeline. we are so very blessed to have this personal, intimate relationship with Him. He knows us inside and out, every moment. we can seek His guidance just by whispering to Him. we can share moments with Him that no one else notices or sees. and as we share these experiences, He helps us learn His Ways and perform His good works. He always knows the right move. so He allows us to ask for anything in His name. anything that will glorify God, He will do it. now it may not be performed in the way we imagine, and it may not happen on the timeline that we expect, but one thing is true, He always keeps His Word. so we can rejoice in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and we can relax in the peace He provides. despite the ways of the world and the things we’ve had to ‘unlearn’, the Holy Spirit warms our soul and clears our vision. we don’t dwell on the past and we don’t worry about the future. we trust that he will work, because there is endless proof in everything He has ever done and there is zero failure on His part- a 100% success rate. there is every reason to believe in Him and there is zero reason to believe in the worldly ways… because those have surely let us down more than once. express your faith through prayer. ask him for anything. dream big, because our God is bigger.
December 20, 2022
“Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Look upon me and be merciful to me,
As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
Rivers of water run down from my eyes,
Because men do not keep Your law.”
what a beautiful song… this is something that we could pray everyday… it encompasses such a passion of praise to the Lord, desperation to glorify Him, and sorrow for the world. i was thinking today about how this life feels backwards somehow… we are born, so dependent and knowing of nothing. we grow and learn basic skills to navigate the world, but we know nothing about it. we learn from our parents and peers, but never really know if they’re right. we stumble and fall and start creating our own rules from things we’ve learned, assuming they are good enough truths to build from. we test and trial these theories and learn the hard way. and [hopefully] at some point, we surrender when we realize Jesus is the truth and the Way. when we realize that there was a manual that would provide all the answers. some of us are blessed to meet Jesus early on in life and have that shining Light on our paths, but some of us go quite a ways through life before meeting Him. i think of this as backwards because God is our creator, and i might imagine in eden, that humans living in God’s presence, within perfection, just enter knowing Him and all that is necessary to glorify Him and enjoy His gift. i could be wrong, but i know that in this life, we are not done learning until we pass on. we could go our whole life believing one thing and 85 years in, we realize that we were wrong. this world is broken and misleading. one could go off track for quite a while here. but what God makes out of this crazy place, is even more beautiful than i imagine eden. because of the love story- the struggle as we crawl on our needs towards Him… we fight to live because of our internal connection to Him, knowing we have to continue striving. we are so immature in our minds because He gave us this blank slate to write on. the slate gets covered in a lot of nonsense along the way, but when we hear His Word all the clutter disappears. he doesn’t just give us the key, he allows us to find it. this love story is so epic because of the hills and valleys, the dynamics. God turned the ultimate sin into the ultimate love story.
this song in psalms expresses that longing desire to be close to God and to worship Him. it acknowledges that He is our Teacher and that He has the answers on how to live the way we were meant to. this life can feel like a pair of backwards pants, but when we seek Him, the discomfort disappears and suddenly the pants are set just right.
Between Light and Darkness by Helgunn Ravonsheed
December 19, 2022
“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
my two cents…
as complicated as we can make our lives, as confusing as we see our path, as blind as we walk into the future, as busy as each day can be… this passage reminds us of a simple comforting truth. our God says, “I made you and I will take care of you.” now take a deep breath… and repeat these words: He made me, and He will take care of me.
we are not on our own here in this world. we just need to realize the truth. the truth is in His Word here. let this strengthen our foundation in faith. our great God created everything in existence. He made us with special intention. He made us with infinite unconditional love. He keeps every promise. He sees through every covenant. He protects us in ways we will never know. He waits patiently for us to come to Him.
December 17, 2022
“He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘
You shall not commit adultery,’
‘You shall not steal,’
‘You shall not bear false witness,’
‘Honor your father and your mother,’
and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The young man said to Him,
“All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him,
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven;
and come, follow Me.”
like this rich young ruler, we analyze ourselves and our performance all the time. we like to gauge and measure things. we crave structure and boundaries- because without order, there is chaos. God chose to lead the israelites out of egypt to build His kingdom with them. now, most of us are familiar with the ten commandments. moses went before God to receive His Word and direction. this was the foundation of the structure to build from. in today’s world, before we surrender to Jesus, we are often blind to our offenses and sins, much like the israelites were. but we were given this Word whereas God provides His people a basis of morality in which to live by. these commandments sound like common sense to us today, but do we really understand them and desire to obey them? they sound fair and simple, but they are much more encompassing and complex with a closer look. it is true that Jesus came to fulfill the law, but before understanding what this means, we may find ourselves in the shoes of the rich young ruler that Jesus was talking to here.
are you like the rich young ruler? do you think you live a righteous life? can you say to His face that you have kept these commandments?
here are some checking points:
do you have malicious thoughts or actions towards others?
do you think or act on lusts which disrespect the sacredness of marriage?
do you take from others what isn’t rightfully yours?
do you speak any words that are designed to deceive someone?
do you express sincere gratitude to your parents?
do you love your neighbor with kindness, patience, humility and gentleness?
okay... if you have failed this questionnaire, you can see how in need you are of redemption through Christ. ask Jesus for salvation and see the truth in the fact that: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
if you have passed this questionnaire, like the rich young ruler did, then proceed to the next questionnaire…
can you take all of your righteousness and riches that you have been working your whole life for and give them up?
can you believe that there is more to gain than just your own successes and achievements?
can you understand that you can’t achieve perfection because you don’t know what it truly is?
can you throw it all away and follow Jesus anyway?
dwell on this… Jesus is the only true Way. when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are eager to obey these commandments everyday, we are convicted in moments that we don’t, we are redirected by His grace, and we are shown how we can glorify the Lord. we are not perfect and we are not God, but we are redeemed, restored, saved. praise to Jesus!
Threshing On The Farm by Arkady Alexandrovich Plastov
December 16, 2022
““Be angry, and do not sin”:
do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
nor give place to the devil.
Let him who stole steal no longer,
but rather let him labor,
working with his hands what is good,
that he may have something
to give him who has need.”
my two cents…
we have come this far, to Christ, and have been set free from slavery to sin. we are cleansed and empowered through Christ but we still have a journey ahead of us before we reach heaven. we are reborn, yet we remember our transgressions. we have new spirits but remain in this same skin. with the Holy Spirit now in us, we have the strength and power to triumph over any challenges and to resist our old habits. in the past, we were thieves. we stole from others and we stole from ourselves. we believed lies and acted on them out of anger and other emotions. living a thieves life, we never had enough to spare and the needy around us went unnourished. many of us didn’t know we were stealing, but somehow we always noticed things going missing and mourning over our losses. now through the gift of Life through Christ, we can truly live. we can still experience negative emotions in this body, but we can overcome them and not let them cause us to sin. let us labor. we have the strength and vigor now. we can work hard and work in joy sowing what is good. let us sow love with our self and others. may we reap the bountiful harvest to share. let us release those old ways that don’t work for us and for others anymore. the Lord has set us free, so let your faith show it. be a doer and not just a hearer. pursue peace and holiness thus enabling sight of the Lord, be close to Him and His Word. don’t let anything block the way and the line of sight to our glorious God. may those afflictions be crushed and banished from our presence. let us identify and resist lies and not take up deceitful words upon ourselves or our brothers. may we find only the words to speak that uplift others and reflect the Light of the Lord. “but we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18.
we must honor the gift that we have been given to use here in this Life. a gift of power so great. shall we move forward today and not steal and not be stolen from. give no place for the devil to rest and mislead us. we will succeed in building a house with our foundation on the Rock. we will labor and sweat for the Lord and our house will not crumble within the storms. we can shelter those who do not have solid houses and we can teach them how to build their own.
so, where have you left off on your construction? what room are you procrastinating on? what do you need to progress? express faith by action and the Lord will direct your steps.
Beauty of Nature Flower by Anastasia Garbar
December 15, 2022
I don't need them when
I have Your love
I don't need them when
I have You near
I don't need them cause
You cast them out
I don't need them cause
I have you tomorrow...
The First Sin by Gayle Berry
December 14, 2022
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
that it was pleasant to the eyes,
and a tree desirable to make one wise,
she took of its fruit and ate.
She also gave to her husband with her,
and he ate.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they knew that they were naked;
and they sewed fig leaves together
and made themselves coverings.”
this was the very first sin of humankind. this was the very first temptation. upon reading this passage, we can identify and familiarize ourselves with what temptation to sin looks like. and well, it’s usually pretty enticing. it appears to be ‘good for food’ or nourishing. so there’s some reason to believe that by compromising God’s directions, this action we will choose will nourish us, make us grow, and satisfy our tastebuds. heh…reminds me of the marketing schemes of cereal boxes, how they inaudibly scream at every child saying, “buy me! this will be the best decision of your life!” with twisted ‘facts’ claiming it will offer rewards of health as well as the sweetest ride their tastebuds could ever fathom. hmm… sounds too good to be true, yet parents buy into it all the time. or at least they give in to their children’s begging …sounds familiar to adam giving in to eve… so then there’s the ‘pleasant to the eyes’ trick. my my, how looks can be so deceiving. it’s really so difficult in our nature to not see things and judge them by the looks. we can be molded by society’s definition of beauty and then go forward to reject people who don’t fit into that mold. we judge the book by the cover and miss the entire story. often a story we really could have benefited from. we are drawn to what’s attractive many times before we ask God for confirmation. we very seldom know the means in which a beautiful person or object has journeyed to appear before us and to grab our attention. but God knows. He knows it all…
and finally there’s the ‘desirable to make one wise’… it is true, we can never know enough. we can never know everything. we will always be deficient in knowledge. so when eve chose to know good and evil, that was a deception in itself because she could never know it all. thankfully too. the amount of contrast that we are exposed to in this short life is often too overwhelming as it is. that’s why knowledge-seeking can be a unfulfilling feat. i’m not saying to not pursue education or wisdom through experience, but don’t let that be your leader. relying on God’s wisdom is much more fulfilling, and it brings such joy.
making our own decisions and making our own mistakes does, in fact, teach us. just as adam and eve became aware that they were naked, they learned something new. this knowledge is something they couldn’t unlearn, but it sure could have been nice to go on through life blissfully unashamed of their natural state. they just couldn’t unlearn it. just like when we make a decision to tread into dark territory, we might want to think twice about damaging our mental sanctuary. images we see and things we learn can haunt us. there are so many repercussions to sin that we just don’t understand. just look at the beautiful eden that they left behind by being so distracted by one temptation. with one decision, everything we love can disappear... there’s a reason God warns against it through the whole Bible. yet His grace, mercy and love is still greater, allowing us to be saved and cleansed from the stains of sin, and eventually, and thankfully, inviting us back into His heavenly sanctuary to dwell forever. Praise Jesus!
Deer in Stream by Philip Goodwin
December 13, 2022
“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
you can hear the thirst in david’s cry, you can hear the longing in his words. we were made by God, in His image, and we were designed to be in His presence. but the original sin tore us away as we made that choice to know good and evil. you can see this deficit in everyone. especially before we accept Christ, we are lost and longing to fill this unknown void, wandering around desperately for answers. we can travel far lengths into dark territories and still not find that satisfaction that we internally crave. when we finally come to Christ and accept His love, His spirit dwells within us, but we are still living here in the flesh. we still experience moments like david where we just want to know, “how long until I can appear before God?”. this life gives so many challenges. and even as believers, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. we are threatened and ridiculed by our surroundings. we live in a place that we truly don’t belong. yet… we are soldiers of God. He only has us here on earth for a short time, and there is work to be done. there is sweat, blood and tears to shed as we toil out of love for our neighbors- even when they don’t love us. if we take ourselves out of the context and out of the drama, we just have to remember that we belong to the Lord. we serve Him out of love and gratitude for His grace. how can we glorify Him? yes, we long for that drink of pure water that is His light that quenches our soul, but until we step out of the flesh, we must be patient. you’re not in this alone, we are all thirsty. at least we have His Word, available to us at any time, that is just enough to keep our palate wet. the Lord is true to His promises. we will be with Him once again. until then, may we glorify Him with all that we are able to within these boundaries and amidst our daily challenges.
The Light Within by Annette Trent
December 12, 2022
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’”
all throughout reading the story of Jesus prophesies are fulfilled, God’s Word and His promises come to fruition. one after another. how blessed are we to have a good, faithful God? no matter what we do, good or bad, that won’t affect the chances of the Lord fulfilling His promises. and good news: there’s much more to look forward to! Jesus is coming again. believers are destined for eternal life. Jesus will reign. there are more than twice the amount of prophesies about His second coming than His first. until we experience these prophesies coming to light, we have the present. we have the ability to be faithful and walk with God in all of our choices. we can be useful to Him as He works in the lives of many to become saved and to know Him. we may also stumble and stray, but by no means does this keep God from His successful promises. He will be faithful even when we are faithless. that is why He is our rock, our foundation. how blessed our we to have such a reliable God? let us look forward to being a part of God’s work each day. i pray that each one of you wakes up with vigor to eagerly serve God and serve others with love. not only does this excerpt show us a fulfilled prophesy, but it also reminds us of another promise: that God is with us. His Word is laced with so much good news. it’s all throughout…
in the world of those that do not believe in Jesus and have not accepted salvation, God still stays true to His word. unfortunately, things don’t pan out well for those who refuse to believe. the forecast does not bode well, to put it lightly. and the prophesies pertaining to non-believers do not result in joy or peace.
then what can we do? as we are faithful to God in our steps, He will illuminate our surroundings. John 1:5 “the light shines in the darkness”, His Spirit is within us and He is the light. as we hope so deeply for those we love to come to Christ, sometimes it’s not so much about what exactly we can do, but simply just that we are available as a faithful and sturdy vessel to shine through. the Lord will enable our unique gifts in due timing just as He will enable His Spirit to work within us. our Lord is always faithful.
December 11, 2022
“Do you have faith?
Have it to yourself before God.
Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats,
because he does not eat from faith;
for whatever is not from faith is sin.”
looking outwardly, we shake our heads when we witness the repercussions of a person, or a group of people, judging another. and understandably so, as this scenario has caused so much strife over the years. But how often do we consider how we judge ourselves? in this modern day, we are taught at such a young age to be critical of ourselves… movies, music, and media can sneakily become our molds. we are especially critical when we are comparing ourselves to others, despite the truth: we are individually unique, created in God’s image and formed specially in the womb. we forget these beautiful truths and fall victim to manipulation, with observing, comparing and finding reasons to condemn ourselves. we inflict pain or mistreatment on ourselves as an outlet or a means of change. we are convinced that we are never quite good enough until we reach that ‘next level’. somehow when we reach that ‘next level’ its as if we hadn’t, as we immediately have our eyes set on a new objective. we struggle to simply accept ourselves as the Lord does.
food is regularly the focus of our days, but when we can’t accept ourselves physically, we develop complexes around this daily necessity. we start identifying foods as good and bad, taking in endless opinions and advice. it's all a bunch of confusion and contradiction. yet we still have to eat. so we eat in anxiety thinking that the ‘good’ foods will never really satisfy and the ‘bad’ foods will hurt our body.
the only information source we need to hear is the Word, and behold, Rom 14:14: “that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” so hear here that faith is the method, faith is the motion that needs to be made in all we do. believe in the Word and the Lord’s generous blessings as you pray in thanks before eating. when we eat with faith in believing that the Lord has made all things clean by His blood on the cross, then we can eat with peace. but if we do not thank and honor God and believe in His blessings, then this food cannot nourish us, it is unclean. i think this is the root of so many ailments today. its not a matter of bodily deficiency, its a matter of spiritual deficiency. we need more faith. we need to take every moment and dedicate it to the Lord as an offering of thankfulness. when we don’t act in faith, we are acting in doubt, greed, desire, or some other bad root which cannot produce fruit... its easier said than done… its easier when your peers are doing it too… i know… but we can try everyday and we can pray for strength, discernment, and patience from the Lord to navigate each moment in practicing faith. and importantly, do not condemn yourself, do not doubt yourself, when you are confident in the Holy Spirit. listen, pray, discern, act, thank, and then rejoice in the Lord. repeat.
Le Déjeuner des Canotiers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
December 10, 2022
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
it can be easy to forget how graceful God really is. even having been blessed and filled with the Holy Spirit, we can still lose sight and fall victim to fears. but the Lord never lets us truly fall. God orders our steps and takes delight in watching us walk the path He’s designed. just imagine our Father smiling upon us as we go about our day. our faith, not our own achievements, allows us to walk His way. then there are those times where we stray and get lost. some of us get lost inside one day, some of us get lost over a few years. but no matter how long, God’s patience and grace is greater. He will wait for us and He will uphold us with His hand. our days can be tricky as they pull us into distraction and temptation, into illusions. some days we will be strong and we will overcome these challenges. other days, we will stumble. but we will never fall…
ever play bumper bowling? it’s nice because you can still practice all the expert techniques of how to roll the bowling ball, where to stand and how much curve to give it, but you’ll never fall straight into the gutter. the game isn’t so much about being perfect in every frame, its about enjoying the fact that you can hit pins and score points with every throw. you can enjoy the things about bowling that we all love - hanging out with friends, making silly gestures, and friendly competition. when the bumpers are gone, and if we haven’t already gone through endless hours of practice, a gutter ball becomes the common theme of the game. and even if you didn’t come to play with your ‘serious face’ on, somehow the continuous gutters just start bringing you down. this causes a lot of people to give up on the game altogether. it becomes a less inclusive game, and it becomes a game only for those who are willing to be hardened.
life isn’t about you becoming a perfect bowler. life isn’t even about bowling. it’s about relationships and those loved ones playing the game right next to you. we get so caught up thinking we need to win the game, but the game is really just an excuse to spend time with others. don’t you see the big picture here? bumper bowling isn’t for sissies, it’s for people that just want to have a good time and not let competition and self-focus get the best of them. i pray that you can walk God’s path today and bask in His grace. it is plentiful. open your eyes to your ‘bowling team’ and enjoy their presence. no one is here to win. Jesus has already done that for us. no one is going to fail. God’s hand won’t allow that. enjoy the game and don’t forget to smile and laugh with your friends.
December 9, 2022
How Can I Glorify You?
How can I glorify you O Lord?
How can I glorify you O Lord?
How can I glorify you O Lord?
How can I glorify you O Lord?
With these harsh pains of sin
And these deep sorrows of loss
And these threats of chaos
With these fears of abandonment
and things that are tragic
I get so lost…
I want to do right by you
But I feel so weak and thin
I want to be strong for you
But I can’t pull my own weight within
I want to rightly represent you
But my insecurities are shaking again
I want to glorify you
I want to glorify you
I’ll do it however you wish
I want to glorify you
I want to glorify you
I’ll sing your name, Jesus
...sometimes we feel weak. this life isn't easy, and it pulls at us everyday. in our lowest moments, God is there. Immanuel. sometimes we don't have the answers and we are too disturbed to listen for them. what do we do? how can we still glorify God when we are distracted and debilitated? sometimes all we can do is say His name, praise Him. it is impossible to lose everything when we have already been redeemed and granted the ultimate gift of eternal life. there is always much to be thankful for, so praise Him and let Him comfort you.
December 8, 2022
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”
this verse can be brushed over so easily without realizing the level of compassion and love that joseph demonstrated. ‘love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked’. this excerpt from 1 Cor 13:4-7 highlights characteristics that we commonly overlook in the definition of love. in plain sight, joseph had all the justification to condemn mary, and by law, adultery was punishable by death. its easy for us to be on the side of mary because we are reading God’s Word post-Jesus and we know the importance of His birth, but if you put yourself in joseph’s shoes, at that moment, there was absolutely no other explanation for mary being pregnant other than adultery. and whether or not that that ‘hypothetical adultery’ was mary’s intention or not, she was still ‘defiled’. remember that joseph came from a dcvidic family line, and this adds to the case that joseph had all the right to be angry with mary and to punish her. they made public vows, and then not too much later, those vows seem to have been trampled over, and hope for a continuation of the family line is destroyed. how often do we add up everything for our ‘case’ against someone who offends us and see that there is no other way? you’re right and they’re wrong, plain and simple. how often to we take vengeance into our own hands? many of us want so strongly for there to be justice in this broken world that we go about ‘policing’ others. we may even read the Word on a daily basis and gain confidence in knowing what righteousness is. we have everything line up in our eyes to confirm how to judge someone else’s actions. and when it comes times to execute punishment, we even have trouble choosing the weapon, because there are so many options and methods to hurt someone. punishing another is uncomfortable for us and overwhelming because it really isn’t our job, it’s God’s. acting out of anger and vengeance isn’t the answer, because there is no love in it. we are commanded by God to love one another. He made that pretty clear that there are really only two commands now that Jesus has come to save us: love God and love others. it couldn’t be much more simplified. joseph’s example here proves that even when all the evidence lines up in your favor as the ‘plaintiff’, convincing you in the right and someone else in the wrong, that still doesn’t give permission to condemn them. the emotions of hurt and anger that we feel by seeing this evidence, by feeling so wronged, still doesn’t give us permission to judge them. when everything lines up to show us an answer, if the prompt from that conclusion is not an act of love, then it’s just not worth pursuing. let me put that definition of love in here one more time so we can move forward in abiding by God’s command and not getting mixed up in playing a role we’re not supposed to: 1 Cor 13:4-8: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
A Lie Called A Mirror by Fatemeh Semsarieh
December 7, 2022
“An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good;
He does not abhor evil.”
this psalm demonstrates human ways, the ways we act before accepting salvation. the grips of sin and evil’s lies are so strong and so dark. they are absolutely blinding and cause us to fall into a delusion. if only our eyes could truly be opened…
yet there is a way… that is through Christ…
without Christ, all we have is our own self-assurance, which has to be applied so often, as it wears so quickly. the pain that surfaces is unbearable so we rush for medication. we bury ourselves in self-admiration and mindless pleasure to mask the disdain that we feel towards ourselves, our past offenses, our guilt, shame and regret. we can’t have joy when we spew wicked words and lies to ourselves and others. these poisonous words are born of hate and self-loathing. there is no motivation to ‘do good’ and care for others when our plate is so full of bandages. …re-applying and re-applying, because the bandages dissolve so quickly. the mirror plays tricks and tells us to worship our self. the mirror reflects no wounds even though there are many. "who needs God when i can only be sure of this reflection?" where God is not invited, the atmosphere is cold and barren: fruitless… our self-made fire is only enough for our self, but only for a short time. we can even be proud of it, only for a short time. there’s no way anyone else could be allowed in, there wouldn’t be enough warmth to go around. sharing and charity is out of the question. it’s survival of the fittest and if there’s any will left to live, all resources go to the obvious. evil is not abhorred, more often, it is welcomed. it feels familiar and understood since that is what has afflicted us in the first place. when we were young, we learned pain. we had to adjust and accommodate it. with all that effort to make it a home, we found ourselves proud of that achievement. “who needs God anyway? there surely can’t be much more goodness than those few glimpses i saw on my own.” …don't believe it… evil touts tangibility, it claims to be less intimidating than admission of failure and short comings. failure seems such a far fall… how could we ever walk ‘post-submission’? wouldn’t our bones be completely broken? how can we show our face? we fear the mirror won’t say the same things back ever again…
if you’re not sure about surrendering to Christ, it’s time to think again. can you hear the lies? aren’t you sick of the madness? this darkness is no way to live. there is no purpose without God. there is no purpose when we separate ourselves from our Maker. come home and accept His love and guidance because it's better than any one of us can do on our own…
Rejoice by Monica Stewart
December 6, 2022
“And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
i can’t help but smile thinking about baby john inside elizabeth’s womb ‘leaping in joy’ upon the Spirit’s presence. its absolutely amazing - its a miracle - and the first of many to happen upon the entrance of Jesus onto earth. elizabeth actually received the Holy Spirit as mary spoke! the Holy Spirit brings us joy and peace. it is the Spirit of God which dwells within us upon our acceptance and belief of Jesus as our savior. this passage also goes to show the impact and power of the Spirit. so often we may find ourselves thinking, “how can i change this person?” “how can i influence them or say the right things to them?”. often, we are caught in the habit of trying to solve problems on our own and we forget just how powerful the Spirit within us is. the Spirit’s presence alone is enough to influence someone, just as it did with elizabeth. and the influence is always positive. our emotions can get in the way and prompt us to act out of anxiety, nervousness, defensiveness, fear, and anger. this is not the way. our reactions should be tamed, and as we develop patience with the Lord’s guidance, we can take each moment more consciously and react as the Word directs us, instead of our emotions and minds. as believers, remember to take each day with eager desire to please and glorify the Lord and know the power of the Spirit. instead of overcomplicating a scenario, often it is enough to just be present with someone you love or care for who may not be saved. and they can be influenced in the direction of love and salvation. i must say again - how amazing is this?! this stresses even more the importance of our need to be physically near those we care for. don’t postpone that visit, don’t opt for the video call. although God can still work within any of those means, especially through prayer, there’s something special about the physical presence of those blessed with the Spirit. there is an exciting vibration that you can truly feel! so be joyous today in the Spirit and share that joy with everyone who comes near. share it even with strangers - this can go such an unfathomably long way. use the wisdom of the Spirit to sense who needs upliftings. lend a hand to your friends and rejoice in the generosity of love from our Lord.
Leap of Faith by Brady Nielsen
December 5, 2022
“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
Let it be to me according to your word.”
And the angel departed from her.”
as we take a deep dive into the story of Jesus this month, let us take this moment to reflect on mary’s perspective and her miraculous conception. mary was a young woman who never had known a man. she had no clue what she was about to take on - the good and the difficult. she had no clue that she was a vessel to bring the savior of the world here to us. to be a mother to the son of God. she had no clue of the persecution that He would face and the heartbreak she would feel for worldly sin. she had no clue how God would make her story so amazing, exponentially beyond her dreams. she was just a young woman, and when the angel first appeared, she was afraid. that is normal and human. the angel can only provide so much information at this point and as the conversation finishes, mary responds in the most graceful way- that she is the Lord’s servant and she asks that His Word may simply be. its okay to be afraid and even question the direction that the Lord wants you to take, but by the end of the conversation, let it finish with acceptance of His request. know that sometimes the Lord won’t spell out everything that is about to come upon acceptance of a new direction. i pray that we all have the ability to handle tasks and challenges with this same gracefulness as mary. we all know how amazing the story of Jesus is. so, see that by being obedient to the Lord, by hearing and abiding by His Word, only good can come from it. we can have amazing stories too. this goodness is always beyond our imagination’s capabilities in the moment that we accept it. this, my friend, is faith. this is trusting the Lord, and that His ways alone are good, despite not understanding the mission until we are practically done with it (and sometimes never understanding the complete impact of that mission). may we take moment by moment, just starting with today, to live in faith like mary did, by accepting the Lord’s direction and opportunities with eagerness and obedience.
"Past, Present, Future" by Leslie Lambert
December 4, 2022
“Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
i’m sparing you the lengthiness of the complete genealogy list of Jesus, but there is good substance here when reflected upon this section in Luke. first point to make: isn’t it quite impressive that the culture at this time took such care in keeping records of the family ancestry? the jewish culture especially identifies each other with the genealogy of their families. it had been prophesied multiple times that Jesus, the Messiah, would come from a royal jewish lineage- and here it is... but to us, did it really matter? he was a supernatural gift laid unto a virgin from God Himself. we can summarize that His lineage didn’t make a difference as to the level of His holiness because we also know that He was there at the beginning and that He is God. regardless, the importance of this fact to the jewish people is why it mattered of His lineage; therefore, it was yet another way for Him to connect and reveal Himself as the Messiah to His people. if you look at the lineage, you see it going all the way back to adam, back to God. and it can be supposed that we are all children of God. we all came from this single source. its amazing to think of Jesus on this level of closeness. He is our relative in the flesh. His lineage can be traced just as ours can be. he came to earth and joined us side by side. he got to experience the wonders of humanity and the worst of humanity. and although He is God and it can be assumed that he already knew and understood what it was like to be human, this whole story and everything He did wasn’t for His knowledge, it was for us. reading a section like this one in Luke might seem boring, but can you fathom the number of years it took to get from the start of the paragraph to the finish? can you fathom the toil, the war, the sacrifice and death upon our forefathers that made this story what it was today? we have this amazing privilege to go into this Word and read all of these stories for ourselves. many can’t say that they can even access the stories of their immediate great-grandparents. but here we are with the gift of the Word, the Word that is Life. and everything that our Father God wants us to know is here in the Bible. the sheer volume of history contained in this book is breathtaking. don’t take sections like this for granted. we are so blessed to be able to know and share this information that has been preserved for thousands of years. this fact alone proves yet again the miraculous works of God. God has many sides to His character, but today, He is our Father, and He is lovingly sharing the family story with us.
December 3, 2022
1 Timothy 4:1-5:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods
which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
i feel that this time of year, even though we are surrounded with the warmth and joy of the season, we are also distracted and tempted away from the truth, the worship of Jesus, and the joy and peace that is available to us. there are numerous ways that this happens, too many to list, but note that evil exists, and it is at work. 'deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons’ are real - you just read it from the Word, the Truth. maybe you don’t realize it, but when you accept lies like “i’m not worthy, i’m not talented, i’m not good enough, no one cares, i have no purpose” that is a sign that you are falling for these tricks. God is real, and there is no way that He would have you believing these dark thoughts, or any dark thoughts for that matter. but if you don’t seek God, the source of power of goodness, then there is no way this can be combatted. discernment- definitely a trait worth working and developing; otherwise, we naively fall for these evil traps time and time again. do you ever feel your ‘conscience seared with a hot iron’? we all have it built in to feel those moments where we’re making the wrong decision. don’t make a habit of ignoring it. none of this advice is meant to feel like condemnation, but it may help convict you, help you realize the truth. the Word saves, but one cannot be saved if they don’t believe they need saving. if there are too many fingers pointing in too many directions, stop, and seek the Word. the Word will shine a light on your path and help to clear the way with solid truth.
living in america, we are spoiled by the overabundance of pleasures. where some have struggled with meager means in the past, our present day and age has us fighting the opposite - which might possibly be more difficult in the way of temptations and false idols. overconsumption is a spiritual form of cancer rooted in the sins of greed, lust and gluttony. but they are disguised well, aren’t they? once you start consuming, you become addicted… you consume more and more and you start destroying the means of ‘functioning organs’. pathways are blocked, and synchronization is halted. those life-giving organs are not enough, and the hunger for more and more eats us alive until we can no longer function. we are dead, we are dead spiritually… but as long as we are breathing we have the chance to come to Jesus for life, and for freedom.
in the attempt to combat addictions to overconsuming, overeating and overspending, false doctrine will mislead us here as well. suggested diets and abstinence from certain foods give way to anxiety around food altogether - the very thing we need to sustain our physical bodies on a daily basis. evil would work to attack us at every opportunity, no? this direction that tells us to fear God-given food and nourishment is lies, not direction. direction that tells us to abuse food, ‘to eat your heart out’.. well, you can hear the irony in that already… replacing one vice with another never brings us peace. dear one, these things are tough, and God knows that your pain is something one would hope you’d never have to bear. this world is painful, but don’t lose hope that God is a God of redemption. He will bring you ‘double for your trouble’. He will also bring you eternal life in peace and holiness. come back to the Word and see the truth in that we must receive our nourishment, our daily blessings, with thanks. by saying thanks before receiving anything, before consuming anything, it can be consecrated and blessed by the Lord. before making a decision or accepting a dark thought, pray, speak to the Lord, and He will show you the way. there is a way…
The Creation of Light by Gustave Doré
December 2, 2022
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him,
and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
as our minds meditate on the gift of Jesus and His coming to earth, this opening to the book of John informs us that Jesus always was; that He is God, He is the Word and the Light of Life that caused creation. a few verses later [spoiler alert] john confirms that the Word became flesh, indeed proclaiming Jesus as God. it can be unfamiliar to try to understand one almighty God who takes on the form of the trinity: God-Son-Holy Spirit. but think about this analogy… “i was with myself and i am myself.” for one to be with their self, implies that they are solo, or alone. and then by saying ‘i am myself’, one is simply confirming the being of current discussion. in addition, to try and understand an infinite being such as our almighty God, realize that our finite minds have trouble understanding things outside of our known dimensions. always remember this and be humble in knowing that God’s greatness is greater than our human mind’s capabilities. a true gift is that inexplainable feeling of His greatness which fills you with joy and peace, which even then is just a sample of His wonders. john’s wording can seem cryptic at times, but through resting on the Word, you can see that every part of this scripture is pure truth, and very educational at that. Jesus is the Light of Life that gives us life. every breath we take, every beat of our heart is nothing to take for granted. and in the same, we shall not take for granted the breath and heartbeat of those who surround us and share this life with us. Jesus came here born to the flesh, to die and then overcome death, and as His Word says: “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend (or overcome) it.” Jesus came to show us a physical demonstration of exactly what is said right here in the beginning of John. let this be a notion to meditate on how great our God’s love is for us. from Him comes all goodness, and despite the existence of sin and darkness that we so curiously desired to know, nothing can overcome His goodness, His holiness and His love. this life is short, but our God is eternal, and He grants us the gift of eternal life as we believe in Him. believe this beautiful scripture, for it is nothing but the truth.
December 1, 2022
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
the season is here! it’s december, and it’s time to celebrate Christmas! as chaotic as this world is, we still nationally recognize the birth of Christ, our savior. even if satan tries to throw a sheet of consumerism over it all, nothing can take away from the truth. God Himself came here to earth in the flesh to save us and there were innumerable witnesses from the time of His birth. the verses here in Isaiah tell us to prepare the way for the Lord, to level the grounds and remove all obstacles in the path. get ready! so, what obstacles block your view of God? can you see Him clearly or is there something else taking priority? is there something or someone holding you back from experiencing the love He generously offers? what is distracting you? phone, tv, competition, peers, lies, vices? so often, our culture calls us to follow the majority and rejects those who steer from the herd. but the reality is that by being Christian, we will always be nonconforming to the world and its ways. we are of Christ, we are in Him and He in us. our flesh is dead and we are no longer lead by sin and desire. this doesn’t mean that living in this uncomfortable transition zone is easy. its not. there’s a term: ‘long suffering’ made just for this explanation. nevertheless, the spirit of Christ is so powerful within us that there is nothing that can stop this love. so let’s clear that path. clear it for your neighbor who needs to see the light of the Lord. clear it for yourself so that your light can shine onto others. let go of pride, greed, lust, selfishness, anger, envy, and self-pity. let go of societal pressure to be someone other than who God created you to be. by being your true self, you glorify God. so let’s clear the way! rejoice for Jesus, our savior!