A Cappella Group Sings A Beautiful Rendition Of ‘Be Still My Soul’


Do we believers know how to love?

I have more in this train of thought than I can share publicly. Here are some of my thoughts.

I wonder sometimes if we loved and reacted to our biological family with the response we show for our faith family, what their reaction and feelings might be toward us might be. What if we waited until our mother, sister or brother asked us for help? What if we never responded to their successes, joys, celebrations, and dark times? The response to many of us going through deep waters is mainly words and offers. We mean well, but often, in reality, withhold love until we are asked. I

The response to many of us going through deep waters is mainly words and offers. We mean well, but often, in reality, withhold love until we are asked. I meant my offers, but by telling them I would wait until they asked instead of just putting them in the driving seat, it too often put the person going through distress in a place of having to swallow pride and ask for help.

I now realize how much more I need to know of God’s un-relentless love for me — and how to demonstrate that love to others.

As I re-evaluate my response to others, repent for my failure to give the love and encouragement that I could/should have, readers may find it useful to consider my own resolutions.

I realize that I cannot go back and rectify my failures and neglect. I should leave those failures in the past, but resolve to do better in the future. [That is what repentance is — quitting past behaviors and making a change.] I don’t want my actions in the future to be because of guilt, but an awareness and realization that God can use me and my “cup of water” to encourage others.

I want God to help me be a better ambassador of his love. I want people to have a clearer picture of the love of Christ through me.

I want to become more aware and caring, willing to do something that encourages and blesses them, even if it takes some my time and effort.

I do not want to forget them after one or two actions, but continue to bless them — just as God never forgets me. His blessings are every day.

I do not want to wait to be asked before I offer loving actions.

I do not want to belittle how God can use a “cup of water” — in the form of a card, a call, a cookie, or a visit — to encourage and bless God for using me to speak to them of his faithfulness.

I want to be willing to take the time to be a blessing.

As I contemplated this over the months, I was suddenly aware that God was not only aware of every cup I offered others in need, but he was also aware of every cup that I could have offered (re-read Matt 25:34-43). For a guy that is not overly sensitive to the needs of others, this troubles me. I must have missed so many opportunities. In those cases, I was more like the “others” in the Good Samaritan story.  I don’t think that those opportunities were examples of what the new creation that Holy Spirit is seeking to make me into. Someone has written that we are the hands of God when we show loving actions toward others, reminding them of Jesus.

When God really begins to work in me, people will notice his love being demonstrated in my actions, kindness and thoughtfulness. Only when we as a church family get revisited by his Spirit, will the world around us will take notice.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

If love is the primary indication that God’s Spirit is working within us, we might just need a refreshing — an awareness that we need him to do a new work in us.

Rev 2:4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

Now, as the pastors would say: Here are the Take it Home thoughts.

1. You can’t go back and really make up opportunities that were lost. You may have regrets and you may make up some lost ground, but we must learn and “pass it forward.”

2. Doing loving acts out of guilt or because of pressure is not the ideal God wants, but they are better than not doing anything.

3. The ideal is to be so open to the leading of God, sensitive to people whom he brings into your life and blessing them whenever, however, and as you are able.

4. Loving people with loving acts may be a sign God is working through me; failure to respond certainly indicates I am dull to the Spirit and certainly not walking in the Spirit.

5. Praying with and for people is needed and God-desired; but unless followed up by loving acts, it is likely just words.

Spirit, revive, refresh your work, give us sensitivity to the needs of others — reveal Jesus to us and in us.

Just a cup of cold water?

God loved — and gave, God proved his love for us when he gave his dearly loved son, and we are to so love each other that the world will see and be drawn to God, etc. He not only offered a cup of water, but a river of life.

Love doesn’t just point out where one might find water. Love doesn’t just offer condolences, sympathy, even a prayer — or help (if the needy just come and ask).

1 Jn 3.18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 

If you really love someone, then you show it by how you act toward that person. If love were just an emotion, then God couldn’t command it. But love is something you do. It can produce emotion, but love is an action.” ~ Rick Warren

The type of “love” Christians too often practice does not present a clear representation of Jesus. “Love” that is offered so often is solely an expression such as, “I love you, brother”. A sincere and well-intended expression, but often an empty one, if that is all it is.

Love includes words, but surely also includes actions whenever possible. “Love” that doesn’t include actions when and where possible is likely not sincere — the Bible reminds believers not to have “feigned love.” It is “cheap love”.

1 Cor 13 again seems to indicate love professed but not made visible is just noise.

Love is kind and thoughtful — How is that seen, if not in a action?

We know God’s love because we have seen it; we have experienced it.

We never asked God for his love, he gave it when we didn’t even want it, yet we so often tell people to tell us if they have a need, to ask for our help.  This is good as far as it goes, but I found that was as far as it went with me. I offered, but they didn’t take me up on my offer, so I was off the hook. I had tried to “love” but essentially was rejected.

We are told to think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. How much effort do we put into thinking of ways we can bless, encourage, and stir others in the life in Christ?

We say that we want to impact the world with the love of Christ, but fail to impact even our own faith family. I have been brought up abruptly by seeing how people responded to us — and realizing that is exactly how I responded to so many people. I had failed to follow up and show them love. Words were cheap; love costs m.

Love has initiative … it seeks ways to demonstrate its intent

Love holds on … shows mercy and grace — even when people don’t want it or feel they need it.

Love doesn’t forget. One act doesn’t complete the loving; God loves whether we appreciate it or not. He never gives up, never forgets us. His love is relentless.

Love shows kindness

Love is willing to go out of the way to bless; Love is willing to be inconvenienced

Love does not put contingencies on love, i.e. “If you ask for it, I will love you.”

If we are serious in our mission to impact the world with the love of Christ, should it not begin an “home”?

Actions speak louder than words. God says even small gifts count: a cup of water.

 Phl 2:1-4 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Just a cup of water?

Matt 10:42: “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Matt 25:34-43: “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

There is way more to this story than we can unpack here. The point we want to look at is the value and power of a simple cup of water given in love.

Really, God keeps track of a cup of water? It is so insignificant. People won’t be appreciate a cup of water.

A cup of water costs so little of me — yet God notices?

Why, even a child can give a cup of water.

It seems that God is very aware of needs and how important even such a small act helps and encourages.

How does that reveal of my awareness that even my smallest love response is part of God’s program?

Will my obligation of love be fulfilled with one cup? Maybe one cup is not all that is needed. Maybe a second cup — a third? Might a morsel of bread be helpful?

What else could a “cup of water” be?

Love knows God is in the action; Love knows God will bless even the smallest gift (i.e a cup of cold water). How cheap is that? How simple and easy is that? We discredit it, but Jesus didn’t.

Fortunately for all of us, God doesn’t stop with one cup of water when he deals with us.

Rivers of water.

“He who is thirsty…”

How To Identify Your Pet Sin

Every Christian can think of a sin he has identified and attacked with all the brutality he can muster. One of the great joys of the Christian life is seeing God be true to his Word as he motivates and empowers us to wage war against indwelling sin. Yet every one of us probably also has a sin we rather enjoy, a sin we refuse to put to death. In fact, we may even protect and promote it. We might refer to it as a pet sin. Here are some tips on identifying your pet sin.

Your pet sin is the one you hate to have challenged.

Hmmm. Better read the rest: https://www.challies.com/how-to-identify-your-pet-sin/

Has Jesus Been Misquoted?


Fertile soil needed

Fruit of the Spirit

The Word is like oxygen




The Best Way to Enjoy Your Friendship With God