Friday, November 28, 2008

Love Is a Habit

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”

Luke 6:32 (NIV)

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you only love those who love you what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32 NIV).

His point is this: anybody can love those who love them. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable. It’s when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.

This may seem like an impossible task and it is – that’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16 NIV).

When you realize how much God loves you – with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love – then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving the unlovely, loving the difficult, loving the irritable, loving people who are different or demanding.

You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

Love must become your lifestyle, the habit of your life. But it starts with a decision. Are you ready?

Your life is worth far more than you think, and by learning to love others with the love God gives you, you will have an influence far greater than you could ever imagine. If you will commit to this, you will experience love as God means it to be, filled with hope, energy, and joy.

My prayer for you is “that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love …” (Philippians 1:9 NCV).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!!!!!!

I wish all of my friends from blogger's world have a wonderful thanksgiving and happy holidays ahead of you. May the Lord bless you and guide you for all the things you do.

The Bible Says Love Is a Skill

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1

John 4:7 (NLT)

Love is a skill that can be learned. In other words, it’s something you can get good at and that means you get better at love by practicing love.

You may think you’re a good lover, but God wants you to become a great lover, a skilled lover, a master lover. Yet, most people never learn how to love. You can become an expert at relationships.

Wouldn’t you like to become known as a person of extraordinary love? When people speak of you they might say: “He doesn’t care who you are or what you look like.” “She doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done or where you’re from.”

The only way you get skilled at something is to practice. You do it over and over. The first time you do it, it feels awkward, but the more you do it, the better you become.

The same is true with love (1 John 4:7). Let’s practice loving each other. As the Bible says, “Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15 HCSB).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love Is an Action

Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. 1

John 3:18 (NLT)

Love is something you do. Do you really love someone? Let’s see how you act toward that person. You show love by what you do, not just by what you feel.

Love is more than attraction and more than arousal. It’s also more than sentimentality, like so many of today’s songs suggest. By this standard, is love dead when the emotion is gone? No, not at all. Because love is an action; love is a behavior.

Over and over again, in the Bible, God commands us to love each other. And you can’t command an emotion. If I told you “Be sad!” right now, you couldn’t be sad on cue. Just like an actor, you can fake it, but you’re not wired for your emotions to change on command. Have you ever told a little kid, “Be happy!” I’m trying, daddy!

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.

The Bible says, “Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18 NLT). We can talk a good act: “I love people.” But do we really love them? Do you really love them? Our love is revealed in how we act toward them..Rick Warren

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Love Is a Choice

… That you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 30:20 (NIV)

Love is a choice and a commitment. You choose to love or you choose not to love.

Today we’ve bought into this myth that love is uncontrollable, that it’s something that just happens to us; it’s not something we control. In fact, even the language we use implies the uncontrollability of love. We say, “I fell in love,” as if love is some kind of a ditch. It’s like I’m walking along one day and bam! – I fell in love. I couldn’t help myself.

But I have to tell you the truth – that’s not love. Love doesn’t just happen to you. Love is a choice and it represents a commitment.

There’s no doubt about it, attraction is uncontrollable and arousal is uncontrollable. But attraction and arousal are not love. They can lead to love, but they are not love. Love is a choice.

You must choose to love God; he won’t force you to love him (Deuteronomy 30:20). You can thumb your nose at God and go a totally different way. You can destroy your life if you choose to do that. God still won’t force you to love him. Because he knows love can’t be forced.

And this same principle is true about your relationships: you can choose to love others, but God won’t force you to love anyone....Rick Warren

Monday, November 24, 2008

We Love Because God Loves Us

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19 (NIV)

The reason God wants us to love is because he is love, and he created us to be like him – to love. The only reason we’re able to love is because God loves us: “Love comes from God … because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8 NIV).

We were created in God’s image to do two things on earth: Learn to love God and learn to love other people; life is all about love.

But love all started with God. He loved us first and that gives us the ability to love others (1 John 4:19). The only reason you can love God or love anybody else is because God first loved you. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to earth to die for you. He showed that love by creating you. He showed that love by everything you have in life; it’s all a gift of God’s love.

In order to love others and to become great lovers, we first need to understand and feel how much God loves us. We don’t want to just talk about love, read about love, or discuss about love; our need is to experience the love of God.

We need to reach a day when we finally, fully understand how God loves us completely and unconditionally. We need to become secure in the truth that we cannot make God stop loving us.

Once we’re secure inside God’s unconditional love, we’ll start cutting people a lot of slack. We won’t be as angry as we’ve been. We’ll be more patient. We’ll be more forgiving. We’ll be more merciful. We’ll give others grace.

But you cannot give to others what you have not received yourself, and so my hope is that, as you learn how much God loves you, you’ll also let him heal your heart so that his love can flow freely through you. It’s impossible to love others until you really feel loved yourself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How to Deal with Conflict Quickly

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19 (NIV)

How do you deal with conflict quickly?

I’ll tell you, but you’re not going to like it. The solution to resolving conflict is confrontation.

That’s right; if you’re going to resolve conflict, you must confront.

You don’t have to confront in anger, though. In fact, you shouldn’t confront in anger. Lovingly go to the person and, speaking the truth in love, deal with the problem immediately.

In James (1:19), we’re taught three rules for confrontation: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

If you do the first two, the third one is automatic. If you’re quick to listen and you’re slow to speak, then you will be slow to anger.

What are you listening for?

You listen for the hurt in that person. Hurting people always hurt other people. When someone is being a jerk, more than likely, it’s because that person is hurting. When you understand their hurt, you have a better understanding of why they do what they do, and you’re a little more patient with them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Resolve Anger Quickly

If you are angry, be sure that it is not out of wounded pride or bad temper. Never go to bed angry – don’t give the devil that sort of foothold.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (PH)

It’s okay to be angry, but anger becomes wrong when it’s not resolved quickly. The apostle Paul teaches, if you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin and do not stay angry all day.

The Phillips translation says, “Never go to bed angry.” That would keep a few of us up all night! If you said, “In our marriage, we’ll never go to bed angry,” you might work toward resolving problems a lot faster.

When anger is not dealt with quickly, it can turn to resentment and, then into bitterness. Bitterness is always sin; resentment is always sin; those emotions are always wrong.

But that doesn’t mean anger is always wrong. When you care about people, sometimes anger is the correct response. I get angry when I see people blowing their lives on things that don’t matter. I get angry when I see people walking right into the middle of something they know is wrong.

Regardless, we’re to resolve our anger quickly, or else we’re giving the devil a chance push us into bitterness and resentment.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Choices Control Your Calendar

We are each responsible for our own conduct.

Galatians 6:5 (NLT)

Your choices control your calendar and, as a result, your lifestyle. Your choices are far more powerful than your circumstances. You may not like how complicated your life has become yet, with very few exceptions, no one is forcing you to keep your life complicated.

You have the power to simplify your life.

The Bible teaches, “We are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6:5 NLT). To me, that means God expects us to assume responsibility for our lives and to carefully choose how we spend our time.

That’s why I’ve spent years teaching people to discover why God placed them on this planet: What is your purpose for being here?

Ultimately, it will be the donation of your life that will count far more than the duration.

In other words, it’s not how long you live – or even how much you cram into how long you live – it’s really about how you live.

Here are three essential steps to simplify your life:

· First, figure out your purpose, and then let your purpose guide the goals of your life.

· Second, organize your activities based upon your purpose.

· Finally, harmonize your schedule with your purpose; that is, bring your activities into agreement with your goals.

You have just enough time to do God's will while you’re here on earth. You’ve been given just enough time to fulfill your purpose. When you try to do more than God planned for you, it’s only natural that you’ll find yourself constantly out of time or stressed over your schedule.

If it doesn’t fit the purpose of your life, God doesn’t want you doing it. In fact, he may be overjoyed that you finally got the message and stopped doing meaningless activities. He may even want you to add “rest” or “have fun” to your to-do list.

My prayer for you is that you will find relief from stress and a new sense of satisfaction as you do only the things God created you to do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Choosing a Simpler Life

. . . a time to embrace and a time to refrain.....

Ecclesiastes 3:5 (NIV)

You’d think that living in Southern California means I’m surrounded by people who live a laid-back lifestyle. The truth is just the opposite: Most of the people I know are trying to cram more and more into each day.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I was with a group of friends driving down the interstate. At one point, I looked around and realized most of us were engaged in some activity other than talking to each other. Two people were on their cell phones; another was working on his BlackBerry; and a fourth was focused on his laptop computer.

As a joke, I declared I felt left out. I called the driver, who was sitting right next to me, and we chatted together on our cell phones for a few minutes! The point of our traveling together in the van was so we could grab time to talk face-to-face! Yet we felt pressed to get it all done.

That’s when I realized the truth – we couldn’t get it all done, and God never intended for us to make completing a to-do list the purpose of our lives.

The fact is, there are many things we think we must do that really are not worth doing. My point is this: You won’t simplify your life by getting an electronic organizer. You won’t even find it by convincing your neighbor, who makes Martha Stewart look like a sloth, to give you tips about coordinating your activities while still wearing a perfect dress and pearls like Beaver Cleaver’s mom.

Simplifying is really about choices – prioritizing what is important – and then sticking to those choices no matter how tempting it is to add more to your to-do list. In fact, take those tempting activities and put them on a list of things not to do.

You are the only one who can assume responsibility for your time and clarify what’s really important to you.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “But I have to take care of the kids,” or “I have to get this report done by Friday.” I’m not naïve about the pressures many people feel today, but it may be that those things – your children, your work – are the priorities you keep on your to-do list, and you move other things to the not-to-do list.

Monday, November 17, 2008


God desires a relationship with you. It’s the reason you were made—your first and foremost purpose in life. If you are looking for the essence, the key, the bottom line, look no further. This is the whole of it: to be in a relationship with God.

There was one man in particular in ancient history that had this down. His name was Enoch. In fact, the only thing we know about him is that he was in close fellowship with God. Need we know anything else?

“Enoch lived 365 years in all. [I don’t think this number is a coincidence. It implies a year of years, and gives the impression of continuance.] He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24 NLT). No, he wasn’t a magician. This was no disappearing act. It was a way of saying that he was one of the few people recorded in scripture who did not face death. God just took him—body and all—into heaven.

How do you do that, I wonder? How do you get that close to God? Well, earlier English translations of the Bible say that he walked with God. I think that simple picture says it all. When you walk with someone, you walk, and you talk, and you share everything you see and experience together. There’s a certain peace in this picture.

I remember a popular book a number of years ago titled “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?” Even the title suggests that maybe Jesus is not running with us because the question has to be asked. Maybe we are moving too fast for Him. Not that He couldn’t run with us, but does He want to? I think He’d prefer to walk. Walking infers enough time to notice what’s happening, to reflect on things, and talk about them as you go. Maybe that’s what it means to be in a close relationship with God—to be aware of His presence always and share everything with Him. Isn’t it amazing to think that this is all He wants?

He wants this more than a perfect life. He wants this more than a perfect marriage. He wants this more than a great ministry. He just wants to share in everything with us. He wants us to be conscious of Him and worship Him with the daily living of our lives.

And then Enoch disappeared. What that means is, one day he and God were walking, like they always did, and they just walked off the map. That was it. No big deal for Enoch. He just kept on doing what he always did. Right into heaven.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jesus Taught the Most Important Command Is to Love

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)

Today’s guest devotional is from Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

One of the most noticeable things about Jesus’ interactions with others is how people love to ask him questions. Crowds press in with questions; Jesus’ disciples call him aside for questions; and those who disagree with Jesus try to trap him with questions.

It’s easy to dislike this third group, and it often seems as though Jesus is wasting his time when talking with them. Doesn’t he know that their questions are just thinly veiled attempts to trick him into saying something they can use to accuse him? Yet he patiently listens to their questions, and he answers them one by one.

One day the questions are coming fast and furious. One group asks a question about paying taxes; another group launches into a series of questions about marriage. Jesus’ answers are brilliant and right to the heart, as always, but it seems that maybe it’s time to move on and talk to some who are more open to what he has to say.

Then a teacher from the edge of the crowd asks a question with a slightly different tone. There seems to be a genuineness to his question not heard from the others. He simply asks, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

In Jesus’ answer is the most important statement about relationships you’ll ever hear. As Jesus speaks, he leaves no doubt as to the value he places on relationships:

“The most important [commandment] … is this: … ‘Love the

Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and

with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is

this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (based on Mark 12:28-34).

Jesus’ simple, clear answer to this question has the power to take our breath away. By choosing these two commands as the most important of all of the Old Testament commands, Jesus tells us how deeply he values relationships. He values our relationship with God, and he values our relationships with each other.

Your relationships with God and others will last all the way into eternity. Jesus knows full well that the swirling wonder and pain of our relationships tempt us to move them down our priority list.

“Who needs this?” we say, and so reduce our lives to simple hobbies, tasks, and entertainments. That’s not the answer!

When I try to make less important that which is truly most important, it only causes more confusion. A life without relationships may well

be a simpler life, but it is also an empty life.

The path to the greatest life possible and the greatest joy possible is found in the priority that Jesus taught us to keep at the top of the list: Place the highest value on relationships.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jesus Placed the Highest Value on Relationships

Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another!

1 Thessalonians 4:9 (MSG)

Today’s guest devotional is from Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

I don’t remember the time or the place or the conference, but the question the moderator asked has stuck in my mind. What I recall most vividly is the answer that immediately flashed into my thoughts.

Here is the question: Suppose you’re in a rubber life raft with a friend. You’re approaching an island. The raft is leaking, and you are within sight of land. In the raft with you are a set of signal flares, a

week’s supply of canned food, and a five gallon container of

water. You must throw one of these items overboard if you’re

going to make it to the island. Which one do you choose?

I have to admit, the first answer that hit me was “the friend.”

Now don’t sit there with a pious “I’ve never thought anything like that” look! This silly thought that leaped into my mind was a reminder of how easy it is to value things over people. And who among us hasn’t struggled with that feeling?

Priorities become most important when we must make choices. If we had enough time to do everything, everything could be a priority.

But we don’t have enough time to do everything.

If we had the power to do every good thing we wanted to do, our choices wouldn’t be so important. But we can’t do every good thing we want to do.

When Jesus spoke about the priority of relationships, he could not have been clearer. He taught that relationships must be given the highest of values.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


ညီမငယ္ေလး တေယာက္ေျပာျပတဲ့ ရီေမာစရာေလး ဟာသပါ၊ အားလံုး ဝမ္းသာေပ်ာ္ရႊင္နိုင္ပါေစ ရည္ရြယ္လ်က္ ေဖာ္ျပေပးလိုက္ပါတယ္။

တခါက ေတာထဲလမ္းေလွ်ာက္လာတဲ့ အမ်ိဳးသမီး က်ားတေကာင္နဲ႕ ပက္ပင္းတိုးမိသတဲ့၊ မိမိ အသက္ဆံုးရံႈးမွာကို လည္းေၾကာက္၊ အားကိုးရာ ဘုရားတပါးတည္းဘဲ ရွိေတာ့တာမို႕၊ အားကိုးသၾကီး က်ားၾကီးကို ခရစ္တေယာက္ရဲ႕ စိတ္ဓာတ္ရွိလာဖို႕ ဆိုျပီး ဆုေတာင္းသတဲ့ကြယ္။ ရည္ရြယ္ခ်က္ေလးကေတာ့၊ စိတ္ဓာတ္ေတြ ေပ်ာ့ေျပာင္းျပီး သူမကို အသက္ခ်မ္းသာေပးဖို႕ေပါ့ေလ။
တကယ္ဘဲ ခရစ္ယာန္တေယာက္ရဲ႕ စိတ္ဓာတ္ဝင္သြားတဲ့ က်ားၾကီးကလည္း၊ ကိုယ္ေတာ္ခ်ေပးေသာ္ အစားအစာအတြက္ေက်းဇူးတင္ပါ၏ဘုရား ဆိုျပီး ေက်းဇူးေတာ္ အရင္ခ်ီးမြမ္းျပီး အမ်ိဳးသမီးကို ကိုက္ျဖတ္စားေသာက္လိုက္သတဲ့။ ပံုျပင္ေလးကေတာ့ ဒါပါဘဲရွင္။

Jesus Taught Nothing Is More Important Than Relationships

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 (NIV)

Today’s guest devotional is from Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

Relationships are filled with both wonder and pain. When

I think of the pain of relationships, literally hundreds of

pictures flood into my mind from my thirty years as a pastor:

· A couple on the verge of a divorce neither one wants yet both are choosing.

· Parents who can’t get through to their child, no matter how much time, money, and heartache they invest.

· A son whose dad has treated him with the cruel contempt of abuse.

· A friend whose feeling of betrayal is so deep that she never wants to trust anyone again.

When I consider the wonder of relationships, I am equally overwhelmed:

· A marriage no one thought could be restored — but it was.

· Friendships in a small group that have become the bedrock of life.

· A family that would surely fall apart when the pressure of an illness hit — and yet they all came together in the most amazing way.

When Jesus came to this earth, he demonstrated that he understands both the wonder and the pain of your relationships. He experienced them both.

He came to begin a new relationship with you — a relationship that will strengthen all your relationships. Here’s the truth Jesus taught us: Nothing is more important than relationships.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jesus Taught We’re to Love One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:7 (NLT)

Today’s guest devotional is from Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.

Relationships are painful. Relationships are wonderful. We all live in the drama that plays out between these two truths.

I think of Neal and Robin when I think of the drama of relationships. Married for only a few years, their life together had started strong. And then, with a suddenness that tore their world apart, Robin suffered a brain hemorrhage.

As I sat with Neal in the waiting room on the night it happened, we heard the doctor speak in hushed tones about high-risk surgery and low odds of success.

Even if Robin were to survive the surgery, she would likely be in a semiconscious state for the rest of her life. Neal’s immediate response was simple faith and sacrificial love. He believed that God had a

plan even in this dire circumstance, and Neal was committed

to love Robin, no matter what it would take.

Robin survived the surgery, and Neal kept his commitment to love. Day after day, he sat with Robin and spoke to her and nurtured her. Little by little, he loved her to unexpected restoration.

Robin learned to speak haltingly and began to be able to use her hands and arms again. She has even taken a few victorious steps on her own. Almost every weekend at church, there they are — Neal, a shining example of overcoming love, and Robin, a powerful example of overwhelming courage and faith.

Robin sometimes wonders just what she can accomplish for God in a wheelchair. The truth is, she speaks a life-changing sermon on the power of love by her mere presence.

Those who have been involved in Robin’s care see her life as a miracle. The greatest miracle, they say, isn’t in the healing (they’ve

seen bodies healed before) but in the love.

This is the love of a couple who made the choice to continue to love, even in the most crushing of circumstances — Neal having chosen to practice sacrificial love in a marriage that wasn’t close to what he and Robin had dreamed it would be, and Robin having chosen to accept and return Neal’s love rather than allowing her own hurt to push him away.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nurturing a Quiet Soul

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Psalm 131:2 (NIV)

Today’s guest devotional is provided by Jon Walker

My older sister, Lori Hensley, a very serious prayer warrior, once taught me to meditate on Psalm 131 to help me move toward God’s peace that passes all understanding:

We keep our hearts humble. This doesn’t mean we have a low opinion of ourselves. A humble heart means we know our position in Christ, and so we stop being responsible for the things of which we were never responsible. This frees us to live like God intended and allows us to make uncluttered choices that will move us closer to God.

We show the maturity of a weaned child. The nursing child demands attention now, but the weaned child trusts and is content to wait. We quietly center ourselves on God, peacefully, without agitation and anxiety, and trust God is actively supporting us.

We hope in the Lord with confident expectation. Truth says God will answer our prayers; he will respond to our needs; he will pave the path before us now and forever (Psalm 18:36).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Who’s Advising You?

Counsel in the heart of man is like water in a deep well, but a man of understanding draws it out.

Proverbs 20:5 (AMP)

We all need mentors – people who personally coach us in our walk with God.

When I am with a mentor, I ask questions. Asking questions adds to the quality of your life: “Counsel in the heart of man is like water in a deep well, but a man of understanding draws it out” (Proverbs 20:5 AMP).

Every person has a reservoir of knowledge, skills, and experience to share and you’re wise if you learn to draw them out.

In fact, you don’t have to limit asking questions to just a single mentor who you meet with on a regular basis. You can meet a “mentor” anywhere.

My suggestions is to keep a 3x5 card with you that has a list of standard questions you can ask whenever you meet someone you can learn from; you then pull out your card and ask questions like:

· How do you handle stress?

· What have been the greatest successes in your life?

· What do you think contributed to that success?

· What did you learn from the greatest failure of your life?

· What would you do differently if you could start over?

· What kind of books do you read?

· How do you manage your time?

· How do you manage your money?

· What have been the greatest lessons you’ve learned?

· What have been the greatest surprises in your life?

Rick Warren

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Witchcraft of Rebellion

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.

1 Samuel 15:23 (NKJV)

Today’s guest devotional is provided by Jon Walker

Most of us would be shocked and angered if we found out a believer in our congregation was actively using a form of witchcraft to control people, places, things, and circumstances. In spite of our fear, we’d fight back once we learned that the witchcraft was so powerful it had entrapped whole families and small groups of people within the church.

In truth, such a form of witchcraft is present among many believers; it’s the incantation of rebellion. Why does the prophet Samuel say rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft?

It seems to me the similarity between the two is an attempt to control your circumstances independent of God. Witchcraft casts spells and summons spirits to alter the natural, and therefore, it assumes a role for which it has no authority. Rebellion uses disobedience, disharmony, and disunity to gain or maintain control of the situation.

Either way, you’re trying to rule from “I can,” rejecting any notion of “God can.” And when you do that, you’re becoming one with the enemy, aligned with the very things that are in armed rebellion against God.

These things oppose God’s order of things and his work in your life.

“Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult,” says the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:23 MSG).

In that light and truth, will you let God rule, or will you rebel so you can rule yourself?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Centurion Humility

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go,” and he goes; and that one, “Come,” and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.

Matthew 8:9 (NIV)

Today’s guest devotional is provided by Jon Walker

Jesus noted the centurion in the Gospels was a man of extraordinary faith. The Roman officer’s servant was sick, and with Jesus on the way to his home, the centurion sent a message telling him there was no need to come.

He said, in essence, “I know all you have to do is give the word, and my servant will be healed.” His faith didn’t require the physical presence of Jesus, not to mention the bells and whistles of signs and wonders.

But the centurion’s faith also reveals the foundation of biblical humility. Instead of emphasizing his high rank, the solider first established his position under authority. And that’s really all humility is: recognizing, confessing, and acting according to your position under authority.

Because he was a man under authority, faithful to execute the order of those in authority over him, the centurion had an expectation that those under his authority would do the same.

And so he believed, in faith forged through experience, that Jesus was a man under the authority of God, and, therefore, when Jesus gave a command, it would be carried out.

The centurion’s authority came because he was under authority and that is the very thing that gave him the authority to issue orders.

Humility simply means we hold an accurate and unbiased assessment of our strengths and weaknesses. We understand our shape and our gifts, and we’re aware of, but not fretting over, our limitations. We see everything we have as a gift from God, and we know that without him we have nothing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Love That Sweats

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

Today’s guest devotional is provided by Jon Walker

When Jesus loves, he works up a sweat; he rolls up his sleeves, gets on his knees, and washes our feet with his blood, sweat, and tears.

He labors at love, though his love is never like labor. He’s a giver, not a taker, loving us into being with a gifted carpenter’s hands. And he’s no slacker, loving us until we can take no more; no more because we’re filled to overflowing, his love spilling and splashing through our pores into the cores of those we love with his love, a love’s labor not lost on a world that needs to be found.

He wrestles our fears and wrangles our doubts and labors at love until he’s exhausted, lying prone in a garden, drinking from God’s cup the nourishment necessary for one last heroic sweaty, bloody, tearful lift of the Father’s infinite love; ready to die for God’s undying love.

A Jesus-love sticks to it, even when the it seems like an unstickable fury that’s no longer fun or convenient or even something you want to do. Jesus keeps on laboring in you and through you, finishing what he started, loving until the last with a love that lasts forever (John 13:1).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jesus and the Brooklyn Dodgers

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Colossians 2:16 (NIV)

During World War II, a common practice among U.S. guards was to ask questions that, presumably, only someone from the U.S. would know (in the days before the Internet and worldwide television).

They’d ask a question like, “What league does the Chicago Cubs play in?” One legitimate U.S.officers because he put the Cubbies in the American League instead of the National. general was held for several hours by security

Comedian John Belushi, in the early days of Saturday Night Live, spoofed this kind of question in a skit where he was leading an American combat patrol and they came upon a man who was clearly German. Yet, Belushi asked him something like, “Who plays shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers?”

The German couldn’t answer, so Belushi put him at gunpoint. And the skit continued something like this:

One of the soldiers in Belushi’s squad asked, “Hey, Sarge, who does play shortstop for the Dodgers?”

Belushi jumps, saying, “Walters, if you don’t know the answer to that, you must be a German spy, too.” And he orders Walters to stand with the German prisoner.

Jordan, tell them who plays shortstop for the Dodgers,” Belushi says.

“Gee, Sarge, I don’t know who plays shortstop for the Dodgers.” And so it goes until the only one left on the trigger side of the rifle is Belushi.

Then, one of the soldiers says, “Hey Sarge, at least tell us, who does play shortstop for the Dodgers?” Belushi thinks for a moment and then gets a panicked look on his face.

He says, “Oh man, I don’t know. I must be a German spy, too!” And he joins the others.

The apostle Paul says this is the problem with the law: We keep excluding people based on jot-and-tittle questions, such as what they eat or drink, how they celebrate a holiday, or if they wear a tie on Sunday (Colossians 2:16).

God comes in grace, saying, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6 NIV)...Jon Walker