Thursday, December 18, 2014

#DailyProverbs: A Lifestyle of Obedience


John 14:15-21: "If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you for ever. He is the Spirit who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you. “When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you. “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.”

According to this particular set of scriptures, we know that Jesus was preparing his team for his absence, and the upcoming set of difficulties. He specifically and blatantly tells us, we express love for Jesus by obeying His commands. To love Him wholeheartedly, we must develop a lifestyle of obedience. Let's look at four aspects of such a lifestyle.

1. Our trust in Jesus grows. This confidence comes from believing that the Lord is who Scripture says He is. And God's Word tells us that He is good—as well as faithful to keep His promises (2 Cor. 1:20). Psalm 86:15 calls Him merciful, gracious, loving, and slow to anger. His character remains unchanged by difficult or hard-to-understand circumstances (Heb. 13:8).

2. We develop a deepening ability to wait on the Lord/move when God says move. Delays can be hard in our I-want-it-now culture. But we must resist temptation and wait on Him instead of running ahead, or assuming that patient waiting is equal to "no." We must also be ready to move and act when God tells us to move or act. Waiting and acting are two sides of the same "coin of trust" on obeying God. If we trust God, we obey God - whether the answer is to wait or act.

3. We commit to obey God. Without such a resolve, we'll vacillate at decision time or allow fear to prevent us from choosing His way. When the answer really is "No," we must be willing to accept that and move on. And we must be willing to accept an answer of "Yes," even when we don't want to pick up, move or follow the cloud by day, and fire by night.

4. Our study of Scripture becomes consistent. The Bible reveals God's priorities, commands, and warnings. It acts as a light, illuminating His chosen path for us while revealing obstacles and dangers along the way (Ps.119:105). Without it, we are like a person who walks in the woods at night without a flashlight.

Becoming a Christian, and following the teachings set forth by Christ, doesn't mean that obedience to the Lord is automatic or that we are made into robots. It's a lifelong process of growing in our trust and patiently waiting on Him before we act, and acting on faith and trust when called upon to do so, even immediately. This requires a steadfast commitment to obey so that we can say no to ungodly choices, doubt and inaction and yes to God, love, trust, and the peace that comes from doing what God says.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great Is Thy Faithfulness: Trusting in God's Faithfulness

#DailyProverbs 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24: "Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test; keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil. May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being - spirit, soul and body - free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because He is faithful."

Trust has been a big issue with me lately... with the trust I've placed in others broken, I'm wary of new people and those that might harm me or what God gives me. And sometimes I have to wonder if God is wary of me? 

Does God see/view/judge me the way I see/view/judge others? 

Am I holding others to a high standard, but expect them all to understand my shortcomings and intentions? Do I think I deserve to be looked at for my intentions and my heart vs. my actions and what I actually follow through with? Am I the hooker, but have a heart of gold? So, does God focus on my heart of gold, or the fact that I am still a whore? Or am I wonderful as an abstract and complex "thinker," but do I lack follow through and execution? I mean, I can draft plans, complex connectivity and architect national data warehouses and mining/reporting plans... but the simple fact is: plans without implementation are useless. Those plans collect dust and become obsolete very quickly. I believe that Christ... the VERY Christ... told us to help our fellow man in need, but if I pass one by, will that be recounted or Judgment Day? Or will the fact that I was late be taken into consideration? Your "belief" doesn't help someone in need, your behavior does.

So, in the big picture of "trust" and "trust issues" and even my own nature of controlling-ness, I have to remember that I trust God, and God is faithful. God has never betrayed my trust. God has never, not once, done anything to break of "un-earn" my trust. What about you?

Is there something God has told you to do that seems just too difficult?

Are you scared of your calling or what God wants from you? Maybe it's a personal conviction. Maybe you are shy, but are called to speak. Maybe you are not very compassionate by nature, but you are called to give. Maybe you don't want a spotlight, but you are called to minister in action. You can be sure that if He has called you to carry out His will, He’s going to be faithful to accomplish it through the Holy Ghost living and working in you. So if you tell Him, “I can’t do that, Lord—what if I fail?” you’re really saying, “God doesn’t keep His word.” And yet, our total expectation should be in Him—not in our own energy, ability, or experience. Without God's direct intervention, help, and miraculous set up in MY life - I'd not even be alive.

When you doubt God’s trustworthiness, that unbelief becomes a gap in your spiritual armor, and you can be sure that’s exactly where the Devil will attack you. His only weapon is deceit and we are so eager to listen, doubt, and then take action from a lie, instead of action from God's instruction. You’ll begin to doubt even more about God’s character, such as His Love, His goodness, His true power to heal and deliver - and that will cause you to miss so much. That distrust will become a heavy load of baggage you’ll needlessly drag through every area of your life.

You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to have faith in favorable circumstances. And I don't buy into the big or little faith. I think faith is binary. You either have it, or you don't. You either walk & live in faith of the One True God and that He is working in your life, or you don't. God's not asking you to do anything but believe and trust. He’s asking you to trust that He is who He says He is. 

Do you believe that God is a liar?

It’s really that simple: either He is truthful or He’s not. But if you believe that faithfulness is His character, then you can do anything He requires. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge or trials or a flood of blessing comes. It’s actually when life gets rough and rugged that the sweetness of God’s faithfulness makes itself real in your heart. As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character becomes part of who you are and strengthens from within.

Take a chance, trust God. Watch God work in your life. This is coming from someone that truly... TRULY... was a lost cause and not expected to live, much less thrive. If you can't believe enough for yourself, I'll believe enough for you. :)

Love y'all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

God's Wisdom Revealed

#DailyProverbs 16:1,2: "We may make our plans, but God has the last word. You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives."

Do you trust God?

It's a simple question, but it packs a lot of impact and potentially scary prospects with you answer. Almost every person I know will say "Yes, of course" and they will hope to believe that. In fact, growing up in the rural south... we are bred and trained to trust the Lord and go to church and live our lives. And we spout that and talk it and then we live as though it's not true.

So, DO you trust God? Do you trust Him when He is telling you to be kind to someone and you think they don't deserve it? Do you trust God when he says to give the cash in your pocket to the stranger? And you think that bum deserves to be homeless and hungry due to bad choices? Do you trust God when He says to you in a service, "Get up and go hug that lady" and you resist because you don't want people to look or you are scared you'll be rebuffed and embarrassed?

Do you trust God when you disagree with Him? When you read a scripture that convicts you or causes you some weirdness? Ouch. I don't always agree and want what I feel like God has for me or tells me to do and go with. And it used to scare me to feel that way, like... somehow, I was backslidden or a bad Christian if I had a personal opinion. (Granted, I try to make sure that I eventually align correctly with God and that, to be honest, He changes MY mind vs. me changing HIS mind... and there is a whole perfect vs. permissive will thing that I try to avoid. Just because you stay saved and alive doesn't mean you are IN God's will and living your BEST and most-productive life. What if God tells you to move somewhere so you can be IN His will and be in a place to grow and heal, but you are lonely or miss family? Do you trust Him?

Do you trust God when you feel like the last idiot standing up for something? When so many of your conservative "christian" friends and loved ones think that returning evil for evil is the answer, do you stand firm and trust God's scriptural commands? When your family tells you that helping someone in need is "fishy" and that you need to be careful so they don't keep asking for help, is that what Christ taught? Or if someone needs help, but they are not in your church, or don't believe in your God, or don't agree with your politics... do you withhold help and food and rent to them? Do you think they can "hear" your pitch on being someone that follows Christ over the rumbling of their stomach and the fear of being evicted? Do you trust God to work that out and you know your proper place as a tool of His reconciliation and a vessel of His will? What's more important to you, that YOU understand every detail of God's plan, or that you are IN God's will and a usable and valuable vessel?

In his letter to Corinth, Paul talks of the Holy Ghost and the very spirit of God giving us wisdom and letting us trust the Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 is an AMAZING place to read some very real, but scary and supernatural promises.
6 - Wisdom for the spiritually mature
7 - God's hidden wisdom, chosen to give to us in plan hatched before creation
8 - Carnal kingdoms didn't know and couldn't know, or it would have gone differently
9 - Eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard what God's got for us and what's coming
10 - God reveals new truths and new things via the spirit which is constantly searching for us and ONLY the spirit can take us to God's hidden depths
11 - Only the soul in a person knows every hidden thing and truth inside of them ONLY you know all you think and hope and mean. You know your motives, your will, and your purpose. The same is true for God and the Holy Ghost... ONLY the Holy Ghost can know all of God and ONLY the Holy Ghost in YOU will give you access to the deep things of God
12- ONLY God's spirit can give us the things of God. Not the world, nor other things.
13 - Our spiritual language and tongues are the things that can teach in the spirit. Only those with the spirit, can teach spiritual things
14 - Those without the spirit cannot receive gifts of the spirit
15 - Those WITH the spirit can assess and judge the value of things, and remain judgeless of those around him
16 - Who can know the Lord? Who has the mind of Christ? Those with the spirit HAVE the mind of Christ

So, then... that's pretty heavy stuff... And I love every bit of it. Why? Because after exposing the futility of worldly thinking in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul introduces Christians to the higher realm of godly wisdom. Paul wrote with lots of things I disagree: I think he was kind of misogynistic, I think he was totally a spoiled brat, and I think lots of his work was ghost written... BUT... I DO trust God to protect the message to humankind and I trust God to protect the sacrifice of Jesus and the propagation of His church. But, with Paul... he had to WRITE this passage with some trust in God. He had to trust that Jesus was divine and that this kind of knowledge and understanding isn't available through human intelligence and reasoning; it comes strictly through divine revelation and the infilling of the very spirit of God. Only those indwelt by God's Spirit have "the mind of Christ" (v. 16) and access to "the things freely given" to them by God (v. 12).

Do YOU trust God? Do you NOT see that without this supernatural insight, no one can accurately know the Lord or His ways? Do your actions belie your doubt? Do your lips say one thing about you and your life says another? Many people say they believe in God yet may not have a correct understanding of Him because their perceptions are based on their own thoughts and ideas. To us, to the world, to human wisdom... it's easier to custom-design a god to fit our preferences than to make the REQUIRED adjustments that worshiping and following Christ require of us. Following Jesus isn't a prayer you read off of the back of a tract, nor is it just having your Holiness Standards and being comfortable, white, and Red. The ONE true God of Heaven, Earth, Israel and that so kindly extended salvation to us gentiles demands trust, faith... and ACTION that supports those beliefs.

Do you trust GOD to handle you? I know people that think God can't or won't forgive them. They don't think God can help them with drinking, or drugs, or even with their life and the way they choose to live or treat people. Do you trust God to be big enough to deal with all of your mess? Even long-time and mature believers need to guard against trying to fit God into their preconceived image of Him. It's always so funny to me how Baby Christians and those young in the Lord have SO much more faith in God to help them navigate their lives, until some well-meaning older Christian gets a hold of them and talks them out of living by faith, and instead teaches them to live by standards and by rote. The Bible is currently the ONLY reliable source of divine revelation, but the Holy Ghost can lead you and give you wisdom that your human brain can't hold and your natural brain can't contain in the fullness of His Word. We must be careful to consider the Scriptures as a WHOLE—it's critical that we don't just pick and choose the verses we want to believe. For example, by focusing only on passages that emphasize the Lord's loving-kindness while excluding those that speak of His holiness and justice, we misunderstand His true nature. God is holy, but God is ALSO compassionate. When we focus on how someone looks, rather than how they LIVE and how they LOVE, we miss the mark. When we only focus on "if you don't work, you don't eat" and ignore "if you have fed or given drink to the least of these, it was as unto me" then you are MISSING the point of God putting on skin and showing us a better way. Jesus showed us the way.

Do you trust God?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Peace, With God...

Have you ever really taken the time to look at people around you??

The co-worker that never quite seems "okay." They always need that extra bit of attention, or they always are ready with a complaint? What about the neighbor that is constantly in turmoil? You never want to get stuck in a conversation, because they are constantly asking for prayer or help, but they never seem to "come out on the other side" of any trial or situation. What about a parent that just never seems to finish anything as started? The situation always changes and it's always someone else's fault, or they found a "better" way - but you just want them to be stable and happy in their golden years. Or, even strangers??? Do you run into people in your daily life that just seem drawn to you and begin to pour out their troubles to you? At the store, at the gas station, at church, at Target... at an airport, or on an airplane?? [Now, I know that I have been given a VERY unique perspective by God. To keep it real and to be transparent, I write from the perspective of someone God takes very good care of. I am one of the lucky ones that God singled out for whatever reason. I didn't deserve and I didn't ask for it, but I'm called. I'm anointed. And I've been healed and delivered, so I know what God is TRULY capable of doing, vs. just hearsay and things from "bible days." I live a life that involves God and my faith every day. (And yes, I realize how INCREDIBLE that sounds and how VERY BLESSED that makes me. I live out my faith daily because God made Himself known to me in miraculous ways daily. I'm privileged.)]

But, I sometimes still just am dumbfounded that others don't just seem to "get it." It, being that God is there for us. One day, I was afforded the opportunity to be sitting beside a very drunk, very funny, very sweet older lady that was in her Golden Years. Usually those old broads make me smile and they always inspire me. But I felt truly compassionate towards THIS lady. She was in absolute chaos and turmoil. I posed a question to her, over our airline tray table: “If you could ask God for anything, what would your request be?” Her answer was immediate. “I want to feel at peace.” She tearfully explained that her life was a mess of problems due to her relationships with alcohol and food. We had a long talk and she asked me for prayer. I told her that OF COURSE I'd keep her in my prayers. She said, "No. I want what you have. Pray for me right now." We ended up praying right there on an airplane and she ended up with stammering lips and getting the Holy Ghost on a Southwest flight.

See, whether or not they know it, many in our world are like that old woman, in that they desire inner calmness but have no relationship with the Lord. They are hungry for something bigger than themselves that help to make sense of the chaos and the pain that the world will inflict. They are disillusioned with people that have half-heartedly lived out lukewarm "christianism" in front of them, but never pointed them to the actual Christ that could help them. They are hungry. They are thirsty. And people often seek to fill that hunger and thirst by trying to improve their appearance, physical fitness, financial situation, or social status—or by abusing substances. They seek comfort in other people, in promiscuity and clinging to the physical to satisfy the spiritual. But such things can’t bring tranquility of heart or mind. Only a relationship with Jesus leads to true peace.
Romans 5:1,2: "Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!"
Prior to salvation, we were slaves to sin and living in opposition to God (Col. 1:21). Our transgressions had formed a barrier of hostility between Him and us, which we were helpless to cross on our own. Without God’s intervention, we could not have found the way of peace. But God provided the perfect solution to our sin problem. He came to earth as Jesus to pay for our iniquities and remove the separation that existed between us and Him.

When we trusted Jesus, as the Christ, we were reconciled to the Lord (Rom. 5:10) and no longer at odds with Him. In Christ, we have peace with the Father

Our One God has provided everything we need for inner tranquility. Jesus opened the way for us to be in His family. Jesus continually offers His peace so we can experience serenity of mind and heart (John 14:27). And Jesus as the Holy Ghost cultivates the fruit of peace in our lives (Gal. 5:22).

--Do you need peace?
--Are you exhausted by the world around you and the daily offenses that attack you?
--Do you long for people to just act right, get along and for the world to calm down?
--Are you experiencing "compassion exhaustion?"

There are real answers to be found and real hope is to be had! You can experience peace today.

I love you all. Be kind to each one another.
Give peace.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Who Are You, Christians? Discovering Our True Identity...

Do you know who you are?

If you do, then you are blessed. People rarely know where they come from, their heritage and have a good grasp on who they are to be. makes a lot of money selling this dream to people that with a few clicks, you can "know" where you come from. You can "know" who your ancestors were and connect with other descendants in your family tree. But does that tell you what you want to know? Does that tell you the full story of you and your people?

Many Christians are experiencing an identity crisis. 

They know they’re "saved," but they don’t really know what to think about themselves. I say this, and I already know that three of you have stopped reading here. You roll your eyes. You think that this won't pertain to you. Some of my Apostolic friends are already nervous that this will be about standards. Maybe it will be about standards to you. If the BIGGEST trial you ever face is getting your personal control over how you present your body to God, then GOOD FOR YOU. If you skirt length or the color of your hair is truly what stresses you, then you need to get out more. There are real struggles in the world.... like folks getting shot and murdered in foreign lands for admitting they follow Jesus. Or even gunned down just walking the street in their own hometown. 1 in 6 Americans... think on that... ONE IN SIX AMERICANS are underfed or go hungry. So, maybe this will resonate with you about your personal modesty. Maybe living for God is hard for you on something as simple as looking and talking like a Christian. I hope, though, it doesn't. Maybe it won't. Maybe this will reach deeper to you. There are folks that fight every day to live drug free, alcohol free and to live a life that doesn't lead to death, prison, or shame. Surely living a Christ-like life in American  can't be your biggest obstacle? Not with all He's done for all of us. Maybe this will reach to the substance inside of you. Maybe the author of your salvation, and the measure of faith given to us all will rise up and read this for what it is intended... Or maybe some of my friends that subscribe to NO GOD will think this is stupid. Maybe this is about you. Or maybe my friends that think that just being a decent person will work and that we all end up at the same place with just different roads... maybe you think I'm talking to you. Maybe I am...

Maybe, for all of you, thinking that it's about you IS the very action makes this ALL about you. Let’s take a little test. Do you consider yourself a sinner saved by grace or a saint who occasionally sins? Huh? Let me repeat this. Do you consider yourself:

  • A sinner, but you have been redeemed and saved by grace, or
  • A saint, but you know you are not perfect and still need God's grace

Both statements are true, but here is the message: the first one dwells on your past identity, where the second focuses on Jesus' perception of you.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9: "From Paul, who was called by the will of God to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus,and from our brother Sosthenes - To the church of God which is in Corinth, to all who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. For in union with Christ, you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord."

Now, I'll have to write this slowly, so I won't get caught up shouting and fail to finish today's #DailyProverb. But that passage is the opening greeting of his letter and it gets skipped over in MANY messages preached today. We get by on the major Apostolic teachings and forget that there are some DEEP promises in just a greeting. If you are a believer, God’s Word says that you are a saint (v. 2). If you are in union with Christ, then your speech and knowledge will be rich in the things of God. When you are so focused on Jesus, and you are FIRMLY established in Jesus, you will not fail to receive a single blessing or gift in the Spirit. You will be kept and maintained until the end, so that you can be found faultless. All of this, just from the "Hello" of a letter to a church that was founded at the crossroads of a multi-cultural, multi-national, and multi-religioned city. 

Remember from history and using context, that Corinth was a hot bed of activity in commerce, in power, a cross roads of trade and language and even religion. The temples there to various Gods were competing with and condemning these baby Christians for their "brutal" and "bloody" religion. And to them, in the infancy of Christianity... the crucifixion and the symbolic "blood" purification we required for the remission of sins was ghastly to the city. So, the fact that Christianity had a church established there was amazing, and the fact that it was a powerful and firmly planted church was because of God's grace to them. Paul knew this and called it out.

What about us? Does that sound familiar?

Huh, Michael? What am I even talking about? THIS is what I'm talking about: the world is exponentially becoming ingrained in commerce and travel. The world is small to us. We are bored. We are ALL within a few clicks of being at a crossroads. We all have access to anything that is multi-cultural, multi-national, and multi-religioned at a moment's notice. To live for Christ, and BY Christ's teachings is rare. People use the term "Christian" and the guise of "Christianity" to sell money-making conservatism. Being a white, conservative, Republican in a Red State doesn't automatically make you a good, God-fearin' Christian. Following the teachings of Christ will make you a good Christian. Fakers will wage war on the poor, and not on poverty. They will tell you that family is first, but break up homes with outdated laws, outdated prejudices and fight people. They will tell you that the money making as conservatives is to continue to trust the way that it's been working, but it's not been working. Corporate greed and corrupt human politics are fighting to keep people poor and putting money after money after money into corporate coffers through the guise of progress and consumerism. BEWARE of this and realize what Paul wrote is true. Be FIRMLY established in Christ. You focus on Jesus, what Jesus did, what Jesus said, and HOW Jesus lived... you help your neighbor, you feed the hungry, help the sick, worry and show care for widows and the elderly. Be kind to those others would shun. You bring people to church that others would ignore. Don't focus on giving them a makeover or having them as a "project." Focus on showing God's love. You can NEVER go wrong being kind to people, loving people, and helping people.

Why is this concept so foreign? Because too many of us still see ourselves as the same old sinner, who’s been forgiven and patched up and yet is basically unchanged inside. We stay so "grateful" for being brought out of sin, that we forget to GROW in Christ. We forget that we are NEW creatures and that we are to walk in the callings that GOD gives us. We still think the same. We don't shift and fight and contend and WORK at being good Christians. We just expect God to miraculously change our personalities into these bound, Stepford-like "sheeple" that don't think, don't express personality, don't use their God-given gifts and talents... God made EACH of us to be unique and to do exactly what we were created to do. Not everyone is famous, not everyone is known publicly, and not everyone will be given their due recognition. But EVERYONE has a job to do, a soul to win, a work to accomplish and a measure of faith given to them. Don't sell yourself short. When God can trust you with a little, He starts trusting you with more. If you can be faithful with a just a little... you can grow that.

Are you new? Do you know who you are? Did you The Lord says anyone in Christ “is a new creature; the old things passed away” (2 Cor. 5:17). That’s what being born again is all about. We are new. If you are not new, if you can't get over yourself, and your past, and your regrets and your mistrusts, and your failure... how do you expect others to see you differently? How can you expect others to trust you and work with you, when you won't trust yourself or work with yourself? If you can't manage yourself, how can you manage others? Be new. Be changed. YOU are the ONLY key to that. Trust God to help you and have the FAITH that when God does a work in you, He is THOROUGH. We can never go back to the way we were.

The solution to this identity crisis is to change the way we think about ourselves. If we don’t, we’ll rely on how we feel, and Satan will bombard us with reminders of our failures and sins. But we walk by faith, not feelings. The devil wants to keep us focused on being a sinner, because he knows that the recognition of our sainthood will lead us to live like saints. We’ll be motivated and empowered to obey God, and the Devil will lose his foothold in our lives. 

You missed that point, didn't you. The DEVIL will use LIES like, "I don't 'feel' saved. I don't feel like being kind. I am just 'made that way' and I can't help it when I 'lose my temper' or 'run my mouth.'" Then we just give in to whatever is near. We stop trying. We stop fighting for our own causes and actions and to be better. We stop being CONTENDERS. But, those are lies. Those are untrue things that YOU control. You are the ONLY person that can control you. If you don't want to smoke, then don't. If you don't want to drink, then don't. If you don't want to do drugs, THEN DON'T. You are personally accountable and culpable for your actions. 

Jesus didn’t come just to save you from hell; If your only goal in loving Jesus is to avoid hell, you have it all wrong. You'll probably go there anyway if that's your mindset. (Yes, I just said that.) Jesus wants to live His life through you. He wants to use you to show love and kindness to others. Your testimony, your kindness, the newness of YOU will draw others to Christ, and then more, and then more. Your success in the Lord will RIPPLE throughout the body of Christ. The Kingdom will grow, thrive and future generations will feel YOUR life and what you decide today. In Christ, you have a new identity which has replaced your old one. So, live like it.

Be new. Be a new creature. Live like a new creature. Walk, talk, work, shop, drink, eat, and laugh like a new creature. Show up at work like a new creature. Show up at your family functions like a new creature. Show up with your old friends and live like a new creature. Don't throw away people or shun them if they are not just like you. Don't give up on others that you once partied with and sinned with if they can't follow you on your new journey in Christ. They still love you, so you need to still love them. One of the biggest reasons that we don't have people wanting Christianity is because WE, as Christians, don't live it out in front of the world. The reason we don't live it is because we don't believe it. (!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe I said that? Yes... you should. If you really believe something, your actions and your behavior will support that belief. If I 'believed' my house was on fire, my 'behavior' would be to get up and get out and get help. If I 'believed' my health was at risk, my 'behavior' would be to get to a doctor. WHY do we say we believe in Christ, but never follow the teachings he set forth?) But it's true! Why would ANYONE want to be a Christian when those that preach, teach and tout how great it is can't even live it or show it?

LIVE your life in front of your family, your friends, your colleagues. Show them. Be salt. Be light. If you will focus on who you are now, your actions will follow, and you’ll experience the enjoyment of a victorious Christian life.

I love y'all.
Cheers, #JustBeingMichael ツ