Tag Archives: love

A Levitical-kind-of-love

As Kingfishers Catch FireDay 3  •  1 of 2
This is Day3 of a three part series for a devotional that I read. It was deep it was amazing. I do not remember where I got this whether it was online or via email I copied and pasted it because i wanted to re read it. Above is the details of the author so that they may get full credit for this.

I posted the other two parts of this devotional yesterday and the previous day. I will though add a prayer at the end of the devotional and word from this amazing series. Enjoy.
Devotional

Love, Love, Love

If we’re honest, most of us consider Leviticus dry reading, the kind of reading to do if you’re having trouble falling asleep or you’re doing some kind of forced penance. But not so fast. There’s something going on in those pages, something stirring.
“No single word in Leviticus has been quoted more often or in so many different contexts than this imperative verb in Leviticus 19:18: love. The word is threaded all through the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures and embedded on nearly every page of the New Testament. Love as a verb is personal, relational, comprehensive. Love is the primary verb in our Scriptures as a whole and in our language still.”
The uber-popular phrase these days is “Love wins.” But the question must be posed, “What kind of love?” And that question must be asked because there is the love we have for our trucks and cars, the love we have for musicians and their ballads, the love for sports teams, movies, pets, tacos, and the list goes on, doesn’t it? So if love does indeed win, and let’s believe it does, then again, what kind?
A Levitical-kind-of-love, that’s what kind. The kind that is straightforward without pages and pages of qualifications and loopholes. The kind that is direct and to-the-point and unconcerned with what’s uber-popular or not these days. The kind that loves a neighbor like we love ourselves, period, end of discussion, whether we feel like it or not. That’s the kind of love that not only wins, but conquers all, forever and ever, amen.

And to think we thought Leviticus was boring.

Just do it. Love your neighbor as yourself.
After day 3 I found where I got this devotional from: Thanks for reading through Eugene’s YouVersion Reading Plan! 

Leviticus 19:18 KJV

KJV Listener’s Bible

    

                

18Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Father God thank you for loving us. I ask you for guidance in embracing the “A Levitical-kind-of-love”. To be able to fully love everyone and embrace that ability. I pray for you to open my heart to love with all my might, so that love wins, so that love may conquer. Amen.

I am a friend of God

As Kingfishers Catch FireDay 2  •  1 of 2
This is Day 2 of a three part series for a devotional that I read. It was deep it was amazing. I do not remember where I got this whether it was online or via email I copied and pasted it because i wanted to re read it. Above is the details of the author so that they may get full credit for this.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will post this 3 day devotional. I will though add a prayer at the end of the devotional and word from this amazing series. Enjoy.

Devotional

God’s Friend

We find ourselves living in a time when the common question is not “Who are your friends?” but “How many friends do you have?” The focus is on numbers, not names. This makes sense in our social media obsessed world twhere it is possible to have hundreds, even thousands of friends. Or at least that’s the word we use when describing these people although many we’ve never met in person and some we could possibly pass by in a crowd and not recognize. But they are our friends. Right?
Maybe not. 
Maybe we’ve gutted that potent word of its force, and now it is so 

common as to mean everything, or, in other words, nothing. We’ve rendered it impotent. It is interesting that of all the words that could have been used to describe this man’s relationship with God, the one chosen was friend. And the man was a particular man with a name – Abraham.

“Being a friend is the opposite of being an enemy. That simple contrast stands out above all else in Abraham. Abraham was on such terms with his God that he responded without suspicion and without fear. Abraham somehow knew that God was on his side, that God was for him and with him, a friend…To be a friend of God does not mean everything is cozy between you and the Almighty.

 To be a friend to someone does not mean you pamper or indulge him or her. Friendship also involves struggle and loss, tension and turbulence…A friend, if honest and true, will tell you things you don’t want to hear. A friend, if deeply serious about you, will do things that feel painful. Friends do that because they respect our dignity and honor our uniqueness.”
So instead of wasting time focusing on numbers, how about bringing to mind some names that fit the above description of a friend? Could one of those friends be God? What would it mean for you to call yourself a friend of God? What could it mean for you to live like that?

Friend is totally about a relationship, not a function.

James 2:23 KJV

23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Father God I thank you for being a friend to me. I thank you for allowing me to be your friend. Thank you the relationships I have built whom are all friends of yours. I want to build more relationships with like minded folks. I want to be surrounded by positive relationships that strengthen one another vs building one another down or using one another. I thank you for your love and your kindness. I thank you for allowing our relationship, our friendship dear lord to grow. I pray for you reading this looking for growth in your relationship with God, I pray for you to have faith and patience. Know I am a friend of God, he calls me friend, but you too are a friend of God, and he calls you friend too. Keep looking, keep searching, keep praying. The road is not easy, but he got this. Trust in him. Amen

A Life of Congruence

 AS KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE by Eugene PetersonDay 1  •  
This is a three part series for a devotional that I read. It was deep it was amazing. I do not remember where I got this whether it was online or via email I copied and pasted it because i wanted to re read it. Above is the details of the author so that they may get full credit for this.

Today, tomorrow and the following day I will post this 3 day devotional. I will though add a prayer at the end of the devotional and word from this amazing series. Enjoy.
Devotional

A Life of Congruence

Congruence.

 Basically the word means “in harmony” or that “the outside matches the inside.” A life of congruence is one lived where your words and actions truck with the things you believe in your head. This is not an easy way to live by any means. But the alternative is living a life that’s divided against itself; in other words, a lie. So the effort is worth it.

It is entirely possible that you cannot recall ever hearing the word congruence. But there was a phrase people used to use to describe the same thing: practice what you preach. Does that one ring a bell? People who don’t practice what they preach are called “hypocrites,” which is another way of saying a pretender or an actor (and not in a positive sense). Do your words and actions match up with the thoughts that roll around inside your head? Or do you find yourself playing a role, saying or doing things that run cross-grain to what you think you believe?

The preface to As Kingfishers Catch Fire, says: “The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence – congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh.”
The opposite of congruence is some variation on the theme of compartmentalization that probably looks like “I’ve got my Christian life over here, my social life over there, my family life off over there, and my work life is back there.” Yes, that’s a house divided against itself. A house that in time will not stand.No dissonance between word and spirit, no pretense.

Ephesians 4:14 KJV

 

KJV Listener’s Bible            

14That

 we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Father God I thank you for another day. I would want nothing more than a life of congruence. To have a life filled in harmony with you. To have a life filled in harmony with my loved ones. To be able have a balance between my life as your child, my life with my families and every other aspect in it. Thank you for sending this powerful devotional series. Please bless the author, please bless any one reading who may be seeking peace and harmony. Amen. 

Words

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14
ESV
Our Words, Our heart, Our Thoughts should be aligned with what is acceptable in Christ.
Our words are powerful.
Our words can build up nations.
Our words can lead to riot and wars.
Our words can hurt harm and cripple someone who looks up to you.
Our words can build bridges.
Our words can provide comfort.
Our words can bring healing.
Our words can bring salvation.
Our words are not merely just words.
Our words can proclaim and prophesize your future and those you speak to.
Our word can bear seeds.
Our words can bring fruit positivity.
One has to meditate and ask for guidance from God for the words we speak.
Let our words, Our Thoughts and our hearts be acceptable to God.
GOD I pray for guidance, wisdom, knowledge and the ability to filter what come out of my mouth. I want to meditate in your word, so that your words can filter out of my mouth vs. my words. I want to have a pure heart, so that my heart, can be acceptable to you. Amen.

Recipe for Spiritual Growth


2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

 

When Peter wrote his letters to the followers of Christ he wanted to show them support, encouragement and provide direction. A mentor so to speak.
New follows of Christ need that kind of assistance to guide and reassure them so they do not get distracted. He states “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

 

This right here was Peterson way of showing exactly what you need to spiritually grow and supplement ones faith.
One needs:

  • Virtue
  • Knowledge
  • Self control.
  • Steadfastness
  • godliness
  • Brotherly affection
  • And love.

 

Here is a historical backdrop as to what was going on at the time and why Peter felt the need to provide the recipe to grow in faith.

 

The churches of Asia Minor were struggling with the persecution and suffering, this is s addressed in the letters in first Peter. The churches also had strife and dissension within each other and ranks. He wanted to steer the church away from false teachings. He wanted to show the importance in learning the word. He wanted to show them the importance in proper knowledge of God.

 

He emphasizes spiritual growth. Growth in ones faith, growth in ones understanding. Growth in knowledge.

 

Peter wants the church to have spiritual maturity through the Word of God, to avert from false teaching and a right response to heretics in light of Christ’s promised second coming.

 

He addresses his readers to encourage them so they can follow his lead with the recipe he provided. He encouraged the seeking and acquiring true knowledge of God. He encouraged diligently living our lives in faith. He encouraged living in peace and being as pure as possible so when we face jesus upon his return to be judged for our actions and deeds, we can be viewed spotless, clean, blameless and without sin.

 

Look we all go through difficult times. We also see that at the foundation of the church and the ministries of Jesus’ followers, they too had trials and tribulations. They too faced hardships and persecutions. Peter hands us the encouragement and the recipe needed to grow spiritually.

So let’s take a close look at the meaning to this recipe he provided:

 

 
You get a spoonful of Virtue, a cup of Knowledge, two cups of Self control, 2 tablespoons of Steadfastness, a liter of godliness, a quart of Brotherly affection and a gallon of love. **With all recipe you tweak the measurements to taste.
Mix these ingredients well.
Let it set.
Viola! You have begun taking those first few steps to grow spiritually with God.

Father God I thank you for instructing the writers of the Bible. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. You have left us with the Basic Instructions for us to utilize, live a hearty, whole and pure life to your stading, before we perish earth and join you. I thank you for allowing prophet to provide the buidling blocks of our spiritual walk with you. I thank you for this recipe, for allowing this to be a a guide as to what characteristics we need, how we should behave, how we should be with one another, how to grow, how to not loose sight of the truth, how to not be misguided nor misled. I thank you for the blueprints. The hardest job of any instructional manual is paying attention and following along. I ask for the strength needed, especially during trouble times so that I can grow closer to you. Amen.

Pulse

Dedicated to those whom were taken too soon at Pulse and to the survivors whom were fortunate enough make it out alive.
PULSE.
Thud, Thump, thud.
My hearts song live.
Thud, thump, Thud.
My heart finds its beat.
Thud, thump, thud.
Love is all I have to give.
Thud, Thump, Thud.
The rhythm which pulsates through me is so sweet.
Thud, Thump, thud, bang.
A year ago today, many lives were taken.
Thud, Thump, bang, bang.
A year ago today, many fears were awaken.
Thud, Thump, bang, bang.
A year ago today many lives where shaken.
smash, crash, thud thump.
A year ago today, many hearts were broken.
Today survivors replay that horrible night.
Knowing full well that what was done was not right.
Lives destroyed.
Families in pain.
Many keep busy, they just want to avoid.
The memories of the stains.
Regardless of one’s belief.
Difference of opinions should not make it right.
To take someone Else’s life.
Purple, Pink, Orange, yellow, Green Blue.
Because of the Pride in their flag.
It is not up to you.
Purple, Pink, Orange, yellow, Green Blue.
To them, they are more true than you.
They are open and honest of whom they are.
accepted or not, they are people too.
Sine bright, shed love, shed peace for all.
Families of Pulse, my heart and prayers goes out to all of you.
RIP.

Grace & Knowledge


But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 peter 3:18 ESV

Peter is asking us to grow in grace and in Knowledge of our Lord.

Lets define Grace & Knowledge.

Grace:
1a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

2a : approval, favor stayed in his good graces
b archaic : mercy, pardon
c : a special favor : privilege each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling
d : disposition to or an act
or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemencye : a temporary exemption : reprieve

3a : a charming or attractive
trait or characteristic Among disagreeable qualities he possessed the saving
grace of humor.
b : a pleasing appearance or effect : charm all the grace of youth — John Buchan
c : ease and suppleness (see 1supple 2b) of movement or bearing danced with such grace

4 —used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop

5 : a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks

6 Graces plural : three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm and beauty

7 : a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura

8a : sense of propriety or right had the grace not to run for elective office — Calvin Trillin
b : the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful accepted his advice with grace

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace

Knowledge:

1a : the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
b : the fact or condition of being aware of something (2) : the range of one’s information or understanding answered to the best of my knowledge
c : the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : cognition
d : the fact or condition of having information or of being learned a person of unusual knowledge

2a : the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knowledge

So now that we have defined Grace and knowledge now what?

Many of can be kind but many are not gracious. We need to grow and be more gracious, more loving more Christ like in our walk. We need to grow in Grace in the name of Jesus to walk in his walk. As defined above grace is a quality or state of being. Grace and being gracious is a virtue given to us by God. That characteristic about us, and about our faith needs to grow just like any other aspect of our life and spiritual life.

Knowledge: how do we grow in the knowledge of Christ?

You the saying knowledge is power? Knowledge and the ability to gain, retain and fundamentally use knowledge is beyond powerful. Knowing the scriptures of the old and new testament can be beneficial to one’s spiritual growth. Knowing the scriptures is helpful to b locating false prophets or false teachings in the name of God.

Knowledge in the academic setting allows you to advancements, scholarships and so forth right?
Knowledge in the professional setting can lead to promotions and economic benefits that many dream of.
Spiritual knowledge gets a reward unlike those of the academic setting of professional setting.

Knowledge in Christ nourishes the soul.
knowledge in Christ provides growth.
knowledge in his word prevents you being misled, betrayed, misguided.
knowledge in the world allows you to grow spiritually,.
knowledge in the word allows you to grow and build a better relations hip with Christ.

Being knowledgeable, being gracious, all in the honor of Christ can take you to places you could only dream of.

This scripture reminded me of a post I previously wrote about on Knowledge….
“Some of us may feel inadequate (I know at times I have felt this
way). Some of us may feel unprepared (I have definitely felt this way).
Some may feel unqualified….. as have I.”
we need to be gracious, we need to be lovable, we need to be knowledgeable but know the knowledge you need God will provide for us.
He will nourish, he will shelter, he will make us adequate.
Remember too that the knowledge will pass as long as we are doing his will.

Keep doing his will.
Keep walking his path.
Keep searching for more with him, he will supply everything you need to be gracious and knowledgeable in his name.

Father God I thank you for always proving the knowledge needed to do
your will. I thank you for allowing me to have a direct contact with you
via the Holy Spirit to be able to make such requests. I ask that you
continue to satisfy my hunger in all things pertaining you, may you
continue to pour out the knowledge and tools needed to carry out your
will. I ask you to fill me with your grace, fill me with your compassion, fill me with your love,fill me with your knowledge, fill me with the wisdom needed to take on the task you place before me. You are my strength when I am weak, you are my shelter in the storm. Amen.

Do you Love me?


John 21:15-17 ESV –
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to
Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He
said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,
“Feed my lambs.
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of
John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love
you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.
“Do you love me?”

I read this scripture with a narrative, and I began to question it. Not the content but my love, my love for my savior.
The Scriptures here shows that Jesus asked Peter a few times if he loved him.
So I did some digging.

Honestly my first reaction reading this was wow; here is Jesus telling he will be the one , the chosen one to lead his ministry. He will shepherd, us his sheep.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Peter-do-you-love-me.html

There is a narrative here describing when Jesus asked the questions and explains why. (See link above)

Here is the condensed “spark/ Cliff notes” version. (I think I just dated myself with that spark/ Cliff notes comment).
Jesus was eating after his resurrection with his disciples.
He wanted to encourage Peter about his responsibilities for the establishing the church.

He even prophesied how Peter would die.
So he asked 3 times. “Do you love me?”.
The whole notion of this was that it was important for Peter’s love to be declared, He wanted his obedience, which was necessary for the future of his ministry.
He asked him 3 times. The same amount of times Peter Publicly denied him when he was going to be crucified.

Jesus questioned Peter about his love, each time Peter answered he did love him.
So why ask about feeding the sheep?
What did Jesus mean by that?
Jesus was a shepherd, he was our shepherd as well.
The sheep he is referring to is us, the followers the believers of Christ.
So there Jesus gave Peter the authority to Lead his Church.

Peter was Chosen.
Peter was called to lead this ministry.
He was to be a shepherded of the those whom follow in the way of Christ.
Regardless of the reason why Jesus asked the question three times, we know that Jesus was letting him know that his new role would be important .

Think of it this way. When we are learning a new job position, a new trade, a new Assignment a new responsibility in life. It takes repetitive steps and guidance to get the gist of the task before you.
So as the narrator states “When someone repeats instructions to us over and over, we quickly understand that it’s extremely important for us to heed them.
Jesus wanted to make sure Peter understood this vital charge He was tasking him with and the ultimate reason for it, to follow Him and glorify God (John 21:19).”
After doing my “digging” and reading the entire narrative from the author. A lot of things made sense.

Remember nothing is done without a reason.
There is no such thing as coincidence.
This was all in his timing for his reason.
His will, will be done.
All in God’s timing.
EVERYTHING HAS A PURPOSE.
EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE FOR GOD.

Father God I thank you for another day, another moment to study and grow and learn about you. Thank you for this narrative. Thank you for the love you have giving me. thank you for your compassion. Thank you for entrusting peter to lead your ministry and tend to your flock of sheep. Father I would be lost without you. I love you with all my might. I am grateful for the opportunity to have salvation because of the sacrifice you did for me. AMEN

Take Your Life Back

“…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)
Take Your Life Back
When many of us listen to music, we hear the lyrics to the songs and sometimes we can relate to things we are going through in our lives.
When one breaks up with a significant other, the first thing we do when we are ready to start dating again is to fix one self up and “bring sexy back”.
When you are going through something, when you feel like things are out of control When you allow circumstances to dictate your thoughts and attitudes you need to refocus, you need to recenter oneself, you need to take control of your thoughts, and yes like this verse states, make it obedient to Christ.
you need to Bring Christ Back.
Forget about bringing sexy back.
We need to make sure you Bring Christ Back in all you do.
I know it is easier said than done.
there are things that can come up in our lives that can be damaging and hurtful, and manipulating.
I get it easier said than done.
I was once there.
When my life spiraled out of control, it was because I let my prognosis and my circumstance take control of my life, my thoughts and my actions.
I was told I couldn’t have kids, so i said the heck with it all, I started drinking (a lot), I started clubbing, I started partying, I got piercings (which I no longer have), I almost even got tattooed (Divine intervention prevented that).
One day I decided to Bring Christ Back.
I had ignored him for quite some time.
I had to ask for forgiveness.
I slowly opened that door, and remembered I should have never shut it in the first place.
He was exactly where he was when I slammed the door in his face.
Arms wide open, embraced his child, and said now that you had your fun, which caused more harm than good, are you going to let me in again??
I was bringing Christ Back.
JT you can continue to Bring Sexy Back, i need Christ more than I need Sexy.
Father God I thank you for your timing. I thank you for your words, your encouragement. I thank you for being my rock, my refuge, my salvation. I thank you for forgiving me. I thank you for your mercy. Lord you know my situation, you know my past. It has taught me that I need you more than ever. It has taught me I was wrong for slamming the door in your face, when the whole time you were there waiting for me to open it back up. I am grateful for your love. I am grateful for your guidance. I am also praying for you reading this. I do not know what you are going through. I do not know your circumstance. I do not know your trials nor your tribulations. I do know that you can get through this. I do know that if you open back up that door, Bring Christ Back, you will move on to a better place. Let JT continue to bring Sexy Back. You will do a lot more bringing Christ back in your life. I pray that God gives your the strength, guidance and understanding to make the moves you need to make in a Christ like manner, so that your circumstance doesn’t dictate your attitude and decisions. God I thank you for letting me realize that I need to always Bring you Back. I pray for continued empowerment from God for both you the reader and myself. We need his empowerment, we need his seal of approval, we need to be more obedient. In you name I pray Amen.

Fear No Evil, this to shall pass

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me…”
(Psalm 23:4, NKJV)
We have all had moments where we have felt we have walked through the valley of the shadow of Death.
It is how one handles that walk that determines your outcome.
Are you afraid of what is up ahead?
Do you fear the evil that is among this walk?
Rebuke that fear.
We need to fear no evil and have faith in the fact that your creator is always with you.
You can walk through that Valley and still come out victorious despite the obstacles.
Stand tall.
Stay firm.
Remain in Faith knowing that the God you serve is beside you, inside you and always with you.
Do not let your storms, trials and tribulations discourage you.
No matter what you are facing, no matter how difficult, know that you are not alone.
Sometimes you feel alone, but you are not.
Sometimes you feel abandoned.
Please know that you are not.
Sometimes you feel hopeless, desperate, and begin to lose your faith.
Dont!! he is there. Always there, watching you, observing you, waiting for the moment for you to reach out and declare his presence he is with you so he can work his wonders.
Go ahead.
Walk Through.
Know that these rough patches are only temporarily.
These patches do not last forever.
God is is walking beside you.
God Strengthens you
God is already clearing your path for you.
God is lining up people and lining up people and circumstances to take you out of that place so you can have your victory.
Don’t give up!
I repeat Do not give up.
Look to the other side.
visualize the outcome.
Proclaim it in Jesus’ name.
Walk firm, Walk tall, Walk with faith.
You will pass through this valley and the shadow of death.
He will make sure you overcome.
“Almighty Lord, I thank you for being dutiful and faithful in my life. Thank you for walking with me, even when I feel I am alone. Thank your for guiding me down those shallow dark paths. Thank you for proving that you ware always with me. Thank you for your constant reminder that without you I am no one. Without you I would not be here. Without you I would not have been able to overcome those obstacles in my hard times. I fully trust my life in you. I full trust that you will always be with me. I fully trust you will always find an answer. I fully trust that your will, will be done. Thank you for my strength. I love you. Amen.