Community, Love, Social problems, Uncategorized

Day 15: “Love Your Neighbour”

loveIf you read the news, you’ll see consistent coverage of polarizing topics and conversations that divide. Politics, government spending, inequality in the workplace, global warming, immigration. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion and divisiveness is the status quo. Marching, arguing, hating.

The thing is, you have more in common with your neighbour than you have differences.

If you’ve ever traveled to another country and spent time people-watching, you know a mother’s love is universal. Laughter in a movie theatre or adoration for a sunset alongside strangers transcends which suburb you grew up in or what sort of car you drive.

Stand in line at a water park with thousands of other guests and you’ll see that stretch marks don’t discriminate. Shade cover is ubiquitously desired and over-priced burgers taste good after a long swim in sunshine. Everyone agrees.

Can you spend some time today focussing on what you have in common with your neighbours, rather than your differences? Pray you will be able to extend grace to those you might disagree with and smile despite your disparity.

Prayer opens your heart and eyes to the need around you. The Holy Spirit will show you how to bless those across the road and serve your neighbours, no strings attached. Meeting people where they are will diminish your differences and allow God to make his way onto your street and into your hearts. Love lessons the gap between us and that’s something everyone can admit is more fun than fighting.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).

 

Devotion, Fasting, Uncategorized

Day 7: “His Grace is Sufficient.”

grace-is-sufficientYou’re one week into your time of prayer and fasting. Well done! If you are feeling a bit weary or thin, you’re probably exactly where you’re meant to be. It’s through your weaknesses that Christ’s strength comes into its own.

As you move into your second week, begin to lean on God like never before. Turn to him every time you think of your hunger. Call out to him instead of making coffee or looking at social media. Whatever you are giving up might feel like an area of weakness and vulnerability. That’s the point! Let Jesus shore you up and give you strength.

Focus your energy hearing what God’s will is for you and then pursue that. Nothing more. He is waiting for you to turn your attention to him. Strip your life back in such a way that God’s voice is the overriding sound in your ears.

Instead of focussing on what you might lack, concentrate on the gift of God’s strength to which you gain access only when you’re willing to admit you need it. What a comfort it is to know God is near! You are experiencing closer proximity to your maker because only when you admit your lack do you have room for his fulfilment.

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

 

church, Inspiration, Lift Church, Uncategorized

Our Family Rules!

house rules

I had the honour of sharing a message about healthy families last weekend at our beautiful church.  Many people have decided to post our “Family Rules” in their own homes as a measure of accountability and reminder of how we should all treat each other.  They come from a beautiful passage of scripture that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church:

Romans 12:9-18 (NIV)

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 

 Family Rules:

1) Live Truthfully (vs 9)

Truth/honesty/forthrightness vs. phoniness/lip service/deception/pretension.  Our own imperfections lived out honestly without hypocrisy will always go further with the people in our lives than pretending to be something we aren’t.  People, our kids especially, know anyway.

2) Show devotion and Honour (vs 10)

We esteem the family above our own selfish desires.  Loyalty to each other, the cause and vision!  “Kids, obey (honour) your father and mother” is a scripture we all love.  But parents, remember the next part is that we are not to exacerbate our kids (Ephesians 2).

3) Check Your Attitude (vs 11-13)

We are cheerfully expectant of what God is going to do in our lives.  Rejoicing in hope!  persevering in tribulation.  The world will know us by our attitude.  Let us not be known for what we are against, rather what we are FOR.

4) Speak Blessing (vs 14)

If we don’t have something nice to say, let’s not say it at all.  It takes 5 positive statements to outweigh one negative.

5) Empathize and Understand (vs 15)

My we treat others the way we want to be treated.  Celebrate together; cry together; put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

6) Be Humble (vs 16)

We don’t always have to tell everything we know!  When we are full of pride, always thinking we have the answers, those around us can feel like they will never meet our expectations.  The bar seems too high.

7) Always Forgive (vs 17)

Trust that God will be our advocate when wrong has been done.

As far as it depends on me, I will be at peace with all men!