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Unifying The Body Of Christ Through Honor, Humility, and Love (Devotional)

The body of Christ is much bigger than any man made building or denomination. It’s the most unique body of people on the planet. It’s diverse. It’s beautiful. It is a group of people marked by the Holy Spirit where ALL parts are called to have the same honor and function as a cohesive body. We can be sure pride is in our life when we elevate people, look at status, or value one gift over the other. In turn, this breaks down the unity and love in the body of Christ.

Prayer:

Today we invite you in Holy Spirit to examine our hearts. Expose to us any pride, favoritism, religion and tradition that may be hidden. Let us come forth with boldness to recieve the mercy and grace you have for us. We thank you for it. Holy Spirit help us to live a life full of honor. Let us see people the way that you see them and help us to walk in humility and love above all else. We thank you for your help that is available today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture Study:

  • I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
  • Who is Apollos, really? Or who is Paul? Aren’t we both just servants through whom you believed our message? Aren’t each of us doing the ministry the Lord has assigned to us? 1 Corinthians 3:5 TPT
  • As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:20‭-‬27 CSB

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Results Of Obedience (It’s Not Always What You Expect)

The Holy Spirit told me to go get an oil change today. So, I went to 3 different places. One didn’t have the filters, one wanted double the normal cost, and another had no oil! I wondered why He told me to do something if I was unable.


Holy Spirit’s response was:
“It wasn’t the result that I wanted or expected, but you still walked in obedience to what I have called you to do.”


So often God asks us to do something and we expect things to go a certain way and even look a particular way. So, when it does not, we question, “Did I hear God correctly?”. We question if we fully obeyed because our own expectations were not met. Did we miss a step?


In reality, we did exactly as He asked. There is a reward for this, even if we do not see it in the here and now. We can trust that if God asked us, there is reason for it because His will is perfect, even if it’s not the result we expected. Our obedience really is not about the results, it is about trusting in Him.

Scripture:

  • The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” -John 14:21 CSB
  • The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,  making the inexperienced wise. The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb. In addition, your servant is warned by them, and in keeping them there is an abundant reward. -Psalm 19:7-11 CSB
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Having The Heart of Jesus In A Culture Of Disposal

Disposable.


The paper plates and plastic wear you throw away when you don’t want to do dishes. The one time use razors to shave. The rare but needed toilet paper that was hard to get ahold of just shy of a year ago. Our culture has made a habit of one time uses because it is well, convenient. However, I am sad to say that many of us have felt the weight of disposability when it comes to relationships and even our hearts.


As I was crying out to God yet again after what had seemed to be a relationship that had came and went without a word, I wondered what I was feeling. I had been praying for God to take out people that were not meant to be in my life and send people that were. I knew that this was an answered prayer but there was such a weight on my heart I knew I needed to talk to the Father. Our conversation went something like, “I forgive them Lord. I know I did as you told me to. You’ve searched my heart. But I just feel…I’m not sure how to explain it.”


Then I heard the Holy Spirit whisper that wretched word, disposable.


Quite often in my 28 years of life, I have tried to build relationships. But there comes a point in many of them that when I was no longer useful, I was tossed to the side. I was good until I was no longer useful. It seemed that through the seasons, I was labeled with a lack of durability for the long haul. Because of my previous history of trauma and abuse I lacked on understanding healthy boundaries. Truth be told, boundaries even felt ‘un-Christ like’ at times.


Disposable was slowly becoming my identity as each person came and went. It felt that each time, they took something with them when they left.


When we are built for community, it can be hard for us to understand why the cherished friendships we have cannot come with us in the next season. It can be hard to understand why when you are innocent, and you are made out to be the villain. Relationships can be messy. A wise counselor once told me that relationships are not only a place of hurt, but they are also a place of healing.


I have missed the mark countless of times in relationships and I am so thankful for grace and mercy. However, one reminder has remained the same through each season:


It is important that we value people through the heart of the Father and not our flesh.


Pride can sneak its way in and we slowly begin to have a fogged lens of superiority over one another. This is not the way God wants it to be. After all, it is only through His grace that we have been saved. It is a sheer gift, not something that can be earned or deserved.


If we treat others while remaining in the love of God there is no possible way we could treat them as something that can be used and tossed to the side. Because when we have God’s heart, we know that His Children are worth dying for when they have nothing to offer.


For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. -Romans 5:6-9 CSB


Jesus not only died for us and made us His children, but He encourages us that as we are being sanctified each day, that we are to be made into a vessel of honor for special use. The only way to no longer treat people as disposable and not allow ourselves to be used is through the Spirit of God. When we walk in step with the Holy Spirit, we will remain humble, living a life full of honor, love, and put boundaries in place that not only protect us but the relationships he has given us. We will not always get this right. But what we do after we have missed the mark is imperative.


Will we come boldly before God and expose the times we have had wrong motives? Are we courageous enough to call and ask for forgiveness when we have hurt those around us? And even if they do not forgive us, can we still pray for them with Abba’s heart? When we walk in love, remaining in the Spirit, we cannot help but see the value Jesus has placed not only on us but those that surround us.

Other Scripture To Meditate On:


If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others. -Philippians 2:1-4 CSB
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also those of wood and clay; some for honorable use and some for dishonorable. So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. -2 Timothy 20-26 CSB

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An Open Invitation To Be Still.

I came across a scripture I had read many times before. Maybe you know it too.

Psalm 46:10 NKJV reads:

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”.

With my eyes barely open and my coffee beginning to grow colder, I read Psalm 46:10 like this:

Be still.

And Know.

That I am God.

I continued to say it over and over and over. Hesitating, I fessed up to the Holy Spirit, “I am not even sure I know what that means.”

With gentleness and wisdom, the Holy Spirit asked me if I would like to find out.  As we began to study together the Holy Spirit revealed that to be still means to cease and relates to the word, rapha. God is also known as Jehovah Rapha, our healer. In other words, to be still means to cease, be repaired, or to be healed. To know, is to know through firsthand experience. The last part, I am God, is to display that God is exceedingly and mighty!  

All together this verse was more than just knowing of God and understanding that He fights our battles for us. To “be still and know I am God” means to cease, be repaired, be healed, through firsthand experience our exceeding and mighty God.

I had memorized this well-known verse many years before. In the stillness of what normally would be a busy morning, I began to see the impact that not being still has had on my life. At times, we can glance over known well passages of scripture without asking Jehovah Rapha to come in and do His mighty work. We go through the motions of our daily quiet time, where it becomes routine and religious. We check prayer, church, fasting, and even reading our bible off our list and fail to experience the transforming power it is meant to carry. All too often we glance over the scripture we have known for years and fail to see what Holy Spirit is trying to speak to us. The very ministry God had gifted to us through His grace becomes an idol. Our busyness can look spiritual and even look good to the outside world, but God knows our heart.

My coffee went from lukewarm to cold. Now, I could visibly see my relationship with God was beginning to grow to be the same way. While it was something that I had never intended, it was the reality of my present circumstance. I began to weep and ask for forgiveness. Unknowingly, I was about to taste freedom that my heart had been desiring. I was about to begin to hope once again.

The Holy Spirit spoke that it was time to stop going through the motions and fall back in love with Him. I had been in the wilderness for a long time. It was in the wilderness and through much suffering that I would be reintroduced to my first love. That morning was a marker to cease from the busyness, repair where things went wrong, and be healed of the hurts I had endured. It was time to get to know Abba again firsthand. It was time to see Him in an exceeding and mighty way that would blow my expectations.

I share this with you today because the same invitation that has been extended to me, has also been extended to you. Our perfect heavenly Father always has a listening ear for your questions. In fact, I believe He not only has an open ear, but desires you to ask questions. There are places in your heart that need to be mended and that need healing. God is not ashamed of where you are and you should not be either. Unlike worldly love that tries to change us to be loved, God loves us because it is who He is. As we get to know Him once again, we are transformed from the inside out.

Let’s boldly join together and welcome in the Holy Spirit to have His way. Let us cease from busyness. Only then will we begin to encounter God’s love and develop intimacy with Him once again.

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Love Straight To Your Inbox. (Or In My Case, A Mailbox)

A couple weeks ago the Holy Spirit told me to pray that I would recieve His love straight to my mailbox. He told me it would be out of people’s obedience to His voice & blow my expectations.
Every day over the past week, I have received care packages, notes, gifts, and an abundance of love straight to my inbox, just like He promised.
I am blown away each day as I go to my mailbox and find something new that extends his love. Truth be told, I went out reluctantly today, thinking there was going to be an end to it. Holy Spirit gently reminded me, “There is no end to my love” & I pulled out another handwritten note from a friend.

My encouragement to you today my friend is to set your expectations upon His love and expect His goodness. If you feel like fainting, keep trusting and not in your own strength. I know what it’s like to have a season that feels like it will never end. The suffering comes in waves upon waves and you realize HE is the only reason you’re not drowning. His grace is what has given you strength. He is the only one that has carried you through. But I also know what it’s like to tangibly feel His comfort and see His love in the midst of the darkest moments. His light pierces even the the darkest seasons of your life.

Draw near to him.
Seek him.
You will find him.
He is the only love that truly satisfies.

It will never grow cold, run dry, or run out. His love is never ending.

•Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalms 23:4‭-‬5 CSB
•I  would  have  lost  heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord ; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord !
Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 NKJV
•Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬5 CSB