BECOME AN APOSTLE OF LOVE

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

The first time that being an Apostle Of Love was mentioned to me I resisted even the thought of such a thing. Then as The Lord began Ministering to me, He gently reminded me that: “God Is Love”. He also brought out that Apostle means: “one sent out on a mission”. Then I realized that was indeed me.

Possibly you may see yourself also identified as an Apostle Of Love let’s explore and examine the topic together.

You & I are here and now The Hands & Feet Of Jesus Christ in this world – think of it like this: when others see you, they are seeing Jesus – you have been Born-Again By God’s Power – it is no longer you who lives, it is now Christ Jesus Living Through You!!! “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

When you look to yourself, you will be discouraged by your failings and weaknesses. But, as you Keep Looking To Jesus you will find courage In His Perfection & Strength! Your life is not about you – what you have or have not done, can or cannot do – it’s about The Lord Jesus & Him Alone!

“Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher bringing it to maturity and perfection. He, for the joy of obtaining the prize that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12

Are you beginning to see yourself Apostle Of Love?

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NOTICE THE “ABOVE ALL”.

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

JESUS ON RACE ISSUES

Just since 1992, when four LAPD officers were acquitted after beating Rodney King on film, there have been more than a dozen race-related riots in the United States. The death of George Floyd at the hands of officers in Minneapolis, MN, kicked off protests in most of America’s major cities, many of which have erupted into riots.

Contents under pressure eventually explode, and when they do, the results can be messy. These tumultuous moments force our country to address racial tensions that many white Americans are largely unaware of, but that brown and black Americans live with every day.

When it comes to race issues, how might Christians respond? How did Jesus address the topic of race? And, in light of the gospel, how should we engage in discussions about race?

Class and race in Jesus’s time
Our Savior was born into a world full of divisions. Israel was occupied by Gentile Romans and many of their own countrymen served Rome as tax collectors. These traitors served Rome and made their living exploiting their fellow Jews.

On top of the tensions with the Romans, the Jews hated their Samaritan neighbors. In fact, there was a Jewish proverb stating that bread given by a Samaritan was more unclean than eating swine flesh. It was the height of insult for an Israelite to call another Jew a Samaritan. We often miss this insult in John’s Gospel when the Jews are talking to Jesus, “The Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed'” (John 8:48)?

These kinds of problems have sprung up around race and class divisions since the beginning of time. Humanity’s inability to celebrate the differences of others, care for one another in their unique struggles, and empathize with their experiences spring from our fallen sinful nature.

The scandal of good Samaritans (Luke 10:25–37)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of Jesus’s most famous stories. After Jesus had summed up the Mosaic law as loving God and loving one’s neighbor, a lawyer had intended to justify himself with a pedantic question about who exactly was his neighbor.

Jesus launched into a story about a robbed and beaten Jewish traveler left to die on the side of the road. At different moments, a priest and a Levite both come across this poor man—and both cross the road to avoid him. Jesus didn’t give their motives. Why they ignore him didn’t matter.

Eventually, a Samaritan stumbles upon the unfortunate man and has pity on him. He goes out of his way to care for this traveler, offering both time and personal resources for his care. He pays an innkeeper to watch over the man, even promising to come back, check on the traveler, and reimburse the innkeeper for any extra expenses.

When Jesus finishes His story, He asks a simple question, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The Gospel tells us the lawyer responded, “The one who had mercy on him.”

To make a Samaritan the hero of this story wouldn’t have been surprising—it would have been absolutely shocking. But Jesus wasn’t just stretching their idea of who was capable of kind gestures. He was telling His listeners that they were responsible for loving everyone—even people they’d been brought up to despise.

Jesus’s alarming views on race came up repeatedly. Imagine being the disciples coming upon Jesus chatting it up with a Samaritan woman alone. Her gender would have made that wrong. Her race would have made that wrong. And her lifestyle would have made that wrong. But once again, Jesus demonstrated that our relational obstacles and prejudices are not His.

In case there was any doubt about His desires, Jesus explicitly told the disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He expected the disciples to extend kingdom invitations to their worst enemies.

Achieving unity in the church
From there, Paul and the New Testament authors unpacked the implications of the Christian’s new reality. Paul tells the Ephesians:

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14–18).

In Christ, the things that would normally separate us are woven together into a single beautiful tapestry. Things like race, gender, and class are no longer barriers to unity. They’re what make our oneness so attractive.

In Revelation, John describes the vision he received of a glorified church:


“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9–10).

It’s critical to recognize that this multitude of worshipers didn’t blend into one single race. They didn’t have to lose those things that made them distinct for them to be unified in glorifying God. The wonder of heaven is the multitude of nations and tribes bound together in Christ, praising God in a multitude of tongues. God is glorified by the things that make us different from one another.

The goal of Christians on earth is to preview the kingdom of Heaven. Our lives, behavior, and community should give people a taste of what God’s kingdom will be like. We should demonstrate what kingdom oneness looks like. But it’s important to recognize that this doesn’t mean that we “don’t see color.” If all nations and tribes are going to be before the throne, then there is something divine and critical about our differences—something that needs to be recognized and celebrated.

Putting the kingdom on display
The devil loves to sow as much disharmony as possible. He’d love to turn racial justice into a partisan topic that forces people to choose a political side. And many times throughout history, he has. He’d love to encourage the Lord’s church to land on a non-kingdom approach to this loaded issue.

But Christians are called to unity around the person and perspective of Jesus, seeing beyond the obstacles to racial harmony. Like Jesus, we should confront and address racial tension, rather than avoid it. And while we might not always agree on the best course of action, our identity in Christ should be able to soften those disagreements.

In the middle of a broken and hurting world, the church is an advertisement for a kingdom of reconciliation and unity. Please join me in praying and working for racial harmony in our cities and communities.

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

OUR VINEYARD

Life gets busy. Really busy. We’re stretched in numerous directions while facing a litany of endless deadlines. It’s always something before we collapse into bed in the wee hours. 

Martha knew all about this. The busy sister. The world can’t run without invested Marthas. God knows this and intentionally gave Marthas their drive. Male or female, this personality organizes, coordinates, produces and runs countries. Without Marthas, life would be disorganized and primary.

Mary knew about this too. The devoted sister. Same world can’t run without intuitive Marys. God likewise designed this personality and gave Marys their perception. They listen, observe, advise, and savor life’s beauty. Without Marys, life would be regimented and exhausting.  

Marys need Marthas and Marthas need Marys. But both need The Vineyard.

The Bethany Sisters are meticulously highlighted for our review. Their types run throughout Scripture; however, Luke fastened them to parchment. Jesus was so comfortable with their polarized strengths that His itinerary wove its way to their doorstep. Chef Martha, Innkeeper Mary, and Concierge Lazarus made their Judean address a five-star stopover. The “Vineyard” was booked for a stayover.

The Vineyard. An enriched field brimming with hearty vines, guaranteed to produce under the watchful oversight of the Vinedresser. He’s careful to ensure mature fruit; requiring pruning for the best harvest and vitality of the plant. Strategic pruning, which while momentarily unpleasant, brings the Vinedresser in closest proximity to us.

It’s non-accidental to find ourselves with both sisters’ priorities. We locate Martha fluttering about her well-organized kitchen. The Master and Company have arrived and 13 hungry mouths await her culinary prowess. Lazarus readied foot washing for their guests while Mary stood alongside her sister cutting vegetables in preparation. Wrong. She’s seated at her place of joy: Christ’s feet. The heat of the kitchen caused more than the fire to flare. 

…“Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me.” Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.” Luke 10:40-42

Cue the 21st century. Texting, social media, 60-hour workweeks, aging parents, worn brake pads, family illnesses, missed deadlines, and more month than money. An overabundance of Martha maladies. And if we stop, dare to slow down, what disasters will result? Who’s going to complete it if we don’t do it ourselves as galvanized taskmasters?

God lovingly calls us out of our hot kitchens to the cool oasis of His presence. Offered long overdue relaxation, He motions to a soft pillow beside Him. It’s the only way to recalibrate from life’s demands, for our Good Shepherd knows we must be made to lie down in green pastures for soul restoration.

It’s true; mankind cannot live by bread alone. We’re not mere humans but spiritual beings as well; needing to feed on every word that proceeds from God’s mouth. Everyone must satiate the Mary factor woven into us that nourishes our deepest needs. Bake Martha’s bread and savor its provision, but the menu items of hungering and thirsting after righteousness hold utmost priority in God’s economy. This is the good part—Christ referenced to all Marthas—that cannot be taken away.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

The cares of this world will assuredly be overseen by its Creator, while He invites drinking deeply of His living water. Wisely invest in your Mary side. Your Martha is depending on it.

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

GIFT FROM GOD

WILL YOU TREAT IT AS A GIFT?

Numbers 18:7
“But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

Leadership is indispensable. We need leaders at all levels of life. We therefore need to understand leadership. The Bible today is addressing Aaron and his sons who are to serve as priests in Israel. God tells them, He is giving them the priesthood as a gift. They will lead as priests, serve as priests, but keep in mind that it is a gift. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Many leadership positions are perceived as merit. They are seen as designed for the best and the qualified. Therefore leaders ascend to power as a right and with a better than thou attitude. That changes their leadership and affects their achievements. If only those who ascend to leadership would see it as a God given gift. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

When a leader is qualified and entitled to the position, she/he doesn’t need to consult or listen to opinions of unqualified people they are working with. When a leader is qualified and entitled to the position, everyone owes them homage, respect and unquestionable loyalty even when they are wrong. That means they will make mistakes that will bring them down, but no one will intervene, because of their attitude. People will watch them rise and fall without intervention. That would change significantly if they conducted themselves as people who view their leadership as a gift. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Aaron and the sons were told by God that the priesthood was a gift. The priesthood was not an announcement to the world that you are the best spiritually, mentally, physically or even socially. It’s just a gift. Therefore don’t feel better than others. Don’t treat others as less than you. Just serve being ever grateful to God for the gift. Don’t over rate your leadership as a statement of who or what you are, it’s just a gift that anyone else could have been given. Serve with that understanding. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

What position of leadership are you holding? It is not a result of votes or merit, it is a gift from God. Treat it as a gift and you will excel. Treat it as a gift and you will please God and humanity. Treat it as a gift and the cooperation you will get is unprecedented. Treat it as a gift and you will be very prayerful. Treat it as a gift and your critics will be less confident. Treat it as a gift and your mistakes will be understandable. Treat it as a gift even if you got it by majority votes. Treat it as a gift even if you got it through a very competitive process. You will do well to treat it as a gift. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Any leadership should be treated as a gift. Are you a pastor? Treat it as a gift. Are you an elected church leader? Treat it as a gift. Are you a politician? Treat it as a gift. Are you leading a family as a husband, wife, or firstborn child? Treat it as a gift. Are you leading a committee, a group, or some project? Treat it as a gift. Are you a qualified academic leader? Treat it as a gift. Whatever position big or small, treat it as a gift. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Romans 11:29
“for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Good news to leaders, when God calls you and gives you the gift of leadership, He doesn’t revoke it. It is irrevocable. Even when you are retired, fired or rejected, God’s call and gift on you remains. God rejected king Saul as King of Israel, but He expected everyone to forever treat Saul as God’s anointed. Saul wanted to kill David, but David gave his continous respect of God’s anointed servant, even when he had an opportunity to kill Saul. David knew and remembered that God’s calls and gifts are irrevocable. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Rom 12:7 — Rom 12:8
“if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Any leadership is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Without the gift, the leader is incompetent and unproductive. Without the gift the leader is not really a leader. To be a leader, or to serve in any position, is a gift from God, treat it as a gift!

Precious ABBA Daddy, remind us everyday in our small and big positions, at home, at work, in school, and in the community, that we are not better than others, it is just a gift from You. Teach us to treat leadership as a gift. Since leaders are your choice, teach us to respect them, when they are on duty and even when they are out of those positions. In Jesus name I Pray, Amen!

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

THE LORD OUR SANCTUARY

Ezekiel 11:16 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’”

Sanctuary refers to a sacred place because of the presence of God. But sanctuary also refers to a place of safety.

Hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us too? While traveling using dangerous means and routes, hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us? While living and working with people who hate us for good reasons and no reasons, hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us? While transacting business with swindlers who wouldn’t mind ripping us off of everything, hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us? While sitting exams and going through studies that very few excel, hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us? When illness threatened and medical care faced failure in our cases, hasn’t God been a sanctuary to us?


I have been a sanctuary to them declares the LORD. While engrossed in fear and worry over our welfare and safety, unknown to us, God was our sanctuary. We have survived many things miraculously because God has been a sanctuary to us. We can’t explain our progress and success amidst present challenges until we realise that God has been a sanctuary to us.
How did we survive loneliness, losses, pain, worry and rejection? God has been a sanctuary to us. How do we survive hard economic times with low incomes, with joblessness, with poor future prospects? God has been and is a sanctuary to us. How do we survive shame, gossip, being negatively thought of, and negative publicity? God has been a sanctuary to us.


The Lord God is and will be our permanent sanctuary today and forever more, in Jesus name, Amen!!!

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU

A RENEWED MIND

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
-Ephesians 6:17

“Get your head covered, it is cold outside!” How many remember your mom or dad saying that to you? Well, it is the same here. We need to get our heads covered. The enemy is always looking to get a thought-bomb into our mind. He wants to bring doubt and unbelief. He knows that if he can get us to doubt God’s Word, he can defeat us.
In this verse, it tells us to take the “helmet of salvation.” Our salvation is the most powerful of all gifts that God has given to us. We are saved because of what Jesus did on the cross. When Jesus’ disciples came back from preaching the Gospel, they were all excited because of all the miracles that they had witnessed, yet Jesus gets them right on track again. He said in Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Salvation is a gift from God, and it comes to us by believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Salvation does not come through works or being good. It is freely given to anyone that will receive it. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

As you get spiritually dressed today, look to Jesus and thank Him for this great salvation that He has given to you. Thank Him that you are heaven-bound, and that you will never go to hell because of all that He did on the cross. As you do this, remember the work of Calvary, and His resurrection, and let the helmet of salvation get on your head and protect you from the thought bombs of the enemy. When they do come, cast them down in Jesus’ name, and receive the victory through Him.

CONFESSION

The work of the cross is a great work, and I believe it with all of my heart and mind. Today, I put on the helmet of salvation, I CAST DOWN EVERY thought and make it OBEY the Word of God. My mind is RENEWED daily with The TRUTH, The WORD OF GOD!

KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU