Loving Others

I remember when I met Susan. She called in to our live television show a few years ago. Her voice was shaking, and she was very nervous. Susan said that she felt like God had thrown her out of His life.

When I asked why she felt that way, Susan told me, “In every church I have attended, people judge me when they find out about my past.” Apparently, she had been married multiple times, and had some past sins that she was ashamed about. Susan felt that she didnt fit in at any church.

Isnt that sad? What Susan needed was Christians to really show her Christ-like love. To accept her for where she was, not judge her past, and encourage her to grow in the Lord. Jesus Himself commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

So why is it so difficult to love others sincerely? Because loving as Jesus loves is impossible to do on our own. We need Gods love in us, to show that love to our world.

First John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”

Loving well takes practice, and resting in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. But its absolutely essential if you want to see people changed. Love, my friend, is the essence of reaching your world for Jesus Christ.

Pretense Leads to Burnout

Sooner or later most of us will encounter a Christian who is wearing a mask. We find out the pious Christian we thought we knew isnt the Christ-centered person they appeared to be. It seems to happen all too often on the national news and, sadly, in our local church.

The reality is that most people wear some sort of mask. Were scared that without a facade, people will see our inadequacies. Were scared that people wont like us if they really knew us.

But, the apostle Paul reminded us in 2 Corinthians that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lords glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”

Pauls message is that we can take off our masks, when we truly accept Christ into our hearts. Not only will we experience freedom, but Paul promises we will grow steadily in the image of Christ.

Lets face it – living a life of pretense is exhausting. We can avoid the burnout and live victoriously when we stop pretending. So, stop pretending and turn to Christ for your security. Then, youll be ready to tell others of the glorious freedom you found in Christ.

Your Spiritual Letter of Recommendation

Most of us at some point have asked for, or perhaps written, a letter of recommendation. In the early days of the church it was common to write such letters. These letters verified that a person was a church member of good standing and was truly walking with God.

When the apostle Paul was asked by the Corinthians for such a letter, he told them that “you yourselves are our letters of recommendation, written on our hearts…not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God.” He was telling them that they were his living letter and all the recommendation that was needed.

As Paul points out, either we have handwritten approval from man, or divine approval from the Holy Spirit. Our lives show where our approval comes from. Just as a doctors reputation is the proof of his or her abilities – so the impact of our lives on the lives of others is the living proof of our relationship with Jesus.

A Spirit-filled believer doesnt have to present a Christian letter of recommendation. Everything about that person gives witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Are you living proof of Jesus? Do people see Him through your life?

The Masks We Wear

In our neighborhood, and I suspect in yours, in October the kids put on costumes and go trick-or-treating. Most kids wear the mask of their favorite comic book hero to hide their identity and hopefully get a treat.

The sad thing is that many of us adults do the same type of thing. We put on the mask of a pious Christian. We go to church on Sunday. We say all the right things. We pretend to be faithful. We pretend to be a “good Christian.”

The apostle Paul attacked this imitation of Christian living. In 2 Corinthians, he says that “unlike so many, we do not peddle the Word of God. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity like men (and women) sent from God.” Paul is telling us to take off our masks. To stop trying to deceive others. To stop trying to cover up our sins.

God can see through the masquerade that keeps us from walking openly with Him. Its only when we open our hearts and allow Christ to make us the kind of people He wants us to be that we can stop pretending to be someone were not and truly let the world see Christ through us.

Pray Great Prayers

When I was a teenager in Argentina, a missionary from California taught me how to pray. His name was Keith Benson. Keith asked if I would like to pray with him once a week. I was thrilled! The first afternoon we got together, Keith put a map on the wall. On the map was the city of Cordoba, which is the second largest city in Argentina.

We began praying for each and every church in Cordoba. It took many months, but we did it! Then Keith began putting up maps of other cities throughout Argentina, and we prayed for those by name, week after week.

Eventually, it was on to South America. We prayed for each and every country. Finally, Keith brought out a globe of the world! And I fell in love with the nations! I learned so much through those prayer sessions. Keith taught me that regular prayer not only enhances your relationship with God, but it increases your vision for what God can do through your prayers. I determined that I was ready to go wherever the Lord called me!

In John 16, Jesus says: “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Whatever we ask in Jesus name, He promises to do it. So dream big – but pray even bigger – that God will use you to reach your world for Jesus Christ!