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When God looks at how you spend your time and money, how you treat the people in your life and at your moral conduct, what conclusion might He come to regarding the priority He has in your life?

Are your choices made in ways that first consider what He wants from your life? Do your choices show that you want to honor the pattern of living and loving that Jesus demonstrated?

Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting that all your earthly needs will be met if you put God first in everything?

This is all sounds good, but applying the principle in practical life certainly does take faith.

Helping a relative who has lost a job is a good thing but what if it means scaling back a long-desired, long-planned family vacation of a lifetime?

Hmmmm….. that’s a tough choice for some.

But what would God have us to do?

Imagine there’s a lucrative opportunity to snag a big promotion at work but it would require being chosen over a co-worker friend who is also seeking the promotion. You know about a big mistake the co-worker made but which the boss hasn’t yet discovered. Do you subtly “help” the boss learn about the error and thus eliminate your competition for the promotion and big raise?

What would God have you to do?

Listen, we have daily opportunities to display our faith in ways visible to others. In recent days, I’ve witnessed at length about Christ on a couple of occasions while talking with Internet sellers about things they were offering. It’s been very interesting how the Lord opened the doors to speak about Him.

I should have been doing more of this but at least I can commit to doing it more from this point forward. I know this is what God would have me to do and I desire to please Him.

A verse from my daily Bible reading — Psalm 73:25 — should guide our actions all day, every day. Whatever we do, whether in word or in deed, should be done for the glory of God. That, coincidentally, is what Colossians 3:17 tells us.

And if we live according to the pathos of Psalm 73:25, we will live to please God.

“Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth.”

Let’s do our best to a life totally surrendered to God, a life that desires Him more than anything else.

He clearly deserves it.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When you were a teen and visited the homes of your friends, you could typically tell right away if the family members there respected each other and treated one another with kindness.

And if you sensed that relationships were not cherished but instead taken for granted, you probably didn’t want to return.

Who wants to stay in a home where people don’t do all they can to protect one another emotionally?

I Corinthians 13 tells us the “love always protects.”

If somebody trashes me in my family — whether biological or workplace or team or church — do I really want to be there?

I encourage you to be the kind of family member God expects you to be — caring, encouraging, protective.

This is what I need to do for others, as well.

Here’s what Paul wrote regarding the importance of this attitude when it comes to building strong congregations:

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

We all know of congregations that could accomplish more for the Kingdom in their communities if a greater sense of unity — of humility and protection — permeated every heart in the flock. Perhaps this describes your congregation.

Please, be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Make every effort to be humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and surrendering your opinions/preferences to the greater cause of shared purpose and accessed power from God.

It’s what loving faith families do.

It’s what you and I are to remember the next time the Enemy’s whisper calls us to either turn away from a Christian brother or sister or, even worse, turn against them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Morning Devotion: Someday

The patience of God is amazing.

With Adam and Eve.

With Noah and his family.

With Abram who was renamed to Abraham.

With Isaac, with Jacob, with his sons, with Joshua and the Exodus Hebrews…

The list goes on and on.

That list includes you and me, of course.

If God were not patient with us, we would have no hope for eternal life.

For we certainly don’t have enough spiritual merit to qualify for heaven.

But God IS patient. And that’s because God is purposeful.

You see, God has a plan for you and for me and has had such since before Creation.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us so.

His patience is rooted in His desire for us to spend forever with Him, according 2 Peter 3:9.

His patience is able to endure His disappointment with our decisions along the way toward the repentance and submission to the Gospel that He desires for every soul.

Why is He so patient? Check out this passage from Isaiah 43 and you’ll get a clearer picture of why:

I have made Israel for myself,
 and they will someday honor me before the whole world.” (Isaiah 43:21)

God knew that Israel was a work in progress, that all of the Hebrews should have been wearing T-shirts that said “He’s still working on me.”

God had the supernatural ability to see people for what they could be, not simply for what they were.

His hope was for their surrendering to His will for His glory and their eternal good.

Someday.

Wow.

We are given physical life so that we might give God our spiritual lives that are committed to honoring God in the eyes of the world.

Let’s do all we can to make “someday” start happening today.

It’s the least we can do for the Father who did the most He could do for us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are thousands of astoundingly beautiful natural wonders in this world.

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

The Swiss Alps.

The waterfalls of the Amazon River.

The rugged, tropical north coast of Kauai in Hawaii.

The Big Sur coastline of California.

The hummingbirds of the United States’ deep South.

The butterflies of Central America.

The list goes on an on.

But are these defined as God’s greatest creative works?

No.

Is it a flawless, huge diamond perhaps yet to be found?

No.

Is it a species of a rainbow-hued tropical bird with iridescent feathers yet to be found?

No.

So what is God’s greatest work on earth?

What is His masterpiece?

You are.

Huh?

That’s right. If you’re a Christian, you are God’s masterpiece.

For your life of surrendered obedience and service to the Lord is what God had in His mind before you were conceived.

You see, an artist always has a vision in mind before the creative work actually starts.

And so it was with God regarding your physical life and salvation into spiritual life.

Check out this message from Ephesians 2:10 and you’ll see what I mean:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

You are an awesome creation and re-creation of God. You are really something special.

You are a masterpiece.

Let’s join together with the certainty of God’s calling so that we can do good things today for others, just like God had in mind long ago when He conceived of our role in this world before He ordained our conception in our mothers’ wombs.

For the efforts we make for Him by serving others will be beautiful things in His sight.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are so many ways that our Christian faith can be displayed to the world around us.

Sometimes, though, we Christians mess up and seemingly beat people over the head with the fact of their sins, missing the opportunity to graciously point them toward a better way.

It’s not about ignoring the reality of unrighteous behavior and telling lost souls that they’re saved apart from conversion.

It IS, however, about showing and teaching grace to others with the recognition that it was our awareness of God’s gracious love that prompted us to repent of sins and surrender our hearts to Christ.

It’s all about love, really.

God’s love for us.

God’s love for others.

God’s love that should compel us to love others.

And God’s love flowing through us toward others as a sign of our faith.

The Apostle Paul said as much in Galatians 5:

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (verse 6)

Yes, we should understand the “why” and “what” and “how” of various volunteer roles at church. We should understand the pattern for worship in our particular congregation. We should understand how to use Bible study tools and the need to be faithful in our tithing toward ministry activities and we should understand the various practices and responsibilities for involvement in a congregation.

But if we don’t get the Galatians 5:6 thing right, we’re failing God and failing others.

Express your faith today in a tangible, merciful way that really counts.

Love people in ways that help to point their hearts toward the Lord.

After all, isn’t our love for them rooted in His love for us?

As always, I love you
Martin

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