Thou shalt love the Lord how much?

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The majestic, simple Gospel

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My inevitable but necessary 31-day sabbatical has ended. I am home. I will publish my next “For His Glory” post on Wednesday, May 17.

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The other cheek

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Living under the other shoe

shoe dropFor years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When  I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did.  A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution.  I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?

Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”

I’ve never worried about that shoe again.

 

The Shoes of Peace Aren’t Flip-Flops

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“Christian” is a lousy adjective

A Jewish lady answered a knock at her door. The young man asked her if she wanted her house painted. It needed painting, so she took his card. She noticed a fish symbol on the card and asked him what it meant. “It means I’m a Christian painter,” he said.

In my opinion, calling yourself a “Christian” anything presents two problems. First, no one has ever explained to me what a Christian is in Biblical terms. Any definition fails to capture what Jesus taught us about following Him.

And second, using “Christian” to describe a “painter” does not help me learn anything about the person holding the brush and ladder. Does a “Christian painter” paint differently from a “Catholic painter” or a “Muslim painter” or, “atheist painter”? The woman wanted her house painted. All she cared about was whether or not the guy could paint.

Too many times I think folks use “Christian” to describe their business to persuade their customers they’re more honest or ethical than “non-Christian” businesses. That somehow their “Christian business” ethics or integrity or quality of work is superior to their competitors who don’t flash a “Christian” label in their front window or on their business cards.

Too often we hear stories of bad experiences some consumers have with “Christian” businesses who flash their fish symbols then act just like the world in the market place. Those “Christian” business folks drive people away from The church and away from Jesus. One bad “Christian” business deal can destroy dozens of potential good business deals with authentic followers of Jesus who take Jesus to work every day.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23

Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to flash a “Christian” label to attract more customers, or to describe one’s integrity or character. Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to convince others of their faith. The way we love others is all we need to bear witness to our integrity and our character.

Do you ever use the “J” word in public?

Did you inow . . . Continue reading

Was God’s creation perfect?

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Some encouraging words

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Today I found an uplifting, positive blog

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Detaching to detox

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Bobby Kennedy’s speech on Martin Luther King’s assassination

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My response to the tragic murders in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernadino and beyond

Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog post two days before the
police murders in Baton Rouge.

A fellow blogger on Bloggermeetup.com challenged us to write a blog post conveying our thoughts and feelings about the killings in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernardino and beyond. Here I goes . . .

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Loving people where they are

Editor’s Note: When I read this post on Shannon’s blog, I left her a comment saying everyone needs to read this message. In my opinion it goes to the heart and soul of the solution to many of our world’s social ills.  Enjoy.

By Shannon Moreno
Blogger over at Revelations in Writing

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)

I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for usshannon 3 how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.

Shannon is a long-time devoted blogger since 2011. I read her thought-provoking posts regularly. Shannon is a career teacher and coach and is raising two teenage boys. which in and of itself is a full time job. Read her posts on her blog at https://revelationsinwriting.wordpress.com

Grace means . . .

Editor’s Note:Grace means . . .” was written by Sparrow Girl on her blog over at Underthewaterfallofgrace It appears on here home page sidebar. She’s been one of my favorite blogging friends for years. She and I share the same passion for our true identity in Christ. She writes about it beautifully. Be blessed, my precious readers.

Grace means there are no demands on you today..you do not need to ‘do’ anything or ‘become’ anything – you already ARE all you were meant to be, as a gift (something given, not worked for, something already yours, experienced and enjoyed here and now by simple faith – by seeing it is yours), by Jesus’ work on your behalf.

You already ARE righteous, loved, accepted, at peace with God, empowered, free from sin’s power, strong, holy, pure, and ONE with God, together with Him forever.

You are His child, included in the royal family, and the inheritance is yours in Christ!

There is nothing left for you to do because Jesus did it all and will manifest it all in you! You are free! Free to enjoy a love relationship with the most Perfect Love of all – HIM!

Break the law. Oh, Please, break the law

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Do you have a big but?

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What if atheists and non-believes are right?

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The problem with listening

Too often I listen, but I don’t hear.

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No way to treat a gay waitress

A gay Charlotte, North Carolina waitress was dismayed this week when a woman customer scribbled Leviticus 20:13 on the ticket where the tip should be. Continue reading

Because He lives . . .

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Meekness: A Fruit Of The Spirit

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Meekness is not weakness

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Is Tolerance In The Bible?

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God helps those who help themselves. NOT!

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Banned Words For 2016

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Define Christmas In One Word

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Don’t Offend Anybody Now!

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Are We A Christian Nation Really?

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My Greatest Need

My greatest need is to know my greatest need.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Lord Himself tells us,Jesus

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

If I’m brutally honest with myself, I don’t.

I looked up the word “all” in the dictionary.  It means all. Not “some”, not “most”, not “a lot”. It means all.

I had a moment of self awareness on the way to church Sunday.  I love some things in life more than I love God. Oh, I love God. On occasion I love God so much I weep with overwhelming joy. But He’s not the center. I want Him to be all the time, but He’s not always.

When I read Scripture the Bible seems to be saying our purpose in life is to know, love and walk with God. To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I want to be like David, “a man after God’s own heart.” I want to develop a holy hunger and an unquenchable thirst for God and make Him the center of everything I think and say and do and feel. That’s my greatest need.

Dance Lessons

By Dr. John Ed Mathisonjohn ed
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Many interesting life lessons were learned from this past basketball season.  Many coaches and teams can testify that you can get overconfident and be upset.  Many learned that there is no such thing a sure win in the “big dance.”  Coach Ron Hunter from Georgia State learned that you can get injured on the bench if you celebrate too much!

On February 18, 2015, I wrote about Coach Dean Smith and things he taught as a coach.  On October 29, 2014, I wrote about a new hero of mine, Lauren Hill.  She scored the first basket of the college basketball season.  She is on hospice, but still alive and doing God’s will.  Both of these blogs are archived on my website.

Here are two more powerful lessons I learned from this past year:

When Austin Hatch was 11-years-old he survived a plane crash that killed his mother and two siblings.  Would you believe that eight years later another plane crashed and killed his father and stepmother and left Hatch in a coma?

Austin wanted to play college basketball.  As a 20-year-old he finally realized his dream when he walked on at the University of Michigan.  He scored his first points when he sank a couple of free throws.  He said, “My past won’t define my future.  What happened to me is kind of unique, but that’s what happened.  That’s not who I am.”

Our past should not define our future.  If our past is tragic and bad and disappointing, God’s gives us a new chance and a new hope for the future.  If our past was extremely successful, we can’t rest on the laurels of the past but have to move on to what God is calling us to do today.  Our past should never define our future.  The Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting the things that lie behind, and reaching for the things that are before, I press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Coach Kevin Willard is the coach at Seton Hall.  He did not have a really good season as he was 16-14 and 6-12 in the Big East when he played Georgetown.  He desperately needed a win.  There was some talk that his job was in jeopardy.

Georgetown had a player by the name of Tyler Adams.  Tyler came to Georgetown on a scholarship, but developed a heart ailment and couldn’t play.  Georgetown’s final game was with Seton Hall and the NCAA granted a waiver for Tyler Adams to play.

At the opening tip Seton Hall fell back and allowed Adams to dunk his first goal in college basketball.  He then was taken out of the game and left with an emotional exit.  Georgetown did not know that Seton Hall would purposely let Adams score the first goal.

It was a class act on the part of Coach Willard!  Seton Hall went on to lose the game by only 4 points.  He received some criticism for allowing Georgetown to get 2 easy points.  He said that it was more important for Tyler Adams to have a memory of his only game in college basketball than it was for him to get a win.  That is class!  The Bible says that we should esteem others better than ourselves.

In life winners are not those who score the most points, but those who score the most with their lives.  If you want to advance through the brackets of life, learn and practice these lessons taught by Austin Hatch, Kevin Willard, Dean Smith, and Lauren Hill.

The “big dance” takes on a new meaning.  David relates how in Psalm 30:11God “turned our morning into dancing.”  The wisdom of Solomon is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:4 when he tells us that it is a time to dance.  Austin, Kevin, Dean, and Lauren are pretty good dance teachers!

John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

Amazing Grace. How Sweet The Sound.

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When God Said No

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“Mitchell, Mitchell, Mitchell”

This will bless your heart and soul.
Do unto others. Love one another.

Dear John Letter

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Your Drawbridge

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

We are constantly warned that we have to be careful what we eat. If we consume spoiledjohn ed or poisonous food, it will have very adverse effects on us. When going into a foreign country you have to be careful about drinking the water. What we put into our bodies will determine how our bodies function.

The same is true of our minds. What goes in determines our actions. You can’t put in bad things and expect good things to come out. Our minds are like a computer – garbage in, garbage out.

We are the only ones who determine what goes into our minds. This makes guarding our minds very important. Recently Jim Denison referred to the following quote by Henri Nouwen: “Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle.

The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down. Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. He will never feel at peace in his own castle.”

Apply this image of the drawbridge to your mind. You are the keeper of the drawbridge. You need to keep the drawbridge up when bitterness comes calling. All of us have adversities in life. We get mistreated. If you invite bitterness into your mind, you will become a bitter person who other people don’t enjoy – and you won’t enjoy yourself.

Negativity inevitably comes calling. Keep the drawbridge up. A negative outlook will always produce negative results. Whenever people say that something is impossible, practice selective deafness. Don’t listen to them.

Pride is constantly requesting entrance. The middle letter of pride is “I.” It creates an attitude where we think life focuses around ourselves. Sin also has “I” as the middle letter. Pride is an expression of sin. It is when we think we can replace God. When sin and pride call, keep the drawbridge up.

Fear will come calling. Fear will paralyze you. Fear will conjure up demons that don’t exist. Fear will make you feel totally inadequate to face a situation. The Bible speaks 365 times against fear – that is once for every day of the year that will help you keep the drawbridge up on fear.

There are some good visitors that will come calling. Put the drawbridge down for them. One is faith. Faith is the antithesis to fear. Faith means that we are going to follow what God desires for us. One of the best definitions of faith is “forsaking all, I take Him.” He is in charge of the future.

Hope will come calling. Put down the drawbridge. I love the lines in South Pacific where the young lady sings, “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my mind.” The most basic hope that we have is not in our individual achievement or our personal abilities, but in the fact that God created us and has a plan and purpose for our lives.

Love will come calling. Welcome love. Jesus taught that it is the way that we are to live – to love God and to love our fellowman. It is the universal language that everyone understands.

You are in charge of the drawbridge to your mind. Nobody else can operate it for you. What you allow to cross the drawbridge will greatly affect your quality of life and your effectiveness as a human being.

Guard carefully your drawbridge.

John Ed’s posts appear each Thursday in For His Glory.

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

How Much Do You Love God?

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At The Edge Of The Water

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An Unexpected Blessing

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Off The Deep End

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A Prostitute Teaches Me How to Worship — Part II

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Perfect Fit

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Our daughter gave us a fancy coffee maker for Christmas a few years ago. We love it. We’ve used it every morning (and some evenings) since that Christmas morning. It makes great coffee and is so simple even I can use it.

If there’s a negative it’s that all the pieces have to fit perfectly for the coffee to brew correctly. There’s a plastic basket we put the coffee filter and coffee in. It fits down into the brewer and snaps into place.  We put water in the pot and it slips under the basket. It has to click into position on the warming plate just so.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him he will bear much fruit. John 15:5

If the basket on top and the pot on the bottom fit in their places you have a perfect fit, and the coffee maker works perfectly.  You have to fit the basket into place and hear that click. And you have to slide the pot underneath in just the right place. If you don’t, the pot still brews coffee; but half of it runs all over the counter top and cogs1down the front of the cabinet.

Our relationship with Jesus works just like our coffee pot. His job is to bless. Our job is to receive. His job is to provide. Our job is to trust. His job is to heal. Our job is to surrender. His job is to love. Our job is to love. His job is to guide. Our job is to obey. His job is to teach. Our job is to learn. Jesus will never cease to bless, provide, heal, love, guide and teach. If we will commit to receive, trust, surrender, love, obey and learn, our relationship with Jesus will be a perfect fit.

Jesus Loves . . .Whom Exactly?

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Walking In The Flesh Or The Spirit

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Where Are You Going?

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

When you look for guidance be sure you get good instructions.

Sabine Moreau is 67-years-old. She was going on what she thought would be a short trip, so she followed her navigationjohn ed system. It sent her on a 1,800-mile detour through six countries! Sabine only intended to drive 93 miles to Brussels, but ended up in Croatia. She said, “Suddenly I appeared in Zagreb and I realized I wasn’t in Belgium anymore.”

We rely a lot on Lowrance, TomTom, Garmin, Smart phones, and other GPS navigational devices. Most of the time they are correct, but they can be faulty. I read about one elderly man who was following his navigation system and drove off of a pier into the lake!

The Bible teaches us that God wants to guide us through life. In Psalm 23 David says that God is like a shepherd who wants to guide us to the green pastures, the still waters, and the paths of righteousness. (Psalm 23:1, 2)

We can trust God’s guidance. He never sends us on a wild goose chase. He never makes mistakes when He guides. What we need to do is follow.

There was small boy who had an unusual fear of the dark. Late one evening his father asked him to go out to the barn to get some tools. The boy broke down and confessed that he was afraid of the dark.

The father gave the boy a lantern and said, “How far can you see son?” The boy said, “Well I can see to the mulberry tree.” The father said, “Good. Then go to the mulberry tree.” When the boy reached the tree the father said, “How far can you see now?” The boy replied that he could see the currant bushes. The father said, “Go to the bushes.”

As the boy reached the bushes the father asked again, “How far can you see now?” This time the boy said he could see the hen house and then finally to the barn. The father told him to proceed and the boy went step by step and made it to the barn.

When God guides us he doesn’t always show us the destination. What He expects is for us to follow Him to the next point, then continue and trust Him. It is all about trust. He knows where we need to be and He knows how to guide us there. He does it step by step.

Sometimes I get impatient and want to see the full map. God is always reminding me that it is His responsibility to guide – it is my responsibility to follow.

Technology is good. I will continue to use my GPS device, but want to remember that sometimes it can be wrong. More importantly, I am going to ask for God’s navigation system. He has never been wrong in thousands of years. He has never carried a person to where they do not need to be. He has never made a mistake.

He guides! I follow!

John Ed’s blog posts appear each Thursday on For His Glory

Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4, 4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 | 334.270.2149 | info@johnedmathison.org

 

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Simple

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

We have an overwhelming tendency to complicate simple things. We have all heard the K.I.S.S. principle, but we seldomkiss apply it. James Madison, our fourth President, warned against creating laws  “so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they can not be understood.”¹

I guess our lawmakers were on the campaign trail or a fact-finding junket in Maui when Madison said that.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple a child can understand it.  When we’re talking about the Gospel to folks, or even to each other, we don’t have to explain justification or sanctification or election or the Trinity or grace. The best Gospel we can ever preach is the one we live out. That sermon will preach clearer and simpler than any testimony we could share with words.

¹Our Daily Bread devotional for April 10, 2013, Keep It Simple, by Dave Egner, was the inspiration for this devotional today on For His Glory

Weeping For The Wrong Person

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director,
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

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There Should Be More Weeping

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Preparing For Your Calling

Second In A Series
Love God More Than The World
By Amanda Beth

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series by my good blogging friend, Amanda Beth. 

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. —2 Timothy 2:20

This is the second message in my series on preparing for your calling. This week we will focus on the first step in discipleship, learning to love God more than the world. Continue reading