Archive | God’s Word for Today

I’m Trying to be Grateful, But I’m a Slow Learner

Reach Out 2014There’s a particular lesson God keeps teaching me over and over again. He wants me to be grateful and act like it. He’s brought it up from multiple directions over the past couple of years. You’d think I’d be an expert by now. But apparently I’m a slow learner.

The lesson is easy to understand. It’s just hard to retain.

God wants me to be a giver, not a taker. He wants me to reach out with full hands, not empty ones. He wants me to store up treasures in heaven, not pack my closet with clothes.

The lessons began a couple of years ago. I had been growing increasingly uncomfortable over not only the excess of our culture, but also the excess in my own life. (See this earlier post.) Then God dropped a life-changing Bible study in my lap called “The 7 Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker. In fact, I publicly worked through the study here on my website and then led it with women at my church.

I know God was teaching me to be more aware and responsive to the needs of others around me. To be far less self-indulgent. To use the vast resources He has given me and my family to help and bless others.

And I did. For awhile. Oh, but old habits are hard to break.

Recently I realized I had taken two steps forward, but then one step back. “Recently,” as in, just this week. And God’s lesson was refreshed in triplicate.

  • First, on Sunday, our pastor’s sermon was titled “Treasures in Heaven.” Yep, from Matthew 6:19-24. And he challenged us to give to mission work in India our church has partnered with.
  • Second, the team leader of BFF (an advocacy group I’m part of for a girls’ center in Bangladesh) wrote about the possibility of a big endeavor we might take on.
  • Third, I got a message from my writer friend Shellie Tomlinson (The Belle of All Things Southern) asking me to participate in a November gratitude drive called “Reach Out 2014.” This is the one I want to share with you today.

Reach Out 2014

In Shellie’s words, the Reach Out campaign asks “writers and readers alike to kick off the holiday season with a commitment not to simply articulate our thankfulness, but to express our gratitude in a tangible way on behalf of those who could never in their wildest dreams conceive of the type of holidays we’ll soon enjoy. We’ll take the 30 days leading up to Thanksgiving to give and to help motivate our own circle of friends to give with us!”

Shellie not only challenges us to show our gratitude in a tangible way, she offers a great opportunity to do it in a way that supports God’s Kingdom. She has partnered with “Hope without Borders” to raise $20,000 to build a Hope Center for children in Nicaragua.

I’ve already donated. You can find out more, join the Reach Out effort, or donate on Shellie’s site.

Of course this is just one way to show your gratitude. God may lead you in another direction.

But, either way, please join me this month of Thanksgiving to show our gratitude to the Giver of all things by giving to others in return.

In what ways have you been blessed? In what ways could you bless someone else?

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10 Things to Pray for Christians in Iraq

Pray for persecuted ChristiansThis past week, stories of persecuted believers filled social media. As I read still another tragic account, the need to pray overwhelmed me. Yet, I felt so inadequate about how and what to pray for Christians in Iraq.

Recently, God has been shifting my perspective on Christian persecution. I know from His Word that He works in it and through it in a unique way and uses it to expand the Kingdom. Prayers solely for the persecution to end did not seem adequate.

So I asked God to show me. “Lord, how do I pray for your people enduring great suffering for the name of Christ?”

Then the Holy Spirit prompted me to look up passages in God’s Word about sharing in the sufferings of Christ. For that is what our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria and other parts of the globe are doing.

These passages give us some direction, some catalyst for our prayers. The following are 10 things I pulled right out of Scripture we can pray for these dear, suffering believers:

  1. That they would experience the overflowing comfort of Christ through the very real and abundant presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
  2. For their lives to produce patient endurance (2 Corinthians 1:6-8).
  3. That they would learn to rely totally on God (2 Corinthians 1:9)
  4. That God would help them maintain an eternal perspective, keeping Christ above all earthly things (Philippians 3:7-9).
  5. That they would know Christ deeply and intimately (Philippians 3:10).
  6. That Christ’s resurrection power would flood their lives (Philippians 3:10).
  7. That their suffering for Christ would be a clear, strong testimony to Christ, bringing Him glory (1 Peter 3:15-16).
  8. That they would experience overwhelming join as they participate in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:12-14).
  9. That their hearts would swell with praise for God (1 Peter 4:16).
  10. For their ultimate deliverance and glory in Christ (Romans 8:17-18).

Join me in praying for believers around the world who are being persecuted because of Christ!

How have you been led to pray? Voice a prayer in the comments below.

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Extreme Selfies

You’ve heard of “extreme sports,” an athletic activity with a high level of danger involved. Well, “selfies” seem to now have an extreme category of their own. Recently, stories have popped up around the globe of people risking life and limb to snap a photo of themselves in dangerous places or situations.

Extreme selfieFor instance, an extreme selfie craze in Hong Kong has college students climbing the tallest skyscrapers in the city to take their own photo at the top! In July, a man grabbed a selfie while running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.  And just last week, a 24-year-old man was arrested after climbing the Brooklyn Bridge to take a few selfies. He risked his life to snap a pic of himself against the New York City skyline.

Sadly, these extreme selfies can end in disaster and heartbreak. A few weeks ago, a family from Poland visited some cliffs in Cabo da Roca, Portugal. While attempting to take a photo of themselves and the view, the parents fell off the cliff to their deaths while their two young children watched.

Our culture promotes self-centeredness, selfishness, and even extreme narcissism. It’s all about “me,” all the time. From over-indulgence at the all-you-can-eat buffet to “look-at-me” social media to “do whatever it takes” to get ahead at the work place values, our society pushes us to put ourselves before everyone else. Even to our own harm.

Even Christians have a hard time not drifting with this cultural flow. And while a few pics on Facebook may be harmless enough, the attitude saturates everything and before you know it we’ve become an extreme “selfie,” putting ourself first in everything, all the time.

How do you know if you’re an extreme selfie? Here are a few characteristics:

  • Greedy and Self-indulgent – An extreme selfie may appear to do all the right things but the inside of us is far different. We want and want and give into our selfish desires (Matthew 23:25).
  • Loves self first – An extreme selfie will love herself more than anyone else and it will show in her actions (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
  • Overly ambitious – An extreme selfie will be so driven by the desire to get ahead and succeed, they will use and even harm others in the process (Galatians 5:20).
  • Selfish service – An extreme selfie may even “serve” Jesus merely for what’s in it for them (Philippians 1:17).

When we put ourselves first and selfishly seek to fulfill our own desires we really harm ourselves in the long run. We end up so full of ourselves we miss out on Jesus and His best for us. We miss the joy of humbly serving and doing life together with a body of believers. And we miss the blessing of joining God in what He’s doing in the world.

Here’s a quick summary of God’s call away from extreme selfishness:

  • Deny ourselves and follow Jesus – It’s in “losing” our life that we truly find life (Luke 9:23-25).
  • Look out for the needs and interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
  • Love others unselfishly (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • Serve others rather than indulging self (Galatians 5:13).
  • Lay down our own life and let Jesus live His life through us (Galatians 2:20).

When we come into a saving relationship with Jesus, our life is no longer our own. Jesus wants to use us to serve others. He wants to use our time, energy, resources – our very life – to fulfill His plans and purposes. We are no longer our own, we belong to Him.

In what areas do you struggle most with giving complete control to Jesus? What areas of selfish seem to have the biggest hold on you?


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Finding Strength

I’m excited to have Heather Strickland as my guest today! Her passion is to encourage women with the truth of God’s Word!

Strength in God's WordI’m Mama to three small boys. Some nights I’m so tired I can’t think straight. Cooking meals, washing dishes, teaching school, and folding laundry can overwhelm me. Sometimes, it feels like there isn’t enough of me to go around and I’m burdened with weariness.

But, God’s Word reminds me I don’t have to do it all on my own. He urges me to call on Him for strength and the ability to do my work. He waits for me to come to Him. He longs to help me. I don’t have to be overwhelmed when I lean on my Father.

God waits for you, too. Humble yourself before Him. With His help you can complete your tasks and fulfill your calling. Like a tired child who climbs up into her father’s lap to rest, come to God to find your rest.

God wants to encourage you and fill you with His strength. Go to His Word and find spiritual renewal. Humbly ask for His help and give Him the glory for accomplishing what only He can.

God calls us to tasks beyond our ability, so we’ll rely on Him. I have never felt like I could be a good mother, but God works through me to be the mother He desires me to be. It’s amazing to feel His presence working in and through me.

The words written in the Bible are effective and can have such an impact on our lives. They can carry us through hardships, guide us in making decisions, and encourage us when we are burdened. Our Father loves us and wants to see us succeed so we can give Him the glory and praise. Get in His Word and let it fill you up.

What verse or passage of Scripture has encouraged you recently? In what way?

Heather StricklandMississippi born and raised, Heather Strickland is a stay-at-home wife and mother with a Heather Strickland coverpassion to encourage others through writing. She enjoys sipping coffee on her front porch, flipping through the pages of a good book, and holding hands with her love. When she isn’t serving her family, Heather blogs regularly at Becoming Titus 2 Women, Laced with Grace, and The Imperfect Wives. But her primary ministry is to her husband and three boys. The encouragement Heather receives from God’s Word gives her a desire to help other women experience the same thing. Her new devotional book, At the Master’s Feet, is the result. Whether you are in the midst of trials or joys, triumphs or defeats, good times or bad – Heather encourages the reader to turn to God’s Word for encouragement. Sit at the Master’s feet and learn from Him. You may contact Heather on Facebook at Becoming Titus 2 Women or email her at


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Spiritual Power Walking: Learn & Apply God’s Word

I’m honored to welcome my friend, author Poppy Smith, to the blog today. Poppy gives us a glimpse into what it looks like to not only learn God’s Word by to also strive to apply God’s Word!

Poppy SmithA couple of weeks ago I went for an hour’s walk, determined to not only exercise my “temple” but also my brain. I decided to memorize what the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24 and consider how I could apply God’s Word to my life.

“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

As I mulled over each part of this verse, heart-probing questions filled my mind.

Four questions I wrestled with:

  • Do I really consider my life worth nothing to me? Or do I want and go after what pleases me?
  • Am I still eager to finish the race, or am I being side-tracked and enticed to take it easy?
  • Do I know what task the Lord Jesus has given me? Am I taking it seriously? Do I sincerely long to complete what He uniquely designed for me to do? (Eph:2:10)
  • Am I testifying to the gospel of God’s grace in the ways God has equipped and called me? At home with family, through words, hospitality, generosity, acts of kindness, staying in touch with unbelieving relatives and friends?

Spending an hour with these questions and asking the Holy Spirit to search my heart unveiled a lot of stuff I needed to acknowledge. But you know, and I know, that merely acknowledging our failings with humble repentance is not the end goal of times like this. God wants us to make changes—otherwise our repentance is merely sentimentality.

Keep Going. Don’t Stop.

To further emphasize His point that we are called to complete the tasks He has for us, God declares through Paul:

“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).

I need that message every day. My mind needs challenging when I dwell on the obstacles, pressures, stressors, and negatives. It needs reminding that inertia, laziness, self-indulgence, and faithlessness is not the way of Jesus nor of His followers.

Paul challenges us to “run the Christian life with focus, train, compete with passion, fight with purpose, master the flesh, and work to receive an eternal reward” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Leadership Bible).

Are you challenged by these verses? Are you convicted as you look at your priorities? Will you take time to pray over what the Spirit is saying to you about your view of living the Christian life?

I’m glad God’s Spirit is “working me over,” speaking to me through numerous Scriptures, prayer, and other books that challenge me to live fully for Him.

Do you need to ask Him to work a changed heart and perspective in you, too? What perspective of yours doesn’t line up with God’s?

Poppy Smith is funny, warm, and passionate about helping women grow spiritually and personally through her speaking and writing ministry. She is a former BSF teacher and has a Masters in Spiritual Formation. Her most recent book is “Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?” For more information, visit Connect with Poppy on Facebook and Twitter.




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3 R’s for Life’s Trials and Troubles

I get motion sick very easily. Cruise ship. Park swing. If I move too fast, I can even get a little queasy unloading the dishwasher.

So a few years ago, when I flew on a small puddle-jumper plane from Shreveport to Houston during a thunderstorm, I didn’t stand a chance. Even though it was only about 45 minutes from wheels up to wheels down, it was a two-airbag flight. I “lost” everything.

The flight attendant could have opened the door and tossed me out and I would have been relieved. There were moments I didn’t think I was going to live through it. Other moments when I wished I wouldn’t. Of course, I did live through it, but not with grace or dignity.

3 R's for life's stormsHave you ever felt like you wouldn’t survive one of life’s storms? Has there been a time when a trial was so intense you wondered if you would make it through? Jesus clearly told us trials will come. We will have trouble in this world (John 16:33), but we can take heart, because Jesus is greater than the trouble!

When trials and troubles come – and they will – here are 3 R’s to help you weather the storm:

1. Reflect on God’s purposes – Trials in a believer’s life have purpose. God wants to use them to refine our faith, to transform us into the image of Christ. The trials themselves may cause grief, but we can rejoice in the truth that God will use them for our good and His glory! (See 1 Peter 1:6-7.)

2. Rest in God’s promises – The Bible is full of promises God makes to His children. Many of them are promises to help us, strengthen us, walk with us, and guide us in the midst of trouble. We can rely and rest on God’s promises because He is a promise keeper! (For more on God’s promises in trouble see this post and this post.)

3. Rejoice in God’s presence – God does not promise a life without trouble, but He does promise His presence in the midst of it. Even if we lose everything, we have God and that is more than enough (Psalm 23:4; Habakkuk 3:17-19).

Which of these R’s comforts you the most? Which one do you have the most trouble hanging onto? Why?




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Yes, I’m Frustrated! So What?

Several unrelated circumstances mixed together earlier this week to create the “perfect storm.” People not following through with what they promised. Others getting something wrong that seemed so simple to me. Another needing my time when I wanted to be doing something else.

By the time I sat down to dinner, my frustration erupted in a tirade of words, self-righteously proclaiming to my family why I had the right to be so frustrated. Of course the rehearsal of it all only fed my frustration.

Raise your hands if you’ve been there. If you haven’t, no need to read further.

This morning I actually worked up the courage to ask myself – and God – how I got there. How did I allow myself to slip into that spiral of anger and indignation?

frustrationOf course the quick answer is that I’m sinful. Although saved by the blood of Jesus, I will continue to battle sin until I die or until Christ returns and relieves me once and for all from this mortal flesh.

The longer – and more helpful – answer required a little more thought and prayer. Here’s a few things God reminded me of this morning:

  • I think too highly of myself – (See Romans 12:2-3 and Philippians 2:3.) Oh, pride! I just knew I could do it better, faster, and get greater results. I felt my time and my agenda were more important than the other person’s. I did not consciously think this in the moment, but looking back, I can see it.
  • I tend to be a selfish control freak – I want things done my way, in my time frame. I’ve been reading about David in my quiet time recently. This morning the passage was  from 2 Samuel chapters one and two where Saul dies and David is crowned king over Judah. There were a lot of years, pain, and uncertainty between God’s anointing and the crown being placed on David’s head. I realized once again that God rarely does things the way I would do them and when I would do them. I must continue to learn to trust His ways and His perfect timing, knowing that He is working all things for His glory, not mine.
  • I’m a poor listener – Oh, I’m really fast at giving directions and voicing my desires and concerns. But I very slow to listen to the other guy. And that causes all kinds of problems. (See James 1:19-20.)

Mix these things together, add other people and their own stuff, and you get a big, heaping mound of frustration. In the moment of the venting it almost seems justified. But afterwards… well, it becomes obvious it’s not.

So, what’s the answer? Jesus is the ultimate answer. I need Him desperately. However, I can also learn from God’s Word and apply His truths. For instance:

  • Practice humility. Maintain an accurate estimation of myself, by keeping my eyes on Jesus as my example.
  • Reflect on the sovereignty, faithfulness, and love of God.
  • Close my mouth more often and open my ears more quickly.

Frustration is an emotion and not necessarily sinful in and of itself. However, it can lead to all kinds of sinful thoughts, words, and actions. And it’s certainly not tasty. I’m praying I won’t be serving it up at dinner again anytime soon.

Okay, ya’ll. Don’t leave me hanging here. Am I the only one who succumbs to frustration? What has God taught you about yourself and how to deal with it? Let’s talk!

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World Vision, Hobby Lobby, and the Real Issue

How ironic. While Hobby Lobby wages a spiritual battle in the US Supreme Court, World Vision loses one without ever picking up a sword.

Before you read any further, please hear this: My intent is not to debate, defend, or denounce abortion or same-sex marriage.

Neither of those are the real issue anyway. The issue is the believer’s relationship to God’s Word. Will we stand firm on its truth and not be moved? Or will we float on the tide of the cultural stream?

World Vision, Hobby LobbyJust in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick summary of these two recent news stories:

  • American craft store giant, Hobby Lobby, is fighting for its religious right to not provide its employees with four specific contraceptive methods, mandated by Obama Care. The Green family, who owns Hobby Lobby, – and many others, scientists included – believe these four, including the Morning After pill and IUDs, can actually cause abortions, which is in opposition to their faith. The US Supreme Court heard the case on Tuesday. An unfavorable ruling will cost Hobby Lobby millions of dollars every year if the Christian-owned store continues to stand firm on what it believes to be God’s truth. (You can read about both sides of the argument in this USA Today article.)
  • Earlier this week, World Vision, one of the world’s largest Christian relief organizations, announced a significant employee policy change. World Vision’s American branch will now accept employees who are in same-sex marriages. This is a reversal of the policy implemented under the organization’s founder. According to World Vision’s current president, Richard Stearns, (as cited by this article in Christianity Today) the decision was “not symbolic of compromise but of [Christian] unity.”

Hobby Lobby fights for the legal right to act in accordance with what it believes to be true based on God’s Word. This has been and will continue to be a long, expensive, and painful battle. In contrast, World Vision changes it stand. Why? World Vision once believed that union between one man and one woman was God’s design. They believed that was truth. And while truth hasn’t changed, what our culture accepts and doesn’t accept has.

Let’s be honest. It’s just plain harder to swim upstream. Ask Hobby Lobby.

Yesterday, when I first heard about World’s Vision decision, I was confronted with a decision. What should I do about the child I sponsor through that organization?

Honestly, my knee-jerk reaction was to immediately pull my support. But after praying, listening, and thinking, I sense God leading me to keep my commitment. I made a commitment to a little boy, not to World Vision. And no company – Christian or not – will make right decisions 100% of the time.

Obligation to the Truth

However, if the Bible is God’s inspired, unchanging Word, we have an obligation to stand firmly on it’s truth. To “compromise” on anything we believe God’s Word clearly teaches – even in the name of unity – is to side with sin.

I do acknowledge that no individual believer, group of believers, church, or denomination can interpret or apply the Bible with complete accuracy. In fact, since we are fallible, sinful, humans, we will make mistakes in understanding and handling God’s Word. We will read it through our own worldviews and infuse it with our own prejudices.

Difference in Interpretation or Compromise?

But if we are honest with ourselves, we are more susceptible to compromise than we are to misinterpretation. Will we cling to God’s truth even if it hurts or costs us money or makes us a target? Or will we comprise with the truth in the name of unity or relevance or grace. (FYI – I do believe in love, forgiveness, and grace! Check out my post, “Question Raised by the Duck Controversy,” to hear what I have to say about truth and grace working together!)

The Greens (Hobby Lobby) are willing to put their business and their livelihood on the line rather than compromise the truth of God’s Word. I admire them and hope I would make the same brave choice.

World Vision would rather change their beliefs and compromise with the truth than risk offending the culture. What a dangerous and slippery slope.

The real issue is not what Hobby Lobby believes about the morning after pill or what World Vision believes about same-sex marriage. It’s not what you or I believe about them. The real issue is faithfulness to God and His truth.

Are we willing to stand uncompromisingly on the truth of God’s Word whatever the issue and whatever the risk? I pray so.

Here’s a few other posts on this topic you might find interesting:


Praise God! With humility and repentance, World Vision announced today that the organization has reversed it’s decision! They have admitted to being inconsistent with God’s Word and their own statement of faith. Read More Now.

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14 Ways to Show Real Love

It’s February 13. People are busy buying gifts for their Valentines. Those tokens of love will amount to about 196 million roses, around180 million cards, and – my personal favorite – roughly 58 million pounds of chocolate. I imagine quite a few “I love you’s” will be tossed around too.

How will you express your love? It’s easy to buy a gift and say a few words. But, the Bible’s definition of love sets the bar much higher.

Valentine's Day LoveThe apostle John said it this way: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18, NIV). So, if love is action, how do we love? Below are 14 ways from Scripture that you can actively show love to the people you love.

  1. Help them out of a tight spot – When Jesus attended a wedding with His mother, she asked Him to help the hosts when they ran out of wine. We may not be able to miraculously solve a problem, but God has gifted us in other ways to help. (John 2:1-11)
  2. Get them help when you can’t help them – A paralyzed man received healing from Jesus because his friends dropped him through a roof at Jesus’ feet. They were willing to do whatever it took it to get help for their friend! (Mark 2:1-12)
  3. Pray for them – The Bible is full of people praying for the ones they love. The church prayed for Peter in jail (Acts 12:5). Jesus prayed for the disciples (John 17:6-19). Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers (Ephesians1:15-23).
  4. Rebuke them when needed – Sometimes the best way we can love someone is by confronting their sinful, destructive behavior (Proverbs 27:6, Matthew18:15-17).
  5. Freely forgive offenses – Jesus eliminated the limit on forgiveness when Peter asked how many times he should forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). Some hurts seem unforgivable, but with God’s help it’s possible to “promote love” through forgiveness (Proverbs 17:9).
  6. Humbly serve them – Jesus set the example (John 13:1-17). He calls us – His followers – to also humbly and graciously serve others (Gal 5:13).
  7. Meet their physical needs – Scripture is clear. If we see a brother in need, have the means to help but don’t, our love for God should be questioned (1 John 3:17).
  8. Rejoice and mourn with them – We show deep care for others when their hurts and joys are also ours. Don’t hold back. Let the tears and the cheers flow! (1 Cor 12:25-26).
  9. Show kindness to someone they love – King David expressed his deep bond of friendship for Jonathan by caring for Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:1-13).
  10. Intercede with others on their behalf – Could your influence help a loved one? Barnabas smoothed the way for Paul with the Jerusalem church leaders (Acts 9:27-30). Paul wrote to Philemon appealing for Onesimus the runaway slave (Philemon 8-11).
  11. Help two loved ones work out their differences – Does strife exist between two people you love? Be a mediator and help them mend their relationship. Paul asked the believers in Philippi help two women in their church (Philippians 4:2-3).
  12. Introduce them to Jesus – Does a loved one desperately need to know Jesus? Share the Good News! Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:35-42).
  13. Encourage and disciple them in their relationship with Christ – The author of Hebrews tells us to “spur one another on to good works” and “encourage one another” daily (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  14. “Lay down your life!” – Seems pretty drastic, but that’s exactly how Jesus showed His love for us (John 15:12-13). The basic principle has much broader application than actual physical death. Jesus calls us to unselfishly seek put others ahead of ourselves.

Wow! Buying a card and a box of chocolates is a lot easier. But Hallmark and Hershey doesn’t say love like real love in action. Show somebody you love them today!

Who can you show love to today? How will you show it?



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Everyone Wants a Coat Like Joe’s

The Super Bowl wasn’t so super this year. Not only did my team lose, it wasn’t even a fun game to watch. It was simply too one-sided.

As usual, the commercials helped to keep things interesting. But something unexpected grabbed the attention of America. Did you see it?

Joe Namath’s coat.

As quarterback for the New York Jets in the 60’s and 70’s, Namath’s fondness for fur was well known. Apparently, this 70-year-old football legend didn’t want to disappoint his fans when he tossed the coin for this year’s big game at Met Life Stadium. He reportedly bought the $3,000 coyote and fox coat just for the occasion.

Joe Namath's coatNamath – or rather, Namath’s cost – immediately caused a firestorm on social media sites. In fact, before the game was over, the coat had it’s own Twitter account. Some – like PETA – hated it. But many, many others wanted a coat of their own.

The Manhattan storeowner who sold Namath the coat said business has been booming since it debuted at the Super Bowl. According to an article on “The publicity has helped Kaufman’s business. He said he’s had at least 30 media inquiries, made some sales Monday morning, and ‘Inside Edition’ was planning on a piece.”

Wow. The hoopla over Joe’s coat sadly demonstrates our culture’s obsession with “stuff.”

The Broncos may have gone down, but Joe’s coat went viral.

I know of another coat that caused a big uproar too. In fact, its owner’s name was also Joe. But this Joseph didn’t run down to the local furrier for his coat. It was a gift from his dad, Jacob.

Joe’s brothers were none too happy about it either. The “richly ornamented robe” incited jealousy because it reminded the brothers that their father had a favorite. And it wasn’t them. Then their jealousy turned into action and they sold Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37: 3-28). And it all started with a coat.

What is it about “stuff?” We want more. We glamorize it. We envy others’ stuff. We fight over it. We even kill for it.

Jesus knew that love of stuff would draw us away from God, that whatever we “treasure” would capture our hearts (Matthew 6:19-21) – and apparently our social media accounts. Jesus’ brother, James, bluntly described those who succumbed to earthly desires as “adulterous” and friends of the world (James 4:1-4).

Loving stuff is serious business for a believer. Left unchecked, it will determine our motives and dictate our actions. We must deal with it decisively. Here’s James prescription in bullet points (James 4:7-10):

  • Submit yourself to God
  • Resist the devil
  • Draw near to God
  • Turn from our sin (wash, purify, grieve, mourn, wail)
  • Humble ourselves before God

Praise God! When we come before God in humble repentance, He will lift us up!

Self-examination time. Has a love of stuff taken God’s rightful place in our hearts? Do you “want a coat like Joe’s?” Where do you struggle?


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