“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Love is a physical feeling or emotional sentiment to much of the world, and an empty action or, worse, words about action to too many in the church. Feeling and sentiment alone do no one any good. Words and promises alone do no one any good, but likewise neither does loving actions and a smile on the face while bitterness and anger linger in the heart. One of the chief reasons we struggle to consistently love is because we’ve relegated love to mere behavior. If weRead More →

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20) This verse compares our eternal spiritual destination to earthly patriotism, as verses 17-19 urge us to follow the examples of strong, Christ-like believers ready for sainthood and warns us against conducting ourselves in the manner of God’s enemies, with the mindset of the secular culture, serving our own appetites, and being proud of this fact–a spiritually deadly recipe. So this note of encouragement comes right after a strict warning, that we do not have to be such, that we can turn our hearts and minds uponRead More →

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) The immediate context is Paul’s statement to the basic effect of, “Guys, if I’m out of my mind, it’s for God. If I’m acting sane, it’s for your sake.” Christ’s love motivates us to live for something greater than ourselves and consider others’ needs, remembering Christ died for them, too. But we live ultimately forRead More →

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) This is very good news for many of us who struggle with not only fear, but discipline issues. Self-control has never been my strong suit. I  suspect I could probably get a medical diagnosis making it official, in fact. So I am ever grateful God’s Spirit helps with that, because I am rather helpless at it in my own flesh. On the other hand, we can start to beat ourselves up when reading this. God’s given us a spirit of power, love, and self-control, yet weRead More →