John 21:15a – So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me more than these?…
What are earth-side distractions? Earth-side distractions are those things of this world that keep us from loving Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. In this verse, Jesus asks Peter do you love me more than these? Not sure if the ‘these’ were the disciples or something else. But, Jesus wanted to know about Peter’s love for Him.
If Jesus were to ask you, do you love Me more than these? These being earth-side distractions; what would the evidence show? Is there anything that could keep you from the One you love? Yolanda sings it well, Mountain high – Valley low, Desert heat, Arctic cold – Wherever you are, that’s where I want to be! The Lord asks, do you love Me more than depression, worry, TV, phone time, school, exercise, food, friends, husband, wife, employment? If your answer is ‘Yes, Lord,’ then why do we allow ‘these’ things to prevent us from doing the things that express our love for Him?
Loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is not a request…it’s a command. Loving Him includes, but is not limited to, Bible study, prayer, meditation on Him and His Word, Praise, Worship, fellowship, i.e., just doing what pleases Him…these things keep our love strong. If the Lord were to ask…Lovest thou Me more than these? What would your answer be? More importantly, would your answer reflect what the evidence shows? The thing that keeps you from intimacy with God is the thing that you love more. What are the things in your life that keep you from intimacy with God? Would a phone ringing stop you from praying? Could a broken heart keep you from lifting your hands? Did an upcoming bill keep you from uttering a praise? Precious, remember the question. Lovest thou Me more than these?…
I Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Let God check it out! You’re looking at it from the outside. God knows the real deal. The job seems perfect, but God knows whether the job is for you or not. Damon says all the right words; but God knows if he’s really the one! That blue Acura TL looks so good in the showroom; but God knows a lemon when He sees one.
Are you facing a decision? Is there a choice you must make? Don’t base your decision on what it looks like or how it sounds. Give it to God; let Him check it out. All that glitters ain’t God! God told Samuel, when Eliab approached, he’s tall and he looks good. But, I have refused him. There may not have been anything really wrong with Eliab’s character; but he was not the one for God’s assignment. The job may be a good job, but it’s just not the one for you. Damon probably has the potential for being a good provider, but, he’s not the one that fits you.
Let God check it out. It may hurt for a minute; but it will do you good. Then again…maybe it won’t! Maybe your choice IS God’s choice. But, let God check it out. Are you willing to risk your future, your well-being on this decision? There may not be any visible flaws or deficiencies. But, let God check it out. Don’t ever make a decision without hearing what God has to say about it. God sees it from beginning to end…from the inside out. You only see the outside. Do you trust God’s choices for you? Do you believe He wants what is best for you? If you do, then give God the liberty of approval. Let God check it out…
Ephesians 5:1 — Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.
It was about 3 am on a Tuesday morning. I had drifted to sleep with my TV on. I thought I was dreaming. But, I could hear it in the distance. It sounded like someone was singing, ‘I want to be mistaken for Jesus.’ I wondered in my dreamy state, now how wonderful is that? Then, when I woke up I realized that I was not dreaming, and that someone was singing it on my TV. To be like Jesus has been my primary prayer above everything else that I have ever prayed for. From the time I got serious with God, my prayer – God, when others look at me; let them see You – has always been on my lips. I haven’t always been faithful to that prayer, God has, but, I’ve missed it, on many occasions. I will always be a work in progress. And, yet, this is the assignment for all believers. We are to represent Him, thereby lifting Him in the earth.
Mistaken for Jesus! Siblings get mistaken for each other all the time. Flatterers will tell a mother, ‘oh, I thought you were her sister.’ We are mistaken for others because we sound like someone else, we look like someone else, from the back we walk like someone…and so on. I would like to be mistaken for Jesus. I want to sound like Him, look like Him, and walk like Him. We can be mistaken for Jesus when we suppress our flesh and let the God-like part of us rise to the top. I would love to have all my responses, motives, inspirations, words, actions, reactions, emotions, feelings, likes, dislikes, decisions, plans, and agendas be mistaken for Jesus’ responses, motives, inspirations, words, actions, reactions, emotions, feelings, likes, dislikes, decisions, plans, and agendas. I want to be one with God. I want my reaction to trauma and trouble to be mistaken for His reaction. When someone hurts me, I want them to do a double take because my love for them is just like Jesus’ love for them. I want my soft voice mistaken for Jesus’ voice in the midst of an ‘active discussion.’ I want my forgiveness for the worst offense possible to be mistaken for His forgiveness on the cross.
Those in families have similarities. My desire is to be mistaken for Jesus. I want to get Him. He gets me; so I want to get Him. I want to mock Him, I want others to be able to tell that I have sat at His feet. Hear my heart, Precious, I understand the deity and divinity of God. God is the Creator and I am the creature. But, my desire is to ‘favor’ my Father. My goal is to do what Jesus would do. Some of us laugh at the phrase, What Would Jesus Do? But, shouldn’t we ask ourselves that question daily? I want to be mistaken for Jesus. What about you??
Psalm 11:4 – He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
When my eyes popped open this morning, I thought ‘another reason to praise Him.’ I already have so many reasons to give Him glory and honor. He IS worthy of all praise I can offer and more. I look back over my life and remember many, many reasons for loving Him like I do. How about you? Some of the reasons I could give, I can’t even tell anybody. God has given me the ability to remember ‘his wonderful works’ and for that I am so grateful.
But, what are God’s reasons for being so gracious and merciful to us? Why does He forgive us over and over? And no matter how many times we want to give up, He’s there telling us, ‘You can do it.’ Remembering ‘his wonderful works,’ some of what I got from God, I’m not sure I deserved. But, as they say, I’m glad He didn’t give me what I did deserve. Our reasons are so complicated sometimes for doing what we do. And the reasons we do what we do are not always good reasons. They are not always honorable. But, when it comes to God’s reasoning, that’s a totally different story.
I praise God that He is not a complicated God! Don’t have to get a degree to be able to relate to Him. Don’t have to be a certain race to hear His voice. And when it comes to reasoning, He’s simple and plain. Even the most unlearned person can understand. His reason for doing what He does for us is simply…that He loves us. All that He does, all that He allows is because of His great love for us all. Prayerfully, everybody reading this has either given or received love, right? And, it was good wasn’t it? But, you’ve not been loved until you’ve been loved by God! His reason is love. Love is universal! Everybody understands love! Don’t be tricked or deceived. No matter what happens in your life, God loves you! He went through a lot to have relationship with you. He longs for fellowship with you. The reason for ALL that He does to you, whether painful or not, is His love for you! That’s His reason.
Job 35:10 – But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night,
Psalm 119:55 – In the night I remember your name, O LORD, and I will keep your law.
Are you one of the fortunate ones that God has called to work the night shift? Has God gifted you to make a joyful noise in the night? When it’s dark and you can’t see your way, do you remember His Name? God always has a song to give; but, can you sing it at night? Proclaiming His love in the morning is an easy thing. It’s always easy in the morning. But, are you qualified enough to talk about His faithfulness at night? Is the song of the Lord with you at night?
In your night, is darkness. In your night, you feel alone. In your night, you can’t see what’s up ahead. But, you’ve been called to sing and praise God in your night. Can you do it? You thought you were just having a troubled life, that you’ve just reached a bad patch. But, the truth is, you’re on assignment. God wants you to make a difference in someone’s life. Someone is watching your life and they will be encouraged by the way you lift Him up, while in your night. You’ve been called to do this night thing. God expects you to praise Him, lift Him, glorify and magnify Him in your night. This may be hard for some, but God knows you can do it. He even expects you to tell someone about His faithfulness and how He will never leave you or forsake you. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it. And, it seems that God has chosen you.
Your night has purpose and destiny. Don’t worry about it. God would not call you to a work and then not prepare you for it. (I Thessalonians 5:24. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. NIV) God knows all about you and He knows you are just the one for this job. So, if you’ve been called to work the night shift, you’ve been called to represent Him during your night season. While it may not feel like it, it’s a privilege to be called to work at night. God makes this night shift work worth your while. So, if you’re one of the ones, just do what you do. Rejoice and lift Jesus while you’re working the night shift. You will be better for it!
Luke 22:32 – But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. And when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Many years ago, in 2002, I was on my way to work, when I saw him get on the train. A young teenager, entered the car I was on, black as coal. No, really, I’m not laughing. He was blacker than any person I have ever seen. I immediately noticed his demeanor, his countenance and it said to me, here is an abused young person. Not physically, but his spirit appeared so broken. He would not look up, his shoulders were slumped and when he got off the train…he slowly shuffled. My heart went out to that young man. I wanted to go up to him and just take him in my arms and hold him. I dared not because he was a teenager and I know he would have been embarrassed. Do you know any teenagers?? I wondered if anyone in his life was encouraging him. I thought of words to say to him that might let him know that he mattered.
I thought of him the next morning and then I thought of all the brothas in my life, especially the ones that bring me joy. I remembered the tribute that Angie Stone sings so well about brothas. And so on this morning, I would just like to encourage the sistas to encourage the brothas. I am convinced that women will never, ever, experience the complexities or struggles that our men do. We, as nurturers, should bless and encourage our brothas when the opportunity is provided. Is there a man in your life that you can encourage today? It can be as simple as fixing a plate for him without asking, ‘why can’t you do it?’ I don’t need to tell you what to do, right? I’m sure you know how to encourage a brotha!!!
Men are wonderful and beautiful creatures. I don’t want to be without them in my life. There is something so comforting about being encircled in a man’s arms. There is nothing like seeing a strong man be strong. Ever watched a man enter a room with so much assurance about him? My God, to see a man with his hands lifted and tears streaming blesses me. You, men, reading this….are beautiful…you bless my life! Thanks for being what God designed. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.