Welcome to Advent!

Starry lights. Tangled tinsel. Glorious ornaments. Crowded malls and an Amazon hangover for sure. Welcome to the Christmas season as carols and favorite tunes are heard forevermore.

We have to dig deep to muddle through the crazies that could easily ensue. ‘Tis the season of Christmas…let’s not forget what it really is for. 

Today kicks-off the season of Advent. Take a moment to savor what it means. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the greatest arrival of all time. God in person. Deity comes. The birth of Jesus reveals God’s plan.

I want to encourage you to linger on this truth. God has come to earth to save mankind, inviting you to know Him intimately. To think that God Almighty loves us so is beyond our comprehension. 

God loves you on your worst day. He loves you when life gets messy. He loves you when all hope seems lost. He loves you when you stray. He loves you when you don’t deserve it…when you seek things other than Him. He loves you when you plot through life blasé or emphatically insist that things go your way.

We serve a God whose love was so great that He made a way for us to know Him. He came to earth as a babe….JESUS is His name. He knows you deeply and personally. He knows everything about you. 

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

He knows your deepest hurts and pains. Your sorrows and your worries. He knows the sin you try to hide, or wallow in at night. He sees and hears you all the time. There is no escaping. And in the midst of all of this, He came…He came so you would know Him.

And so, this Advent season I encourage you to get to know Jesus. Seek Him. Pursue Him. May you discover His realness.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Ps. 19:1

How do you prepare for Advent? What sets this season apart?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for you!

Where Have all the Nice People Gone?

In a recent conversation, my teacher-friend mentioned how the school system has recognized the need to teach kindness to the kids. Over the years, it’s been forgotten and kids are not as kind. They make fun of others. Tear down. Have exclusive clubs. And the such. 

Kindness? Really? It’s not something that they already know? After reflection, I realized…you know what? They’re right! They know what it means but fall dreadfully short when it comes to living it out.

Shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood have been replaced with Fairly Odd Parents and the like. This generation has grown up watching intolerance, injustice, and acts of hatred left and right. They’ve seen us let fear take hold….and watched as we fret at night. But kindness…have they seen it modeled? Do they recognize it as a need right now?

  • Do the words we speak lift others up…or rather tear them down?
  • Do we put others in front of ourselves…or does selfishness abound?
  • Will we spread joy this holiday season…or grumble as we wait in the crowd?
  • Do we gossip, complain, whine, and moan…or do we spread good cheer?
  • Have we forgotten the meaning of respect to those in public service? Our teachers, policemen, firemen, and others who give their lives to better us.
  • Do we have a me-first attitude? Or do we remember the words of Jesus…”It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). 

As parents of the generation-rising, we have a responsibility. It is our job to instill an attitude of gratefulness and stop passing the buck around. If we want a world where kindness looms, then we need to reflect within. What do we show with our own lives? Would others say that we’re kind? 

How do you show kindness? What suggestions do you have to spread good cheer?

Be Present

As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, I’ve been reminded of the importance of being present to those around. Available. Listening. Being slow to respond.

In our fast-paced, hyperactive, overloaded society, we often hop in our cars ready to “get’er done.” It’s a mentality that we all have shared. The moment we crawl out of bed, we have things racing through our heads.

The lunchboxes to pack.

The laundry to get done.

The groceries to shop.

The phone calls to return.

The bills to pay.

The errands to run.

It’s difficult to put aside the chase that occurs within. However, not long ago, during a summer book club, I personally was challenged to “Be present” more. To put aside Facebook, Instagram, and searching the web. To look in the eyes of the people around instead. To have meaningful conversations with those who are in my world. The people I see every day…at HEB, the neighborhood, and of course…in my own hood.

Our people need us. They really do. The children we raise and the husband we wed. The people we lock arms with to do ministry…they need us too. They need us to give them 100%. Is that what you do?

I wonder what would happen if we put our phones away. Stop obsessing with who’s who and Hollywood. Put aside politics and the daily news. And rather…start looking across the table. Listening to what is being said.

I wonder if deep, meaningful conversations would begin? Relationships strengthened. Marriages healed. Children would be known. Neighbors no longer ignored.

By doing so…we think of ourselves less…and more of those around.

This reminds me of a bible verse that you probably can recite from memory, “Love God, love others” (Mark 12:30-31)…but oh, how easily we forget.

What is your biggest challenge in loving others well? What does it look like to “Be Present” to you?

Day 35 – The Graduation Speech

Today we read Paul’s final benediction to the somewhat unpredictable Corinthian church. His closing remarks in 2 Cor. 13:11-14 remind me of ones you might hear at a graduation ceremony. Poignant. Succinct. Meaningful. If you recall over the past few chapters, Paul has addressed these city-dwellers with instructions on how to live life. These are real people with real problems and real jobs and real families and real churches. We often detach ourselves from the stories in the Bible, rather than stepping in to identify. Paul ends the book of Corinthians with clear instruction, which is applicable for us today:

Don’t store up head knowledge about Jesus…get out and live it too.


Aim for restoration.

Comfort one another.

Agree with one another.

Live in peace.

There are 2 basic commandments in the New Testament. Love God and Love Others (Mark 12:30-31). Do you see it here? I think too often we stop short. We are satisfied in our endeavor to love God, never giving mind to the second command which is to love others well. Paul is pushing for spiritual maturity, which is manifested in loving others as ourselves. 

We can become comfortable in our pursuit of Jesus by going to church, attending a small group, skimming the Bible, hanging out with like-minded people…and start to think, “Hey, I’ve got this Christian thing down.” I can check the box. However, Paul is admonishing us not to settle for the status quo. Don’t stop. Get off the couch. Go ahead, and jump in. There’s more for you to do!

And then in v. 12, Paul says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” We even dismiss this verse as something that no longer applies. But bear with me for a moment: the holy kiss represents a deep warmth of community that is extremely rare to find. It signals deep affection, care, and concern…the kind that is in for the long-haul, through thick and thin. No cultural barriers. No social walls. No racial differences. No prejudices. The main point of the holy kiss is to remind us to have sincere devotion and affection towards one another. 

Paul is laboring for them to see that true Christian love is not merely shown in action or spoken in words…but it is genuinely felt in our heart. Our affection toward one another should be tender, warm, humble, pure, empathetic, and kind. There should be a precious sweetness when you meet another brother or sister in Christ.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8

And last but not least, we get there by the grace, love and fellowship of Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (v. 14).

We cling to the grace of Jesus, who took our place on the cross.

We focus on the love of God, who sent His son to die.

We commune with the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things.

What does it look like to love others as yourself? Is your brotherly love genuine?

P.S. This ends our study of 2 Corinthians. I hope you have enjoyed journeying with me along the way. Continue to dig deep. Stay focused. Gaze upward.



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Day 34 – Examine Yourselves, To See Whether you are in the Faith

I find 2 Cor. 13:5-10 such an intriguing passage. In our current day culture, we typically view the concept of “testing” in a negative light. As a trial. A difficult season. Something we don’t like. However, in Scripture, Paul uses the application of “testing” to see how far you have come in the deepening of your faith. It is the idea of reflecting in the rear-view mirror in order to catch a glimpse of your spiritual growth.

Of course, we all have ups and downs in our journey, but what we should discover is an overall upward trend.

Paul wanted the Corinthians to take an introspective look at their lives to determine if Jesus was at work. The goal was to build up, not tear down. It is easy to misinterpret the tone of this passage. Paul was all about encouraging them to examine themselves in order to gain assurance of their salvation. He desired their complete restoration. He wanted to see them take a step of faith, leaving their sinful lifestyles behind.

In our seasons of stuckness…it is good to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness time and time again. It is incredibly encouraging to look back, reflect, and build up our faith.

Am I really a true Christian? Or am I a counterfeit?

There’s more to being a Christian than attending church, singing worship songs, and memorizing a few scripture verses now and then. A true Christian has the Holy Spirit residing within. And the Holy Spirit confirms to our inner being that we belong to Christ. (Additional Resource: What is the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?)

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13-14

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Rom. 8:16

A true Christian desires after God. 

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—” 1 Peter 2:2

A true Christian bears fruit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

A true Christian experiences heart change.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

As a believer, little by little, you should see yourself becoming more like Christ. Your attitudes and actions begin to be transformed. Selfishness erodes away. Sin becomes displeasing. And although you may not see yourself changing on a day-to-day basis…pause…reflect…some things take time to appreciate and recognize.

How do you see yourself being changed over time?




Day 33 – He Was Crucified in Weakness, but Lives by the Power of God

Paul is painfully patient with the Corinthians, steadfastly waiting for them to come around. He has written letters, made visits, sent messengers, performed signs and wonders, defended his cause, and poured out his heart. But still, the Corinthians hadn’t turned from their S.I.N. The most destructive three-letter word around. Read 2 Cor. 13:1-4.

When we are in the clutches of sin, sometimes we dig in our heels. We don’t want to change. We defend ourselves. We put up a fight. Sin can become a comfortable companion…and we may not know how we will manage without it by our side. If materialism wants to go shopping, will we be able to say no? If gossip is the talk of the town, will we be excluded from Girl’s Night Out? If anxiety invades our thoughts, will we let her run wild? If jealousy wants to have lunch, will we turn her down?

The longer we allow sin to have a hey day in our lives, the more difficult it becomes to walk away. However, we have been given great power in our weakness. When we surrender our lives to God, we allow access to the divine power of God to assist us in conquering sin. (Additional Resource: How Can I Overcome Sin?)

Our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ was “crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” (v. 3). The resurrection of Jesus is proof that God is real. The church at Corinth continued to look for flashy signs to prove Paul’s apostleship. They wanted more proof. More proof than a man being raised from the dead!

I wonder how many of us are guilty of this same thing? We want more proof that God is real. We’re looking for proof in blessings and materialism. Proof in large ministries and twitter followers. Proof in a life of comfort and ease. What does proof look like today?

Is the proof of Jesus’ hand on our lives found only in big money, big deals, flashes of fame, and our biggest dreams coming true? Or is the proof of His power also found in us when we are given grace to love the unlovely, adopt a child when we’re scared to death, forgive when it flies in the face of our gut reaction, and hear His Holy Spirit whisper tender words of affirmation to our broken hearts? — Kelly Minter, All Things New (p. 199)

But once again, God’s ways are so different than man’s. God says “when you are weak, I am strong.” Paul is advocating for us to trust God in the midst of our greatest weakness. For us to believe that indeed…God can. He can use messy, broken, wayward stories to give glory to Himself. Others can see God working in us when our world is falling apart. And that’s not to say God doesn’t give good things like prosperity, wealth, and success…most certainly, He does. But that’s not what it is all about! That’s not our sole purpose! The proof of our Christianity is shouting Him on the rooftops in the midst of the ups and the downs. The proof is in the relationship that lasts through the storms and sunsets.

Some of the people who had the deepest impact in my life were the ones who weathered a severe storm and remained steadfast in their faith through it all. God can speak from the mountaintop. But let’s not forget, He speaks in the valley too.

How do you perceive God’s blessing? 

engaged! (1)

Day 32 – All For Your Upbuilding, Beloved

Man, this letter has made me fall in love with the Apostle Paul. You see his vulnerability, passion, heartbeat, and love for the people come pouring through his words. He is a man with a shepherding heart. In the past, I think I’ve glanced too quickly at the book of 2 Corinthians. It has been refreshing to let it simmer for awhile and I hope you have been reading along with me! And if so, we are almost reaching the end. Read 2 Cor. 12:19-21.

It is gut-wrenching sometimes to pull others out of the gutter and help them stand firm on the Word of God.

It takes time.

It takes tears.

And most importantly, it takes prayer.

This is not an easy task for Paul as he journeys alongside his beloved friends. Although we cannot be the Holy Spirit, we can stand firm by someone’s side. Too often in our fast-paced, hyperactive, overly complicated lives…we give up on people and move on. However, Paul continues to pour into this wayward congregation, seeing them through the lens of Christ.

It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 2 Cor. 12:19

Certainly, this book is directed towards the false ministers of the day who had selfish, ulterior motives, as well as, the wandering Corinthians. But I want you to dig deep and apply it to your lives as well. Regardless of who you are or the leadership roles you hold, there is an application for all of us to be found here. As a parent, friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor…this applies to everyone.

“Sadly, too many leaders consciously or unconsciously link their own careers and reputations with the gospel they proclaim and the people they serve. Slowly, unnoticed by all but the most discerning, defense of the truth slips into self-defense, and the best interest of the congregation becomes identified with the best interest of the leaders. Personal triumphalism strikes again, sometimes with vicious intensity. It is found in the evangelical academic who invests all his opinions with the authority of Scripture, in the pastor whose every word is above contradiction, in the leader transparently more interested in self-promotion and the esteem of the crowd than in the benefit and progress of the Christians allegedly being served. It issues in political maneuvering, temper tantrums, a secular set of values (though never acknowledged as such), a smug and self-serving shepherd and hungry sheep” (164-65). — D.A. Carson

The crux of the problem for the Corinthian church is their contentment to settle. Be immature. Stop growing in their faith. Dust off a church pew. And due to their apathetic attitude, a slew of sin comes creeping in the door. Quarreling. Jealousy. Anger. Hostility. Slander. Gossip. Conceit. Disorder. Sexual Sin. Oh, my! The church had become indifferent to sin and closed a blind eye.

When we no longer are upset by the depravity of sin (in the lives of others as well as our own)…it is time to go back to the drawing board, the Word of God, and cultivate a godly perspective. Apathy leads to complacent, boring, and dead Christianity. No wonder Paul wasn’t in a good mood. He was afraid he would find his fellow so-journers wrapped up in sin, which would put him in a jam. As their spiritual dad, he could not let sin slide. If the Corinthians were sinning, Paul knew he would have to speak up and hold them accountable for their immorality.

But there’s more…

Paul also put himself in their shoes and clothed himself with humility. He felt the pain of their sinfulness. He felt an obligation for stick-to-it-ive-ness. He viewed the Corinthians as his very own children and he wanted nothing more than to see them succeed. And not “success” as the world sees it, but rather “success” in being a disciple who disciples others to love God and love others well. If the Corinthians failed, Paul saw himself as a failure too. 

This is where I just lost it today and Scripture ate my lunch (in a good way). We see Paul personally identify with the sinner and humbly recognize that their failure is indicitive of his own. Have we lost this in the church today? A sense of deep community where we are invested in the lives of others over the long-haul. Have we lost this in our community? A desire to know others so that they can know God. Have we lost this in our own families? A passion to see others pursue God with all of their heart, strength, and soul.

What if we pursued hearts rather than merely behaviors?

I think too easily we walk away. Throw in the towel. Give up. Isolate. Criticize. Run the other way. Rather than recognize that we are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Rom. 12:5). 

Who do you need to pursue? What does that look like to you?

Your friend on the journey,


Day 31 – Go the Extra Mile

Have you ever loved someone so much that you feel spent? Empty? You pour out. You give. You love them to your utter core. And yet, there is barely a heartbeat in response.

You can feel the pain of Paul today in our text, 2 Cor. 12:11-18. Paul has tirelessly given of his time and energy to woo the heart of the Corinthians back to Jesus. He has prayed for them. Visited them. Sent Titus to minister to them. But the Corinthians had abandoned his leadership for the trendy, false ministry of the “Super Apostles”. You know how much that must’ve hurt?

But Paul doesn’t give up.

Or throw in the towel.

Because true love doesn’t stop.

 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. 2 Cor. 12:15

As believers, we are known by our love (Jn. 13:34-35). Love is what sets us apart. It is proof of our faith. It shows Jesus to this lost world. Others notice when you show a never-ever giving up, sacrificial, selfless love to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

The Corinthians questioned Paul’s intentions. They erected a wall. They tried to push Paul away. But here’s our takeaway–you cannot avoid the relentless love of Jesus. His love always prevails! It chases you down.

Are you running from God today? Afraid to let Him love you?

Are you willing to love others like Paul? Sacrificial and selfless?

Be still for a moment and let God love you. Take a moment to ponder these words from Cory Asbury’s song, “Relentless Love.” 

O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
O, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
O, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

Dapper (3)



Day 30 – When We Are Weak, He is Strong

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:7-10

Weakness is the inability to fight. A lack of confidence. A sickness of illness that limits you from accomplishing what you want to do. The end result of prolonged suffering, calamity, or frailty.

Weakness is in opposition to our flesh.

We don’t like the way it feels.

But in the case of Paul, as well as in our own lil’ worlds, we can’t always change our unfortunate circumstances or pesky people. There are some things in life that are outside of our control, and yet, difficult to bear on our own. Things like sickness, insults, rejection, hardship, and persecution come to mind. The thorns in our lives are constant reminders of the tension we live in as a result of a broken world.

What is Paul’s thorn?

We never get an answer to what is the cause of Paul’s thorn. We know he asked for it to be removed three times (v. 8). We know Satan delivered the calamity (v. 7). And we know God, the giver, permitted the thorn to exist (v. 7, 9). But why?

You see, Satan intended evil. His desire was to see Paul fall…curse God, doubt, and turn-away. But God gave the thorn to Paul to perfect his holiness, and to aid in preventing the welling up of pride. It would have been so easy for Paul to boast in the incredible, supernatural revelations that he experienced in the preceding verses. He could have easily seen himself as “better than thou.” So God permitted the thorn to foster humility in man. 

Satan tempts.

God tests.

Satan desires to wreak havoc; wheras God desires good. God permits Satan to afflict his faithful servant in order to work all things together for good. God is always in control. Satan cannot touch a hair on our head unless it has been sifted through the hands of God. For this reason, when we walk through suffering…we can trust that God is at work. Rather than focus our attention on the thorn, we can focus our attention on the purpose.

How do we suffer well?

Following the example of Paul, it is okay to PRAY for the thorn to be removed. Pain is not a good thing in and of itself. God does not delight in your pain. He simply uses it to get our attention.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis

Secondly, BECOME more like Jesus. No other man endured suffering like Jesus. Our thorn pales in comparison. Work to reset your mind on Jesus and the work performed on the cross. As your perspective shifts, you will be able to see your reliance on God’s grace. Clearly our humility is more important to God than our comfort. God’s perspective is much different than ours. He is molding and shaping us to look more like Him and in doing so, proves that “His grace is sufficient for us.”

Finally, give God the GLORY. If God does not remove the weakness but rather, allows it to persist…then He must have greater purpose. Trust God that He knows what is best. When we finally yield to the will of God, we see the beauty of His power and peace prevail. When we move past the pain and suffering, we enter into the promise and blessings that only God can provide.

“Power is made perfect in weakness. When we are weak, He is strong.”

How has God’s grace been sufficient for you? How is His power made perfect in weakness?


Day 29 – Catch a Glimpse of God in the Everyday

It was one of those horrible, terrible, rotten kind of days. My kids were screaming and yelling while I taxied them around town after school, one extra-curricular activity to another. I felt like pulling my hair out since my husband was out-of-town. Honestly, I was at my wit’s end.

I kept telling myself “You just have to get home. Get home. Make it till 8 pm and then put them all put to bed.” It’s one of those pep talks that happens inside your head. But just when you think you can finally pull through from the belly of the whale, and come back up for some fresh air…my day worsened. My tire blew. During rush hour. And of course, it felt like it was 110º.

I pulled over to the side of the road to check the damage and knew that all the mechanics in town would be closed. I wished I had paid more attention when my dad tried to teach me the basics of using a car jack and putting on a spare. But it was too late… I knew I didn’t have a clue.

I called a tow truck to come to the rescue and thankfully, out of the blue, my neighbor pulled up and offered to drive my kids home (she had no idea what she was getting herself into). I waited and waited and waited and waited for hours and hours on end. One tow truck arrived, but with discouraging news, “Sorry ma’am, I don’t have the right kind of truck to pull your over-sized, gas-guzzling giant machine” and so I waited some more.

The man arrived with snarly long hair and tattoos up and down his arms. You could tell that he also was having a bad day by the length of cuss words protruding from his mouth. He struggled to get my car jimmy-rigged to his and instantly I could tell this wasn’t going well. And so, I asked him a simple question, “Tell me your story…how did you wind up here?”

I had no idea that on that miserable day Jesus would do a miracle on the side of the road. I was able to share Jesus with that man and he asked Jesus to come and change his life!

I will never forget that day! God used it to change me too! Sharing our stories about our messy lives…in our marriages, children, friendships, churches, illnesses, and broken-down cars…is what it is all about. It is the consistent, everyday, practical pattern of faithfulness that yields fruitfulness. If we boast, may we boast in the Lord.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Cor. 11:30

Our text today comes from 2 Cor. 11:30-33, 12:1-6. Paul shares how he was let down in a basket to escape the King. Despite his prestigious lineage and heritage, Paul became a man on the run. A fugitive. An outcast. And then in this weak moment, God stepped in and spared his life.

Paul goes on to share another story about a supernatural experience that he encountered with God. Take special notice that he cannot explain whether or not it was an “in the body or out of the body” experience (v. 3). He goes on to say…it doesn’t matter how the supernatural mystery occurred. “God knows.” We don’t have to know everything.

God knows. Isn’t that enough?

Sometimes we go to such depths and lengths and heights and widths trying to understand and explain the mysteries of God. We cannot always make sense of things that happen in this world. We spend wakeless nights trying to figure out what we did wrong or how we can fix it to make it all better again. We try to explain the supernatural. We try to come up with an answer when sometimes all we can say is “God knows.”

Sometimes God gives us an answer…like He did with me and the tow truck man. Sometimes God has something in store for us in the midst of the storm.

And sometimes…we may not have an answer. Sometimes, we just have to trust the One who does. Knowing He will work all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28).

Whether you are in a season of waiting to see God work in your life or celebrating where you are right now…may we all be reminded that we were put here in this world to live humble, sacrificial, servant-like lives that point upward to Jesus. The day-to-day faithfulness counts!

May we be a people who don’t put limits on God…but rather a people who faithfully point upward. 

Are you only seeking the supernatural highs in your pursuit of Christ? Or are you being faithful in the daily mundane, even when nothing is turning out right?



Anyone who says the Christian life is unadventurous hasn’t hung out much with the Apostle Paul. You can feel the tension rising as he goes to bat for the things Jesus has done in his life. You can hear him momentarily go off-roading in order to defend the message of the Gospel and pursue those whom he loves. Let’s not forget–Christianity is not meant to be a bunch of “do’s and don’t’s”–it’s meant to be relational!

The false teachers of this day were masquerading as image bearers of Jesus. They were Christian-fakers. They could talk the talk. They were “spiritual”…but not Christlike. They had head knowledge…but not heart. Take a closer look at how Paul describes them: “You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn’t admit it to you, but our stomachs aren’t strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff (v.20–MSG).”

From a distance, it appears obvious that these leaders did not have the best interest of others in mind. They were selfish and wrongly motivated. However, it is so easy to get entangled with others (even in the church) who persuasively influence you or impact your thinking. When you are looking for a place to belong and a people to accept you…it is surprising what you will put up with. It may take some personal introspection to examine your friendships and relationships in order to determine whether or not they are Christ-centered.

What are the characteristics of a godly leader, mentor, or friend? Ask yourself…

  • What word best describes the other person: arrogance or humility?
  •  Do they tear you down, or build you up?
  • Do they talk over you, putting you in your place? Or do you consider them a place of refuge and comfort?
  • Do they brag about their self-accomplishments? Or, their weakness that was made strong in Jesus?
  • Do they want to hurry you on out the door? Or are they patient with you, filled with grace?
  • Do they make every problem “your” problem? Or, do you find them relatable and human, willing to put themselves in your shoes?
  • Do they point you to Jesus above everything else?

Paul was a committed leader who was willing to endure incredible hardship and suffering in order to pursue the heart of the ones he loved. He leveraged his talents, abilities, knowledge, lineage, education, and career to steer the believers back to Jesus. We need more people like this today! People who are willing to take risks for others. People who will humbly take a stand, regardless of the fallout. People who are fearless faith-walkers to defend the truth. 

Why is it necessary to stand up for the truth? Why do we find it so difficult to do so?


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