Get Over The Hump Day – Valentine Devotional What is Love? (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more….)

I’ve stated openly before that I did not do dating correctly. There are better ways to find a mate than treating each other like new clothing. Trying each other out like we’re buying clothes and then when it’s getting old we throw it out and look for something new. This subject deserves its own devotional so I’ll stop short of the subject of dating for now and launch right into the subject of LOVE. This is a simple idea that goes deeper than we could ever imagine but here it is: LOVE IS NOT A FEELING. I’ll say it again: LOVE IS NOT A FEELING. This was part of my struggle in dating. When you’re friends with someone of the opposite sex and you really like that person you gain affectionate feelings for that person. You might even love that person but it may not be in a marital way but you have these…..”feelings”. Example: If you have a sister, you have feelings for that sister. You also love her very much, but that doesn’t mean you would make out with her (even if you’re from Alabama, sorry had to get that in there. Maybe I should say Roll Tide to make it better….) so remember that we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Feelings often lead us in the wrong direction and confuse us. God never leads us down the wrong road or attempts to confuse His children. We get confused because our society (led by our enemy) has twisted the idea of what love and affection really are and how they should be used. Let’s define LOVE from The Holy Word of God.

1 JOHN 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for GOD IS LOVE. Did you read that last line? Love has been defined as God Himself. GOD IS LOVE. Therefore it’s clear that anything that HE is not in can NOT be love. IF IT IS AGAINST HIS WORD, IT CANNOT BE LOVE. That will answer a lot of your questions concerning certain situations in life such as sex outside marriage, homosexuality, reading certain books or watching movies based on the aforementioned subjects. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-11 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you WERE. But you were WASHED, you were SANCTIFIED, you were JUSTIFIED in the name of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and by THE SPIRIT OF our GOD. There can be no actual love in those things because God is not in those things. If you disagree here, ask yourself, “Am I disagreeing with Jackson, or am I disagreeing with God’s Word?” Or ask yourself, “Am I taking the Scripture at its word…for what it says? Or am I attempting to make the Scripture say what I want it to say about real love?” God is indeed love. There is no love in the back seat of that car no matter how much “love” is professed. God isn’t in it, therefore there is no love in it. March all day and night long about how you feel, but feelings do not change The Truth. I don’t feel it’s right to be taxed so highly but if I don’t pay my taxes, the truth is that I will go to jail!

 

We have downgraded love into something cheaper – Flippant words to put into songs or just a phrase to express our feelings based on getting something we want. Love seeks to give others what they need. Jesus never needed a sexual relationship. He was tempted. HEBREWS 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. But it wasn’t something to be attained for Him. Not because it was bad (within marriage it’s quite enjoyable) but because it wasn’t necessary for love. The strongest and truest LOVE has absolutely nothing to do with getting physical. It’s about being sacrificial. The reason we love is to honor God, not to please our bodies. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-17 “I have the right to do anything,” you say-but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”-but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” THE BODY, however, IS NOT MEANT FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY BUT FOR THE LORD, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

 

OK believers, I’m not making “feelings” the enemy here but someone somewhere long ago decided to twist the meaning of love into something cheaper and it’s time we take back the meaning of Real Love. Do you Love God? There is a way to show it JOHN 14:21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. According to God’s Word, if you LOVE HIM you will OBEY HIM. Read The Word and be discerning. Put down that book ladies. Turn off that computer men. Love can’t be found in the fantasy world by stirring up your feelings. It will be found by doing for others what Christ has done for us. Sacrificing our time and energy to do things that obey God and make a difference in others’ lives. Jesus showed us what LOVE IS. Yeah, it’s harder work. But sooooo much more fulfilling. I write this out of a spirit of love for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Have a great Valentine’s Day and know this….God Loves You!!

 

In the writing of this I realized that I used to think I loved Chick-Fil-A but the truth is that I would never sacrifice my life for the store (Sorry Chick-Fil-A) and must admit I just had feelings for its food. Those feelings are real and definitely ok but I wouldn’t call it true love, although it feels like it sometimes…….

Get Over The Hump Day Devotional – Wrong Decisions

If you watched or heard about Super Bowl 49 you’ll know where I got the title for this devotion. Although that was the worst play call I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, I’m not the one who has to live with it. And it was not a sin! Coach Carroll can rest easy knowing he can account to God for his decision. I know Seattle fans probably think it was a sin, but I assure you… it was not. However, making the decision to disobey God is and will always be a sin and is much worse than losing a big-time over-hyped game. Life is not a game. It’s so much more. Every decision counts and has an impact on someone.

                                                                             

I have waaaay too many personal stories to share on this subject. Fights in my marriage, missed moments with my kids, missed blessings that I could have had by doing something for others… All the selfish decisions I’ve made begin to mount up as I think about how many times my Loving yet Mighty Powerful Warrior God and Father has forgiven me for making the wrong decisions. I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from so let’s consider two things today.

FIRST: Understanding our failures and how to overcome them. We have all failed. We have all sinned and fallen short (ROMANS 3:23). We fight a spiritual battle everyday if we are believers. We are family and we must stick together in helping each other fight this battle and share with others the Truth so they might become part of our family. We, as a family of believers, fight against the sins of selfishness, laziness, pride, lust, envy, greed, etc. every day. ROMANS 6:12-13 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. We can’t go into battle without a strategy. We go to our Warrior God (EXODUS 15:3 –The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name) and ask for His help for each day. We get our mind set straight and we ask for wisdom from the One who gives it to us without hesitation (JAMES 1:5 –But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.) And if we fall during battle we cry out to our Merciful Leader (DEUTERONOMY 4:31a –For the LORD your God is a merciful God...) who will forgive us and save us and pick us up, defend us and set us back upon our feet so we can fight again. This is the life we’ve chosen. To live to please The One who deserves to be worshiped and praised (PSALM 96:1-13), and most importantly, obeyed (JOHN 14:23 –Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.) The Head of our family. The Great God and Father and Author and Finisher of our Faith. Go to Him each day. That is how we both gain understanding and forgiveness for our sins and wrong decisions.

 

SECOND: We help others see where they are failing, and help them overcome. This will require a lot of prayer and a lot of practice and a ton of love and concern for others. No one likes to be told that they are in sin or that they are consistently making the wrong decisions. However, we as a family of believers are to encourage and help each other overcome sin. HEBREWS 10:24 –And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. JAMES 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. PROVERBS 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. I once heard a friend say that “We should not go to others about God until we’ve gone to God about others.” The point here is, PRAYER.  Pray for the person before you confront them.  Matthew 18 is pretty clear about how to approach a believer who is in sin.  Follow that model with a heart full of love and understanding. Remember to treat them as you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31 – Do unto others….) and pray for their restoration.

 

As believers we will all make some bad decisions. We all sin but we’re all part of the same family and we take care of each other. We look out for our weaker brothers and sisters and strengthen them in the faith. We pray together and sing praises to Our Strong Worthy Creator. We’re all in this together. Forgive and be forgiven and stand together in The Faith. Maybe you’ve made a terrible decision. It’s ok. Your family will help you through the consequences of that decision and guide you back to Our Father who is ready and waiting to Forgive You because that’s the kind of Dad that HE IS. Oh… And if you’re ever in the Super Bowl, and you have one of the best running backs in the league, and you have the ball at the 1-yard line… run the ball.

By: Jackson Bailey

Get Over The Hump Day – Super Bowl Devotional

One of the greatest inventions of our time is the DVR. Yes the DVR has kept many men from having to compromise their beliefs. Nobody wanted to tape the Super Bowl on VHS and watch it after church, so they skipped church, but with a DVR it’s just like the game has been postponed until You can get there! This was a conviction for me in college. Of course in my younger days, it was never an issue. We were at church, PERIOD. We’d always catch the second half after church. In college I chose to make the decision to go to church instead of see the whole game. I don’t think you have to do that to be a “Real Christian” but I felt convicted to do that just to make sure I had my own personal priorities straight. I’m bringing this up now the Wednesday before Superbowl Sunday so many of you will feel guilty for skipping church!!! LOL.
Ok, here’s the real reason I bring this up. PRIORITIES SHOW UP IN THE LITTLE DECISIONS WE MAKE EVERY DAY. The decisions we make show what our priorities are very clearly although we may not see it ourselves because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) and we tend to be blind to our own priority problems. Sooner or later, your priorities will become evident “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). If God is your treasure it will show. If you love your wife and kids the right way, it will show both when you are there and when you can’t be. If money, fame, power or work are your priority that will also show. I think we understand as Christians what our priorities “should” be. “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)
The question I’m daring us to ask ourselves is: What are our priorities? Or a better question might be: What would others say our priorities are based on what our actions show? If I were to ask your husband, wife, kids or pastor what your priorities were, what would they say? Remember this in Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” Would you rather be with your brothers and sisters in Christ worshipping the One True, Righteous, Awesome, All Powerful God or would you rather be sitting on the couch watching some dudes throw around a deflated ball? Or out fishing on the lake He created? I’m using these stereotypical events as an example to point out one thing. We can all say “I’ve got my priorities in line, I believe in God, Family, Work” but actions speak louder than words. If you golf with your buddies 3 weekends out of 4 and haven’t taken your kids to a movie or hiking or to get pizza, you’re putting golfing with the boys before your family and it’s obvious. Go ask someone who will be honest with you what they think your priorities are and try not to be defensive. LISTEN CLOSELY, then go and get down on your knees and bow to The One who is most worthy of our time and attention and give thanks for His help, ask forgiveness, or do whatever He leads you to do. Let’s get our priorities in line. Let’s get our conscience clear. Then let’s go make an impact on the lives of others. Enjoy that Superbowl, but make sure you enjoy your God more, He will never cheat you or leave you deflated……

Get Over The Hump Day Devotional – Equality and Slavery…….

We just got out of school for MLK Day. I believe it was just a couple of years ago, one of my children looked at the calendar which read: “MLK Day” and asked me, “Hey daddy, why do we get out of school for milk day?” Of course, I laughed and said something about chocolate milk which went over the kids heads and then I explained to them who MLK was and how we needed more leaders like him today. I reflected on my first reaction to the question which was to make a quick joke as I thought about an obvious trait of MLK. He’s an Afro-American. I’m not sure what I am….Irish, Scottish, Cherokee Indian (Native American for the PC crowd) is what I’ve been told, but to anyone who sees me, I’m white and that’s more obvious when I jump (another general trait joke about whites or caucasians). Did you ever sing that song in church “red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world?” That’s simple and correct, but now some find it offensive and I find the fact that people find that offensive, well…offensive. Was that confusing? Well, so is this whole politically correct movement. OK, here’s the truth.
Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:23-25 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and THERE IS NO PARTIALITY “.
Romans 2:11 “For there is no partiality with God”
God created us all in His image and different but equal, so we should all expect to be, well, uhm….different, but ya know…..EQUAL. I know we’ve made it seem complicated but it’s really not. That’s what is so great about many answers in the Bible. One thing we can bank on is that God loves us, no matter what our race. I believe He said in Luke 10:27 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
That about settles it doesn’t it? I’ve got lots of opinions on this subject but the only thing that really matters it what the Scriptures teach. We’re all loved by God (John 3:16). We’re all equal. We’re all slaves to sin and in need of rescue (Romans 3:23). We all start out in the same slavery in need of a redeemer. There has always been the horrible misuse of other people from the Jewish people, to the Afro-Americans to women all over the world being sold into the sexual slave trade and on and on. All this slavery stems from the original form of slavery. This slavery to sin. To fix the problem we must change the hearts of men by telling them of The Good News of The God who can save them. The One who bought our freedom. Once we’ve broken free from the slavery of sin, I believe we will see all the other slavery begin to disappear under the reign of love for God and our fellow man. So maybe I’m just too simple but if we want equality and to stop all these forms of slavery I believe we must understand we are all under the SAME CURSE and in need of the SAME SAVIOR who offers us all the SAME SALVATION.