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Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Modesty- And The Christian Heart”

 

 

What I am about to share with you is not earth shattering. It is nothing “new” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) It is however, I believe relevant, important, and very much needed today.

I began reading multiple posts/comments on post yesterday concerning modesty. The discussion was not about, but rather brought about by women’s beach volleyball in the Olympics. There seem to be many viewpoints on this.

Some have said that the women play in their bikini’s so that it helps them move better, or that it is more comfortable, or that it is “just a uniform”, or that it isn’t about what they are wearing it is about the sport, or that…

A few of these viewpoints can be debunked by doing just a slight amount of research. For instance, when this became a Olympic sport in 1996, it was a requirement for women to wear bikini’s (how sad!) That rule has since changed. It is no longer a requirement, rather it is a choice. The rule has been changed to accommodate “conservative religious beliefs” held by (other) countries.

To say that the bikini is necessary to help them “move better” is not even close to being a valid argument. Don’t agree? Then please explain to me why the men’s beach volleyball team wears shorts (kind of baggy) and sleeveless shirts? Are these men not dedicated athletes?

In Olympic beach volleyball, the bikini’s are not about performance, rather they are about ratings. In this article we read this quote “Unconvinced? Consider this: While men’s volleyball coverage for the 2008 Summer Games was split nearly equally between beach and court volleyball, women’s court volleyball — in which athletes are more fully clothed — received no coverage, even though the U.S. women’s team won a silver medal that year. The bikini-clad athletes of women’s beach volleyball, on the other hand, were the second-most covered event for women at the Olympics. Fancy that.”

Also this article shares that many women decided to wear their traditional bikinis even in the cooler weather so as to not “disappoint” their viewers.

The issue of this ONE instance of immodesty is not even a question. Volleyball is not the only sport/event like this, it is simply the one that started this discussion.  The real question(s) is/must be, what is modesty? Is it important? Is it outdated? Is there a double standard? Does it matter what others think? What must we do? I will give my attempt to answer a few of these questions.

 

How Does God Define Modesty?

He doesn’t, at least not to the extent that we might like or be looking for. When summertime rolls around there are several things that I look forward to. One such thing is “Reach Week” This is a church camp that I have been part of for the last 14 years as a camper and as a staff member.

One of the great things about reach week is the dress code. Every girl, and every boy must not have any shorts skirts, dresses, that do not follow the “dollar bill rule.” This is where you take a dollar bill, turn it horizontally and place it on your knee cap, if the top of the bill does not touch the bottom of your clothing, it is too short and you must change. No low cut shirts, and if the shirt is sleeveless, it must be tight around your arm so as to not hang down exposing undergarments or more skin.

I am not writing to tell you that if you do not follow the Reach Week standard that you are violating God’s laws. What I would like to point out is that the purpose of this dress code is to help campers and staff not focus on themselves or others, but rather, to focus on the image of God! What a great week it is, and oh, how I wish every week could be this way!

1 Timothy 2:9- “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,”

This is one of the most well-known verses in scripture in regards to modesty. Immodesty was an issue long before we arrived on this earth. This is not new. You will note in the context of this verse that it wasn’t simply wearing revealing clothes that is being addressed, it is also dealing with being different from the world, being a good example, and not dressing/acting in a way to draw attention to ourselves.

As you noticed, you did not find the “dollar bill” rule or any specific regulations in this passage, so the question remains, what is modest?

In Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve realized that they were naked, the scriptures teach that eve made a covering out of fig leaves for both her and her husband. This covering that was made according to the Hebrew was that very similar to a loin cloth. Covering the “essentials” but not much, if anything else. One might say that this would be similar to many of the modern swim suits today. God did not see this a fitting thing to wear. He proceeded to provide both of them garments that (according to the Hebrew) was much like a robe.

Again, this is not a command to wear robes. Rather, it is a glimpse into what is fitting in the eyes of God, which is generally a step above what is fitting in the eyes of man.

Modesty is not as much about specific guidelines that each piece of clothing must meet. Modesty is more about a life that is focused more toward glorifying the creator rather than the creation. If someone is dressed in a way that is mean to draw attention to them (hey, look how good I look!) this is immodest.

Is There A Double Standard?

This is a question that has been asked on numerous occasions when it comes to the issue of modesty.

Many times preachers, bible class teachers, and parents are much more inclined to talk to the young ladies about what is appropriate than they are to the young men. To all of the women, I would like to say, that I personally am sorry for this!

#1. Women are not the only gender that has the ability (or desire) to dress immodestly.

#2. Men are not the only gender that can be tempted with lust.

This article began by talking about the women’s volleyball players at the Olympics, it could have just as easily began by talking about the embarrassingly small amount of clothing worn by men in many of their events. (Let’s not stop there) We could talk about the guys who wear the tightest shirts they can find with the only purpose being to show off their figure, we could talk about the guys who are continually running outside in small shorts and shirtless (side note: I have always been very active in running, lifting weights, and playing sports I have never felt hindered or “extra hot” because I left a light t-shirt on)

We could talk about movies such as “Magic Mike” which is a movie that features male strippers, and cringe when we think about the money that brought to the box office. (If you heard that Magic Mike was not “that bad” I would encourage you to go here to read the real review yourself)

Many times we have treated modesty as if it were a one-way street, shame on me, shame on us. Men are called by God to be the spiritual leaders of our homes (Deuteronomy 6) and Churches (1 Timothy 2) we cannot expect women to dress modestly, or be concerned for the spiritual welfare of others if we are not leading by example.

Should We Care What Others Think?

“It is not my problem if someone does not like the way I dress!”

“If that person struggles with lust because my shorts are a little short then that is their problem!”

Too often I have heard these words from the mouths of Christians. I want to tell you right now, in the clearest possible language that I can use. It is your job as a Christian to consider what others think about you!

Please watch my wording, I did not say, it is your job to please everyone. Rather, you must consider their thoughts. I want to share with you 2 reasons for this as it pertains to modesty.

#1. I want you to think about the words we find in 2 Peter 3:9. We find that our God wants all men to be in heaven. We know based on Matthew 7:13-14 that this will not be possible. However, my heart needs to be in tune with the Lord’s. Every person that I meet, I must want them to be in heaven!

“What does this have to do with anything?”

The pornography “business” is booming. It brings in more money per year than do MLB, NFL, and NBA COMBINED! To say that we are sex-saturated and filled with lust (generally speaking) is an understatement. This is not a “harmless” sin. Jesus speaks in Matthew 5 about lust, and makes it very clear that the lustful thought is every bit as wrong as the lustful act.

It is time to wake up and realize that simply “avoiding the act” is not enough! Jesus calls us higher!

If my desire is to bring as many people with me to heaven, and I understand I live in a world where lust is a serious issue, I must be diligent in making sure my apparel never assists someone sinning, even if it is just “in their head.”

I would remind you of Paul’s writings about eating various kinds of meat. These were not meats that God viewed as sinful to eat, but many living at that time did. Paul warned that even though something in and of itself might not be wrong, doing it in front of others and causing them to stumble is sinful. (1 Corinthians 8)

#2. Our purpose is to bring others to heaven! You and I can not possibly convince someone else that we are headed a different eternal direction if we wear the same clothes, talk the same way, act the same way, share the same standards… church… We.Must.Be.Different! (Phil 3:20, Mathew 5;13-16, 1 Timothy 2:9, John 17:16)

What Should Be The Christian Response?

We know immodesty is all around us. What should be our response?

We must focus on “me.” I must focus on me, you must focus on you. I must make sure my wardrobe (and life) are pleasing to God, while you do the same. Finger pointing does nothing. Pointing our lives toward the Father does everything!

Someone will say, “You can’t protect yourselves from seeing it forever, so why try?” I will agree that unless you dig a hole in the ground and never come out, you will be around immodesty, and must train yourself for holiness.

Job 31:1 mentions making a “covenant with your eyes” what a great thought! Let us make a covenant with our eyes that we will not gaze upon immodesty willingly.

Below is just a few suggestions. Not commandments from God, but some things that are implemented in my home for your consideration.

  • Stay away from public pools. The temptation for lust is simply too great. Our souls, our children’s souls are far more important than a day at the pool. (side note: when we went swimming with our college ministry we had every male and female wear knee length swimming shorts and dark t-shirts, much to our surprise nobody drowned because of the cumbersome attire:)
  • Watch programming rather than television: Many of the worst parts about television are the commercials. Watch dvd’s of pre-approved shows, watch pre-approved shows on Netflix, dvr etc…
  • Review any tv show, or movie before watching it. On www.pluggedin.com

As I write these words I want you to know the only reason for this post is love. Love for you, your soul, my children’s souls, and your children’s souls. When Christ came to this earth He raised the standard on holiness. It is time for me to do the same.

In Him,

Troy 

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“Is Anyone “Amazed” With Your Life?”

The young man’s name was Saul. He was going about his life with a zeal and a passion for God. He was doing “everything right” by his own reckoning. One day everything changed. He saw the light (literally) and realized that his entire life, he had been doing everything wrong! Even, the things he thought he was doing “for God” he was actually doing against God. When Saul realized what had been missing from his life (Jesus) he immediately began a new life! An amazing life! (This story is borrowed from Acts chapter 9)

There was a man. We do not know what name his parents gave him, but we do know that when Jesus asked him his name the demons from within him answered “legion, for we are many.” This man was a terror. He was frightening to be around. He had superior strength, and it seemed nothing could prevent him from causing destruction. Then one day, it happened. He met Jesus! Jesus changed his life! This man (legion) was on the fast track to an amazing life! All because of Jesus! (This story is borrowed from Mark chapter 5)

What was so amazing about these two lives? Let’s examine two scriptures.

Acts 9:21- “And all who heard him were amazed, and said “is this not the man who made havoc in Jerusalem?…”

Mark 5:20- “And he went away and began to proclaim in all of Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled”

It wasn’t just their words, it was their message!

What was so amazing about Saul and “legion”? It wasn’t merely the fact that they were speaking in front of the people. Saul especially was very much used to a public platform. It wasn’t just that they spoke, it was what they were speaking.
You see, Saul came to Damascus for the purpose of dragging Christians off to prison, and now, he is a Christian, not JUST a Christian, but a preacher! When the people heard his message they were amazed. When the people heard the message of “legion” they marveled. Why?

It wasn’t just their message, it was their life!

Why were the people amazed at Saul/Paul? I do not believe it is merely what he said. I believe it was who he was. You see, the Christians were confused, they knew who this man used to be, but now they see someone completely different! They stood amazed, because only Jesus can change a person this drastically!
Why were the people amazed at legion? Not because of what he said, but because of who was before their own eyes. Here was a man who was demon possessed, un- clothed, and a wild man and now he is standing before them, clothed, in his right mind, and preaching Jesus! Only Jesus can change a life this much!

What does this have to do with me?

I wonder, is anyone amazed with the life we are living? It takes more than saying the right thing to amaze people today. We live in a world full of empty promises. It means absolutely nothing to “say” “I am a Christian.” What matters is showing it in our daily actions. What has changed in your life since becoming a Christian? I mean really, what has changed? I am afraid that too many times the answer is “Now I partake of communion.” Church, it is time we begin living changed lives! What does that look like?

We do not watch the same Tv that we used to.
We do not listen to the same songs that we used to.
We do not use the same language that we used to.
We do not dress like we used to.
We do not focus on ourselves like we used to.

We DO place all of our heart in God’s hands.
We DO show kindness to others even when they do not deserve it.
We DO put more emphasis on our spouse/children than we do ourselves.
We DO seek lost souls to share the Gospel with!
We DO look for new ways to serve.
We DO have spiritual/Biblical talks within our homes everyday
We DO praise God, for what He has done.
We DO strive to be like Jesus!

We are called to live lives that set the world on fire, we are called to live… amazing lives.

“O God, Thank you for your Word. Thank you for great examples you have set before us. Father, please forgive us when we try to be the “best us” that we can be. Father, we understand that our best is not good enough, we want to be like your Son, we want to live amazing lives, all for your Glory! In Jesus Name, Amen ”

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“PTC REVIEW”

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Preacher training camp in Lewisville church of Christ is my favorite week of the year. This is where it began for me. I came to this camp with no intention to preach. And now, this is my 5th year as a staff member at this camp.

This camp is phenomenal. It is full of great things. There is an awesome group of men that are assembled to teach and preach. There are 58 campers who have given up a week of their summers to come and learn how to preach. (many of who have already chosen to preach)

It is truly incredible to watch lives change!

I have worked with great campers who have worked hard on their sermons. They study, then they study, then they study. Then they compile an outline that would best help them to present God’s Word to the listeners. It is great to see. I thank God for these young men.

On a personal note…

I needed this week! Sometimes I feel discouraged, sometimes I feel downhearted, sometimes I forget that there are GREAT things thriving in the church of our Lord! This week I have been refreshed, I have remembered that the Lords church will never die. He is in control!

I needed this week, because of friendships. I have been tremendously blessed in my young ministry with some great men that God has placed in my life. Some friendships have been in place since my first year at this camp, some have only recently began to be built. Each one is very near to my heart, and I thank God for them.

On our last night here, many of our staff/campers gathered around some tables and began singing from the hymnals for over an hour. Listening to their voices blending together was just what I needed. You see, we were not just singing we were worshiping our God. I looked around and many young preachers who are faithful to the Lord, and I was reminded that I am not alone. I have brothers. True brothers, that would be closer than biological brothers (if I had any.)

During this time, the tears began to come to my eyes. It was exactly what I needed… To see my friends, my brothers praising God with a common thought. That thought being “I want to be with my savior”

I will forever be grateful for this camp, these campers, this staff, my brothers, and most of all, my savior.

“Father, thank you for you precious Son. Thank you for loving me, even though I am a sinner. Father thank you for giving me brothers to encourage me, help me to encourage them. I love you Father, thank you for your Son, it is in His holy and precious name that I pray, Amen.”

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“All About Her”

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My sweet beautiful baby girl is turning two this Sunday. My little girl who melts my heart with a single smile, is no longer a baby. But, I sure cry like one when I think about this…

This short post is all about her. This in no way means I don’t share any of these same feelings for my wife or my son, but, since it is her birthday, this is all about her.

She is my princess.

When I was growing up, my mom used to always tease me by telling me that when I got married I was going to have a bunch of little “princesses” this terrified me! Growing up in the country, I was a tough, mean, manly man, country boy… At least I thought I was.

There are few things in this life that bring joy to my heart more than watching my little princess twirl in her nightgown after her bedtime bath. She is my little princess, and I am proud of it!

She is my hope for the future.

I watch as she brightens up her world. I can’t help but dream of her doing this her entire life. Brightening her world with a smile, a hug, a kiss, a gift, a kind word, and most importantly, by shining for Jesus!

We live in a dark world. We live in a sinful place. Where is the hope for humanity? Where is the hope for the Church? It is in our precious little ones who are being groomed to be children of the king. I look at Jacy, and I see a future godly spouse. I see a bible school teacher. I see a evangelistic woman with a heart for the Lord. She is my hope.

She is the keeper of my heart.

Growing up, I loved my parents. I told them both continually that I loved them. One day my mother told me that I would someday meet a woman who would become my wife, and then I would discover a deeper meaning of love. I didn’t believe her, and then.. It happened. That isn’t to say the love for my mom diminished after meeting Meagan. It simply means love became even “deeper”

Then, we found out the delightful news! Jacy was on her way! I remember holding Meagan’s hand all through the delivery (even when she broke my thumb, literally!:) the first time that my daughter was placed in my arms, the earth stopped moving. I couldn’t breathe. I just stared in her eyes, and she cracked a smile at her daddy, and I was hooked for life! She holds my heart.

She is my reflection.

I should say she is “our reflection” – meaning, my wife and I.

We have heard it all, “She looks just like her daddy!” or “She looks like her mommy!” or “she looks like her aunt Kassidy!” or “She doesn’t look anything like any of you!”

The physical appearance is a matter of perspective. But it is the inside that I am concerned with. You see, We are at the stage where she is a parrot. You parents know what I mean. She has a thousand “What’s that?” questions and she repeats almost EVERYTHING that she sees and hears. Right now she is becoming more and more like the people she is around.

As I focus upon her life. I must also focus upon mine. Do I want Jacy to be like her dad? Do I want her to talk like me? Do I want her to handle anger like me? Do I want her to study her Bible like me? Do I want her to love Jesus like me?

I could not be more proud of my daughter. It is up to me to live a life that she can say she is proud of her daddy.

To My Daughter:

Baby girl, I could not love you anymore than I do now. You have brought me true joy. You remind me what purity is. Your face lights up the room and my heart. Nothing is more satisfying than when you hug my neck and say “aww dada!” you will always be my little angel. I hope and pray that I will lead a life so that you can follow my steps… Straight to heaven! I love you Jacy!

Father God, thank you for my daughter. Thank you for all of the lessons that you have taught me through her. I pray that she will continue in good health. I also pray father that you will help me be the daddy I need to be for her. Thank you for two blessed years. Help me Father to not let it pass me by. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“How Should Christians View Politics”

 

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There are some things in this life that I hate. Things such as sirens that wake me up in the middle of the night for no reason. I hate when I go to grab a drink of tea from the refrigerator and find that there is no tea. I nearly break down in to tears when I go to make coffee, and there…is… no… Coffee!

 

All of this aside, there are some things that I really do hate. One of these things is when I hear and see my brothers and sisters in Christ who act and speak as though they are anything but. Regardless of who you are, or what your beliefs or convictions are, there are some things that seem to bring out tremendous emotion and strong feelings. Very few things do this as much as politics.

 

Disclaimer: I am not about to begin telling you who you should/shouldn’t vote for.I am not about to take a side (democrat/republican.) I simply wish to share a few reminders about the attitudes and views a Christian should take toward politics in general.

 1.   As in all matters of life, Christians behave different from the world.

 

1 Peter 2:11- Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

 

One thing that bothers me is the idea of “compartmentalizing” our lives. What I mean by this is the idea “I’m a Christian today, its Sunday” but on Friday night at the football game, the way we cheer/jeer represents anything but Christ.

 

I’m afraid many Christians are guilty of this today in the realm of politics.

 

I once had a deacon within the church talk to me about his views on politics. His statement to me was this, “I believe in God, I believe the Bible to be from God, but I believe that the Bible should have no place in politics. I believe we need to keep our political and religious views separate”

 

I was astonished! How can we claim that we believe the Bible is from God, but has no place in politics? How can we say we need to keep our religious and political “minds” separate at all times?

 

Paul had a different message for Christians.

 

Colossians 3:4- “When Christ who is your life appears…”

 

2nd Corinthians 5:20-  “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us..”

 

Upon studying these and many related statements contained within the New Testament, it is abundantly clear to me that our life in Christ our “Christianity” cannot EVER be left out of the equation as we approach any topic.

 

I say all of that to say this. Regardless of political stance, your number one job as a Christian is to lead others to Christ! I can’t lead someone closer to Jesus, if they look at my life and see that I am just like the world. We must have a different standard in our views that someone who does not know Christ!

 2.   Pleasing God must be more important to us than “Our guy” winning the election.

 

Galatians 1:10-For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

 

I know brothers and sisters who seem to be nothing more than political hobbyist. They have “their guy” or more likely “their guy, they don’t want to win” and that is all that consumes their every thought. I am not standing against someone supporting a candidate, or having an issue with another. What I am saying, is in everything that we say/do we must have a heart for God rather than our “party.”

 3.   Stop the mud slinging!

 

Matthew 12:36-27- I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 

I (like most of you) hate campaign season. I find that I find out 10 reasons why I should not vote for “the other guy” for every reason given why I should vote for another.

 

Sadly, within the church, we are not much better. I encourage you to take heed to the words of Christ. In Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus is not speaking out against “cussing” but, against “careless words!” how many careless words are spoken in the realm of politics? How many of those careless words are we guilty of contributing?

 

Again, I am not opposed to opposing something/someone that you think is wrong, Jesus did that! What I am opposed to is when we allow trivial matters, or party voting to influence our character more than the Word of God.

 

Please, please, speak carefully.

 4.   Remember where your citizenship is!

 

Philippians 3:20- “For our citizenship is in heaven…”

 

Now to the heart of the matter. Could it be that the reason many Christians behave like the world when it comes to this “hot topic” is that we have forgotten where our loyalty and allegiance truly should be rooted?

 

I must tell you, that I am not saying that we should not have pride in our nation. I am not saying we should not pay high honor to those who fight for the United States (Both of my grandfathers did, along with many classmates one of which paid the ultimate price.) I am not saying we cannot be “proud” to be an American.

 

What I am saying….

 

The U.S.A. is not my home. I was born here, I was raised here, I am raising my children here, I preach here, I will most likely die here. But, this is not my home! If our country “turns around” and begins again to acknowledge God, glory to God! If our country heads down a path of destruction, I will still praise God! (Job 13:15- Though he slay me, I will hope in him)

 

I am not trying to discourage voters from voting. I am not trying to discourage Christians from sharing their views. I am simply trying to encourage Christians to make sure that their views, more importantly their attitude, is in line with the Word of God.

 

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heavens open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Prayer That Shook Me

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It was going like any other Sunday, I woke up, and had my coffee. Then our family began getting ready for worship. We made it to the building, and I taught our auditorium class, and preached the morning sermon. We had some family visiting that afternoon, and we enjoyed the company. Then it was time for us to leave our home and drive to Lindsay Ok. It was the night for our “preacher exchange” and I was scheduled to preach for that congregation. It was a pleasant experience, welcoming, friendly, and loving are words that quickly come to mind as I think about the church there. After my lesson was concluded, I sat in the pew so that I could learn a lesson…

I was holding my son Jagger during the closing prayer, hoping I could keep him quiet(ish) until the prayer was finished. Then I heard words uttered that stopped my thoughts. maybe I am the only person who has never heard someone say these words in prayer before, regardless of whether or not this is a “common” prayer, or straight from this man’s heart. The words he prayed meant the world to me!

What did he say?!? – You are asking, so now I will tell you.

“Father, please, help us each day to focus on your Son. Father please, help us all to live the life, that He gave up for us.”

WOW!

“Help us live the life, that He gave up for us” What a thought! I so appreciated this brother’s words. I needed to be reminded of them. Church we do not live “good lives.” We do not try to be the best “us” that we can be. We try to be like Jesus! (1 Cor 11:1) All along realizing that I am not perfect, and will never be just like Jesus. Is it truly on my mind, today, that I am going to live like Christ?

Do we live the life that Jesus lived when it comes to..

1. Our love?- John 3:16, John 15:9

2. Our Submission to the Father?- Matthew 26-27

3. Our forgiveness/mercy/ and grace? – John 8

And so many other categories? I have been challenged. I have been encouraged by this prayer, I hope that you will be too.


“Heavenly Father, we are humbled by the mere thought that you allow us to pray to you. Help us today, to live the life that Jesus gave up for us. Help others around us today, to see Jesus clearly in our lives. in His precious name we pray, Amen.”

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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