VIDEO Take the Leap Of Love

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up….Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4, 8

In 2008, Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher broke the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage. At that point, they had been married for 84 years. When Herbert died in 2011 at age 105, they had been married for just under 87 years. How did they do it? “Love each other with ALL of your heart Marriage is not a contest, … never keep a score.”1

The Fishers exemplified what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Love never fails.” The love he referred to was agape love—the unconditional, sacrificial love that God has for us. But let’s face it: Making love last, and never having love fail, is not easy. In fact, it’s impossible, humanly speaking. We need the never-failing love of God within us to have a human love that never fails.

Is there someone in your life for whom your love sometimes fails? Commit to the love-leap in the coming week. Recommit to showing that person that your love for them is alive and well with a unique, unexpected demonstration of affection.

If an individual Christian does not show love toward other true Christians, the world has a right to judge that he or she is not a Christian.
Francis Schaeffer

  1. Jenny Zhang, “The Secret to Lasting Love According to World’s Longest Married Couples,” My Modern Met, July 8, 2014.

Joyce Meyer — What Is Love — FULL Sermon 2017

The Secret

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12

Sometimes I suspect my cat Heathcliff suffers from a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out). When I come home with groceries, Heathcliff rushes over to inspect the contents. When I’m chopping vegetables, he stands up on his back paws peering at the produce and begging me to share. But when I actually give Heathcliff whatever’s caught his fancy, he quickly loses interest, walking away with an air of bored resentment.

But it’d be hypocritical for me to be hard on my little buddy. He reflects a bit of my own insatiable hunger for more, my assumption that “now” is never enough.

According to Paul, contentment isn’t natural—it’s learned (Philippians 4:11). On our own, we desperately pursue whatever we think will satisfy, moving on to the next thing the minute we realize it won’t. Other times, our discontent takes the form of anxiously shielding ourselves from any and all suspected threats.

Ironically, sometimes it takes experiencing what we’d feared the most in order to stumble into real joy. Having experienced much of the worst life has to offer, Paul could testify firsthand to “the secret” of true contentment (vv. 11–12)—the mysterious reality that as we lift up to God our longings for wholeness, we experience unexplainable peace (vv. 6–7), carried ever deeper into the depths of Christ’s power, beauty, and grace.

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced mysterious peace when you least expected it? What desperate longings or fears might you need to lift up to God?

Father, help me to surrender my attempts to secure my own happiness in exchange for embracing the gift of each moment with You.

When He Shall Appear

“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28)

There are many glorious promises associated with the great promise that Christ Himself shall once again appear in person here on planet Earth. For example, Paul says: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

Similarly, the apostle Peter promises: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4). The writer of Hebrews first reminds us of His former appearance on Earth: “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Then the promise is: “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (v. 28).

Perhaps the most wonderful promise associated with His second appearing is given through John: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Therefore, when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory; we shall receive an unfading crown of glory; we shall be like Him, and without sin unto salvation. These promises even now constitute an incentive for each believer to purify himself even as He is pure.

But there is also the sobering warning in our text associated with the soon-coming time when He shall appear. We should abide in Him (that is, continue in Him, hour after hour), careful that whatever we do, wherever we go, we are in no danger of being ashamed before Him when He shall appear! HMM

Wake Up that Lion In You!

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

—2 Corinthians 3:5


That is the difference between Christianity and all the Oriental cults and religions. All cult religions try to wake up what you already have, and Christianity says, “What you have is not enough—you will need the enduement which is sent from above!” That is the difference. The others say, “Stir up the thing that is in you,” and they expect this to be enough.

By way of illustration, if there were four or five lions coming at you, you would never think of saying to a little French poodle, “Wake up the lion in you.” That would not work—it would not be enough. They would chew the little fellow up and swallow him, haircut and all, because a French poodle just isn’t sufficient for a pack of lions. Some power outside of himself would have to make him bigger and stronger than the lions if he were to conquer.

That is exactly what the Holy Spirit says He does for the Christian believer, but the cult religions still say, “Concentrate and free your mind and release the creative powers that lie within you.”   COU142-143

Lord, in our self-reliance we’re all too often guilty of digging deep for that inner self-sufficiency. Our New Age culture fosters that error. Teach us how futile this pursuit is; show us Your power. Amen.


Trusting in the Bible

1 Peter 1:22-25

If you were researching a topic for school or work, you’d look for a trustworthy article and then consider the writer’s credentials, wouldn’t you? Let’s try the same approach with Scripture. We can trust the Bible because …

The Holy Spirit is all-knowing. In John 16:8-13, Jesus declares that God’s Spirit will come into the world, not only to teach us about sin, righteousness, and judgment but also to “guide [us] into all the truth.” It is God’s omniscient Spirit who delivered His complete Word in what we now know as the Bible.

The Holy Spirit inspired the writers. As we saw yesterday, all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), whose Spirit led over 40 different people to write His inerrant Word over the course of 1,500 years.

The Holy Spirit guides the readers. 1 Corinthians 2:10-14 reminds us that the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us and helps us understand Scripture. Without God’s Spirit, we can’t comprehend spiritual things.

Aren’t you thankful that the Bible is trustworthy? I know I am. We have reliable stories and testimonies of a loving God in whom we can put our faith.

A Hard but Glorious Way

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

—Luke 9:23


To enter [into the deeper] life, seekers must be ready to accept without question the New Testament as the one final authority on spiritual matters. They must be willing to make Christ the one supreme Lord and ruler in their lives. They must surrender their whole being to the destructive power of the cross, to die not only to their sins but to their righteousness as well as to everything in which they formerly prided themselves.

If this should seem like a heavy sacrifice for anyone to make, let it be remembered that Christ is Lord and can make any demands upon us that He chooses, even to the point of requiring that we deny ourselves and bear the cross daily.

The mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit that follows will restore to the soul infinitely more than has been taken away. It is a hard way, but a glorious one. Those who have known the sweetness of it will never complain about what they have lost. They will be too well pleased with what they have gained. TWP120-121

The one misery of man is self-will, the one secret of blessedness is the conquest over our own wills. To yield [it] up to God is rest and peace. JAS147


Go and Do Something!

Matthew 25:35

One picture among the many that I cherish of my father explains a certain development in the history of the Army, and gives a glimpse of the deep fires that burned in the personality of William Booth. One morning, away back in the eighties, I was an early caller at his house. Here I found him in his dressing room. No “good morning how do you do” here!

“Bramwell,” he cried, when he caught sight of me, “did you know that men slept out all night on the bridges?”

He had arrived in London very late the night before and had to cross the city to reach his home. What he had seen on that midnight return accounted for this morning tornado. Did I know that men slept out all night on the bridges?

“Well, yes,” I replied, “a lot of poor fellows, I suppose, do that.”

“Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself to have known it and to have done nothing for them,” he went on, vehemently.

I began to speak of the difficulties, burdened as we were already, of taking up all sort of work, and so forth. My father stopped me with a peremptory wave.

“Go and do something!” he said. “We must do something.”

“What can we do?”

“Get them a shelter!”

“That will cost money.”

“Well, that is your affair! Something must be done. Get hold of a warehouse and warm it, and find something to cover them.”

That was the beginning of The Salvation Army shelters, the earliest and most typical institutions connected with our now worldwide social work. But it also throws a ray of light on the characteristic benevolence of the Army’s Founder. The governing influence of his life was goodwill to his fellows. His heart was a bottomless well of compassion, and it was for this reason principally that, although perhaps more widely and persistently abused than any other figure of his time, he was even more widely and tenaciously loved.

“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in” (Matt. 25:35).

Bramwell Booth, Echoes and Memories


VIDEO The Praise of Men – When God’s Patience Runs Out

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43

When King Belshazzar hosted a drunken feast for a thousand of his nobles and officials, using the sacred vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, he was no doubt praised and lauded by those seeking to curry his favor. But the praise of men can be a dangerous thing—especially when it is preferred over praise from God. For when tragedy or judgment strikes, the praise of men cannot save or bestow mercy.

The same thing happened in Jesus’ day. The apostle John records that among the religious rulers in Jerusalem “many believed in Him.” But they would not confess their faith openly because of the Pharisees, “lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” In other words, “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). They considered it best to be secret believers—maintaining their status among the non-believers while secretly professing to believe in Jesus. Perhaps they had missed what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 10:32—He will confess before the Father those who confess Him before men.

Don’t be afraid to live for Christ; don’t prefer the praise of men over the praise of God.

It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man. John Witherspoon

When God’s Patience Runs Out

The Faith to Endure

Suffering produces endurance.  Romans 5:3 esv


Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922) led an unsuccessful expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914. When his ship, aptly named Endurance, became trapped in heavy ice in the Weddell Sea, it became an endurance race just to survive. With no means of communicating with the rest of the world, Shackleton and his crew used lifeboats to make the journey to the nearest shore—Elephant Island. While most of the crew stayed behind on the island, Shackleton and five crewmen spent two weeks traveling 800 miles across the ocean to South Georgia to get help for those left behind. The “failed” expedition became a victorious entry in the history books when all of Shackleton’s men survived, thanks to their courage and endurance.

The apostle Paul knew what it meant to endure. During a stormy sea voyage to Rome to face trial for his belief in Jesus, Paul learned from an angel of God that the ship would sink. But the apostle kept the men aboard encouraged, thanks to God’s promise that all would survive, despite the loss of the ship (Acts 27:23–24).

When disaster strikes, we tend to want God to immediately make everything better. But God gives us the faith to endure and grow. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Suffering produces endurance” (Romans 5:3 esv). Knowing that, we can encourage each other to keep trusting God in hard times.

By:  Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What’s your usual response to hardship? How can you encourage someone who’s going through difficult times?

Heavenly Father, I need Your help to keep going, even when it’s tough.

Our Textbook

2 Timothy 3:10-17

You and I know there are many people in the world who reject the Bible’s authority. But have you considered that some of them are Christians? Many believers unwittingly do this when they choose which parts of the Bible to believe and which parts to throw out.

But the truth is that the Bible is the very Word of God—spoken to and through His messengers, passed down through time, and relevant to every generation. It’s God’s magnificent revelation of Himself to the world, and everything He said was intentional.

We cannot break up Scripture or pull pieces out of context without the risk of altering its meaning. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read that every word of the Bible is God-breathed and valuable. That means no part of it was written without a specific purpose, so whatever portion we’re reading, we should pay attention to surrounding verses, the book’s intended audience, and historical context.

Do you ever choose which parts of the Bible you want to believe and follow? Let’s bravely ask the Holy Spirit to show us any sections of Scripture we may have thrown aside—and to help us trust in the authority of God’s Word.