letsloveothers

Love one another as Jesus has loved us.

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Mika-Pekka Markkanen

 

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

I choose my dwelling place

*****

Vindictiveness, shame, jealousy

I choose toxic thinking

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Sexism, harass, prejudice

I choose to hate others

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Forgiveness, justice, compassion

I choose to love others

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Addictions, hoarding, covetous

I choose to be selfish

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Perseverance, steadfastness, grit

I choose accomplishment

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Degrading, slander, ridicule,

I choose offensive speech

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Genuineness, honesty, truth

I choose transparency

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Self-pity, misery, despair

I choose to be oppressed

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Joyfulness, laughter, cheerfulness

I choose to be happy

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Entitlement, lazy, begging

I choose to be helpless

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Appreciative, grateful, content

I choose to be thankful

*****

Discourteous, tactless, vulgar

I choose impoliteness

*****

Obedience, submission, love

I choose Yahweh’s guidelines

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Every day you and I must choose

Live in light or darkness

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Victor or victim frame of mind

A blessing or a curse

*****

It is a choice so choose wisely

Tomorrow may not come

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On Your Knees

Weakness is an attribute few willingly embrace.

Strength and self-reliance, not weakness and dependence are valued.

Competitiveness, achievement addiction and image are friends, submission and servanthood, sworn enemies.

But the Kingdom of God is populated with oxymorons. “Weakness is strength” is one of those oxymorons.

Kingdom weakness is the absence of arrogance, conceit and self-importance. Acknowledging Papa as master and you His servant. Knowing this is the only road that leads to an authentic, intimate union with Him. A union that is vital if you are to die to self. So you are ressurrected to eternal life— life in Christ.

Your living death acknowledges your fragility and impotence and Papa’s majesty and sovereignty.

Papa’s promises provide the escape route from your evil desires and the corrupt influences of this fallen world.

Papa’s grace showers you with His wisdom and the hidden treasures of His Kingdom.

Papa’s unconditional love endows you with the confidence and perseverance to fulfill His plan for your life.

Papa’s unlimited resources are your inheritance.

Join the heavens singing your dirge. It is the most beautiful song you will ever sing.

I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. So that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake. I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New International Version

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Beauty From Ashes

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Always Have A PlanThen God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image. According to Our likeness— not physical but a spiritual personality and moral likeness. Let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea. The birds of the air. The cattle. Over the entire earth. Over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” 

So God created man in His own image. In the image and likeness of God He created him. Male and female He created them. 

God blessed them. Granting them certain authority and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Subjugate— putting it under your power. Rule over. Dominate the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth. 

Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth. Every tree, which has fruit yielding seed. It shall be food for you. To all the animals on the earth. To every bird of the air. To everything that moves on the ground. To everything in which there is the breath of life. I have given every green plant for food.”

It was so because He commanded it. Genesis 1:26-30

Now the Lord God said, “It is not good— beneficial for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper. One who balances him. A counterpart who is suitable and complementary for him.” 

So the Lord God formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air. And brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called a living creature. That was its name. 

The man gave names to all the livestock. To the birds of the air. To every animal of the field. 

But for Adam there was not found a helper that was suitable, a companion for him. 

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. While he slept. He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man. He made. Fashioned. Formed into a woman. He brought her and presented her to the man. 

Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:18-23

In the Garden— Paradise, both male and female were made in the image of God. 

Given the same authority.

Connected— dependent upon one another.

Unfortunately, thanks to BOTH Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Gender became the dividing line. Artificially determining identity and roles in the home, workplace and places of worship.

Sadly, Proverbs 31:10-31 are scriptures both men and women have used to minimize where and how women can express their God-given inner beauty, gracious leadership and wisdom.

A woman who is…

A Worthy Woman Amplified Bible 

A Good Wife Contemporary English Version 

The Woman Who Fears the Lord English Standard Version

A Capable Wife Holman Christian Standard Bible 

The Virtuous Wife New King James Version 

A Wife of Noble Character New Living Translation

But…

Old Testament scriptures must be read through the lenses of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. No longer are disciples of Christ living under the Law but under the New Covenant.

Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood. For He is the One who mediates for us a far better covenant with God. Based on better promises. Hebrews 8:6

What are these better promises? Females and males no longer are defined by their gender or roles. But are they the image of Christ? 

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies. Separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. 

Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence. You are holy and blameless as you stand before Him, without a single fault.

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. Colossians 1:21-23

So, if we read Proverbs 31:10-31 with New Testament eyes. We see a beautiful portrait of Christ’s Bride— the Church— you and I.

What is the image of Christ’s Bride? 

Those adjectives used in the Proverbs 31 headings.

Worthy: made fully upright (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Good: godly (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Fears the Lord: reverent (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Capable: powerful, strong (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Virtuous: excellence, valor (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Noble: generous (New Strong’s Guide to Bible Words)

Committed disciples of Christ understand that peeling away the layers of identity. So they can become the image of Christ is not easy or painless.

Some layers come off quickly and easily. Tossed into the trash. Forever forgotten.

But then there are those layers that form the core of your being— the foundation of your identity.

Stubborn layers. Protesting. Resisting change at all cost.

Coaxing you to forget about finishing the journey to becoming the image of Christ.

Convincing you the pain will be unbearable and never ending.

Clouding your judgment so you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Nevertheless, Be sure to lead your lives in a manner that will be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Standing firm in one spirit and one purpose. With one mind striving side by side as if in combat for the faith of the gospel. Philippians 1:27

What can you do so that becoming the image of Christ does not send you running for cover?

Focus on what is important.

Change always means loss of safety and security, relationships, competence and purpose. Look at the bigger picture. This will help you to regain a sense of control and purpose.

Be kind to yourself.

There will be days when change threatens to crush you. On these days give yourself permission to momentarily escape. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Have dinner with loved ones. Take a bubble bath.

Good CAN come from change.    

Complaining and negativity blocks your awareness of the positive aspects of change. By focusing on the positives. Negative emotions will disappear. Allowing you to see the positive possibilities.

Commit to change.

There can be no going back to what was. Living in the past only robs you of the present. A present that is the foundation for a future of success and joy.

Change is an opportunity to create something beautiful— a life of infinite possibilities.

Although moving out of your comfort zone into the unknown will be unsettling. It is mandatory for anyone who desires to be a disciple of Christ.

Becoming the image of Christ requires time. Patience and self-control are mandatory if you want Papa to be the author of your story. 

To write your story Papa must…

Have unconditional access to your life. 

Direct your steps. 

Lead you into and out of danger.

Teach you to not only discern between good and evil but also between best and good.

There will be times when it will feel like you are in the direct path of a category five hurricane. Destruction imminent. 

Weakened by the winds of adversity and uncertainty. It will take steel-like willpower to resist opening the door and inviting in the darkness.

Maintaining your equilibrium will only be possible if you rely upon Papa’s promises. They are your port of safety in the storm.

You must never forget!

Papa has promised to…

Never forsake you.

Complete the work He has begun in you.

Never allow any weapon formed against you to harm you.

Go ahead of you. Preparing the way. Making the crooked path straight.

It will be difficult.

BUT

Do not quit! 

BECAUSE

Your future can be one of indescribable realities!

IF

You become the image of Christ.

GO DEEPER

What can you change today that will help you become more like Christ tomorrow?

List 3 strategies that will help you achieve this change.

 

(Excerpt from The Gold Standard)

The Gold Standard e-book 

The Gold Standard pdf

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Pastoring Shepherds

Despite the world’s most prolific spiritual network of houses of worship, media, schools and organizations, the Church in American is shrinking. 

Why is this? 

Churches do not need a business plan. They need a spiritual plan. Its foundation is Papa’s truth, and its CEO is Jesus. 

The Church is not a business. It is a living organism— the people of God. 

Making paradigms of reason and intellect ineffective in equipping Christians with a biblical worldview and nourishing spiritual transformation. A transition from a church— business mindset to a Kingdom mindset is necessary. This requires strength, determination, perseverance and a willingness to take risks. 

What does this look like?

Compassionate. Being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Trusting in Papa’s love and goodness.

 Unconditionally obeying Him.

As Christ becomes your focus, godliness is integrally interwoven into your spiritual DNA. Not only can you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd when He speaks. Others hear His voice when you speak and extend His compassion.

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 took Me into your home. I needed clothes, and you gave Me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.

Matthew 25:35-36 

GOD’S WORD Translation

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