Archive

Archive for July, 2019

Love Never Fails

July 31st, 2019

LOVE MUST BE PRACTICAL AND OBSERVABLE

”Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,
“Love Never fails.”

We are imperfect people, a work in progress. We all need to grow in grace where the Bible is clear, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” At one time or another, each of us fail to love. Even so, we expect other imperfect people to behave perfectly. Extend that same grace to others that you expect from God for yourself.

If your love and patience for others are not perfect, why would you demand that from others? Be prepared. The best of people will disappoint. Imperfect people behave imperfectly. Love never fails but people fail to love.

Incorrectly, we assume that love is an emotion. In truth, love is much more. Love is a decision with a corresponding commitment. When you don’t feel loving, you can still choose to love. The Bible is clear. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.” John 13:34 NIV. Not a suggestion. Never optional. Non-negotiable. Jesus is our inspiring, enabling example. Yet still we struggle to achieve obedience.

Emotions parade themselves as love every day. Much of what is assumed to be love can be diminished by our hurts and history. Emotions change with our moods, whims, and circumstances. When someone fails to love you, you feel hurt. Similarly, you diminish others when you fail to love them. When you fail to love you diminish yourself in the process.

When a person feels betrayal of trust, hearts and homes are broken. A person, hurt and disappointed, can find it hard to trust or love again. This month will have been 56 years since Gayle and I stood at an altar in a pretty, little Nazarene Church in Soquel, California. There, we pledged our love and lives to one another, “Till death do we part.”

I am embarrassed to confess that despite my best intentions then and now; I have not been always as considerate and loving as I meant to be. Ofttimes, I speak with less than loving tones, in less than loving ways, or less than selfless as I could and should. So, by a person’s own experience this claim of Scripture may seem hard to accept at face value. With what you may have been or seen or, you might struggle to confidently say or believe that, “love never fails.”

Love doesn’t fail. People fail to love. In that statement, God promises that His love can never fail. That is true of God’s love. but you have seen people’s feeble attempts to love. It also may sound like love will never let you down or disappoint you, but you may have been disappointed by someone. I think it might be more accurate that God’s Word is promising that God will never fail to love, and God’s love will never fail to be loving, as is true of His own essential nature.

How can that be said so confidently? Because love is not something that God feels, or expresses, or does. Love is who God is. “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8. God has promised, “I will never fail you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5. If God never fails, God’s love can never fail! Your love and mine are imperfect. Our best efforts will fail unless we learn to fully embrace and express God’s love unselfishly.

Love that never fails is evidenced by these qualities: “love is patient, constructive, not possessive, not anxious to impress nor with an inflated sense of importance. Mannerly, unselfish, not touchy, never keeps account of wrongs, finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices when truth prevails. Love knows no end to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope: it can outlast anything. Love is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 JBPhillips.

To be authentic, love must be practical and observable. Those qualities of moral character and relational integrity are the true expression of God’s eternal nature. Can you learn to be more like God? “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God … dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also must love one another.” 1 John 4:7/11. You can have, and give, a love that lasts. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” 1 Corinthians 3:14 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to know and give the true love that does not fail.

EDL Communications 2019
Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

Devotionals

Making a Difference

July 25th, 2019

The Smallest Light Will Pierce the Greatest Darkness.

“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”

Matthew 5:13-14 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“making a difference.”

Inherently, every person wants to make a positive difference. In our hearts, we want to leave a footprint in our world and our fingerprints in the lives of family and friends who knew us. Every person wants to believe that their life matters and that it matters to others, as it should. You can and should live a life that matters.

Jesus taught that your influence is invaluable in the Kingdom of God as you impact the circle and circumference of your world. With purpose and anointing of the Holy Spirit, you can make an eternal difference in others lives with the beneficial influence and righteous impact that you can have.

With the example of ordinary salt and light, Jesus described the DNA of a life that eternally matters. “You are the salt of the earth . . 14 “You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13-14 NLT. Salt and Light will produce a life that has eternal impact.

Salt makes a difference. Its purpose is to impart flavor where it is lacking and enhance flavor where it exists. Does your life do that? Do you make people and situations around you better than they would be if you were not there? Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth! What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV. Then be salty without apology.

Just remember that sometimes less is more. God forbid that you are content to be bland and blend in, indistinguishable from everyone else. You were never meant to be forgettable. You are unique. You are meant to make an eternal difference.

Light makes a difference. John wrote of Jesus, ”In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Read John 1:4-6 NIV. And Jesus also said said, “You are the light of the world . . ”In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV. The light and life in you and me enlightens everything within its reach making other things more beautiful than they would otherwise appear and some things noticeable when they might not otherwise be seen.

My wife, Gayle, enjoys and uses lights from the soft glimmer of candlelight, the focus of accent lights, the beauty of decorative lights, and the brightness of lights needed for a particular task. All make a difference; all have their purpose; all are beneficial.

Stand out in the crowd; don’t blend in. It is challenging and affirming when you recognize who God made you to be, and you become that to the best of your ability for the glory of God. Let it be spoken of us that “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also . . they also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” Acts 17:6 NKJV/Acts 4:13 NLT. Being with Jesus makes you different in the best of ways.

Paul wrote to his young protégé, Timothy, “Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV. My thoughts are captured by the Apostle’s assessment of young Mark,“he is profitable to me.” That’s what I want to be true of my life – profitable for ministry! I pray that you would want that to be said of you as well.

My prayer for you today is to live so others can see Jesus better.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com
Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals

Addidng Value to Others

July 11th, 2019

God values others. So should you.

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“adding value to others.”

Everyone longs to be valued and loved. That desire is innate, original to how God created you and me, as well as all others. We long to be loved for who we are, rather than what we do. The Bible is clear, ”God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV. While we were yet sinners! Loving others is your primary response to God, which you then extend to others. To the extent that you understand how beloved you are, you are enabled, even empowered, to love others more freely.

Love is mandatory, not optional. Jesus was very direct and clear. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV. I read that phrase, “as I have loved you,” to describe both the measure and manner of the love we are commissioned to share with others. You are to give what you have been given.

Loving others as much as you love yourself would be far easier to obey if everyone were as easy to love as some others are. I think that is why Jesus did not make the command about the other person’s worthiness; He made it all about you. God knows that you were created with a healthy self-esteem, and though that is a bit complicated because of everyone’s natural condition, which theologians call, “fallenness.” Everyone has a good dose of appreciating and preserving themselves, some a little too much.

This is the practical aspect of loving others. “You truly love others when you add value to their lives.” Isn’t that what you are trying to do for yourself, adding value? In your better, nobler moments you want to be better and do better. I have been blessed to have so many others who loved me and cared enough to add value to my life. They continually invested something of themselves to assist me to realize more of what God intended for my life.

They spent time with me. They offered their wisdom, gathered from experiences of both successes and failures. They shared what they had learned. They related their lessons from life that they had learned the hard way. They expected better of me and held me to a higher standard than would have been natural to me.

You invest in a good education for yourself so that you will have more options and fulfillment in what you do, with a greater chance for success and financial security. You choose a spouse that will enrich and enhance your life and theirs. You select a neighborhood and schools for your children that will better ensure their safety and academic achievement. You try to eat wisely and exercise to insure better health and longevity. Isn’t all of that about adding value to your life?

How then can you love others and add value to their lives? Simply stated, you can do so by placing a higher value on them, the way you value yourself – thinking of them as highly as you think of yourself – treating them as well as you treat yourself – speaking of them as kindly as you speak of yourself – wanting the best for them as you desire the best for yourself – and rejoicing with and for them when they rejoice.

The Bible is clear, “That the members may have the same care for one another. And if one suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with them.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 NAS. When you rejoice for others success as you would for your own and when you empathize with their sufferings as you struggle with your own, then you will, “love others as much as yourself.” You add value to others when you recognize how highly God values them. When you are persuaded of that you will treat all others accordingly.

Jesus stated this principle practically and plainly, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved you. so, you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples.” John 13:34-35 NKJV. Love is God’s command, not suggestion. Loving others is an obligation, not an option. Jesus said, “Give as freely as you have received!” Matthew 10:8 NLT.

You are asked to give others what God has given you, to regard others as God regards you, and to behave toward others as is God’s manner toward you. Early in ministry, God put an understanding in my heart, “Love to be authentic must be practical and observable.” Is the result of your regard and relationship with others practical and observable?

Today, I pray for you to invest yourself in others in beneficial ways.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com
Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals

God Is Our Refuge

July 7th, 2019

Invisible and Invincible.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of  trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are that, “God Is Our Refuge.”

There are times when God’s presence is not as recognizable as is His absence. Nothing fills the vacuum where He is not. His voice is not as eloquent as His silence. Who of us has not sought for a word from God, searched for a glimpse of His power, or yearned for the assurance of His presence, only to feel that at times He seems absent and silent?

Only later, we realize He was there all the time. The Bible describes Him as the One who fills the Heavens, yet at times seems invisible to us. Even when is He silent and invisible, He remains caring and invincible forever. Have you ever felt that God was distant? But is He? Why would He be?

Paul was clear and certain as he penned these majestic words, ”For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV. In grace, God and you are inseparable.

However, unconfessed sin and unsurrendered guilt can confuse you to believe that you are unworthy, and God would neither desire nor permit your company. That is just not true. He loves you and desires fellowship with you. Let nothing cause or allow distance between you and God. Estrangement occurs when you allow separation to occur and continue.

Grace always provides a path of return and welcome. ”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.” Read 1 John 1:8-10 NIV. The Psalmist declared, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.2 So we will not fear.” Read Psalm 46:1-3 NLT.

When I was a younger man, a dear friend arranged a day of white water rafting in beautiful Colorado. With blue Colorado skies above us and unimagined scenery surrounding us, I remember that most of the hours were fun and refreshing – except for the hours they weren’t! As the day continued, we encountered dark skies, strong winds, a chilling rainstorm, rocky rapids, treacherous currents, struggling to stay upright and afloat, until avoiding the protruding rocks took priority over every other consideration.

Life can change suddenly and feel uncertain, like those rushing rapids. In life, you will face distressing moments and frightening situations and that leave you unsure of what the outcome might be. In such times, you will ask, “Where will I find God in all of this.”

Weary from a long day of ministering to people’s disparate needs, Jesus said to the disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake.” At Jesus’ word, the disciples started across the lake. After awhile Jesus was weary from the ministry times earlier in the day and fell asleep in the boat. After awhile and fearing for their safety, Peter somewhat rudely awakened Jesus, “Master, do you not care that we perish?”

The growing threat of the storm around them made them forget Jesus’ words to them. Jesus will always bring you safely to the other side despite the storm’s ferocity and your fear. Read Luke 8:22-25. In those times, even more distressing than the trouble itself, your feelings may suggest in the moment that God may seem uncaring or absent. Would He be? Could He be? Don’t panic. Don’t lash out at God. Don’t abandon everything you know about God’s character, power, and love.

And don’t give up on yourself. When life’s moments are troubling and uncertain, hold fast to the One Who is unshakeable and unchanging. There will be times when God’s presence is less noticed than His apparent absence, and His voice seems less eloquent than His silence.

Who of us has not longed for a word from God, or strained for a glimpse of His power, or yearned for reassurance of His presence, only to feel at that moment that God was nowhere to be found? In those moments, God seems absent. Silent. Distant. Disengaged.

Fear will suggest that maybe He is unconcerned. It is only later that you will realize how the Almighty God and Everlasting Father was alongside you all along the way. Though God is invisible to you, He remains invincible as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

My prayer for you today is to know that God is with you in every circumstance.

EDL Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com
Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals