Fidelity & Infidelity in the Christian world.


This is a very sensitive topic, I know.

I don’t know the effects of infidelity (thankfully) first hand, nor am I about to make a broad brush stroke and lump other marital issues such as physical or substance abuse in with unfaithfulness.  Let me be clear, my primary purpose in writing on this topic is strictly to confront areas of sinful unfaithfulness within the sacred partnership of marriage within the “Christian Church”.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this ought not be.  I do want to be sensitive with extemporaneous issues which might lead to such a betrayal, but in many cases Christians who are facing these types of issues in their marriage really need to consult professional marriage counseling before it gets worse.


If we can learn anything from the story of Hosea and his marriage to Gomer (which was a metaphor for the sacred yet broken Covenant relationship God had with His people) we should learn just how serious a partnership the marriage relationship was and still is today.  After all, even the Apostle Paul wrote of the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:22-33, and the main focal point in those verses center on resembling how Christ’s love is bestowed and poured out upon His bride the Church.

Husbands and wives, when you make that solemn commitment and say “I do” you are committing to that person FOR LIFE!  This isn’t some kind of two year cell phone commitment, where, after two years, you can upgrade to a different model.  This is why it is so crucial to get to know your “bride-to-be” or “groom-to-be” before you make that life long commitment!  How heart wrenching it is to watch two committed Christians split up over some elicit affair or “moment of weakness”.  Many psychologists have ascertained that a betrayal like this can be as devastating as a death in the family.   (

One of the biggest public stories recently in Hollywood is of the elicit affair Kristen Stewart had with a married man, Rupert Sanders.  Though this isn’t specifically a Christian story, the devastation that this had on both parties has ended in divorce and separation.  How horrifying it must be to discover the one you have confided in and trusted your heart and life with has betrayed you.

As Christian people, we are a living example of Christ to the world around us.  I believe it hurts the heart of our Lord when marriages fall apart and unfaithfulness is at its center.  Beware too…don’t ever think that you are not susceptible to such trappings of temptation!  Steer clear of these moments of weakness.  Don’t place yourself in compromising situations where you may be tempted!  Keep your allegiance not only to God but also with your spouse and life-partner!  Hebrews 13:4 Says; “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”


Get Help!  

If you and your spouse are facing issues in your marriage, don’t be afraid to seek professional help with a Christian marriage counselor!  It is a sign of strength and not weakness that you do so.  After all, if there is something worth protecting in this life it would have to be your marriage and family?   So take the time, seek support and guidance and don’t put it on the back burner because life is “too busy” right now!   Be proactive in your marriage and don’t wait for the bags to be packed and the sofa full of pillows and blankets!



Seek fidelity in your marriage, but go way beyond that!  Cherish your spouse!  Be attentive, supportive, communicative and loving!  Be selfless in your attitude towards each other instead of selfish!  Spend time with one another and perhaps plan dates away from the kids and the stresses of work!  Invest in your relationship and don’t neglect it!  If we are to be amazing representatives of Christ-like living in this world it ought to begin with cherishing and preserving our love for our spouses and family first.


Make sure you pray for one another, both privately in your own personal devotions as well as together.  Prayer is not only our source of communication with God but it unifies and solidifies our intentions as couples.  Never stop praying for your relationship, and also pray that Christ’s love would be demonstrated in how you treat each other.

Just an important thought for all of my married brothers and sisters out there today!

I am certainly not a marriage counselor, but I recognize this very real danger in our Church today and feel I must constantly remind myself and you of how easy these temptations can turn into moments of full blown infidelity if we are not diligent and aware of their trappings.

Blessings on you and your spouse today!


A Humble Prayer


A Humble Prayer:
Can we but find our hope today?
Oh Lord we need but stop and pray.
Our lives ,so full of cares and woe
Speak to us now, Your love to show.

Give ears to hear your Heart
to shed Your love to all empart
grant us peace amidst these storms
denying self our hearts conformed.

Please lead us when we are blind
our hand in yours and we will find
this Holiness, your grace, your light
Your strength, your peace will give us sight.


At the moment of resignation and surrender (Poem)


I want to grasp your hand dear Lord

But my grip is oh so weak

An ebbing strength of childlike hands

dulled senses, calloused and poor.

Yet as fingertips extend to where

They have never touched the heavens

All blood escapes as gravity closes in for a closer look

Kissing the heart strings as I strain

But Lord how feeble I must seem

All the while you, in all your glory

Indescribable in your majesty and might.

Even though I reach and strain

Gritting teeth and labored breath

I am no closer to you than when I started…

It is in a moment of complete resignation

Shoulders slumped, eye lids shut

Bitterness on the tongue pushed back

Swallowed and helplessness in my heart…

It is in this moment of complete and utter

Abandon of self-worth and personal gain

That I feel something.

That I feel a touch.

That I feel a warmth, like never before

As blazing fingertips extend and grasp onto mine

As I pull back in surprise for but a moment

As I recognize that I am in your very presence

Totally lost, powerless and surrendered…

You hold my hands in yours, I can feel your power

I can feel your strength as if it beckons me to


Looking up, hesitant, penitent

I find love.

I find joy.

I find peace.

All of my labored aching ceases

I am whole.

I am found.

I am Yours. 

Apathy and the Wilderness


Luke 5:16 (ASV)
But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed.

Apathy is the death of man’s spiritual relationship with God.  It happens when we stop caring, or find ourselves at a point in our lives where we are unfeeling.  Have you been there before?  It can be both terrifying and silent because we are often very good at faking it.  We are often quite good at acting the part even when the heart isn’t in it.

I don’t mean to cast any doubts your way today or cause you to feel down…because there is hope in all of this!  Sometimes this pathway of apathy leads directly to the wilderness.  What do I mean by the wilderness?  I don’t mean an empty lonely place full of strife and pain.  When I say wilderness I am implying that there are times in which God is longing for us to draw closer to Him.  If we are aware of this apathetic pathway we can take steps in the right direction.


Why did God lead His people into the wilderness in the first place?   Through this dry and thirsty place God showed His chosen ones how they could fully rely on Him.  He was present for them.  He was (and still is) in love with His people.  When they were in this barren wilderness the total acknowledgement that they needed help became completely apparent.  Stepping onto this pathway of apathy is dangerous, but it can also lead us back to the wilderness and back to a right relationship with God.

Are you unfeeling today?  Are you simply  going through the motions in life right now?  Sure the routine is somewhat rewarding but somehow you’ve lost that passion you once had.  Perhaps it’s time to take a step into the wilderness once again and get reconnected with the Almighty.  Apathy might be the death of man’s spiritual relationship with God…but it doesn’t have to be!


Taking time to stand before God without distractions of all kinds is absolutely necessary!  If Jesus had to get away and commune with the Father what makes us think that we can simply ‘go it alone’?  The truth of the matter is we cannot!  The wilderness is calling…will you go?  Will you take the time that your spirit and heart crave?  Will you sacrifice some of your schedule in this day and give it completely to God so that He has your undivided attention?  It’s not so much for His benefit but rather completely for our benefit and His renewal that we do this.

Go into your wilderness and meet with The Father, and over time you will find that every motion your body makes, every schedule that you keep matters to Him as well.  He wants to be included in it all, He wants you to bring glory to Him in all things.  But it begins with our time in the wilderness before Him.


“Get Off Of Your Laurels!”


Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.” –Percy Bysshe Shelly

The hero takes the stage as the crowd explodes into cheerful celebration.  After grueling torment and near defeat, the hero stands alone from the rest of the competition.  He has defeated his adversaries masterfully and now he is crowned with a laurel wreath on his head and the affections of the crowd.  He is their champion and hero. 

But what happens to many champions after victories such as these?  What becomes of them?  Some continue to strive for excellence and gain victories again and again, while others stumble and fall upon their pride and face humiliating defeats later on. 

Dare I say it is what happens after the victory that matter most!  In the Christian world we face temptations on all sides.  We experience real spiritual warfare for our souls.  Sometimes we go to revival meetings, camps, youth/adult conventions and we experience real victories by the Holy Spirit in our lives at the ‘High Places’.  These are mountain top experiences and we cherish these experiences for the rest of our lives.  They are milestone markers in our relationship to Christ.  These moments in actuality become sacred to us and rightly so because they were real tangible moments when we felt God’s presence in our lives. 

But what happens when we come down from these mountaintops with our laurels of victory having done battle with sin and temptation?  Do we think those temptations and sins will simply disappear on our descent into the ‘real world’?  Can we ride that victory all the way to the gates of heaven?  Of course not!  The real battle is still ahead of us.  We have to enter our lives again fresh from victory and engage the enemy (sin) once again.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that we go into the world looking for sin, that’s not what I mean.  But in our attempt to live holy lives we will most certainly face sin again on the battle field.  When we come down from the mountaintop we must realize that Satan is waiting for us.  He doesn’t want us to succeed continually in our victories but would rather we face the cold realities of a world wrought with sin. 

When we come down from a mountaintop experience, high with the Holy Spirit, we need to be mindful that we cannot rest on yesterday’s victories to get us through today or even tomorrow. The Apostle Paul wrote of his own struggles, and in his wisdom he said this: Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

What Paul is saying here is that though he had won other victories at other mountaintop experiences he couldn’t rest his laurels on the past because the prize “heavenward in Christ Jesus” was still ahead of him.  He had to keep on going, and this is what we must do as well! 

We cannot rest on our laurels from previous victories and expect to grow into holiness without engaging in our present battles as well.  I think there are two key words here to remember: “Pride” and “Press”.


  The Apostle Paul understood the dangers of pride in his life and clearly says, “I am not there yet, my destination isn’t complete.”  C.S. Lewis once said,  When we allow pride to enter into our hearts (pride in what we’ve already accomplished, pride in our holiness, pride in our efforts) we, unknowingly take two steps backward.  We begin to compare ourselves with other Christians along this same journey instead of comparing our image with that of Christ’s.  Pride allows us to keep our laurels yet resting upon them will not propel us forward rather will create in us a stagnancy and therein lies the real danger of an atrophied soul! 



Instead of pride leading to our spiritual demise, we ought to humbly press on toward our ultimate prize which is the very image of God within us – Imago dei.  Without this heavenward goal, which is holding captive our thoughts, actions and speech, we can become so much like the world around us that we blend in completely and are no longer ‘set apart’.  We must press on from victory to victory…keep on keeping on.  We don’t have time to hang our laurels.  We don’t have time to rest and admire them, but we journey on because we haven’t reached our destination yet. 

Let me ask:
Are you resting on your laurels of past mountaintop victories?  If so, it is time to set them aside as glorious as they were and press on.  Our ultimate victory is assured in Christ if we are faithful to Him.  Our goal to be like Him and in so doing we shine before the world so that His redemption is visible to all.  Eternity is our reward as we press on towards our goal!   

Joy & Hope…Retrain the Brain.


Two simple words.  Yet all too the often these words fail to connect with humanity.  All too often hate and sorrow are life’s constant companion.  All too often if joy is captured at all it is but a brief glimpse, a blink of the eye…and then it’s gone.

How can we capture and experience true joy and hope?  How can life become so much more potent and alive?  It begins with a climb up a sheer rock face.  Not a real climb mind you, but a journey within one’s thoughts and attitudes.  This climb takes us from where we are to a place above in which we train our minds and prepare our thoughts.  Where we change the thought patterns within our lives and attempt to see life around us as we have never seen it before.

This isn’t some new age philosophy here either.  We aren’t attempting to reach within ourselves, and recognizing our bad habits within our own thoughts.  We face the blatant behaviors and poor choices.  We confront the darkness that resides within our minds.  This is the place where hatred, selfishness, sadness, and greed reside.  Our minds truly are a battle field.  We wage a war that is mostly unseen.  It may sound mystical but in reality where do our actions come from?  -Our thoughts.  Where do those choices come from which hurt others, hurt ourselves and lead us into deeper alleys of sadness?  -Our thoughts.

What would happen, if we could change this pattern of thinking?  What would happen if we could redirect our thinking and what we think on?  What would happen is that we could begin to experience joy and hope not just in mere fragments but in every instance.

So how do we do this?  How do we capture our thoughts and conquer these dark patterns?

1. Seek Guidance:

Understand that we have been created by God and that His fellowship with us can and will change and transform us.  This isn’t some sort of dogma we chant or words we use to line up the masses all straight and uniform in organized religion either.  This is a very personal and intimate relationship that God desires from each of us.  When He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins He made a way for that relationship to be restored once and for all.  So when we confess our dark patterns to Him and accept His Son, Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives we are accepting a better path.

This relationship offers guidance to a better way of living too.  Do you know that followers of Jesus were once called ‘followers of The Way’?  This is truth for us today.  Because Jesus offers us a better way to live.  One that frees us from the bondages of sin and those dark patterns of thinking.

His guidance is available to us and is truly the only way by which we can truly conquer the unhealthy and dark patterns of thinking.  We begin this climb by asking for God’s guidance through prayer and supplication.  But don’t stop with just your words speaking repetitions and utterances…listen.

2. Listening:

Part of the conversation with anyone and even God is not only talking but listening.  This is where instruction and guidance can begin.  We need to prostrate ourselves before God and be available to listen…simply listen.  How else are we to hear from God if we do all of the talking?  Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God…” Be still…we are to stop and listen, to be still and hear.  Listening takes patience, silence from distractions and tuning into what God is saying to us.  This act is truly an act of personal worship in a very intimate setting.  It’s not some mystical mumbo jumbo that we do.  You may not audibly hear God speak to you, but within our hearts resides his voice…within our soul He longs to permanently take up reside.  He will speak to us in moments of silence and in moments of deep devotion.  But all too often we are so distracted by the world around us that we hardly tune in to hear what he would say to us.

3. Meditate:

Not in some Eastern philosophy sense, but rather meditate on the very words of God.  By that I mean read His words written for us in the Bible.  Study it.  Read the red letters of Jesus in the synoptic gospels.  Read what Paul instructs the early churches to do.  Understand what James has to say about the tongue in His book.  Study the Bible, don’t approach it as some task or arduous homework assignment either.  Do it out of love and devotion to God and the longing to live a healthier, holier life-style.

4.  Discipline yourself:

Not by flogging yourself or punishing the flesh, by any means…but by being disciplined in your daily routines and attitudes.  Be serious about wanting this joy and hope in your life.  When we seek His guidance and listen to His voice we begin to find peace and understanding.  We begin to want to spend more time with Him.  For some five minutes in prayer is very difficult, but if we discipline ourselves in regards to prayer we will slowly begin to find five minutes isn’t nearly enough time to talk with God.

2 Corinthians 10:5b says, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We we can make this climb out of our dark patterns of thought through God’s help, we will begin to understand this verse.  We can truly experience pure joy and hope because we have, through the power of the Holy Spirit, taken captive of every thought.  And we are in turn thinking within the realms of Joy and Hope.

Does this seem far fetched to you?  I hope it doesn’t because God does not want us to reside any longer in the darkness of our minds, but He wants us to surrender every nook and cranny of our body, soul and mind to Him.  When we are or have done so little by little we can begin to experience this joy and hope in every moment of our lives.

The Salvation Army: A Movement, not an Organization


I was sitting in the cornet section of the band waiting for the seven measure rest to end and a thought hit me.  As the movement continued at a ‘pep band’ pace.  Each measure, counted out and played, sometimes correctly…sometimes not, we were moving to the grand finale of the piece.  The pinnacle of the march where each running melody and harmony made its double forte’d ending proclamation.  Our conductor described it as puzzle pieces being put together to form the melodies and responding harmonies all hurtling toward the last note.

What was the thought that hit me? 

Just as the march we were playing progressed along in its jovial tune, igniting feelings of joy and hope, so too our Army resembled this structure.  Even our mission statement proclaims this truth:  “THE SALVATION ARMY, AN INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT…” We are a movement and some of the attributes of a movement is that we progress to the grand finale.  For us this finale is the ultimate return of Jesus Christ!  But what about now, in the interim?  What are we to do?  Though the repeating melody, so to speak, of our mission is resounding loud and clear are we just playing the same Image(repeat)?

written in our Army’s history?  If we are to play the movement correctly as an Army, then we have to move forward not backward.  Let me preface this by affirming our very rich heritage first.  We have been so blessed by progressive leaders in our Army.  Those who have moved our Holiness theology along, those who have lead not by consensus but by conviction and the moving of the Holy Spirit.  These beginning leaders, and still many today, have or are leading by risking much!

Remember the parable of the talents?  Who were the servants who were rewarded in the end?  Those who risked much.  They were the ones who didn’t bury their talents in the dirt but spread them out and multiplied what was given to them.   There’s a very important spiritual lesson here for us as an Army as well.  Though we ought to relish and appreciate our rich heritage, we ought not seek to preserve some which have run their course while blindly ignoring areas of risk that are untried methodologies and practices.

You see, when we begin to insulate what we have already accomplished in the past and seek to preserve these we lose sight of the movement and replace it with an organization.

Do you know the definition of an Organization?  an administrative and functional structure (as a business or a political party); also : the personnel of such a structure.

Is it important to have some sort of structure?  Of course…but if our mission statement says we are a movement and yet we don’t move or progress we begin to lose our identity.  We ARE NOT first and foremost an ‘administrative structure’…we are a mission and movement for Christ!  When we become bogged down more by missional politics, policies and procedures instead of  progressing then we discover an identity crisis in our Army.

One of the biggest dangers in any Church or Movement is when we plateau and begin to have polarizing ideologies.  Movements are much easier to begin but when some of its mission begins to plateau statistically or fail in its effectiveness the danger is that the risks become less.  By that I mean since there has been much gained already, there will undoubtedly be  something lost within future risk taking in mission and evangelical program.

Wasn’t it General William Booth himself who said if a corps was not meeting minimum requirements they ought to close it immediately and move on?   And yet this isn’t happening today.  We continue to pour resources into failing appointments and preserve its structures instead of removing the dead weight of these failed missions.   In essence we have again reached an identity crisis.

Furthermore for non-profit tax purposes here in the United States we have incorporated all of our territorial headquarters and categorizing them as ‘organizations’…again I recognize the intent, but to what end does this take us?  It may seem like semantics here, but have we not then become an organization instead of a movement?  From our foundation as a movement I recognize that we will change and grow, but so too we ought to recognize the dangers of losing this original identity.

Learning from History:  War tactics –

In the American Revolutionary War, the Red Coats (British) fought within its traditional structure.     When they engaged an enemy they would line up and march forward rank and file.  Onto the battle field they would march with uniform and rifle in perfect symmetry.  Those from the thirteen colonies who were fighting the British began to understand that they couldn’t fight a conventional war against such a formidable army and expect to win.  So they devised a new means of engaging the enemy.  In essence they changed the rules of warfare.  They no longer lined up as the Red Coats did, instead they fought from the tree lines, in ambushes and in clever strategies.   It was most unconventional and yet it was very effective.

We are an organized movement based upon the military yes, but as we look to the future we must recognize that in order to survive and continue to be effective in these new generations that we have to adapt.  The rules of warfare have to change.  We fight among new territories and though the devil is using the same tried and truth methods to deceive humanity we have to engage and risk much in order to be effective on these battle fields.

As a movement we are progressing forward to that grand finale.  We mustn’t lose sight of our purpose and our mission.  We must continue to risk much in order to gain much.  And lastly we must learn to adapt if we are to have victory over the enemy!  If we don’t adapt as a movement and keep heading forward then I fear we face a long agonizing slow death as an Army.  This slow death will be paved with the discarded uniforms of those who have left our cause not because of their spiritual or moral failings but because the Army sought to preserve its structure and neglected to care for those who continue to fight the good fight.

Dare I say if we ever lose of the Holy Spirit’s leading within our holiness movement, we will cease to be and the enemy will have won a horrible victory at our expense.


Breaking The Stone Altar


It started out as a random conversation about our favorite books.  Each person told us what was their all time favorite novel and why.  Some were books we all knew and loved, while others were books somewhat foreign to us.  As the conversation wound back around to the originator, someone hit upon a truth.  We all were in agreement that we really loved the C.S. Lewis books, “The Chronicles of Narnia”.   Someone indicated that they really fell in love with the Narnia world.  Another lauded the characters of Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy, giving particular moments in the books that really struck them as ‘wonderful’ or ‘brilliant’ through these characters.  Again we all went around the room and shared specifics of the books that we thought we memorable and epic.

Then, someone said it.  I’m not sure who it was, but once the words were loosed it hung in the air like a lingering fog in the early morning hours.  The lights went on in all of us as we all nodded in agreement.  

The Epiphany: Aslan giving up his life resembled that of what Christ had done for us.  Aslan was sacrificed by the White Witch on a stone altar.

For a moment no one spoke.  Each person recalled the scene.


Then, it hit me.  Aslan died for all of Narnia (which represented our world).  He willingly laid down his life before the evil White Witch.  Then, Aslan died.  As a kid I remember hearing this story, my father reading it to me, and I wept.  Still a lump forms in my throat even now as I remember it.  Though, the story didn’t end in the death of the mightiest lion.  As a matter of fact while Lucy and Susan wept bitterly over Aslan,  something miraculous and completely unthinkable takes place.  As the sun begins to rise from the darkness of night the stone altar that Aslan’s body is still resting on breaks in half and the great lion is resurrected.


How awesome is that? 

Like Christ, Aslan dies for all the world.  “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Aslan is killed in the darkness surrounded by every evil thing in the world.  But as soon as the sun crested the horizon that morning, resurrection takes place.


Jesus, God’s one and only Son arose.  Aslan arose.

When Jesus died an earthquake shook the ground.  The curtain in the temple, which separated the holy of holies, was completely torn from top to bottom.


Significance: God’s presence was said to dwell in the temple within this sacred space called the ‘Holy of Holies’.  Only High Priests who were clean could enter this place.  It was not accessible to common people.  But when the curtain was torn it signified that God’s presence was accessible to everyone, and that He was not bound by four walls.  He was omnipresent and and omniscient.

The Stone Altar Broke:


At sun rise, Aslan is resurrected.  He comes back to life and at the same time the stone altar on which he was slain breaks in two.  What could be significant about this?  Could it be that the power and ‘creature made’ order was broken?  Could it be that Aslan couldn’t be bound by evil?  Could it be that Aslan couldn’t be bound by any creature?  Could it be that the old ways were now destroyed while original intent was now restored?


Do you see the significance of the breaking altar?

Man’s order of things, man’s fall, man’s rituals are broken.  They are not paramount to the redemption that Christ offers!  Christ came, He died, the curtain was torn, He was dead no longer and God’s original intent for the world was now restored!

The only thing that stands in our way from restoration then is OUR CHOICE.

We can choose to be restored and be made clean through His blood, or we can choose to reject Him.  Either way it boils down to a choice we all have been given and we have to make.  But the really amazing thing is that God has made Himself available to us…everywhere!  Man’s order doesn’t bind God.  Man’s rituals don’t impress Him.

The Stone Altar has been broken for all of us.  Each of us are free to receive His presence…but we have to choose to received Him!  We have been set free, what we do with this freedom and redemption is now up to us…I hope you choose Him!

None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning–either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of Summer.” ― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most, or else just silly.
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


Sermon Podcast: “Living for God” by Captain Scott Strissel

New Sermon Podcast is up follow it here:


1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Sermon Transcript:

Living For God

How to live consistently as a Christian:

1) Be Clear__ Minded__ (v7)

Clear minded implies that we can’t be of two minds about our faith in Jesus…it’s either all in or nothing!  Peter is reminding us that our commitment to God is complete not just a portion but everything…body soul and mind.

Do you have doubts?  Do you struggle with worry?  Are you fearful that you aren’t good enough for this cause of Christ?  Wrong…don’t let second guessing hold you back either!   The mind can be a battle ground that Satan likes to prowl, but if we allow him access he will give you doubt, give you uncertainty of your mission and cause you to doubt you were even called in the first place!

2)Be  Self-Controlled (7b)

Secondly in order to live for God you have to be disciplined.  That’s what self-control means.  How do you control what you put into this body of Christ? How do you maintain your devotion life with God?  How do you continue to live for Him and be clear-minded? You have to exercise self-control and be disciplined.  Our lives can be chaotic at times, we may get so busy that we forget to pray or read His word and that’s when we can starve our spirit.  Did you know that our spirits require sustenance?    How else can we continue to live for God if we’re not reading what He has said to us?  How else can we continue to live for God if we aren’t feasting on his promises and finding peace with His still small voice?  Why are we to be disciplined?

  • Why?  so that you can Pray!(v7)

We some- times doubt prayer…and its effectiveness.  We sometimes doubt that prayer is really THAT vital.  Have you ever had someone tell you that they would pray for you?  Have you ever felt the effects of people gathered together to pray for you?  Sometimes we treat prayer as if it is a secondary after thought.  We pray to get ourselves out of trouble…we pray when times get difficult, but do we actually treat prayer as a primary weapon?

Do you consider prayer to be a primary weapon?  IF you haven’t before I would like for you to consider the potency and power of prayer!  Prayer is vital but it shouldn’t just be used as a reactive weapon…you know what I mean by reactive don’t you?  Prayer shouldn’t be something we just do when something bad happens to us…or happens to someone else.  Prayer ought to be a proactive discipline we should strive to hone in our own life.  Instead of prayer being a reactive thing that we do, we should instead pray over every area of our lives… “Lord thank you for my family, how blessed I am that you have given me this group of dysfunctional people…” Ok maybe not quite like that…but you get what I’m saying?  Pray for people and reflect on the blessings that God has given you!  When we arm ourselves with proactive prayer…do you know what takes place?  We have placed everything already at God’s feet!  We essentially are saying the Lord’s prayer when we do this in that we’re stating in our actions “Lord, thy will be done…in all of my life!”  Living for God implies that our conversations with God are not just reactionary prayers of petition…but we are arming ourselves with His might and His power.  This type of prayer life creates too in us a disciplined lifestyle.  We begin to expect His responses, we begin to converse with Him as freely as if we were talking to a good friend.  We begin to find His hand in our lives and through the things that we experience.  He guides us into a deeper relationship with Him which is holiness.

3) Love_______Deeply_ because it brings

  Forgiveness and Acceptance_(v8)

3rdly in order to live a godly life we ought to love deeply.  When we love deeply and without any kind of hidden agenda or selfish motives we begin to experience Agapa love.  Agappa love is godly love.  Love that permeates who God is…that’s the kind of love that sent Jesus to the cross for us.  That’s the kind of love that doesn’t want us to remain in a state of sinfulness but wants a right relationship with us.  Godly love is something that far too few possess.  When we fulfill that first command to 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.'”  What we are saying is I no longer put the needs of myself first.  I no longer wish to be God in my life…but I am giving God his rightful place in all things.  And in the same breath I am then saying I will also love others as I love myself.

How can this be?  People are tough to love aren’t they?  Especially if those neighbors are seemingly unloveable people.  Yet we are called to love them as we love ourself.  DO YOU?

If we get this love of God right…the rest falls into place.  If we can worship our Lord with all of our hearts instead of just a portion, then we can do this other thing regarding loving our neighbors.

When we love deeply as this scripture passage says we begin to focus less on the transgressions of our neighbors and instead focus more on the grace and love of God who first loved us in our awful state.

This passage says love covers over a multitude of sins…let me ask you…has someone sinned against you?  Has someone wronged you so painfully?  Has someone hurt you to the point that you can seem to find it in your heart to forgive them?  Let God help you…You can’t possibly do this on your own.  You aren’t supposed to.   But when we love as God first loved us this paves the way for healing.  This paves the way for forgiveness and reconciliation.  It won’t be easy, but His grace is enough!  His power can do the impossible!  Do you believe that?

4) Use the Gifts  God_ has given you!


“Living for God” 1Peter 4:7-11

In our Eternal Lingerings (poem for my family)



We linger in one another’s presence

As if minutes even hours can replace

the years that have separated us…

Yet we try.

The love that binds

us all, wound in affection,

Storied and often flawed

We love regardless…

I cling to our conversations

And our passing here

For with each passing year

Our time grows ever shorter.

But our love, this love yet remains…

Steadfast, firmly grasping on

To the times that make sense

The times, like still frames

Captured sentiment and warmth

That bathes us in its brilliance.

These moments are glimpses

Mere impressions and fragments

Of what we have yet to discover

In the great unknown. 

Yet I know but one thing,

This lingering, the drawing close

Of heart to heart will never fade

Only increase as Eternity

comes ever nearer. 


Blog at

Up ↑