Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how long you’ve been a Christian, how much you know, or how often you go to church. Spiritual maturity is measured by the way you treat other people. It’s measured by the love you allow to operate through you. First Corinthians 13 tells us about the characteristics of love. One characteristic is that it is not rude. That means, when we are walking in love, we treat other people with courtesy and respect. Are you courteous to other people? Are you kind to the person at the checkout counter that may be moving too slowly for you? Are you gentle when you are driving down the highway and someone cuts you off? Are you patient with your family and coworkers? These are all ways we show love.
Scripture also tells us that love is patient. It is kind. It does not envy; it is not proud. It is not rude. Love is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love never fails. Notice that these characteristics don’t have anything to do with feelings. That’s because love is a choice. You can choose to walk in love toward people even when you don’t feel like it. Today, make the choice to do what is right. Choose today to show kindness and be courteous to others. Look for ways to cultivate the greatest thing in your life—love! As you do, you’ll move forward into the life of blessing God has in store for you!
Are you worrying about something today? To worry means to allow something to revolve in your mind over and over again. God doesn’t want you to live worried or anxious about anything. He knows that worry steals your peace and joy. It affects every area of your life. Have you heard the saying, “Don’t worry yourself sick?” That’s because worrying affects your physical body. It affects your sleep. You won’t ever gain anything by worrying; in fact, you’ll lose precious moments that you can never get back again. The good news is that God has promised that you can have victory over worry. It starts by making the choice to trust in Him. When you cast your cares on Him, He will give you His peace.
Decide today to put an end to worry in your life. Choose to feed your faith and fill your mind with God’s promises. As you focus on God’s Word, you’ll drive out worry and fill your heart with faith and expectancy; and you’ll be empowered to move forward into the life of blessing He has in store for you!
My sins did this to You..and yet You are still lovingly asking me to draw near to You..
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.”(1 John 3:18) Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.” -Rick Warren
“The message of Jesus Christ is a message of hope, a message of mercy, a message of life in a dark world.”
Two years ago, I wrote a song called “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL” on my first album. I was listening to this song again this morning, and I was reminded of how life is not perfect, but life is definitely worth living. Many of us go through hard times, struggles and suffering. Many of us have had hopes that were shattered, dreams that never became a reality, and situations in life that never turned out the way we expected. Maybe our health failed, our relationships were broken, our finances tanked, our dreams slipped away, or we were wronged unfairly. Whatever the case, life never seems to turn out the way we think, but life can still be beautiful.
My Personal 9-11
7 years ago, I had what I call a “personal 9-11″ where everything in my life that seemed to be going great, went wrong. I was 20 years old at the time and soaring with God as a new Christ-follower. I had it all. At the age of 20 I had a successful TV and Radio ministry, a great job at a Silicon Valley Media/Tech company, I was the top student at my Christian University, everyone at my local church loved me and I had my first girlfriend ~ the love of my life. It was sweet to be a Jesus lover at that moment, but I soon realized that I loved these other things more than Jesus Himself.
One day, something went wrong on our TV shoot and I lost my cool. I started getting angry at our production team and threw a fit. I caught myself in the midst of my anger tantrum and recognized I had gotten out of hand. The next day, I spent time praying in a church chapel and I heard God speak to me. He said, “Jaeson, what truly makes your life beautiful? Is it the blessings in your life or is it Me? I realized at that moment that many other things in my life satisfied my heart more than Jesus Christ Himself. When my circumstances were going great, I felt great. But if my circumstances around me went wrong, I would lose my peace. I was convicted by the Spirit that my hope was not in God, but it was in the things of this world. That day I prayed a very dangerous prayer…
I prayed, “Jesus be my only satisfaction.”
I knew by praying this prayer, that I was going to give God complete access to strip away anything in my heart that satisfied me more than Him. It was a scary prayer, but I knew I had to do it. God answered this prayer immediately…
The next day was my 21st birthday and that night my girlfriend, the very love of my life, broke up with me with no explanation. My heart was crushed and I had no answers. The day after my birthday I had all my semester finals tests at the university, I nearly failed them all. I then got a phone call during the same week that the media company I was working at had to lay me off. I was devastated because I looked up to the CEO so much, I felt he had also failed me. A few days later I discover that my elders at the local church who used to praise me so much, were questioning my motives with the new TV and Radio ministry I had started. It seemed everyone had turned against me. To make things worst, when I got home I found out from my mom that there were violent threats made towards my family because of my father’s past mistakes. The world had fallen apart all around me in a span of two weeks. I was devastated, depressed and without hope.
For the next year, I was completely depressed, angry at God and deeply hurting inside. I couldn’t understand why things had happened the way they did. I would throw a pity party everyday, complaining towards God (mainly about my ex-girlfriend) about how my life was so horrible. I wanted God to take me away to heaven. Then something tragic happened that I couldn’t explain.
One of my best friends, she was like a little sister to me, suddenly died in a car accident. Hanh was one of the most beautiful, hopeful, bright and optimistic 19 year olds you would ever meet. The night before she died, we talked briefly at a hospital. She said, “Jaeson so where have you been? Are you too busy to hang out with your little sister?” I told her, “I’m sorry, I’ve been out of it lately but we should definitely get together soon.” She joked and said, “Sure, yeah right” knowing how self absorbed and busy I was. The next day she got in a freak car accident and died on impact. I was so shocked when I heard the news, I wouldn’t believe it. I went with some friends to pray over her dead body, asking God to raise it back to life for 3 straight days. It didn’t happen. I felt so guilty for not being a better brother to her, because I was so self absorbed with my own problems.
The night after her funeral, I had dream. In this dream, I was in front of the pearly gates of heaven. As the gates opened, Hanh was there to greet me. When I saw her I was so ashamed. I couldn’t even look her in the face. All I could say was sorry for being a horrible friend. She looked back at me and said, “Jaeson, I’ve already forgiven you, just remember what is really important in your life. It’s not the things of this world, but its your relationships. Don’t worry about me, I’m doing fine, just look at heaven behind me!” She then waived her hand and I saw all of heaven filled with green hills, rainbows, bright shining sun rays and little animals running around freely everywhere. Hanh hopped, skipped and jumped into God’s radiant love and I knew in my heart she was happy and going to be OKAY.
When I woke up, I knew I had a second chance to live my life in a different way. Interestingly, that next weekend I had an interview with a rock band called“Switchfoot” for our TV show. The band had just released their first cross over secular album called “The Beautiful Letdown”. When I interviewed the lead singer Jon Foreman I asked him a simple question, “Jon, why did you guys title this new album The Beautiful Letdown?” He responded, “Jaeson, that is a good question. You see, everything in this life can let you down. Right now, the chair I am sitting in could break and fail me. In a few minutes I can go up and sing on that stage to thousands of people, but when I get off the stage my health could fail and I could lose my voice forever and never be able to sing again. I have a beautiful wife, but I could go home and find out she has been unfaithful. You see, everything in this life can fail you. Everything in this life is finite, meaning it doesn’t last, but only one thing is truly infinite and will last forever. Yes, everything in this life can and will let you down, but the beautiful thing about it is this, when everything lets you down in this world it leads you to the one thing that is truly beautiful….. the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.”
God was speaking to my heart. The next day, I went back to the chapel where I prayed, I wept and I repented before God for my selfishness. At that moment, as I was weeping before the Lord and starring at the Cross I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Jaeson, everything that you have suffered, I have suffered and a million times over. My love for you is true and it will never leave you. Be satisfied in My love.”
Peace came back into my heart. I finally understood what it meant to make Jesus my only satisfaction. I finally understood what makes life truly beautiful. It’s not what we achieve, what we have, who we know, or whether or not our dreams are fulfilled that makes this life beautiful. Rather, life is beautiful because God is beautiful. His love is unfailing and His love is the only thing that we can count on. When all else fails, His love is still there. What really matters, is that we have a “relationship with our Creator” and the love He gives to us, we are to cherish and give to others. Our success is not in what we achieve in this life, our success is in knowing Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I love Him, He loves me, I am successful!
Hard times will come. Struggles will always be there. Life will never be perfect. But God’s loves will always be faithful. If we want to live a life that is truly beautiful remember the following…
1. The love of people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love – Don’t put your trust in the world’s happiness, but put your hope in God’s love. He loves us no matter what we do right or what we do wrong.
2. God loves you with an unearthly love. You can’t win it by being winsome. You can’t lose it by being a loser – We often think that God will loves us more if we do more for Him. This is not the case, God loves us not because we are perfect, He loves us because we are His children. Whether or not things are going great, or whether you feel like all is lost, know that God’s love for you will never change.
3. God can turn tragedy into a triumph, if only you will wait and watch – We don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but we can put our hope in God that He can make all things beautiful. Even what the enemy intends for our evil, God can turn for our good.
4. Love God for God. Life is not perfect, but life is Worth living – We are promised nothing in this world. The things of this world are passing away, but the love of Christ last forever. Put your hope in God and God alone. Love God not for what He can do for you, but love God simply because He is worthy of our affection. When Jesus becomes our only satisfaction, nothing else matters. We can’t fail in this life, because His love is unfailing. Yet, when we know His unfailing love, it makes everything else in this life, good or bad that much more beautiful and meaningful.
5. Does your self-esteem ever sag? When it does, remember what you are worth – Max Lucado
YOU WERE BOUGHT, NOT WITH SOMETHING THAT RUINS LIKE GOLD OR SILVER, BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, WHO WAS LIKE A PURE AND PERFECT LAMB. 1 PETER 1:18-19