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What Could Have Been

One of the thoughts I constantly struggled with earlier in my Christian walk was whether I should wait until my old age to serve God wholeheartedly. To me, Christianity was full of rules and inhibitions, you cannot do this, etc. I felt it would simply deny me of enjoying my life. I was even more worried considering my hormones were raging, and the Bible was clearIy against premarital sex. I was thinking I should rather wait until my old age and then give my life wholeheartedly to God. But I did not consider that the length of my days are numbered and dictated by none other than God and that the whole duty of man is to serve God, hence I had better heed the advice of the sage to serve the Lord in my youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Nonetheless, I was quickly brought to my senses when I was miraculously saved from drowning. I was at the beach with friends and since I only knew some basic swimming skills, I stayed at the shore, following the advice of the lifeguard. I was jumping in the waves with friends. Everything was ok and I was really enjoying the whole experience. Then once I jumped and this time my feet did not touch the ground! I was trying to swim, but the waves were too strong for my basic skills. I was disoriented and did not know which direction to go. I was trying to shout, but when I opened my mouth I was drinking seawater!

In my desperation, I cried out to God. When I thought all hope was gone, a hand held me and brought me ashore. Like Jonah from the belly of the fish, I realized that the most important factor in this life is God. When I was drowning, my qualifications and credentials, networks, the material things that were competing for my commitment with God, could not help!

When I was ashore I kept wondering, “Is this how fast life can slip away, just one jump?” Just one jump and see where I ended up, so far away from the shore where I thought I was safe! I asked the one who accidentally swam to my end what prompted him to come that far and he said, “Something just made me come that far.” I thanked him for listening to that small voice but thanked God ultimately for coming to my rescue as His grace and mercies found me even when I was doubting Him. Without God, I would be an educated fool, because there is always a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end is death. However, with God, you can access wisdom to navigate the issues of life successfully.

That night as I lay on my bed, I kept staring at the ceiling, knowing that I could have been lying in the morgue or my coffin some few hours earlier. And it has been a fruitful journey thus far and I have come to welcome the twists and turns as He did not promise a life without challenges. When you give your life to God, then you can truly enjoy life abundantly. The thief cometh only to kill and destroy, but in Him is life. As much as I love to socialize, I have also learned to be guided by the counsel … blessed is he who does not sit in the counsel of the ungodly.

Sometimes we may deceptively think we are on the shores of a worldly temptation, but soon realize we are in deep waters and struggling to overcome. His hands are not too short to bring us to the shores of His presence, where there is fullness of joy.


Sinners Gonna Sin – Crosswalk the Devotional – August 20

by John UpChurch

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Philippians 3:18-19


We should never be surprised by sin. Humans run to it, fill their hands with the dripping filth, and smear it over their bodies. From birth. From conception (Psalm 51:5). It’s the natural state of what it means to be a fallen Homo sapiens.

Often, though, it’s easy to forget our own dip into the slop. Years of following Jesus can make that mud bath indistinct and alien in our memories. We were, but are no longer (Romans 6:6). The times we plunged headfirst into sin no longer seem real. We forget how arduous the road has been that’s brought us here—the struggles, the temptations, the urges to turn around and dive back in. We forget that each victory came with wounds. We forget why we have the scars.

With that newness of rebirth comes the temptation to compare everything and everyone with where we are now. Our filth cleansed, we see clearly. And what we see are those pitiful figures still flailing in the dirt, still covering themselves with sin.

It’s easy to be disgusted. The mud seems much dirtier now than it was when we were in it, more putrid to our nostrils. Certainly we would never do what they do—those still wallowing, those whose god is their every whim and desire. There’s nothing very attractive in the mess.

But when you think of what will become of those who blindly grope in the sludge, when you consider the destiny of those who glory in their own shame, you start to see something else. God looked into just such filth to find a struggling wretch—one that looked just like you. His love wasn’t deterred by all your caked-on grime. His compassion wasn’t stopped by the junk that clung to you. He yanked you from the pit and put your feet on the rock. Then, He washed you clean.

Sin comes naturally to humanity. But love that looks past the grime to share the hope of the gospel? That’s the hard thing. That’s the thing worth doing.


Why Jesus Asks Us to Bear One Another’s Burdens

Clarence L. Haynes Jr.Contributing Writer,

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced some burdens in your life. They can come in all shapes and sizes. Big, small, bearable, even unbearable…or at least that’s how they feel. Yet within the pages of Scripture we see instructions calling for us to bear one another’s burdens. Why does Jesus ask us to bear burdens? That is the question on the table for today and I think you may like the answer.

What Does it Mean to Bear a Burden?

The word to bear comes from the Greek word bastazo which means to carry, to take up or even to take away or carry off.

The word burden comes from the Greek word baros which means a weight.

When you put those together, to bear a burden means to take away or carry off the weight someone else is experiencing. In essence, you are bringing some form or relief and comfort to someone else’s challenging situation.

For example, let’s say someone lost their job and they are facing the weight of having to buy groceries to feed their family. Bearing their burden may mean buying groceries for the family so they can have food to eat in the house.

By doing this you have carried off their weight for that moment in time.

Why Jesus Asks Us to Bear Burdens

If you are wondering why Jesus asks us to bear burdens, then consider the second part of Galatians 6:2, “and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Let’s go back to two statements Jesus said about the law.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. – Matthew 22:37-40

When you consider this statement, you understand why Jesus would ask us to bear burdens. By doing so you are showing the love of God by loving your neighbor as yourself.

If you were facing a burden would you want help? If you are honest (and not prideful) the answer is yes. Also, if you knew of someone who was facing a burden and you were in a position to help, would you? Hopefully, the answer is yes.

In both of these instances, the law is being fulfilled because you are either being loved or loving your neighbor as you would yourself. When you do this, you are actually being Christ’s hands and arms extended.

3 Practical Areas in Which to Bear One Another’s Burdens

Because burdens come in all shapes and sizes there are literally an unlimited amount of ways to bear burdens. I am going to give you some ideas, but I’m sure you can come up with more.

1. Financial Burdens

– Start a food coop to pool resources together.

– If you belong to a membership retailer share some of the groceries with a neighbor.

– Go to a local food pantry on behalf of someone else, pick up the groceries and deliver them.

– Create a directory of all the available places and resources people can use to get assistance because many times people don’t know what options are available.

– If you can afford it, pay someone’s utility bill for a month.

2. Spiritual Burdens

– If someone is struggling with a besetting sin be willing to be their accountability partner.

– Start a Bible study group to help people study the Bible—there are plenty of devotionals to help you if you are not sure if you are “qualified” enough.

– Be willing to pray for and with people.

– Call someone and let them share their heart with you and just listen.

3. Family Burdens

– Offer to watch the kids so a husband and wife can have a date night.

– Schedule a weekly walk with a friend just to give them a space of rest and someone to talk to.

These are just a few ideas but there are plenty more. The idea is just simply looking for ways to help alleviate the weight people are experiencing. Sometimes you may not be able to take off the whole weight; so do what you can, because every little bit helps.


Integrity’s Confidence

by Inspiration Ministries

“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” – Psalm 26:1 NASB

David confidently asked God for vindication. He could be so confident about the outcome because he had walked in integrity. He felt he had “trusted in the Lord.” Because of this confidence, he called on God without doubts.

Yet David knew that God still needed to search his life: “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (v. 2). He knew we all could harbor hidden sins. We often do or say the wrong things.

David ended the psalm by stating his determination to walk in integrity, confident that his feet were standing “on a level place” (v. 12). He didn’t want to slip into sin and sought to keep God’s lovingkindness constantly before him.

He was careful about his relationships and would not “sit with deceitful men,” or “go with pretenders” (v. 4). He hated “the assembly of evildoers” and would not “sit with the wicked” (v. 5). He was committed to fellowship with people who genuinely sought to please the Lord.

He focused on serving God, desiring to “proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders” (v. 7). He loved His house, where he would be with other believers, where “I shall bless the Lord” (v. 12).

Focus on serving God. Fill your mind with His Word. Seek His help when you face choices. Stay sensitive to His Spirit. Seek to have a clean heart in His sight.

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