Happy Monday Friends! I write to y’all with a full heart after this weekend, well an almost full heart. I had a moment over the weekend where God set me up with a “meatball pitch” that I did not even take a swing at (a meatball pitch is an easy to hit, right down the middle-of-the-plate throw).
To give y’all the backstory for this weekend: my wife and I took our kids down to Florida for the weekend. We have had a tradition of reserving this perfect pavilion for my son’s birthday party for the last four years. Most of our family still lives in Florida so it’s a great way for us to have everyone gather and find fellowship. Our son wanted a Paw Patrol theme so he got that with some Paw Patrol themed games (I came up with them, they were fun but never “Pinterest worthy”). The kids had a great time, so it seemed. Our son got inundated with presents. And the adults had great conversation amid a back-drop of a still divisive Presidential election. Which brings me to my moment of weakness and completely failing God.
I was rushing through the local supermarket (every party we throw has me rushing around at the last minute). I was getting cupcakes and ice and a few other items as quickly as possible to get out to the park to set up before anyone arrived. I passed this gentleman struggling to push one cart and pull another. After our encounter I think this guy was stocking up for the impending collapse of American society. I grabbed my trashbags and this complete stranger stops me out of nowhere to ask me what I thought was happening with this election. I’ll spare you the details of the ridiculous conversation we had, but to summarize, this man was a recent emigrant from Venezuela, who fled that country from the corrupt government there and arrived in the United States in 2017. I did my best to try to steer his irrational fear back to reality and assure him this country was a much better place in the years before he arrived, which was why he obviously chose to come to the U.S. I cut our conversation short because I let the politics and the atmosphere in this country push my buttons and I reacted with impatience and frustration instead of pity and grace. Pity that this poor man was just buying all the nonsense so called “news” organizations feed him. But I really missed out on showing him grace and pointing him to the one who could calm all his fears: Jesus Christ.
And I even had a Common Sense Reborn business card in my pocket, which did not cross my mind until I was loading my groceries in my car.
So I had to say a prayer for myself as I drove away, asking for God to make my heart still, to remove the divisiveness in my own heart, to clear my mind so I can do the right thing at the right time to fulfill my ONLY task here on Earth, and that is to lead as many as I can to know the truth of Jesus Christ.
1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
I don’t know if you have noticed yet, but I have taken most of every word we are reading out of this letter from John and highlighting those verses in our daily devotion. Before writing this study, I used to think Luke was my favorite author of the New Testament because I loved his Gospel, as well as the Book of Acts. But after writing this devotional, and looking deeper into each book to grab significant teachings, I realize now that no one wrote it better than John. He has a way with words and a way with his teachings.
Just look at the opening verse in the paragraph above: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” The Greek word John originally used in his writing was “dedoken” (Biblehub.com). The King James Translation of this in reference to verse 3:1 is that God’s great love was “bestowed” on us, but I like the translation from the NIV version, where they used the word “lavished.” Look that word up and that is a more accurate description of God’s love for us, one that He pours out in generous and extravagant quantities. We are lavishly rich in His love for us. Do not ever forget that fact. Think of it in everything you do. You have a Father that loves you more than any other creation in the universe. In anything you do, will it make your Father proud? If your Father knew how you were living, thinking, acting, would He be proud of you? You should always consider that, because God knows, sees, and remembers all of it.
Reading plan: 1 John 3:1-10
Deeper reading plan: Micah 4
Prayer and meditation: Today we thank God for America and the promise this country represents, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Pray that Americans realize where true happiness comes from. Pray for peace, pray for calm. Pray the revival in your heart overflows to all those around you.
Fitness challenge: Day 70-70 reps each:
- Hand-release Push-up
- Jumping squat
- Leg lifts
Run: Monday-resistance running day. Whatever you used last week, get after it again. This week, perform 12 sprints with whatever resistance you can come up with, add a one-mile warm-up and one-mile cool-down