Tag Archives: do

Do: Shine!

“. . . in which you shine . . . like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15).

“You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

star nightMy new Flourishing Faith Bible study Shine Your Light explores service, compassion, justice, action . . . the doing side of our faith. Take time to journey through this excerpt as we wrap up our discussion on doing.

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 “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18b). Faith—believing in the good news—is intricately interconnected with action. Just as faith demonstrates itself in works, works proclaim our faith to the world. Our actions, demeanor, words, character, and way of life declare a message!

. . .  One powerful theme interwoven throughout the book of James is that what we believe ought to show itself in what we do and how we act:

• We’re to truly listen to God’s Word and respond by doing what it says (1:22-25)

• As believers in our compassionate, just, and merciful God, we’re to live the good news by caring for the poor, vulnerable, and overlooked (1:27; 2:1-13).

• Living the gospel means loving our neighbors as ourselves—and that includes seemingly “unimportant” people (2:1-13).

• Belief in the gospel demonstrates itself in our actions (2:14-26).

• Our actions and demeanor reveal that we are aligned with a new way of thinking as we live by values “from above” (3:13, 17-18).

• When God leads us to do good, it’s imperative that we respond (4:17).

• Materialism and injustice toward the poor are absolutely contrary to the gospel (5:1-6).

• Intimacy with God through prayer empowers a gospel-transformed life (5:13-20).

. . . What can you do today to proclaim the gospel through action? Continue reading

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Do: Cultivate Character

As God’s grace-loved masterpieces, one of the key things we’re called to do is live out a character that reflects his. We’re invited to live a life of obedience that embodies God-honoring virtues. (Check out these passages for a quick sampling of Scripture’s invitation to cultivate Christlike character: Romans 12:9-18; Colossians 3:12-17; 2 Peter 1:5-7.)  Peter urges us to “make every effort” (v. 5) in our growth. We have a critical part to play in choosing to grow, in refining our character, in fostering habits that shape and mold our thoughts and attitudes.

colorful fruitBut . . .

. . . it’s not all on us. It’s not all about our own strength or efforts. We find power for this new way of living through the Spirit of God within us! As we grow in intimacy with God and reliance upon his power and leading in our lives, we are changed. Our lives produce fruit:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

As I wrote in the devotional study Cultivate Your Character, “Don’t let over-familiarity with the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ cause you to take them less seriously than you should. These traits aren’t cutesy, nice little ideas Continue reading

Do: Workmanship

fall leaf

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).

You are saved by the rich grace of God. No matter what you’ve done in your life, his grace is enough.  No A-pluses, no good-enoughs, no extra credit required. You don’t need to dig yourself out of your hole or pick yourself up by your bootstraps or overcome your failings or earn a golden ticket because it’s not about doing good works to get God’s approval. This grace and faith and salvation miracle? It’s all God’s.

 But . . .

. . . here is where we so often stop. We’re fantastic at quoting (and arguing about!) Ephesians 2:8-9 . . . and we stop there where Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, didn’t stop. God had more to say about this grace and faith and salvation miracle!

Let’s consider again how he brings this idea of grace and salvation to a climactic, purpose-full conclusion:  Continue reading

Loaded with Love

What a fabulous weekend I had serving as the speaker at Faith Church‘s women’s retreat this weekend!

This month, November, we’re diving into the idea of “doing” after a month-long reflection in October on “being.” However, since I’ve been away over the weekend (and, prior to that, was busy preparing for the retreat), we’ll start our discussion of doing with revisiting a blog post I wrote a few years ago: a short & sweet reflection on the wisdom Mother Teresa can bring to our “doing.”

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I deeply admire Mother Teresa.  I have a book that compiles many of her powerful, written words (called A Simple Path) and in getting to know her through these words, I cannot help but be convicted and inspired by her devoted obedience to Christ — whom she deeply loved and proclaimed to be Lord (Romans 10:9) — and by her compelling life of service to the poor, sick, and lowly.

blog.love heartIn  A Simple Path, Mother Teresa’s words speak this truth into my life: “[T]his is God’s wish for us — to serve through love in action, and to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to act when called.”

The second part of this statement is so crucial. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the needs of the world. What issues can we address? Who can we serve and how, when so many need so much? But the Holy Spirit will guide us. If we are attentive to the Spirit, our task is to obey when he leads us. We are called to no more than that . . . and certainly to no less.

I also find inspiration in the words that the Missionaries of Charity have on a poster in the headquarters: “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing.”

Teach us to load our service with love, Lord. To put deep, overflowing love into the task of service your Spirit has before us — whatever it may be.

A Big/Small Dream

“My dream is to live rich moments rather than have life scamper by . . .” 

Have you ever dreamed a God-sized dream? I explore God-sized dreams and the presence of God over at my friend Holley Gerth’s site. You can read more by clicking here.