“Live. Laugh. Love.” by Pastor Randy
Happy Monday!!! Friends, I encourage you to find something to laugh about today. Look for a reason to smile. Take note of something beautiful. Find a reason to show somebody love in a tangible way.
It’s very easy to see the brokenness in the world around us but, as a friend shared in church yesterday, “We see what we look for.” So look for something positive today. Find the silver lining in every situation.
Rather than allowing current circumstances to dictate your mood or your attitude I challenge you to intentionally focus in on those things that will feed your soul today.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
“What Is Love?” By Dave Good
Good day! Welcome back to another edition of the GSM blog. It is my privilege to spend the next few minutes together and I pray you find my words are encouraging and bring you closer to God.
The English language does not give the word love its just due. In Greek the word love can we translated into 7 different meanings:
Today, I want to talk to you about love. If I asked you what the definition of love is I’m sure just about all of us will give a different answer. Some may say love is an emotion you feel towards your family. (i.e. I love my spouse or I love my kids). Others may define love as an attachment to a valuable object. (i.e. I love my dream car, I love my new house, or I love my new shoes). The reality is that we can love ourselves, we can love others, and we can love things.
- Eros: romantic, passionate love. …
- Philia: intimate, authentic friendship. …
- Erotoropia or ludus: playful, flirtatious love. …
- Storge: unconditional, familial love. …
- Philautia: compassionate self-love. …
- Pragma: committed, companionate love. …
- Agápe: empathetic, universal love.
Such a simple word with so many meanings. No wonder this word is spoken so much and never really understood. I think the only way to settle this debate is to ask the only One that is defined as love—God himself.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8 NIV)
God is love. Love is the basis of His character. His thoughts and actions are derived from love so who better to explain what love really is and He does just that through His Holy Word. If we take a look at Paul’s letter to The Corinthians we see other aspects of God’s love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 7 NIV)
When you take the time to slowly read those verses it can be both encouraging and convicting. God’s definition of love displays the attitude, posture, and actions involved in loving someone. To be honest, when I was reading those verses I was convicted that I am not loving others the way I should be. You see, many times I fall short in several aspects of this definition. I am not as patient as I should be. I can get a little envious sometimes. I can also be selfish and self seeking and geez I know we all keep a record of wrongs. I am just being honest with all of you. I am so grateful God gives us instructions on how to love better and I pray that each and everyone of you takes the time to examine the way you love others in the light of God’s definition.
I thank God for his all encompassing definition of love, but you know God is not just a God of instruction, He is also a God of action. I wil leave you with this last thought.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Not only does God explain to us how to love but He demonstrates love but sending His Son to die on a cross to save us from out sins.
Friends, it’s impossible to examine and define love in a one page blog. My hope today was to give you a few scriptures to point you in the direction of the author of love, God himself. I pray you take a few moments and think about how you love others. Where can you improve? Where can you get better and display the characteristics of God? The only way to truly understand love is to appreciate what God did for us on the cross and live a life that strives to bring Him glory.
Until next week
“And the Greatest of These is Love – Part 2” by Dave Good
Happy Thursday!!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. My name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. This week, we are going to delve into part two of the greatest command. In case you missed last week’s post, I wrote about loving the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. (Feel free to pause and read it real quick) Jesus tells us the second greatest command is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Once again, that doesn’t seem hard at all. The first question we have to answer is Who is my neighbor? The Pharisees asked Jesus that exact question and Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan. I encourage you to read Matthew 10:30-37 if you are not familiar with the story. If you just want the cliff notes version (kinda showing my age here if you know what cliff notes are lol.) Jesus tells the story of a man who is robbed and left for dead. A priest and a Levite pass right by him but a Samaritan, whom the Jews hated, cared and saved the man’s life. This parable kicked the Pharisees right in the gut for thinking they were better than everyone and overlooking the needs of others. Jesus goes on to say that the Samaritan loved his neighbor most of all.
The key to obeying the second command is putting others ahead of yourself. You are never too good, too busy, or too proud to help someone in need. Just think of all the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. Whether it’s the cashier at the coffee shop, your family and friends, the hostess at your favorite restaurant, fellow employees, or other church members, everyone has a need and these needs come in many forms. Someone may just need to talk and get a few things off their chest. Others may need help paying a Bill or making ends meet. Some might need help around the house. Needs come in many shapes and sizes and the key is to recognize and just be willing to fill the need.
Now some of you are probably saying, “I have enough to worry about in my own life, I don’t have time for everyone else. My grass needs cut. My bills need paid. I have to work full time. My kids need new clothes for school. My car needs to be inspected this month. I just have so much going on right now. I’m really busy.” Notice all those statements above have one word in common—MY.
My my my, there is a lot of me in those statements. I can honestly say I can relate to all of them. In fact, over my lifetime I have probably used each and every one of those excuses. Loving your neighbor requires us to put others ahead of your own agenda or needs. It involves seeing a need and finding a way to meet it. This is easier said than done but when we look to the example of Jesus it is easy to adjust our focus towards others.
The key to obeying the command to love your neighbor as yourself is to take the me out of the equation. Jesus gives us the perfect example and displays the perfect servitude mindset when he said the following “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Friends, loving your neighbor involves putting others first. It involves finding a need and trying to fill it even when it’s not easy or convenient. Loving others takes sacrifice and intentionality. When we look at the sacrifices Jesus made in order to meet our needs our we see the bar set pretty high.
My ask for this week is simple. Find one way to love you neighbor as yourself. Find someone with a need and fill it. The need doesn’t have to be big and how you fill it doesn’t have to be time consuming but the important thing is that your act of kindness is intentional.
Until next time…
“And The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 1” by Dave Good
Good day!! Welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again my name is Dave Good and it is my honor to spend the next few minutes with you. I pray my words will be a blessing and encouragement as you start your day.
Today, I would like to start a 2 part series on the greatest commandments. Jesus himself confirms to us the greatest commandments in Matthew 22:36-39 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
That sounds easy enough. I love how Jesus keeps simplifying things for us. At first God gave the Israelites some 600 plus laws to follow after He guided them out of Egypt. No one could uphold all those laws so God proceeds to give us the 10 commandments. Surely we can follow 10 simple rules, right? Once again 10 rules were too much for us to handle. So Jesus sums up our entire Christian walk in two commands: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. How easy is that?
Let’s take a few minutes and dissect the first command, “Love your God with all you heart, all your soul, and all your mind”. That sounds easy enough. Don’t we all sit here and say, “I love God!” The clause to that whole statement is with All your whole heart, soul, and mind. This is the part that will separate His people from others.
We all love someone or something. There are just components to our life that occupy our love. For some it’s a spouse, a job, money, a reputation, or a car. For others it’s an addiction or a vice that steals our love away from God. I apologize if I’m getting a little personal but the hard truth is the only thing that opened my eyes. I will be honest and tell you that over my lifetime I think I’ve loved every example I listed. The good news I have to report is that my God slowly began shifting my attention to His love.
Over the years I have really begun to understand just how much God loves me. God has provided me with countless blessings and gifts. God has given me a beautiful family, a wonderful career, amazing friends, and He has showered me with more grace than I deserve. I haven’t even mentioned the most important gift of all which of course is the gift of sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for my sins. If all those blessings don’t make you appreciate and love God with all your heart, soul, and mind I would encourage you to spend some reflection time with God. Ask God to reveal just a portion of His love to you and you will soon realize that loving God back is the least we can do.
So the question is, “How exactly can I love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind?”
I’m glad you asked. I have a few recommendations for you to explore.
1. Spend time with God on a daily basis. Devoting time to reading your Bible along with a healthy prayer life will bring you closer to God.
2. Count your blessings. Take time to reflect on how good God has been to you. Make a list of the grace, mercy and favor God has bestowed on you over the years and it will illuminate Gods great love for you.
3. Evaluate how you spend your spare time. When you take a step back and examine how you utilize you time you might be surprised. How much time are we spending on our phones watching tv, or hobbies. You might be surprised how much time is given to those instead of your walk with God. Once you get a sense of where you spend your time ask God to help you reprioritize.
Friends, the true key to loving God begins with the recognition of how much God loves us. He loved us first and sent his son to save us from our sins. Living for Jesus and loving him with all your heart requires gratitude and purpose. As you grow closer and closer to Him it becomes easier and easier to love him with all your heart. This type of love doesn’t always happen overnight but will be the most rewarding decision of your life.
Join me next week when we will visit the 2nd greatest command. Love thy neighbor as they self. Until then have a great week!
“A Little Kindness Can Go A Long Way” by Pastor Randy
Happy Wednesday! I hope the first part of your week has gone well and that the second half will be even better!!! Today I want to talk to you about how a little kindness can go a long way especially in the world that we live in today.
You have probably heard the saying, “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Well, there is a lot of truth in that and so, as Christians, we should be extra intentional when it comes to exhibiting the fruit of the spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control – Galatians 5:22-23) in response to others.
I know that sometimes it can be frustrating if you are waiting in a long line or if there aren’t any bags at checkout but, rather than getting upset at the closest person on staff who is probably making minimum wage and has no control over the situation, maybe say a quick prayer for patience and then offer the person a smile instead of a scowl or even say something to them like, “No bags again, huh? That’s got to be tough because it’s not your fault but you probably still take the heat for it.” Or maybe, after a long wait in line where you have heard other customers berating the cashier, pause when it gets to be your turn and say to them, “It sounds like you are having a tough time. I pray the rest of your shift goes better.” And if you say it loud enough it will hopefully set the tone for the others waiting in line behind you. 😇
My friends and I actually had the opportunity to show kindness in this way a week ago when we having breakfast at a local restaurant. When we arrived we were seated and had our orders taken shortly after. We then jumped into some good conversation, my two friends discussed world problems while the one’s son and I had more important matters to discuss like LEGOS, and after quite a while ha passed, and I was just starting to wonder where our food was, someone other than our waitress came to our table and said, “I’m very sorry but your order was lost.” She explained that she had noticed that people had come in after us who already had their bill so she went to find out about our order only to find that it was missing. She said she would put it right in and thanked us for our patience and understanding.
It wasn’t really a big deal. We weren’t starving and saw it as just getting to enjoy more time together in conversation. A little while later we received our food, which was worth the wait by the way, and then a few minutes later the lady who had taken our original order came up to our table. As she started to apologize we tried to stop her saying that it wasn’t a problem but she continued on explaining that she was actually the owner of the restaurant and that she had taken our order because the waitress who was supposed to be there for the morning shift hadn’t shown up. She went on to say that on her way back to the kitchen she had answered the phone since she saw that it was from the hospital where her husband had been admitted with some severe health problems, and after hearing some not great news she had forgotten all about our order.
Once again we assured her that it wasn’t a problem and asked what her husband’s name was so that we could pause and pray for him right then. After we finished our meal and went to leave (after my buddy left a very generous tip which I only mention because as a former waiter I can attest that Christians have earned a bad rap over the years from being stingy tippers) she cashed us out and then gave us hugs saying that we were the perfect table for that to happen to.
You wouldn’t think that we would enjoy being labeled as the perfect table to have our ticket lost but it was obviously a compliment, not only because of how we responded but also because of how we didn’t respond. Think about it… we could have been angry, we could have demanded that we get our food for free, we could have got up and left, we could have passive aggressively posted a bad review on social media. There are a number of ways that we could have reacted poorly in the moment, and I wish I could tell you that I have never done any of these things in the past, but any negative reaction would not have allowed us to offer comfort and hope to someone who was obviously in need of both. Beyond that how bad would we have felt after finding out why our food was delivered late?
I know that we all have times when we are rushing and not as kind or as patient as we would normally be but friends it is in those moments that we can truly shine for Christ if we only slow down and try to picture the situation from another’s point of view. Let’s make it a point to pray each morning and ask God to make us more aware of these holy opportunities so that those we come in contact with will be better for it and will understand more about the tangible love of Christ shown through our words and actions.
Let us be Christ’s hands, Christ’s feet, and Christ’s voice in the world today.
Today’s encouragement is short but not always simple. Today I encourage you to LOVE…
LOVE those closest to you in the way that they will recognize and receive it best.
LOVE those who have offended you and don’t wait for their permission to forgive.
LOVE your friends and family unconditionally based on who they are instead of what they do.
LOVE your enemies and treat them kindly as you would want them to treat you.
LOVE people–not things.
LOVE good–not evil
And, going along with Dave’s post yesterday about looking in the mirror, here is a good way to measure how you are doing when it comes to loving others the way that Christ expects of us.
Most people are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 whether or not you have read it, listened to a message on it, or heard it being read at a wedding, but have you ever taken inventory of how you are doing in the area of love using this passage as a plum line line? Let’s start by reading the passage together…
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (vv. 4-8 )
Now here’s the test. Replace the word “Love” with your name and see if it still rings true. Here is an example using my name.
“Pastor Randy is patient, Pastor Randy is kind. Pastor Randy does not envy, he does not boast, Pastor Randy is not proud. Pastor Randy does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, and is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. Pastor Randy does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Pastor Randy never fails.” (vv. 4-8 )
Now, I wish I could say that with these changes the passage still rang true 100% of the time but the reality is that there are areas that I fall short in and ultimately need to ask God’s help to get better in.
So now, how about you? Write your name in each blank, rate yourself (or ask a spouse or a close friend if you’re feeling daring), and then ask God to help you to work on the areas where you fall short. Ultimately though the best thing we can do to grow in each and every area is to spend time getting to know the one who perfected love—Jesus himself.
________________ is patient
________________ is kind
________________ does not envy
________________ does not boast
________________ is not proud
________________ does not dishonor others
________________ is not self-seeking
________________ is not easily angered
________________ keeps no record of wrongs
________________ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
________________ always protects
________________ always trusts
________________ always hopes
________________ always perseveres
________________ never fails
“What Do You Stand For?” by Pastor Randy
Good morning! Happy Friday Eve!!! Today I want to talk about what we stand for and, more to the point, what is the public perception of what you and I stand for as Christians.
Nowadays it’s pretty easy to find out what people stand against. All you have to do is jump on any social media platform and it takes no time at all before reading derogatory comments aimed at a person, group, or party with differing views from the author or this symbol 🚫 placed over top of you name it. And I am not even addressing the secular culture here as much as I am Christians online.
Whether it’s berating a government figure (guilty), picketing against a political issue, or calling out a particular sin, Christians are pretty good and making known what they stand against. Now, I am not arguing that there are things that that Christians should not tolerate but the point I would like to emphasize is that those outside the church should know more about what, and Who, we stand for vs only what we stand against.
Josh McDowell once made the statement that, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” I would add that when all we present are rules without first having a relationship with people it leads to repelling them.
Years ago I arrived at church where I found a car it the front most spot by the road. Normally that would not be a problem but this car stood out because it was completely covered with bumper stickers that read things like, “All have sinned—this means you” and “Ask me why you serve hell”. I actually took a picture of it and posted it on FB noting that the owner of the vehicle did not have any affiliation with our church.
Eventually the owner of the car came out of the jail across the street where he had been leading a Bible Study. I walked out to meet him and was somewhat surprised as this older, jovial gentleman immediately started telling me that he had been spreading the love of Christ to the inmates. I thanked him for that but also shared my concern that his vehicle did not convey the love of Christ that he had spoke of. I said that I would be glad to have a longer conversation with him about it but asked that he please not park in front of our church in the future.
I didn’t make this request because I was upset with this man but rather because I cared about how people perceived our church. I believe that when we hide the love of Christ behind a wall of judgment it impairs our ability to build actual relationships with people where we can share those truths with them from a place of compassion and with the hope that only comes from knowing, believing in, and following faithfully Jesus Christ.
May we stand for Christ and clothe ourselves with him so that the world will know him, his love, and the hope of his salvation.
Romans 13:8-10 “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” (NLT)
Colossians 3:12-17 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
“A Father’s Sacrifice” by Pastor Randy
When we think of Jesus going to the cross we often focus on his actions, his emotions, and his sacrifice, right? And though there is nothing wrong with that because he did endure so much for our sake the fact remains that his Father did and experienced much of the same—just from a different perspective.
One of the most quoted verses in all the Bible is John 3:16. It states…
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)
God the Father was not merely a passive bystander in Jesus’ sacrifice but a willing participant. He gave us his son to stand in our place and die for our sin. He sent his son into the world, not to condemn it but to save anyone who would put their faith in him.
And, before you start thinking that Jesus was the only one who experienced pain as a part of this plan to redeem mankind, remember that when Jesus took our sins upon him and was separated from his Father for the first time in all eternity that the Father ached as well.
Imagine, as a parent, watching your only son be tortured, mocked, and nailed to a cross and then hearing him cry out…
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” (Matthew 27:46b NIV)
A little over 18 yrs. ago, the day before our daughter Ashlyn’s 2nd birthday, we were staying at a friend;s place and where she fell and cracked her head open on the corner of a coffee table. As young parents we were overwhelmed with emotion as we rushed her to the E.R.
Eventually we were told that she would need staples to hold the wound together so that it would heal and, inexplicably, they told us that we would need to hold her down while the doctor did it. TALK ABOUT TRAUMATIZING!!! And I don’t just mean for her.
Our hearts broke as she cried out for us to help her—not understanding that what we were doing was for just that reason. As she cried we joined in and to this day I do not understand why we were made to participate in that way.
What I do understand though is that it must have been just as heart-wrenching for God the Father to watch all that his son went through and not step in and stop it. For the same reason though that Jesus didn’t save himself so that he could save others, God watched without intervening out of His great love for us. A chance to be reconnected with His creation.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28-39 NLT)
“No Matter What” by Pastor Randy
Friends, this morning I am overwhelmed with the weight of what others around me are going through and so I simply want to share a few encouraging reminders for those who may be struggling today.
No matter what your current circumstances are… God loves you and He will meet you where you are at.
No matter how you feel at this moment… God loves you and His feelings toward you will not change.
No matter how dark it seems… God loves you and He Has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you!!!
No matter how scared you may be… God loves you and He promises to protect you as you travel through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
No matter what happens… God loves you and you are not alone.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 NIV
“God Is Not Mad At You” by Dave Good
God is not mad at you.
Good morning and welcome back to the “Refill with Randy” blog. Once again, my name is Dave Good and it my pleasure to share this time with you. I hope you are having a great week and I pray the following words will be a blessing to you.
I have a real simple question for you. Have you ever done something wrong and felt bad about it? You know that feeling when you did something and it bothers you all day. It leaves that sour feeling in the pit of your stomach and never really goes away until you make it right. I can only speak for myself and answer that by saying, “Most definitely yes.” and I know that feeling all too well.
Maybe you told a lie, maybe you raised your voice at a family member, maybe you talked about a friend behind their back, maybe you watched something you shouldn’t have, or maybe you drank a little more than you should have. These are just a few examples of the situations we put ourselves in that lead to remorse, guilt, and shame. I can only list a few that I know firsthand, I’ll leave it to you to think of a few more examples.
Now that we all have relived that feeling of guilt, shame, and remorse the next question is, “Where does it come from and how do we get rid of it?”. We often feel guilty when we sin or miss the mark. We have done something wrong and we have a feeling of sorrow for it. The Word reminds us that…
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
As you can see, guilt can be a good thing. On the other hand shame can be very debilitating. One way to look at shame is as follows: Guilt is seeing you did something wrong, shame is seeing yourself as a failure. You can see how the feeling of shame can cause you to feel even worse.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Shame does not come from God. God does not want us to view ourselves as failures. He is not mad at you. When we do something wrong He loves us not matter what. Now, that being said, God doesn’t want you to keep on sinning but rather to repent and get back on track.
So now the question is, “How to we deal with guilt for the things we do wrong?”
1. Confess your sin to God. Ask Him for forgiveness and strength to avoid future sins.
2. Repent or turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. In other words, stop doing the things that are causing you so much grief.
3. Ask for forgiveness and make it right with those you offended or hurt.
4. Accept God’s forgiveness. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)
Did you catch that? If we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us. See, God is not mad at us. God loves us more than anything, He just doesn’t want us to stray from the path He created for our lives because He knows that in doing so we will inevitably hurt ourselves and others.
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I’ve wrestled with sin for a long time and the battle isn’t over yet. I’ve spent a lot of energy fending off guilt and shame and at times I’ve run from God because I thought He was mad at me. I’m here today though to urge you not to run from God but, rather, run to Him. Allow Him to heal you and cleanse you. He’s not mad at you, He loves you more than anything and simply wants the best for you.
I hope these words are an encouragement to you. You are not alone in this battle and the battle is not over yet. Keep your head up, press on and always remember that God loves you and is not mad at you. Have a great rest of the week!
Advent Week 3 – “Friday” by Pastor Randy (featuring a live performance of “Here This Christmas” by Pastor Russ Peters)
Hey friends, after receiving a number of messages in response to Wednesday’s “Refill with Randy” video regarding remembering loved ones at Christmas I wanted to share a song that my good friend Pastor Russ Peters wrote and performed live this morning at our P.A.C.T. Pastors Christmas Party.
This is especially poignant since Russ lost his grandmother just 2 days ago and will be performing this at her funeral tomorrow (Saturday). Please pray for him and his family at this time and also look for the studio release of this song. You can check out his other songs and videos on his YouTube page.
Advent Week 3 – “Thursday” by Pastor Randy
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16 NLT]
Good morning friends, as we continue to think about love in regard to Advent I wanted to focus on this very familiar passage but from a little different perspective.
Most Christians, at least from my generation, can rattle off John 3:16 on the spot because it has become the go to verse for summing up the good news of the gospel. And rightly so because it shares the action God took to save us as well as the action we must take in order to be saved. But take a minute to consider this passage in the content of Christmas.
We tend to focus on the birth of Christ and his entry into our world but in order for us to receive him his Father had to first send him.
Imagine for a minute what that had to feel like from God’s perspective. Even as the Shepherds were about to go and celebrate Jesus’ birth He was aware that He had literally just sent him to his death.
Through my work with families through Care-Net I have counseled couples that are doing everything they can not to have to give their child up. Sometimes though a judge may deem it necessary to send the child to stay with someone else for a time if it means that the child will be better taken care of. What happened on Christmas was the opposite of that though! God was willing to send His only son to earth… to those who were created by him but would not recognize him… to those who would mistreat him and eventually crucify him. God sacrificed His son in order to save us.
Friends.. that is love.
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” [Romans 5:6-8 NLT]
Advent Week 3 – “Wednesday” by Pastor Randy
Good morning friends! I apologize for the temporary hiatus but I have been without power and internet since Saturday so I am playing catch up.
Speaking of power outages… today’s post will be my special “Power Out” episode of Refill with Randy. This third week of Advent’s theme is love and in this video I talk about remembering those loved ones we have lost. Take a look…
“Love” by Pastor Randy
Yesterday’s post was long so today’s will be much shorter—though not always simple. Yesterday I shared the effects of feeling unloved so today I want to encourage you to LOVE extravagantly and make a difference in the lives of others! I challenge you to intentionally…
LOVE those closest to you in the way that they will recognize and receive it best.
LOVE those who have offended you without waiting for them to make the first move.
LOVE your friends and family unconditionally based on who they are instead of what they do.
LOVE your enemies and treat them kindly as you would want them to treat you.
LOVE people–not things.
LOVE good–not evil