Faye Bryant

What if we say we’re believers but don’t love like God?

At first glance, these words seem like all it takes to have God living in us is to acknowledge Him, right? Like, just say that Jesus is God’s Son and you’re in like Flynn (who is Flynn anyway, and why is he “in”?).

Yeah. No.

John was writing this letter to believers who were following Jesus as the Way, Truth, and Life – the only way to God.

He was encouraging them, comforting them, reminding them how much God loved them through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and how He expects His followers to love one another like He does.

In verse 12, he writes, “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” Almost the same as verse 15.

This verse isn’t so much about us getting IN as it is about once we’ve become followers of Jesus, we display His love that already lives in us.

What if we say we’re Christians but don’t display His love like John talks about? Might be time to check on if we’re rule-following Him or heart-following Him.

Maybe this also means that we can stop pretending. Pretending to love others when in our innermost being we just can’t stand them.

When we fully love God, declare that Jesus our Savior IS the Son of Almighty God, He lives in us …and… loves through us. All we have to do is let Him love them and our whole view of those we couldn’t stand changes and they become beloved to us.

Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:40, “Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord.”

Maybe today is a good day for that.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

It’s our own flaws

Ooh! What a verse to address the week before Thanksgiving!

See all that food laid out, some of the dishes holding food you only see once a year? It’s so tempting to fill your plate with a big helping of all of it, then of course, if it’s on your plate, you have to eat it all…

You see that attractive guy/gal at work everyday. You talk. You share about your life, he or she shares, too. You complain about your spouse to a listening, sympathetic ear. Laughter at your jokes, sadness at your sorrows … all the things that make you feel good inside. Before long you stop telling your spouse about your day because you’ve already vented to this coworker when you had drinks after work. Those after-work moments take more and more time, especially when you go for drinks at his/her place. A hug, a kiss, some cuddling…

Filling out those tax forms is such a pain! The government takes and takes! Maybe you could change this number right here to get a better deduction – no one will ever know…

None of these temptations were set before you by God. He is against gluttony, adultery, and lying. He would not set you up to have to face those or any other temptations.

Our own sinful nature does that for us. Lust of the eyes says add an extra piece of turkey. Lust of the flesh says one more kiss. Pride of life says I’m beyond reproach.

All these are in every one of us, part of our inheritance from Adam.

We must choose between following what our flawed flesh suggests and what God says is right. One leads to destruction, the other to righteousness.

#ChooseWell

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Does your love look like God’s perfect love?

Perfect love.

Is your love for others perfect?
I confess, mine is not. I tend to critique (read: judge) much more than I should and my compassion is often waning by end of day.

God, however has and IS perfect love.

Actually, let’s look back a verse or two to be sure we know what John was saying. Seems he was talking about Judgment Day, when we’ll face Almighty God to give an account for us, our choices and behaviors. There won’t be any sloughing something off as insignificant. He already knows all of it.

All. Of. It.

However, here is where God’s perfect love will shine! And we who are believers in and followers of Jesus will too, because as we’ve followed Him and grown in our faith, our love has grown into more perfect love.

See, my imperfect love that I mentioned above is vastly different than the love I had 20 years ago, even a year ago! As I mature in my faith, growing closer to God, becoming the image of Christ, my love has matured and looks more like His.

We tend to over prepare for that week of vacation and under prepare for eternity. Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Let’s evaluate our love honestly today. Does it look like God’s perfect love or something far different? Let’s set about growing closer to our Savior so we look more like Him and love more like Him.

Ready? Set. Love!

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Interview with Niccie Kliegl

Allow me to introduce you to Niccie Kliegl, author of 𝙀𝙢𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙇𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙘𝙮: 𝘼𝙨 𝙁𝙤𝙧 𝙈𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙈𝙮 𝙃𝙤𝙪𝙨𝙚.
Her message will help readers grow their families in many areas.

Great Christmas gifts for everyone (especially you!) https://amzn.to/33UhSCf

Be a zealous adherent for God

It’s a valid question, right? I mean, seriously, who would want to hurt you if you’re a zealous adherent for what is good?

Peter asked this question, knowing full well the persecution the believers were enduring. See, it was their love for Jesus that had them loving others and working for and doing good for them.

The people to whom Peter wrote had already been run out of their homeland of Israel and were scattered all around the area of modern-day Turkey. They knew what it was like to run for their lives.

Now, it would seem that Peter was giving them a “don’t worry, be happy” message here, but when we read on in Chapter 3, we see that’s not at all right.

He told them that even if they did suffer for doing right, they would be blessed. (These tortures don’t feel blessed, Pete, really!)

The culmination of these thoughts are wrapped up in Verse 15. When someone asks you about the insane hope you have in the face of imminent torture and death, be ready to tell them.

We don’t generally face that torture and death today, though there are those across our world who do. Still, there is chaos around us. Our cars break down, we or our family members fall ill, our houses are destroyed, our jobs are lost – so many things that can happen.

When we face these with the attitude that even so we are blessed, people will wonder what kind of crazy we are.

Hallelujah! This may be the door to their hearts that NEVER would have opened otherwise.

Be ready for it!!!

Tell the story about where your faith lies, about the One who holds you close and safe despite what the circumstances look like.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit is calling them and inviting them and your answers about your crazy hope will be the impetus for them to accept and move to Him.

So, yeah, there are those who would harm us for being zealous adherents for what is good. We see it in the news from time to time. But more likely folks will see us behave differently in crisis situations and want to know how it’s possible.

Let’s get ready now to be able to usher them into the Kingdom of God.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Interview with Teri Capshaw

For the next 22 days, not counting Thanksgiving, I have the honor to share with these chats with some amazing authors with you.

Today, we visit with Teri Capshaw. I think you’ll love her energy and see how you or someone you know will benefit from reading her book, 𝘿𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙒𝙞𝙣: 𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙔𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝘾𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙’𝙨 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙇𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙖𝙣 𝙊𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙.

Buy a copy for you or as a gift here: https://amzn.to/2QtjgaS

⁽ᴾˡᵉᵃˢᵉ ᵖᵃʳᵈᵒⁿ ᵗʰᵉ ᵗᵉᶜʰⁿⁱᶜᵃˡ ᵍˡⁱᵗᶜʰᵉˢ⁾

No matter what happens…

When you are God’s chosen, you sit in this amazing place of knowing (whether you feel it or not) that God will love you forever and always.

Through Isaiah, God tells Israel,

“For the mountains may move and
the hills disappear, but even then
my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never
be broken,” says the Lord, who has
mercy on you.”

Israel had forgotten God and were going their own way. The cost had been captivity and slavery. This chapter begins the telling of the power of God’s redemption of His people.

Looking deeper, were we reading along in the chapters before 54, we would have been introduced to the Suffering Servant (Jesus) and would thus understand that this chapter and several following are talking about HIS redemption of mankind and the results thereof.

So, while on the surface, this verse may not seem to apply to you, there are two reasons I believe it does.
1.) Paul wrote in Romans 11 to the Gentile believers declaring that God has grafted them into the Chosen People even as He will redraft those Jews who choose to believe in the Messiah Jesus.
2.) Isaiah is talking of the Savior who came to redeem the world. You’re part of the world.

So, my friend, no matter what happens, your choices or natural disasters, great blessings or horrible tragedies, God loves you with an unquenchable, irrepressible, unconditional love. Period.

He loves you enough to correct you and bring you back to Him. He loves you enough to provide your needs. He loves you enough to be available 24/7, to walk with you through fire, storm, and sunshine. And even if the mountains and hills are all flattened out, He will love you still.

Are you ready for that kind of love?

Ready for that Day?

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord —his name alone will be worshiped.”

It must not be today, because I often hear His name mocked more than revered.

No, not today. The prophet was talking about the day when Christ returns. He will stand on mountaintops larger than life. Nothing will be the same once He sets foot on earth

We prepare for snow and freezing weather, hurricanes, and tornadoes. We plan escape routes for fire and flood. All these are LIFE-changing events.

But do we prepare for the ETERNITY-changing event that is certainly coming?

Are we ready to meet the Risen Jesus having come in all His power, authority, and glory?

I don’t want to be one running from Him in fear and shame. I want to be racing for the closest space near Him.

This preparation requires a two-step process:
1.) Choose to be a follower of Jesus, accepting His death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from that grave as a gift for you from God Himself.
2.) Choose to live in surrender to Him, showing your love for Him by your obedience to Him. Maintain the relationship through Bible study and prayer.

While we may not keep our eyes trained on the eastern sky for Him, our hearts must always be ready for His return. Always.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

_______________________________
© 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant

Secrets will be revealed. Is that okay with you?

When was the last time you ushered someone behind closed doors to share a secret you wanted absolutely no one else to hear?

Remember *that* juicy tidbit about *them* that you just couldn’t keep to yourself, so you whispered it to a friend who whispered it to a friend?

What about those plans you made that were less than ethical so you kept all discussion of them on the down-low?

Imagine every one of those shouted from the rooftops so that everyone could hear them. Imagine being identified as the start of that rumor, or the brains behind that plan that hurt so many.

Jesus said very plainly that all these things the Pharisees and religious leaders tried so hard to hide wouldn’t remain hidden. They would be brought to light, their secrets shouted from rooftops.

I can’t imagine it would be different for us.

Now, Jerusalem didn’t have skyscrapers, but there were buildings with a two or three stories. Imagine how sound carried when standing on a high point in the city, bounding through streets and alleys, bouncing off walls. This is what our Lord talked about.

The revealing of the secret plans
and words would not be missed,
and likely repeated in echo.

Umm… I don’t know about you, but I’ve said and done some things I don’t really want shared like that.

It might be time to revisit some of those times we closed doors or leaned in close and agree with God that they were wrong (confess). The next step is to not do it anymore (repent).

If we have something to say about someone and we can’t say it to their face, we must not say it at all.

If we’re making plans that won’t please God, we must shut those down.

Simply put, if what we’re doing or saying would shame or dismay us if shown on TV (our form of rooftop), we should not do or say it. That’s all.

Let’s be intentional about what we say and do today and every day.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

Worry and Anxiety

Worry and Anxiety.
They weigh a person down, even changing their posture and countenance. They overtake thoughts and kill ideas.

Depression sets in and takes over, causing physical distress as well as depriving the mind of truth.

Much of the hard work to shed these monsters is up to us. We can seek help through support groups, therapists, friends, and family. We can learn how to take those anxious thoughts and hand them over to Jesus and let Him handle them.

All of these are HARD, but choosing a path to healing is necessary.

As someone on the outside looking in, we have a part, too. And it doesn’t matter one iota if that person has done something for us or not.

We see a friend or coworker is stressed. We know they drink Coca-Cola.
We get a Coke and deliver it to them with a word of encouragement.

These four words put together in a sentence are so powerful, yet seem to be kept bottled up for special occasions. We need to let them out more often.

I
believe
in
you.

Give that one sinking in worry a smile. Sit down and listen to them without saying a word. Pray with them. Pray for them.

Tell them you believe in them – you believe they’ll finish that project on time and with excellence, you believe they’re a great person and can accomplish whatever they set their mind to. If you’re able, offer to help in some way, if it’s only to fetch another soda.

Words of cheer given to lift that one’s spirit. So inexpensive and so valuable.

Who can you offer words of cheer to today? Will you do it – even if it feels weird?

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

How to Walk in the Light

What a precious and tough verse. I don’t know about you, but in the past I have tended to breeze past those first words to get to the last. I like that Jesus cleanses me from sin.

What a shame to have missed those first words. Or did I simply ignore them? I mean, I even missed that it is the very BLOOD of Jesus that cleanses me from sin.

Realizing I’ve missed the richness of 1 John 1:7 all these years sends me to the various versions to learn more.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible translates what our English versions translate to “fellowship” as “hitkjabrut.” In English that means “joining, adhesion, fellowship.”
We also see those last words telling us the blood (dahm) of Jesus “gives us tohorah from kol chet.” Tohorah translates to “purification, cleansing.”

We’re still addressing the matter half of the verse more than the first.

The Amplified Version translates this verse:

“But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].”

Wow! Powerful, convicting words.

Let me turn some of them around. If my relationships with other believers is broken, the first thing I need to check is if I’m really living and walking in the Light.

Uh-oh. That would mean that
sometimes it’s not them, it’s ME!

But that person who SAYS she’s a Christian offended me!

Okay. A person living and walking in the Light would forgive her; have you?

John 13:34-35 tells believers that when unbelievers see our love for one another – other believers, they will know we are Christ’s followers. That’s a pretty big deal, this unbroken fellowship.

All we have to do is focus on living and waking in the Light – in Jesus and the relationships are a byproduct.

In this digital age, this extends globally. It’s no longer confined to our local community. We must allow the Light to determine what we post or share on whatever our social media choice is.

Now, let’s revisit those last words in the Amplified: “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].”

Wow. Wow! The blood our Savior shed as He was beaten and crucified REMOVES US FROM SIN.

Removes us from sin? When He cleanses is from all unrighteousness, He removes us from the sin?

Parents, have you ever lifted your toddler away from the electrical outlet they’re determined to access only to see them return to it?

Isn’t that a picture of us? We get all cleaned up, removed from that sin, then before long, we’re rushing headlong right back into it. We need to recognize the beauty of the power of the Savior’s shed blood! It doesn’t just wipe us off and leave us standing in the midst of the sin we have loved. It REMOVES us from the SIN. (Can I get a hallelujah?)

Finally, the blood of Jesus removes us from all guilt, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations.

Then why do we end up where we started in that same sin and guilt? Simply put, we listen to the voice of the enemy instead of listening to the Light. We hear that we’re not really cleansed, that God will still hold that against us. We hear that we’ve got to work hard to make this cleansing happen. We hear that our sin is too much for God to forgive. We hear that this step back toward that sin won’t really matter.

We hear lies and we believe them because the Liar is so doggone convincing. (He’s had lots of practice.)

What if we believed this verse in its fullness? What if we started really living and walking in the Light? How different would the world be if all believers loved one another and maintained healthy relationships?

What if we accepted the power and results of the blood of Jesus on us? What if we believed that we have been removed from all sin and guilt? How different would the world be if we lauded that truth like the lepers Jesus healed showed off their fresh, new, living skin?

We must choose who and what we will believe. Today and every day.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

_______________________________
© 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant

Are you weary?

Are you weary my friend? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually?

Do you feel like you’re pushing through each day barely putting one foot in front of the other?

Do you feel like you’ll never catch up on your sleep, no matter how hard you try?

What about when you have to face a battle? Have you lost your might? When you hear that diagnosis, can you stand like before or do you fall apart?

When all of hell seems to be coming at your family, can you continue to fight or are you defeated before you start?

God inspired Isaiah to write, “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it to abound.”

Hear this beloved! Almighty God, the One who spoke the universe into existence, will give you power. The power to take another step, the power to lead others, the power to be His representative where you are. You will walk, not topple. You will soar like an eagle.

Hear this, too, beloved! The King of glory sees your might waning and He pours new strength into you – causing it to multiply and abound. The strength to hold up the shield of faith not only for yourself, but for your family. The strength to swing your sword of the Spirit is made to multiply!

So, we really shouldn’t feel weary or
weak, right? Because if He’s pouring
that into us, we won’t have to deal with it.

In this portion of Isaiah’s writings, He is extolling God by declaring all He has done in creation and for His people and what He will do for His people throughout the future.

James said we have not because we ask not – or we ask with wrong motives.

The thing is, we have to ask. Yes God sees us and sees our pain, fear, and anguish. He heard that diagnosis, too. He also sees your battle.

He’s waiting for you to relinquish control to Him so He can give you power and increase your strength. For some of us, that’s the hardest part of this life. We like to be self-sufficient. We like to be independent. Many of us are the perpetual two-year-old saying, “I do it myself!”

If we will work on our relationship with the Lord, day in, day out, moment by moment, we won’t have to ask verbally for this power and increased strength. Our heart will cry it out and the Lord will respond.

Don’t hesitate, weary one. Open your heart and loosen your grip. You’ll be amazed at what God will do for you.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.