Monday, November 28, 2011

Joseph's Planner

I like to plan. I like to know what's going on, what's coming up. Since graduating high school, my planner has been an especially close friend. To-do lists, homework due dates, work schedules, family gatherings.  . all of it (or mostly all of it) can be found recorded in my little planner. As my friend Samantha once said, "Don't ever forget your planner. It has everything in it!"

But sometimes - actually, often times - things don't go as we plan. Not much gets crossed off that to-do list, or plans to get together with friends or family don't work out. Although it may not be the end of the world if some of our plans don't come to fruition, there are times when tears can be shed and frustrations abound when something we plan on falls through. 

I couldn't help thinking of this desire to plan when reading through the life story of Joseph a couple of weeks ago. I'm pretty sure that if Joseph had plans for his life in mind, they definitely did not include what really happened. Being thrown into a pit by his older brothers and then later sold by those brothers to some Ishmaelites. Sold into slavery in Egypt. Thrown into prison on the basis of false charges. And then, made second in power and rule over all of Egypt; lower only than Pharaoh himself. (This is a rather short, very incomplete summary. For a full version of the story of Joseph, check out Genesis 37-50. You'll be glad you did.)

Yet, all this hardship was orchestrated by the Lord. He knew every injustice done unto Joseph, heard every cry  Joseph may have offered for justice and mercy. When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he says to them: 
"'Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God. . .'" (Genesis 45:5-8)
What better example than Joseph do we have of the LORD's declaration in Isaiah 55:10-11?
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
So, next time things don't go exactly as you planned - no matter the magnitude or importance of the event - think about Joseph. Think of how the LORD used what may have appeared as awful, unfair and cruel circumstances for His greater glory and good. Cling to the promise that He has better things prepared than we could ever ask or imagine. And then, wait patiently upon Him to bring about His perfect result.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Glad Game

Ahhh Thanksgiving. Family, laughter, great food, and rest. I love this time of year.

Throughout the entire year, almost on a daily basis, I play what's called the "Glad Game". This was introduced by Eleanor H. Porter in her book Pollyanna, in which the little girl can always find something to be glad about, even in the worst of situations. As today is Thanksgiving, there has been plenty of time to sit back and reflect on what I am thankful for.

Here's an excerpt from my favorite book, Redeeming Love:

"Who are you?"

Yahweh, El Shaddai, Jehovah-mekoddishkem, El Elyon, El Olam, Elohim...

The names kept coming, moving together like music, rushing through her blood, filling her. She trembling in fear and could not move. He reached out and touched her, and she felt warmth encomassing her and the fear dissolving away. She looked down at herself and found she was clean and clothed in white....Blinking, she looked up again and saw the Man of Light covered with her filth. "No!" she wept. "Oh God, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'll take it back. I'll do anything..." Yet even as she reached out, the defilement disappeared and He stood before her perfect again.

I am the way...Follow Me.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for family, friends, good food, laughter and joy, a warm house, and so much more. However, what I am most thankful for is the fact that my Jesus has redeemed me! I'm thankful that He chose to come to earth and die in my place, where I should have been, and defeat the power of Satan and hell! I'm thankful that I can now spend eternity with Him in Heaven!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks

The Bible is full of verses with the phrase "Give Thanks," (many of these verses are found in Psalm) and are in the context of giving thanks to God for who is is or what He has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8 "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done."
Psalm 35:18 "I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you."
2 Corinthians 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him."
Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
As I drove to church on Sunday, to the West of me the sky was dark grey and cloudy. In contrast to the East the sky was blue and the sun was shinning. As I looked to the West towards that cloudy dark grey sky the sun coming from the East lit up all the buildings and trees. The colors were brilliant. The building were bright white and the leaves on the trees were vibrant yellow, orange and reds. It was truly stunning. It made me catch my breath and in that moment I marveled in the design of God the creator, in His creation and in who He is.

When I begin to think of all the things I have to be thankful for I am overwhelmed. I am thankful for a God that gives us moments in our lives to glimpse and glory in Him. I am thankful for an amazing, loving and supporting family. I am thankful for awesome friends who love me, bless me and encourage me. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for a home and food to eat every day. I am thankful for clothes to wear. I am thankful for my car. I am thankful for a church I can attend freely where the Word of God is preach strongly. I am thankful for my country. I am thankful for each member of the military who serves sacrificially and bravely so that I can enjoy the freedoms that I have. I am thankful thankful thankful! But even if I was stripped of all earthly gain, possessions, and comforts I would still have cause to give thanks because I have the ultimate gift to be thankful for. I have a holy God who loves me so dearly He suffered His son to die for my Salvation. And so do you.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Blindness

Thanksgiving week is here!

Yesterday, in my 5th and 6th grade Sunday School classroom, we had a Thanksgiving party with a feast of our own to celebrate the upcoming holiday. While there was no turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie, we had a host of other goodies: banana bread, lemon poppy seed muffins, apples with caramel, peppermints and potato chips. I guess this is what Thanksgiving meals might look like if left up to pre-teens instead of adults. And maybe with some Mountain Dew and Pixie Stix thrown in there too. 

Before we began "feasting" on all of our blessings, our class read through a familiar Thanksgiving passage found in the book of Luke: 
"While He [Jesus] was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!' When He saw them, He said to them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine - where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?' And He said to him, 'Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.'" (Luke 17:11-19) 
As I read through this passage in preparation for Sunday School, I was struck by the fact that as the leprous men call out to Jesus for mercy, He sends them to the priests. Jesus doesn't lay hands on them and heal their leprosy before sending them to show themselves to the priests. Jesus doesn't speak healing words to them, instantly restoring their skin before sending them to the priests. Instead, Jesus instructs them to go immediately to the priests, to the men who would look them over and declare them "clean", once again fit for society. It was on the way to see these men that the lepers were cleansed and their skin restored. Yet, there was only one of the ten lepers who turned around to thank Jesus for the healing that He gave. 

I think it's easy for us to read this account and get angry at those other nine guys. How dare they be so ungrateful that they don't turn around and run to Jesus as well?! How dare they be so rude?! But do you think those nine guys could have been blind to the fact that it was indeed Jesus who had healed them? Do you think they just plain didn't realize that, although they had just cried to Him for mercy, He had brought the healing they so desired? 

How often do you think we do the same thing? Unfortunately, I think we are far too often blind to the blessings that the Lord gives to us. We may cry out to Him for a particular pain or struggle; but as time passes and the answer comes later than we initially hoped for, we forget Who we cried to. We forget to thank Him. Or we simply don't see that every single thing we have is from the hand of the Lord and therefore don't thank Him. 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I challenge you to ask the Lord to open your eyes to all that you have to be thankful for. While the general "family, friends, home, and food" is indeed all great things to be thankful for, I believe the list stretches farther and deeper than that. Let's not take for granted every blessing - big and small.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Healing. Faith. Hope. Peace.

This evening I spent some eternal moments with some eternal friends speaking to and listening to the eternal God.

We were in a room together, us human beings and the Holy Spirit. Filling the space was the sound of individual voices speaking to our Father in heaven. As distinctly different as each voice sounded, the heart of our words were the same.

On behalf of our sick friend Jeremy Erickson and his steady wife Jen, and their three young boys, Aedan, Eli, and Jo Isaac; we prayed.

We asked God for healing.
The Creator of us complex humans understands why sometimes our bodies don't work right. We humans don't always understand much of anything. We want God to fix the chromosome in Jeremy that isn't working properly. This is clear.

We asked God for faith.
There are times when our Creator works in His time and His ways; which tend to stand far beyond our human comprehension. It is here where we need Him to give us faith that He is with us. During the times of uncertainty and pain we need Him to put a mustard seed's worth of faith in us. Jeremy and Jen have a faith that comes straight from the Father. We want them to receive more of that faith every moment of everyday. Little moments of faith bring us through big moments of life. This is clear.

We asked God for hope.
When circumstances seem hopeless, our Creator brings us hope. A quick scan through Scripture shows us that our hope is found in no one else than our Creator. God. Yahweh. Emmanuel. Jesus. Father. Son. Holy Spirit. When hope is rooted in the deep love of our Father, it is tapped into someone infinite, perfect, and trustworthy. Hope is expectant of results. We hope in a God who can do the unexpected. This is clear.

We asked for peace.
Our Creator first made us to live in perfect peace. The Deceiver crept in, brought sin, and broke the relationship built upon peace forever. Peace has been destroyed. Our sense of utopia and bliss is clearly distorted by pain, sickness, and death. Throughout history, we see peace being restored. For the triune God, peace is His story. This is a time where we want to see spiritual peace transform lives, physical peace restore life, mental peace make life a little more clear, and emotional peace calm hearts that may be filled with fear. In Christ alone we find peace. This is clear.

As an overwhelmed, humbled man sitting at a keyboard; I type words that communicate the smallest fraction of what went down tonight. Only God knows the details of every prayer that was spoken tonight. Only God knows how He will respond. We want healing. We receive faith. We have hope. We long for peace.

Thanks for joining all of us in prayer.

 for additional details see
2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Jeremy's facebook note

About Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Monday, November 14, 2011

Psalm 63

Psalm 63:

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
to see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
my lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
for You have been my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
They will be delivered over the the power of the sword;
they will be a prey for foxes.
But the king will rejoice in God;
everyone who swears by Him will glory,
for the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped."

May the love of our Yahweh God always be sweeter, better, and more important to us than anything this world has to offer!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Continually Dirty

Recently I found myself on my face, weeping at the feet of Jesus, pleading for forgiveness and mercy. That besetting sin, which I so despise, had once again reared its head. How many times would He continue to forgive me? Shame and hopelessness gripped me.

Knelt on the floor, I was suddenly struck with a vivid picture from John 13—the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet. Into His pure hands, Jesus takes their grimy feet: pours water and rubs their soles. Dirt releases at the touch of His hand. Jesus then pulls their now-clean feet close into Himself, into the drying towel He’d wrapped around His waist.

A particular facet of this story spoke to me as it never had before. Why had Jesus even bothered washing their feet? He knew as soon as supper ended, their feet would leave His presence and tread on dusty pathways again. This is precisely why Jesus ends the foot washing by commanding His disciples to “wash one another’s feet.” He intended for this to serve as an example of an ongoing practice—continual washing of feet that would continually get dirty.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Psalm 51:1-3

Despite our best efforts, we continually sin. God knows and has an ongoing solution. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I Jn. 1:9

Don’t be like Peter, who tried to refuse the Lord washing his feet. Place your dirtiest, ugliest sins into His pure hands—allow Him to cleanse and then draw you close into Himself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Out-Of-This-World PEACE.

What is the purpose of war?
Is it not to bring about peace?

Throughout the Old Testament (especially the book of Isaiah, but 299 times in the OT total) the Lord is referred to as the LORD of hosts, translated as YHWH Sabaoth. I have read this name for God multiple times, but never really stopped to think about it. The master of the armies, the commander of all.

The LORD, over and over again, told the Israelites that He would fight for them. In Exodus 14:14, Moses said to the people, "The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." For me, that's not something I'm very good at. I'd rather be fighting myself, doing something so that I could feel as if I were accomplishing anything at all. But God told them to be silent? He tells me to be silent? Later King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 says, "For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Do you ever feel like that? That you're powerless to face up to whatever situation or circumstance is in your life?

Remember, the point of war is to win peace.

If God stated that He would fight for them, He was fighting for their peace. As I've been contemplating the idea of "peace" for the past few weeks, I wanted to do a word study on it. However, my good intentions slowly diminished when I saw that there are 429 uses of the word "peace" in the Bible. Whoa. 57 of the 66 books use that word. Granted, not all of them deal with the peace of God; some are as someone has made peace with another, as a peace offering to God, peace as they died, and so on.

But Jesus also spoke of a peace, a new kind of peace. In John 14:27 He says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." The 'peace' used in this verse is the Greek word 'eirene', signifying quietness and rest. In Hebrew, the word would translate 'salom', or as we would say "shalom". This is not the peace in the sense of the word that we are accustomed to. This peace refers to peace--contentment, safety, etc--but also to peace with God. As sinners with a human nature, we are at war with God. We are called even "children of wrath". However, with the blood of Jesus, we now have peace. Jesus has fought and won, and now there is peace.

YHWH Sabaoth fought for you. And Jesus won. While we still struggle with sin daily, Christ has won the victory in His death and resurrection. Sometimes I don't feel that peace in my life; I feel like I'm tossed in a great storm with no sight of peace and rest in the distance. But the Bible tells me that I have peace with God, peace with the Creator of the universe, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the Holy One. And no matter where I am in life, knowing that I have peace with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that gives me peace.

"I have said these things to you, that in ME you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" --John 16:33

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I can't tell you how many times in my life when God has a message for me that I hear it from multiple sources.

Here are three sources just this week.
1) I just started a study by Dave and Rennie Garda (of Cadre Ministries) called Getaway Like Jesus. Chapter One is Daily Rhythms For Connecting with God and is filled with verses of Jesus' example to us to spend Time alone with God. 

2) On Air 1 (the Christian radio station I listen to) Jason Anderson in today's Taking A Minute - Get It Right said "He [Jesus] says in John 14:25 "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you." God does not want to be misunderstood. Two things are important then here. First, ask God to help you understand the word of God. Next, you must be hearing and reading the word of God. Remember that Jesus said “the Holy Spirit will remind you everything I have said to you.” Get more bible in you so the Holy Spirit has something to remind you of."

3) This morning I opened an e-mail from Simply Youth Ministry entitled Devotional for Your Next Day Off in which they shared Exodus 16 and talked about the Sabbath- a day of rest.

These may seem slightly disconnected, but for me, a common thread sticks out. Time. 1) Time spent alone personally with God. 2) Time in His Word so that He can speak to us through the Holy Spirit. 3) Time off from everything else in our lives to spend Time with God.

Time is a driving force in a relationship. A relationship grows and deepens over Time, but only if Time is invested into the relationship. 

Jesus knew so well the importance of Time in His relationship with the Father. 
Luke 5:15-16 "Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." 
Matthew 14:22-23 "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone," 
Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
Jesus often withdrew by himself to a secluded place to spend Time with God.
When I think of the Time I invest in my relationship with God (which should be more significant than any other relationship in my life) in the same context as the importance of the Time I invest in family and friends, I'm convicted by the need to spend more of my Time with God.

I'm seeing three ways I can spend time with God.

1) Points of connection through out the day with God.
For example, one thing I've gotten into the habit of is leaving earlier than I need to for work. Once I arrive at work I have 10-15 minutes in my car to read my Bible and pray before my work day begins. I also keep a Bible in my car so that I can read it on my lunch breaks or when I find myself somewhere with a little extra time. I don't consider this my daily devotional time with God, but rather important points of connection through out my day.

I'm sure you've also heard from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing" and from Ephesians 6:18 to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions." Something we can also do to stay connected with God is to talk to Him though out the day.

2) Daily time spent alone in His Word and in prayer.
Find a time of day that works for you, but be sure to find a consistent time of day, every day that is your time to spend with God. Find a place were you won't be interrupted or distracted. I think Jesus knew how easy it is to be distracted because, as you will notice in the above verses, when he spent his daily time with God he withdrew to lonely places, sent the crowds away, was alone, went off to a solitary place... He safeguarded His time with God giving it first priority in His life.

3) Dates with God.
Now here is where I really struggle. Filling the Daddy Talk. What do I mean by that? It's really important to spend extended time with God. We do it in our relationships all the time. One of my best friend's is coming to visit me this weekend. I'm incredibly excited. I can't wait to spend Time with her. She isn't even here yet and I already feel like I'm not going to have enough Time with her! I've known her for over ten years now and one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is our time. It's important that we do this in our relationship with God too. We give our friends a whole day. God deserves that too. Are you willing to set aside time on your Calendar, spend a whole day (dare I suggest a whole weekend?) with Him. Are you also willing to turn down other plans to keep to this committed time with God? That's a Daddy Talk day.

What are some ways you can invest Time in your relationship with God?

Be Blessed,


Have you ever lost your vision? I don't mean eyesight. If you had lost that you probably wouldn't be reading this. (That joke is a true :) and LOL joke, right?) I'm serious though. Have you ever gone through a moment or many moments of time in your life where you have lost sight of what God had called you to do? I have. I am just coming out of one right now.

Here's how the story goes. I spent much time in prayer and seeking wise counsel over a decision that had to be made a while ago and when I made the decision in the way that God wanted me to, with a vision for what He wanted me to do and accomplish, I was raring to go and ready to accomplish His will. As time went by though I got sidetracked by circumstances that I really had no control over, but wanted to control, and I lost sight of what it was that God had originally intended for me to do. I became burdened by things that I was not called to be burdened by and I was ready to be done with what God had called me to. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a goal, had a vision for something that was supposed to be accomplished in your life? Maybe it wasn't necessarily a "God-given" vision, but have you ever desired to see something done? Maybe it was to lose weight, read a good book, sing a song in public, or something else like that. Did you find that as you went on you lost sight of the vision you had sometime along the way; so you quit before you made it to the end goal. That's kind of what I am describing here.

I started off and went strong for about 1 1/2 months and then some things began to happen and I was ready to give up on my vision. Why? Because I couldn't see it any longer. I could no longer see and had no desire to see what it was that God had called me to do. This became a huge spiritual battle in my life and it was only with the counsel of those around me that I was able to once again gain my vision and see what it was that God had originally called me to do.

Here's my advice. When hard times come and your vision is challeneged, and it will be, stay the course. Don't quit. If God has given you a vision for something that He wants you to do, do it, and if you need to, get some wise counsel to help you stay the course. In the end God wants His vision to be accomplished and He wants to accomplish it through you.

Proverbs 29:18 (TNIV)
"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed are those who heed wisdom’s instruction."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Show Me!

Towards the end of the musical My Fair Lady, Eliza's anger erupts at lovesick Freddy. The poor man fell in love with Eliza the moment he met her and wrote her two to three letters a day trying to prove that love. Eliza exclaims to Freddy:
"Words! Words! I'm so sick of words! I get words all day through . . .Don't talk of stars burning above; if you're in love, show me! Tell me no dreams filled with desire; if you're on fire, show me! Here we are together in the middle of the night! Don't talk of spring! Just hold me tight! Anyone who's ever been in love'll tell you this is no time for a chat!"

Do you ever think the Lord gets sick of our words? Our words declaring our love for Him and the spoken promise to do whatever He calls us to do? Do you think He'd rather simply seeing us actually do what He has called us to do?
"'Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?'" - Isaiah 58:6-7 
"'I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like the waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.'" - Amos 5:21-24
And what about those He has called to us to care for and to show His love? Do mere words help them at all?
"But whoever has the world's goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." - 1 John 3:17-18
It's one of my favorite times of year: Operation Christmas Child season. What an incredible way to share the love of Jesus Christ. By filling a shoe box with school supplies, coloring books and crayons, hygiene items, toys, stuffed animals and other goodies, a child not only receives a wonderful material gift. They receive the message of Jesus' immeasurable love for them. This past week, I received a newsletter from Samaritan's Purse, the parent organization of Operation Christmas Child. I was once again profoundly blessed as I read about the impact the shoe boxes and the Gospel has had on children's lives around the world. Check out these numbers dealing with the country of Haiti:

  • Last year, 286,000 shoe boxes were given to children in Haiti. Praise God!
  • Last year was the first year Samaritan's Purse offered The Greatest Journey (a 12-week Bible study; upon completion, children receive their very own copy of the New Testament) in Haiti. So far, 60,000 boys and girls have completed the lessons and received a New Testament in Creole. Of those, 27,000 have made first-time commitments to Jesus Christ! Praise God!!!
  • One of Samaritan's Purses' church partners in Haiti began handing out shoe box gifts in the mountains, in a town where there was no evangelical church. Now, there is! There is a growing congregation with 250 children enrolled in The Greatest Journey. Praise God! 

You still have time to pack a shoe box and share the love of Jesus with children around the globe. November 14-21 is the National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. For more information, go to: What an incredible opportunity we as believers have to not just say that we love Jesus or love others -- but to show them!