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One Chance

Some days my soul just aches over lost opportunity.
When we failed to love as we ought.  You see, so often, we get only one chance.  One chance to make a first impression, one chance to come alongside in the midst of tragedy, one chance to do it right, one chance to extend grace, one chance to say a final goodbye, one chance to be the comfort so desperately needed, one change to introduce others to the Love of Jesus.
What part of “You are the only Jesus, most of the world will ever see.” Do we not understand?!
What part of “Your world is watching your life through a microscope to see if what you say is what you really believe, is lived out daily!” do we not comprehend?!
What part of “Your actions speak louder than lip service – so loud, in fact, it’s how you’ll be remembered” is blinded to you?!
What part of “The words you choose to use matter – they either create life or bring death in EVERY situation.”  Escapes your understanding?!
What part of “Love one another as you love yourself” needs to be clarified for you?!

You may at this very moment be offended and either readying a sharp response or are wounded and ready to retreat.  I beg you wait.

These words, though intense, are truth.  And although I myself am judged by them in the writ, I cannot, will not, compromise the truth for my own comfort, so dear ones, cannot for you either.  These words are meant to set a fire ablaze in your hearts, minds, even in your soul.  That whatever thoughtless chaff hinders our purpose may be burnt off, whatever sin may have deceived you and caused your heart to harden would be confessed and the sweet forgiveness of Christ deeply valued; that self would be consumed on the altar of sacrifice that who you are IN Christ, may fully live; that apathy would be destroyed and replaced with fervor for the work of the LORD – loving Him & loving others; that a fresh fire would be ignited in your soul – a hunger so great for the LORD; that the distractions of this world become base; that the eyes of your hearts would be enlightened to the perishing all around you stirring love for them and then, loving so well, that they knew they had to be in the Presence of Jesus Himself; that our crooked ways become so detestable to us that the thought of misstep bring immediate correction that those watching would be amazed and fear the Holy God we revere.

We cannot, must not, succumb to the lying mindset that "it’s just _________________."
     a job.
     a harmless mistake.
     a meaningless joke.
     a moment of weakness.
     another homeless person.
     not a big deal.
     not that important.
There is no such thing as “It’s just  ____________.”   Each of these, and so many more, reflect the attitude of our hearts, and the words, merely spilling from that hardened heart, revealing who we really are… 

Everything we do, EVERYTHING we do, reflects what is in our hearts and if we profess with our mouth that Jesus is LORD but do not let Him have His way on our hearts, no wonder the world wants nothing to do with Christianity!  For we have whitewashed our dead lives with the Name of Jesus and then try to sell it on the street alongside cheap grace, and then have the audacity to be dumbfounded or even offended when it is seen for what it is, and the world wants nothing to do with it! 
Yes, we are all works in progress.  But.  When we refuse to grow up, refuse to let the truth of His Word and work of Holy Spirit have Its way in our lives, transforming us into His image that we might rightly portray Him, then our very lives become an act of treason!   Thwarting our very purpose, strangling the abundant life that He came and died to give us! 
The Truth is, we ourselves have been comforted SO THAT in ALL situations we may give of the comfort we ourselves have received from Christ!  And we, as followers of Jesus, have been given the greatest comfort of all -  freedom from the debt of our sins so that we may not suffer the eternal punishment of Hell, but have eternal life in Heaven!  If then, dear brothers & sisters, we have such a great comfort – how can we NOT have comfort to give anyone in their time of need?  Impossible!  We have it.  But yet, it goes unexpressed, dead, to a dying world.  How can this be?  Have we have not acknowledged this great comfort in our own lives, stifled it, even shunned it out of conformity to the world?  This is a great and mighty sorrowful thing.  That causes hearts to become callous, and not only us, but the world, is hurt by it.

You see, we only get one chance.  Then the moment is gone.  And if in that moment we do not re-present Christ as He is – the Lover of our, their, souls, then all they are left with is disgust and they easily turn back to the world, who’s happy to offer imitation love, man-made doomed comfort, in any attempt to fill their needy, empty souls…I beg you, beg you, beloved brothers & sisters, in view of God’s most magnificent Mercy towards you, offer your bodies –your lives, your words, your attitudes, your thoughts, your actions, your will, as living sacrifices, that they may be holy and pleasing to the LORD for this is truly our spiritual worship.  Don’t conform your life to the ways of the world, but be transformed by constantly renewing your mind- saturating it with His Word, thinking on what is good and true and bringing your thoughts captive and making them submit to Christ your Savior, that by testing you will be able to discern what God’s will is – in every situation, His good and perfect will, so that at all time you will have an answer for the hope you have!   Let your love for others be genuine and don’t practice favoritism, for by it you do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.  Abhor what is evil; don’t have anything to do with it! Hold fast to what is good and do good!  Love one another with brotherly affection, outdoing each other in showing honor to the other.  Work hard to find ways to bless others, not out of compulsion, but true enthusiasm, desiring to love them well!   Don’t be slothful in zeal but be fervent in the Spirit and you will have all the energy you need to do the Will of God!  Rejoice in hope you have been given and be patient in the affliction that will come, and be constant in prayer. This the world sees and wonders in awe.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Open your home, share your meal, offer your time, give till it hurts then give more. It’s all God’s, for His Glory, so spend yourself generously, you can’t out give Him! Bless those who curse you, bless and not curse them – not even under your breath!  Leave justice to the LORD.  Rejoice with those who have cause to rejoice, even if you are in need.  Weep with those who weep – comfort them with the comfort you have received from Christ.  In this, even we – simple sheep, are honored to be used to accomplish the will of the Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the I AM, the Beginning and the End – Alpha and Omega, the Lover of our souls, our Good, Good Father.  Being highly favored, that the Agape – all encompassing, never ending Love of God, would flow through us into the lives of the lost and and hurting, so wooing them into His Presence where He would bring them unto Himself to bring them healing and new life.  And we, even we, are washed and filled in the flow…
We have one chance, let us err on the side of sacrificial love, that they may be saved.
I ask O’ God, that You undo the work of our hands and attitudes our our hearts, that Your work was not hindered, that You used others to show Your Love where we did not honor, that Your saving Grace made way through our carelessness.  Thank You, that Your will was done by those who were faithful - let it cover our faithlessness.  Good Father, we did not represent You well and are sorry for it.  Please forgive us, cleanse our hearts and renew a right spirit within us, that we might be of good use once again.  Thank You, for your Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness.  We will not take it for granted again but will rejoice in it, living sacrificially, loving others well, according to Your ways.

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