Done With Love

1 Cor 16:14 Let all that you do be done with love.

This scripture depends more on you than it does on others.
It’s easy to love the loveable.
It’s difficult to love the obnoxious, mean, harsh, obstinate, horrible… I could keep going!
It’s hard to love someone that doesn’t want to be loved.
Doing everything with love will make you friendly.
It makes you aware of your surroundings.
You will become more courteous and charitable.
However, you must always be on your guard because someone somewhere will disrupt your path and life.
That will tempt your anger to flare up and lash out.
At that moment you must make a conscientious effort to keep on loving.

Forgiveness – a Christian Essential

Matt 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

It is an essential part of your Christianity – forgiveness.
It’s not just about forgiveness for you but, more importantly, your forgiveness for others.
God forgiving you hinges on your forgiveness of others.
I know there are people doing horrible things and should not be worthy of forgiveness.
I wonder if God thinks the same thing about the “good” people, since “there is none who does good, no, not one.” Rom 3:12
Sin is sin to God.
God does not judge by the severity of sin, He judges by the righteousness of Jesus, who died so you can be forgiven.
So now to have that forgiveness you must die – to your grudge, to your hate, to your hurt, to your stubbornness, to your pride – and forgive others.

It Can Take a Lifetime

Josh 24:29 Now it came to pass after these things that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old.

Look at all Joshua saw and did in his lifetime.
Born as a Hebrew slave in Egypt, he saw the rise of a deliverer – Moses.
He became a military leader and help fight against bands of raiders as they left Egypt.
He stood guard on Mount Horeb as Moses ascended to receive the Law.
Joshua was one of twelve men that spied out the land and was one of two to vote to take the land, according to the word of the Lord.
Because of the overwhelming vote against taking the land, Joshua had to endure forty years in the wilderness, seeing many friends, family, and acquaintances die along the way.
He was one of the elders of Israel that finally entered the Promised Land and led Israel to victory over Jericho, in accordance with God’s word.
It was not a life of ease he lived.
It began with struggle but ended in peace.
That’s how it is when you trust God – struggle turns to peace, even if it takes forty years!
God is no slack in His promise to give you a light burden and peace, even if it takes a lifetime.

They Did Not Believe

Mark 16:11 …they did not believe
Mark 16:13 …they did not believe

Here is an example of those seeing the resurrected Savior and telling others who refused to believe it.
Not just one example but two.
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. (Mark 16:14)
One reason for the rebuke is the Law – Deut 19:15 by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
Jesus had reminded them of this in Matthew 16:16.
If two people came to you today and told you they witnessed a dead man resurrected from the dead, would you believe it?
And how many today testify of salvation through the risen Savior and so many still refuse to believe it?
A rebuke is on the way because of the hardness of those hearts.
Don’t let your heart become hardened into disbelief.

On The Journey

Luke 17:14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

Lev 13:45-46 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Ten lepers stood afar off but did not cry, “Unclean, unclean” as the Law stated.
Instead they called out for Jesus to have mercy on them.
He did although He did not approach them, touch them, and heal them.
They were not healed on the spot.
They were not healed after seeing the priest.
All ten were healed as they journeyed to the priest, according to the Law but more importantly, according to the instructions of Jesus.
You are healed on the journey.
It is unknown if these men were healed at the first step or last.
Were they healed at mile marker one or twelve?
Did the healing take place around a bend or on a straight path?
It is unknown but they were healed somewhere along the journey.
You’re salvation, your blessing, your inspiration, or your healing will come during your journey according to the word of God.
Keep on going.

Don’t turn back.

Luke 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife.

What about her?
Well, the Bible says she became a pillar of salt. Gen 19:26
She was a native of Sodom. It was the only home she ever knew.
The wickedness of the population was something she saw every day.
Then she met a stranger to the city, Lot.
She married him and bore his children.
He became a leading citizen of the city, often sitting at the city gate. (Gen 19:1)
Lot was not accustomed to the sinful ways of the city but he tolerated it even though it troubled him. (2 Peter 2:7, 8)
When it came time to leave the city under the instructions of God, his wife was not so agreeable, as it was her home.
She died in the destruction that followed.
Jesus mentioned her as an example of those that cannot let go of the world.
She had an opportunity for life, but turned back from it and found only death.
God offers life.
Do not turn back from it.

No Comparison

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

It is so easy to compare yourself to someone else and feel good.
You and I shine against serial killers.
We look good compared to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death”.
You and I never did the sins of people like that.
But God is not interested in sin you have not committed.
He is interested in the sin you have committed.
Add to this, the Pharisee compared himself to a tax collector, when in reality each of us are compared to Jesus.
Acts 17:31 says, “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
As Christians, we should not judge our righteousness to another’s sinfulness.
Rather, we should seek a way to help others discover the righteousness found only in accepting Jesus as Savior.

The Lie

Rom 1:25 …who exchanged the truth of God for the lie

The text does not say “a” lie but “the” lie.
What is “the lie”?
I can only think of one and it stems from the first lie, which is two-fold.
Gen 3:4, 5 – Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The lie is one that still exists today – you will not die [by disobeying God] and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
So many believe there is no accountability for sin. Some believe sin is an irrelevant, antiquated term no longer applicable today, which is the lie.
There is a belief you are in control of your destiny – be like God.
Again, the lie.
If we are like God, the Creator, then each of us can “create” our own god, that is, worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. (Rom 1:25)
Do not fall victim to the lie but read and believe the truth found in God’s word.

No Shame (in love and mercy)

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,

Am I ashamed of the gospel of Christ?
I want to say absolutely not!
But then, what exactly is shame?
Is it timidity at talking with someone about Christ?
Maybe it is hesitation at praying in front of others, no matter the cause or need.
Perhaps a reluctance to stand up to sin.
The world has Christian’s shell shocked to do certain things for fear of being called judgmental.
Do we stand up and say something to someone taking God’s name in vain or cursing in front of our family.
Do we contest abortion, adultery, fornication, or homosexuality all as sin?
I feel each follower of Christ should represent Christ as Christ represented God.
His love for people helped them overcome their sins by faith through grace.
He did not condemn and His judgment was tendered with mercy.
In this, there is no shame.

Preparing for something better

Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.

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