11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. – 2 Cor.1:11 NLT
When we read these verses, we need to consider our brothers and sisters who live in places where persecution and imprisonment are still common practice today. They need our prayers and our encouragement on a daily basis. There are numerous testimonies from these Christians about being able to endure their harsh treatment because they received cards and/or knew that other Christians were praying for them daily. They, as Paul, have learned to rely on God to deliver them from deadly perils. Until recently we, in the free world, have not been subject to such unfair and brutal treatment. That time has passed and we are being tested here in America, as well as other so called free countries. Christians are being ridiculed, beaten to death and imprisoned for refusing to deny their faith and their beliefs. We need to pray and encourage each other daily. Our hope is still in Jesus Christ. He is our Redeemer, our Savior and our Lord. There is no other God that is capable of loving their followers and delivering them from every situation. We need to understand that some times that deliverance includes physical death. But we need to count it all joy and say along with Paul:
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. — Phil. 1:20, 21 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 NLT
The only way we can show our love for Jesus is by showing that love to others. Before we were cleansed from our sins, we only knew how to love the way the world loves. When we showed our love we expected love in return, it was a conditional love. I will love you if you love me. I will do things for you if you will do things for me in return. That is not the way Jesus loves us. His love is unconditional. He always loves us regardless of what we do or whether we ever return that love to Him. That is deep, heartfelt love. It is an eternal love that cannot be destroyed because its foundation is the love of Jesus Christ. Physically, we will all pass away unless the Lord comes back before that happens. Just as we see plants wither away every year, so will our physical bodies, but the love of Jesus and His Word are eternal. We have received and believed that Word, so we will be raised again to enjoy eternal life and love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While we wait, let us show sincere love for each other, not only in our words, but in our actions.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” — Luke 16:31 NLT
The rich man who had refused to comfort Lazarus was sent to Hades (the place of the dead). From there, he was allowed to look into Paradise where he saw Lazarus sitting with Abraham. Realizing how wrong he had been in not showing mercy to Lazarus when they both lived on earth, he began to beg for mercy. “Just allow Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and bring it to me”. But Abraham reminded the rich man that he had had ample opportunity to help others with his riches while he lived on the earth. The rich man realizes that the reason he has ended up in this place of torment is because he refused to accept Jesus and his teachings. Since there is now no hope for him, he remembers his brothers and asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to witness to them.. Abraham tells the rich man that it wouldn’t make any difference, if his brothers won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe just because someone returned from the dead. We find this statement proved to be true over and over since so many refused to believe when Jesus was raised from the dead. Even now, with all the proof we have of His Resurrection, there are those who still refuse to believe. Since we don’t know who those believe are, we still must witness to everyone that God puts in our lives. When we don’t share the Gospel with those around us who desparately need it, we are as guilty of withholding our riches from them as the rich man was in withholding his riches from Lazarus. Our part is to share the Gospel with everyone, God takes care of the results.
Post 04- 14-2016
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11, 12 NIV
If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words. It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them. We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world. As Chritsians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others. We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness. We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not. We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV
What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.—Gal. 5:3-15 (NIV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Those who choose Jesus are “free indeed”. Jesus died to set us free from the bondage of sin. But, we must never take that liberty as a license to live a lifestyle of sin and indulgence in sinful pleasures. Whereas, before our repentance, we were bound to do those things that the flesh desires, we are now free to do the things that the Spirit desires. True repentance means turning from one way of life to a new way of life. In our old lifestyle, there was no compulsion to forgive anyone for anything or to love any one. Now, with the love of God and His Holy Spirit living in us, we are compelled to forgive and love. It is impossible for man to do that without the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If we truly love Jesus, we keep His commandments. Those commandments require us to love and forgive. Loving and forgiveness are not products of our emotions, they are willful decisions that we make. If “loving your neighbor as yourself” takes you to the cross, are you willing to go?
28 Early in the morning they led Jesus from Caiaphas’s house to the Roman governor’s palace. They would not go inside the palace, because they did not want to make themselves unclean; they wanted to eat the Passover meal. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and asked, “What charges do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered, “If he were not a criminal, we wouldn’t have brought him to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we are not allowed to put anyone to death,” the Jews answered. 32 (This happened so that what Jesus said about how he would die would come true.)—John 18:28-32 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We humans are a mess! Look at these religious leaders! Here they are participating in a mockery of justice and falsely accusing Jesus of being a criminal of some sort. Yet, they would not go inside the Roman governor’s palace lest they become defiled and unclean. Then they would not be able to eat the Passover meal. The Jews had the authority to hold court and try their own people, so that is what Pilate tells them to do. But they wanted Jesus to be put to death and they did not have the authority to administer that kind of punishment. We, too, can be as hypocritical as these religious leaders. We judge unfairly and gossip about others, even our own Christian brothers and sisters. We can go to church every day of the week, but if we don’t love our neighbor, we are just as guilty as these people. Remember, every word of gossip grieves the Holy Spirit who is living inside us. As I write this, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit is guiding me because I need to be the first to hear this admonition. Thank you, Holy Spirit, my friend and my guide, for loving me enough to take the time to teach me again and again and again. Thank you for forgiving me even though you know I will fail and grieve you again. Amazing love!! Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me!!!