Do I have to love everyone? What if…

January 6, 2010

Title:  Do I have to love everyone? What if they’re…

Readings: Gen 13:5-15:21, Matthew 5:27-48, Psalm 6:1-10, Proverbs 1:29-33

S – Scripture:

‘If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.’ Mt. 5:47

O – Observation:

The scripture verses of Mt 5:43-48 talk about the law of loving your neighbor, and your enemies! To pray for those who persecute you! Which is the way we should behave as ‘true children of our Father in Heaven.’  If we don’t love everyone, then we are just like everyone else in the world that doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ (pagans).  The scriptures say that it’s easy to love those who love you, but even corrupt tax collectors do that.

A – Application:

Of all the things that I am to do as a child of God I find this one of the most challenging.  I have a difficult time praying for someone who has wronged me. I have negative thoughts of people who are unkind, lack integrity, and are just plain spiteful that it’s very difficult to do what God asks of me.  I remember talking to a Christian sister about a person I worked with, who was, well let’s say a very difficult person to be around.  After hearing me gripe about the person and their evil ways, my ‘sister’ said, “Did you pray for her?” – I gasped and said, “how can I pray for someone as horrible as that?”  She wisely said, “Because that’s what Jesus wants us to do.”

I struggled over the next few days during my prayer time. I couldn’t even get the person’s name out of my mouth to pray for them.  I found that I had to ask the Lord for forgiveness first. I had to pray that the Lord would soften my heart towards that person first, because it’s easier to pray for someone I cared for. I needed to have a heart like Christ, to love everyone, even when “I” didn’t think they deserved it.  I need to remember that “I” didn’t deserve God’s love, yet he gave his only son for my life.  Once I forgave, I was able to pray with sincerity.

P – Prayer:

Father help me to remember these scriptures in my daily life. Help me to remember your love for us, even though we didn’t deserve your love and grace, you cared for us and gave us your Son so that we can have eternal life.  I pray that as I grow in your grace, that I will offer that same grace to others. I pray that you will help me be a better example; to be called your child is an honor that I do not deserve. I pray that I can love the way you love us. ###

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Blessings Under Fire

Today’s Date: Jan 5, 2010

Reading: Gen 11 – 13:4, Matt 5:1-26, Psalm 5:1-12, Proverbs 1:24-28 NLT

Title: Blessings Under Fire

S – Scripture: Mt 5:11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. v12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven…”

O – Observation: Matthew 5:1-10 recalls that Jesus saw crowds gathering and went up to the mountainside and sat down. Then his disciples gathered around him and he began to teach them (the blessings of God). There are many times in our life that we will be judged. No one promised that when we gave our hearts to the Lord and accepted him as our Lord and Savior that our lives would be at peace and we wouldn’t have any problems. Accepting Christ is a choice, God gave us free-will. With that said, it’s a challenge to have people mock us for being Christ followers. v11 says that “God blesses you” when people do bad things against you, just because you are a Christian! Then he says we are to be happy about it? Yes, that’s what it says, yet we all know it’s not as easy done as it is written. Many Christians are persecuted by their own family and friends, some are disowned and some killed. What can we do in situations like these?

A – Application: There’s no one simple answer for me. However I am fortunate that I live in a country that allows me to freely worship Jesus Christ. I see the mocking and persecution affecting me in several ways – verbally, physically, and spiritually. Words, I could ignore. Lies, I would want to defend my honor. Physical attack, I would want to self-defend. These can all contribute to what the devil really wants, which is the fight for us to turn away from God. Living the ways of the world is easy compared to living a life based on Biblical Worldviews (See Truth Project links below)*. This is why some people go back to the ways of the world, and worse yet live a façade, giving the impression to people that they are Christian but they make life choices, often behind closed doors, that are easier for them, and are what the bible calls, “lukewarm”, however God would rather we be one or the other, not both. The reason I have continued to choose Jesus is that I know my reward is in heaven. This is my calling. I have been chosen as one of the King’s kids. The bible says that I am not to retaliate, vengeance is his, says the Lord. Mt. 5:16 says that “I should let my good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise my heavenly Father.” I need to watch my words and actions as they reflect who I am as a follower of Jesus.

P – Prayer: Father, thank you for choosing me to be one of your followers. I want to know you and do your will. Help me to turn the other cheek, to live by Biblical values and truths*, and never be ‘lukewarm’ in my walk with you. Help those who have chosen to follow you and are being persecuted for their faith. Protect, guide, and strengthen those of us who know your Truth yet are challenged by the world to seek ourselves instead of Mt. 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

I pray Romans 12:2 – God’ will – I strive to, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

*The Truth Project, Biblical Worldview, What is WorldviewDr. Del Tackett

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