Love One Another

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Last Saturday evening our church held a youth rally. It was a wonderful celebration of our love and praise for our God. The evening’s praise and worship music was provided by Sis. Karen Spurlock, a young lady the Lord has blessed with a wonderful set of musical skills.

During her testimony she made mention of our verses for today, saying that her favorite part of the passage was the period after “thyself” in verse 39. Her point was so simple and yet so strong.

There are going to be people in our lives that we simply do not agree with on issues: those of the world just can’t see the things of God as His children do. No matter how much we disagree or disapprove of something in another’s life we must remember to show the genuine love and care we have for them. As the old saying goes “Hate the sin, love the sinner”, and at times part of that love is, with gentleness and compassion, making it known that things that don’t align with God’s Word are wrong.

Clover: Part 2

They say beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. And I reckon that is mostly true. A list member reminded me of a few of the positive attributes of clover after reading Monday’s devotion. A couple of those are: If you allow it to completely take over the yard it is pretty well maintenance free, it doesn’t need to be mowed, and it does have a fairly attractive little white blossom on it all season.

Our pastor is teaching a multiple-night series on faith. We spoke about what faith is last Wednesday and broke down the biblical definition (Hebrews 11:1), attempting to get a firmer grip on what it really is. The Reader’s Digest version of what I came away with: We believe when we pray, etc but to have faith we need to have an expectant trust in God and His ability to answer, provide, etc.

Scripture tells us many things about faith: we walk by it, are sanctified by it, are justified by it, to name a few. Perhaps most importantly, we can’t please God without faith. And that faith is and expectant trust, a child-like faith.

Take a look around the yards in your neighborhood today. What do you see growing? Do those “weeds” look a little different from a slightly different perspective? Consider how much better we could serve our communities and families and our Lord if we took that child-like, expectant trusting faith and let it loose in the yards of our lives. That “clover” would change our lives into what God truly intended them to be I think. And I am certain that kind of “clover” would spread all about us, into the “yards” of everyone we know.

Matthew 11:28-30
28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Clover

The other day I noticed that an old problem had crept it’s way back into our landscape: clover. This past fall, and so far this year, I’ve not applied any weed control products. Almost “magically” that little white nuisance flower has now taken over nearly my whole front yard again. It was so bad a few years ago I told Billie if we could find a way to market the stuff we would be rich.

Anyway, as I got in the shower this morning this clover problem popped back in my mind. (Keep reading; I’m probably going in a different direction that you expect.)

Our faith is or can be a lot like that clover. It can and should grow in us, increasing in its density. And like that stuff in my yard, it can should spread out from us to others by the Holy Spirit’s use of our lives.

Make it a point to share a little of your clover -Jesus Christ- this week. The more you share Him the farther your faith will spread, both in you and around you.

Psalm 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Lies

It seems in today’s society that lying is fairly common place and mostly over looked. Often folks dismiss their lies as “white lies” or “fibs”. And sometimes they are fairly innocent, benign, and meant to spare someones feelings. However, more often than not they are to cover up something our conscience has convicted us of; something we are ashamed of and want to hide.

The biggest lie of I think is when someone rejects God’s Word and His Son. If you think about it, when a person doesn’t believe in Jesus, the Bible and what God says, they are calling Him a liar. And falling for the oldest lie, told by the father of lies, in history. Oh how we should lament the eternal consequences of any person falling into that trap!

Romans 3:4 …yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;

Leaky Tubs

A few days before my wife had to have surgery our hot water tank started to leak. It was a less than opportune time for this to happen, to say the least. We knew it would have to be replaced but it just wasn’t a good time to undertake that project. So, we “shored” it up to get us through a little while longer. Last week the leak became much worse and it couldn’t be put off any longer; it had to be replaced. Thankfully that extra time we waited didn’t turn into a total disaster with the tank rupturing and flooding our garage.

Sometimes we’re like a leaky old tub, or hot water heater, too. Our Lord places something before us, expecting us to do what He bids. But we make up excuses as to why to not do what we know we ought to for Him. We “leak” all over our lives and ourselves trying to “shore” up our excuses with more excuses, rationalizing it all out to the way we think it should be instead of being obedient and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us through that which God has set out for us to do.

How many messes of ruptured tanks does it take before we submit to Him? I know for myself it often takes many. And it shouldn’t if I, we, were totally trusting in Jesus. When Christ calls for us to follow him in an area, we ought to be like Peter and Andrew: Drop what we are doing and do what He wants.

Matthew 4:18-20

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Paying Interest

Someone once said “Worry is interest paid in advance for a debt you may never owe.” I had never thought of it in those terms before but the analogy is really quite a good one. Consider the interest that accrues on your credit cards or mortgage, things you actually have bought; the added charges mount up substantially over the months it takes to pay them off. Imagine paying those charges for no reason, not ever having made a purchase. Doesn’t make much sense does it? It would probably outrage you if your bank tried that, it would me. And yet we do the same thing with our worries and we do it to ourselves.

Jesus taught that we should give no care for what we eat or wear, only seek the Kingdom of God and all the other stuff will be taken care. He said that today, this very day, held enough to be busied with, to give no thought to tomorrow but take care of what needs to be done today. (Of course I’m paraphrasing Him here.)

Clearly, the Bible teaches us that God will provide for us. We only need to be about our Father’s business, laying up treasures in Heaven. Are you as guilty as I am of paying interest on debts yet made? The next time you feel or see that you are take it to God in prayer and put your energy into something productive for the Lord.

Phi. 4:6-7

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God’s Grace

I read the following quote the other day by an unknown author-

“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace and your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of it.”

That got me to thinking about how faithful our God really is. No matter where we are, physically or spiritually or mentally, He is always with us. I believe that He not only knows our joys and sorrows, our pains and victories, but He feels them with us.

There’s a song that the group the McKameys sing that reminds us that the God of the mountain is also the God of the valley; the God of the good times is also the God of the bad ones. We will do well to remember this truth. And we will do even better to give Him glory and praise in all things and situations, for He is worthy of all, always.

Hebrews 13:6,8

6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

A Conversation

I would like to share a story with you. It’s a true story that I was blessed to find out about recently.

A man was talking with his friend. He had been saved when he was young but fallen away from his faith many yeas ago. Under heavy conviction, he had a conversation with his friend about the things of God. His friend explained to him how far short we fall of God’s goodness and how we must put our whole trust in Christ alone to save us. The man said he didn’t know how to go about getting saved again at that point. His friend then explained that you can’t be re-saved; naturally and spiritually we have one birth, not multiple ones. He then explained that he needed to truly repent and pray for forgiveness.

It was a few weeks later that the conversation happened that I initially referred to. The man thanked his friend from the bottom of his heart for explaining this truth to him. He said that he had been praying for years but for the wrong thing: He didn’t need to be saved but forgiven and once he asked for the right thing he instantly felt like “God wiped all the sin from my heart”.

Thank God He’s still in the saving and forgiving business!

Hebrews 7:27; 10:10

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

A Lost Dog

As many of you know, we have been watching a little dog the past few days. To make a long story short, he was abandoned in our neighborhood and “found” us. He was tired, hungry, and all alone. We took him in, fed him, and cleaned him up and are looking for a new home for him. His nickname is now Esau, as he he very furry and red.

As I looked at the little guy and wondered what he had been through the past week or so I thought of how in a very mild way he parallels us in our walk of Faith.

At one time we were all alone, with no one. At some point we all had a hunger that couldn’t be satisfied. And at some point we were adopted into a new family as children of God. The kindness, love and mercy He has shown to each of us is really beyond what our finite minds can comprehend. Well, it is for mine at least.

How can we not praise Him, thank Him and do whatever He calls upon us to, through the strength imparted to us through Christ Jesus, every chance we get?

Romans 8:14-17
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

They Knew Him Not

“But they did not know who He was.” Luke 24:16

The disciples ought to have recognized Jesus, they had heard His voice so often, and gazed upon that marred face so frequently, that it is amazing that they did not know Him. Yet is it not so with youalso? Have you seen Jesus lately? You have been to His table–and you have not met Him there. You are in a dark trouble, and though He plainly says, “It is I–do not be afraid,” yet you do not recognize Him. Alas! our eyes are blinded! We know His voice; we have looked into His face; we have leaned our head upon His bosom–and yet, though Christ is very near us, we are saying, “O that I knew where I might find Him!”

~ Charles Spurgeon
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