Tag Archives: love

Fiery Strife

Proverbs 26:20-21.

 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”(KJV).

The Most Important Things: Love and Unity

In John 13:35, Jesus made it abundantly clear what one of the most important aspects of discipleship is love: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In other words, walking in love is one of the surest signs that we are true Christians. A few chapters later in this same book of the Bible, John records for us the high priestly prayer of Jesus that He prayed right before going to the Cross:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21). Wow! That’s one of the most sobering thoughts in the entire Bible. Here Jesus essentially says, “If Christians could become one in love and unity towards one another, the whole world would be saved.” That tells me that love and unity are the most important things we can learn as believers!

The Most Dangerous Things: Strife and Gossip

If the two most important things for us to learn to do as followers of Jesus is to walk in love and unity, then guess what the enemy is going to try to get us to do? To keep us from walking in love and unity! We shouldn’t be surprised then when we find the enemy coming and sowing seeds of strife and gossip… even (nay, especially) in the church.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says, “Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.” (NLT). In other words, people who gossip and stir up strife are firestarters. In the same way that a fire can destroy anything from a house to an entire forest, so too a little gossip and strife can destroy relationships and unity.

So how do we guard against stripe and gossip? Fire needs fuel to burn, and so too strife needs the fuel of gossip to keep raging. Therefore, if we want to stop strife, we need to stop gossip. If we want to see the church of Jesus Christ prevail in the world, then we must contend for love and unity. We must refuse to gossip or talk negatively about another believer, and we must also refuse to listen to gossip about another Christian. And remember this truth: If someone will gossip to you, then they will likely gossip about you as well.

T.H.I.N.K.

T.H.I.N.K. before you speak: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If not, then remember the wisdom from Thumper’s mother from the Bambi movie: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Church – let’s let love, acceptance and forgiveness become our banner! As we do this, we will show the world that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen…

think


Friend of the King

Proverbs 22:11

11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (NIV)

God does not change

People say the Old Testament is no longer necessary, because we have the New Testament with the Gospels and the Apostolic letters.

However, passages like this merely demonstrate that God has not changed over the millennia or between the Testaments. In fact, it was Jesus who said this during His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Essentially, if we love the goodness found in people and seek it within ourselves, and if we show grace and mercy to others, we will see God face to face one day.

We just need to remember where this purity and grace comes from:

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:14-17, NIV

Loving Lord, create in us a pure heart and fill us with Your grace, that we may love purity in and show grace to all others.


People Preferences

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.
Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

Personal Preferences

We all have people we like more than others. This is why we have friends and families. There are just some people we like having around more than other people.

There is nothing wrong with liking some people more than others. Even Jesus had close friends (see His Twelve Disciples, and of those Peter, James, and John who were His closest friends).

The real danger comes when we show preferences for others for selfish reasons, when love for others is not the primary cause.

Favoritism

We must remember that God sees all people equally: as His loved children.

He does not love one more for having money and possessions or for not having money nor possessions.

God cares most for those who express their love and devotion for Him, yet He still shows love and grace to all people in some fashion.

We should do likewise, and, in fact, we are commanded to.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4, ESV

Our Great God, thank You for Your love and grace. Help us to live out that love and grace with all people, regardless of wealth or social standing. Help us to love everyone as You have loved us through the cross.


Evil Neighbors

Proverbs 21:10

10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
10 The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. (NIV)

Wild Neighbors

Several years ago my parents bought their first house. By this time, we were a fairly good Christians, and we were looking forward to meeting new neighbors.

One of our next door neighbors proved more difficult to know. Most weekends they would have loud, wild parties with drugs and alcohol; both the parents and the daughter would take turns throwing these parties. They would let their lawn grow wild. Even their dog frequently escaped and ran wild around the neighborhood.

No matter what we said or how many times the authorities were called, they persisted in their wild behavior. They had no concern about their neighbors being kept up all night, having to look at their uncared-for property, and dealing with their dog.

Two Paths

This verse tells us one thing: it is not good to pursue evil and not care about others. Not only will others not like us, but our life may be more bitter and difficult than we might care to admit.

However, the Bible tells us another thing, something my parents have lived out well: no matter how evil our neighbors may be, we must still love them.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Galatians 5:14

An evil neighbor is not a reason to be evil to others, even to those who are evil to us. Instead, we must rise to God’s standard, and we must give love and mercy where we receive evil and no mercy.

Good Lord, keep us from the evil we are so apt to commit against each other. Help us to grow in Your love and mercy toward others.


Repentant Sinner vs. Unrepentant Christian

Proverbs 18:23

23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly. (KJV)
23 The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly. (NIV)

This could easily be about the differences between the wealthy and those in poverty.

This could easily become an indictment against many parts of the Church around the world.

Instead, this is based more on the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14), and it is a call to follow the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:35-40).

Unrepentant Christian

When one has believed they have become saved by grace through faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ through the cross, it can become easy to forget those humble beginnings: you were a sinner in need of a Savior.

The danger comes when we change everything in our lives to cut off any attachments to our sinful lives before Christ. It is not that we have removed any danger of temptation and sin, rather that we surround ourselves with Christians. Sometimes this is to the point that we do not know any non-Christians or Christians from other churches/denominations. We surround ourselves only with the riches of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

This is dangerous, because we can forget how to act around non-Christians. We see the sinful behavior, the effects of sin, and dangerous lifestyles and choices. We see the ways of living and interacting with others that remind us of our own sins or what the Bible says about certain sins.

And we judge them and thank God we are no longer like them. Which is good … to a point …

… but we forget to love them.

Repentant Sinners

What is easy to forget is that non-Christians, and even some who were raised in the Church, are pleading, sometimes begging, for a demonstration of mercy. They have not partaken of the riches of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

They may be painfully aware of how their lives are not perfect. They may understand what they are doing is wrong.

They do not need more reminders.

They need mercy, grace, and love.

And all we seem to show them is distaste and superiority. We seem to show them they do not deserve what we have been given.

Saved Sinners

May we remember that we are sinners saved by grace. We are the saints of God having been washed in His blood.

May we remember that God has entrusted their salvation to us.

May we remember to show the same mercy, grace, and love God has shown to us and not hold onto these riches to the detriment of those around us.

Merciful God rich in grace and love, remind us that we need You every day. Help our hearts to long for You. Remind us to share Your love and mercy every day. Help us to not answer harshly to the lost as You have not answered harshly to us.


Raising Them Right

Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

Being a Parent

One of the things that is discussed regularly in the men’s group attend is how fathers and sons do not talk to each other.

There are some men with sons have stopped talking to them. There are some men whose father’s barely acknowledge them.

The biggest issue is communication, obviously, though the reasons in each individual circumstance is different. The biggest issue always seemed to stem from how good of a parenting job was done.

Regardless of how well parents parented, sometimes it is the events later in life that lead to closeness or division.

Becoming “Grandpa” (or “Grandma”!)

A surefire way to tell if you have made it as a parent – whether as raising your children or after they have grown; whether you were a rambunctious child or a sweet and innocent child who now has children of your own – is the Grandparent Test.

One of the men in my group longs to meet his grandchildren from his estranged son. This is a godly man, so no one can understand why his son will not allow him to meet his grandchildren.

Yet, here is a family who shows the parents are loved by their children, even if only a little bit: the proud children spend much time taking their children to grandma and grandpa’s home (or “Nana and Papa” or “Nani and Papi” or whatever!).

The grandparents want to show off their grandchildren to anyone who will listen. The parents of those children eagerly want them to!

The Christian

How do you live your life in Christ?

Do you help win others to the Lord, or do you do your own thing?

If you only do your own thing, you are like the parent who avoids their children and the child who avoids their Father.

If you help win others to the Lord and train them in the ways of godly living, you are like the parents who are invested in their children’s lives and can not wait to show them to your Father in Heaven!

Heavenly Father, help us to love our families with Your love. Help us to realize that the Church is our family, and You are our Father. Help us to love all people in a way that Our love is overflowing. Please, bless our families.


Poor Friends

Proverbs 14:21

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.”

This verse goes with yesterday’s, and David did a great job with the lead.

Here are the ways the verses work together:

Hating the Poor Neighbor

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour“. A poor man is hated by his neighbor, because many people immediately think about those who borrow money or things with promises of returning them but never do. In other words, they see the poor, even friends of theirs at times, as moochers and robbers.

Is it fair? Sometimes, in the case of those who really are moochers and robbers. However …

He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth“. As mentioned previously, when asked by an expert of the law about loving your neighbor, Jesus’ answer essentially was that all people are our neighbors. Regardless of how people live their lives or their level of prosperity (or lack thereof), we are to love them.

Friends to All

… but the rich hath many friends.” Many rich people seem to give money to make friends, buy their friends, if you will. I posit that this is not the intent of that verse.

… but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” This verse explains why the rich have many friends. It is the person who looks on that friend down on his luck and helps. It is the person who looks on the person in need and is there.

Jesus is the Answer

Anyone is capable of doing merciful things for others. Jesus basically said so in Matthew 7 and Luke 11.

The difference for the Christian should be love. Not just any love, but the love of God as expressed through Jesus Christ. We must be willing to sacrifice for others. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV) says “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

We can all make friends, but, to use a phrase that has been over-used in recent times, the best friend to make is Jesus. Most people come to meet Him through our mercy and generosity.

Merciful Lord, thank You for loving us through Your richness of grace, mercy, and love. Though we were poor in these, You reached out for us. Through Your Holy Spirit, increase Your grace, mercy, and love in us, that we may reach our world for Your glory.