Posts Tagged ‘love’

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Romans 14:13-23

September 14, 2011

  Paul teaches in Romans 14:13 something that I think most of us today forget.  We know that Bible says we shall not judge one another, that judgment is for God, not for us.  Paul goes further here.  He says we shall not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.  He further states in verse 15 that “if your brother is being injured by what you eat (do), you are no longer walking in love.”

  In this society, most of our conversation revolves around judging.  News commentators, radio talk shows, TV talk shows are all based on it.  Everyone has an opinion on everything and about everyone.  We are surrounded and inundated with judging.  It has become the acceptable mode of everyday interaction.  Once again, the enemy has secured his beachhead and we didn’t even see him.

  The point Paul is making; however, is about those who know who they are in Christ.  Those who know the freedom from the law, who are mature and understand that the Law no longer binds us, but that “the kingdom of God is not food and drink (laws), but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  What we forget it that each person is being conformed to Christ’s image on an individual basis.  Everyone is at a different level of faith and understanding.  God moves us from glory to glory. 

   We must be careful not to place a stumbling block in the way of another believer by our actions.  We must teach the truth with grace and watch our behavior.  Even when we know that certain acts are acceptable in our freedom from the law, our freedom must not lead another to sin. 

  Paul explains very clearly in verse 22, “The faith that you have, keep between you and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.”  He then ends this discourse with “But he who has doubts is condemned…if he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” 

  Be careful of how you live and how you are perceived by those who are younger in the faith than you are.  Remember how long it took you to get where you are today and how much farther you must go.

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Owe No One Anything Except to Love One Another

August 11, 2011

Romans 13:8 & 10

             Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor fulfills the law…love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

             In looking up what it means to “owe” the cross references refer both to debts and to collateral, to holding a security deposit.  I think here that Paul is not referring to a monetary debt, rather a spiritual or moral debt.  We are not to hold back from doing something good for one another.  When we love someone, we will withhold nothing from them.  We will go out of our way to please them, to help them, even to the setting aside of our own personal needs at times.

             I believe that we are not to let an opportunity to show our love to one another slip by.  God considers that a debt.  The Catholic Church calls it a “sin of omission”.

             I pray that my eyes may be opened to see what my brothers and sisters need and, if it is possible, that I might provide for that need.  Many in the church are hurting or in need of help.  If we would help one another the way we are taught by the Word, this present world situation would be of no consequence to believers.

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“Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord.

July 29, 2011

Romans 12:19-20.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it up to the wrath of the Lord; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  “Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (2 Thess. 1:6). 

In looking up cross references for these verses, I see they apply to anyone who harms us.  God is our protector and He will take care of it.  We are supposed to be Kingdom dwellers and act in such a way that love is our response, no matter what.  Jesus said to “turn the other cheek”.  That, to me, does not mean…let them slap you again, but that it has no meaning, therefore, it does not matter if you slap me or not-I will love you anyway.  

I am not able to do this yet, but I can imagine the freedom that would come from it.  To be so sure and secure in God’s love that we can look beyond the action and respond with love, knowing that God is in control would be something to strive for.    

I also know that only God knows the other person, understands his or her heart and motivations.  I can trust Him to take care of the issue.  I don’t need to trespass on His territory.  I must remember that my job is to love and bring others into the Kingdom and everything else belongs to God.

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Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Weep With Those Who Weep

July 15, 2011

Romans 13:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” 

There was a time in my life when I had shut off most of my emotions.  I did not allow myself to feel happy or sad.  When I saw someone really happy, I resented them.  When I saw someone sad, I didn’t want to be around them.

 In thinking about this scripture, I am so very grateful that today this is not the case.  God has truly removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh (Ez. 36:26).  This process was not quick and was not easy. The stone had to be chipped away with His chisel and many times was a painful process.  There are still bits of stone hanging on, but I know that God will continue to conform me to the image of my Lord (Ro. 8:29).

 I can truly rejoice with those who rejoice today and I can weep with those who weep.  I am no longer afraid to feel. I am able to become vulnerable and not be threatened.  I can love.  Thank you Jesus Christ for making this possible and giving me Your heart.

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Ro. 12:13a Contribute to the Needs of the Saints…

July 9, 2011

We are commanded to love one another (John 15:12).  When you love someone, you are aware of their needs.  Many of us support missions financially and that is good.   Many of us do not “see” the needs in our own church family.

I know that there is a “church mask” that is worn by most of us.  It masks the needs we may have.  The Holy Spirit can break through that mask by giving us discernment if we are willing to follow His lead.  He can also show us how to meet the need in a way that will not produce an enablement of what might be a bad habit (like giving money to an addict).   That is a place where the gift of mercy sometimes does more harm than good.  But, for the most part, if someone needs financial help and we can help, then do it.  If they need friendship, love, compassion, or just to be welcomed and noticed we must be able to fill that need.   And if we ourselves are in need, let others know. 

I belong to a fellowship where there are no masks for the most part.  If someone asks “How are you?”  An honest reply usually follows: “fine” is not an acceptable answer.  “Hi, how are you?” has become a greeting instead of a question in our society.  That’s too bad.

Jesus said in John 13:35 that all men shall know that we are His disciples by our love for one another.  So…how’s that going?

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Continuing Romans 12:10…

July 2, 2011

Well, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about this “honor” thing.  I talked about it with friends and looked up the meaning in Strong’s Concordance and, guess what?  It means “honor”, to place in high esteem, to respect.  It means what it means.

If we just back up to Romans 12:3, Paul says “I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” and if we go ahead to Romans 12:16, Paul says, “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, never be conceited,” and there are many more.

So, once again, scripture interprets scripture.

Jesus taught over and over again against pride, taking the Pharisees to task many times and showed his disciples by His own life, how to be humble.  He only looked down on those who were puffed up, never on those who were “meek and lowly of heart.”

So, Lord, help me to always see others as You do and remember that it is only by Your grace that I have been chosen for Your Kingdom, forgive my pride and open my heart and mind.  Let me have eyes to see, ears to hear and courage to act in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s lead.

 

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Outdo One and Another in Showing Honor

July 1, 2011

Romans 12:10 continues the thought of loving one another with brotherly love;  Paul asks us to outdo one another in showing honor.  To honor means to respect greatly, regard highly or esteem.  Wow.

I don’t think I do that well.  I believe I love everyone in our church with brotherly love, but honor?  Hmmm.  I need to think about and work on this.   Respect, I was taught, is earned.  But here, I am being taught it is to be given with grace.  I have never heard a teaching on this and it looks like a great place for one.

I am at a loss for words.  I really have to think about this and change the way I look at others in my church family.   Not only should I highly regard my brothers and sisters, but I should try and outdo everyone in doing so.  This will take practice. 

Sometimes love is easier than respect for me.  I think I’ll have to continue this tomorrow after I meditate on the Word today.