Two Important Instructions

Two Important Instructions

We are instructed by God’s Word to do two central things: 

(1)  do good deeds, and

(2) to search for and practice being at peace with all people.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14 NIV)  Turn away from evil (in thought, word, and deed).  Do good to others and look for (and chase after) inspired ways to be at peace with all people.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord . . .  (Heb 12:14)  Follow peace, and practice peace—as well as living a righteous life; for without these things, no man will see the Lord.

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Gal 6:10)  We are told to do good to all, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith.

This is not as easy as it may sound!  “DO GOOD TO ALL” does not give the impression of being difficult, right?  However, when you think about “doing good” to people you don’t particularly like, to a malicious co-worker, to a mean store clerk, or to those who are unappealing and unpleasant, then the challenge comes much more clearly into focus. 

The Lord also wants us to be at peace with these kinds of people:  all who are obnoxious and unlovable. 

We were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and God loves each and every human being.  He wants all people to be saved.  (2 Pet 3:9)  People are won over to Christ and to the gospel of salvation through our lives and through our testimonies.  They are also won over by our kindnesses and our good deeds. They are persuaded by our actions to those who are unlovely.

Following Christ’s example will bring forth eternal fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Our Lives Reflects our Hearts

Our Lives Reflects our Hearts

All of our actions—whether good and kind or hurtful and evil—flow out of our hearts. 

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.  (Pro 27:19 NIV, emphasis added)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  (Jam 1:22-25, underscoring added)

. . . he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds.  (Ps 33:15 RSV)

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”  (Mk 7:21-23 NIV)

As the Bible tells us, we need to be obedient, active Christians who LIVE THE WORD every single day of our lives.  Our lives will surely expose whatever is in our hearts.

This doesn’t imply that we’re perfect and never make mistakes.  Absolutely not.  It means that we start with a fresh slate every day, and continue loving and serving the Lord Jesus persistently and consistently. 

When we do sin, we stop and repent before God.  After we have received forgiveness and cleansing, we begin again in perfect fellowship and harmony with the Lord, our merciful Redeemer.  Because Jesus lived on earth as a human, He understands the nature of temptation.  (Heb 2:18; 4:15; Mt 4:1)

Because we know our own flaws and weaknesses, we’re able to extend mercy and encouragement to others.  We know that as we surrender to God’s will and resist the enemy, he must flee from us.  (Jam 4:7)

We serve our loving God and the body of Christ by praying for our fellow man, whether believers or unbelievers.  We also pray for our civic and government leaders that God will lead them and send them wise counselors, and give us peace on the earth.

As we hide God’s Word and His precious promises in our hearts, our hearts will overflow with the joy, mercy, and love of God.  Our faith will be nourished and strengthened.  Our daily lives will reveal and replicate the condition of our hearts.  Glory to God!

Seek the Well Being of Others

Seek the Well Being of Others

As children of God, our actions will naturally imitate the actions of our Heavenly Father.  God cares for each and every person.  He is pleased when—instead of being selfish—we look for opportunities to help and to bless other people.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.  (1 Cor 10:24)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus  . . . (Phil 2:4-5)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth . . . (1 Cor 13:4-6, underscoring added)

God is love (1 Joh 4:8) so the passage of Scripture above outlining the nature of love gives us a very good picture of the nature of the God whom we serve.  This reveals how the Lord deals with each person individually, and helps us to understand His love for mankind.

In these verses from the Bible, we can see that working on behalf of other people in order to bless their lives will also result in bringing glory to God.  This is what we who serve the Good Shepherd are called to do.  We’re called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to bring glory to God; and to spread the Good News.  In so doing, the very works of God will be revealed in us.  (Joh 9:3) Have a blessed day!

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today’s topic is a consideration of what type of person each one of us wants to be.  How do we get T-H-E-R-E from where we are now?  The Lord Jesus is committed to each and every one of His children.  If we cooperate with Him, we will never be put to shame.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Mt 7:12 NKJV)  – This is the golden rule:  Do unto others what you want them to do to you.  If this rule guides your thoughts and actions, the results will be pleasing.  Allow this to motivate you to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”  (Acts 17:28 ESV)  – Remember, we are made in the image of God; we are His children.  We live and do everything in Christ.  God bestows His unconditional love and abundant blessings upon His children.  Remember WHOSE you are!  It will do wonders for your self-image, and for how you conduct yourself. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)  – God’s love has been poured out upon each one of us.  All of life’s circumstances are designed to improve our character and to conform us to the image of Christ.  (See Romans 8:29)  Allow your circumstances to soften your hard edges, and to nurture a merciful and loving quality within you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16 ESV)  – Each one of us is truly God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within each one of us.  Glory to God!  Be aware of God’s presence constantly, and allow the knowledge that He is with you to transform all of your decisions and actions.  It will bless you and cause you to bless others.

. . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  (Eph 4:15 NKJV)  – God wants us to grow up (mature) into the image of Christ.  One way of doing that is to walk in love and to do everything with a loving heart and attitude.

Grow up and BE the person you truly want to be.  How do you want your spouse, your children, and your friends to remember you?  Once you’ve come to a decision on that, take some time to strategize how to aim your life and your behavior in that direction.  Allow the Scriptures and the Lord to guide you.  God is committed to transforming each one of us, and will give us the grace that we need.  Oh joy!