How We Treat Each Other

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul gives valuable instructions on how Christians should treat others, following the model of Jesus Christ.

First, we are to speak the truth. As we have always heard, “honesty is the best policy.” This phrase is often accredited to Benjamin Franklin. However, the idea can be recognized from the ten commandments given by God to Moses for the children of Israel. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” (Exodus 20:16) Wikipedia says this in relation to this quote, “Matthew Henry taught that the prohibition against false witness concerns our own and our neighbor’s good name. “Thou shalt not bear false witness” forbids: “1. Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbor. 2. Speaking unjustly against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation; and (which involves the guilty of both). 3. Bearing false witness against him, laying to his charge things that he knows not, either judicially, upon oath (by which the third commandment, and the sixth and eighth, as well as this, are broken), or extrajudicially, in common converse, slandering, backbiting, tale-bearing, aggravating what is done amiss and making it worse than it is, and any way endeavoring to raise our own reputation upon the ruin of our neighbor’s.”[61] 

Second, don’t let our anger cause us to sin against others. Our anger can give the devil a foothold that can change our attitudes, our desires, and our actions. “Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (https://www.brainyquote.com)

Third, we mustn’t take things that belong to others, thereby hurting them in some way. “Thou shalt not steal,” is very clear on this subject. (Exodus 20:15) Pastor Don Wilton admonishes, 

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Our Afflictions Are Temporary

With rheumatoid arthritis, every day is a struggle. That is just one of the things that can make life really hard. Not just for me, but for most people. There are many different types of struggles. But the good news is that, no matter what trials we face, we can know without any doubt that there are better days coming.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Knowing that my pain won’t last forever, I have hope. It makes me want to behave as though my life is not about the pain, because it’s not. My life is about being a Christian… the best Christian I can be. Because I have the assurance that the weight of my affliction doesn’t compare to the glorified life and body that are awaiting me. Even if my hardships here on this earth remain until I die, my eternal life will be without pain and strife. That promise is more than enough to keep me going.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Jesus knows our pain and our sorrows. He feels them. He loves us, and He will give us all of the strength that we need, if only we will truly let Him.

He gives me the power to arise every morning. His might carries me through each and every day. I can overcome the pain and strain from moving, toiling, and enduring throughout my life because He carries me. To God be the glory.

The Chick-fil-A Stand in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium Will Be Closed on Super Bowl Sunday — BCNN1 WP

Chick-fil-A is well known for being closed on Sundays to honor the Sabbath, and it turns out that even the prospect of huge Super Bowl Sunday profits won’t be enough for the fast food restaurant to make a change in that biblical policy. This year’s Super Bowl LIII matchup will take place Feb. 3 in […]

via The Chick-fil-A Stand in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium Will Be Closed on Super Bowl Sunday — BCNN1 WP

Paul, an Example

Paul is one of my favorite biblical people. In him, God creates an excellent example of what He can do to reach sinners, and how He can use a willing heart to further His kingdom.

When Paul was known as Saul, he persecuted Christians. He was so good at it, he was famous. He was admired by his superiors and was well-connected. There were few less likely to become a Christian. Therefore, he was uniquely right to be used to demonstrate the real power and truth of Christ.

In a later letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote, “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” (Galatians 1: 13-14)

Someone as stubborn and dogmatic as Saul had to be broken in order to be reached. So that is just what happened. While he was on the road to Damascus, Jesus visited him in a flash of bright light.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’

‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.

‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ …

Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” (Acts 9: 3-9)

Once broken, Saul finally opened his heart to the truth of Christ, and His gift of salvation. Saul accepted the truth, and became a Christian. In doing so, he gave up his status, his certain future, and life as he knew it. In return, he gained  so much more, a place in Christ’s kingdom and eternal life. In this life, he became a whole new person… Paul.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5: 17)

God sent someone to heal Paul’s sight, and then Paul began his mission to preach Christ to the world, to be a leader to Christians new and old.

In submitting to God’s call, Paul becomes a further example to all of us who come after.

Broken Vessels by Hillsong

Applying Christ’s Teaching to Our Own Lives

I am excited to share this link for last week’s sermon from the First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I immediately felt the need to share it. I looked for it for a couple of days following the broadcast, but it hadn’t been made available yet. I am happy that God reminded me of it today. I hope everyone will watch and be moved.

First Baptist Church of Spartanburg Sermon 1-13-19

The Woman at the Well

It is both scary and exciting that Jesus knows us so well. I am sure that is exactly how the Samaritan woman felt, when Jesus found her at the well, because that is just how I felt when He found me.

First, Jesus was able to speak to her of things from her past, even though He had never met her before. Then, He was able to give her the assurance that, if she believed in Him as the Son of God and she turned from her life of sin, He would provide her with eternal life in which her soul would spend forever in Heaven. How encouraging!

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give Him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4: 13-14 

She was so excited, she ran into the city to tell all of the people about the Jesus she met at the well… about how He knew things that could not be explained… about the salvation He had offered. Of course, they went out to the well right away. Wouldn’t you?

We can learn a lot from the woman at the well. First, she discovered Jesus, and spent time with Him. That is something we should all do more of each day. Second, she ran to tell everyone that she had met Jesus. She testified. We should definitely be doing that! And third, because of her testimony, she convinced others to go to meet Jesus. What a wonderful thing, to be such a witness.

The apostle John tells us that, “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in [Jesus] because of the word of the woman who testified.” (John 4:39) She was their introduction to the wonder of the Messiah. Once she galvanized the people of the city, Jesus worked in their hearts. So, “Many more believed because of His* word, and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is indeed the Savior of the world.'” (John 4: 41-42)*

We only need to be willing to testify. Jesus can use our willingness to work in the hearts of the lost and unsaved.

*Underlining is my own emphasis, and not part of the scriptural text.

Fill My Cup, Lord by Wanda Jackson

Nothing Without Him

One of my favorite songs is titled Nothing Without Christ, by Newsong. It always reminds me that I am a creature born into sin, without a hope apart from the saving grace of Christ Jesus.

Newsong Nothing Without Christ

It boggles my mind that God cared enough for me that He sent His Son to live as one of us, and die a horrible death, so that I might have a life of joy and peace never-ending. Once this life is behind me, I have His promise that I will live eternally, without pain, sorrow, or worry. He must love me, a lot.

It nearly cripples me when I think of the dread, anguish, and pain that Christ must have felt facing His death by crucifixion. The shear weight of the humiliation, dread, torture, and death that He faced is enough to make me sob in sympathy.

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-roman-crucifixion-700718

Yet, He did it. He sacrificed Himself in one of the most painful ways imaginable in order to fulfill the scriptures and pay the wages of EVERYONE’S sins, (not His, for He remained blameless).

“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Hebrews 10:10 (NASB)

His death, and resurrection, provides us all with the chance of forgiveness that no amount of animal sacrifices ever could. He became the Lamb that was slain for us all. That is why we owe Him everything. That is why we should be expected to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Our lives should be a living testimony to our Redeemer and Savior. That is why he deserves our praise and worship.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  Romans 12:1

May the Lord bless and keep you…