Archive for June, 2011

Loving One Another Covers Sins

Daily God Walk for Thursday, June 30, 2011

 The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].              – 1 Peter 4:8 (AMP)

 There are many who believe we are in the final days of the last days. They see the coming the coming of the Lord as imminent. I tend to agree with that assessment of the times. However, Peter wrote this letter to the churches nearly 2000 years ago and he was giving that warning then.

If there was that since of urgency then, how much more should we be aware of the times today? Then Peter warned that believers should be serious, self-disciplined and given to much prayer. Today we hear the same plea coming across the pulpit.

Knowing these things we must take heed of the warning Peter is giving us and place loving our brothers and sisters before everything else. He calls us to have an intense, unfailing love for one another because love forgives a multitude of sins.

It is not a time for becoming offended over the mistakes others make. It is not the time to carry a grudge against someone who has done you wrong. It is not the time to sit on the other side of the church because someone on the other side bothers you. It is time to put all that aside and love one another with a passion that only the Holy Spirit can give us.

We have long heard this passage quoted and it is still true. Love does cover a multitude of sins. When Jesus returns he is going to look for a people who have answered the command to “love one another.” I don’t know of anything anyone has ever done to me that is worth having bitterness in my heart against them when Jesus comes back.

I challenge you today to seek the Holy Spirit to give you such love for others that you will forgive every offense and have only a desire to see others experience the same forgiveness.

 Prayer: Father, help me to sobered by thought of the soon return of Jesus and help me to love my brothers and sisters.

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A Debt Toward One Another

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, June 29, 2011

 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  – Romans13:8-10

 Jesus made it clear that loving God completely and loving our neighbor as ourselves is the fulfillment of all the instruction of the prophets and the teachers (Matthew 22:37-40). Every other instruction given is an addendum to that.

We are being told in our passage today that we owe a debt to our fellow man. That debt cannot be paid by giving them money, although sometimes the debt requires that we give money. This debt we owe is not paid by anything that we could give, except that we would give ourselves.

The continuing debt of love is never paid off. We buy a car, a house, or a computer and one day we make the last payment on those things and our debt is finished. That is not true of our debt to love one another.

Ask a mother who has given her last dollar to a son or daughter if she will ever give them money again. She will look at you strangely and say, “Of course, he/she is my child.” A mother will never stop loving her child no matter what it costs her.

I feel Paul calling us to the same kind of love toward one another. Helping a friend, or enemy for that matter, does not relieve us of our continuing debt to love.

We must always remember that when Jesus illustrated the point of loving our neighbor he used the kindness of a foreigner as an example. Love has no boundaries and is not limited to keeping a record to see how much is owed. Remember your continuing debt to love one another. 

 Prayer: Lord, help me to not become involved in my own life that I neglect to love others as myself. In Jesus name, amen.

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Do Not Deceive One Another

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, June 28, 2011

 Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God.   – Leviticus 19:11-12

 There are a lot of “Do not’s” in this part of Leviticus. I have found that among the “Do not’s” found in the Law there are three categories. The first has to do with a person’s relationship with God, the second has to do with a person’s relationship with the earth and creation, and the third has to do with a person’s relationship with others. This chapter deals primarily with a person’s relationship with others.

It seems to me that all of the laws God gave Moses have to do with being in proper relationship with God, creation and others by giving each the respect they are due. If we have that understanding we can easily see how the command of Jesus to love God wholly and to love our neighbor as ourselves would fulfill all of the law and the prophets.

How are we to respect God, creation and others? We respect God by realizing him as the sovereign of the universe and accept his word as the law by which we live. We respect the earth by valuing its resources and the rest of creation by valuing its life. We respect others by valuing their right to be equal, their right to property ownership and their right to individuality.

We see those principles espoused in the three “Do not’s” of our Scripture verse. “Do not steal” refers to respecting the property  of others; “Do not lie” addresses the issue of integrity in dealing with others; “Do not deceive one another” deals with the issue of respecting others as equal and not trying to defraud them.

I encourage you to read the entire chapter 19 of Leviticus. You will find a good deal of instruction about how we are to conduct ourselves in relationship with others.

I have included in our text, “Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God” because I felt we should be made aware that God seems to be telling us that disrespecting one another is profaning his name. That’s pretty serious. 

 Prayer: Father, help me to have proper respect for others. Amen.

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Be Humble Toward One Another

Daily God Walk for Monday, June 27, 2011

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7

 A motivation for Peter to write, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” might be that he faced the same problem with people that we do today. Far too many believers fail the test of being humble toward one another.

There is a one-line joke about humility that goes like this: “I try to be humble, but it is really difficult to be humble when one is as great as I am.” The reality of humility is that if you have to try to be humble then you are not really humble. So how does a person clothe himself with humility toward others?

Is there value to being humble? Yes there is. Our passage states, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If the line of blessing is cut clearly between the proud and the humble then we would do well to understand what is meant by both of these words.

The Greek word translated pride simply means to put ones self above others, to be haughty. Pride offends the principles of “one another” because pride stands for raising ones self above others. Pride leads me to prefer myself in an opportunity because I am more worthy than the others. Pride causes me to expect others to cater to my wishes. This list could be long but you get the idea.

Humility, or being humbled is the opposite of pride. If I humble myself then I am submitting myself to the needs of those around me. Humility is at the core of “one another” principles.

How do we become humble? Our passage says, “Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand.” We must realize God is greater than ourselves and our circumstances. His plans are far superior to any I could come up with. When we fully realize that then humility just seems to slip in unnoticed.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to yield my will to the mighty hand of God and grant me humility toward others. In Jesus name, amen.

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Submit to One Another

Daily God Walk for Sunday, June 26, 2011

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.   – Ephesians 5:21

 The command to submit to one another is similar to the command to love one another. When we love another we are literally submitting to their needs and desires. When we submit to one another we are yielding to their needs and desires. It is nearly the same thing.

Paul does a pretty good job of describing what it means to submit to one another in this passage which goes from Ephesians 5:21 through 6:9. He covers the full range of relationships from husbands and wives to parents and children to slaves and masters.

The message he gives is simply to give to the others in our lives the respect they deserve. The respect factor is very neglected in our society today. Individualism and personal rights takes precedence over community and the concept of what is best for the others in our life.

Wives are taught that they do not need to submit to anyone; husbands are taught that they don’t have responsibility to care for and nurture their wives; children are taught that they have rights and don’t have to submit to their parents; employees organize to stand against management while management only looks at the “bottom line.” Is it any wonder there is so much conflict today?

The simple solution to most of the conflicts in families, communities, and even among nations, is to submit to one another. If my goal is to meet the others with whom I am in relationship at their point of need, with little regard for my own desires, then peace is the inevitable outcome.

Submitting to one another does not mean we become a door mat for others, but it does mean that we often will forgo our own pleasure to see that another’s difficulty is resolved. When Paul spoke of the husband,s responsibility to his wife (Ephesians 5:22-33) he compares it to the way Christ loves his bride, the church. He tells us that Christ gave himself for the church.

I pray that God will give us that kind of love for one another.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to submit to the others in my life. Amen.

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Serve One Another in Love

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Daily God Walk for Saturday, June 25, 2011

 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  – Galatians 5:13-15

It is interesting that Paul here contrasts using our freedom to indulge the sinful nature with serving one another in love. There seems to be more than one principle at work here. First is the idea that we are no longer under the law, therefore, we are free to do whatever we desire. We are under grace and all things are covered by grace. Paul is correcting that idea by instructing, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.”

A second issue he addresses is serving one another in love. He seems to be saying that when we are indulging our sinful nature we are not serving others. I have seen many who felt they were free to live as they choose because they are “under grace,” but I haven’t seen any with that perspective who weren’t using it as an excuse to be self-indulgent.

Paul is reminding us that when it is all about us and our desires we are violating the single command that is the fulfillment of the law: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How can we say we love our neighbor as ourselves when we don’t use any of our time, talent or treasure to serve our neighbor?

Some might say, “O, I don’t have any neighbors who need help from me.” To that I would say, “O, really! Have you not read the story of the Good Samaritan?” If you remember in that story Jesus told of the man who should have been served by those of his own country but was not and how a foreigner not only stopped to help him but paid for his medical care.

Can we really say we love our neighbor if we are not investing any of our resources in building relationships and serving those around us? It is something to think about.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to surrender my own desire to gratify the flesh and use my resources to serve others. Amen.

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Agree With One Another

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Daily God Walk for Friday, June 24, 2011

  I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. – 1 Corinthians 1:10

 In reading the letters Paul wrote to the church at Corinth it looks like that church had all of the problems churches have today. Their immaturity in spiritual things ranges from tolerating sin to fighting among themselves. In this passage Paul is addressing the problem of squabbles among the brethren.

In verses 11-12 he identifies the quarrel which is causing division. “My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; and another, “I follow Cephas (or Peter)”; and still another, “I follow Christ.” Is that unlike today?

It is interesting that lines were drawn between those who were either converted under a particular leader or at least have become loyal to the teachings of particular leaders. While there was quite a schism over who they should follow, one self-righteous person stands up and says something like, “I don’t follow any man – I just follow Christ.”

There is nothing wrong with being loyal to those who have invested in our lives. In fact, there should be a special attachment to those who were instrumental in leading us to Christ, but we cannot allow our attachment to spiritual leaders cause division within the body.

Paul is calling believers to come into agreement so that they all might be “perfectly united in mind and thought.” The only way we can accomplish the task set before us is to come into agreement and the only way we can be in agreement is if we are united in purpose and in agreement with our mission. The world will never be won to Christ as long as the body is not submitted to Christ, the head, allowing Holy Spirit to bring us into harmony.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to lay my agenda aside and be in agreement with my brethren. In Jesus name, amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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