Posts Tagged ‘Others

05
Jan
18

Others

After addressing pretty much everyone who would be in a church family, Peter has some instructions for everyone. He writes:

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

These five traits that are to characterize every follower of Christ all have to do with making others a priority. He says to be like-minded. So don’t insist on having your way. Be sympathetic. Sympathize with the plight of others. Love one another. This is the final command Jesus gave to His disciples. Be compassionate. Have a heart for others who are suffering. Be humble. Consider others better than yourself. When we become a follower of Christ, we sign up for a life of selflessness and we give up a self-centered mindset. Our life is reoriented toward Jesus first, others second and ourselves last. If you will humble yourself and make others a priority, God will lift you up and He will bless you.
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13
Mar
17

The New Clothes

Good Monday morning to you! After taking some time to talk about the ways we used to live and how they are inappropriate for God’s people, Paul turns to how we should live now. He says:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Since we are all one in Christ and Christ is in us, we must live differently than the ways we used to live. One of the most important aspects of being a follower of Jesus is that we put others before ourselves. Instead of putting ourselves first, we put Jesus first and then others. We are to be compassionate, kind and humble. We are to be gentle and patient when we deal with others. This is counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. It’s not how the world operates. However, it is how we operate because we don’t belong to the world anymore.
12
Jan
16

It’s Hard To Be Humble

There are sins that we all struggle with of which we are completely aware.  We know what they are.   The things that we know we shouldn’t do, but we do them anyway.  Greed.  Lust.  Swearing.  Lying.  Gossip.  Drunkenness.  These are behavioral sins.  We deal with these on a regular enough basis that trying to repent of them consumes us.

Then there are sins that we have heard about but don’t even realize we are committing.  We are so focused on trying to change our behavior that we have no time for these sins.  Sins like pride, materialism, selfishness, not loving our wives or husbands or children like we should, not loving our neighbor like we should and not loving God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength.  These are attitudinal sins.

I was smacked right in the forehead with an attitudinal sin today while reading from Matthew’s Gospel.

God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth. – Matthew 5:5 (NLT)

When pride fills us, it makes us think that we are better than we really are.  Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3b (NLT)

Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

He then wrote in Ephesians 4:2 (NLT) “Always be humble…”

Pride is what makes me believe that my way is best.  Pride is what makes me think that I know it all.  Pride gets in the way of being like Jesus who gave up the glories of Heaven for the humiliation of Earth.  He was completely humble in His approach to others.  If we want to be more like Jesus, we need to be more humble.

My mom taught us from a very young age the priorities of life.

  • God
  • Others
  • Self

I think that this is a recipe for humility.  Put God first.  Put others before yourself.  Take care of yourself, but not at the expense of serving others.  Philippians 2:4 (NLT) says,

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

My prayer today is that we will not get so focused on the external issues and sins that we forget about the heart issues.  Pride is a heart issue and God cares about the condition of our hearts because it is from our hearts that everything about us flows.

Luke 6:45 (NLT) says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

PRAYER: Lord, help me to be more humble.  I confess that I am filled with too much pride and I need Your grace to overcome my attitude of pride.  Thank You for forgiving me of my many sins.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

20
May
15

Others Before Self

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning. — Romans 14:14-23 (NLT)

In the 2nd half of Romans 14, Paul talks about being a stumbling block to others.  Our love for our brother or sister in Christ should cause us to put their spiritual well-being ahead of our own freedom.  If a brother or sister of mine has an issue with Christians drinking alcohol and I don’t, I should, out of Christian love for them, abstain from drinking in their presence.  If it is going to cause them to stumble, I need to be aware of that.  I need to love Christ and love them enough that I won’t cause them to stumble in their faith.  We may think, “That’s not fair!  That’s their issue, not mine!  I have the right to do as I please as long as I am not sinning!”  Being a Christian, though, is about putting God first and others before yourself.  If you are going to hurt someone’s walk with Christ then we need to set aside our “rights” for their benefit.  No one ever said that being a Christian was easy.  It is hard to put others before ourselves.  With the power of the Holy Spirit we can do just that.  What is more important?  Someone else’s spiritual health and walk with Christ or that light beer or glass of wine you want to drink?  The point is to be aware of others and to put their spiritual journey ahead of our freedom.  It’s not easy and it may not seem fair, but it is better to abstain than to cause someone whose faith may be weaker or on the edge to stumble and lose their faith altogether.

  


07
May
14

Justice And Love For God

There are things that we do as followers of Jesus that are just good to do.  Tithing, for example, is a good thing to do.  It is a command of God and it demonstrates faith and trust in Him.  Going to worship is a good thing to do.  We are able to express our admiration and love for Jesus.  Volunteering at your church is a good thing to do.  We are able to demonstrate our love for God by serving Him and making a sacrifice of time and energy.  What happens when these good things become not so good things.  Jesus said this to the Pharisees:

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.​ – Luke 11:42 (NIV)​

This tells me two things.
  1. Doing the right things (tithing, worship, service, etc.) without loving God is worthless.  Jesus chided the Pharisees, not for tithing, but for neglecting the love of God.  He does not pronounce a woe upon them for their tithing.  He pronounced a woe on them because their hearts were far from God.
  2. Outwardly religious activities without a love for others are meaningless to God.  Again, Jesus chides them for neglecting justice.  In other words, they didn’t love people.  They loved themselves.  They loved the applause and approval of other people.  The problem is that they didn’t love others enough to serve them.  They weren’t concerned about the plight of their fellow Jews.  They were putting on a religious show.

We can do all kinds of religious things, but if our hearts aren’t devoted to loving God and loving others, we are like filthy rags to Jesus.  Jesus’ primary concern is your love for Him.  Paul said it like this in 1 Corinthians:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

​ – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)​
Let us seek today to abound in love for God and for others.  Then the Lord will be pleased with our good works, whatever they may be.

Luke 11:37-54 (NIV)

Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

53 When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to catch him in something he might say.

14
Nov
13

Everything In Love

1 Corinthians 16:14 is a very short verse with an incredibly powerful meaning:

Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)

If you can’t do it in love, don’t do it.
  • You can’t gossip about someone in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t abuse your children physically, verbally or emotionally in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t belittle your spouse to your friends in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t hate someone because of their sin, lifestyle, gender, age or color.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t ignore God in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t hold a grudge in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t be unforgiving in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t cuss someone out on facebook in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t cheat on your spouse or family in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t steal from your employer in love.  Don’t do it.
  • You can’t lie in love.  Don’t do it.

Paul says to do everything in love.

  • You can encourage your family in love.
  • You can pray for someone in love.
  • You can forgive someone in love.
  • You can anonymously give someone a bag of groceries in love.
  • You can take your spouse out on a date in love.
  • You can tell someone about God’s love in love.
  • You can invite someone to church in love.
  • You can stop gossip about a co-worker in love.
  • You can tell someone the painful truth in love.
  • You can sponsor a child in love.
  • You can pray for those who are different than you in love.

Bitterness, hate and anger are easy.  Love is hard.  Choose to do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16

New International Version (NIV)

The Collection for the Lord’s People

16 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Personal Requests

5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia.6 Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.

12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Final Greetings

19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.

22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

28
May
12

Others Before Self

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning. — Romans 14:14-23 (NLT)

In the 2nd half of Romans 14, Paul talks about being a stumbling block to others.  Our love for our brother or sister in Christ should cause us to put their spiritual well-being ahead of our own freedom.  If a brother or sister of mine has an issue with Christians drinking alcohol and I don’t, I should, out of Christian love for them, abstain from drinking in their presence.  If it is going to cause them to stumble, I need to be aware of that.  I need to love Christ and love them enough that I won’t cause them to stumble in their faith.  We may think, “That’s not fair!  That’s their issue, not mine!  I have the right to do as I please as long as I am not sinning!”  Being a Christian, though, is about putting God first and others before yourself.  If you are going to hurt someone’s walk with Christ then we need to set aside our “rights” for their benefit.  No one ever said that being a Christian was easy.  It is hard to put others before ourselves.  With the power of the Holy Spirit we can do just that.  What is more important?  Someone else’s spiritual health and walk with Christ or that light beer or glass of wine you want to drink?  The point is to be aware of others and to put their spiritual journey ahead of our freedom.  It’s not easy and it may not seem fair, but it is better to abstain than to cause someone whose faith may be weaker or on the edge to stumble and lose their faith altogether.

  





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