Practice Love – Easier Said Than Done

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:9-21)

Earlier today, I was thinking about the statement ‘practice love’.  Paul gave us some great advice on how to do that. But as I read it, I kept saying “ouch”.

I can handle hate what is evil, cling to what is good.  I can try to be devoted, honoring, hopeful, patient, faithful, hospitable.  And truthfully, lack of zeal is not really an issue with me.

But then it gets a bit more difficult.  I have to bless those that persecute me.  I don’t want to bless them. I want to slap them in the face.  Well, not all of them.  But someone really did me wrong one time and all I could think of was flying to her home, knocking on her front door and slapping her in the face.  I didn’t do that.  But I surely did not want to bless her.

I need to be happy with people that are happy and sad when people are sad.  I need to get along with others … whether I want to or not.

I need to remember that I am not better than anyone – period.

When I receive bad, I need to return good.  I don’t like this one at all.

I need to watch my actions, because others are watching me.

I need to live in peace with everyone – regardless.

I’ve got some work to do.

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Thoughts from Genesis – Messed Up

Let’s talk about Genesis 19:30 through Genesis 20.

The story of Lot and his daughters is a bit disturbing, I have to admit.  They were holed up in a cave, hiding from what, I do not know?  But the girls decided that they would never be with a man, so they decided to sleep with their father, to preserve their lineage.  Not sure that was a smart idea?  In fact, pretty sure it was not!  But they got their father drunk, slept with him and they each got pregnant.  This is where the Moabite and the Ammonite nations began.  From sin … Interestingly enough, these two nations went on to become bitter enemies of Abraham’s descendants.  Abraham saved their lives … yet they turned on him and became his enemy!

Umm …. Sin begets sin.  From the beginning of time.

If there is sin in your life, break that chain today!  Ask God to reveal anything in your life that is not of him and release it.  Be gone with the sin and allow the spirit to flow through you!  Let a new story for your family be written today … it starts with you!

Then we see Abraham moving once again.  Boy, that guy got around.  And once again, he lied about his wife, Sarah, and told King Abimelech that she was his sister.  The king took Sarah for his own.  Now this is interesting.  She has to be about 89 years old at this point. She must have been something, at that age, for someone to take her as his new wife.

But God’s plan was not for Sarah to be with King Abimelech.  The line of Abraham was to come from Abraham and Sarah.  So God came to the king in a dream, told him to give Sarah back to Abraham.  And the king did.  Abraham was caught in his deception, yet the king blessed him.
Interesting …. Not sure I understand this part.  I guess that is the unexplainable story of grace.  None of us deserve God’s grace, yet he gives it to us freely.

So Sarah and Abraham are back together, Abraham is even more wealthy and this king had an encounter with God.  Wildness!

One other point I want to make, it seems that whenever Abraham makes a move, he resorts back to his fearful self.  When he moved to Egypt, he lied about Sarah.  When he moved to Gerar, he lied about Sarah.  He lied to protect himself.

After all that God had done for him.  He still felt fearful and tried to fix things himself.  For me, this shows us that we all have a chance!  If God can call Abraham a righteous man, because of his faith, even after his mess ups; well maybe, just maybe I have the same opportunity.

And I do … and so do you!

 

Thoughts From Genesis – Trust or Manipulation?

In Genesis 21:1-20, We saw the promise that God gave Abraham 25 years prior fulfilled in the birth of Isaac!  The name Isaac means “He Laughs” and the joy his birth brought Sarah caused her to be filled with joy and laughter as well!  But Sarah still had issues with the child Abraham conceived with Sarah’s maid servant, Hagar.  Now that she had her own son, she could not stand the constant reminder of seeing Ishmael in her home.  She didn’t want Ishmael taking anything that was meant for her precious Isaac, and she had Hagar and Ishmael sent away.  It was not pretty in the desert for the two of them and they almost died for lack of water, but God heard their cries and provided for them.

This was an interesting section, Abraham and Sarah had to wait a long time for the birth of their son. And sometimes they didn’t wait patiently, Sarah took matters into her own hands and the consequences of that child are still being felt throughout the world, many thousand years later.

It’s interesting that even after God showed himself faithful, Sarah didn’t truly trust God with Ishmael in their lives, like he (Ishmael) was still going to steal Isaac’s inheritance, she sent him away from them.  But the truth is, Isaac was always going to be the father of God’s nation, with or with an Ishmael to contend with.  God had a plan.

Sometimes we try to manipulate our lives to go the way we think they should.  Today, let’s stop trying to make life happen our way, and allow God to guide and direct our lives for His glory!

Thoughts from Genesis – Is Our Past Destroying Our Future?

In Genesis 18 and 19:1-29, we saw the heart of Abraham, as a servant to his three visitors, one of whom was The Lord.  We saw his love for his nephew, Lot, as he pleaded for God to save Sodom and Gomorrah.  We saw the perversity of the city of Sodom; the encounter at Lot’s house.  And we saw God keep his promise to Abraham and spare Lot and his family.  But Lot’s wife could not let go of her past, she looked back after being told not to.  She was turned into a pillar of salt.

  • Looking back to her past actually destroyed her.
  • How many of us allow something in our past to destroy our future?

Today ….

  • Ask God to reveal to you if there is a something in you that need to let go of.
  • Freely release it to HIM!
  • Ask Him to fill that spot with His peace and love and move forward in the confidence that GOD loves YOU!

Still in the Pig Pen?

Come near to God and he will come near to you.  (James 4:8)

This verse came real to me in September 2000.  I allowed God to heal my heart and that huge chasm that seperated me from him simply vanished.

I had this picture in my mind of me walking towards God and him running towards me.

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31), the father saw his lost son coming from a distance and ran to him

Man, I was that lost son.  I had left God and was living in the pig pen, but like the son in this story, I finally came to my senses and returned home, home to the father that showered me with love. He didn’t reprimand me for all the things I did while I was away, but welcomed me with open arms and a heart of love.

Let’s see … the pig pen or my father’s house.  Glad I made the right choice.

Tim Tebow and Jesus

Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

Tim Tebow loves Jesus.

He has spent his entire life honoring Jesus, last Sunday night, Jesus honored Tim Tebow.  In front of 45 million football fans!

The short of the story:

Tim Tebow wore eyeblack during his college career with the scripture John 3:16.  Every touchdown,every completed pass, every good thing that comes into Tim Tebow’s life, he attributes to his Savior, Jesus Christ.  On Sunday night, Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards, his completed pass average was 31.6 and and the TV rating on CBS peaked between 8.00-8.15pm ET with a rating of, say it ain’t so, 31.6.

And on Monday, the top google search was for the verse:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Eyeblack or stats, Mr. Tim Tebow is spreading the gospel of Jesus!