Troublesome Passage

“But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:44

This is a troublesome passage. It’s troublesome because I don’t always love those who persecute me and my fellow Believers. I want revenge. I find it hard to love my enemies too. I’m not talking about that vast group of people who hate us on the other side of the world; I’m talking about my neighbor. I’m talking about my co-worker. I’m talking about my former friend.

So what exactly is loving your enemies? First of all, we need to ask God to help us to love our enemies because without that, it’s difficult and often impossible.  Then we need to find ways to reach out, just as Christ would reach out. Jesus goes even one step further. Pray for them. Wow! Even then you might need to ask Him how you can pray for them because in your own strength, it’s extremely difficult.

Like I said, it’s a troublesome passage.

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The Sabbath

…and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Matthew 12: 8-10

The Sabbath.

We Christians do not take the Sabbath as seriously as the Jews did, even though it is one of the Ten Commandments. Our Sabbaths are as busy as the rest of the week for the most part. We shop. We play. We take a drive. We work. We watch sports. We don’t really rest. I’m the first to admit my guilt on this.

My Jewish friends take the Sabbath very seriously. From sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday night they do no work. They don’t even cook or turn on the oven. They walk to Synagogue. They don’t shop. Essentially, they rest on the Sabbath.

What would our lives look like if we obeyed The Fifth Commandment as stringent as we obey the “don’t steal,” “don’t murder” or “don’t commit adultery” commandments?

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The Mind

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The mind is a terrible thing to waste,” so the commercial goes. But what are we putting into our minds is my question?

  • What are our minds feeding on?
  • What kinds of things are we absorbing day in and day out? Are they wholesome? If not, why not?
  • What are we obsessing about?
  • How are we renewing our minds daily?
  • What are we thinking about?
  • What do we spend our spare time thinking about?
  • What are we telling ourselves about ourselves, about others, about God?
  • What are we meditating on?
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The Main Thing

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

It’s been interesting to watch the Olympics in Beijing this last week. These athletes are focused. They know what their goal is: a medal, and preferably a gold one. They train for hours, days, weeks, and even years to fine tune their focus and their skill. They desperately want to win and many will stop at nothing to win.

Isn’t that a vivid picture of how we’re to live our lives as Christians? One goal. Focused. Targeted. An undivided heart.

Many things can detract us, can’t they? Jobs, family, money, homes, the good life.

An old preacher used to say (and it was quoted by Steven Covey), “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Think about it. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. So perhaps a different question should be asked, “what is the main thing?” It will be different to different people, even to other Believers. So…

What is the main thing to you?

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They Laughed

When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. …he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. Matthew 9:23-25

The mourners and musicians were already to bury the girl because, after all, she had stopped breathing. I’d like to say that I wouldn’t have been one of the laughers in the crowd. Those would be the naysayers. “That’s not possible; it’s never been done before,” so the excuse goes. Something tells me, though, that I would have been out in front laughing at this man.

Truth is, though, people still laugh at Jesus. Sometimes they do it in response to something we do. They know we’re Christians, but by our actions we certainly don’t show it. (It’s one of the reasons I don’t have any symbol or sticker on my car that singles me out as being a Christian. The first guy I happen to cut off will see it and think, “Yep, he’s really no different.”)

Are people laughing (or mocking or worse) at Jesus because of me? I have to examine every action and word I speak. And the tip I give (or don’t give) in the restaurant. And the unkind word I speak to a clerk or teller or fast food cashier or co-worker.

Yeah, it all matters.

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