Lucia's Blog: 2020-01-05
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

LOVING EACH OTHER AMID DIFFERENCES

"But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."
Galatians 5:15-17


All of us, as Christians, need to strive to achieve unity in spite of our differences for the sake of Christ. So often, we spend too much time tearing down our own brothers and sisters, Christ's body, instead of seeking to win the lost to Christ by teaching them the Truth and reconciling them to Him. Paul said,

“For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?’” (1 Corinthians 3:3-4). 

Our Lord Jesus, in His high priestly prayer in John 17, prayed for unity and oneness, making Jesus' deity and Lordship above all. So, what do we do with divisions? What do we do with disagreements? And what do we do with differences? The following are a few things to take into consideration.


  • WE MUST AVOID GOSSIP:

The Lord is very much against slander. He condemns it severely. The Greek word translated "gossip," which means whisper or whisperer, but is used exclusively in the Bible of  "secret slandering," according to the Greek LexiconsGossip is not open, honest, or sincere. It is dark. This is not walking in the light of love. It does not heal. It inflicts our ego's desire to be seen as righteous without playing honestly by the rules of love. Hear what the apostle Paul says,
“For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.” (2 Corinthians 12:20)

  • WE MUST SEE THE GRACE IN ONE ANOTHER AND SPEAK TO THAT GRACE:

When we speak about each other, we must recognize that grace. One example of this was the church at Corinth. This church was deeply flawed, but Paul found a reason to thank God for them in spite of their carnality and differences. 

"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus." (1 Corinthians 1:4)

Even with all of our flaws and weaknesses, we must be of noble character to each other. It is a work of grace that honors our Lord Jesus Christ. It keeps criticism in perspective that is seen and acknowledged often. My brethren, please, the stature of Christ is to speak criticism directly to one another when the occasion calls for it, instead of speaking to others about it. This is what we call gossip. We know that we are not always going to agree on everything, especially the practical application of shared principles, but let's try hard to put into practice what Paul said: 
"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at PEACE with all MEN." (Romans 12:18)

We have all experienced how difficult this is, and it seems impossible, but we must try!


  • LET US GIVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT:

Let's not assume the worst, but rather let's assume the best possible motive in the other person's words or deeds, especially when we disagree. This brings to mind the young David when Israel went to war with the Philistines. Here, we see that the situation looked bleak. David was sent by his father to the front lines to take supplies to his brothers. When he arrived, he heard the chaos and blasphemy of Goliath. Immediately, David's passion for his Lord flared up, provoking him to get into the battle. David's eldest brother, Eliab, scolded him upon hearing of his boldness. He questioned David's motives and qualifications. But, David's reply was simple: "Is there not a cause?" You can read about this in I Samuel 17. I know Satan wants to cause us to stumble here, but we must defeat him with God's grace and strength. I know it is hard, but we must try hard to live in harmony with God's will. Let's remember Paul's words in dealing with disagreement in such matters:
"The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:6). 

Paul here is appealing to those whose practical judgments are opposed to each other but have identical heart motives. If we are willing to honor Christ, this can unite us in spite of our differences.

  • THINK OF THE EXCELLENT THINGS WE SHARE AND HOLD IN COMMON: 
"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’” (Psalm 40:16)
Here are a few things we hold in common as brethren:

    1. The affirmation of our Faith.
    2. The sovereignty of God.
    3. The supremacy of Christ.
    4. The all-sufficiency of His saving work.
    5. All the precious and magnificent promises summed up in Romans 8:28-32.
    6. The value and sweetness of the Word of God.
    7. The Grace that saves us and instructs us to live righteously and godly.
    8. The hope of glory.
    9. The profound Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood and
    10. The Gospel that is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. 
    11. Let's learn gratitude and thanksgiving because we have been forgiven of our trespasses, our sins, and have been made righteous through the blood of our Lord Jesus.


Therefore, let us form our relationships with our brethren and those outside the kingdom according to the teachings of the Gospel. Let us treasure in our hearts what the apostle Paul said:

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32). 
"And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2). 

Let us think of how wretched we were and how we were rescued and forgiven by God through Christ when we were walking like sheep who had wandered astray as without a Shepherd. Instead of focusing on the flaws of others and their shortcomings, let's think about our own flaws and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Let's aim to seek for the spiritual welfare of one another. Let's take to heart the words of our Lord Jesus:

"But he who is forgiven little, loves little" (Luke 7:47). 

May God help us to love each other in spite of our differences!

“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Luci

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

THINGS WE WILL NEVER REGRET

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."  
1 Corinthians 15:58



There are many things a child of God never has to regret, feel sorry for or apologize for.  Consider them.

  1. A Christian must never regret or apologize for giving generously to others, for he who helps others will be abundantly blessed. It is a blessing indeed to bless others! (Proverbs 11:25-31; 2 Corinthians 9:9; Acts 20:35). 
  2. Trusting God with all of the heart and soul is one of those things a child of God must never regret, feel sorry or apologize for. There is nothing to fear, not even death itself, when we put our trust in the Lord, for He is our stronghold, the one who sustains us during our troublesome and perilous times. He is our Light, our salvation and deliverance (Psalm 27). 
  3. Praying to God at all times. God has promised to help us in our frailties and failures when we humbly ask for His help through prayer. Yet too many ignore it. Christians have access to God's throne through His Son, so we must pray without ceasing (James 5:13-18; 1 Thess. 5:18). 
  4. Having an obedient faith that does the will of God in everything, even when others don’t approve, is another thing a Christian must never regret or apologize for. To love God implies that we obey Him completely, for our obedience to God is our expression of love and honor for Him (John 14:15, 21-24; 1 John 5:2). 
  5. Believing, defending and living the Gospel of Christ. A Christian must never apologize or regret his faith and convictions. He must not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of his mind (Rom. 12:1-2). We Christians must never be ashamed of living the Gospel, for it is the center of our lives and our faith in Christ (Romans 1:16-17; 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 1:8). Therefore, Christians must keep proclaiming and living the Gospel Message faithfully and boldly, for they are God’s riches and power unto salvation for everyone who believes. 
  6. A Christian must never regret or apologize for loving God's Truth that guides him into God’s paths or ways of righteousness. To love the Truth is to continue in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to live by His teachings or doctrines as the only guide in our lives. It is the plumbline that builds the perfect house. So we must never regret being faithful to God's Truth and walking in His Truth (2 John 8; 2 John 10-11). 
  7. Lastly, we must never regret or apologize for being kind and gentle, speaking the Truth in love to others because we love their souls (Ephesians 4:15, 16, 32). Kindness and gentleness is the mark of our faith, for without them there is no faith. Christ has commanded His children to be kind and tenderhearted to one another and to do good to each other. The new man in Christ, in newness of life, shows kindness, goodness, gentleness, and compassion.

Therefore, we must never be ashamed, feel sorry for, regret and apologize for giving abundantly to others, trusting in God with all of our heart and soul, praying at all times without ceasing, obeying God in everything, having an obedient faith, teaching, preaching, defending the Gospel Message, and finally for being kind and gentle, showing goodness and compassion to others.

May the Lord help us to be what He wants us to be and bear good fruit to His glory.

Luci