How Do You Want to Be Treated?

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

He didn’t say: do to others what they did to you.

We are supposed to be the light, a reflection of Christ.

Be different. Be the light in a dark world.

Matthew 7:12
New Living Translation
The Golden Rule

12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Are you just a hearer?

Do you go to church or listen to sermons?

Are you part of a study group at your church, or do you sign up for biblical reading plans online?

Are you disciplined in reading the bible or do you engage in a daily devotional?

Do you still find it difficult to hear from God? Are things in your world still unstable?

Then consider that you may be someone who hears God’s word but doesn’t put it into practice.

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Going to church and reading your Bible are good things. To activate God’s promises though, you need to do thing’s God’s way. You won’t experience the priceless gift of God’s peace if you don’t first do as He instructs us, through Paul:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.” Philppians 4:6-7

We hear the humorous “Not today, Satan, not today”, which is partially based on scripture. But partially based isn’t the whole truth. You can’t tell the devil to be gone unless you are first lined up with God:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Submitting to God is first and foremost acknowledging Him as Lord. But beyond that, it goes back to doing things God’s way.

Read the word, learn about God, invite the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you understanding. Then, when you know what you need to do…DO IT! James shares an awesome promise to those who follow this instruction:

“But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25

Peacemakers Needed

God spoke through the prophet Hosea, revealing that His people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Ignorance is not bliss in God’s kingdom. Not knowing God and not knowing His way of doing things is, by default, opening the door to a world of hurt & suffering.

Right now in the U.S., we are witnessing some of the most turbulent & rancorous times in our country’s history. You don’t have to look very far to find angry, vocal & enraged people expressing themselves in angry & violent ways. This leads people with opposing ideologies to rise up with an equal amount of anger & rage in response. Or – in reaction to is the better phrase. “In response” implies thoughtful consideration. That’s not what we are witnessing.

Somethings gotta give.

Or more correctly, someone’s gotta give…an inch (or more)…toward reconciliation and peace.

Here is one of those deep scriptures, that if you breeze right over it, you miss what God is revealing:

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16

Slow down. Now re-read the verse: where envying and strife is

What happens when envying (jealousy, desire for something that someone else has) & strife (vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism) are present?

There will be confusion and every evil work. The New American Standard Bible says it this way, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

You can see this playing out in social media, in politics, in race relations. The anger & constant strife has lead to increasing rage, destruction and violence. Civility has seemingly left the building!

As Christians, we are not to emulate the behavior of people who do no know God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were, “… still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

You can’t be a light to the world if you are still acting like you live in the dark.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

We can be at peace because Jesus gives us His peace. Peace is a by-product of trust. We have the privilege of going to God and PRAYING ABOUT EVERYTHING (Philippians 4:6)

We can shut the door on confusion & other evil, destructive influences in our life by staying out of strife and resisting envy, jealousy & selfish ambition.

It is a choice. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. Choose to be at peace. Ask God to lead you away from the temptation to react and be argumentative. Turn off the TV if you have to and avoid strife-ruled people. Then go a step further and ask God to bring peace to your family, your community, our country. This is exercising your God-given ability to be a peace-maker, as all of God’s children should be.

Be A Witness of His Goodness

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere” (NLT).

When I hear the word “witness,” I think of a courtroom. It’s a perfect picture of what God’s asking us to do to make a difference in the world.

He doesn’t tell us to be the attorney, arguing the case. He doesn’t tell us to be the judge, judging other people. He wants us to be his witnesses.

“He answered, “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. There is one thing I do know: I was blind, but now I see!” John 9:25

Excerpt from the Better Together bible study by Rick Warren.

Why God Hates Sin

Reposting this entry from 2017.

God has good reasons for hating sin…and we should, too.

Posted on  by Editor

So many people think that God is vengeful & mean, just sitting on His throne in heaven waiting to zap us with a thunder-bolt every time we do something wrong.

For starters, that image is more appropriate to a pagan God, like Zeus or Odin.

When I speak of God, I am speaking of the One True Living God. God the Creator. Jehovah, El Shaddai. The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. God the Father, the One who sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus, who is also God, and the Holy Spirit. The divine Trinity.

I make this distinction for a reason. God, little “g”, represents many different things to different people. When someone says they believe in god, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe in the Judeo/Christian God, or Jesus, who is the only one who gives us access to the real, true living God, big “G”:

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

Now that I have laid that foundation, back to the reason for this post: God hates sin. No ifs, ands or buts. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something…or deceive you…and is deceived themselves.

Sin is anything that God says is sin, or sinful. Sin is not subject to trends or societal mores. There are no acceptable & unacceptable sins in God’s eyes. That’s a human construct. That is, if the human in question even considers the reality of sin. Many people don’t and are highly offended by the use of the word. Here is one thing the Lord says in regard to sin and sinners:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!” ~ Isaiah 5:20-21

Good is also whatever God says is good, just so we’re clear. There are many good things that our western society calls bad: monogamy, integrity, obedience to authority, truth, freedom, purity, forgiveness, mercy, etc.

Since I am a parent, a mom, I’m going to share with you what God has shown me in regards to hating sin, from a parent’s perspective. I think anyone, though, who truly loves someone else can relate to the example I’m going to use.

As a parent, I hate anything that has the potential to hurt or destroy my child. Let’s use addiction as an example for this post. What my child may see as good or desirable or harmless, like say drugs or alcohol, I see as a threat to my child’s health & well-being. Just because something is legal or natural does not exempt it from being dangerous. While liquor is legal for adults over 21, how many people’s lives have been destroyed because of someone’s misuse or overuse of beer, wine or distilled beverages? The same applies with drugs, dangerous sexual activity, gambling, food, spending money…whatever. The addicted person is no longer in control of that thing. Instead, the thing is now controlling them.

I am not saying it’s a sin if you drink alcohol. Just please consider what I am saying. As a parent, no matter how young or old your child is, it hurts to see the one you love enslaved to an addiction of any kind. Marriages are destroyed because of addictions. Families break apart, children are scared, scarred & abused because someone in their world is under the control of something stronger than they are. The reality of an alcohol addiction is not the breezy, beachy Corona scene of commercials:

beer_beach-06-2407

It more often looks like this:

Children-Growing-up-with-Alcoholic-Parents

or this:

alg-teen-alcohol-jpg

If your child or loved one is under the control of alcohol, do you have warm, fuzzy thoughts when you see them drunk? Are you happy to see that six-pack enter your house? Is it a pleasant surprise when you find liquor bottles hidden in a closet or stashed under a bed? My guess is you would hate the thing that is contributing toward the destruction of your child, spouse or friend. I know I would.

After a period time you may start to resent and hate the person too, if you’re not careful. After all, they are causing you a lot of emotional pain, possibly physical pain as well.

You hate the thing that is destroying your child. God hates sin, because it destroys the ones He loves…us. And here’s the thing: everyone has sin. Not one person is exempt from the condition or consequences of sin because we are born with it:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” 1 John 1:8

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12

Now, as a parent, spouse or friend of someone who is addicted to (*fill in the blank), wouldn’t you do anything to see them set free, healthy & whole?

God has already done something. Sin does not have to hold you in bondage any longer. You’ve heard it before, but hear it again:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

God is giving you an escape, a way out of the sin that you were born with and can never be rid of on your own.

“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.…” John 3:18

Just like an addicted person who thinks they can handle their (*fill in the blank) and doesn’t need any help from anyone, we can never do enough good works or be “good enough” in and of ourselves to satisfy the righteous standard of a Holy God.

God punished sin when Jesus, His sinless Son, willing went to the cross & took the sin of the world upon Himself… past, present & future…suffering a punishment we all deserve but are spared when we accept His sacrifice on our behalf.

Haven’t their been instances when someone you love is suffering, and you think, “Oh please Lord, let it be me and not them!” This is what Jesus has done for you. He suffered in your place. He took our sin, and the punishment our sin deserves, because of His unfailing love:

“Greater love has no one than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Jesus laid down His life for you. Receive the mercy, cleansing & love He paid such a high price to give to you and be free.

Outstretched Handedited