We spoke last week, about becoming more that we are now, when we are called to help someone in need. This week, let us think about those things which bring us together, rather, than that which keeps us apart. We are joined in our faith in Christ, we are joined in following his commandment and commission, we are joined in the common belief that He, Christ, is our savior and lord. Let us follow the example He gives to us, through His ministry, and more importantly. Through his sacrifice that we all have receive forgiveness of our sin and life everlasting in the Kingdom, where he waits for us. It is easy to love, however, it is more difficult to follow that love which we are told to show others. Today give thought to how you can be a vessel of Christ’s love to us, onto those who you meet.
On Monday, we spoke about being ready when God calls you to be something more than you are. Today, as I was driving, I saw an elderly man struggling. He was walking home with three bags from the store, which may not seem all that difficult. However, I live in Arizona, at this time of year the temperatures easily climb past 100 degrees. As I saw this gentleman, he walked for a few steps then stopped, several times, I knew this was what I was called to do today.
I stopped and told him to get into my car, and I drove him home, I found that he was a neighbor of mine, living down the street from where I am. He thanked me repeatedly, but I knew in my heart that God placed me in that place at that time to help him.
I am reminded of what Jesus tells us in Matthew, “what so ever you do, for the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do onto me. (Matthew 25:40).
Each day, God gives us the opportunity to help each other, He gives us the ability to make a positive change in someone’s life and He gives us the compassion to do onto others as His Son has done for us.
Today we are starting our new series, on Monday's post will be our weekly meditation, on Wednesday will be our pulpit message. In the very near future will be begin up loading our sermons on Saturday's, which will follow our pulpit messages, We hope you will join with us, as we offer praise and meditation each week.
“Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28). This is an important lesson for Christians. It is important as we are told to not hate. We are told to bless and to pray. If this is true, then why do we hate? Why do we judge?
Paul makes the point in Philippians 2:3, to “Make your joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit, and in purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Again, we are told to love, not to hate of judge.
It is Jesus who teaches us that we should embrace all who we meet with love and compassion. His whole ministry revolved around the purpose of his life as a savior, and bring the lost to the table of the Lord. All too often we seem to not follow his example. In an article by Allison Stevens, at gotquestions.org, she states that Jesus sets an example for us to “build relationships with those we do not know.” She also points out, that when we meet those who have not experienced God’s grace, that we are to have the “Heart of Jesus.”, extending our hands, at their time of need. (1.) Jesus spoke to us in Matthew 25:35-40, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.” we are to treat all those who cross the path of life, as Jesus would treat them, with kindness, compassion, and humility. Giving of ourselves to make their life better even in a small way.
I am not suggesting that we should try to solve all the problems in the world, rather, become a change in even one person’s world. Stevens states that, “we will find opportunities to do what we can, for those who are in need, who are separated from God. She concludes, that is we separate or isolate ourselves, we are missing the point of sharing Christ we others. She also mentioned, our separation leads to a self-righteous posture and attitude. (1.)
When we give in to self-righteousness, we become cynical, cold hearted to those who we do not know and judgmental of others to whom are not like us. We become intolerant and ignorant to the needs of others. As we turn to our own desire and wants, as we become increasingly detached from others, we become more distant from God’s desire for us.
There is a quote that I find helpful in considering others who are in need. This quote comes from Charles Dickenson’s “A Christmas Carol”. We read in this story of the miserly Scrooge who places himself over others, and consider the poor are surplus population, in response to his question of tiny Tim.
The Ghost of Christmas present tells him, “It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live, to live than millions like this poor man's child” (2.) Are to be like this man? Or are we to take the time do what God wishes us to do?
Every day, we have the opportunity, and the possibility to make a change in the world of a single person. Will you take this opportunity to help?
1.) Allison Stevens, https://questions.org,
2.) A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, p 82 Chapman & Hall in 1843
Monday matters 7/17/17
Sometimes finding something to say on Monday’s can be difficult even for me. After a difficult week and busy week end. Mondays can seem like a day that I would like to not get up, as I continue to hit the snooze button on my alarm.
My point being, that we are alike in this respect, Mondays can be a day that we are just not ready for. But we all manage to get up, we all manage to get to work, and start our days no matter how much we may object to it.
I think that knowing that Mondays give us a unique opportunity, if we can handle Monday’s we can handle anything the week may throw at us. yes, Mondays are not anyone’s favorite (for most people), so maybe this Monday, let’s work at embracing Monday as a training day, that we may meet any obstacle, any difficulty and any road that we may be given.
Monday, we spoke about helping others. Today let’s continue with this thought. Jesus taught us to love each other, in John 13:34 he said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” He tells us in Matthew 5:34 “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Both times we are told to love, we are told to open our hearts and love as Jesus loves us.
Yet, we are also told to love by God, in Leviticus 19:18 we are told, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are also told to love one another by Paul in Galatians 5:14 “The entire Law is fulfilled in a single decree: "Love your neighbor as yourself." In Romans 13:10 Paul says, “Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law.”
So, what is my point? In Matthew, we are told to love each other, but Jesus also tells us in Matthew 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” It is in love that we show to each other, and to those who we do not know, that we are followers of Christ. it is in love that we are to treat all who we meet, and it is in love that we should help those that see who may need our help.
I know that at times, we cannot nor want to be involved, maybe we become complacent, or maybe we choose not to notice. I know from my experience that without the help of others, I may still be struggling, and not be in the place that I am today.
Let us remember that Jesus also told us that when help each other, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). We are called into servanthood to each other, we are called into helping one another, we are called into loving one another.” From Proverbs 14:31, we are told “He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.”. In both lessons, God calls us to help one another. In both lessons, we are shown that what we do for others, we will do for our Lord and God. take some time this week to find where it is that God needs to you to go, and who he is asking you to help.
Today, take some time out and think about all that you have, all that you can do and all that you wish to do. For many of us this is a rather long list, for others not as long, yet still we can be happy in the knowledge of having a home, having clothes to wear and food to eat. Many of us have cellular devices, televisions, and video game councils. In short, we have many things which make our lives easier, more enjoyable and, to some degree, comfortable.
Now, give some thought to those who do not have all that you have. Think about the single parent who struggles daily. Or the family you may have as neighbors that are just keeping their heads above water. Maybe you see people who have no home, or anything to eat, or a decent place to sleep.
Looking at these people, we have much to be thankful for. Before you think “well they can do better if they wanted to.”
No, they cannot. Without pouring my heart out, I was a woman who lived as these folks do, not by my choice. I was living an abusive relationship, one that shook me to my core. I left with little more than I could place in a suitcase. With three children, no job, and no place to go. I ran to save my, and my children’s lives. It was through the grace of God working through people whom I did not know, that helped me get through this dark chapter of my life. It was because of people who showed me that I could do better, that I eventually came to this place in my life. Blessed with all the things that I have now, because I had others who were there to help me along the way.
So, on this Monday, I ask you to make a difference in someone’s life, even the smallest thing, something as simple as a pair of socks can make all the difference in someone’s world. You do not need to go out of your way, as you can find people who need help all around you. What I am suggesting is you take a moment and look.
If it had not been for nameless strangers in my life, giving me some small measure of help and dignity. I would not be where I am now. Are you willing to be that stranger in someone else’s life?
How must we show the world that we are Christian?
A good question to be sure, but how should we show the world that we are Christian? I believe this should be asked in a different way, how are we showing others that we are Christian?
Is it in our words? Our stance on issues? Is it how we feel about others who are not Christian?
Consider the last time you met someone who was not a Christian, what did you do to let that person know you are a follower of Christ? Moreover, did you do anything to make that person feel at ease? Or did you not?
Paul provide us with guidance in how we should act with others, in 2 Timothy we are told, “But reject foolish and ignorant speculation, for you know that it breeds quarreling.” How often do we speculate first, without looking for understanding? He continues, “And a servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but he must be kind to everyone.” Must be kind to everyone, have you been kind to those who you meet? And lastly, he tells us we must be “Able to teach, and forbearing. We must gently reprove those who oppose us, in the hope that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:24 NIV)
What Paul is telling us, what Jesus speaks about in Matthew 5:16,” In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus tells us to show to others the work of the Father and the Son within us.
James tells us that we must show that we are followers, he states “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16 NIV)
Given what we learn from Jesus, Paul, and James, how are you showing others that you are a Christian? In words alone? Or in your actions with all people that you meet?
Let us take a moment on this Monday and think about the freedom we have to practice, or not practice our faith. We have the ability, without persecution, to express our religion, our faith and belief’s as we choose. Give just a moment to consider the cost of this freedom, and the responsibility we have for this freedom.
Pastor Lisa Chachula