Tag Archive | let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Sitting out or serving?

If you were given the choice, which would you prefer to serve or be served? If we are honest, there are times when most of us enjoy being served. Times when we feel the need to relax and have someone else take care of some of our responsibilities or perhaps just pamper us a wee bit.  There is nothing wrong with each of us enjoying some down time to relax and be pampered. It is important however, to remember that as followers of Christ we have accepted the call to serve. If we find ourselves hesitant to get involved in serving than we have somehow misunderstood the calling on our lives. Each and every one of us who has accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior is required to follow in our Master’s footsteps. Those footsteps involve service. Service to our brothers and sisters in Christ, service in our churches and service in a world that is desperate for God.

Serving will look different for each of us. Some may be called to minister through a position in the church such as an elder, server, apostle, teacher, prophet, etc. Some may serve as a Sunday school teacher, nursery caregiver, bible study leader, prayer intercessor, worship leader, church musician or caretaker. There are multiple opportunities in each church to serve the body of Christ.  Inside and outside the church the opportunities are endless, perhaps cooking for the sick, babysitting for a single parent, visiting those in prison, driving others to Dr. appointments, helping out at a shelter, food bank etc.  Regardless of where we may find ourselves in life there are endless opportunities to serve and demonstrate the love of Christ to others. This may  at times require loving some we would naturally find unlovable.

So why bother? Why bother giving up our free time to serve when we could be doing things we enjoy. Because we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ. We  are called to demonstrate the love He has for others by using our own  hands and through the moving of the Holy Spirit. When we grasp what He did for us  at Calvary, how He willingly laid down His life in order that we may be reconciled with our Heavenly Father we should count it joy to serve!  Just as He willingly died for us out of love,as recipients of that love we should all be willing to serve others.

The bible gives us some clear words on doing just that…

Phillipians 2:1-4 NIV 2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

1 John 3:16-17 NIV 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Luke 6:32-36 NIV32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be childrenof the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Romans 15:1-6 NIV 15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV 13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

These are but a few verses. The Bible is full of many more that encourage us to be actively doing the will of God by serving. If you are not stirred up to serve than you need to pray and ask God to give you the desire to do His will. Ask for direction in how you may be able to serve. Ask for Him to show you the areas you are best equipped to serve.  If we have committed our life to Christ we have been given giftings through the Holy Spirit  that prevent any of us from saying we are not able to serve!  Instead of sitting on your giftings why not start using them today?

This love doesn’t come natural!

John 15:35I am so glad that Jesus loves me. His love has transformed me and will continue to do so till either I go to be with Him or He returns. This is a promise from Him for everyone of us that are followers of Christ.  2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  

It is truly awesome to know that He will never give up on us.  He will continue to change us more and more into His image. One of the ways I have found Christ changing my heart is in my attitude towards others. Through the Word of God and His Spirit moving in my life, I am discovering that many of the things I used to feel and believe are no longer applicable. He truly does transform us and sometimes we don’t even realize when it is happening until we find ourselves seeing a situation from a different perspective than we ever did before. There were times in the past where I would take a haughty attitude towards others and their messed up lives. Christ is melting my arrogance and hardness towards others. It is a slow procedure but it is definitely happening.  My prayer these days is that God would break my heart with what breaks His heart!  It is too easy to get settled into an attitude of judgment and arrogance towards others.

I am not suggesting turning a blind eye to sin but I am suggesting that the only one worthy of  judging another’s heart is Christ. People that don’t know Him as Lord and Savior are not lead by His Spirit and until they are they will not behave in ways that bring glory to His name. They need Jesus and we need to tell them. What they don’t need is us pouring condemnation on them in anger or bitterness. God’s Spirit is more than capable of wooing them to Jesus. It is through sharing the good news,  prayer and  demonstrating the love of Christ that people will be won. Treating them like lepers or with bitterness will never draw anyone to the lover of their soul. Our focus should be on doing what comes the least natural to us and that is loving like Jesus does!

I want to share several scriptures today to encourage you to live a life that glorifies Christ. Though these are only a few verses, they are powerful ones and when we take the time to meditate on them and ask Christ to help us to walk them out they will bring about the kind of change in us our fellow believers and the world needs to see.

James 2:12 NIV 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

This is an incredibly powerful verse for us all to remember!

Matthew 18:21-22 NIV 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  

This is certainly not a popular teaching today!

  Luke 10:25-37 NIV 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise!”  Jesus used this parable to demonstrate to a man determined to live by the letter of the law that he was to show mercy, just as we are!

Romans 12:17-21 NIV 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And finally I will finish with  1John 3:15-16 NIV 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children,let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

When we find ourselves looking down on others in judgment, we need to examine ourselves and ask Christ to bring about the change that will result in our living as He lived, loving as He loves and allowing  us to each be a light in this dark world of ours. It is the fact that Christ died for us while we were sinners that demonstrated His amazing love! We didn’t have to clean ourselves up first. He took us just as we were. Thankfully He doesn’t leave us as we were but continues to change us from glory to glory! Just as He longs to do for all those who have yet to know Him as Lord. For those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, be an example and a source of encouragement. Love them as Jesus loves them. Rebuke when necessary but don’t allow any bitterness to spring up in your heart towards them.  We fail in our walk with Christ when our love is limited to those who we deem worthy. We are to love those, who at times appear very unlovable! Ours is a higher calling. Let your life demonstrate the love of Christ to others. By doing so, we are demonstrating our love to Him.

John 13:35 NIV 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“That world outside there is not waiting for  another definition of  Christianity, it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

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