“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them, then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23 NIV
God is looking at the heart. What we truly are and think is deep inside of us. Where no one but God can see. We can come across one way on our outward positioning, but what’s in our hearts is the true person. God has called us to love all people better than ourselves. He has told us that whatever it takes, we should be at peace with all men. That’s tough! It takes a lot of patience to get along with even the best of people. It doesn’t take much to get under our skin. To rub us the wrong way. There is no way in and of ourselves. God has to open our eyes to the way he loves others. He loves with such passion no matter what someone looks or acts like. He looks deeper to the lonely scared child that just wants to be loved and accepted. This person is his. He wants us to be there for others. Brothers and sisters making it together. This is more important than offering things. Money, time, devotion come in second place to people. That is why he has called us to care for widows and orphans, sick and hungry, and those who can’t take care of themselves. We may be their only hope. God can do all things but he uses us. He has given us a privilege to be apart of his bigger plan. When he was on earth all manner of sick, both mental and physical, came to him, their only hope for help. They didn’t know if he could or would help but they had to try. And ,Jesus had compassion. He saw their very soul and every hurt they had and he loved them so. That is why he doesn’t like sin. Because they hurt his beloved children. Those that he greatly cares about. Things like adultery, murder, stealing. All commands affect others wellbeing or loving and honoring God. Love covers over every action. If we just love the way he tells us to do we will have it down. We can not change the way others act, try as we may. Their behavior is between them and God. But if we just take a deep breath and ask God for help we can be the best we can be. You never know how your actions will greatly affect others around you.
Will you see others through God’s eyes of compassion?
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.“ Acts 4:12 NIV
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is there any sweeter name? Do you know how important that name is? When Jesus freely offered up his life to pay for the sins we could never pay for, he did an awesome thing. God is perfect and if we want to spend time with him then we have to be perfect. He knows that is impossible though. Someone had to pay for those sins. In the days of Moses many perfect animals had to die so that God’s people could be forgiven. Every day sacrifices were made. But God wanted to see the heart attitude of his people change. The only perfect man who ever lived was God’s own son. He had to be willing to watch his only son being arrested for sins he didn’t commit, being beaten beyond recognition, then to be hung on a cross with hardened criminals till all life drained from his body. Jesus did that for each of us so that we could have eternal life. It was the only way. Not many parents could do that. Not only did he die but he went into hell for us. Bearing all the sins that would ever be committed. After three days God broke the suffering and brought him back to life. Death had been defeated for all those who would believe. But not just believe there is a God. Even Satan believes in God but does not respect him or obey him. We must believe that Jesus loved us so much that he willingly died for us. So we wouldn’t have to. After three days he did raise to life and wants to take away all of our sins. We are justified. That means that God sees you as perfect just as his son. He sees your sins no more after you have asked to be forgiven. Along with salvation you get the Holy Spirit. He helps us every day to follow God’s commands and live like we should. Whenever we need help he is a prayer away. He will hear everything you ask believing in the name of Jesus. That name opens doors and breaks down walls for us. It is the most powerful name you will ever hear. God loves his son so much and now he sits on a throne at the right hand of God. All honor is due him for all that he did. But do you know that he keeps interceding for his followers? He knows that Satan still runs things on this earth and that we need help. But did you know that God is still in control of our lives? Satan can not kill us only God knows when we will breathe our last breath. When we do we are assured that we will be with him in paradise forever.
Do you know Jesus personally?
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelations 2:4-5 NIV
I just finished reading a great book about the church in the last days. Called ‘Salt and Light’. It showed how biblical prophecies of the last days can be interpreted and how we as Christians should stand strong and look to overcome the deceptions that will come. Satan still works to deceive even Christians. He will use anything he can to put doubt in our minds. His biggest area of attack is with our pride and our desires. So many things the world tells us we gotta have. Things are not necessarily bad but can take up so much of our time. Causing us to neglect our time with God. We really need to spend time every day with God to stay strong. If we do not take time to strengthen our spirits then we too risk being deceived. I have been there and it is a slippery slope. I never want the enemy to pull the wool over my eyes again. So many in the church are living defeated and ineffectual lives. Thinking they are just fine. The road to heaven is very narrow and few will stay strong till the end. The one thing you can use to judge where you are at is by the fruit in your life. They will know we are Christians by our love, but without plentiful fruit we are ineffective. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. If these are not abundant in our lives we have cause for concern. Our church has so many different ministries for helping others. Out of our several satellite churches it takes continuous miracles to keep up with all the many needs of all the locations. We just keep stepping up the work as that day grows nearer. Each location has its own unique needs. The biggest thing we need to remember is to live at peace with all men. Don’t get dragged into conflict and turmoil if at all possible. Our reputations are more important now, more than ever. The world is where we reside but we are to be different. We are residents of Heaven first. Just passing through this world temporarily. The world says spend, spend, spend. We may be one of the richest countries and have more available to us than everyone else but we are also so far in debt that we will never see ourselves out of debt. The average household owes thousands but we live for today and worry how to pay for it tomorrow. We need wisdom so badly from God. We need to learn how to live within our means and learn how to save. Those who have learned how to give are blessed so much in their finances. It is a very good place to be.
What are you doing to stay strong?
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV
In this life there is only one absolute. And that is that 100% of us will die. Nobody gets out alive. Well maybe a few did, but that was thousands of years ago, but we all die. Since sin came into the world our bodies are slowly decaying away. And though many will die of an accident or an act of violence we all need to be ready. Some people assume that because they are young that they have plenty of time. Well I thought that but an unexpected severe stroke stopped my busy life at forty-five. It almost took my life. Frankly I was far from ready to die but our days are numbered. God is the only one who knows the exact number of days we have. From the day we are conceived it is planned. Even how we will die. It should be comforting to know that nobody dies by mistake. If you are meant to die, you will die. Now someone may do something mistakenly that causes your death but God knew that and allowed that. Just as a poor baby can be murdered in the womb, God knew that it would die at that time. We all have a purpose even if someone is only some forty some months old like my grandson. When you die we will all, everyone, face judgement for the life we lived. Many do not want to think about that and others say we just go to sleep and never wake up, and that’s not true , and I’m glad I know in advance. I know because Christ has come into my heart and I have the peace and assurance to all who trust in him that he is coming again with salvation for all those who follow him. But that is a small group of people who are truly ready. Once you are dead it’s too late. You have made a decision whether you know it or not. And you might not like where you end up forever. Christ came to this earth already two thousand years ago. He came as a poor little baby into a struggling young family. He would only live thirty some years and he was rejected by many, he would be arrested for something he did not do, and would be sacrificed on a cross for you and me. He did not try to defend himself, but humbly died so we wouldn’t have to. He is returning again for his followers one day soon. What a triumphant day that will be.
Are you one of those followers?