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“Why can’t people just be nice…?”

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That was the comment I received from my wife this morning as we were out enjoying a nice Christmas day walk, relishing the sunshine and warmth of 73°. Sorry, I couldn’t resist…IMG_20180612_055103

I had asked her if she had given any thought yet to 2019, and if there was anything she had hopes for in the coming year. True to her nature as the kindest, most gentle person I’ve ever known, she just wants people to treat one another with kindness.

As she pointed out to me, there is so much anger, malice, and evil in this world today that Christians can’t just talk about love any longer, but must demonstrate love for one another.

Listening to her this morning, I was reminded of a preacher by the name of Paul who gave us an entire chapter on the importance of love. You can find this amazing teaching in 1st Corinthians, chapter 13.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1st Corinthians 13:1-7   ESV

Understanding that Paul was given great faith and power, whereby he did many great miracles, only serves to heighten the importance of his teaching about love.

You see, Paul the Apostle understood that the foundation of the Church was love. Going back to John 3:16, we know that to be true because of these words that Jesus spoke.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.

Jesus came because of love, served God and man in love, and ultimately gave his life out of love for you and I. Jesus is the head of the Church, and he built, and continues to build his Church on love.

To treat people with respect, to love them as Jesus does, or as my sweet wife would say “just be nice”, requires us to walk humbly before the Lord. It requires us to live our lives in daily submission to Him who gave his best for us.

I hope that going forward all of us will see the importance of being nice, treating one another with respect, and living our lives in a manner that brings honor to our God.

Be blessed,

Ron

 

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Worthiness…

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Worthiness.

Many of us do not understand how powerful this word is. Nor do we realize how much of our lives are spent agonizing over this subject.Often,we do it without even thinking about it,as if somehow we are already programmed to feel less than,or unworthy.

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If you think about it,we deal with this issue of unworthiness from a very young age up until we depart this life. School children learn early about pass/fail,which equates to worth/ unworth.Adults have their worthiness judged regularly in the workplace by performance reviews or some other means of determining their level of performance.

 

Our western society is based upon the premise of worthiness.If everyone played by the rules,the worthy would get the degree,the deal,the job,the new car,the promotion,the happy marriage.

The unworthy get the leftovers.The crumbs.They get the dirty factory jobs.In other words,they get what the “worthy”discard.They carry with them the label of “less than”.

For the Christian however,we are not measured by the world’s standards.Our self-worth cannot be based on what others think of us,or whatever particular box they want to place us in.

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There is only one opinion,or authority, of our self-worth that should concern us.That of course is what Jesus Christ thinks of us.

Knowing this of course does not stop the enemy from doing all he can to persuade us otherwise.A great many Christians continue to struggle daily with inferiority and depression.To think that these battles can be easily and quickly won only reveal that we have deceived ourselves.

I have struggled with this issue of worthiness in my own life for as long as I can remember.Perhaps you have as well.From my early childhood I was told that I was never going to amount to anything,and for a long time I believed that.In truth,it became a part of me.

But not any longer.

It took a while, but I have learned that in this life the quest to become “worthy enough” by the worlds standards is a fools game.You can attend all the seminars,sign up for all the self help classes,take all of the personality profile tests there are and end up at best temporarily feeling better.No,the worlds standard of worthiness is unobtainable.

I never realized the gravity of this until I met the Lord and asked Him to forgive me of my sins and to come,live within me.I soon understood that the world does not give,it only takes,but Jesus was a giver.And He never looks down at any of us.

That is why we should always remember that we were “worth” dying for. We are never a “less than” in His sight. Hardly! We who the world thought unworthy have become heirs of God,and joint heirs with Christ.Does that sound to you like God thinks of you as unworthy? Believe me,Jesus has no losers!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life“.  John 3:16   NKJV

To all who struggle with feelings of never being good enough,or that you are damaged goods,or somehow will never make the 1st team,I want to leave you with this:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”.   Jer 29:11   NKJV

Have a blessed Sunday!

Ron