Monday, April 18, 2011

No Exemptions

A.I.D.S (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is such a deadly disease because it attacks the immune system. It leaves the body defenseless against minor ailments such as a common cold. So, if someone with A.I.D.S. gets a cold, it could turn into pneumonia and lead to death. This is no cure for this malady. It can only be treated, but will still lead to the individual’s death.
 
Another chronic illness that afflicts the human body that has no cure is diabetes. However, a diabetic can live a healthy lifestyle by taking insulin, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. Insulin and proper diet are beneficial, but I have seen many who don’t follow these simple instructions. Diabetics who disregard these basic tools for living end up losing limbs or worse yet dying. There are no exemptions.
 
Sin in the life of a believer is likened unto the two diseases. There is no cure. It can be controlled, BUT if a believer does not put into practice a daily discipline of the word; he or she will suffer the consequences. No one is exempt.
 
Paul told the Church of Rome in Romans 8:13, “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. An Old Testament counterpart to this verse can be found in Moses farewell address to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:19.
 
He told the children of Israel, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.”
 
The essence of these verses lies in our choices. If we make godly choices, we will reap the blessings. If we make fleshy choices, we will reap death. There is no way around this pungent truth. Therefore instead of looking for an exemption for the flesh today, choose life that you and your children may live!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Sinner's Love

Luke 6:31-36 in the New Living translation says, "Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate."

This pericope of scripture starts out with the Golden Rule, "Do to others as you would like them to do to you." It can also be said, "Treat others like you want to be treated." This is translated to mean that if you want people to love you, love them. If you want people to give to you, give to them. If you want others to be kind to you, then be kind to them. If you want people to forgive you, forgive them.

In Matthew 13, Jesus, after teaching seven kingdom parables, asked His disciples, "Do you understand all these things." They responded, "Yes, Lord." Many believers say they understand the Golden Rule, but, are frustrated, disillusioned, and hard to get along with because they are not treating people like they want to be treated. This is indicative of a sinner's love.

A sinner only loves those who love them. Well, that is expected of one who knows nothing about the love of God. The problem comes in when a believer acts like a sinner only loving those who love, do good and are kind to them. This is a sad commentary for the Body of Christ; for this act of a "sinner's love," has given the enemies of God great occasion to blaspheme God (2 Samuel 12:14).

Luke 6:35-36 says, "Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate." This is the command that Jesus gave to those who were listening to Him back then, and He is giving this command to us today. We are given the directive to love like God loves and we are more than able to accomplish this task because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

So, don't get caught up in a sinners love; only loving, blessing and giving to those who love, bless and give to you. Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. In short, love like God loves! He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. He is kind and merciful to you.

Understanding the Kingdom of Heaven in 2011,

Pastor Sheila