Oct 13, 2017
President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 Values Voters conference in Washington
Oct 13, 2017
President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 Values Voters conference in Washington
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20
In his book Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In, Louis Zamperini spoke of a war buddy who lost a leg in conflict because of the ruthlessness of his enemy. The man survived war and prison camp, but after returning home he brooded over his treatment. “He grew increasingly bitter, and his hate became more and more intense,” Zamperini wrote. “His whole life was ahead of him, but he couldn’t embrace the present or the future. His hate had destroyed his spirit.”
By watching his friend, Zamperini articulated a core principle of life, which he shared with many groups: Hate is a personal decision, and it always turns around and destroys us. When Zamperini found Christ at the 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles, he discovered the key to forgiveness. The only way to forgive is by the Holy Spirit working within us. Only the Spirit of Christ makes it possible for us to show loving compassion to those whom, in the natural order of life, are our enemies.
The Bible says, “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:21).
When I’ve counseled troubled kids, I found that they have lots of serious hate: for their situations, sometimes their families, society, the rules, and often themselves…. Hate destroys…. It destroys you. Louis Zamperini
Citizens in many countries believe they are free because their governments allow them to worship, speak, and travel as they desire. Yet despite the liberties a constitution may guarantee, countless people from those lands live in bondage. That’s because true freedom isn’t something that can be legislated. Rather, it is the ability to live a righteous life in the mercy, grace, goodness, and power of God.
True freedom means:
Through Jesus, we are redeemed from bondage to sin and its consequences. God has adopted us into His family, and we are able to walk with Him in truth.
Our hope is secure. When a child feels safe in his parents’ love and provision, he will thrive. We, too, can live with joy and confidence since we trust the Lord to care for us today and through all of eternity.
God has enabled us to become all that He intended. He’s opened the door for us to release bitterness, low self-esteem, and other impediments that once had a grip on us. Furthermore, His Holy Spirit guides and enables so we can do all that He desires.
Through grace, Christ has freed us to relate to one another in a godly fashion. We can love and forgive in God’s strength because we have experienced the same from Him.
Is anything hindering God’s work in your life or interfering with your peace and contentment? Understand that the Christian life is a paradox: We are set free from bondage to sin yet choose to be bondslaves of Jesus. Only when we fully surrender and sacrifice to Him can we truly live in freedom.
“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17)
Most people today consider Jesus Christ to have been a great man but will not believe He is the unique Son of God. Nevertheless, He is indeed God’s only begotten Son.
Before His birth, the angel Gabriel predicted it. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). John the Baptist identified Him: “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). His disciples recognized Him. “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God” (John 1:49). “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). John said that the very purpose of his gospel was to demonstrate “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). After Christ’s resurrection, even Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
The powers of darkness grudgingly acknowledged who He was: “And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11). Even the centurion who supervised His crucifixion had to confess, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Most important of all was the testimony of God the Father from heaven to Christ’s Sonship, both at His baptism (e.g., Mark 1:11) and on the Mount of Transfiguration, as Peter records in our text.
Therefore, it is necessary for our salvation that we also believe this. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). HMM
Another Psalm highly characteristic of David is—Psalm 62. which we are in the habit of calling the only Psalm, from its containing such frequent repetitions of the word only. David rejoiced to place his confidence in God “only.”
Truly or as it is in the original only
Our salvation in no measure or degree comes to us from any but the Lord; let us therefore depend alone upon him. If to wait on God be worship, to wait on the creature is idolatry; if to wait on God alone be true faith, to associate an arm of flesh with him is audacious unbelief, yet, how very few of us steer clear of these evils, and look to God alone.
“Moved,” as one says, “but not removed.” Moved like a ship at anchor, which swings with the tide, but is not swept away by the current. Nothing stays the soul like a faith which leans alone on God. In faith it is good to have but one string to our bow, one pillar to our house.
The world is full of flatterers, and these are plotters against our best prosperity: let us fly from then to the one only confidence of the saints. If we have God for us, who can be against us?
Knock at no other door but that of thy God. God is one; let thy hopes look towards him alone. A single eye will fill thee with light.
Notice how David brands his own initials upon every title which he rejoicingly gives to God, my expectation, my rock, my salvation, my glory, and so on. There are seven my’s in two verses, and there can never be too many. The faith which makes personal appropriation of divine blessings is the faith we all need.
Ye to whom his love is revealed, reveal yourselves to him. Turn the vessel of your soul upside down in his presence, and let your inmost thoughts, desires, sorrows and sins be poured out like water. To keep our grief’s to ourselves is to hoard up wretchedness. Give your woe free course before the Lord, and its end is near.
Men, whether great or small, are still but men, and men are dust. To trust in the many is folly, to rely upon the eminent few is madness; to depend upon the Lord alone is the only sanity.
Here is a difficult precept, for worldly wealth is a slimy thing, and is too apt to cling to the heart. Perhaps this is the reason why so many of the saints are in poverty, because the Lord would spare them from being tempted by increasing riches. God only must be our rest, and not the treasures of time. Wealth is but wind if we make it our confidence.
Not to men nor to their possessions may we look for power, that is the prerogative of God alone. Those are wise who look for help alone to him.
He gives us strength equal to our day. Power is all his own, but he will render as much to us as our work requires. Let us seek it at his hands, and at his hands only.
Ever to the Saviour cling,
Trust in him and none beside:
Never let an earthly thing
Hide from thee the Crucified.
Ever cast on him thy care,
He invites thee so to do;
Never let thy soul despair,
He will surely help thee through.
Ever live as in the view
Of the day of glory, near;
Never be to Christ untrue,
Thou shalt soon his glory share.
1 Peter 3:8
As Peter continues to make his concluding remarks to husbands and wives, he urges them to “… be pitiful, be courteous.” Today I want us to delve into the meanings of these Greek words to see what Peter means when he commands husbands and wives to be “pitiful” and “courteous” with one another.
The word “pitiful” is the Greek word eusplagchnos. It is a very strange combination of the words eu and splagchnos. The word eu means well or good. It describes a person who feels swell or pleased about something. It depicts a positive emotional response to someone or to something that has been done.
One of the best examples of the word eu in the New Testament is found in Matthew 3:17. When Jesus came up from the baptismal waters of the Jordan, a voice spoke from Heaven, saying, “… This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The words “well pleased” are from the word eudokeo—which is the word eu, meaning great pleasure, connected to the Greek word dokeo, meaning to think or to imagine. But when these words are compounded to form the word eudokeo, it means, “I am more pleased than you could possibly imagine! I am supremely pleased!”
Now that we have looked at the word eu, the first part of the word eusplagchnos, let’s now move to the second part of the word to see what the word splagchnos means. The word splagchnos is the Greek word for the intestines or bowels. Paul uses the word splagchnos in Second Corinthians 6:12 to describe his deeply felt affection for the Corinthian believers. He uses the word splagchnos in Philippians 1:8 to describe the deeply felt affections of Jesus Christ. In Philemon 1:12, we find Paul using the word splagchnos when he says to Philemon concerning Onesimus, “Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels.” The use of the word splagchnos (“bowels”) in this verse tells us that Paul felt very deeply about Onesimus.
From the examples in the paragraph above, we see that the word splagchnos can describe tender emotions, or it may picture deeply felt feelings for someone else. But we also find that the word splagchnos (“bowels”) is used throughout the Gospels to express those moments when Jesus was “moved with compassion.” There are many examples of the word splagchnos being used exactly in this way. For example:
In every example where Jesus felt compassion for someone or for a mass of people, there was such a movement of compassion from within Him that it surged out of Him to meet the needs of people. In some cases, that movement of compassion caused Him to provide food, to raise the dead, to deliver the demon-possessed, to heal the sick, and to provide teaching for those who were like sheep without a shepherd.
Forgive me for being so straightforward, but I want to tell you exactly why the Holy Spirit chose the word splagchnos (“bowels”) to describe compassion. Let me get very biological for a moment. What happens when a person’s bowels move? The movement of the bowels produces action, doesn’t it? Likewise, when the human spirit is deeply touched and moved by the need of another person, it causes a movement or a release of divine power to surge from deep within that person to reach out and meet the needs of that other individual.
This is the reason that every time Jesus was moved with compassion, it always resulted in a healing, deliverance, resurrection, supernatural provision, or some other action that changed someone’s life. You see, compassion always produces action. The force of compassion cannot leave a person in the sad condition in which he was found; it moves one to do something to change that other person’s situation.
We find the word splagchnos (“bowels”) in First John 3:17, where John writes, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” The word “shutteth” is the Greek word kleio, which means to lock up or to tightly shut up. It pictures a believer who is deeply moved by someone else’s need. But instead of letting that compassion move him to action, this believer deliberately puts up a barrier and shuts off the flow of compassion.
The urge to be compassionate is so strong that this believer must deliberately harden his heart in order to shut off that force of compassion and hinder it from flowing forth from him to meet that human need. John describes this urge to meet someone else’s need as “bowels of compassion.”
But when these two words—eu and splagchnos—are compounded together, it means to be tender-hearted or affectionate. The second part of the word, splagchnos, pictures a person who is deeply moved. However the word eu, the first part of the word eusplagchnos, pictures a person who feels very positive about someone or something else. When compounded together, the new word means an inward feeling of delight and a deep desire that moves someone to do something for someone else.
Peter uses this same word in First Peter 3:8 when he tells husbands and wives to be “pitiful.” Peter is actually exhorting them to feel deeply for each other and to put actions to those emotions. Compassion always produces action.
If you deeply love your spouse, that love will move you to do things to help him or her in life, for real love cannot just sit idly by and watch the loved one struggle. Your deeply felt love for your mate will motivate you to get up and do something to help!
But then Peter follows this up by telling husband and wives to be “courteous.” The word “courteous” is an unfortunate translation of the Greek word tapeinophron. It is a compound of the words tapeinos and phren. The word tapienos means to be lowly, to be humble, or to exhibit humility and modesty. The word phren is the Greek word for the intellect or the mind. When these two words are used together, it means to be humble-minded or to be lowly-minded—a concept that goes beyond merely being courteous or polite.
It is just a fact that when we see someone else with a need, our flesh wants to rise up and say, “I’m going to quit being so merciful and compassionate! That person can just grow up! I am finished intervening to help every time he struggles!”
In moments when our flesh is tempted to be judgmental toward our spouses, we must resist the temptation to act high and mighty and condescending. Instead, we must choose to be humble-minded, to come down to a level where we can be understanding and release a flow of compassion to help instead of becoming our spouses’ judge!
This is what Peter means when he tells husbands and wives to be “pitiful” and to be “courteous.” Now that you know the way you are supposed to relate to your spouse, what are you going to do?
Lord, I want to be moved with compassion toward my spouse! Help me to truly feel compassion for what my spouse is going through, and teach me how to let mercy flow from my spirit to strengthen him (or her). I know that my spirit is filled with everything my spouse needs in moments of difficulty, so I want to know how to release those good things from my spirit to strengthen and edify him (or her). Holy Spirit, please help me be moved with compassion toward my spouse. Teach me how to esteem and to treat him (or her) as more important than myself.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I am filled with compassion and that I let that force of compassion flow from my heart to my spouse. I am the strongest source of blessing and encouragement in my spouse’s life. I deliberately think of ways I can be a blessing to him (or her), and I speak words of blessing that will bring the strength and encouragement my spouse needs from me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
If so, then ponder this: “In all your journey as a believer, you will have two categories of spiritual experiences. One is tender, delightful and loving. The other can be quite obscure, dry, dark, and desolate. God gives us the first one to gain us; he gives us the second to purify us.” (Michael Molinos)
God is using every experience in your life to transform you into Christ’s character:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son… ” (Romans 8:28, 29a)
Therefore: Choose today to praise Him for every eventuality that comes into your life, viewing them as His ordained agents to make you more like Him.
God has given you the necessary resources to live life exactly as He intends:
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31, 32)
Therefore: Choose today to appropriate from Him whatever resources are necessary to accomplish what He has put before you.
No accusation against you can stand. Imagine: Christ not only died for you but right now is praying for you:
“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33, 34)
Therefore: Choose today to rest in the knowledge that your Sovereign God has declared you righteous in His sight, and has forgiven (and forgotten) past sins. Thus, no accusation against you stands. Draw strength in the knowledge that at this moment Jesus is in the Father’s presence, praying for you.
In all life’s circumstances God promises you total victory as He encompasses you in His love:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life… neither the present nor the future… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37, 38a,c, 39b)
Therefore: Choose today to rest in His ever-present love, as you appropriate Him as your resource in realizing victory over every obstacle or adversary.