A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34
When parents’ inconsistencies are pointed out by their children, they are tempted to say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Fair enough; standards are standards. But the better outcome is for parents—for us all—to act the way we want others to act.
Jesus did that. His motto might have been, “Do as I say and as I do,” since His words and actions were always consistent. For example, He used His own love for His disciples as an illustration for how they ought to love one another. When we read the apostle Paul’s words about unconditional love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we realize we are reading a description of how Jesus loved others. He was patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not prideful, not rude or self-seeking or easily angered. Instead, He forgave, rejoiced in the truth, protected, trusted, hoped, and persevered. When Paul says we are to love that way, he is saying, “Love as Jesus loved.”
When faced with a love-challenge in your relationships, ask, “How would Jesus love in this situation?”
You never so touch the ocean of God’s love as when you forgive and love your enemies. Corrie Ten Boom
John Piper sermon: As I Have Loved You, Love One Another
I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11
On the outskirts of Paris, as in other cities around the globe, people are coming to the aid of the homeless in their communities. Clothing, covered in waterproof bags, is hung on designated fences for those living on the streets to take according to their needs. The bags are labeled, “I’m not lost; I’m for you if you’re cold.” The effort not only warms those without shelter, but also teaches those in the community the importance of assisting the needy among them.
The Bible highlights the importance of caring for those who are poor, instructing us to be “openhanded” toward them (Deuteronomy 15:11). We might be tempted to avert our eyes to the plight of the poor, holding tightly to our resources instead of sharing them. Yet God challenges us to recognize that we will always be surrounded by those who have needs and therefore to respond to them with generosity, not a “grudging heart” (v. 10). Jesus says that in giving to the poor we receive an enduring treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).
Our generosity may not be recognized by anyone other than God. Yet when we give freely, we not only meet the needs of those around us but we also experience the joy God intends for us in providing for others. Help us, Lord, to have open eyes and open hands to supply the needs of those You place in our paths!
Reflect & Pray
Are you holding too tightly to your resources? If yes, why? What need can you fill today?
Generosity displays confidence in God’s loving and faithful provision.
Have you ever had to take a stand against a barrage of opposing opinions in order to be true to Christ? Or has a group of friends or coworkers ever wanted to cut corners or participate in a sinful activity—and you were the only one saying no? When the godly voice is outnumbered, it can be challenging to speak up for righteousness.
We all have convictions that define who we are and determine our lifestyle and choices. We may like to think that these are a private matter, but in reality, they are constantly on display for all to see. That’s because we live them out each day with our words and actions.
Since convictions have a powerful influence, we should examine what ours are saying about us. Are they leading us to a righteous life in accordance with God’s will, or are they so weak that our life is dominated by the old fleshly nature?
God has given us principles from His Word to guide, protect, and help us lead godly lives. These standards are like guardrails that keep us from veering off track when temptations beckon. By holding firmly to these convictions, we follow a path that fits our identity in Christ. Instead of going along with the crowd, we’re to walk in God’s will and abstain from the sins that surround us in the world.
The time to establish our convictions is before we face temptations, not in the midst of them. We need solid, immovable biblical principles to shape what we believe and how we live.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2)
Education is sometimes claimed to be a “search for truth,” and scientists in particular take pride in their “research.” No doubt the scientific method has led to many useful discoveries and inventions, and rulers often have sponsored “government research” for their own ends. Furthermore, God’s primeval “dominion mandate” (Genesis 1:26-28) in effect ordains the conduct of beneficial research.
At the same time, there are some things that are far beyond the research capabilities of human investigations. Yet, they are understandable to the believing heart because these unsearchable things are near to the heart of God, who made us in His image. “I would seek unto God,” Job said, “and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number” (Job 5:8-9).
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). “There is no searching of his understanding” (Isaiah 40:28). “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). There is far more to be discovered concerning God and His great creation than all the scientists can ever hope to discover in this life. But those who love Him will have an eternity of time to search out the majestic complexities of His infinite universe, for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
What a marvelous paradox! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). Yet unsearchable though they be, Paul, “less than the least of all saints,” was able to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). HMM
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
—1 Thessalonians 5:14
The shepherd of souls is often forced to work at what would appear to be cross purposes with himself.
For instance, he must encourage the timid and warn the self-confident; and these may at any given time be present in his congregation in almost equal numbers….
Another problem he faces is the presence in the normal Christian assembly of believers in every stage of development, from the newly converted who knows almost nothing about the Christian life to the wise and experienced Christian who seems to know almost everything.
Again, the Christian minister must have a word from God for the teen-aged, the middle-aged and the very aged. He must speak to the scholar as well as to the ignorant; he must bring the living Word to the cultured man and woman and to the vulgarian who reads nothing but the sports page and the comic strip. He must speak to the sad and to the happy, to the tender-minded and to the tough-minded, to those eager to live and to some who secretly wish they could die. And he must do this all in one sermon and in a period of time not exceeding forty-five minutes. Surely this requires a Daniel, and Daniels are as scarce in the United States today as in Babylon in 600 B.C. SOS082-083
Lord, I confess myself totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Enable, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Then shall thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am.—Isaiah 63:9.
Ever quickly Thou dost hear
Thy children’s feeble cry,
And dost keep them everywhere
Beneath Thy watchful eye;
And ‘midst the worlds that lean on
Thee Thou hast faithful thoughts of me.
He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry.” That has comforted me often, more than any promise of answer; it includes answers, and a great deal more besides; it tells us what He is towards us, and that is more than what He will do. And the “cry” is not long, connected, thoughtful prayers; a cry is just an unworded dart upwards of the heart, and at that “voice” He will be very gracious. What a smile there is in these words!
F. R. Havergal.
He that hath not tempted you hitherto above your strength will continue so to the end. If, for a time, He hide His face from you, yet He doth it but for a moment, to make you the more heartily to cry to Him; and surely He will hear you, not only when you are in crying, but also whilst you are in thinking how to cry. He is with you in trouble, and will indeed deliver you.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
My Lord’s words are true as to the tribulation. I have my share of it beyond all doubt. The flail is not hung up out of the way, nor can I hope that it will be laid aside so long as I lie upon the threshingfloor. How can I look to be at home in the enemy’s country, joyful while in exile, or comfortable in a wilderness? This is not my rest. This is the place of the furnace, and the forge, and the hammer. My experience tallies with my Lord’s words.
I note how He bids me “be of good cheer.” Alas! I am far too apt to be downcast. My spirit soon sinks when I am sorely tried. But I must not give way to this feeling. When my Lord bids me cheer up I must not dare to be cast down.
What is the argument which He uses to encourage me? Why, it is His own victory. He says, “I have overcome the world.” His battle was much more severe than mine. I have not yet resisted unto blood. Why do I despair of overcoming? See, my soul, the enemy has been once overcome. I fight with a beaten foe. O world, Jesus has already vanquished thee; and in me, by His grace, He will overcome thee again. Therefore am I of good cheer, and sing unto my conquering Lord.