A Royal Problem
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles. Love does not envy. Proverbs 24:17; 1 Corinthians 13:4
The tabloids are having a field day claiming Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are so jealous of each other it’s affecting the relationship between their husbands—the brothers Harry and William. Evidently the two British royal couples are moving farther away from each other and putting distance between themselves because Meghan’s glamorous fame has overshadowed Kate.
Well, don’t believe what you read in the tabloids. Who knows what happens behind palace walls? But we do know from our own experience how easily the attitudes of envy and jealousy can affect our relationships. They can cause breakdowns between family members, church members, coworkers or classmates. They can create distance between us.
Our natural human emotions are envy and jealousy, and that’s a royal problem. Our supernatural biblical emotions rejoice at the achievements of others. If you feel the pinch of jealous frustration, confess it to the Lord as sin and remember this: When we possess the true Spirit-given love of Jesus, we’re happy for the success of another.
We ought to rejoice in the success of others….Their success should be our encouragement. The Lutheran Magazine, 1829.
The Perfections of Love, Part 1 (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15
“What do you think about peace?” my friend asked as we ate lunch together. “Peace?” I said, puzzled. “I’m not sure—why do you ask?” He answered, “Well, as you jiggled your foot during the church service I wondered if you’re agitated about something. Have you considered the peace God gives to those who love Him?”
That day some years ago, I was a bit hurt by my friend’s question, but it started me on a journey. I began exploring the Bible to see how God’s people embraced this gift of well-being, of peace, even in the midst of hardship. As I read Paul’s letter to the Colossians, I chewed over the apostle’s command to let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts (Colossians 3:15).
Paul was writing to a church he’d never visited but had heard about from his friend Epaphras. He was concerned that as they encountered false teaching, they were losing the peace of Christ. But instead of admonishing them, Paul encouraged them to trust Jesus, who would give them assurance and hope (v. 15).
We all will encounter times when we can choose to embrace or refuse the rule of Christ’s peace in our hearts. As we turn to Him, asking Jesus to dwell in us, He will gently release us from the anxiety and cares that weigh us down. As we seek His peace, we trust that He will meet us with His love.
Reflect & Pray
What situations or relationships weigh on your mind and heart? How can you ask Jesus to bring you His peace?
Jesus, You give peace that passes all understanding. Help me embrace Your peace in every area of my life
1 Thessalonians 2:5-9
Our society is confused about the meaning of love. Much of what is portrayed in movies and television could more accurately be described as lust or infatuation. It’s often based on self-satisfaction rather than the principles of God’s Word. This is in direct contrast to the way the Lord calls us to live—by allowing the Holy Spirit rather than our natural inclinations to control us.
The apostle Paul wrote a wonderful description of love in 1 Corinthians 13, and in today’s passage, we see that these concepts were not mere words to him. Paul actually demonstrated this kind of love by the way he interacted with the believers in Thessalonica. His love was given …
Freely (1 Thess. 2:5). Paul offered the Thessalonians what they needed most—the gospel, which could save their souls. Furthermore, he didn’t preach for profit or try to manipulate the people with flattery.
Humbly (1 Thess. 2:6). His goal was their salvation and God’s glory, not personal gain.
Unselfishly (1 Thess. 2:7). Paul’s service to these believers was as selfless as a nursing mother’s tender care for her baby.
Affectionately (1 Thess. 2:8). His love was also very personal and warm. He didn’t just give them the gospel; he gave them himself.
Sacrificially (1 Thess. 2:9). Paul willingly suffered hardship and worked long hours so he wouldn’t be a financial burden to them.
We are to show love to others in a way that stands in stark contrast to the type of love promoted by our culture. It is to be offered willingly, without thought of convenience, cost, or what might be gained.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Psalm 37:3)
Sprinkled throughout this psalm are various pictures that provide the assurance of God’s victory—not only in His eternal plan, but also in and through the lives of His precious saints.
Trust is the most basic of the characteristics of our relationship with the Lord and sets the foundation for all the rest. The Hebrew word carries the meaning of confidence, or boldness, and is often used in such a way that it would imply that we are to “gain support” and “lean on” the One in whom we trust. The expanded definition of trust is contained in Proverbs: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).
But merely having great confidence in the God of creation is not enough. We must “do good” (our text). The entire New Testament book of James is devoted to this theme: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). “O that there were such an heart in them,” God told Moses, “that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).
If we would enjoy the blessings of God, we must embrace the plan of God. If we are to expect the promise that we will “dwell” and “be fed,” then we must submit to the instructions of our Lord, who told us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). HMM III
And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the inliving Spirit upon the human heart.
In the light of this it will be seen how empty and meaningless is the average church service today. All the means are in evidence; the one ominous weakness is the absence of the Spirit’s power. The form of godliness is there, and often the form is perfected till it is an aesthetic triumph. Music and poetry, art and oratory, symbolic vesture and solemn tones combine to charm the mind of the worshiper, but too often the supernatural afflatus is not there. The power from on high is neither known nor desired by pastor or people. This is nothing less than tragic, and all the more so because it falls within the field of religion where the eternal destinies of men are involved. POM090-091
Lord, I’m going to set aside some time today to “tarry” in seeking an assurance of the Holy Spirit’s work in our church. I’ll do my homework in giving good leadership, but again today I affirm my prayer that the Holy Spirit would come in real power in our church. Amen.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.—1 John 4:9.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest,
And set my spirit free.
The spirit of prayer is a pressing forth of the soul out of this earthly life, it is a stretching with all its desire after the life of God, it is a leaving, as far as it can, all its own spirit, to receive a spirit from above, to be one life, one love, one spirit with Christ in God. For the love which God bears to the soul, His eternal, never-ceasing desire to enter into it, and to dwell in it, stays no longer than till the door of the heart opens for Him. For nothing does, or can keep God out of the soul, or hinder His holy union with it, but the desire of the heart turned from Him.
Holiness is the beauty of the Lord God of hosts. Thou canst not separate the one from the other. To have it, thou must have Him. Nor will it be hard to obtain either, for He longs to enter into thy being. Thy longing is the faint response of thy heart to His call.
So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Ps. 127:2
Ours is not a life of anxious care, but of happy faith. Our heavenly Father will supply the wants of His own children, and He knoweth what we have need of before we ask Him. We may therefore go to our beds at the proper hour, and not wear ourselves out by sitting up late to plot, and plan, and contrive. If we have learned to rely upon our God we shall not lie awake with fear gnawing at our hearts; but we shall leave our care with the Lord, our meditation of Him shall be sweet, and He will give us refreshing sleep.
To be the Lord’s beloved is the highest possible honor, and he who has it may feel that ambition itself could desire no more, and therefore every selfish wish may go to sleep. What more is there even in Heaven than the love of God? Rest, then, O soul, for thou hast all things.
Yet we toss to and fro unless the Lord Himself gives us not only the reasons for rest, but rest itself. Yea, He doth this. Jesus Himself is our peace, our rest, our all. On His bosom we sleep in perfect security, both in life and in death.
“Sprinkled afresh with pardoning blood, I lay me down to rest, As in the embraces of my God, Or on my Saviour’s breast.