VIDEO Take the Leap for Love!

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.  Leviticus 19:18

Love didn’t begin in the New Testament. The ethical teachings about loving one’s neighbor began in Leviticus—the heart of the Mosaic Law. So central was the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself that it is quoted seven times in the New Testament: four times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, by Jesus; twice by Paul (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14); and once by James (James 2:8). Jewish religious teachers thought the command to love one’s neighbor implied hating one’s enemy. But Jesus corrected that misinterpretation of Leviticus, saying we are to love both neighbors and enemies (Matthew 5:43-44).

Hopefully, you don’t have enemies. But everyone has neighbors in one form or another. And we are to love both—enemies and neighbors—as we love ourselves. Do we spend money on ourselves? Do we go out of the way for ourselves? Do we treat ourselves with kindness? That’s how we are to love others.

Look around today. If you see a neighbor or “enemy,” take the love-leap and do for them what you would do for yourself.

In Jesus and for Him, enemies and friends alike are to be loved.  Thomas a Kempis


Psst! Have You Heard…? – Leviticus 19:11-18 – Skip Heitzig

Full Attention

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.  1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

Technology today seems to demand our constant attention. The modern “miracle” of the internet gives us the amazing capacity to access humanity’s collective learning in the palm of our hand. But for many, such constant access can come at a cost.

Writer Linda Stone has coined the phrase “continual partial attention” to describe the modern impulse to always need to know what’s happening “out there,” to make sure we’re not missing anything. If that sounds like it could produce chronic anxiety, you’re right!

Although the apostle Paul struggled with different reasons for anxiety, he knew our souls are wired to find peace in God. Which is why, in a letter to new believers who’d endured persecution (1 Thessalonians 2:14), Paul concluded by urging the believers to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (5:16–18).

Praying “continually” might seem pretty daunting. But then, how often do we check our phones? What if we instead let that urge be a prompt to talk to God?

More important, what if we learned to exchange a need to always be in “the know” for continual, prayerful rest in God’s presence? Through relying on Christ’s Spirit, we can learn to give our heavenly Father our continual full attention as we make our way through each day.

By: Adam R. Holz

 

Lord, I Love You, But …

Hebrews 6:9-20

Have you ever found yourself thinking, I love you, Jesus, but don’t ask me to do thatOr perhaps you served Him, but your attitude was wrong: If no one else will do it, then I guess I will. What causes us to be reluctant servants?

Busyness: Sometimes our schedules are so full that we don’t allow space to follow the Lord. We need to make sure that we have margin in our life.

Sense of Inadequacy: Maybe you feel unqualified, and you’re thinking, Surely there’s someone more gifted. But rest assured that God promises to equip those He calls (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

Selfishness: Sacrificial service is not convenient. It may require that we change plans, give up comforts, or make financial sacrifices.

Lack of love: This is the hardest for us to admit—that we just don’t care enough. A reluctance to serve others shows our lack of devotion to Jesus. If we love Christ with all our heart, we’ll joyfully serve Him by ministering to people in our family, workplace, community, and church.

Are you quick to follow the Lord’s leading, or are you focused on your own plans and desires? Any service offered in Jesus’ name won’t be in vain. You’ll experience the joy of giving and the assurance that He won’t forget your sacrifice.

Bright and Morning Star

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)

The epilogue of Revelation contains many words of comfort to the believer. Our Lord promises, among other things, that “behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me” (v. 12), and “blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (v. 14). Likewise, there are many names for God given, such as “the Lord God of the holy prophets” (v. 6), “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (v. 13), and “the root and the offspring of David” (text). This rehearsal of names and deeds provides comfort, but why is Christ called the “bright and morning star”?

The analogy is to the planet Venus, so often seen shining brightly in the early morning. The sight provides a pledge of the coming day during which the light is brighter and the sight clearer.

Likewise, however beautiful and awe-inspiring our perception is now by the light of our Bright and Morning Star, Jesus Christ, we are promised a more complete view. Although He has “shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6), and although Christ appeared as “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3), soon we shall see Him “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12) and even “be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Our view now constitutes only the beginning of a clearer sight—a guarantee of the glorious day that has no night, when we shall see the King in all His beauty. There will even be no need of the sun, “for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). JDM

Our Eternal Spirit

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

—Acts 1:8

 

You know, the Church started out with a Bible, then it got a hymnbook, and for years that was it—a Bible and a hymnbook. The average church now certainly wouldn’t be able to operate on just a hymnbook and the Bible. Now we have to have all kinds of truck. A lot of people couldn’t serve God at all without at least a vanload of equipment to keep them happy.

Some of these attractions that we have to win people and keep them coming may be fine or they may be cheap. They may be elevated or they may be degrading. They may be artistic or they may be coarse—it all depends upon who is running the show! But the Holy Spirit is not the center of attraction, and the Lord is not the one who is in charge. We bring in all sorts of antiscriptural and unscriptural claptrap to keep the people happy and keep them coming.

As I see it, the great woe is not the presence of these religious toys and trifles—but the fact that they have become a necessity, and the presence of the Eternal Spirit is not in our midst!   COU041

As we commit ourselves to excellence in reaching people for Christ, help us to remember that the power is not in the methods or the means, but in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

If Jesus Had to Die

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

—John 3:16

 

The Holy Spirit is still among us with transforming power for that one who hears the gospel message and really believes it….He still converts. He still regenerates. He still transforms….

It is tragic that we try to hide from Him in the caves and dens of the earth, among the trees of the garden. It is tragic that men and women keep their hearts so hard that they cannot feel, and so deaf that they cannot hear.

There are many who are hearing the Voice of God, but they insist that the “way” should be made easier for them.

Oh, listen! If hell is what God says it is, if sin is what God says it is, if Jesus Christ had to die to save the sinner—is it asking too much for you to let people know that you are turning from sin? EFE036-037

Out of all God’s creatures, only the soul has a capacity large enough for [God] to empty…the whole ground of his being into it. This He does in the act of giving birth to Himself spiritually in the soul. BME129

 

The Power of Our Prayer

Ephesians 3:20

What a mystery prayer is! I wish I understood it better. But I do thank God that the power of it does not depend on being able to explain it, any more than the light in the office depends upon my knowing all about electricity.

Looking back on my own experience, I can see that my private prayer has come to be of two distinct kinds. The kind of praying I first learned was that definite closing out of all other doings and settling down to pray only. No one day can be complete without some such scheduled time.

The other grew out of the first. I mean that life of prayer which belongs to everything; that spontaneous lifting of the heart to God that becomes the habit of the soul. It would be difficult now to say which is the more precious, or which means the most to me. Both have to be cultivated.

In how many hearts has prayer been more a form than a life, more the performance of a duty than the expression of a desire, until the spirit of prayer was born in some dark night’s struggle. Without doubt, in my own life the darkness of temptation and sorrow has taught me to pray—to wrestle before God until my soul found strength to go up to its Calvary.

Oh, never, never let the devil persuade you that your praying does not count! It does. And no heart need be without the proof of it, but it must be fervent, persistent, believing!

I am seldom helped by feelings in my own religious experience; but the times when I have been especially conscious of the presence and power of God have been chiefly during seasons of prayer for others. These seem to have brought me nearest to the heart of Jesus.

That other sort of praying is to my soul-life, more what breathing is to the body. The prayer that is breathed in a moment ensures the kind word, when, without it, the hasty one might so easily have been spoken; courage to act, when apart from it, an opportunity of witnessing or sowing might have been missed.

Yes, the silent prayer of an instant has preserved the integrity of the heart and saved the soul from the stain of sin again and again. And the strength of that continual communion with God, which becomes so natural that it is more like talking a matter over with one you love, has enabled so great a host of God’s own children to be walking with Him in heavenly places, and has kept them in a heavenly spirit, when things round about were very earthly.

Catherine Bramwell-Booth, Messages to the Messengers