VIDEO Do No Harm

Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

From Moses to Jesus to Paul—the thread of love runs through Scripture. Moses’ Ten Commandments were about loving God (the first four commandments) and loving others (the remaining six commandments) (Exodus 20:1-17). When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus said to love God. The second? Love others (Matthew 22:34-40). And in his instructions on personal relationships, Paul said there was one way to fulfill the law: love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Romans 13:10).

It is fascinating to consider that something as complex as the Old Testament law can be summarized in one simple word: love. Paul affirmed Moses’ (Leviticus 19:18) and Jesus’ (Matthew 19:19) measure for how to love others: as we love ourselves (Romans 13:9). Paul reminds us that no right-thinking person would harm himself. Therefore, we must love others the same way—by doing no harm. Long before doctors were taught to do no harm, Christians were taught to do no harm to a neighbor.

If we hurt or harm another person by word or by deed, we have not loved that person. Purpose today to love all others as you love yourself.

If my heart is right with God, every human being is my neighbor. Oswald Chambers


Romans 13:8-10, What Love Demands

Some Reasons to Rejoice

The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him! Psalm 64:10

When Ms. Glenda walked into the church commons area, her infectious joy filled the room. She had just recovered from a difficult medical procedure. As she approached me for our usual after-church greeting, I thanked God for all the times over the years that she’s wept with me, gently corrected me, and offered encouragement. She’s even asked for forgiveness when she’s thought she’s hurt my feelings. Whatever the situation, she always invites me to share my struggles honestly and reminds me that we have many reasons to praise God. 

Mama Glenda, as she lets me call her, wrapped me in a gentle hug. “Hi, Baby,” she said. We enjoyed a short conversation and prayed together. Then she left—humming and singing as always, looking for someone else to bless.

In Psalm 64, David boldly approached God with his complaints and concerns (v. 1). He voiced his frustrations about the wickedness he saw around him (vv. 2–6). He didn’t lose confidence in God’s power or the reliability of His promises (vv. 7–9). He knew that one day, “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!” (v. 10).

As we wait for Jesus’ return, we’ll face tough times. But we’ll always have reasons to rejoice in every day God has made.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

What reasons has God given you to rejoice today? How can you encourage someone who may feel discouraged?

Almighty God, thank You for giving me so many reasons to rejoice as I celebrate who You are, what You’ve done, and all You’ve promised to do.

Seeking the Lord

Our hunger for God is both satisfied and deepened as we spend time in His Word Colossians 3:1-4

Faith in Christ is about more than merely doing “Christian things” like attending church, giving, praying, and reading the Bible occasionally. Genuine conversion is evidenced by a yearning to know God more deeply and intimately. One of Christianity’s basic principles is that the more we know of the Lord, the more we want to learn of Him.

A mind set on the things of this world will miss the spiritually fulfilling path. However, pursuing the Lord doesn’t imply abandoning all our plans and dreams. It simply means we prayerfully subject our hopes to His will. As we strive to know God, our desires change to reflect His. 

How does a believer go about seeking God? It begins with studying His Word and trusting the Spirit to open our mind to understand. Then, as the Lord reveals more of Himself to us through Scripture, we will increasingly crave His presence. 

If your focus is set on the things of earth, your desires will bend in that direction. But if you turn your attention to the Word of God, your desire for Him will become stronger than all other longings. 

The Test of Expedience

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Christians are saved by the grace of God, not by works of righteousness. Therefore, in a sense, they are free to do whatever they please. “All things are lawful unto me.” The Christian, however, is under a higher law, the law of love and of seeking to please and honor his Savior and Lord.

Therefore, when a question arises as to whether a certain act is right or wrong, the decision should be based on how the act impacts the cause of Christ. Does it help or hinder in the winning of the lost or in edifying the believer? Does it honor the Lord and His Word or bring reproach against His truth? For example, Paul concluded he could not afford to “be brought under the power of any” practice (e.g., drinking, smoking, gambling) that might limit the power of God over his actions and decisions.

In a similar passage, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, nothing is expedient for the Christian that does not edify (that is, “build up”) spiritually either himself or someone else.

In a similar vein, he said elsewhere that “there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean….Let not then your good be evil spoken of….Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:14, 16, 19).

This test of expediency, therefore, if applied sincerely by the believer in terms of advancing or hindering the purposes of God in Christ, can be of great help in decision making regarding doubtful issues. HMM

Altogether His

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.Luke 10:27

Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all.

I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing presence and to heart Thy speaking voice.

I long to live in restful sincerity of heart.

I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, “I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise thee.”

And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen. POG118

A distinguishing characteristic of true love to God is that it is supreme. “No man can serve two masters.” There cannot be two objects of supreme regard….The love of God is paramount to every other principle…every desire subservient to that of promoting His glory. DTC071-072

The Power of Truth

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set Your ordinances before me.Psalm 119:30

We cannot do battle with the Devil until we have girded our waists with truth. Girding the waist was always a symbol of readiness to fight. That is why this comes first. The officers in the Roman army wore short skirts, very much like a Scottish kilt. Over this they had a cloak or tunic which was secured at the waist with a girdle. When they were about to enter battle, they would tuck the tunic up under the girdle so as to leave their legs unencumbered for the fight.

What does Paul’s phrase, “with truth like a belt around your waist,” really mean? What significance does it have for us today? The word “truth” can be looked at in two ways: one, objective truth, as it is to be found in Jesus Christ, and two, subjective truth as it is to be found in the qualities of honesty and sincerity. The Puritan, William Gurnall, points out that whether the word implies truth of doctrine or truth of heart, one kind of truth will not do without the other.

I believe that in Ephesians 6, Paul is emphasizing subjective truth—truth that resides in the inner being. When we are deceitful or hypocritical, or when we resort to intrigue and scheming, we are playing the Devil’s game. And we will never be able to beat the Devil at his own game!

What Satan despises is transparent truth. He flees from it as quickly as darkness runs from the dawn. Having our waists girded with truth, then, means being possessed with truth, guided by truth, and controlled by truth. Where truth is absent, we have no power over Satan. It is as simple as that.

Prayer

O Father, I see that You have set standards by which I rise or fall. When I fulfill them, I rise—when I break them, I fall. Give me the strength I need to fulfill all Your laws, especially the law of truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 8:34-45; Col 3:9; Ps 51:6; Pr 12:22

What can protect us from the Devil?

Where should we desire truth?

It Is Your Life!

“For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”Deuteronomy 32:47

It’s puzzling that so many Christians try to live the Christian life without reading their Bible, except for sporadic perusals of God’s Word, seeking a pithy thought for the day. The Word of God is not merely a source of helpful suggestions, preventative warnings, or inspirational thoughts: It is life itself!

God gathered the children of Israel at the edge of the Promised Land to review their pilgrimage with Him. They had spent forty years in a desert because their parents had not trusted God’s word. Their parents died without seeing the Promised Land because they had not believed God’s word. Even the revered Moses was soon to leave them because he had not shown proper reverence for God’s word. Many of them knew those who had been put to death as a consequence of their disobedience to God’s word. Over the years God’s word had become the most important thing in the life of the Israelites.

God commanded His people to bind His words on their hearts, to teach them diligently to their children, and to regularly discuss them in their homes (Deut. 6:4–9). So essential was His word that it was to hold a prominent place in the daily lives of His people.

Our reverence for God’s Word is revealed not only by what we say but also by what we do. Spending more time reading and studying the words of people rather than the Word of God, reveals our hearts’ condition. To blatantly disregard God’s Word is to reject life itself. To obey God’s Word is the surest way to experience all that God has in store for us.