Saturday, September 29, 2012

Freely You Have Received

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." (Hebrews 12:15)

freelyThere are fewer tactics of the devil more effective than offense and unforgiveness.

Scripture clearly informs us that there is a inseparable link between receiving the mercy and forgiveness of God and extending mercy and forgiveness to others. If we allow ourselves to become offended by a brother or sister in Christ, we are unwittingly placing ourselves under a bondage that hinders our effectiveness for God.

On the contrary, freely you have received His grace, His mercy, His kindness, His forgiveness, His love... freely you must give.

Read Matthew 18:21-35, and reflect on just how much you have been forgiven. Is it unreasonable, then, for God to command us to go and do likewise?

Love in Christ,
Pastor Joe

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Valuable to God

value-highlighted-in-dictionary-1357“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows (Matthew 10:28-31)."

Some people portray God as solely to be feared, as though He is constantly angry with us, ready to reject or destroy us at any given moment, for any given reason -- that His wrath is always at the ready, only to be appeased by constant good works and praise.  What they neglect to see in such passages is that Jesus Himself tells us that we are valuable to the Father, that we are loved deeply by the Father.

God is holy and just, and there will be a day when we must all must stand before His throne to give account of ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:10).  However, as it is written, "The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9)."

This is the will of God concerning you --  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17)."

Do you walk in fear of His wrath, or in the knowledge that you are loved and valued by the Father? 

Consider the words of 1 John 4:16-19:

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.  We love each other because he loved us first.”

How have you responded to such love?

In Christ,
Pastor Joe