“Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!” December 8

 

Love & Tolerance, Not Always the Same - Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers and to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.Love and tolerance: the world often equates one with the other. Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 make it clear that tolerance is not always love. We are told to lovingly confront sin in the lives of other believers, to share the gospel and, at times, warn unbelievers of the judgment to come.

Also read about God’s promises to Israel, the futility of running from God, and how a fool and his words get into trouble.

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 7 & 8
Psalm 139.7-12
Proverbs 29.20
2 John 1-13

 

Love and Tolerance, Not Always the Same!

 

2 John 1-13:

This is Love

 

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here in 2 John, the apostle makes it clear that the way we love God and others is by being obedient to His Word:

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (v. 6).

Sometimes obeying God’s Word seems contrary to what the world considers loving behavior. The world often defines “love” as “tolerance.” Yet, passages like Galatians 6.1-2, Matthew 18.15 and Ezekiel 33.1-6 teach that we are to warn believers and unbelievers alike so they can repent and turn from their sin.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we go around pointing out every sin, but when we see a professing believer caught in a lifestyle or pattern of sin, we should be willing to lovingly confront them, when necessary, and perhaps come alongside them. With unbelievers, we need to prayerfully consider sharing the gospel with them and, at times, warning them of the judgment to come.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27.6).

Neither does it mean we should be harsh or self-righteous. In fact, this is a time to first examine ourselves and be sure we get the logs out of our own eyes (Matt. 7.3-5). When we do approach someone we are to be gentle and tentative, not tentative about the truths of God, but tentative about their behavior by not jumping to conclusions.

Perhaps you have a married female friend who has mentioned to you that she and a male co-worker have had lunch together a number of times or you’ve observed her playfully flirting with someone. You see all kinds of red flags, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Instead, you can lovingly warn her of the danger of spending time one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex or talk to her about the dangers of flirting. You might use an example from your own life where you thought something was harmless, but later realized it was a slippery slope.

Or maybe you have a co-worker who announces he or she is getting “married” to  their same-sex partner and hands you an invitation. You know refusing to go will not be taken well, but you know you can’t support your friend’s choice.  Continue reading

“Consequences of Bad Advice” July 7

 

Consequences of Bad Advice - Truth isn't always comfortable or pleasing to our sinful, selfish nature, but it's the truth that will deliver us from the consequences of foolishness and sin. Bad advice, on the other hand, tickles our ears and gives us the "go ahead" to do what we really want to do.Truth isn’t always comfortable or pleasing to our sinful, selfish nature, but it’s the truth that will deliver us from the consequences of foolishness and sin. Bad advice, on the other hand, tickles our ears and gives us the “go ahead” to do what we really want to do.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 9 & 10
Psalm 80.7-13
Proverbs 20.16-18
Acts 14.1-28

 

Consequences of Bad Advice

 

Proverbs 20.16-18:

Counsel—Wise or What We Want to Hear?

Verse 18, “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.”

In chapter 10 of 2 Chronicles, we saw the importance of wise counsel. Rehoboam sought counsel, but he rejected the wise counsel of those who had walked with God for many years and, instead, took the advice that pleased Him.

There is much of that going on in the world today. Instead of seeking counsel from God’s Word or from wise people, many seek counsel that confirms what they want to do, especially if what they want to do is sin or foolishness! Even as professing believers, we can fall into that trap.  Continue reading

October 11 “Worship, truth & fables”

Lonely FlowerBecause something is popular or “the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t make it biblically sound. In fact, when a Samaritan woman met Jesus and pointed out what was popular in her religious tradition, He told her, “… those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24)—spirit, with the right heart attitude, and truth, according to His commands.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 7 & 8
Psalm 118.1-4
Proverbs 27.5-6
Colossians 2.1-23

I know I run the risk of offending some today. I pray that I don’t, but even more, I pray that those who are offended will dig into God’s Word and prayerfully seek the truth for themselves.

 

Jeremiah 7 & 8:

Tickling their ears

The prophet continues along the same lines as yesterday’s reading, even repeating some of the same phrases.

In chapter 8 Jeremiah again speaks specifically to false teachers, priests and prophets:

10 … Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.

Once again he condemns them for giving a false assurance of peace.

He also condemns the people because they were listening to falsehood. Even though our leaders are responsible for what they teach, we are responsible to make sure what we’re hearing and learning lines up with God’s Word! Because something is popular or “the way we’ve always done it” does not make it biblically sound. Continue reading

September 28 “Could it happen to you?”

assuming, shocked man with hands on faceI can’t imagine anything worse than believing you’re alright with God and when you stand before Him, hear these words, “I never knew you.” Could it happen to you?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 47 & 48
Psalm 111.7-10
Proverbs 26.11-12
Galatians 6.1-18

 

 

Isaiah 47 & 48:

Trusting in self, false gods or sorceries

In chapter 47, the Babylonians thought they were strong and secure and untouchable. They trusted in themselves, their false gods and their sorceries. They had set themselves against God and would soon be judged.

Like the Babylonians many today are busy enjoying their ease and success and power. Many of them have set themselves against God. They belittle His people as weak and God as merely a crutch. They want to make their own rules. Their first commandment is “Thou shalt not be intolerant of anything I want to do!” Even when they claim to believe in Him, they pervert the Word of God, twisting it to make it say the opposite of what it does.

They wrongly interpret God’s patience and tolerance.

“They have lied about the LORD and said, ‘He won’t bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine’” (Jer. 5.12 NLT).

Instead of seeing God’s patience and mercy as an opportunity to repent, they decide there will never be a day of accounting. Continue reading