Matthew 5:43-48 – Love Your Enemies

Read Matthew 5:43-48

It’s easy to love our friends, most of the time. Even friends can get on our last nerve at times. Now imagine being nice to an enemy or someone who has done you wrong? That’s a little harder to picture, much less do. But in a spirit of loving everyone as God does, Jesus is encouraging us to do the same.

As the Old Testament taught us to “love our neighbor,” Jesus came to specify a little who our neighbor was. (More on this in Luke 10, read it HERE.) It had been thought that it was our friends. Folks on the fringes of society or ones who were mean to us would not be our neighbor, so therefore we didn’t need to love them. Jesus wanted to clear that up. God doesn’t show favorites. His blessings are available to everyone.

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Romans 12:9-13 – Love is…

Read Romans 12:9-13

Remember the “Love Is..” comics? I wanted to use one for the graphic today but I couldn’t find one that was available for reuse. You’ll have to google that if you don’t remember. Paul continues to lay out some directions for how we should live and what love should look like.

After all, Jesus told us to love one another. That can be a new concept for many. Sometimes it’s hard to even love ourselves. But let’s take a look at what Paul is telling us here.

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Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover

Read Hebrews 13:1-5

I hope we all know the most important thing is to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Beyond that, this passage reminds us of others who should receive our affection as well. As our author closes this letter, he wants to remind us all of what should be obvious but often forgotten.

Love one another. That can sometimes be hard. Especially loving those who are hard to love. We all had someone come to mind just now. Maybe it’s the crotchety neighbor or the busybody at church or the obnoxious, loud-mouth co-worker. We are brothers and sisters after all, and we should love each other as family. Love as Jesus loves. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover”

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Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

Take a step back in time and think about how your parents disciplined you while growing up. Maybe you were the perfect child and never riled anger or correction from your parents. I was not, and I spent many nights “grounded.” Perhaps you have been a parent yourself and had the distinct pleasure of correcting your own children, “for their own good.”

I was not a good disciplinarian, or rather I didn’t like being one. I loved my children and corrected them as a good parent does. Sometimes I would catch myself saying “No” more than saying “Yes. Seeing the big picture and knowing how those corrections would shape their lives was hard. I was always hopeful I’d done the right thing. Today’s reading affirmed me a bit because I was doing the best I knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” Continue reading “Hebrews 12:1-13 – Why is Being a Christian So Hard?”

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Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten

Read Hebrews 10:1-18

We’re moving through the book of Hebrews and there is a lot of emphasis on Jesus being our high priest. His sacrifice was once and done. He will not have to die again. Remember, some of the young Christians had been Jews just moments before. Their heritage had been a yearly sacrifice. Each year you’d be reminded of your sins as the sacrifices were made and the high priest entered the Most Holy Place.

You can’t just change a person’s experience or understanding of forgiveness overnight. This is a process. It may be hard for us, too, to imagine how the shedding of Jesus’ blood could be the perfect sacrifice. There are a lot of us sinners in the world now and across the span of time. There will be many more in the days ahead. We, too, need to wrap our head around the fact that God came to live and die. His death redeemed us.  Continue reading “Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten”

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