"For The LORD Your God Is He That Goeth With You, To Fight For You Against Your Enemies, To Save You."
(Tomorrow I will post how it felt, tonight though I just don't have the words. Here it is in its entirety, except the verses I used, I put the links in there.)
Good Morning – Please join me in reciting “The Lord’s Prayer”
All Scripture that I will be reading is coming from “The Message Bible”
Starting with Romans 9:1-5, and it reads ~
When I began to go over these verses, I kept coming across different things saying that they were to be viewed as an interruption in Paul’s teaching of the Gospel. However after continuous prayer and study, I now see them as a necessary part of Paul’s argument for redemption by grace through faith.
Don’t forget that because of his preaching of the Gospel, Paul was considered a traitor to the Jewish nation and an enemy of Judaism. They saw him as preaching against the people, the Law and God. Paul was hated by the Jews for his ministry to the Gentiles and for his teaching of salvation by grace.
He preached this Gospel of grace in many places and in doing so, caused trouble just about everywhere he went. The Jewish Nation viewed the Gospel message as dangerous and unscriptural. Since the Jews hated the message Paul was preaching, they also hated the messenger.
This is why he was considered a traitor and many wanted to kill him. In turn, this caused Paul great sorrow and increasing anguish.
He didn’t set out to make anyone mad, out of love he was telling them the truth. Paul went to great lengths explaining that he was not anti-Jewish, anti-Law, nor anti-God. He wanted the Jews to know that they were wrong, just as he had been at one time.
His desire was that the Jewish Nation examine the Scriptures and see that what he was saying was true. He yearned above all else, that they would come to the saving knowledge of the truth and not their condemnation.
For his own people, Paul was willing to be cut off from Christ, regardless of how they treated him, if it could make a difference.
Our persecution isn’t even close to what Paul experienced, yet we respond with a fraction of the love that he did.
As Christians, we are called to love our enemies, Matthew 5:44 reads ~
I believe we should have a passionate concern for those that hate and try to harm. Paul didn’t do this out of duty, he truly loved and cared for people. His love was not dependent upon their treatment of him. He had the mind of Christ and as Christians, you and I should also have the same attitude of Christ, self-sacrificing for the needs of others.
The belief that God is so wonderful to you, should be shared, not just with those you love, but with those that hate you, as well as wish you harm.
Philippians 2:1-4 reads ~
My question for you today is this ~ “Does The Sinners Heart, Weigh Heavy On Your Heart?”
In today’s society, religion is a private matter, the risk of offending others, places an unnecessary demand on us to keep our religious beliefs to ourselves. We don’t want to challenge the beliefs of anyone, so we walk a tightrope, very rarely stepping off to declare His way, is in fact the only way.
As some of you know, I have been married for 21 years. I am now facing a divorce I never asked for, never wanted, nor ever believed in. For 19 years, I thought I had the perfect marriage, for the past 2 years my marriage has become stained by adultery and abandonment, in turn I was thrust into the most painful season of my life, and I didn’t know how to get out of the darkness that was surrounding me.
As if watching from the sidelines, I saw my family tear apart at the seams, I felt as if my heart was shattered into a million pieces and there were days I had trouble catching my breath. Thoughts of suicide, feelings of complete worthlessness and fears I thought I had gotten over a long time ago, came rushing back over me, almost like a never ending tidal wave.
And as I began to face the rewriting of the past 21 years, complete with vicious lies and nasty name calling, a door within me, one that I had intentionally shut a long time ago, started to re-open and almost immediately, I knew that how I reacted towards my husband and what he had done, would be a direct reflection of my Heavenly Father.
I had a choice to respond one of two ways…
As a flawed human, facing the ultimate betrayal, I could choose to seek revenge.
As a daughter to the King of Kings, I could seek Him daily for direction on how to respond, all I had to do was call His name and He met me where I was.
My choice was to seek Him, in order to show me how to respond with kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love, no matter what.
I am not a doormat because I chose to respond this way I am striving to follow in the footsteps that have gone before me. As a Christian, I have to be the one to make the first change. It isn’t always easy and now 2 years later, there are still days I fear I may bite my tongue clean off, however this is the choice I made and I am determined to stand by it regardless of what others think I should do.
Hatred, anger and bitterness in the face of betrayal is the easier choice -
Loving, trying to not pass judgment and continuing to respond in the way I feel He would respond, is the hardest thing I have ever done, however I know that my spiritual walk cannot be directed by my emotions. Emotions are fleeting and I have to keep myself rooted and grounded in His love in order to continue on the path He has called me to walk.
In writing this message I was struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
My eyes were open to see that God was giving me an extraordinary gift, in the form of a life lesson I had never fully grasped before. In the face of adversity, He began to teach me how to treat someone, as He would.
I was stripped, completely broken and only through my brokenness, was I finally humbled enough, to take all my pieces to Him and allow Him to put me back together again. Once I could actually breathe, and the decision had been made, I knew I wouldn’t be able to be a chair-sitting, back in the corner, whispering in the dark, Christian. If you see me, then my goal is that you see Him first.
The time has come to stop being a Sunday Christian and start representing God daily, time to get off the two corners that the majority of people dwell on; The corners of “indecision” and “procrastination” and the corners of “judgment” and “righteous indignation.”
Contrary to popular belief, this isn‘t about you. This is about what He has done for you and in turn how you use it to glorify His name. And how do you do that? You have got to step outside of yourself, open your mouth and tell people, just what He has done.
Selfishness, self-entitlement and self-centeredness have no place in the Kingdom of God.
As Christians, we are the Earth-bound, living reflection of our Father and if we can’t step up to the plate and act as such, then we have a very serious problem. Your Christian duty doesn’t begin/end when the doors of the Church open and this isn’t some salad bar you are standing in front of, picking and choosing which parts of the Christian life you want to live. It has got to be a decision you place in the forefront of your mind each and every single day, and it has got to be all or nothing.
As His representatives, we need to treat each person we come in contact with as if they are Him.
Know that if your eyes are on Jesus, you should feel some form of anguish and sorrow in your heart, for those that have turned away from Him, for your loved ones that are making bad choices & for those caught in difficult circumstances.
When you stop to think about all the people who don’t even know the unconditional love and grace that He offers, it should move you enough to weep for them.
Before you go to sleep at night, as you are getting all comfy on your pillow, take a moment to reflect back on your day and ask yourself this question ~ Is my conscience clear with the way I treated the people, He placed in my path today?
Are you treating people based on how they treat you or are you treating them, as He would, regardless of how they treat you?
I believe God wants us to feel the anguish and the sorrow, to make a place in our hearts for it, knowing that there are people placed in our lives daily, that need Him. We should all be able to feel the same way as Paul did for our brothers and sisters that continue to reject the Gospel, reject His truth and reject His love. We should feel the same anguish when we sit across the dinner table with our loved ones and know some of them refuse His mercy. We should feel the same sorrow when we are at our workplace, knowing some of them refuse His grace.
The question is, what are you willing to do about it?
In closing I want to leave you with ~