Thu, Mar 27th - 9:12AM
39And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' "
Luke 5:39 (NIV)
22So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
Luke 7:22 (NIV)
Although God has not Changed, what He has revealed of His plan for us has. The old wine, seemingly justifying ourselves with what we do, is not what He desires for us. Still, we cling to that, it seems. Jesus came to take away all our sorrows. We may still suffer, but the burden of guilt is clearly lifted. Rejoice!
Thu, Mar 20th - 8:57AM
God's Unchanging Ways...
I am going to start today by posting something I recently came across that made me go hmmm...
1 Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: "Who can stand up against the Anakites?" 3 But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
4 After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.
Deuteronomy 9:1-6 (NIV)
I have seen this before and so have most of you. What does this really mean? I will share a few more passages that point the way I am thinking:
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7"Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
Romans 4:1-8 (NIV)
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV)
17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NIV)
21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
James 2:21 (NIV)
37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
This may point to something very different to you, but as for me, what I am catching a glimmer of is the fact that God has been unchanging. He was always a God of Grace. Out righteousness was never our own. Faith was always our justification. His commands always have hung upon the concept of Love.
How many times must we be shown that He is the same as He always was? That He Loved us from the begining because we were His very children even before we were born. And we are stubborn and stiff necked, just as He knew we would be. Still, He loves us.
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Exodus 33:19 (NIV)
This last one has been put in front of me a lot lately. It seems a spammer has choosen that passage to spam me on, and attach his/her search engine pumping links to. So I must thank God for the Spammer, (or at least for the trial the Spammer brings) it seems...
This little passage seems to say that I cannot even claim that I have merited his mercy. Some of us, stubborn as we are, want this to be so. We have nothing there we can boast of. Even our faith is a gift from God! (I'll let you look that last passage up...)
4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.
Deuteronomy 12:4 (NIV)
1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (NIV)
13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:13-18 (NIV)
I want you to see plainly that tempting and testing are not the same thing. Testing is good and comes from God. I will say it is for our benefit. He knows us, He just is working on us and letting us know how we are doing. Tempting is bad. It springs from the evil desires within us, for without those evil desires, where would be the temptation? We are tempted in our trials, because those who are the servants of Evil are allowed into our lives. It may be for our good. It may be for their good. It very well might be for the good of all involved!
If we "deal" with them (temptations) on our own, we will fail. "Put thee behind me Satan!" And trusting in the Name of Jesus. These flow from the Spirit and acknowledge the weakness of our flesh and the power of His Spirit. This is what we are to do! I wish I could say I do that well, but I am still being worked on in that.
We fail to act, because we understand our unrighteousness and the accuser freezes us with that very knowledge. The truth is bigger than you or I, dear friends. We are clothed in Christ, and are equiped to do all sorts of good. This is God's desire. For our good and indeed the good of all.
Do not say: "Who are we to...." Say instead: "We are those who should..."
If God is for us, who can stand against us? Believe that. Live that with every breath that you can!
Mon, Mar 17th - 11:59PM
Same messages, but not the same...
I suspect many have experienced this before.
You know you have heard this message before, but it didn't seem the same before. What is up with that?
Well, it could be a few things.
For one thing, maybe you were not yet ready to hear and accept it when you heard it before. Not everyone of us is ready for every message at the same time. So you scatter the seed and don't worry too much where it falls. It will grow where it will grow.
Maybe it was spoken in a way that you could not connect with. I will agree that this is weak, but so am I. When I speak to both of my daughters about the same subject, it almost seems if I have to use two foreign languages to get through to them at times. That being so, I should not be surprised when someone is finally getting through to me what maybe I should have understood before. Maybe I should ask for them to restate it so I can understand. Maybe they should learn to speak my language, or maybe I should learn theirs. Speaking in tongues is great, but not very useful if no-one is there to interprete. And I seem to speak something obscure, at times...
Sometimes I suspect it is in the Spirit that the message is delivered, although, I again think that is weakness on all of our parts. Christ told his disciples to not oppose those who were not from amoung them who were casting out demons in his name. Those who are not against us are for us. A hard one to understand at times, I think. We make too much of the messanger. We listen too little to the message. This one I am guilty of a lot, I think.
At times, it is polluted by hate, misunderstanding, and outright lies. Other stuff, too. These are fleshly frailities that hinder both the speaker and the listener. Satan "pushes our buttons" where he can, and sometimes when we get all wound up, it is not for the sake of anything inspired by God. And that binds us all up.
Just some thoughts...
Mon, Mar 10th - 1:57AM
My Father is a Millionaire...
10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Just a note: Think on this -- Are we made more for the works, or are the works made more for us? I think a fundamental flaw we make lies in the answer to that question. Let us just back up a bit...
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Does this seem clear? It does to me! If my works are not worth giving me anything to boast about, are they the fundamental part of the equation? No, the gift of Grace is it!
22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'
29"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."
Acts 17:22-32 (NIV) -- emphasis added by me
Now I am not one to say "AMEN" in the assembly frequently. Today, I did, when the brother giving the lesson simply stated that our resposibility is to speak the Word of God and let him do the rest. He gives us our very breath. Who are we to think our contibution is really what moves the world? I will commend you for doing good, but I think I understand more of the meaning of the why, which is important, to me at least.
49Everyone will be salted with fire.
50"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."
Mark 9:49-50 (NIV)
8 In the whole land," declares the LORD,
"two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
yet one-third will be left in it.
9 This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, 'They are my people,'
and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' "
Zechariah 13:8-9 (NIV)
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NIV)
The context of this last one is talking about building up the Church. What matter is "I follow Apollos" or "I follow Paul"? If you have been there, you will realize this is talking about fundamental Acts and Works, and how some may emphasise a specific set over another. And each group was seeking to glorify themselves by considering their orientation best. The foot was saying, "The hand is useless, the foot is best, and everyone should be a foot." And the hand, well it was likely saying something just as absurd and boasting about its own good works! Make no mistake, this fighting was not from God! It was self centered and evil!
Is there something about our works being tested by fire and maybe surviving? Ah, yes! I hear people saying it is about the "souls you bring to Christ" and that may be a strong arguement to make. However, I see that as narrow sighted -- bringing souls to Christ" as being a work that will survive is only a subset of the Truth. Everything in this world is goig to be destroyed. So the explanation would seem to fit best in saying "bringing souls to Christ" or maybe that is could seem. I am going to go back to that idea that God does not need any of our works. Remember Acts 17:25? And in Eph 2:8-9, they aren't saved by works, theirs or mine, and neither of us can boast. So, that really does not seem to fit for my understanding. I will give you a strange idea here and you can test its merit:
When it says the works, it means what those works we did, did to us. Those works, they were created for us. Why? The positive testing and training that our loving God constantly gives us. When He tests us, He puts a positve thing in front of us to do. Why? He doesn't need it! No! We do! Making the choice and doing the works, they fundamentally change us. Our reward truely is received as soon as we do it, for the good it accomplishes in us is already moving to completion! It will be tested, and that which is "Fruit of the Spirit" will be what survives. He is making us more and more into the likenes of His Son, Jesus, with every step we take in faith and love. So do not forsake doing good, for your own sake!
Let me finish with a spin on a parable many know well:
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
Matthew 25:14-23 (NIV)
Yes, I left out the one talent servant. Keep it in mind when you must in what I am to say next:
The talents were given to build character and teach responsibilty to the servants. Those are the real gifts the Master wanted to give his servants. He had no expressed need to be enriched by his servants. There are many similar things God wants to give to you and I. Ask for patience, and what do you think you get? Exactly!
He is very rich and wishes to give us an inheritance we will not squander. The way to do that is to give you a little at time until you can learn the proper use of it. You are faithful with a little an then he knows he can give you a lot.
My Daddy has very deep pockets and want to give me a whole lot more. I know it! I don't always appreciate it, childish as I can be.
Just to wrap this up, I'll suggest you read just the First Chapter of James. It might read just a little different now.
Wed, Mar 5th - 11:18PM
Just about tied it up, I think (still a bit more)
19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:19-21 (NIV)
13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:13-17 (NIV)
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:7-16 (NIV)
If you want, extend and read the whole context of this smattering. Or sit down and read the entire book. Studiously or casually, God can show you something either way. Rejoice when you suffer for doing good. If you can point at this relationship, or another, with a believer or a non-believer, I tell you plainly, this is what God would have you do: Suffer unjustly for doing good, just as Jesus did. Do not count anything as a contract, for you to be released from your obligation as they fail to fulfill their part. Take everything as an oath before God to do good as best you can. Cry out in pain, and beg Him for strength, and make it your will to do His will in your life. This is the meaning. This is the purpose.
I hope you see that I am bringing this back into the context of Testing. Interwoven is how we are to treat one another. You see testing both as a result of the bad we do and as an opportunity to suffer as Christ did. You suffer because of the evils of others in this context. In all, we suffer because of sin, whether for our own, which is not very special, or because of the sins of others, which can be very special.
One thing, being in the Military, that I face often, is the concept of "turning the other cheek" and that some would say, because of this concept, the Military is evil. I will say this: I see it as neither evil nor good. It is a response ordained by God in response to the evil that is already here. It can be good. It can be evil. The choice of "turning the other cheek" is quite simple: If only you suffer loss by doing so, then I think that is what God would have you do. However, if your turning your head away from facing evil is what you are really doing, and others suffer because of your choice, soldier or not, you should not feel free to make that choice. You must suffer a different way. This is not easy to understand for many, so I bear you no ill will if you cannot choose this way. I will stand against anyone telling me I am obligated to follow their understanding when I do not hold to theirs in this matter, however.
Since the context of much of this brings many women to feel that this is being twisted in some way to put them down, and make men "superior" in comanding their submissiveness, even to an unbelieving husband, I feel obligated to make a strong point for the men to understand quite clearly. That is where I am going with these next passages. Ladies, for you who may be "unevenly yoked", my hope is that you suffer less, knowing what you should have is not even what those married to a believer always get, and that is not any service to God, whatsoever, on the part of those husbands. Count it as eternal gain to suffer unjustly, even in this. How to get them to understand? I honestly don't know. I don't think it is in us (the power) to make it so, and yet everything is possible for God. Tossing a mountain does not override another's free will choice. So tossing a mountain might be easier. Pray for guidance, wisdom and patience to endure.
33They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
36He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Mark 9:33-37 (NIV)
29"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Mark 10:29-31 (NIV)
35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
36"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
37They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
38"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
39"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."
41When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:35-45 (NIV)
Get it right guys. No "Lording it over them" if you are doing as Christ instructs. Remember him washing the disciples' feet? And how submissive is being crucified for our sins? The example is clear. All you have is responsibilty and the power to gently do what you should. The woman has the superior position in attempting to be a "slave to all." We, as men, have a hard test in being submisive while still leading. Is that not what Christ did? Is that not what we are called to do?
I have an admission to make: In reading about this subject, one particular scripture reached out and slapped me hard across the face.
2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:2-3 (NIV)
You see, I am unwilling. The fact is, my willingness should only be constrained by God's instruction, by His will. He should say go, and I should go. He should say come, and I will come. (some of you will realize this reflects another, very profound scripture about faith that is very personal to me)
Instead, I am like Moses. Needing a burning bush to talk to me. And you know, if I did see a burning bush like Moses, I am pretty much sure my response would be like the following:
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Isaiah 6:5 (NIV)
I am heartened, silly as it may sound, by the foibles of the disciples. They walked in the Physical Pressence of The Lord, Jesus, and still, the stupid things they did, the lack of faith they demonstrated at times, their still imperfect attempts at following their Master, all point out to me, as flawed as I am, if He was willing to cover up their sins, He could be willing to cover up mine. I just have to believe Him when He says that He is!
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Exodus 33:19 (NIV)
Take heart. God loves you. Fight the Good Fight!
Sat, Mar 1st - 11:00AM
I am trying to keep this shorter -- so this is a small piece again...
1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
2I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered [or: with long hair] dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered [or: with no covering of hair] dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. [or: she is just like one of the "shorn women."] 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.
11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (NIV)
A lot of symbols here. I'd like to say that since we come to God through Christ, that for a man to try to come to God with Christ covered, is a wrong way to think. Similarly, a woman does not come to God through her husband. I am sure she must be able to come to God without him, thus "covering her head". If that were not so, how could she sanctify an unbelieving husband merely by her submission?
The coverings mentioned here could be just hair, as some interpretations suggest. It could be more about head coverings such as that which Jewish men still wear to this day, symbolizing their submission to God, or the same as Romans at the time used to symbolize a slave versus a free man.
I say this last one with the parable of The Prodigal Son in mind, who when he returned to his father, was offering to be a servant. His father ignored that, and called him as he always saw him, as his son.
In this we are Sons and Daughters. We always have been, even when we were away. Understand what that means.
There may be more here being said, and the plain language may be telling us about hair styles. To that, I will say it is a matter of faith, and I will not belittle you for adhering to what your faith tells you to do in this matter. But neither will I lay upon any of you a stricture about how you must wear your hair.
1My brothers, [and sisters] as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
James 2:1-13 (NIV)
My point in bringing up this passage is that you need to understand "Loving your neighbor" in the light James is showing us here. We are to cherish each other in love and respect, not looking down on one another nor disregarding each others' feelings.
In this passage, it is a Man being mistreated. He would likely feel most intensely disregarded and unrespected. If it were a woman, I am begining to understand she would feel unloved and neglected. This is being brought to my awareness on a series of teachings I am getting in my church. (the physical group I attend -- I think of them as being very much a part of "The Church", but do not wish to dishonor the churches of others)
Going back to my last post, I wish to say, that although it seems to be a command for a man to love his wife and for a wife to respect her husband, the purpose is for this: Typically, the man understands respect. He has to be reminded to Love his wife so that he will know he has to struggle with this. The woman understands love. Her reminder is to do what he needs, because of her love.
You can even think of love and respect as being two parts of one coin. They are both love, just different languages. A man speaks one fluently. He must learn the other. A woman naturally understands one, she must seek to find a way to express the other.
18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
1 Peter 2:18 (NIV)
A slave must obey a master, not just a good one. A husband must love his wife, even when she does something unlovable. A wife must respect her husband, even when he is totally unworthy. This sacrifice is in line with what Christ did for us. And our sacrifice pales in comparison to his sacrifice that proves just how much we are all cherished.
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