Learn to Desire the Best for Others

Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.

Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.

When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.

God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.

If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.

It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!

Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.

God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.

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**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.

What Real Love Looks Like

As a parent, one thing I’ve come to learn is that true love for someone does not mean you give them whatever they want. For example, my children would like to eat donuts every night for dinner. In this situation, my love for them is the very reason that I deny them what they want. When I deny them, they may be tempted to think I don’t love them. But real love desires the person’s long-term good, over giving them what they want all the time.

It’s very helpful to me to remember that God loves me with such a perfect love, that He will deny many of my earthly desires. To someone who doesn’t know God, this may look like God doesn’t care for or love them. But whoever knows God as their loving Father, they will no doubt be thankful for the many prayers and desires He didn’t answer, knowing that when they come into eternity they will look back and say “I’m glad He did things exactly the way He did.”

So if real love for my children doesn’t look like ‘giving them whatever they want’, what does it look like? The Bible – our foundation of truth tells us what real love is and what it looks like. I’d like to list out many practical examples of love the Lord has burdened my heart with, that illustrate the principles of real love as defined by the Bible. This isn’t meant to be a complete exhaustive list, but a list of examples God has put on my heart as practical goals I can have as I try love others, and God better.

CHILDREN

Real love toward my children should look like:

• Asking God for wisdom to raise them (James 1:5)

• Praying for them consistently

• Taking their sin and disobedience very seriously, and not brushing it off

• Carefully disciplining them and rebuking them when it will build them up, not too severely and not too lightly, and never out of anger (Prov 3:11-12, Col 3:21, Heb 12:5-8)

• Teaching them that God loves them and is always with them, so they never have to be scared, and they can talk to Him any time (Heb 13:6)

• Teaching them the Bible, giving them foundational godly wisdom for life and godliness (Prov 4:5)

• Being patient with them (Eph 4:2)

• Not ignoring them

• Spending quality time with them

• Encouraging them (1 Thess 5:11)

• • Not losing my temper and snapping in anger at them (responding verbally or physically in a harsh way that is driven not by desire for their good but anger)

• Playing with them and laughing with them

SPOUSE

Real love toward my wife should look like:

• Praying for and encouraging her (Heb 3:13)

• Plain and simple kindness (Eph 4:32)

• Considering what burdens she’s had throughout the day when I’ve been away at work

• Holding my tongue and keeping quiet when I am tempted to be angry or frustrated (James 1:19)

• Working hard at my job to provide for her what she needs (food, shelter, etc) without getting in to debt and making our family a slave to others outside our home (1 Tim 5:8)

• Being faithful to her – not committing adultery in the heart by looking lustfully at another woman (Matt 5:28)

• Being a servant, sacrificing time and energy to make things easier for her (John 13:12-14)

• Helping with household chores

• Not leaving messes around the house

• Sharing little words that God has spoken to me – ‘salting the conversation’ (Col 4:6) with the things of God, and ‘washing her in the Word’ (Ephesians 5:26)

• Expressing appreciation for her

• Laboring to present her as a spotless bride to Jesus (Ephesians 5:27)

• Rooting for her to grow in the Lord

• Playfully joking with her to make her smile, and to let her know that I enjoy her (Prov 5:18-19)

THE CHURCH

Real love toward my church should look like:

• Being quick and eager to forgive others (Eph 4:32, Prov 19:11, Luke 17:3)

• Encouraging them – letting them know how special to God they are and loved, and how necessary to the church body they are (Heb 3:13)

• Encouraging them to seek for an intimate life with the Lord, desiring that they would be enraptured with Him and not anything else in this life (2 Cor 11:2-3)

• Challenging them to become Christ-like (Heb 6)

• Praying for them in secret (Php 2:3-4, Matt 6:6)

• Not gossiping or speaking negatively about others (Psalm 41:7)

• Doing what I can to help them if I become aware of some need they have (James 2:15-16)

• Thinking of them throughout the week and bearing burdens of others, praying with real meaning for them and pouring my heart out to God (Gal 6:2, Matt 6:7)

• Never comparing myself with anybody in the church (2 Cor 10:12)

• Being real, not a fake hypocrite – “Let love be without hypocrisy” – being open about my own weaknesses and not trying to hide them so people think I’m godly (Rom 12:9), and thereby discouraging them making them think they are ungodly because they still have struggles

• Getting ‘under’ people by serving them and doing things quietly in the background, instead of trying to climb my way above everyone by seeking honor (Php 2:5-8)

• Weeping with those who are going through a hard time, not saying “I’m glad it’s not me” (Rom 12:15)

• Not being envious, but rejoicing with them when something good happens for them, cheering for them

• Exhorting them always to keep pressing into Jesus – to be persistent and consistent, to keep going even when things are tough (Matt 24:13)

• Gently rebuking them when necessary, so they can become aware and repent of their sin (Gal 6:1)

GOD

Real love toward the Lord should look like:

• Seeking Him alone and not His gifts (Psalm 73:25)

• Obedience, both inwardly and outwardly – “For this is love the love of God: that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3)

• Presenting my body as a living sacrifice to Him, and my body parts as His instruments of righteousness (Rom 12:1, Rom 6:13)

• Considering everything else on this earth besides Him as worthless, and living like that (not chasing after money, comfort, success or the pleasure of this world, but only chasing after Christ) – (Php 3:8)

• Laboring to build up His church (not in numbers but in Christ-likeness) “Do you love me? Tend my lambs” (John 21:15-17)

• Seeking for gifts that can build up the church in Christ, and eagerly desiring those gifts not to feel good about myself or significant, but desiring them for the sake of others (1 Cor 14:1-12)

• Being eager to spend time with Him and having a desire to always be in His presence, regardless of wherever I am or whatever I’m doing (1 John 1:7)

• Leaving anything He asks me to give up (even if not sinful) because I always want to be close to Him (Psalm 73:25, 28)

• Going to Him when I am struggling with some issue, and not trying to solve my problems myself without Him (1 Peter 5:6-7)

• Hating sin because it grieves Him (Eph 4:30). Not wanting to hurt the One I love the most

• Not complaining when something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out as I’d have hoped, but surrendering myself to it as God’s will, and praising Him in spite of the outcome (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Being faithful to work hard at doing the mundane day to day tasks, because I’m doing it for Him (1 Cor 10:31, 1 Thess 4:11)

• Seeking eternal life – which is to know Him intimately (John 17:3)

• Cleansing myself because I want to be like Him (1 John 3:2-3) – (by cleansing, not just outwardly but cleansing all the evil that’s inside – things like anger, selfishness, greed, loving money and material things, a gossiping tongue, laziness, lukewarmness toward seeking God)

Up to this point I’ve only tried to illustrate what I believe real human love looks and doesn’t look like. But I’ve also been blessed to meditate on and see in God’s Word what His perfect love for me does and doesn’t look like.

God’s love for me doesn’t look like:

• Answering every prayer and giving me whatever I ask, no matter the consequences (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Withholding all sickness, physical issues, job or family problems

• Withholding every temptation from me (1 Cor 10:13)

• Making me very wealthy (Matt 19:23)

• Giving me only easy relationships (at work, in my family, in the church, etc)

God’s love for me looks like:

• Giving me many precious promises in His Word so I can partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4)

• Justifying me through Christ and now seeing me as righteous, just as if I’ve never sinned (2 Cor 5:21)

• Filling me with His Spirit so I can live in righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit (Romans 14:17)

• Always being with me (Heb 13:5)

• Not just changing my location forever (from Earth to Heaven), but changing what I am forever (2 Cor 5:17)

• Putting boundaries around me that will guide me to seek for Him (Acts 17:26-27)

• Willingness to subject me to hardship for my eternal good (Romans 8:28)

• Willingness to discipline me (Hebrews 12:6)

• Always providing my needs, both physical and spiritual (Luke 12:29-32)

• Always thinking of my eternal good over the temporary earthly gain I could have (Mark 8:36)

• A fervent desire and joy to fellowship with me and be close to me (Zeph 3:17)

• A fervent desire to see me grow in the image of Christ, and working all of my circumstances to achieve this goal (Rom 8:28-29)

And the most special illustration to me of what God’s love for me looks like is:

Not holding back what was most precious to Him – sending His Son to earth to become a man forever, and as a man to die for me so I can have an intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as my loving Father:

John 3:16, John 17:3

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life – And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent

Luke 15:24

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

**By Bobby MacDonald at NCCF Church

Overcoming Sexual Passions

In Ezekiel 16:49-50, God describes the real sins of Sodom that led to the destruction of that city (in Genesis 19). Most of us have always associated Sodom with sodomy (homosexuality) and other sexual sins. But sexual sin was the ultimate result of a way of life. What was it that led them into such depths of evil? Here we are told that Sodom’s sins were actually:

1.Pride

2. Laziness

3. Gluttony (love of good food)

4. Neglecting the poor and needy

These were the reasons why God wiped out that city. It is interesting to note that God does not even mention their sexual sin. Sexual sin in Sodom was the result of their lazy, comfortable life-style. What can we learn from this? That there is a close connection between:

  • Pride and sexual sin.
  • Laziness and sexual sin.
  • Gluttony and sexual sin.
  • A lack of concern for other people and sexual sin.

Consider just these four areas. Many of you who are young have to admit that you are finding it very difficult to overcome your sexual passions. That is an extremely difficult area. But why not begin by overcoming in these four easier areas? You may, then, find it easier to overcome in the sexual area.

Begin first of all, by humbling yourself in all situations. Avoid all arrogance.

Then begin to be hard-working and diligent in whatever you do.

Then try fasting – avoiding food – once in a while.

And fourthly, begin to think a little more about the needs of people around you and see how you can help them.

Try this prescription for one year and you may discover that overcoming your sexual passions becomes easier. We cannot overcome any sin without grace from God – but He gives His grace only to the humble; and He helps only those who are kind and helpful to others.


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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Videos on overcoming addictions and sexual sin can be found HERE!

Dowry

The Dowry System in India

It is unfortunately, normal among Christians of all denominations in India, for a boy’s father to ask for a dowry from the girl’s father before a marriage is finalised. This has reduced marriage to a business deal. Among unbelievers, such a practice is understandable because, being spiritually blind, they allow covetousness to rule their lives. But what shall we say when most believers also indulge in this practice – even those who claim to be Spirit-filled? Surely the Devil has blinded them too.

Many a marriage arrangement has failed because the parents of the girl could not meet the exorbitant demand for dowry made by the parents of the boy. Many girls in our land have been emotionally disturbed and brought to frustration because of this – and some have even committed suicide. Every day in India, some wife somewhere burns herself to death because of her husband harassing her to get more dowry from her father.

God will severely judge all those who make marriage a matter of striking a financial deal. This judgment will begin at the house of God, among those who claim to be born again. It is because many believers have not spoken out against the evil practice of dowry that it is still so widely prevalent in Christendom in India today. It is a sad thing indeed when those who should be standing upright for God in a warped and crooked world, become warped and crooked themselves. No Christian who wants to please God should ever ask for, or receive a dowry.

Some brothers hide under the excuse that it is their parents who ask for dowry and not they themselves. But if they have any convictions at all, why don’t they speak up and tell their parents that they don’t want any dowry? The reason must be that they too secretly desire the money. If they are convinced that the dowry system is wrong, they should speak up for the truth. It is surprising that many brothers who are strong-willed when it comes to other matters, act like spineless jelly-fish when it comes to expressing their convictions on dowry to their parents!

Some brothers say that it is only reasonable that their parents who have spent so much money on their education should now receive some money as dowry from the girl’s parents. But the girl’s parents have also spent money on educating her! Why doesn’t the boy give money to her father for giving him an educated girl??

Others justify their asking for dowry by saying that their parents will need money to give as dowry for their sisters when the latter get married. But we can be certain that God will not let anyone down, who seeks to honour Him in this matter. If you honour Him, He will honour you and give good husbands to your sisters (or daughters) without your having to pay any dowry (1 Samuel 2:30). If you say you don’t have faith for that, then I have nothing more to say to you, for I am writing now only for wholehearted Christians. The commandments of Jesus are meant only for wholehearted Christians.

Others may ask, “What is wrong in receiving money which the father of a girl gives gladly to her as a gift?” There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But before any brother uses this as an excuse for his covetousness, let him answer these three questions first:

(a) Was money any factor at all (even if the least important) in deciding the marriage?

(b) Did you or your representative (whether father or relatives) ever ask for the money, (or try to find out how much money the girl’s parents had) before or after the marriage had been settled?

(c) Did you secretly hope that money would be given by the girl’s parents (either to the girl or to you)?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, then you have certainly fallen a prey to covetousness, however well it may have been covered up by different excuses.

It is in such situations that the contradiction between a believer’s preaching and his practice becomes evident to all. No wonder infidels are prompted to say, “Whatever Christians may preach, when it comes to money, they have the same religion as everyone else”.

In some places, I have heard that the dowry system is the reverse of what is found in most parts of India. There the boy has to give a dowry to the girl’s father in order to marry her. But whichever dowry system it be, the practice is an abomination to God.

Many may resent such a strong denunciation of the dowry system. But we must remember that the system is a product of man’s covetousness, which the Bible calls idolatry (Colossians 3:5). One has only to read the severe denunciation of idolatry in the Old Testament to realize how God detests it. The prophets of old were fiery in their preaching against it. They did not mince words when speaking against that which God hated.

We have preached against and stood against dowry consistently in CFC ever since the Lord established our church in 1975.

Personally, I have practised exactly what I have written above, in my own life. I refused to allow any discussion of dowry at the time of my wedding. I took the same stand against dowry when my four sons were getting married. In addition, I never sought to find out whether the parents of the girls (whom my sons were marrying) were rich or whether the girls themselves had good educational qualifications that would enable them to work and earn money. Unfortunately, these are the matters that most believers today are keen on finding out when getting their sons married. I was only keen to find out if the girls themselves loved the Lord and were disciples of the Lord Jesus. And I thank God that He honoured my desire by giving each of my four sons God-fearing wives who would help them in their ministry for the Lord and also help them to raise God-fearing children.

Whenever I conduct a wedding, I always take a signed declaration from both the bride and the bridegroom stating that no dowry has been exchanged between them or their parents. I do this so that both parties see the seriousness of this evil. If any dowry was given or received, then I refuse to conduct the wedding. If they deceive me they are answerable to God.

To expect dowry, or to accept dowry are both just as bad as asking for dowry. Those who accept or expect a dowry are both covetous. Such “Christians” should be honest and call themselves “heathen“. They are certainly NOT followers of Jesus Christ.

Can you picture your asking Jesus to negotiate with a girl’s father about the amount of dowry he should pay you before you agree to give your son in marriage to his daughter? You know very well that Jesus would never be willing to negotiate in such a matter. That itself should show you that expecting or receiving a dowry is wrong.

Receiving dowry or giving dowry or helping someone receive a dowry are all offences according to the law in India. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 states:

“If anyone gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment for not less than five years and with fine not less than Rs.15,000 or the amount of value of dowry, whichever is more.”

Leaders of churches should be the foremost to obey the country’s laws and to honour God in this matter. Any church-leader who is unwilling to take a stand against this evil dowry system has no right to remain in leadership in any church. Some leaders may secretly take a dowry without anyone knowing it. But God will deal with such hypocrites in His own time.

At a wedding, money may be given for the actual expenses of the wedding and the reception. But even this should ideally be equally shared by both parties. Thus both the boy and the girl are given equal dignity before God. But we cannot make a rule in this matter, because some are able to afford an expensive wedding and reception, while others are not.

It is perfectly in order for a bride’s parents to give money to their daughter. But this is best done by putting the money in a bank account in her name. This is not a rule but only a guideline so that believers can preserve their testimony and not be accused of having received a dowry after the wedding.

There is another equally great evil in India – and that is the way daughters are treated by their parents when it comes to an inheritance. Many parents do not give an equal share of their wealth and assets to their daughters as they do to their sons. If it is evil to give or ask for dowry, it is an equally great evil for a parent not to give their daughters an equal share of their wealth as they give their sons. In God’s eyes, sons and daughters have equal rights to their parents’ assets. Any father who shows partiality to his sons over his daughters is an ungodly father, unfit to be called a Christian. Whether the father writes this in his will to be distributed after his death or whether he gives it to his children earlier is immaterial. But he must treat his daughters exactly like he treats his sons. And a daughter has every right to ask to be treated equally. Jesus taught that it is proper for children to ask their fathers for good gifts (Matthew 7:9-11).

If Jesus were in India today, He would denounce the dowry system ruthlessly. Unfortunately, church-leaders who claim to represent Him, do not denounce this practice – because they love money themselves, or are eager not to offend the rich, or hope to get a commission themselves in the process!

Even a non-Christian film-actor in India has spoken out against dowry recently. Aamir Khan writes:

“I am totally opposed to dowry. It is not only a retrograde practice but also an illegal one. Think about it – can a relationship, built on the foundation of money and greed, be meaningful or beautiful? We should make our daughter so accomplished and independent that she is capable of crafting her own future and becoming the master of her own happiness. Then she won’t need a greedy, useless groom to complete her life. Let her marry a person who respects her. Let her marry a man who she believes is worthy of her; whom she is happy to spend the rest of her life with.” 
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/article3439626.ece]

Such non-Christian film-stars are now putting to shame so-called “Spirit-filled, tongue-speaking” believers, in this matter! Those film-stars will rise up in the day of judgment and condemn all hypocritical believers.

This is one reason why the Lord has placed CFC and related churches (and I hope, some other churches too) as lighthouses in India, to stand for the truth and to proclaim His will in this matter. The Bible commands us to speak up for the rights of the needy (Proverbs 31:8, 9). We must stand totally against this evil dowry system that has destroyed the lives of so many helpless girls in our land. We must also urge all parents to give an equal share of their wealth to their daughters as they give to their sons.

Daniel took a stand for the Lord in Babylon in a very small matter – not eating certain foods that God had forbidden in Leviticus 11. That was a very small commandment – but it was a small commandment given by a great God. Because Daniel honoured God, God honoured him. God is testing us now in little matters, to see whether we qualify to be a voice for Him.

May the Lord preserve us as a prophetic voice for Him in our land.

By Zac Poonen

**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. cfcindia.com / Picture by pexels

Unifying the Body of Christ

Sermon by Zac Poonen “Christlike Freedom from Racism and Partiality”

Unifying the Body of ChristDivided we fall, United we stand

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God, whom we have never seen?” 1 John 4:20.

The Bible tells us to bear with one another in love, knitted together as a local body, accepting and respecting each other’s differences; be it colour, nationality, language or gender. We’re to put aside our racial, cultural or societal differences, and to die to ‘self’ in order to maintain unity within the brethren. As the Bible states in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Christians we are all called to conform to the likeness of Christ, and not one particular group or culture. We are all equal and loved by the same almighty God who sent His beloved Son Jesus to die for us all. The only thing we’re not to compromise on is God’s Word, His instruction manual on how we’re to live; and the Lord requires the whole gospel to be preached, without exception or apology.

The almighty sovereign God didn’t make a mistake when He placed us in a particular local body; He placed us there so we can serve, build, love and unify as one body in Christ, putting aside all differences in order to build unity and the spirit of faith in the church. Let us not justify why we cannot accept someone who is different than ourselves. Let us search our own hearts and ask the Lord to cleanse us from any partiality, deep rooted behaviours, patterns, prejudices that leave us so slowly. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive us. We can ask Him to help change us, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. How can we learn unconditional love, if we’re around people who meet all our conditions?

Here are some Bible verses that can help build unity in the Church:

  • Ephesians 4:2-3, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
  • John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
  • In Romans 12:16, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, Never be wise in your own sight.”
  • 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?”
  • Philippians 2:2-4, “Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.”

So then, let us love one another, for when we love one another all will know we’re His disciples. – John 13:35


Article by Lori McPherson / Picture by Pixabay at Pexels

 

Gentleness

“Be completely humble and gentle.” -Ephesians 4:2

The troubles of life can make us cranky and out of sorts, but we should never excuse these bouts of bad behaviour, for they can wither the hearts of those we love and spread misery all around us. We have not fulfilled our duty to others until we have learned to be pleasant.

The New Testament has a word for the virtue that corrects our unpleasantness—gentleness, a term that suggests a kind and gracious soul. Ephesians 4:2 reminds us, “Be completely humble and gentle.”

Gentleness is a willingness to accept limitations and ailments without taking out our aggravation on others. It shows gratitude for the smallest service rendered and tolerance for those who do not serve us well. It puts up with bothersome people—especially noisy, boisterous little people; for kindness to children is a crowning mark of a good and gentle person. It speaks softly in the face of provocation. It can be silent; for calm, unruffled silence is often the most eloquent response to unkind words.

Jesus is “gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). If we ask Him, He will, in time, recreate us in His image. Scottish author George MacDonald says, “[God] would not hear from [us] a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache . . . . From such, as from all other sins, Jesus was born to deliver us.”

Humility towards God will make us gentle towards others.

Insight

The apostle Paul had a lot to say about gentleness. Paul was the founding pastor of the church at Corinth and taught there for eighteen months (Acts 18:1–11). Yet, soon after he left the city, the believers rejected him as a true apostle. Paul had every reason and every right to come down hard on these believers, but he didn’t. Instead, he appealed to them “by the humility and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1). In his letter to another church, Paul urged two feuding sisters to reconcile. Paul asked that their “gentleness be evident to all” (Phil. 4:5). In dealing with people who are not sympathetic to the Christian faith and are antagonistic towards us, Peter urged us to be ready “to give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that [we] have.” But we are to do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

The Scriptures show us how we should relate to everyone—we are to be kind, gracious, respectful, and gentle.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to be a gentle person. Please help me to be kind and gracious to others today.


Article by David H Roper (c) 2020 Our Daily Bread Ministries / Photo by Erik Karits at Pexels

Others May You Cannot

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
(Proverbs 3:11-12)

OTHERS MAY, YOU CANNOT

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,__and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes__to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My__sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit,He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do. Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works. Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honoured and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory,which can only be produced in the shade. God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done;this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart,pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private,jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven,the high calling of God.

By G.D. Watson

The Father’s Love Letter

The Father’s Love Letter
An intimate message from God to YOU.

My Child,
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad. Almighty God

Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com


**How to be saved: The Path To Salvation, please click: HERE