Love Each Other
I pray that each of you is well and Covid free. I am also praying that you are getting vaccines. Keep it up with the vaccines. You have to make the call. They are not going to call you.
As we race on into 2021 let us find our voices. Let us testify and keep testifying. Speak a good word about Jesus whenever you can. Let's quit being afraid to testify. If we aren't going to testify during a pandemic, when many are sick and dying, just when are we going to testify? Satan thinks that this is his harvest time. Let's make it the Lord's harvest and not Satan's. We can all do this by testifying. It does not need to be a long drawn out testimony either. Just a good word for the Lord. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Today I have a few more testimonies, to finish up on testimonies. You have heard me speak of my frustration with the lack of news that we can trust. All the old news sources that we used to trust have been turned into propaganda of sorts. Let's go to Isaiah, once again testifying in the Spirit. Isaiah 5:18-21,
"Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight."
Sounds like today does it not? Here though, Isaiah is calling the people into account. They had mocked the Holy One of Israel.
As I look around today, in the middle of a pandemic, I see lots of people speaking gibberish, about things of minor consequence, politics, popularity, football and such. When talk turns to serious subjects, like freedom or free speech, no one seems to be able to speak the truth anymore. I never thought that I'd be an end times preacher, but it makes you wonder.
Politics have always been a rough and crooked game. Power and control are tempting prizes "to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight." But think about this, the winners never seem to really win. They all get ground down.
We cannot get caught up in the hyperbole and fear-mongering that ratchets up the tension. We know what is right, by God's Spirit, who guides and testifies to our spirits. Let's go to John for our next testimony. John 15:17-19, Jesus is speaking here.
"This is my command: Love each other. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."
I think that this explains why so many of us feel out of sorts. Is anyone feeling the love? Of course not. There is little love flowing around the world right now. In the U.S., revenge and persecution seem to be on the horizon. That's OK, because we are called to love one another. We can love one another. Let the world reject this love. That's not really our concern. Our call from Jesus' lips, is to love each other. I believe that we can do this.
Stay focused on this thought: We're not part of the problem, we are part of the solution. The solution is Jesus, though much of the world will not realize this until Christ is in the air upon His Return. Until then, come what may, we are called to love each other. We can do this and we will. I am confident in this. Because we have God's Spirit.
What's the source of my confidence? God. Why am I confident when everyone else is sad and confused? Because of God and his Holy Spirit. Why do I remain faithful to this command to love each other? Because Jesus is the one who gave the command. I owe it to Jesus, we all owe it to Jesus.
We have forgiveness of our sins and eternal life because of Jesus. What are we afraid of? The Holy Spirit of God resides in each one of us who has placed their faith in Jesus. What are we afraid of?
If the Spirit of God resides in us we are obligated to love each other. Let's finish with Paul, one of my life verses. Romans 8:1-4,
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful mankind, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."
No longer are those who believe slaves to sin. We are free from sin. The world recognizes this and is jealous, other times it doesn't care. But the world struggles to not recognize Jesus. The world works hard to negate Jesus, hamper Jesus, persecute Jesus. Why? Romans 8:5-8,
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful person is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."
This is the works of the flesh, the sinful nature set on it's own selfish desires. It is opposed to Holy Spirit led person. These cannot exist together, they are mutually exclusive, the sinful nature and the Holy Spirit.
The sinful mind is hostile to God and and his law and his word. The sinful mind is unable to submit to God's law, it cannot do it. I was one with a sinful mind and I was against God in everything. I was self centered in a sinful manner. At odds with God, and happy to be that way. However, the Holy Spirit can sweep the sinful nature out of the way. But I had to ask the Holy Spirit to do this. Romans 8:9-14,
"Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it (loving each other). For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God."
We are God's children. We are obligated to love each other, even those who hate us. This is who we are. Now if we could just go and get this love each other thing right. Enough with the hatred. Love each other.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC