Love Thy Enemy

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Generally most of us would agree that it is better to love than hate. Christ – throughout all His ministry – taught us about loving each other and doing so not because we like the other person, but because our Father loves us all. He loves good people and bad people and downright evil people. God would have forgiven even Hitler – not to mention those serving him – had he honestly repented of what he had done. God sent Christ to save all of us, not just the good people. Christ even told the pharisees as much:

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Matthew 9:13

Sure, not everyone believes in God – to their loss – but it seems almost universal that we believe in loving each other. That is, if they are good enough or worthy enough or some other artificial and false limitation we as humans impose on our love. That is why, in our limited strength, we cannot love someone as we are called to show. We need God’s strength to love like that because only God can love like that (and to be clear, this has nothing to do with romantic love in the least, that sort of love is a different topic).

It sickens me to see the same people who claim to be able to love others call for the death of a 97-year old Nazi. Yes, that was the sentence that was meted out, and the consequences of his actions are real – in this world and the next if he hasn’t repented and made Christ his Lord and Savior. Yes, there are consequences in this life, but the man is already living out his last days without us lifting a finger. If he had any sort of attack of conscience, he’s had his life since WWII to remember all that he did. All that he was responsible for. That’s far worse than anything I could have imagined (and I used to think up of some sick and twisted ways of tormenting people).

It sickens me to hear people demand the death of a boy – and that is what he is by how he acted out – for what happened in Aurora, CO. Yes, a terrible tragedy happened there but the bigger tragedy would be us to move in a manner that would deny him the opportunity to repent and be saved. Not only would we kill his body, but we would be condemning his soul to an eternity in hell. I’m unwilling to be part of that. We are called to be a light to the world, to be the salt of this world. I’m no different then the secular humanist, or the abortionist, or other non-believer if I too were to hold such unforgiveness in my heart. God has forgiven us of much, how can we deny forgiveness for little?

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Matthew 18:21-35

My Faith Is In The LORD

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Short and Not So Sweet

The Short

God works on His own timetable for each person He is dealing with. Often times, though, we make ourselves so busy with activities, thoughts, goals, what-have-you that we often miss out on what He has in mind for us. We miss out on Spiritual insights into His will and His word, we miss out on being a blessing and even in being blessed ourselves. There is a Psalm I like to use, I call it the “Sit down, shut up, and know that I Am God” Psalm (Psalm 46:10).

There are days where we need to remember that God works best when we do the least. I needed that myself this week. My post from the other day showed where I had gotten myself so busy with preparations for being done with His plan – thinking that there couldn’t possibly be more to what He has in mind. After all, I am now a successful two-time cancer survivor because of Him. How much more could there be? Well, to put it bluntly, the rest of it – where IT is His plan to receive all glory, honor, and praise.

I didn’t know he wasn’t done, and I apparently hadn’t been listening closely enough and wound up getting myself up in a tizzy over even more treatments at a seemingly accelerated pace. Once I slowed down enough to listen, He spoke to me through the prophet Malachi. With only four “chapters” of verse attributed to his name, Malachi was able to show me all that I needed to know.

The Not So Sweet

The First Lesson

The first lesson was the toughest to hear, and as I sit here typing out my thoughts, I am reminded of a scene from Facing the Giants where Coach Taylor is making Brock Kelly do the death crawl, blindfolded and with 160lbs of human on his back. In this scene, the coach is not only demanding Brock’s all, but also his best. God did the same in Malachi. God wanted all of His people fully devoted to Him and He wanted there best. Not the cast-off animals no one else wanted. Not the last bits of lint from the shekels purse. He wants our first, our best, and He wants truly sacrificial giving from those who are willing. Remember Christ’s cursing of the fig tree? It wasn’t just because it wasn’t bearing fruit. It was because it was a mature vessel of God which was not fulfilling its God-given purpose of bearing fruit. It stopped listening to God, it stopped doing what it should be doing and was just basically a bump on the log. I would like to thank my Brother and church Elder David Cook for letting God use him for this last bit to this message I needed to hear. God has a value and need of us to be His light-bearers, but if we have no use for Him what use should He have for us? We’d be like that fig tree, taking up valuable space where something productive could be.

The Second Lesson

The second lesson is over tithing. He repeatedly commands us to bring in the tithe to the storehouse, starting off with a statutory (mandatory minimum) amount to get us both in the habit and understanding of what is going on. In the beginning, Abraham and the Jews had to tithe the first (and best) 10% of all income. It was both for the care of the priests and the poor. In the New Testament, there was no longer a statutory amount but there was still the command to tithe, this time exclusively for the care of the poor and indigent members of the brethren. The leadership was to be gainfully employed in their own right (Paul was a tent-maker (or whatever else was needed) by trade) so as not to be a burden to the brethren, but the command to tithe was still there and we are indeed called to follow those brothers and sisters who give past the point of it hurting, and all in joy.

The point was never about the money, or the food, or clothing, or whatever. The point was and always has been that our focus not be on the money, clothing, food, or whatever. If our focus really is all on God, then those things will not matter (and we don’t have to worry about them, as Christ teaches in Matthew 6:25-34).

The Third Lesson

God knows.

Tying It Together


Our focus, whether we are being healed, tithing, or working needs to be on what God wants. We need to stop busying ourselves to the point of distraction. If we are truly devoted and radical enough for Christ to call us His own, our focus can’t help but be upon Him. He’s already said He’d take care of the rest. He knows when we are really committed and He knows when we are a bump on the log. He has commanded us in His ways and expects nothing less than our very best, whether its carrying 160lbs of human on hands and feet across 100 yards of football field or going to the store to pick up groceries we can’t afford because our brethren can afford it even less than we.

I committed to God almost three years ago – and every day since then – to give Him my best, to follow His will and His way and leave the rest up to Him which means that for now, I continue through with chemotherapy, not knowing when it will stop. In a life full of hard decisions, this is probably one of those that feels hard now but was probably the easiest I ever made.

To God be the Glory, Power, and Honor now and forever, Amen.

Faith: Where Have I Put Mine?


A Question That Needs to Be Asked

Where does my faith lie?

All too often we begin down a path, sure that is where God is leading us but how often do we stop to evaluate the choices we make? As I sit here at the hospital waiting to be admitted for the last round of my first cycle of post-operative chemotherapy, I am left asking myself: How far will I go down this road and where does my faith lie? Is it with God Almighty, the Great Physician, or is it with man? If its the latter, it is sorely misplaced. If it is the former, I still need to seek Him out in prayer so as to be sure I’m still operating within His guidelines and will – not just for these treatments but every other area of my life.

Questioning the State of My Heart

Why, after coming through almost 7 months of chemotherapy, doctors visits, and major surgery am I questioning my faith now? As I said earlier, I’m finishing up my first cycle of post-operative therapy. I think now is a great time to really look at where my faith lies. I know that prior to this point, I was indeed following God’s will. Successful treatment and surgery and lots of time spent in prayer and His Word confirms this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

These post-operative treatments aren’t about healing, though. They are preventative in nature and – I’m beginning to feel – a way to make the oncologist feel better that I won’t relapse. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I are very happy with my doctors and we feel the care has been stellar but has my faith shifted away from God and onto the doctors? 1 John 4:4 says “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” While John is speaking of antiChrist’s and false doctrines, I believe the same can be applied to my situation: If I am healed, do I need maintenance treatments and have faith in God or do I give into a false-sense of security and follow my own will in the matter?

That is where I stand right now, am I following my own will or am I still walking in God’s? If the former, I am in sin and need to repent. If the latter, I continue as I am right now. Either way, now is the time for sober self-assessment, all the while giving all honor, glory, and praise to God.

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