Grace Life Church pastor
"Challenging Words in Challenging Times"
Have you ever felt you would like to use a black magic marker and cross out some portions of the bible that seem to be just too impossible to follow or obey? I know I have and here are just a few that I have struggled with at times.
Matt. 5:43-45 (NKJV) 43"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT) 14Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Bless those who curse us? Do good to those who hate us? Pray for those who use us, tell lies about us, and persecute us? We can have a hard enough time to love our neighbors let alone our enemies! Do everything without complaining or arguing? God must be kidding, right?
Murmuring and complaining comes so easily and we all have a right to argue our opinions because surely ours is the correct one. Bring our every thought to obey Christ? No way, God! How can I daydream and lustfully fantasize?
This is the season of Thanksgiving and much focus of the world is already on Christmas celebrations and gift giving. But there are many in our world that may feel they have little to give thanks for nor the money or reason to celebrate and give gifts. If that be you then you will probably find this string of verses quite challenging.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (KJV) 16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
My thought for today is that we need to learn to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and not be misled by the opinions of the world or deceived by our own thoughts, feelings, opinions and emotions. God's word is true and beneficial for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Rather than looking to man for wisdom ask God.
James 1:5 (NLT) 5If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
My prayer for us is this: I Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!
Join with us at 7 p.m. Wednesday at First Lutheran Church to worship and give thanks together as a community of believers. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!