Expressing Genuine Gentle Love

Category : General

1 Thessa.2: 8 (KJV)

8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

A common expression is “The ends justify the means.” But this is only true as long as something good happens at the end – that is, whatever we want to happen – then it doesn’t matter how we get to that point. However, the question then is “would this be a fair representation of our Christian lives as we seek to tell other people the good news? Is that the way Paul viewed his evangelism and preaching? It doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as you get a result, so long as someone professes faith (whether or not they’re genuinely converted)?

Here we find Paul saying they had such intense love for the people that he was not only willing and forward to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to them, but also to give his own live for their sake, because they were dear, because they were beloved by him. The words used here by the apostle are expressive of the strongest affection and attachment. The word here rendered “being affectionately desirous” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means to “long after, to have a strong affection for.” The sense here is, that Paul was so strongly attached to them that he would have been willing to lay down his life for them. He was so desirous of their salvation, that he was willing not only to labor, but if need be to die to promote it. So genuine and cordial was the love of Paul and his companions for the Thessalonians, that they did not merely deliver their message as officials seeking to discharge a responsibility laid upon them, but they were willing to sacrifice their lives for them, if need were. To be willing to communicate the knowledge of the gospel was in itself a strong proof of love, even if it were attended with no self-denial or hazard in doing it. Carefully note that Paul really enjoyed sharing the gospel with others. To him it was not drudgery or a mere duty, or something simply to check off the list. “But also our own souls”: (Matt.20:28; 2 Cor.12:15). “Far from using them to minister to himself, he gave himself to minister to them. This willingness manifested itself in the self-denying and excessive toil of which Paul proceeds to speak.

It is sad that some Christian and Christians leaders become both self-centered and autocratic. We all need to cultivate more, the gentleness, love and self-sacrifice”. Here we learn why Paul and his companions were so successful in teaching. They took a genuine interest in those they spoke to and converted. In our manner of preaching and in our interaction with individuals, we should be kind, gentle, courteous, upright, and sincere-not merely or principally for the purpose of pleasing men, but of doing them good. We show strong interest for one who is in danger, when we tell him of a way of escape, or for one who is sick, when we tell him of a medicine that will restore him; but we manifest a much higher love when we tell a lost and ruined sinner of the way in which he may be saved. There is no method in which we can show so strong an interest in our fellow-men, and so much true benevolence for them, as to go to them and tell them of the way by which they may be rescued from everlasting ruin. If we are going to be successful at reaching people with the gospel, then we must love the people that we preach to, more than loving to preach to people. Evangelism starts with unselfish service and placing the needs of others ahead of our own.

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C


Gentle Forbearance

Category : General

Ephesian 4: 2 (KJV)

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.

 

It is said that where there is “lowliness” there will be “meekness,” the absence of the disposition to assert personal rights, either in the presence of God or of men. Meekness submits without a struggle to the losses, the sufferings, the dishonor which the providence of God permits to come upon us. It is by acting as the apostle here directs that a man walks worthy of this high vocation; signifies subjection or humility of mind.

 

Meekness is one of the elements of long suffering. Paul is thinking of the mutual relations of those who are in Christ, and his words imply that there will be large occasions for the exercise of this grace in the conduct and spirit of our Christian brethren. We are not to assume that all those who are supposedly honestly loyal to Christ will keep His precepts perfectly, or that in all those who have received the Divine life the baser elements and passions of human nature have been extinguished. Sustaining one another, helping to support each other in all the miseries and trials of life: or, if the word be taken in the sense of bearing with each other, it may mean that, through the love of God working in our hearts, we should bear with each other’s infirmities, ignorance, etc., knowing how much others have been or are still obliged to bear with us.

 

We are exhorted to bear patiently with the foibles, faults, and infirmities of others. The virtue here required is that which is to be manifested in our manner of receiving the provocations which we meet with from our brethren. No virtue, perhaps, is more frequently demanded in our contact with others. He has a temperament different from our own. He may be sanguine, or choleric, or melancholy; while we may be just the reverse. He has peculiarities of taste, and habits, and disposition, which differ much from ours. He has his own plans and purposes of life, and his own way and time of doing things. He may be naturally irritable, or he may have been so trained that his modes of speech and conduct differ much from ours. Neighbors have occasion to remark this in their neighbors; friends in their friends; kindred in their kindred; one church-member in another

 

This agrees with what is elsewhere taught, that “love suffer long and is kind.” (1 Cor.13:4.) Where love is strong and prevalent, we shall perform many acts of mutual forbearance. Our Christian brethren will sometimes treat us unjustly. We must remember that they will judge us ignorantly and ungenerously; say harsh things about us; be inconsiderate and discourteous; be willful, wayward, selfish; will make us suffer from their arrogance, their ambition, their impatience, their stolid perversity. However, all this we have to anticipate, because Christ bears with their imperfections and their sins; we too have to exercise forbearance. We must remember that in forbearance, meekness and love are blended.

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C

 


Being a Help in Time of Need

Category : General

Galatian 6: 2 (KJV)

2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

 

As many of us know by now, this world is full of burden-bearers. We cannot pass through it without taking a load. Nor can we help fulfilling the injunction of the text in some sense. We do, naturally and inevitably, bear one another’s burdens.

 

The late George Moore was accustomed to say that sympathy was the grandest word in the English language. Sympathy overcomes evil and strengthens good, it lies at the root of all religion. One, Mr. Justice Talfourd lamented the lack of it. He said, “If I were asked what is the great lack of human society? I should say that need is sympathy.”   

 

We are to bear with each other; help each other in the divine life. The sense is, that every man has special temptations and easily besetting sins, which constitute a heavy burden. We should aid each other in regard to these and help one another to overcome them. The term “burden” denotes something which, by uneasy pressure, exhausts the strength and spirits of the person oppressed by it.

 

The special law of Christ, requiring us to love one another; see the note at John 13:34. This was the distinguishing law of the Redeemer; and they could in no way better fulfill it than by aiding each other in the divine life. The law of Christ would not allow us to reproach the offender, or to taunt him, or to rejoice in his fall. We should help him to take up his load of infirmities, and sustain him by our counsels, our exhortations, and our prayers.

 

The greatest of all burdens which the Christian feels is sin. It is this which makes the whole creation groan, and causes an apostle to cry out, “Oh wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). David also complains and says, “Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psalms 38:4). Bodily infirmities and diseases are in themselves a burden, however providence may intend them for our good, and finally overrule them for our spiritual advantage. Worldly losses, trials and difficulties, are the burden which some are called to bear, and of these there is a heavy load. The unkindness and ingratitude, the malice and opposition of enemies, press heavily on some: the undutifulness of children, and the breaches made by death, on others: and an endless train of disappointed hopes and expectations attend on all. A state of distance from God, and the hidings of His face, are a great grief and burden to the believing soul. “Thou hidest Thy face,” says David, “and I am troubled.”

 

It is then our obligations to sympathize with one another, those who are under the various ills and evils of the present life. It is imperative for us to know that we cannot so “bear each other’s burdens” as to transfer them to ourselves or suffer in another’s stead. In this sense Christ bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and at length bore our sins in His own body on the tree; and He alone was able to do it. However, we are to bear one another’s burdens by endeavoring to alleviate the afflicted and comforting them under all their sorrows. As Christians, we are to be conscious of the infirmities of others. We should not be cast off to a cold and heartless world; a world rejoicing over their fall, and ready to brand them as hypocrites. We should be pressed to the warm bosom of brotherly kindness; and prayer should be made to ascend without ceasing around an erring and a fallen brother. Is this the case in regard to all who bear the Christian name? The motive by which this duty is enforced is, that in so doing we “fulfil the law of Christ.” It is according to the new commandment which He has given us, that we should love one another; and according to the old commandment that we should love God, and our neighbor as ourselves. Let us then learn and practice to bear one another’s burdens by tenderly sympathizing with those who are afflicted and hurting. Let us make their griefs, as well as their joys, our own.

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C

 


No More Cover Up

Category : General

Psalm 51: 3 (KJV)

3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

It has been pointed out, “The remembrance of our sins and unworthiness may help us against worldly anxiety, and make us very indifferent to worldly things. So also we shall be braced to endure sorrow, knowing that it is fully deserved, and shall be continually humbled and sobered by the remembrance of what He suffered who never deserved any ill.”

The confession is literally, I know, or make known. Here he is confessing that he knew that he was a sinner, and he did not seek to cloak or conceal that fact. He came before God with the knowledge of it himself; he was willing to make acknowledgment of it before God. There was no attempt to conceal it; to excuse it. It was with grief and shame, and abhorrence of himself and of his sins; that drove David to say I have dissembled and covered. And being thus truly penitent, he hoped and beg that he may find mercy with God. The word ““for”” does not imply that he referred to his willingness to confess his sins as an act of merit, but it indicates a state of mind which was necessary to forgiveness, and without which he could not hope for pardon.

This also reveal his brokenness and guilt. This is seen in the phrase “And my sin is ever before me”. That is, it is now constantly before my mind. It had not been so until Nathan brought it vividly to his recollection (2 Samuel 12:1); but after that it was continually in his view. He could not turn his mind from it. The memory of his guilt followed him; it pressed upon him; it haunted him. It was no wonder that this was so. The only ground of wonder in the case is that it did not occur “before” Nathan made that solemn appeal to him, or that he could have been for a moment insensible to the greatness of his crime. When David saw himself in the parable, and had pronounced his own condemnation, he then saw his sins in their proper aggravations, and his iniquity was ever before him. His own conscience condemned him, and he was in perpetual fear of the effects of the divine displeasure.

There are many things in Holy Scripture which teach us that, however natural it may be, it is not a Christian disposition to be dwelling on our good doings and deserving. A habit of daily repentance is the right thing for us. We should every day be going anew to be washed in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; in every prayer, whatever else we ask or omit, we must ask for forgiveness through Christ, and for the blessed Spirit to sanctify, because we have our “sin ever before us” when we come to the throne of grace. We must resist the urge to placate or cover up our sin because ONLY Jesus Christ can forgive sin. There are seasons even to a Christian when he must feel, like Job, “I possess the iniquity of my youth.” Still, if these things be, they are certainly exceptions. The sense of forgiveness is essential to holiness. Our sins are among the things that are behind, which we are to forget, and to stretch forth to those that are before in order that we may live lives that are pleasing to God!

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C


A Matter of the Heart

Category : General

Isaiah 55: 7 (KJV)

7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

 

It has been concluded that all of us by nature are in a state of departure from God, and of subjection to sin.

 

In this verse we are told what is necessary in order to seek God and to return to Him, and the encouragement which we have to do it. The first step is for the sinner to forsake his way. He must come to a solemn pause and resolve to abandon all his transgressions. His evil course; his vices; his corrupt practices; and his dissipated companions, must be forsaken.

 

The word for “wicked” signifies restless, troublesome, and ungodly, and is expressive of the pollution and guilt of sin all are under. Here we find that the “wicked” sins more openly in “his way”; the “unrighteous” refers to the more subtle workings of sin in the “thoughts.” Some are notoriously wicked, but all men are wicked in the account of God, though they may think otherwise themselves; and they become so their own apprehensions, when they are thoroughly awakened and convinced of sin, and of the evil of their ways, and are enabled to forsake them: though this may also be understood of “his own way” of saving himself, which is by works of righteousness he has done, in opposition to God’s way of saving men by Jesus Christ; which way of his own must be relinquished, and Christ alone must be applied unto, and laid hold on, for salvation.

 

Again, we see that by three forms of expression Isaiah describes the nature of repentance, — 1st, “Let the wicked man forsake, his way;” 2ndly, “The unrighteous man his thoughts;” 3rdly, “Let him return to the Lord.” Under the word way he includes the whole course of life, and accordingly demands that they bring forth the fruits of righteousness as witnesses of their newness of life. It is imperative that we know and understand that all are guilty in the latter respect, though many fancy themselves safe, because not openly “wicked in ways” (Ps.94:11). The parallelism is that of gradation. The progress of the penitent is to be from negative reformation, “forsaking his way,” and a farther step, “his thoughts,” to positive repentance, “returning to the Lord” (the only true repentance, Zec.12:10), and making God his God, along with the other children of God (the crowning point; appropriation of God to ourselves: “to our God”). “Return” implies that man originally walked with God but has apostatized. Isaiah saith, “our God,” the God of the believing Israelites; those themselves redeemed desire others to come to their God (Ps.34:8; Rev.22:17).

 

So, the reality of this verse is explained by adding the word thoughts. This is to drive the point home that we must not only correct outward actions, but must begin with the heart; for although in the opinion of men we appear to change our manner of life for the better, yet we shall have made little proficiency if the heart be not changed. It is a matter of the heart!

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C

 


Love, The Christian Trademark

Category : General

Mark 12: 31 (KJV)

31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

It is said that when the story of West India slavery was told to the Moravians, and it was told that it was impossible to reach the slave population because they were so separated from the ruling classes, two Moravian missionaries offered themselves, and said: “We will go and be slaves on the plantations, and work and toil, if need be, under the lash, to get right beside the poor slaves and instruct them.” And they left their homes, went to the West Indies, went to work on the plantations as slaves, and by the side of slaves, to get close to the hearts of slaves; and the slaves heard them, and their hearts were touched, because they had humbled themselves to their condition.

Who is my neighbor? What is my duty to my neighbor? It includes: What is the measure of duty to your neighbor? “To love him as yourself.” Self-love is thus lawful and excellent, and even necessary. It is not the disposition which leads unregenerate man to gratify vicious appetites and passions. This is rather self-hatred. Nor that which leads us to grasp at all advantages, regardless of the consequences to others. This is selfishness. But that principle which is inseparable from our being; by which we are led to promote our own happiness, by avoiding evil and acquiring the greatest possible amount of good. This is the measure for our neighbor. While avoiding everything that would injure him in body, family, property, reputation, seek to do him all the good you can, and do it in the way in which you would promote your own welfare.

 

Christ here gave a summary of the Decalogue, equating the first four commandments with the love of God and the last six with the love of neighbor. Jesus’ answer, however, is far more than a mere summary of ancient law. Without love, first of God, and then of other human beings, there can be no unity with God who IS love. Moreover, Jesus’ mention of a second commandment is more than a mere gratuitous extension of his answer to the scribe’s question; for the first and second commandments are a compound unity. Can a man love God and hate his neighbor? “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen” (1 John 4:20).

We are to love all others as we love ourselves. The Law assumed that every person has a fundamental love for himself or herself. We demonstrate this love by caring for ourselves in many different ways. Loving our neighbors as ourselves does not mean spending the same time or money to meet the needs of others that we do to meet our own needs since this would be impossible. It means treating others as we treat ourselves. Do you truly love?

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C


Following God’s Leading

Category : General

Isaiah 42: 16 (KJV)

16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

 

It has been observed that after having said in the previous verses what He would do to His enemies, God now speaks of His people. He would lead them to their own land, as a blind people that needed a guide, and would remove whatever obstacle there was in their way. By the ‘blind’ here, He refers doubtless to His own people. The term is applied originally to His people in captivity, as being ignorant, after their seventy years exile, of the way of return to their own land. It is possible that it may have a reference to the fact, so often charged on them, that they were characteristically a stupid and spiritually blind people. But it is more probable that it is the language of tenderness rather than that of objurgation; and denotes their ignorance of the way of return, and their need of a guide, rather than their guilt, and hardness of heart.

 

It has also been observed that if applied to the people of God under the New Testament – as the entire strain of the prophecy seems to lead and to conclude – then it denotes that Christians will feel their need of a leader, counselor, and guide; and that Yahweh, as a military leader, will conduct them all in a way which they did not know, and remove all obstacles from their path. True wisdom will confirm the decision of Scripture, not only as to spiritual things but as to all things, when it says, “If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything,” i.e. if he regard himself as perfect in knowledge, “he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

 

Many of us know from experience, example that God leads His people notable by controlling their circumstances. God may preserve us from taking the wrong path by providentially blocking the way in which we might otherwise have walked; or, He may keep us from a false movement, or induce us to make the true one by bringing us unto the fellowship of some wise friend whose timely counsel either dissuades or determines us. However, there is another way and that is by influencing our minds. He is nearer to us than our nearest friends; and He can influence us more powerfully than the wisest and strongest of our teachers or guardians.

 

If we look to our own path in life, we find ourselves uninformed concerning that which lies before us. However, the Word of God gives hope and it does not more explicitly reveal to us our ignorance and blindness, than it offers to us a great and infallible Guide. Here is a promise of the wisest guidance. Blind man, you don’t know the way–but God does! Here is a promise of the mightiest help. “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.” Here is a promise of the firmest faithfulness. “These things I will do and not forsake them.” From the beginning to the end of their pilgrimage, God leads His people in a way, which previous to experience they know not. Our God is a faithful God, let us trust His wisdom and sovereignty!

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C


Giving ourselves to God

Category : General

2 Corinthians 8: 5 (KJV)

And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

 

They far exceeded our expectations, for they consecrated themselves entirely to the work of God; giving themselves and all they possessed first unto the Lord; and then, as they saw that it was the will of God that they should come especially forward in this charitable work, they gave themselves to us, to assist to the uttermost in providing relief for the suffering Christians in Judea.

 

These people are an example to us. The great works of the world are not done by the great people of the world; but as the tiny coral insects, patiently working unseen, produce large results, it often happens that the weakest brethren bestow large blessings. They are an example because they followed the right order. They did the first thing first. “They first gave their own selves to the Lord.” It spoils even good things when you reverse the right order, and put the cart before the horse. Did you ever hear of the servant who first dusted the room and then swept it? This is the first thing, because they were free in what they did. They “first gave.” The only pressure put upon them was that which made them willing in the day of God’s power. The religion which is pressed by surroundings, friends, or the demands of society is not worth having. They gave themselves, also, wholly and unreservedly. This is proved by the fact that their money followed the gift of their own selves They acted in obedience to “the will of God.”

 

Let us follow their example. Let us give ourselves to the Lord. Do not wait to make ourselves better, or to feel better. Until we have given yourself to Him, He cannot accept any other offering. Unless we are really Christ’s, we cannot be truly happy. Nor can we be safe. Only His power can save us from our adversary, the devil. Some of us gave ourselves to Christ forty years ago, some thirty; some twenty; some ten; some only quite lately. However long it has been, let us keep on giving to Him.

 

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C


Coming Before God

Category : General

 

Psalm 15: 1 (KJV)

1Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

 

The question and answer format of this psalm has led to some rather fanciful notions on the part of commentators regarding the possible use of it in the temple ceremonies. Kidner believed that it might have been, “Modeled on what took place in certain sanctuaries of the ancient world.” When a group of worshippers approached the temple, the worshippers raised the question of who should be admitted, and the priest responded with a list of requirements

 

The Hebrew word means properly to “sojourn;” that is, to abide in a place as a sojourner or stranger; not permanently, but only for a while. The idea in this place is taken from the word “tabernacle” or “tent,” with which one naturally associates the thought of sojourning, rather than that of a permanent abode. It should not be inferred, however, that it is meant here that the residence with God would be “temporary.” The idea of permanency is fully expressed in the other member of the sentence, and the language here is only such as was customary in speaking of the righteous – language derived from the fact that in early times men dwelt in tents rather than in permanent habitations.

 

The question here is of the utmost importance, It does not mean, “What is his name, or who shall sojourn in God’s tabernacle? but “What kind of person shall be so entitled?” The broader meaning of the question was stated by Barnes. This is the most important question that can come before the human mind. It is a question of, `Who is religious?’ `Who will enter heaven?’ `Who will be saved.

 

With that in mind, we must, therefore, by no means be indifferent about this matter; on the contrary, we ought rather to exert ourselves in good earnest, that all who profess themselves Christians may lead a holy and an unspotted life. But above all, what God here declares with respect to all the unrighteous should be deeply imprinted on our memory; namely, that He prohibits them from coming to His sanctuary, and condemns their impious presumption, in irreverently thrusting themselves into the society of the godly. David makes mention of the tabernacle, because the temple was not yet built. The meaning of his discourse, to express it in a few words, is this, that those only have access to God who are his genuine servants, and those who live a holy life. let us remember because of His righteousness, we have access to God.

 

Have a great and God filled day!

 

Pastor C

 


In God WE Trust

Category : General

Psalm 44: 8 (KJV)

8In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

Here we find that due to all the great deeds of the Lord and victory given from the Lord, the people continue to praise the name of the Lord and give him thanks. As we read this psalm, we may think this psalm is a psalm of praise or a psalm of thanksgiving for the mighty deeds of God. However, the psalm now takes a turn and describes the suffering they are enduring now. If you recall, David repeatedly reminded the worshipers to remember how God has delivered us in the past to give us faith in God as we deal with current and future problems.

As been noted, this is the conclusion of the first part of the psalm. To express the meaning in a few words, they acknowledge, that in all ages, the goodness of God had been so great towards the children of Abraham, that it furnished them with continual matter of thanksgiving. As if the thing were still present to their view, they acknowledge that, without ceasing, they ought to give praise to God, because they had flourished and triumphed, not merely for one age, or a short period of time, but because they had continued to do so successively from age to age, for whatever prosperity had befallen them, they ascribe it to the grace of God. And, certainly, it is then that men experience from the prosperity which befalls them, a holy and a well-regulated joy, when it bursts forth in the praises of God.

Because of what we know and learn from their experience, let us then, bear in mind that this verse relates to the time of joy and prosperity in which God manifested His favor towards His people. Also, that the faithful here manifest that they are not ungrateful, inasmuch as, having laid aside all vain boasting, they confess that all the victories by which they had become great and renowned proceeded from God, and that it was by his power alone that they had hitherto continued to exist, and had been preserved in safety; and, that it was not only once or twice that matter of joy had been afforded them, but that this existed for a long time, inasmuch as God had manifested towards them, during a long and uninterrupted period, divers proofs and tokens of his paternal favor, so that the continuance, and, so to speak, the long experience they had had of it, ought to have been the means of confirming their hope.

We need to take noted and observe that is, continually or constantly by the people. Therefore this should not be a momentary or temporary expression of our feelings, but should be our habitual and constant employment. We have no other ground of reliance, and we express that reliance constantly. The word rendered “boast” here rather more literally means praise: “In God we praise all the day long.” The idea is, that He was their only ground of confidence and He should be ours. They ascribed all their former successes to him; they had no other reliance now, we need to do the same. Let this be OUR motto, in God we trust not in man or substance.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C


Archives