Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Loving gently and forcefully

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend.

Scripture: John 5:39-40 (The Message) (Jesus speaking) “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me. And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

There is an old saying that Christianity “isn’t in the doing, it’s in the being.” Another words, all the things we do, seemingly, to please God isn’t working if who we are isn’t pleasing to God. So often, we get caught up in trying to look right that our hearts veer off course. Having our heads in the Bible, being seen at all the right prayer meetings and sitting in the center-aisle, second-row pew every Sunday – that is all important for the kingdom – but sometimes we get caught up in how we are seen and forget how to relate to people. We get caught up being busy for the Lord that we forget about serving the people who need Jesus most.

Jesus was always about doing the right thing for the right reason and not worrying about appearances. Our focus always needs to be about Jesus. Jesus is attractive in our lives, because his truth sets us free. It hurts to look in the mirror, because what we’ve done on our own isn’t always pretty. Jesus’ words always set us on the right path. Jesus was harsh with the Jews because their hearts had hardened and cared only about outward appearances. They added all those rules so they could appear being more holy than their neighbors. It became an unhealthy competition.

And along the way, they forgot about God. Yesterday, the Pharisees were angry at the lifetime cripple for picking up his bedroll and carrying it on the Sabbath. Instead of joyously celebrating with the man for his heeling, they found fault with his miracle. Those are the times we should be happy. Instead, we look for weaknesses in others and expose them so that we look better in the eyes of others. Who do you think the healed man followed after that day, Jesus or the Pharisees?

If Jesus were here today, he, indeed, would love the tree huggers and gay populace, but he also would be hated because he would stand up and hold people accountable for their sins. Jesus loved the sinner, but never tolerated their sin. He told the man lying by the swirling waters of Bethseda not to “return to a sinning life or something worse might happen (vs. 14).” Jesus didn’t just care about the man at that moment, he cared about his future. We can better love people through committed relationships, not by walking past someone we barely know and tell them about their sins. Jesus was both gentle and forceful in his actions. It only works when wrapped in love.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to be gentle and forceful at just the right times. Help me to seek you in all my relationships. Amen

Doug Mead
Parenting Solo

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Vol. 3, No. 158

This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/

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