Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Love thy neighbor and thy enemy

s- Matthew 5 NASB
43  "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'
44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may fnbe sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 "Therefore fnyou are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect`.

O -  Mathew Henry Commentary:
  • I. See here how this law was corrupted by the comments of the Jewish teachers, v. 43. God said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour; and by neighbour they understood those only of their own country, nation, and religion; and those only that they were pleased to look upon as their friends: yet this was not the worst; from this command, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, they were willing to infer what God never designed; Thou shalt hate thine enemy; and they looked upon whom they pleased as their enemies, thus making void the great command of God by their traditions, though there were express laws to the contrary, Ex. 23:4, 5; Deu. 23:7. Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, nor an Egyptian, though these nations had been as much enemies to Israel as any whatsoever. It was true, God appointed them to destroy the seven devoted nations of Canaan, and not to make leagues with them; but there was a particular reason for it-to make room for Israel, and that they might not be snares to them; but it was very ill-natured from hence to infer, that they must hate all their enemies; yet the moral philosophy of the heathen then allowed this. It is Cicero's rule, Nemini nocere nisi prius lacessitum injuriâ-To injure no one, unless previously injured. De Offic. See how willing corrupt passions are to fetch countenance from the word of God, and to take occasion by the commandment to justify themselves.
  • II. See how it is cleared by the command of the Lord Jesus, who teaches us another lesson: "But I say unto you, I, who come to be the great Peace-Maker, the general Reconciler, who loved you when you were strangers and enemies, I say, Love your enemies,' v. 44. Though men are ever so bad themselves, and carry it ever so basely towards us, yet that does not discharge us from the great debt we owe them, of love to our kind, love to our kin. We cannot but find ourselves very prone to wish the hurt, or at least very coldly to desire the good, of those that hate us, and have been abusive to us; but that which is at the bottom hereof is a root of bitterness, which must be plucked up, and a remnant of corrupt nature which grace must conquer. Note, it is the great duty of Christians to love their enemies; we cannot have complacency in one that is openly wicked and profane, nor put a confidence in one that we know to be deceitful; nor are we to love all alike; but we must pay respect to the human nature, and so far honour all men: we must take notice, with pleasure, of that even in our enemies which is amiable and commendable; ingenuousness, good temper, learning, and moral virtue, kindness to others, profession of religion, etc., and love that, though they are our enemies. We must have a compassion for them, and a good will toward them. We are here told,
    • 1. That we must speak well of them: Bless them that curse you. When we speak to them, we must answer their revilings with courteous and friendly words, and not render railing for railing; behind their backs we must commend that in them which is commendable, and when we have said all the good we can of them, not be forward to say any thing more. See 1 Pt. 3:9. They, in whose tongues is the law of kindness, can give good words to those who give bad words to them.
    • 2. That we must do well to them: "Do good to them that hate you, and that will be a better proof of love than good words. Be ready to do them all the real kindness that you can, and glad of an opportunity to do it, in their bodies, estates, names, families; and especially to do good to their souls.' It was said of Archbishop Cranmer, that the way to make him a friend was to do him an ill turn; so many did he serve who had disobliged him.
    • 3. We must pray for them: Pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. Note,
      • (1.) It is no new thing for the most excellent saints to be hated, and cursed, and persecuted, and despitefully used, by wicked people; Christ himself was so treated.
      • (2.) That when at any time we meet with such usage, we have an opportunity of showing our conformity both to the precept and to the example of Christ, by praying for them who thus abuse us. If we cannot otherwise testify our love to them, yet this way we may without ostentation, and it is such a way as surely we durst not dissemble in. We must pray that God will forgive them, that they may never fare the worse for any thing they have done against us, and that he would make them to be at peace with us; and this is one way of making them so. Plutarch, in his Laconic Apophthegms, has this of Aristo; when one commended Cleomenes's saying, who, being asked what a good king should do, replied, Tous men philous euergetein, tous de echthrous kakoµs poiein-Good turns to his friends, and evil to his enemies; he said, How much better is it tous men philous euergetein, tous de echthrous philous poiein-to do good to our friends, and make friends of our enemies. This is heaping coals of fire on their heads.
      • Two reasons are here given to enforce this command (which sounds so harsh) of loving our enemies. We must do it,
        • [1.] That we may be like God our Father; "that ye may be, may approve yourselves to be, the children of your Father which is in heaven.' Can we write a better copy? It is a copy in which love to the worst of enemies is reconciled to, and consistent with, infinite purity and holiness. God maketh his sun to rise, and sendeth rain, on the just and the unjust, v. 45. Note,
          • First, Sunshine and rain are great blessings to the world, and they come from God. It is his sun that shines, and the rain is sent by him. They do not come of course, or by chance, but from God.
          • Secondly, Common mercies must be valued as instances and proofs of the goodness of God, who in them shows himself a bountiful Benefactor to the world of mankind, who would be very miserable without these favours, and are utterly unworthy of the least of them.
          • Thirdly, These gifts of common providence are dispensed indifferently to good and evil, just and unjust; so that we cannot know love and hatred by what is before us, but by what is within us; not by the shining of the sun on our heads, but by the rising of the Sun of Righteousness in our hearts.
          • Fourthly, The worst of men partake of the comforts of this life in common with others, though they abuse them, and fight against God with his own weapons; which is an amazing instance of God's patience and bounty. It was but once that God forbade his sun to shine on the Egyptians, when the Israelites had light in their dwellings; God could make such a distinction every day.
          • Fifthly, The gifts of God's bounty to wicked men that are in rebellion against him, teach us to do good to those that hate us; especially considering, that though there is in us a carnal mind which is enmity to God, yet we share in his bounty.
          • Sixthly, Those only will be accepted as the children of God, who study to resemble him, particularly in his goodness.
        • [2.] That we may herein do more than others, v. 46, 47.
          • First, Publicans love their friends. Nature inclines them to it; interest directs them to it. To do good to them who do good to us, is a common piece of humanity, which even those whom the Jews hated and despised could give as good proofs as of the best of them. The publicans were men of no good fame, yet they were grateful to such as had helped them to their places, and courteous to those they had a dependence upon; and shall we be no better than they? In doing this we serve ourselves and consult our own advantage; and what reward can we expect for that, unless a regard to God, and a sense of duty, carrying us further than our natural inclination and worldly interest?
          • Secondly, We must therefore love our enemies, that we may exceed them. If we must go beyond scribes and Pharisees, much more beyond publicans. Note, Christianity is something more than humanity. It is a serious question, and which we should frequently put to ourselves, "What do we more than others? What excelling thing do we do? We know more than others; we talk more of the things of God than others; we profess, and have promised, more than others; God has done more for us, and therefore justly expects more from us than from others; the glory of God is more concerned in us than in others; but what do we more than others? Wherein do we live above the rate of the children of this world? Are we not carnal, and do we not walk as men, below the character of Christians? In this especially we must do more than others, that while every one will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle, and is consonant to a higher rule, than the most of men act by. Others salute their brethren, they embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion; but we must not so confine our respect, but love our enemies, otherwise what reward have we? We cannot expect the reward of Christians, if we rise no higher than the virtue of publicans.' Note, Those who promise themselves a reward above others must study to do more than others.
          • Lastly, Our Saviour concludes this subject with this exhortation (v. 48), Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Which may be understood,
            • 1. In general, including all those things wherein we must be followers of God as dear children. Note, It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press toward a perfection in grace and holiness, Phil. 3:12-14. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1 Pt. 1:15, 16. Or,
            • 2. In this particular before mentioned, of doing good to our enemies; see Lu. 6:36. It is God's perfection to forgive injuries and to entertain strangers, and to do good to the evil and unthankful, and it will be ours to be like him. We that owe so much, that owe our all, to the divine bounty, ought to copy it out as well as we can.

A -


Monday, April 9, 2018

Generosity Encouraged

Generosity Encouraged

S - 2 COR 9 NIV
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

 O - Matthew Henry’s commentary:
Here we have,
I. Proper directions to be observed about the right and acceptable manner of bestowing charity; and it is of great concernment that we not only do what is required, but do it as is commanded. Now, as to the manner in which the apostle would have the Corinthians give, observe, 1. It should be bountifully; this was intimated, 2 Cor. 9:5; that a liberal contribution was expected, a matter of bounty, not what savoured of covetousness; and he offers to their consideration that men who expect a good return at harvest are not wont to pinch and spare in sowing their seed, for the return is usually proportionable to what they sow, 2 Cor. 9:6. 2. It should be deliberately Every man, according as he purposes in his heart, 2 Cor. 9:7. Works of charity, like other good works, should be done with thought and design; whereas some do good only by accident. They comply, it may be hastily, with the importunity of others, without any good design, and give more than they intended, and then repent of it afterwards. Or possibly, had they duly considered all things, they would have given more. Due deliberation, as to this matter of our own circumstances, and those of the persons we are about to relieve, will be very helpful to direct us how liberal we should be in our contributions for charitable uses. 3. It should be freely, whatever we give, be it more or less: Not grudgingly, nor of necessity, but cheerfully, 2 Cor. 9:7. Persons sometimes will give merely to satisfy the importunity of those who ask their charity, and what they give is in a manner squeezed or forced from them, and this unwillingness spoils all they do. We ought to give more freely than the modesty of some necessitous persons will allow them to ask: we should not only deal out bread, but draw out our souls to the hungry, Isa. 58:10. We should give liberally, with an open hand, and cheerfully, with an open countenance, being glad we have ability and an opportunity to be charitable.
II. Good encouragement to perform this work of charity in the manner directed. Here the apostle tells the Corinthians,
1. They themselves would be no losers by what they gave in charity. This may serve to obviate a secret objection in the minds of many against this good work who are ready to think they may want what they give away; but such should consider that what is given to the poor in a right manner is far from being lost; as the precious seed which is cast into the ground is not lost, though it is buried there for a time, for it will spring up, and bear fruit; the sower shall receive it again with increase, 2 Cor. 9:6. Such good returns may those expect who give freely and liberally in charity. For, (1.) God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and what may not those hope to receive who are the objects of the divine love? Can a man be a loser by doing that with which God is pleased? May not such a one be sure that he shall some way or other be a gainer? Nay, are not the love and favour of God better than all other things, better than life itself? (2.) God is able to make our charity redound to our advantage, 2 Cor. 9:8. We have no reason to distrust the goodness of God, and surely we have no reason to question his power; he is able to make all grace abound towards us, and abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and temporal good things. He can cause us to have a sufficiency in all things, to be content with what we have, to make up what we give, to be able to give yet more: as it is written (Ps. 112:9) concerning the charitable man, He hath dispersed abroad. He hath given to the poor. His righteousness, that is, his almsgiving, endureth for ever. The honour of it is lasting, the reward of it eternal, and he is still able to live comfortably himself and to give liberally to others. (3.) The apostle puts up a prayer to God in their behalf that they might be gainers, and not losers, 2 Cor. 9:10, 11. Here observe, [1.] To whom the prayer is made—to God, who ministereth seed to the sower, who by his providence giveth such an increase of the fruits of the earth that we have not only bread sufficient to eat for one year, but enough to sow again for a future supply: or thus, It is God who giveth us not only a competency for ourselves, but that also wherewith we may supply the wants of others, and so should be as seed to be sown. [2.] For what he prayeth. There are several things which he desires for them, namely, that they may have bread for their food, always a competency for themselves, food convenient,—that God will multiply their seed sown, that they may still be able to do more good,—and that there may be an increase of the fruits of righteousness, that they may reap plentifully, and have the best and most ample returns of their charity, so as to be enriched in every thing to all bountifulness (2 Cor. 9:11),—that upon the whole they may find it true that they shall be no losers, but great gainers. Note, Works of charity are so far from impoverishing us that they are the proper means truly to enrich us, or make us truly rich.
2. While they would be no losers, the poor distressed saints would be gainers; for this service would supply their wants, 2 Cor. 9:12. If we have reason to think them to be saints, whom we believe to be of the household of faith, whose wants are great, how ready should we be to do them good! Our goodness can not extend unto God, but we should freely extend it to these excellent ones of the earth, and thus show that we delight in them.
3. This would redound to the praise and glory of God. Many thanksgivings would be given to God on this account, by the apostle, and by those who were employed in this ministration, 2 Cor. 9:11. These would bless God, who had made them happy instruments in so good a work, and rendered them successful in it. Besides these, others also would be thankful; the poor, who were supplied in their wants, would not fail to be very thankful to God, and bless God for them; and all who wished well to the gospel would glorify God for this experiment, or proof of subjection to the gospel of Christ, and true love to all men, 2 Cor. 9:13. Note, (1.) True Christianity is a subjection to the gospel, a yielding of ourselves to the commanding influence of its truths and laws. (2.) We must evince the sincerity of our subjection to the gospel by works of charity. (3.) This will be for the credit of our profession, and to the praise and glory of God.
4. Those whose wants were supplied would make the best return they were able, by sending up many prayers to God for those who had relieved them, 2 Cor. 9:14. And thus should we recompense the kindnesses we receive when we are not in a capacity of recompensing them in any other way; and, as this is the only recompence the poor can make, so it is often greatly for the advantage of the rich.
Lastly, The apostle concludes this whole matter with this doxology, Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, 2 Cor. 9:15. Some think that by this unspeakable gift he means the gift of grace bestowed on the churches, in making them able and willing to supply the necessities of the saints, which would be attended with unspeakable benefit both to the givers and receivers. It should seem rather that he means Jesus Christ, who is indeed the unspeakable gift of God unto this world, a gift we have all reason to be very thankful for.

O - This chapter on charitable giving is deep and profound and yet simple.   The Lord is asking me “Joe are you charitable?   For the right reasons?  Do you trust in my provision?  I love the challenge that Paul lays down on the people of Corinth, who have proven to be charitable but he still challenges them to go deeper and understand God’s charity, and understand God’s provision.   I need to take this opportunity to reflect on how I am showing charity both in money, and service to others in the church, and finally to the community God has placed me in.  

P -  Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s lesson may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me examine my heart and remove any lack of charity or lack of trust in your provision I have.  I have no reason not to trust in you, but my flesh is weak and I know I have fallen short.  Lord forgive me for those times I wasn’t as charitable as I could have been, and help me to see future opportunities to give.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Meditate on all that God has done in your life

Meditate on all that God has done in your life 
S- Psalm 77 NIV
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?  Will he never show his favor again?   8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?    Has his promise failed for all time? 
 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 
 9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”   

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.   12 I will consider all your works    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” 13 Your ways, God, are holy.    What god is as great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 

O - This psalm follows a familiar pattern of crying out to the Lord, wondering if he will rescue or reject, followed by a remembering of who God is and putting faith back into God’s ability to lead and save.   This is a familiar pattern because it is the pattern of the human condition.  Frail and sin affected,   We at times lose faith and hope in the despair of our situations because we forget who our creator, Lord, and savior is.   We humans,  God’s creation,  have only to turn toward Him,  trust in Him, and wait on Him.

A - My own human condition is both predictable, and recoverable.  Yet the knowledge of this does not prevent me from struggling.   I always have to come back to the foot of the cross with repentance for my wavering faith, and wandering heart.   In my 40’s I am facing the real human condition that most males seem to face, a point where I have accomplished most of my youthful goals,  and I have enough physical and financial security that I am questioning my life purpose from here out.    I have gone through a great valley in which I thought God was no longer with me and that my self written purpose was all wrong or impossible.   I am coming out the other side of that experience and working on Finishing Well my Navy career and looking forward to what God has in store for the second half of my life.   The application of the psalm is simply this - go ahead and complain and vent if needed to the Lord about my frustrations and concerns,  but more importantly move on to the next step -  I need to list and remember the deeds of the Lord in my life as this is the proof to a doubting mind that wanders, that God is for me and not against me.   

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s devotion may it be sealed to my heart.  Lord thank you for the reminder to spend time reflecting on all your good works in my life, so that I might restore my hope in you, and not worry of the current circumstances that surround me.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

There is none like it (Rich Berry)

March 10, 2018
There is None Like It
Dr. Rich Berry

Scripture: 1 Samuel 21:9 -   The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”   David said, “There is none like it; give it to me."

Observation: Now David is officially on the run from Saul, who’s only desire is to kill David.  The question that comes to mind and easily answered by many is,  why does Saul hate David so much?  The immediate answer is jealousy because of the attention David captured and his popularity among the people.  The song of Saul kills thousands but David kills tens of thousands sticks out in one’s mind.  But I truly believe it is more than just jealousy — the thought of someone trying to take what you have — or envy, the thought of wanting what someone else has.  Saul is experiencing both!!  Saul knows that David has been chosen to be th next King and fears David will eventually take the throne from Him and all that comes with it.  At this point, all of Saul’s self-respect is caught up in being King.  Saul is also envious of David because David commands what Saul does not have which is a love from the people AND most importantly, Saul knows the Lord loves David and as rejected Saul as King.  Saul is green with envy, but red hot with jealousy.  Now David has left without a weapon and now comes face to face with a priest who knows something is wrong and David asks for a sword and the only one available is the sword of Goliath, which is where much of David’s path began.  David remembers this moment and obviously sees it as being a moment of strength where he placed all of his faith in th eLord and was blessed because of ti, to include the trophy from Golaith (the sword).  David is likely feeliing ficiated right now and experiencing some nostalia as he begins his “exile” from Saul.  

Boy do I see parallels everywhere.  Both for me and my friend Joe who is also experiencing a moment where he is on the outside looking in but also recognized as some who is talented and seems to land on his feet (code word in the secular world as having favor with the Lord).  Dealing with the Sauls of the world is no easy task.  They are jealous and envious people who are willing to do anything to both keep what they have (and not share it with you for fear that you might take it) to being envious and for what they see as you having what they deserve.  Both are very destructive emotions that spell disaster for all who they touch.  There are two questions I must answer: (1) how am I going to deal with a colleague who is experiencing both of these emotions and what I can do about it (2) am I experiencing either one and what do I do about it?

Application: First, how do I deal with yet another toxic leader who is jealous of me because he feels and believes that I might take what he desires to have and still not sure he has — which is tremendous influence and recognition with the boss; how do I deal with his envy of my skill to orchestrate events and engagements because I see what is on the horizon prior to him seeing them as well as the confidence of the rest of the staff to orchestrate that this is indeed the case?  Like David, there is nothing I can do to put my colleagues concerns to rest.  Like David, I have done all I can to make him feel at ease.  I have tried to help him.  I have tried to let him have all the lime-light and nothing has worked.  In fact, it has made the situation worse where he has tried to “crowd” me out and not so he can receive all the credit.  Indeed, the situation continues to worsen.  Then, their is the envy side of the problem where he wants and desires to do my job because that is where the influence actually rests because of the skills the Lord has blessed me with to see the picture that no one else is able to see or to conceptualize and then take actions to benefit from this before it is realized, or what I think of as a kind of prophesy.  Indeed, between the envy and jealousy, both can burn in a way that an individual becomes toxic and self-destructive, and this can easily affect and cause a lot of destruction to everyone it touches.  The long-term affect can be quite devastating.  

What do I do about this situation?  How do I handle Saul?  Rona use to call of my previous bosses “Saul” because of a similar situation, but I think we named him inappropriately.  The previous “Saul” was envious of me but now jealous.  He did not fear I was going to necessarily take anything, but he was not strategic and wanted to be able to initiate what I was able to do, but he was never willing to take any risks.  The previous boss who we named Saul was very envious but not jealous.  This time I have a situation where I am dealing with BOTH!  This is a deadly combination if not handled properly.  I truly believe talking to these type of people about how and what they are feeling solves anything.  These emotions cause a tremendous amount of insecurity and once they are experiencing this there is very little that I can do to fix it.  In fact, like David, I cannot fix a Saul situation.  Actually, I have tried to reach out, be personable, give him credit, allow him to push me out of the way, talk to his superiors about it, and now, not based on any actions of my owm, he is starting to be embarrassed because of his lack of skill and ability.  In fact, it is obvious to most, that I am in complete control of the situation based on how future events are unfolding.  This feels very good to me, and I feel vindicated because of it.  Yet, the tension continues, even though it does not need to be.  So, what do I do?  I know what David faces in the future, which is the opportunity to take Saul out completely when he has the chance, yet David resists because he does not believe it is his place to do so.  I must have the same attitude.  The Lord will deal with my Saul.  Vengeance or vindictiveness to remove the problem is not helpful and just complicates things even more.  David ultimately wins for two reasons, first and foremost, because of his trust in the Lord; David placed his faith there above all else.  Second, David’s competence was obvious to all.  He just wasn’t confident but also popular among the people, but he continued to suffer with Saul and David continued to do the right thing.  He kept winning; he continued to excel in all that he did while Saul lost more and more credibility. David did not try to take Saul out with one action.  He continued to let Saul hang himself as he continued to demonstrate his ability to lead, perform, serve others and again most importantly, keep the faith.  Do the right things for the right reasons…stay away from Saul…let Saul’s actions lead him to destruction, but also pray that if it is the Lord’s will to open his eyes and show him the way.  This is what I am going to do.  Not only did that work with my previous “Saul-like” experience, but later that individual came back and reconciled with me, which made me very happy because I did respect his abilities.  While that is not the case now, I see the glide path that is under way.  I only need to perform brilliantly in all that I endeavor and leave the rest to God.  Ultimately, jealousy and envy are losers and love of God and faith in him are truly the elements that make up the sword that David took and why he said, “there are none like it!"

Prayer: My Father in Heaven, I come to you today as your child looking for help in the form of comfort and a willingness to put me at ease. Lift me up Lord, like you did your servant David.  Lead me and help me to do the things that you have asked me to do each day, for I am weak and you are strong.  I no that I am still not doing all that you have asked, but I am trying and I know you have placed tremendous opportunities at my feet.  I am trying to do my best to push through but know I must follow your lead, first.  Lord, starting today, help me to do that.  Help me do each day what you would have me do.  For you on the beginning and the end, and knowing that I am pleasing you is all that matters.  Your will be done in all things.  Forgive me Lord for my weakness and I praise you for all that I have accomplished and all that you have provided.  Please continue to discipline me gently.  All of this I pray in your name, AMEN.  

Monday, April 2, 2018

Practicing Grace

Practicing Grace 
S - 2 COR 2 NIV
Forgiveness for the Offender5 If anyone has caused grief,(A) he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely.   6 The punishment(A) inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.   7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him,(A) so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.   8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.   9 Another reason I wrote you(A) was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.(B)   10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,   11 in order that Satan(A) might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.(B) 

O - Mathew Henry commentary
In these verses the apostle treats concerning the incestuous person who had been excommunicated, which seems to be one principal cause of his writing this epistle. Here observe,
  • 1. He tells them that the crime of that person had grieved him in part; and that he was grieved also with a part of them, who, notwithstanding this scandal had been found among them, were puffed up and had not mourned, 1 Co. 5:2. However, he was unwilling to lay too heavy a charge upon the whole church, especially seeing they had cleared themselves in that matter by observing the directions he had formerly given them.
  • 2. He tells them that the punishment which had been inflicted upon this offender was sufficient, v. 6. The desired effect was obtained, for the man was humbled, and they had shown the proof of their obedience to his directions.
  • 3. He therefore directs them, with all speed, to restore the excommunicated person, or to receive him again to their communion, v. 7, 8. This is expressed several ways. He beseeches them to forgive him, that is, to release him from church-censures, for they could not remit the guilt or offence against God; and also to comfort him, for in many cases the comfort of penitents depends upon their reconciliation not only with God, but with men also, whom they have scandalized or injured. They must also confirm their love to him; that is, they should show that their reproofs and censures proceeded from love to his person, as well as hatred to his sin, and that their design was to reform, not to ruin him. Or thus: If his fall had weakened their love to him, that they could not take such satisfaction in him as formerly; yet, now that he was recovered by repentance, they must renew and confirm their love to him.
  • 4. He uses several weighty arguments to persuade them to do thus, as,
    • (1.) The case of the penitent called for this; for he was in danger of being swallowed up with over-much sorrow, v. 7. He was so sensible of this fault, and so much afflicted under his punishment, that he was in danger of falling into despair. When sorrow is excessive it does hurt; and even sorrow for sin is too great when it unfits for other duties, and drives men to despair.
    • (2.) They had shown obedience to his directions in passing a censure upon the offender and now he would have them comply with his desire to restore him, v. 9.
    • (3.) He mentions his readiness to forgive this penitent, and concur with them in this matter. "To whom you forgive I forgive also, v. 10. I will readily concur with you in forgiving him.' And this he would do for their sakes, for love to them and for their advantage; and for Christ's sake, or in his name, as his apostle, and in conformity to his doctrine and example, which are so full of kindness and tender mercy towards all those who truly repent.
    • (4.) He gives another weighty reason (v. 11): Lest Satan get an advantage against us. Not only was there danger lest Satan should get an advantage against the penitent, by driving him to despair; but against the churches also, and the apostles or ministers of Christ, by representing them as too rigid and severe, and so frightening people from coming among them. In this, as in other things, wisdom is profitable to direct, so to manage according as the case may be that the ministry may not be blamed, for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. Note, Satan is a subtle enemy, and uses many stratagems to deceive us; and we should not be ignorant of his devices: he is also a watchful adversary, ready to take all advantages against us, and we should be very cautious lest we give him any occasion so to do

A - The application for me is to learn how Paul applies grace to a situation he had every right to demand justice.     He in his second letter to the church at Corinth understands the great opportunity to show Grace, and given the Grace God had shown him, he likely felt compelled to.  I need to do the same in my life.  God is delivering me from myself and shown such grace and love to me, forgiving me my sins, healing me of old wounds, and defeating all those who would come against His plan for my life.   In the process of defeating those that have come against me, I have harbored dislike and at times hate in my heart for certain individuals, and have prayed for God’s justice to be done.    I must like Paul, make sure I practice Grace, because God does, and my goal is to love others and lead them to know God’s love.  This will only happen if I let go the need to punish or hold accountable individuals that came against me.

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  Lord I pray that you would help me have faith and be wise in applying this wisdom to situations where I may be holding grudges and desire to see you punish those who came against me.    I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Make the Lord my Refuge

Make the Lord my Refuge

S - Psalm 52 NASB
1 ¶ For the choir director. A Maskil of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, "David has come to the house of Ahimelech."
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
2 Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
3 You love evil more than good,
Falsehood more than speaking what is right. fnSelah.
4 You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever;
He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.
6 The righteous will see and fear,
And will laugh at him, saying,
7 "Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches
And was strong in his evil desire."
8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
9 I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

O- The psalm for David,  appears very applicable to the story of Gideon in the book of Judges.    Gideon was brought in to restore righteousness to the people but first to judge what they were doing that was evil.   He was criticized for destroying the false god altar of Baal, and proven righteous.   He accepted the call to fight to protect the Israelites and was given victory by God.  It was proven to be delivered from God because He have Gideon 300 carefully selected individuals to defeat an entire Midianite Army (Judges 7). 

A -  The application for me is to learn and know what Gideon knew.  That the man who makes God his refuge is like a green healthy olive tree in the house of God, which thrives and forever protected and fruitful.   I must have the same heart and mind of David and Gideon, who sought refuge in God,  sought guidance from God, and moved only when they were sure it was God’s will (see Gideon and the dew mats - Judges 6).

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the lessons you have taught me today, may it be sealed to my heart and mind.  I pray Lord that you would be my refuge in all things but in particular in my situation at work.  Lord I will wait on you, even when it appears I am surrounded by people who not for me and your will.