It is Wednesday and I am excited about the prospects of what God is going to do for, through and in each of us this day. It is also HOPE Wednesday and we have a summer mini lesson, "Peace That Passes All Understanding". It will actually prove to be a bit of an introduction to the message we have on Sunday, "Pass The Peace". I pray you will come and bring others with you.
I also ask that you keep Deacon Tommie Speaks in your prayers. He had to go to the hospital for evaluation. He is coming along and the family asks that you keep him in your prayers but let him rest for a bit.
In praying for others, we find ways to share our care and concern for them. The love that we have for and from God is shared when we give that same love to others. It is how we draw others to Christ and keep those drawn within the church family bonds.
When it comes to church family, we find that some come, some stay and some stray. We already know where this is going. As with the parable of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son, God wants us to stay and not to stray.
How do we focus on loving God in such a way that we do not stray and what do we do about others who may stray?
In Hebrews 10:23-25, we find, "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Beloved, if we focus on the fact that God is more faithful to us than we are to Him, then we will understand that we need to rely on Him more than we rely on ourselves. We should forever see God as the source and everything and everyone else in our lives as a resource provided by Him to better ourselves and others as well as to give Him praise, honor, and glory.
It requires us to be selfless rather than selfish.
Selfish people have closed hands, closed minds, closed hearts, and closed spirits. It is rarely about God and others even if they say otherwise. It is frequently about me, myself, and mine.
Selfless people have open hands, open minds, open hearts, and open spirits. It is frequently about God and others even if they never say a word. It is rarely about me, myself, and mine.
When you are truly selfless, you are always seeking the best for others because you love them. And, the love you have for them inspires you to help them to be their best selves. You do not seek to provoke them to anger but "to love and good deeds".
Now, for those who tend to wander and stray, habitually so, away from the church family more so than being with the church family, see them for who they are and encourage them in love to be better than they are.
Do not compare yourself to them for then their lowest standard might become your highest ideal. Instead, let the truth found in the word of God and revealed by the Holy Spirit continue to free you and guide you to help them to be free to become their best selves as you should seek the same for yourself.
It is a habit forming exercise.
Habits can be good or bad. It is what you consistently do that will determine what will become your habit and whether it is beneficial or harmful.
Gathering with the church family is a very good habit. I have found in my times of greatest need that my place within the church family has always sustained and strengthened me such that I find it sometimes baffling why others run from the church and stray rather than running to the church and staying when crisis comes. Perhaps, running and straying is their bad habit that needs to be broken. Let us pray for them who do so and keep on loving them.
And, as we grow older, I pray that we will all understand that our time together, on this side of glory, gets shorter with each passing day. One day, Jesus is going to come back and we will have eternity together. Let us begin loving each other today as we will love each other forever. We only have so much time to love each other on this side of glory. Let us not waste the time.
HOPE Wednesday begins at 6:30. We will be done by 7:30. Be there. If you have had a bad habit of not coming, break it. Start a new habit, come. If you have had a good habit of coming, keep it. And, if you are coming and getting nothing out of coming, please let me know. Your most valuable asset is your time and I have no desire to waste it. Help me to help you to get the most out of your time on this side of glory. Lovingly provoke me to more good deeds.
And, bring somebody else with you who needs to start some good habits.
Why do all of this?
Remember, God loves you and I love you too!