So you decided to stop serving the Lord? Perhaps the elders made a decision you didn’t like, and your decision was to quit serving the Lord? Ma...ybe the preacher preached too harsh, too negative, a sermon that made you think “he’s preaching that sermon at me,” so in response, you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord? Or perhaps, you saw “hypocrites” in the church, and being tired of the “hypocrites” you decided I’ll stop serving the Lord. Maybe a family member, or a long time friend mistreated you and you decided, I’ll stop serving the Lord. What do all these responses have in common?
One, these responses indicate a focus on the wrong individuals.
Two, these responses indicate a fixation on “taking it out” on the wrong person—the Lord. But wait, “I still love the Lord, I just don’t like some who claim to be His people, and for that I’m justified to be absent from Bible Study and worship. I’m justified not to visit those who are struggling with sickness, sorrow, and sin.”
Three, these responses indicate a failure to recognize that “what I do only hurts me” is a bunch of nonsense because in reality it also hurts the very One who suffered for you—Christ (Hebrews 6:6). Please consider for a moment, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Perhaps if we spent more time being focused of the Master than on the mistreatment from others our responses would be different, and our lives would be more faithful and fruitful.
Further, “consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3). I dare say that none of us have been as mistreated by so many as Christ was. Yet, imagine if Christ would have quit on the world because of the world’s mistreatment of Him?
When we contemplate the mistreatment suffered by Christ, what mistreatment have we suffered that is such that we have the right to quit serving Him?
When we consider Him, truly consider Him, we have not be so mistreated, and especially by Him, that we are justified to stop serving Him. Thus, may we Consider Him, and faithfully serve rather than considering the 10,000 “reasons” to forsake Him.
How do I get to Heaven?
Where do we go when we die?
“And you fathers”
A man I knew had a military background. He ruled over his family with an iron fist. In a counseling session with him and his wife, he demanded that I tell her “the Bible teaches that I am the head of the house!” “Actually,” I told him, “you’re not.” We read together from I Corinthians 11:3. “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” It’s true that God holds a man accountable for his family and gives him the authority to oversee it – but the head of every family is Christ! The most important role that God gives to fathers is the spiritual leadership of their family. I thank God for Christian mothers. The truth is that many homes would have no Christian influence or training if it was not for them. Often, they are the ones who see to it that the children are taken to Bible study and church. They are the ones who tell the children Bible stories and listen to their prayers at night. I know many women who have raised faithful Christian children without the help of a husband and father. But, it is difficult and not the way God intends for it to be. In Ephesians 6:4 Paul makes a very direct charge to dads: “and you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and admonition up in the training and admonition not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” How does God measure my faithfulness to Him? One way is by the way I lead my family in following Him. In Genesis 18:19, we read one of the reasons Abraham was approved by God. “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.”
As fathers, we must provide leadership for our families. It is up to us to determine what our family believes and stands for. As Joshua challenged Israel “Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15) How can we, as fathers be a spiritual leader in our home? First, by teaching. God commanded fathers to make His will known to their children. (Psalm 78:5-6; Isaiah 38:19). He told the fathers of Israel to lay up His words in their hearts and to “teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” We share things we enjoy with our children. We talk to them about sports, we teach them to drive a car and to hunt. But are we training them in the way of the Lord? Christian fathers must study God’s word and teach it to their children! Second, by example. In Deuteronomy 32:7, we are told “ask your father, and he will show you.” Our own example is the strongest leadership that there is. Do you pray with your children? Are you taking an active role in the church? As your children observe you day in and day out, do they know you to be a man of integrity – honest in all of your dealings? Pure in your language, attitudes, and habits? Fathers, God has given us a tremendous responsibility! It’s time for all of us to say “as for me and my house – we will serve the Lord!”
There are a lot of things that we can’t do. We may look around us and see a variety of skills and abilities that we simply don’t have. But one trait that we all possess is the ability to be kind. We can change relationships and influence countless people if we simply have the rule in our way of life to be kind. Paul said in Ephesians 4:32 simply to be kind to one another. This means be kind to your spouse, children, boss, friend, whomever you meet. In Romans 12:10, Paul stresses that part of the right relationship is “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Whatever feelings we have about another person, let us never underestimate the good that kindness will do. When we are kind, we are imitating Jesus. He was kind to multitudes who were hungry. His disciples wanted to send them away, but Jesus felt kindly towards them (Mark 6:30-44). Even the woman caught in the act of adultery was dealt with in a kind way by Jesus (John 8:1-11). Even to Peter, whose actions had to be frustrating to Jesus, he was still kind. I see firmness, but a kind manner, in Paul’s dealing with Onesimus as he encouraged him to go back to Philemon after his conversion. It just seems as we look at the really great characters of the Bible, we are continually struck by the impact of kindness.
As we arise each day, let’s make it a goal to be kind to the people that we meet that day. We can’t help but bring glory to the name of Jesus when we do. - Steve Boyd
When I think of brotherly kindness I think of Jesus Christ. If the truth were known, his acts of kindness would be numberless. But the Scriptures do attempt to give us a picture of this virtue on the life of our Lord. Brotherly kindness was shown when Jesus fed the hungry multitudes; when he healed the lame and blind; when he showed compassion in raising the son of the widow of Nain from the dead; when he cried at the tomb of Lazarus. As great as these acts of kindness were, his greatest act was the sharing of his saving message to the world which he made possible by dying at Calvary. Without that one act of kindness, we would still be lost in sin. It goes without saying that we should always demonstrate this virtue in our lives. Most of us can be kind as long as things go smoothly. It’s when we’re tested that we know whether or not we have the virtue.
If you truly have brotherly kindness you:
1. Will not respond negatively to another’s offenses, but you will turn the other cheek.
2. Will not take revenge into your own hands because it belongs to God.
3. Will not spread damaging gossip about others whether it is true or not!
4. Will not hold grudges, but will forgive and forget.
5. Will give your brother the benefit of the doubt.
As Paul put it, showing brotherly kindness is “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other . . . Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Col. 3:13).