Devotional

Love Begets Love

1 John 4

So many people today seem to be starving for love. How many men and women will go to almost any lengths to generate a love relationship? Sadly they are often motivated by a desire to have their felt needs met, in order to feel complete. This imposes the impossible on other people. Only God can fill this void. When we know Him we have a new self-image because we recognize all the potential He has created. Though some fear this looks like pride, in reality this celebrates the love with which He created us. Jesus understood this necessity when He instructed His listeners to “love your neighbour as [much as you love] yourself” (Mark 12:31).

The apostle John had seen this type of love in action, had witnessed the remarkable love of Jesus for people of every station in life, the poor and marginalized, those who were oppressed, those who were socially unclean, physically challenged, demon possessed, the rich and famous. Jesus’ loving spirit, His compassionate nature reached out to draw people to Him. People followed Him in droves all over the countryside. They even forgot they were hungry as they gathered on the hillsides to listen to Him. Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles alike sought Jesus for His wisdom, coming to Him by day or by night.

When our needs drive our passions, values we believe in can quickly erode away. There are a dangers in making such personal sacrifices while trying to make someone love you. Jesus was devoid of any such personal agenda. His ministry was for the people whose lives He touched. He didn’t fear what people thought, but rather was committed to doing the will of God, day by day, person to person. His motivation for coming to earth was love. Paul describes it as humble obedience, servant-like in Philippians chapter 2.

Look around you at those people who have a lot of quality friendships. Why have they been so blessed? What is lacking in lives that are virtually friendless and desperately lonely. How often have I heard people complaining about the church as a cold and uncaring place? In reality that perspective is often held by those who find it difficult to love themselves. Without a confidence in who they are, people often find it difficult to reach out to others, or when they do they only talk about themselves.

Love is interested in what makes another tick. For most, this is the essence of Mother-love. Moms want to understand what things their kids will enjoy? In Church do we show interest in where people come from? What are some highlights of their lives, or is there anything they find challenging, need prayer for? Can you relate – laugh and cry together?

We can learn from the Apostle who writes that love is from God (1 John 4:16). He saw love teaching in the synagogue, challenging the heresies of that day, feeding 5,000, healing lepers, hanging on a cross. Perhaps you have never seen the love of God. When you do, you will understand how love begets love!

Reflection:

In our world today people crave attention and value the number of friends they have on social media. In the light of our discussion today, what would help them to resolve this tremendous “felt need”?

Do you have a positive outlook on life that attracts others, because of what God is doing in your life? Has the love of God overwhelmed you with its purity and peace? What qualities attract others to you, and therefore to Jesus?

by Marilyn Daniels (marilyndaniels.net)

Devotional

Valuing the Vulnerable

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Matthew 18:3

Jesus showed a tenderness towards children by both word and deed. Parents must have sensed this because they brought their children to Him to be blessed, for Him to lay His hands on them and to pray for them. (Matthew 19:13). When Jesus’ disciples protested He spoke words that over centuries of time have become famous. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them” (:14).

Mark records a further demonstration of His love, saying that Jesus “took the children in His arms” (10:16). He cuddled them. Physical touch was important to Him. Just imagine the memories of those children in years to come. The actual touch of One who would become Saviour of the world!

Earlier as He was teaching His disciples about the kingdom of heaven and who would be “first” there, Jesus took a small child into His arms as an illustration of His point, saying: “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the One who sent me!” (Mark 9:37). This certainly prioritized the important deeds the disciples might have imagined themselves doing, in His name!

Jesus went on to explain: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it” (Mark 10:15). Now that is humbling. What sort of intellectual assent could a child give to something of such magnitude as the kingdom of heaven? But that was just the point! Coming into the kingdom of God is “not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6)….and His Spirit could reveal truth to a little child. I can attest to that since I knew Jesus was my Saviour at a very early age. I also knew I was naughty – a sinner who needed to ask God’s forgiveness for my daily sins – a wonderful habit to begin as a child.

A child has very little to offer in an adult world. They are learning. But what they do have to offer, no amount of education can teach. I have seen mentally challenged children, perhaps the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, giving gifts of love and trust to their adult counterparts. How amazing is that? We can learn from their innocence, from the very dependency of children, how to relate to God who views us as His children.

Jesus explains again: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). He goes on to say this would require humbling themselves in order to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (:4). John the Baptist understood this. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). There was no cousinly jealousy, no competition in ministry. Perhaps this is why Jesus described John as the greatest among those ever born of woman! (Luke 7:28).

As children of God we have the privilege of calling Him our Father! He knows us well – we are so vulnerable to feelings of pride, the need to control our lives (and perhaps the lives of others as well). We are weak in understanding the bigger picture and the plans God has for us. We see relationships from our own perspective, rather than through the eyes of Jesus. Yes – we are very vulnerable! But Jesus takes us in His arms and blesses us. He is in heaven right now praying for you and for me (Hebrews 7:25).

Reflection:

Why do we often turn away from those who are vulnerable? What does that tell us about the inner person?

When we truly love, how do we express that?

Do we love those who are vulnerable in words only, or in deeds?

by Marilyn Daniels (marilyndaniels.net)

Devotional

Fanning Into Flame

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2 Timothy 1:6

Timothy was Paul’s spiritual [true, dear] son (1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2). His grandmother Lois and mother Eunice had been impacted by the gospel through Paul’s preaching, while he was in Lystra (Acts 16:1). It seems that Timothy also became a disciple then too.

Paul circumcised him because the Jews all knew that Timothy’s father was Greek. Perhaps in Paul’s mind this would prove Timothy’s conversion was genuine. This has given rise to controversy ever since, about the necessity of circumcision. We know that Paul wrote to the Romans “A man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code” (Romans 2:29).

Paul refers to Timothy’s faith, as a sincere conviction, a living faith! (:5). Just as fire is alive when it burns brightly, Paul uses this metaphor to describe Timothy’s role in the ministry. As a leader he is to fan into flame the gift of God. This gift is the very faith we are talking about (Ephesians 2:8.9). His passion would radically impact the lives of others. He must keep the flame burning brightly!

God, who calls us into His kingdom, will sanctify and seal us, will perfect us [complete what He started in us] until that day (Philippians 1:6). But we also are accountable to Him for how warm or lukewarm we become in the exercising of our faith. Jesus spares nothing when urging the church at Laodicea to overcome their propensity to dawdle at the game of faith. This gift of God could not, must not be taken lightly! To be lukewarm means to be uncommitted.

God’s passion for each human He creates is so great that He sacrificed His only begotten Son out of a deep abiding love, only characteristic of our God. That love is the oxygen which fans the flames of our devotion to God as well as our commitment to others! Does God’s love flowing through us find us setting the world on fire? Why or why not?

Jesus explains His chastisement is based on love “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent!” (Revelation 3:19). He then tenderly invites the wayward believer into renewed fellowship with Himself – “table fellowship” (Revelation 3:20). Those who fan the flame will “sit with me on my throne” (:21). What joy such a hope brings! There is always hope in the life of a believer who is willing to fan the flames of faith – even dying embers can be revived!!

Reflection:

Do we recognize the dangers of being lukewarm Christians?

Can you remember times when your spiritual ardour was waning, when someone fanned into flame the passion you once had for Jesus Christ and the written word of God? What challenges did that provide for you? What did you feel?

How would you like to be the catalyst for others to be spiritually revived?

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

I Have Seen Your Tears

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2 Kings 20:5

Weeping is for a season, the Psalmist suggests, but morning brings joy (Psalm 30:5). Why is it then that for many people morning never seems to come? Tears and sorrow seem to last forever! Does God really see our tears?

Tears are a marvellous release of tension. However, some people fear that crying will make them vulnerable. There is some truth to that, but the fact is confronting one’s feelings makes it easier to move forward in life. Actual breaking down into tears may help us to let go of baggage, the beginning of healing. A Jewish proverb tells us “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

There are many reasons for tears – tears of intercession, like King Josiah shed when he realized God’s wrath would fall upon his disobedient people (2 Kings 22:19). God’s people wept for release from slavery in Egypt. Hannah wept before the Lord as she asked for a child (1 Samuel 1:7, 10-15). The woman pouring ointment over the feet of Jesus, wept with tears of love as she kissed His feet. (Luke 7:37ff). Those who pray with tears over the lost, “Go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him!” What a promise! (Psalm 126:6).

Implying that God is attentive to every detail of our lives, the Psalmist prays that God will record his lament, by listing his tears on a scroll. KJV says “Put my tears in Your bottle” (Psalm 56:8). Why is this important? Tears are to be remembered. There are lessons to be learned as we weep. We identify ourselves with the sufferings of Jesus Christ when we weep. Our shame is taken away when we weep over our sins. We release ourselves into the exquisite comfort of God’s love as we sorrow in our disappointment, hurt or loneliness.

As we look at scripture we notice that whether a nation or an individual is suffering, throughout history God has seen their tears. Whatever it takes our Father provides, so that we can be His representatives here on earth. In the Millennial Kingdom we read both death and tears will vanish. “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8). “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order has passed way” (Revelation 21:4). Until that time, the Holy Spirit will sustain us in our griefs and sorrows by His gentle presence. God does not just see our tears but goes to the utmost to relieve them. Praise the Lord for the fullness of joy when it does come through our Father’s miraculous intervention.

Reflection:

How does it comfort you to know God sees your tears? Does that evoke any other feelings?

Are you uncomfortable when others weep in your presence? If so – why?

Since God allows us to cry in His presence, how might we bring comfort to those who are sad?

by Marilyn Daniels (marilyndaniels.net)

Devotional

Why?

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reflections on Job

“Why” is a little three-lettered word that sometimes gets us into trouble. Children sometimes exasperate their elders as they use it to learn about the world around them. If we question the established order of things, as adults, we may irritate others. Sometimes it is a word used when we fall into desperate circumstances. Often we question God with “Why?” when things are hard to understand, such as natural disasters, or the death of a loved one or a pandemic!

God understands our query more than we know. He too might ask “Why” questions. As His people wandered away from His goodness, His will and His ways, we might wonder why? However, an omniscient God knows all. He knows the end from the beginning. Why? Because He is God. Look at God’s declaration to Isaiah:

“I am God and there is no other [god]!

I am God and there is none like Me!

I make known the end from the beginning!

I say: My purpose will stand! And

I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

Why then does God allow trouble and violence and death? Job is the Bible character outstanding for his suffering. Yet he was a man described by God Himself, as blameless. From this we learn that trouble does not always perform as a punishment in our lives. Yes – there are consequences for our poor choices, but what did this blameless man learn from his woeful experience?

He did ask “Why” questions: “Why have You made me Your target?” (Job 7:20).

“Why did You bring me out of my mother’s womb?” (Job 10:18).

It seems Job’s faith passed the test because he concludes:

“I could only plead with my Judge for mercy” (Job 9:15).

“Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since He judges even the highest?” (Job 21:22).

“In His hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10).

“To God belong wisdom and power, counsel and understanding are His…..He pours contempt of the nobles

and disarms the mighty…..He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason” (Job 12:13, 21, 24).

Reflection:

These reflections may not be encouraging, but Job gives us some very beautiful and up-lifting reasons to trust in God. “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 32:10).

“The fear [reverence] of the Lord – that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).

Job longed for those days “When I was in my prime…God’s intimate friendship blessed my house!” (Job 29:4). However, Job also looks to the future “I know that my Redeemer lives…and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God!…How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

Does your knowledge of God, your experience of His mercy and His loving faithfulness prompt this same response when you face sorrow and struggles, when you ask “Why?”

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

Isaiah Talks About Moab

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Isaiah 15,16

Moab in ancient days was a kingdom east of Israel, in the Transjordan highlands. The nation arose from Lot’s incestuous child by his eldest daughter, named Moab (Genesis 19:38). They were often at war with their Israelite neighbours to the west. However events recorded in the book of Ruth testify to occasions of friendly interaction between the two nations, from time to time at least between Bethlehem and Moab.

Perhaps because he descended from Ruth, a Moabite, we know David also had friendly relations. He committed his parents to the protection of the Moabite King when pursued by King Saul (1 Samuel 22:3-4). However, once David became king he made the Moabites a tributary, while placing them under the rule of a governor. That was the end of all friendly relations.

One small incident remains to be told. When the Israelites were returning to the Promised Land from Egypt, the Moabites denied them passage through their land, causing them a long detour around, heaping God’s judgment upon themselves (Judges 11:17-18). In His judgment on them, God referred to Moab as His “washpot”, a place of accumulated filth (Psalm 60:8).

Israel suffered political upheaval under King Rehoboam. Under him the Moabites may have been absorbed into the northern kingdom of Israel, where they continued in vassalage until the death of Ahab. Eventually they refused to pay tribute, asserting their independence and making war on Israel. Later they assisted Nebuchadnezzar in his aggression against King Jehoiakim in Israel.

Isaiah and Jeremiah both refer to the burden that Moab had become (Isaiah 15-16, Jeremiah 48:42). Isaiah identifies their pride as an abomination to God, as well as their utter contempt for Israel.

At the time of Ruth we believe child sacrifices were still offered to one of their many deities. Chemosh was their chief god (2 Kings 23:13). Their religious influence reached as far into history as Solomon, who erected a “High place” for Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7). Sadly this was not destroyed until the reign of Josiah.

Isaiah is given denunciations by God against other nations, Moab included. Some hold no hope…certain nations will be cut off forever, once God’s judgment falls. However, Isaiah records a couple of very interesting phrases regarding Moab. God says “My heart cries out over Moab.” (Isaiah 15:5). “My heart laments for Moab (Isaiah 16:11).

Reflection:

What is it about this particular nation of Moab, that created angst in the heart of God? (Jeremiah 48:36)

What is it about any of us that generates His great love?

Let us remember that the essence of God’s character is love. His heart is pained when He has to declare judgment, because His intention is for His people to walk with Him in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake! (Psalm 23).

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

New Leadership

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Good Morning All! In my devotions today I was reading about Cornelius, described as a devout man who believed in God (Acts 10). It gave me hope that God would work similarly in the heart of other devotees today, to bring them the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, as King of Kings! He is worthy of all worship, glory, honour and praise. Those who are humble in heart might worship Him in spirit and in truth.Whether it is spiritual pride or pride of status, wealth or knowledge, pride is one of the greatest hindrances to a pure relationship with God, isn’t it? ….for me, for anyone.As I pondered on this scripture, my hope and prayer is that God would impact the mind and heart of the one chosen to lead the USA in these next 4 years (Romans 13). Joe Biden’s reputation is that of a devout man, but like Cornelius, he needs Jesus, as does every man and woman. I cannot, would not judge his relationship with God, but he’s been given a terrible responsibility needing Divine help! We have been given the responsibility to pray for those in authority…..just think of the impact a Christian nation may yet have on our world. If any nation calling themselves “Christian” would walk as Jesus taught, caring about others, sacrificing our own comforts for the sake of others, risking all we have for others, sharing our blessings with others, what a different world this would be.As we pray for God’s will to be done, I’m reminded of Jesus’ words that call me to measure my own life against God’s principles. If I am without sin I can cast the first stone. If I am to condemn others I must first take the plank out of my own eye before trying to remove the splinter in anyone else’s. Am I walking the walk? As I write this, it is with a grateful heart. God has sent the Holy Spirit to walk with me; I do not walk alone. We have every cause to hope for peace and  joy!  Let us pray.”God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear” (Psalm 46:1-2a) Lovingly, prayerfully, Marilyn.

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

Judeo-Christian?

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Acts 11:26

Growing up I read several books about Jewish people who converted to Christianity. It became a subject of keen interest which carried over into my work as a nurse in a Jewish community. Wikipedia describes the term Judeo-Christian:

Judeo-Christian is a term used since the 1950s to encompass the common ethical standards

of Christianity and Judaism, such as the Ten Commandments. It has become part of American

civil religion and is often used to promote inter-religious cooperation.“

Since this was a reality in the 1950’s it saddens me to read in a more recent periodical that “The Jewish Community generally views Christianity as a threat because of the long history of ‘Christian’ anti-Semitism.”

One Christian author coined the phrase “Christianity is Jewish.” Since it is our primary authority, what does the Bible say? The first notation we have of the word Christian is in Acts 11:26 “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”. By definition the word disciple means partisans, or followers – in this case of Christ. ‘Christian’ is a word which appears very few times in the New Testament. King Agrippa, after listening to Paul preach the gospel in his own defense, asked Paul if he thought he could persuade him to become a Christian. The only other time it is used is by Peter who clarifies “…if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear the name” (1 Peter 4:16). A Christian is one who bears Christ’s name.

We need to recognize that these first Christians, men and women who followed Jesus, were all Jews! Would becoming a Christian make them less Jewish? That question has been debated, even by the Jewish community itself, to this day. The President of ‘The Chosen People’ explains: “Jewish people like myself are raised knowing that Jesus is not for Jews….. I stepped over that line in 1970 and discovered to my great surprise, that I was still Jewish!”

Did becoming Christian, Christ-followers, mean they left the faith of their fathers? If the Messiah was anticipated by the Israelite nation as one sent from God to His own people, to free them from oppression, and if Jesus is that Messiah, following Him would not mean leaving the faith of their fathers.

Christianity must honour the roots of our faith revealed in Judaism. Gentiles have been included in prophecy as far back as Abraham (Genesis12:3), so it is not a nationalistic faith but an inclusive one. The Psalmist urges us to pray for peace in Jerusalem Why?

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is most appropriate for a city whose name literally means “peaceful” and which is the residence of the God of peace. Further, Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ’s return (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4), and at that time He will establish permanent peace within its walls. True Christians must be eagerly awaiting His return, and praying for the time when the Prince of Peace will reign in Jerusalem. “For unto us a Child is born….the Prince of Peace, of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, He will reign…..forever!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

There is no room in the economy of God for anti-Semitism or anti-Christianity between Jews and Christians. We need to encourage one another in our faith because when one reads the Old Testament, under the Spirit of God, Jesus the Messiah is recognizable. Together we may be united under Christ!

Reflection:

What does the designation Judeo-Christian mean to you? Explain.

Does becoming a Christian make one less Jewish?

What binds Jews and Christians together?

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

Surrender?

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1 Corinthians 13:3

A pastor recently asked the question “What are you holding onto that you won’t surrender?” That question caused me to examine my heart. Is there anything I long for? Are there unfulfilled dreams? Do I covet more stuff? Am I discontented in relationships? Do I need to feel more in control of my life? What irks my spirit most?

For me I admit time, comfort and convenience are things I find hard to surrender sometimes. I am a creature of routine. Surprises are fun but many people as they age, cling to habits of a life-time. Where has that feeling of serendipity gone? As young people we sang:

All to Jesus I surrender; All to Him I freely give.

I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”

Did our youth group really commit to that in everyday life? Looking back, God often brought the unexpected into my experience. Surrendered to Him, it was always good, even wonderfully fulfilling. Not that the experiences in themselves were necessarily positive, but I could always be positive that good would come out of them, through lessons learned.

The Apostle Paul talks about surrender. Hidden away in the most famous love chapter in the Bible the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write: “Though I surrender my body to the flames….” (1 Corinthians 13:3). Now under any circumstances that is not something most of us would want to do – it’s not on our list of expectations! Obviously it’s an extreme measure he is introducing to explain love….there is no sacrifice that we can make, even the death of our bodies, which is worth it, if we do not love.

Yet – there have been martyrs of the faith who have surrendered to the flames. We know that Paul, following his conversion, experienced death threats and attempts on his life. Daniel records the experience of his friends who ended up in a furnace so hot that those opening the door were overcome (Daniel 3:19-23). Notice Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not saved from the experience, but a visible presence stayed with them and in the end a heathen king gave glory to God for saving their lives.

Surrendering to the evil whims of others isn’t on our bucket list, but scripture is filled with examples of those who did. Read Hebrews Chapter 11. For the sake of bringing glory to God can we surrender to the unknowns that are bound to come in the year ahead? What is it that we are hoping for? Are we certain of things we cannot see? What is it that challenges our faith today?

Faith is all about surrender. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He has their best interests at heart! This amazing God has promised to reward those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Can you surrender your life to Him?

Reflection:

What will motivate our choices in the year ahead? It is the desire to be led by love?

If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, by have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Who knows what might come out of our surrender to God?

I must ask how far I will go in order to surrender to what is right?

How may the fires of our trials and afflictions bring glory to God?

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional

When God Withdraws

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Romans 1

In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul begins with some Biblical truth, in order to ground the Roman Church. He includes truths revealed in scripture about God, Himself. Now that Paul has described God’s character to us, he turns to compare it with man’s. What a disappointment humankind must be to our Creator. He gets little glory or appreciation for all that He has done for us! In fact it is quite the opposite. Man, giving in to the folly of pride, started creating his own gods. ”…their foolish hearts were darkened” (:22).

First of all man’s intellect became his god. What he thought, what he believed, what he chose to worship, became of primary importance. Where did that take him? God first gave man over to sinful desires. His thinking was infected with self-righteousness.

Second, God gave them over to shameful lusts, through which any sexual behaviour became appropriate. The heart of man became suspect, as his feelings led his head. This was not the Creator’s intention. He had revealed Himself repeatedly, through acts of mercy, through scripture, through our Lord Jesus Christ. However, Paul writes – “Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Third God gave them over to a depraved mind. The mind of mankind, originally created with all the potential of Godly decision-making, became filled with every kind of evil, greed and depravity resulting in a whole list of godless activities (Romans 1:29-31). Today our society, if not condoning these, will excuse murders, insolence, mistreatment of parents, hating God, in a spirit of senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless living. The final line is drawn when they decide to approve of everyone doing such things (Romans 1:32); seen in the freedom of man’s wisdom running loose.

Note that three times Paul says “God gave them over”. Leaving man to decide his own fate, God withdrew. His character did not change. He is always, eternally, a God of love and truth and holiness. However, sin and holiness are like oil and water – they do not mix.

How is the faith community to respond? We are to love our enemies – the person, not the sin. That is very hard to do. Out of fear we want to see these evils corrected. We fear for the salvation of our loved ones, for the infection of sin which is spreading throughout society, pandemically. But we are a community of faith and our faith is put into practice by doing what Jesus would do. What would Jesus do if He walked through North America today, for example?

Is it possible to bridge the gap between right and wrong? No! Jesus already has done that with His life, and death, yet people still reject His remedy for the sickness of sin. The best we can hope for is that His joy and peace, demonstrated in a spirit of love, will create a yearning in hearts darkened by an error that is spreading like wild-fire in our hedonistic society today. We know that God has already gone to the nth degree to correct these evils, but His love is everlasting!

So we pray that the Light will still provide Life, drawing men and women out of the pit they are digging for themselves. Let us all remember at the dawn of a New Year, that positive change always begins with “me”. Furthermore, I am the only person over whom I can really have any control. With God the Holy Spirit’s help I can exercise that required control which will temper my mind and heart, and my reactions to things others do to irk me.


Reflection:

Which is the greatest sin of our day? Is one worse than another? Do we not all continue to sin in small ways or large? How dangerous is prejudice? Is this why Jesus commanded us not to judge others?

The Psalmist prayed that God would search his heart (Psalm 139:23).

Let us pray: “Create in me a new heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, or take Your Holy Spirit from me, Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and grant a willing spirit to sustain me.” Amen (Psalm 51:10-12).

by Marilyn Daniels

http://www.marilyndaniels.net