Loving and Giving

Mark 12:33   (NLT)   And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Love gives. Loving and giving are not mutually exclusive. True, we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. When a choice has to be made between the two, loving is absolutely more important than any giving, offering, or sacrifice we do for God.

Love-God-Love-OthersGod loves us tremendously that He gave us His only Son. A poor widow gave God her two mites— everything she had to live on. God gives us grace, mercy, forgiveness, and many other spiritual and material blessings too numerous to count. He gave us His word; He gives us instructions; He gives us comfort, provision, protection, His promises, His Name. He gives us His companionship—His presence—where we find joy and pleasure. He gives us resurrection; He gives us eternal life; He gives us life itself. He gives us love itself.

Love is never stingy. The person who loves you desires to lavish you with gifts. God has poured out so many blessings that we don’t even have enough room to contain them—not even enough room for memory—to recall all of them. When a person says he loves you but is stingy towards you, that is a cause for caution. A person who says he loves God but wouldn’t give to Him, to His work, and to His cause is questionable. The very reason why we can easily, willingly, lovingly, and cheerfully give to God is because we love Him. And we are called to do nothing less than loving our precious Lord God with everything we have, and everything we are, and express that love we have for Him to other people.

 

Clear Conscience?

1 Corinthians 4:4  (KJV)   For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord

Ignorance doesn’t mean innocence. Absence of knowledge doesn’t mean absence of guilt. Conscience is a good judge, but it isn’t the ultimate judge. People aren’t always aware of everything they do right or everything they do wrong. God is still the One Who knows everything; He is the ultimate Judge.

We can be wrong – even in judging ourselves. Naturally, we want to perceive ourselves almost always in a better light. The more so in the way we want to portray ourselves to others. We always want to display the best picture of ourselves. That’s perfectly understandable. Even many of those who make faces – I mean ugly faces on their photos often do it to cover up what they perceive as unattractive about themselves. So when it comes to self-evaluation or self assessment, we really ought to not have any room for pride. I’m not being cruel or self-esteem suicidal here; I’m just being realistic. Yes, we ought to always try our best to make the most truthful assessment of who we are. But after all that, we still fall short. We don’t really know ourselves as much as we ought to. Given, if we’re honest enough, we know ourselves more than any other human being. But God will always know us better. What He sees is definitely different and more detailed than what we see. Remember: He knows the very numbers of our hairs. Let’s not even try start counting. Let’s just humbly admit: He knows best; He alone can judge totally fairly.

Our dear God – the only true just and faithful Judge, we humbly submit ourselves to You. Please help us to get rid of our pride, to learn humility and to always live it. Help us to accept the truth that we don’t really know ourselves as much as You do, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Righteousness Matters

Galatians 2:21  (KJV)   21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Grace can be wasted. To continue to pursue law-righteousness is to frustrate grace-righteousness. The death of Jesus Christ is a very direct statement that no one can be made righteous through the works of the law. If there is even one person who can qualify for eternal life because of self-righteousness, the gruesome and painful sacrifice of the Lord Jesus will be the unwisest choice and biggest mistake ever made – in heaven or on earth.

It’s no good to abuse God’s grace; it’s equally no good to waste it. If any person has any chance or assurance for salvation, it’s never going to be through the path of the law; it’s always going to be through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me be quick to state that I’m not undermining the importance and call for pursuit of daily righteous living. Yes, we ought to be righteous in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our choices. But the righteousness that will save us is the righteousness that’s not our own. It’s the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ that He shares with us – His righteousness that becomes our righteousness. His righteousness is the only righteousness that qualifies for the perfect eternity in the presence of the perfect holy God. That written, we ought to now live out practically who we are positionally.

Dear righteous Father, thank You for the riches of Your loving generosity. Thank You for sharing us Your righteousness to the full measure. We would have been hopeless without it. Because of it, we will be with You for eternity. For this, we are indeed eternally grateful, in Jesus Name, amen.

The Babel Complex

Genesis 11:4  (KJV)   And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

They were building a high tower – good, but they were building a high tower with a pride as high – not good. Their project wasn’t necessarily ungodly; their purpose was. They accomplished having an often evasive group-wide unity, but everything that may have been beautiful was undone by their ugly motivation.

Proud self-upliftment leads to humbling self-destruction – even humiliating. Many of the beautiful things we may otherwise successfully build may lose their usability or come to ruin just because our focus is serving self. Pride equals insatiability. It doesn’t matter if we successfully rally everyone to work together in complete unity; it will be a very fragile kind. Pride desires to rise above the rest. It will strategize and even manipulate to that end. It will naturally put others down for the sake of its ultimate goal – domination. Let’s build; let’s come together in unity, but let’s not allow all those good things to go to waste; let’s pursue them so we may serve others best.

Exalted Father, thank you for the assurance of Your care. This frees us from feeling the need of personal jockeying for position – often at the harm of others. May we spend our lives in serving You and others – for the exaltation of Your Name and the upliftment of our neighbors.