Tue. April 2

Tuesday April 2, 2019

Today’s Focus                                                                      Who is your enemy?

Today’s Scripture Reading                                                             Luke 6:17-19, 27-36

17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil[b] spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Daily Reflection                                                                                 Pastor’s reflection

Recently a friend of mine shared that the single most important teaching that he has learned was that he must TRUST God!  Trust God, with every cell of his body.  Trust God with all of his will.  Trust God in both life and a sure and certain death.  The concern that Jesus addresses in this section of Scripture is one that we all face at one time or another in our life.  How are we supposed to deal with our worldly enemies?  Who should we love and who should we withhold love.  Jesus shares with His disciples that we are not to let selfishness or ill will determine our response to a mistreatment against us.  The best interest of the wrongdoer must be the standard by which we respond.  Jesus suggests “give of your “things” and offer forgiveness because we have been “given” our things and have been forgiven by God.  The command to love one’s enemy reminds us that indeed our “neighbors” are inclusive to all.  Treat everyone as a neighbor because such peacemaking takes on the very character of God, who in the face of His own mortal death offers forgiveness to those who are putting Him to death.  God’s love is indiscriminate.  Jesus’ teach are not sheer passivity but rather aggressive action designed to undermine hostility and violence.  Our Lord’s teaching call for an imaginative, aggressive, but always non-violent response to the problems that are presented to us in this world.

Some questions for reflection

  • Love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them with no expectation of repayment. What does this “look” like in our world and is it possible?
  • Jesus comes down from the mountains to a large level place. Luke suggests in this Scripture that Jesus comes to us right where we live.  How has Jesus come to you where you live?

Today’s discipleship challenge

Show love to someone who others would not consider your neighbor.  How did this make you feel, how do you suppose the “other” felt; and do you really believe that this is how God intends us to live in this world?  Share with your group or a trusted friend.

Today’s prayer

O God, it is Your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace.  Let the design of Your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to Your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

8 thoughts on “Tue. April 2

  1. Lisa Mantz

    This entire scripture is just beautiful to me. The verse that really popped out at me, though, was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The golden rule. This is something I have tried to live by my entire life. I have tried….not always successfully, though, I will admit.

    Just yesterday I was speaking to someone about how in my early years I thought I had this pretty much figured out. But in my early years I just kinda lived my life according to my faith. I never really read the bible. Because I never understood it. (I still don’t. ) (Interesting note….my father read the bible EVERY MORNING with his “Word in Season”) But now in my old (er) years, I am learning SO MUCH more than I did as I child. It’s almost like God is saying, “Hey you…wake up….there is so much more that I need you to know….” The Holy Spirit speaks to me in such subtle ways.

    Before I joined a church in either Florida or Virginia I was reading the bible and Proverbs 3 vs.5-6 just jumped out at me. (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all yours ways and He will make your paths straight.”) It has become one of my favorite verses (one of many) because it’s telling me to TRUST. So I have. And in that trust my God has been revealing Himself through scripture, through a gentle breeze, through the birth of a child….through the face of a child….it’s AMAZING. Just trust. Just do it. And do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Have a GREAT day!

    Lisa

    Reply
    1. Mel Olenwine

      Lisa I could have written that! As a child born, raised, baptized, confirmed, married, etc. etc in the church, I even taught Sunday School for years and never really had a grasp on all that was the Bible. Oh, I knew my parables, knew the basics, knew about being saved by grace through faith alone, but I too just lived by faith, by the voice inside I never really even understood to be “the spirit” when I was much younger. I too had a later in life awakening where I just hungered to know more about what it all means. Especially the old testament which I never understand….Various things set me in that motion but I honestly am better for it. And blessed indeed! Thanks for sharing that story.

      Reply
    2. Pastor Jerry

      Howdy Lisa!

      Proverbs 3:5-6 is always one of my “go to” pieces of Scripture when I’m having a rough go of it! Sometimes I think especially when it comes to the discipline required to read Scripture that as we mature in both age and faith, things become a little “easier” to see the value in strengthening our relationship with God and with the world around us… at least for me.
      I’ve had a blast reading your thoughts here in this space, It is easy to see the depth of your faith and your desire to keep growing! It’s been a fun “journey” to walk with you!
      P,B, &L
      PJ

      Reply
  2. Keith Ricks

    Some questions for reflection

    1. Love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them with no expectation of repayment. What does this “look” like in our world and is it possible?
    I believe so. As far as “lend to them” and what does this look like, well, along the lines of ‘Needs’ or the Means to a solution kind of thing. All depending on the situation. You did ask one of those Endless questions You know…

    2. How has Jesus come to you where you live?
    You can tell this question was not written by a layperson. Let me answer it exactly like a “layperson” question, with a sprinkling of attitude… after He is Jesus and Ya got to give the Man some Cloud Cred.
    #1… dropped by parachute, tripped on a cloud, video chatted me, moved in next door, rang the doorbell… Okay, Okay…

    Using the metaphors, for me, Jesus picked me up and relocated me to Him.

    Anyway, the point is obviously to Love everyone. It is just difficult to Love those who are unkind and mean. Honestly though I have found that forgiveness is the key. I have not found a person, persons or group that I can still to this day use the word hate or “are My enemy”. I do love everybody, but oddly not by choosing. Explanation required? Well, I can only give the short of it… I know right!… Ha, Ha, Ha… It’s a Trap!

    Every morning I wake with this “want” to be Loved, Understood and then “Forgiven” by everybody I experience through the day for any unpleasant discrepancies I create whether I am aware I create them or not, However My Understanding with God is, that for this, I must do the same for every person I come across… By means of what I call a Virtuous Vice, in this case a selfish “Want” to be forgiven so badly that You will do Anything no matter what the actual ‘Return’ is on it… the better ‘Sounding’ Bible version of this is “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Rule. But then again, now that I think about it, it does sound a bit manipulating, in a Heavenly way. So I forgive non-stop which means I think non-stop about every interaction I have and how I feel about it, You know what… turns out when You do that, You find People do things constantly that ‘Would Have’ irritated the Living Heck out of You and even worse had You not been actively reflecting their actions through Your Heart as You know them, And as if You were them, And the situation,… And Truly what was their intent?… etc.. You know all that stuff that if You did not do it Live at the moment it was happening Your mind May perceive it differently later. There is never anything to forgive. It seems that because I’m reflecting the actions and conversations through my eyes and Heart, Live, that any intentional or unintentional discrepancies that occur, I could see Myself doing and it is Just easier and natural I suppose to Understand, Love and “Forgive” what I do and say. Turns out, being practiced in this, holds true even when I am faced with the meanest and worst people that are intentionally attacking me. Now – I am not saying I do not get mad and go bonkers… I do… and I have been Removed from a few Grocery Stores, believe Me…

    On the Give all Your stuff to Your enemies. No, not today.

    Reply
    1. Mel Olenwine

      Well that was amazing. Love that perspective. I often ask myself when someone “hurts” me, did they really mean that, or did it just happen? Because I find myself often doing things that later I think, geez I really sounded mad, or mean, or …I have that “tone” that I’d like to fix most of my life. And then I apologize because that’s all that’s left to do. Next time, God, next time help me not say it like that….ha…. I probably should have been removed from a few grocery stores myself….

      Reply
  3. Keith Ricks

    Now a different View of Love and Forgiveness…
    Speaking of Love and Forgiveness, I like to look to Gods other living things for inspiration. Almost every one of God’s Living things, Plants as well, respond to a similar trick as the stuff I was going on and on about… Ring a bell, give a dog a treat and it will never forget it or Risk possibly missing a treat. Trees roots, branches and leaves do a similar thing… Wait! What!?, Love they neighbor and enemies? Trees?… Oh Yeah You Truly Human Humans, they got that down… fighting for ground space and nutrition, NO? Trees in every forest share water, nutrients, and even communicate through fungal networks sending distress signals about drought, disease, insect attacks etc… and alter their behavior when they get these messages (mycorrhizal networks). Cut one down in a Forrest and all the other trees, even of a different species will send over food to the stump to keep it alive for centuries and even help it regrow if that species is capable… Trees… Even of Different Species… Yes, I am still talking Forgiveness and Loving Everyone, and Giving out of Love.
    God, I mean Seriously, How Great Thou Art!
    Luke may be talking about Jesus, but Jesus is preaching bout God and The Word of God…
    P and S: I have to give a shout out to earth worms, they’ve been out a lot lately and boy are they noisy! Hey Wormies!

    Reply
    1. Pastor Jerry

      Keith… I love being able to hear some of the things that are running through that mind! St. Paul eloquently writes about how the trees, the forests, the mountains will rejoice in the day of the Lord! I believe you’ve “hit this nail right on the top of the head!” Indeed all of creation is alive and all of creation senses, feels, expresses God’s intention, some in better ways than others!
      Humanity, it seems with our “dominion” over creation to be “good stewards” has often neglected our call to care for all of God’s creation…. it’s nice to see your ability to remind us all of this task!
      Again, great insights!
      P, B, &L
      PJ

      Reply
  4. Pastor Jerry

    I’m really enjoying these interactions! Thanks everyone! I really believe that when we are all fully enveloped in God’s reign that we will see just how INTERDEPENDENT we all are! One human to another. Humanity to creation!
    Great word “Interdependent”…. not independent as our culture has often taught us to aspire to…. not dependent which many feel shows a sign of weakness…. but interdependent. The need for each other!
    If we are truly “interdependent” then the messages that we share here with one another, the way we allow these messages to form and shape the world in which we live in today, truly does not only change the course of our own lives, but literally in significant ways can change the course of the world!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    P, B, &L
    PJ

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *