I have been running wild on all cylinders lately. My wife Kelly and I just welcomed our first child into this world. She is such a blessing and a wonderful gift from God. I have neglected this blog because of all the preparations we had to do but now I have time to get back into the thick of things. I thank you all for your patience and I will continue where we left off last time. Take care and God bless.
The Law and the Prophets
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Many of us seem to think that we can ignore the old testament because “Jesus died for my sins.” Here Jesus clearly states He did not come to abolish the law. He came to fulfill it. Now what does that mean? Jesus lived a sinless life, He is the standard all Christians are to follow. He never broke a single rule of God’s law. And in turn He “fulfilled” the law. No man woman or child in all of existence has done this, only Jesus did. And in breaking the law we all need a savior Jesus is that savior. We can be forgiven because He died for us and after receiving Him we can live a life following His example and learning how to resist the devil and take up our cross everyday. Another way to look at it is putting on the armor of God. Paul describes this in Ephesians 6:10-18. Everyday we must strive to follow the example of Jesus, we are called Christians which means to be Christ-like. In verse 19 there is a warning, Jesus wants us to teach the law the way it should be taught and those of us who chose to twist the word will be held accountable. Be sure to know your Bible. We must do all that we can to show love to the world and show nonbelievers how Jesus can change our lives we must be vigilant and always look to God through prayer and studying the word so we can move forward in our walk with Christ. As always beloved Jesus loves you and so do I. Peace be with you.
The Black Christian Woman who Forgave the Man who Tortured and Killed her Husband and Son.
This is an extraordinary story about a black Christian woman who has forgiven and befriended a police officer who tortured and murdered her husband and son. It is hard to believe but true.
Imagine this scene from a recent courtroom trial in South Africa: A frail black woman stands slowly to her feet. She is about 70 years of age. Facing her from across the room are several white police officers, one of whom, Mr. van der Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman’s son and her husband some years before.
It was indeed Mr. Van der Broek, it has now been established, who had come to the woman’s home a number of years back, taken her son, shot him at point-blank range and then burned the young man’s body on a fire while he and his officers partied nearby.
Several years later, Van der Broek and his security police colleagues had returned to take away her husband as well. For many months she heard nothing of his whereabouts. Then, almost two years after her husband’s disappearance, Van der Broek came back to fetch the woman herself. How vividly she remembers that evening, going to a place beside a river where she was shown her husband, bound and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words she heard from his lips as the officers poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame were, “Father, forgive them.”
And now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confessions offered by Mr. Van der Broek. A member of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission turns to her and asks, “So, what do you want? How should justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?” “I want three things,” begins the old woman, calmly but confidently. “I want first to be taken to the place where my husband’s body was burned so that I can gather up the dust and give his remains a decent burial.”
She pauses, then continues. “My husband and son were my only family. I want, secondly, therefore, for Mr. Van der Broek to become my son. I would like for him to come twice a month to the ghetto and spend a day with me so that I can pour out on him whatever love I still have remaining within me.”
“And, finally,” she says, “I want a third thing. I would like Mr. Van der Broek to know that I offer him my forgiveness because Jesus Christ died to forgive. This was also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so that I can take Mr. van der Broek in my arms, embrace him and let him know that he is truly forgiven.”
As the court assistants come to lead the elderly woman across the room, Mr. van der Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just heard, faints. And as he does, those in the courtroom, friends, family, neighbors — all victims of decades of oppression and injustice — begin to sing, softly, but assuredly, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
What can we learn from this story?
It’s very clear from the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:27-36)) that Jesus commanded his disciples to love their enemies. This is a tough call and yet this humble black Christian woman is bursting with love and mercy for her enemy. The gospel of the kingdom radiates forgiveness and grace. When we reflect upon the brutality and cruelty of war we become aware of the unique wisdom of the teaching of Jesus. So often people believe that this teaching is impractical and out of touch with the modern world. Marinade sufficiently on this court room drama and we become aware of the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is possible to love and forgive our enemies and this story should inspire us to do good to people who despise us.
Jesus offers a stark challenge to all his followers:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, Your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
We must ready ourselves for the enemy. He is cunning and he is strong but, we have God on our side keep your chin up and your back to the wall!
Matthew 5:2 Then He began to speak, and taught them saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
9 ” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.”
This is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus opened with the Beatitudes, a description of how Christians should live. The first four describe honorable dispositions: humility, mournfulness, meekness, and a passion for justice. The next four with the exception of “pure heart”(which falls in with the first four) refer to acts of mercy, peace, and justice. The Blessed is another way of saying you have God’s favor. We should all work to live in this fashion it was our Lord and Saviors wish to have us live lives with the beatitudes as our blueprints. These are not easy to live by but we can do it. Take it one day at a time pray often and keep God at the center of your life. Until next time remember Jesus loves you and so do I, Peace be with you.
Many times I have seen Christians shun other people for different reasons, maybe they drink or smoke, maybe they don’t attend church every week or are of a different denomination it could be any number of things. But let us examine what Jesus said in the gospels:
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 15:12 My command is this love each other as I have loved you.
We must remember to love one another if we chose to follow Christ He is the example. Love others even to the point of denying yourself so others can know the peace of the Lord. Jesus loved us all to the point of death and complete sacrifice. We so often think of ourselves and not of others and this is not a good way to live. There are others next to you at any given time who need a hug or a kind word because no matter how they look on the surface their entire world could be crumbling in around them.
True freedom is to serve one another in love:
Galatians 513-15 You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
We are free to do as we will but true freedom is to help each other so we all can live happily there is no reason for petty disputes. We should always be slow to speak quick to listen and slow to anger. It isn’t always easy but this is how it should be. The best description of love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Beloved let us all try to focus on how we love our neighbors today and everyday. If you are in a quarrel then go and apologize even if you were the one being wronged. Let the problem end with you showing love to them no matter what. If there is bad blood between you and someone wipe the slate clean and start anew right now! It is never too late to start over my friends. And as always remember Jesus loves you and so do I, peace be with you.
Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.
The salt of the world is a reference to the way salt was used to keep food, specifically meat from spoiling. Jesus wants the Christians of the world to keep the world from spoiling. Those who are not Christians are not salty and therefore are no longer keeping the world fresh. We as Christians keep the world fresh by loving our fellow man and woman, keeping up good morals and raising children up to continue living a morally sound life.
The reference to light here is meant to keep us from hiding who we are. Do not hide your Christianity, Stand tall for your God for He is with you always! We as Christians bring light into the darkness of this world. Through your good deeds you can bring life to those who are struggling. God is love my friends and so we must also be love. Go out and be salt and light unto the world. Until next time remember Jesus loves you and so do I, Peace be with you.