Encourage not judge…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 15:1-13

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Scripture is given for instruction.  We instruct to produce knowledge, growth and change.  Working from scripture we encourage and become one.  This unity is that we serve one God and him only.  Self is defeated and we become one in spirit.  Where there is unity there can be no division.  As seen before this, judging one another leads to division and therefore is anti-unity and anti-God.  The love of God and his mercy extended to all brings us together.  If God extends mercy, who are we to withhold it through judging?  Out of Israel came Christ who brings unity through his selfless act extending it outward to any who will receive.  We have knowledge of this from the study of scripture and personal experience with the Lord.  As we radiate his love, mercy and hope all those around receive the benefit of his warmth and light.

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Loving not judging…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 14:13-23

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Judging another for what seems right to them can cause division and estrangement from a fellowship.  This is the opposite of edification.  If one is engaging in an activity that causes harm, that one is not operating out of faith and love and needs encouragement rather than judgment.  When we love, we speak with love and compassion not judgment.  We need to take care we are not guilty of trying to impose what is right for us upon another.  That is the work of the Holy Spirit.  We are not God’s police.  Each of us operates in faith and our convictions may be different.  All commands flow from one and that is to love God and him only serve.  Loving Him and serving Him leads to the second command to love our neighbor.  Loving our neighbor means we care about them and watch out for them.  We encourage.  We build up in faith.  We watch them gain strength in their walk with God.

Opinions do not warrant judging…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 14:1-12

 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

The thought comes that with all the judging humanity is guilty of and all the division that comes from this spirit, many have not read Romans 14 and are not familiar with what is says.  Basically, who are we to judge another?  God alone judges and his Spirit works with the spirit of mankind.  We would do well to become familiar with God’s word before we open our mouths to criticize in a judgmental way, another.  Indeed who do we serve? Who has Lordship over us? None of us fills the position Christ has.  Living in love with one another would not include despising one another for differing opinions.  Seems the same divisions among believers that we see today are not new at all but were present from the beginning.  Look at children and we see it is  human nature to judge.  Watch as they play or interact.  The new child to a new school knows all about judging and the hurt it brings.  We are not to  follow human nature but the Spirit’s leading.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The debt of love…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 13:8-14

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Fulfilling the law = one requirement; to love our neighbor.  Our actions, our thoughts, our words are driven by love for others not by self-love and selfish demands.  The focus is outward not inward.  Looking to Christ, we shift from thinking as a child who believes they are the hub of their universe.  We shift to thinking as one changed and renewed with the mind of Christ whose focus was always outward toward God and mankind.  He did the will of his father, he heard and was led by the Spirit and his ministry was to others, showing by example what he meant by ‘love your neighbor.’  The way to live has been set before us through his example and his words.  We are granted salvation because we believe he is the son of God, he died once and for all time for our sins and we receive redemption as a result.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Honor who?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 13:1-7

 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,

for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

This could lead to argument over whether to honor those who use the roles of authority to abuse.  What is said is if we conduct ourselves righteously, we have God’s approval and protection.  We use the services provided for by the taxes and so it is just to pay for them.  God is over all; better to seek change when needed through God’s intervention.  Our focus is always to be on him and him alone.