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Salvation is Near!

11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:11-14, NRSV)

What time is it?

It is time for us to focus on Jesus and what God has for us to be doing.

We need to live in the light of Christ and show the world His love and allow God’s life to shine through.

We need to show the world we love one another and get along.

So all may know His love.

 

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Love One Another

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The 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, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10, NRSV)

Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it. I mean don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t covet all of these are things against our neighbor and if we love our neighbor we will not want to harm them in any way, so we just love.

I mean all of the commandments are about love. Either love of God or love of neighbor. So we love God and we love neighbor, which is everyone other than God, including ourselves.

If we love each other, there will be no issues.

Pretty simple, yet the hardest thing to do.

 

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Do What is Good

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1-7, NRSV)

So according to Paul here we are supposed to not fight against the rulers we are placed under because they were put there by God. No power can be a power without the authority of God.

So if we go against the government we should expect to be punished for that.

But we are ultimately only subject to God so when and if the government goes against God we should not follow the government?

We are to always do what is good and to show God’s love in everything we do.

Don’t grumble about being a good citizen. Live and show the love of God.

 

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Overcome Evil with Good

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21, NRSV)

Do not seek revenge, and do not repay evil with evil. Instead, feed your hungry enemies and if they are thirsty give them something to drink, be kind to them for in doing this you will confuse them and they will not know what to do.

Revenge belongs to God and God’s wrath is worse than anything you could come up with, so love everyone, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are joyful.

Overcome evil with good.

Be good to everyone, and let God take care of the rest.

 

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Genuine Love

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:9-13, NRSV)

This is Pride month. I’m not sure where you are at on the issues of LGBTQ people, but I found it interesting that this passage comes up just as June is starting and I had just recently shared this picture on Instagram and Facebook. And one of my friends from college commented that they wished their mom believed this.

We may not agree with someone, but that doesn’t mean we have to hate them. God loved you when you were separated from him and while you were still covered in your sin, He sent Jesus to die. So there is no reason for anyone of us to hate another of God’s creation.

Hate is a choice. Choose Love!

 

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Transformed Lives

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:1-8, NRSV)

We are all the body of Christ. I pray each week that we will be united as the body of Christ, that what joins us together would be enough to keep us together and the things that we have created that separate us would be pushed aside. Here in Romans 12, we read one of the three passages about the body of Christ and the many members that make it up. We all have our role to play and we need each other to make this work. We can not fight each other but must be united in the ministry that God has given us.

We all have a gift to us and we must use it for the betterment of society. Martin Luther said a Christian shoemaker doesn’t show his faith by putting crosses on his shoes, but by making the best shoes he can for everyone. We use our gifts for the glory of God and for the betterment of society. We are all in this together and we should work with each other.

Let your life be transformed by God and show His love to all the world.

 

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The Promise of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:14-39, NRSV)

We have been given a spirit of adoption. We once were left to our own, struggling to keep our head above water, but now we have been adopted and pulled up. We do not need to be slaves of sin anymore, for now, we are children of God.

In hope, we have been saved by God and called heirs of his kingdom. We didn’t do anything to earn the inheritance, but it was freely given to us.

So we hope in the promise, know that God is good to the promise, and we will be in the family.

We were promised the Spirit and God did not disappoint in sending us the advocate and our helper, and we can rest assured that the hope of our inheritance is true and will be with God in the kingdom as co-heirs with Christ.

 

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