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Tag Archives: neighbor

King Hezekiah Reigns

In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. 5He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. 6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. (2 Kings 18:1-8, NRSV)

Do you follow after God?

Are you a man or woman of the Lord?

Do you take down things that do not bring glory to God?

But here is the real question, how do we do this in a modern pluralistic society where we are told to get along with those that are different from us? We can not just go around taking down other denominations or religion’s places of worship. But we can focus our lives on following after where God is leading us and loving our neighbor. In doing that we are removing the high places from our lives and focusing on the author and perfector of our faith.

Follow God and make God first in your life. Then love your neighbor/

 

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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:17-18, NRSV)

You can’t hate any of your family and you have to tell your neighbor when they are wrong. How many of us actually do this?

Don’t take vengeance or bear a grudge against anyone but love everyone as you love yourself.

This is easier said than done. Our human nature is to hold grudges and want revenge on those who hurt us but the Law says to not do but to love everyone as God loves you. Forgiving you when you didn’t deserve it.

 

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The Greatest Commandment

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40, NRSV)

Why were people always trying to trip up Jesus?

Does it matter what the greatest commandment is if we break all the rest will keeping 1 really make a difference?

But really Jesus tells them that all of the Law and Prophets hang on these 2 things that we love God and love others. All of the scriptures tell us that we should love God and love neighbor.

Do these things and all will be good.

 

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A Fight over Food

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.” 3He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ 5But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’ then that person need not honor the father. 6So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 8‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 9in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’” 10Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.” (Matthew 15:1-20, NRSV)

You see it is not about keeping a set of rules. It is about 1 commandment and it’s second part, love God and love neighbor. If we love then we are keeping the commandments, and we are pleasing God. It’s not about doing everything the right way and making sure it is done in the correct order and all the pieces are done. It is about loving. It about why we do what we do. It is about allowing God to flow through us.

So watch where God is leading you and love those before you as God loved and loves you.

 

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Rules for a Godly Community

You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:13-18, NRSV)

This section could basically be summed up in love your neighbor as yourself.

All of these things are things we would not want people to do to us. So simply put treat everyone like you want to be treated.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all treated each other like we want to be treated?

 

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Faith Conquers the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5, NRSV)

Jesus conquered the world and has allowed us to live in the relationship with God this allows us. And if you live in the love of God you will follow His commandments, and that commandment is to love God and love neighbor. Jesus tells us that the scriptures are summed up in love God and love neighbor. And faith in God is what conquers the world.

So love the God and the world as God loves you.

 

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Commandments to Honor Self

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17, NRSV)

It is one thing to see the wonders your neighbor has and want them because you are inspired by your neighbor. It is another to want what your neighbor has and try to get it from him by any means possible.

When wanting something that someone else has makes us break other commandments or do things we would not do that is when it is coveting. And that is not how we should live.

We should build up our neighbors and be inspired by what they have to go and do better ourselves. That is what living in relationships does. It helps us make others better and in turn that makes us want to be better.

How can you make the world better?

 

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