Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Never Give Up!

Many years ago - 46 years to be exact - I was a sophomore in high school and was on my church's Word of Life quiz team. I was excited to be asked to be part of the team and somewhat nervous at my first quiz match - we had matches once a month in the local area where I lived and then the local, regional, and international competitions. At any rate, my first question I ever answered is one I still remember today, "According to Romans 12:1,2, how is God's will described?" The answer; "Good, acceptable and perfect" . . . and I got the answer correct!

Well, I recently was spending some time in Roman's 12 as I worked on personalizing and praying this passage and I noticed the following . . . 
  • Presenting my whole self to God as a living sacrifice is the most sensible way to serve God (CEV) Clearly, it does not make sense to only present part of myself to God - He wants me to serve Him whole heartedly with my whole self!
  • God wants me to be different than the people around me in this world; He wants me to let Him change the way I think so I know how to do everything which is good and pleasing to Him!
  • As Christians, we are all part of the body of Christ and part of one another
  • God has given each of us gifts to use to serve Him - and each other - and He wants us to use them the best we can in a generous and cheerful way!
  • We are to be sincere in our love for others. According to theFreeDictionary.com sincere means, "Not faked, but rather genuine; true, without hypocrisy or pretense" Do I love others in this sincere way? Do you?
This passage tells us in verses 9 - 21 what sincere love is really like, just look; "Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. 11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12 Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13 Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home. 14 Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them. 15 When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad. 16 Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. 17 Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others,  18 and do your best to live at peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, 'I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.' 20 The Scriptures also say, 'If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.' 21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good." (CEV)

Do these verses describe how you treat others? Church is the place where we are supposed to be with brothers and sisters who love us sincerely; and who we love sincerely. Sometimes this is true, but other times church is the place where we receive some of our deepest wounds. However; even when we are wounded, we are to ask God to bless those who mistreat or wound us and be careful not to mistreat or wound them in return. God does not want us to be people who try to get even with others and who do not let evil defeat us.

As you work on your Children's Ministry this week, be honest with yourself as to if you love others sincerely, or not. If not, make it right and where you have been mistreated, return love for their mistreatment. Never give up!

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