“Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36, my italics).
Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). This word had to amaze the disciples. In their eyes, it was almost an unbelievable promise: Christ's peace was to become their peace.
These twelve men had marveled at the peace they'd witnessed in Jesus for the past three years. Their Master was never afraid. He was always calm, never ruffled by any circumstance.
You’re probably familiar with the story of King David and his adulterous, one-time affair with Bathsheba. The incident resulted in Bathsheba’s pregnancy. And as soon as she discovered her condition, she sent a note to David, saying, “I’m with child.”
When David read the note, he panicked. His reputation as a godly, upright man was in jeopardy. Here was a man who had written more than 3,000 Psalms and spiritual songs. He had been God’s instrument in slaying Israel’s enemies. And he’d illustrated to the world what it meant to have a great heart for God.
Every Christian is called to ministry. The Bible makes this very clear. Paul writes, "We [all] have this ministry" (2 Corinthians 4:1).
Yet most Christians' concept of ministry today isn't very biblical. We often see ministry as something that's done only by ordained preachers or missionaries. We think of ministers as seminary graduates who marry and bury people, build churches, lead worship meetings and teach doctrine. We see them as spiritual doctors who are meant to heal the wounds of the sick and hurting.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15).
Whatever happened to repentance? You rarely hear the word mentioned in most churches today — even in Baptist, Pentecostal or evangelical circles. Pastors nowadays seldom call for their congregations to sorrow over sin — to mourn and grieve over wounding Christ by their wickedness.
Instead, the message we hear from many pulpits today is, "Just believe. Accept Christ, and you'll be saved." The text used to justify this message is Acts 16:30-31.
Everyone knows what stew is. It's the meat-and-vegetable dish you put in a pot, simmer in a slow boil, and then eat. Yet Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary offers another definition. It describes stew as "a state of being agitated, disturbed." This same definition also includes the phrase "stewing in one's own juices" - meaning, "to allow trouble and agitation to simmer; to continue in a disturbed state of mind."
We Americans tend to overlap these two meanings of the word "stew." Whenever we want to describe our troubled emotions, for instance, we use cooking terms. For example:
The Bible tells us that when Christ ascended to heaven, He took up the ministry of High Priest to all who come to Him by faith. "...this man [Jesus], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood" (Hebrews 7:24).
Jesus is unchangeable! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. As long as you live, He will be your High Priest in heaven, interceding on your behalf. And He will remain your High Priest until you go home to be with Him.
The book of First Samuel tells us that an unnamed prophet came to Eli with an awful message. This unknown man delivered an amazing prophecy — one that has everything to do with what we see going on in the church today. It is a word that reveals much about dead, dry, ungodly ministers and churches in operation right now!
"By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6).
"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil" (Proverbs 8:13).
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me" (John 14:21).
"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments" (2 John 6).