Living Means Loving
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:1-11
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:8-9
In today’s verses we’re called to a way of life based on what Christ has done for us. He submitted and suffered, and we now await his return, when he will “judge the living and the dead.” So Peter says, “Therefore, be alert. . . . Above all, love each other deeply. . . .”
In my Bible this section of 1 Peter is labeled “Living for God.” This reminds me of an old song that begins, “Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please him in all that I do.” I think Peter would have appreciated the word “striving” in these lines. He was someone who tried very hard but didn’t always succeed. Yet he did learn that “love covers over a multitude of sins.” Christ’s love covered Peter’s sins, and it covers ours too.
Peter says, “The end of all things is near,” and then he explains that we should remain alert, be in prayer, and focus on loving each other. In line with this he adds, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Peter would have understood hospitality as more than greeting people before or after a worship service. It also means more than having just our friends over for dinner. What about newcomers and those who are not like us?
Living for God means that our relationships with others are expressed in self-sacrificing ways, including real hospitality without grumbling. It could have amazing results!
Lord, we want to show our love for you in all we do. Empower us with the love and warmth of your Spirit, we pray. Amen.
~ George Vink ~
Grant that I may not lose the kindness that I may give and receive today. I thank thee for the memories of yesterday, the hope of tomorrow, and the wisdom of today. May I have a vision of immortality that will keep me through the closest sorrow.
So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Some of you may be wrestling with the question, “How do I know how much to give to God?” To help you answer that question, I will tell you a story of two different men who had two differing amounts of assets–and they invested those assets in two very different ways with two very different results. We are going to look at those stories this week.
In Luke 12, we see an investor who had more assets than he had time. Jesus had been teaching about the Holy Spirit when suddenly a man in the crowd interrupted him with a question about a topic he thought was much more pressing–his inheritance. Look at verse 13: “Someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’” Have you ever noticed that nothing can divide a family any more than squabbles about money? Apparently, a wealthy man who had a lot of land died. According to the custom, if you had a lot of land, you would leave the land under the management of your oldest son. The land would probably be farmland that produced crops that would be sold every year, and the money would be distributed among the heirs. So the oldest son’s job was to take the father’s place and manage the land, sell the crops, and divide the proceeds among the heirs. But this younger brother wasn’t satisfied with that. He said to his brother, “I don’t want to be in the farming business. I want to sell the land right now and get my cut of my inheritance even if we have to sell it at a bargain-basement price. Let’s get rid of the land so I can get my hunk of money now.” He was thinking more about the short term than he was the long term.
But Jesus said to the disciples around Him, who were watching all of this, that He saw a dangerous attitude in this young man that He wanted to warn His followers about. “He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions’” (v. 15).
What is greed? Simply put, greed is the obsession with having more. The greedy person thinks, “If I can just accumulate a little bit more money, I’ll be satisfied. I will have all the money I need to purchase my every desire and to protect myself against every adversity.” But there is never enough money. The greedy person always wants more and more and more and more.
The problem with greed is that whenever you are obsessed with having more, you find it very difficult to listen to the voice of God. When a greedy person hears messages about giving, he hardens his heart to the voice of God. He starts manufacturing all kinds of reasons why he can’t give and shouldn’t give to God. Suddenly, he finds things in the church that he is not happy with. All because he doesn’t want to let go. That is what greed does to a person’s heart.
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~
For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
A Gift of Twenty-Four Hours
An hour is too short, a year too long. Days are the bite-size portions of life, the God-designed segments of life management.
Eighty-four thousand heartbeats.
One thousand four hundred and forty minutes.
A complete rotation of the earth…
Both a sunrise and a sunset.
A brand-spanking-new, unsoiled, untouched, uncharted, and unused day!
A gift of twenty-four unlived, unexplored hours.
And if you can stack one good day on another and another, you will link together a good life.
But here’s what you need to keep in mind.
You no longer have yesterday. It slipped away as you slept. It is gone. You’ll more easily retrieve a puff of smoke. You can’t change, alter, or improve it. Sorry, no mulligans allowed. Hourglass sand won’t flow upward. The second hand of the clock refuses to tick backward. The monthly calendar reads left to right, not right to left. You no longer have yesterday.
You do not yet have tomorrow. Unless you accelerate the orbit of the earth or convince the sun to rise twice before it sets once, you can’t live tomorrow today. You can’t spend tomorrow’s money, celebrate tomorrow’s achievements, or resolve tomorrow’s riddles. You have only today. This is the day the Lord has made.
Live in it. You must be present to win. Don’t heavy today with yesterday’s regrets or acidize it with tomorrow’s troubles.
[Every Day Deserves a Chance]
You give life to us in daily portions. In your wisdom you know that twenty-four hours are sufficient for us to manage. Yet it is so easy for us to fret and fuss about what happened yesterday or to worry and fear what might happen tomorrow. You don’t want us to live with guilt for failures of the past or with dread for the future. Teach us to live in the present. Remind us that you give us the wisdom and strength to live one day at a time,
~ Max Lucado ~
THE GOVERNMENT OF JESUS
In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You Tonight
May you understand that God’s will is for government to rest on Christ’s shoulders. Proclaim that Jesus Christ is the perfect Ruler. I pray that you will proclaim Him as the Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace. May you always pray that all rulers and governments will submit to His lordship, so that peace, justice and righteousness will reign. I declare that out of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.