Do you feel proud when you see your kids playing nicely with each other―sharing their toys and watching out for each other? Well, our Heavenly Father also appreciates it when He sees His children treating each other with love and kindness. Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Remember: He lived these very words out on the cross, praying for those that had participated. God’s way is clear and is much the same as what we teach our children: share, play nicely, treat each other with respect. And God’s way is even more encompassing; it includes loving and caring for those that are difficult to love. This is, of course, not easy. Just think how often we mess that up? But what if we Christians made an extra effort this week to be kind, quick to share what we have, and quick to help others―even those that we might not call “friends”? It’s the kind of love to which God is calling all of us. It’s how He loves us, and it’s how Jesus loves us. We can do it!
In Genesis 26:24 God says to Isaac, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase your number for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Sweet. God blesses Isaac―but why? God says, “for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Isaac is being blessed by God, not because he did something magnificent, tried real hard, or has a certain special something; it’s happening for one simple reason―he is Abraham’s son. That’s it. He can’t mess that up. No matter what he does, he will always be Abraham’s son. This story is for us. God has blessed us with this same exact blessing. And it is for the same reason. We aren’t blessed because of what we did or didn’t do, or how tall we are. We are blessed because we are children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ. I’m not saying this makes life perfect; Isaac still had some problems, but he overcame them. There will still be battles, but fear not, you are blessed. God did not abandon you because of something you have done. He is with you and will never leave you. Are you blessed? Say “Yes.”
In 2 John 1:7 it says, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” There are warnings in the New Testament about the evil people who teach false doctrine. These false doctrines, if you keep reading, are always those who will say that Jesus isn’t really God’s son, or He didn’t really come in the flesh. When you change something fundamental about Jesus, well, this is bad. He is the only begotten son of God, who came in the flesh and died for our sins. These truths are not debatable. Have you noticed there are many little things that Christian churches disagree about? It’s been happening for centuries. But we shouldn’t call each other evil over the small stuff. Let’s stop biting on each other and just love each other. Same team! If the Jesus-believing church up the street doesn’t teach the same exact message you heard on Sunday, well, be okay with that. Love that other church across town. We may not all agree on everything, but let us all agree that if someone is preaching about the Jesus we believe in, well then, they’re alright with me.
II Thessalonians 3:16 says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” So who is the Lord of peace? Jesus is. Peace is different than not peace. If you don’t have peace at your job then you won’t want to go to work. If you don’t have peace in your marriage or with your family then there is fighting and no one is happy. Peace here means tranquility, safety and prosperity. Our Lord is the Prince of Peace―the prince of tranquility, safety and prosperity. Jesus told us that He gives us His peace, but in how many ways does He give us peace? Here it says our Lord wants to give us peace in every way. Not just peace in one place, but in all places of our life. And guess what? Only He could possibly accomplish that. So how do you get this peace that He is promising you? What do you have to do? Act a certain way? Jump through some hoops? Nope. Actually, it’s a gift. It is something that He is giving you, which means you can’t earn it. But when you have it, people will say, “Hey, how come you’re not all freaked out?” And then you’ll be like, “My Lord is the Lord of peace, and He’s giving it away like it grows on trees.”