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     22  Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Luke 12:22-24 (NIV)

     This teaching begins with the word “Therefore” which means we need to look at the preceding verses.  Jesus had just told the Diciples the parable of the rich man who planned to store up all his riches for himself, only to have his life come to an end that very night.  So when Jesus tells his Disciples not to worry, he is telling them not to be overly concerned about saving and hoarding to meet our own needs. 

     God urges us to observe the birds of the air and consider how he cares for them.  They only need to gather food every day.  They neither plant nor store up food for tomorrow.  God cares for the birds.  But he values us much more than the birds.  We can trust him to care for us.

     I am reminded of how God provided manna for the Israelites in the desert.  If the people tried to store up extra for the days ahead the manna spoiled.  They were to only gather as much as they needed.  God was teaching the Israelites to trust him to provide for them.

     Likewise, we are to trust God with our tomorrows.  God expects us to work and make a living, but we should not concern ourselves with storing up wealth so we can take life easy and indulge in our own pleasures.  Neither should we worry that we might not be able to earn enough or save enough.  If we are diligent and not lazy, we need not worry about our tomorrows.

     Lord, help us to so abide in your love and care that we will naturally trust you to provide for all of our needs.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.  (Luke 6:31  NIV)

This verse is generally referred to as the Golden Rule.  It is so simple that even a child can understand it.  Treat others the way you want others to treat you.   

The only way I can see someone misunderstanding this verse is if they want to take it too literally.  A person who loves skydiving, for instance, doesn’t have to take others who are afraid of heights and put them in an airplane with a parachute on their backs. 

This rule applies to things like respect, thoughtfulness, kindness, patience, love, helpfulness, etc. 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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     27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

 It is one thing to love a friend, a brother, sister, parent, son or daughter who has hurt you.  That is because you value their friendship.  But what about your enemies–those people who rub you wrong today, yesterday and always… those people who oppose you at every turn?  Does God expect us to love them too?  These verses tell us that we are to love even our enemies.  

But God hasn’t asked us to do anything he hasn’t already done for us.  We crucified Jesus on a cross, yet Jesus responded saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  Jesus rebuked when it was necessary, but he never stopped loving his enemies. 

An insincere love is not love.  I have heard people say in bitterness and through gritted teeth, “I love him in the Lord.”  I don’t think God was impressed, however.  Until we are free of ill will, until we can think of them with a smile on our faces and in our hearts, we still haven’t forgiven them and we still aren’t loving them in our hearts. 

Verse 28 gives us the formula for overcoming those bitter feelings.  Jesus tells us to bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Lord give us the courage, strength, and desire to truly forgive our enemies.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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      17 “‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. 

     18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.  (Leviticus 19:17-18  NIV)

God doesn’t allow much room for hate in our hearts, especially when that hatred is directed against people.  God hates evil and so should we.  But when it comes to the people who upset us, hate should not be among our responses.  God does allow us the option of rebuking another person, but even that should be done with the other person’s best interest at heart.  When we rebuke another we should do it in a spirit of helping that person, not in a spirit of seeking revenge. 

Neither does God allow us the option of holding a grudge against another person.  We must forgive from the heart and mean it. 

This seldom comes easy.  Sometimes it is hardest to forgive those closest to us.  When we feel another has wronged us we must pray for God to give us the right approach to take.  Whether it is to confront that person in love, or to simply turn it over to God by asking him to take the ill will out of our heart, and to cleanse our hearts from the grudges we feel.

Lord, help me to apply these teachings to my own heart and life that I may be truly free to serve you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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