Choose to live out good things

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colissians 3.12&15

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It is important to understand that this means US! We are chosen by God. He has told us we have been called by name. Each and every one of us belongs to God. Clothe yourselves with these good things but as you do remember that we can have the peace of Christ. It is ours for the taking.

Live with love and compassion

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Colossians 3:12 MSG

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I hope that all those people whose fear caused them to choose selfishness will turn to this verse and listen to God.  The scripture is so very clear. If we choose love we can turn away fear and act with compassion.

The ten commandments

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Deuteronomy 7:9 NRSV

God is asking us to do two things. One is to keep a covenant. A covenant is something that both parties have agreed to. We are called to keep our part of the deal. God will be our God and we will remain loyal to him.

We are also called to keep the commandments. You would think this is not hard so they are basically a way to live without hurting each other. Not so, just read them from The Message in more modern language. I wonder how many we mess up on each week.

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No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

13 No murder.

14 No adultery.

15 No stealing.

16 No lies about your neighbor.

17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

Love everyone!

He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37-39 NRSV

love everyone
from the Gut and Grace project

The verse says that this is the first and greatest commandment. It is also the most difficult to follow. By neighbor it means everyone. Not just the people we like but everyone! Not easy to do. There are so many people that for one reason or another I would rather not love but God calls me to do so.

I hope that God teaches me every day how to love those that are hard for me.

Speak words of encouragement

 Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.” The Talmud

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Each of us need someone to watch over us. Each of us needs someone who cares enough to be there for us and help us to grow. It is said that plants that are spoken to and urged to grow do better than those that are not. God is always watching but he needs our voices to urge the growth. Speak kindness, urge healing, growth and encouragement.

 

Don’t hold on to affronts

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

Proverbs 17:9 NRSV

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When we are hurt it can be so difficult to forgive. We often nurse the hurt so that we can carry it with us. That only hurts us as well as the other person. We can’t continue to dwell on hurts but have to let them go. Doing so opens the chance for understanding and friendship.

Down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole.

In order to get the most from our faith we have to dive in. Like Alice we need to jump down the rabbit hole. Immersed in scripture and fellowship with other Christians we can plumb the depths of God’s plan for us.

Down the rabbit hole can be a scary place and jumping down can feel like letting go of everything that feels safe but it is the way to draw closer to God. Take that leap.

Follow

I really think this section of Romans says it all. We don’t need to add to it …just follow it.

 

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Romans 12:9-18

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.[e] 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;[f] do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 1

 

Equal

The person who looks up to God rarely looks down on anyone. from God is in the Small Stuff by Bruce and Stan

We are all equal in God’s eyes. Equally loved. That doesn’t mean that because we believe in God or go to church that we are more equal than others. Equal means equal. Thinking that we are better than someone else is not how God sees it. Looking down on someone because they have less money or better clothes or a better education is not how God expects us to be.

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Remember, in God’s eyes there are no “better thans.”

 

Stop and help

Save us, Jesus, from hurrying away,

because we do not wish to help,

because we know not how to help,

because we dare not.

Inspire us to use our lives serving one another.      From the New Zealand Prayer Book

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It is so easy to pass by…to keep on our path… to not stop. We convince ourselves there is not time, or money, or willingness to help. Deviating from our normal day is not easy but sometimes it is important. Sometimes there is a friend who just needs to be listened to, or bought a cola, or offered a ride. Sometimes the littlest things can make a big difference.

Don’t hurry away, stop and help.