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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Concerning Peace

Becoming more godly involves peace. As well as pursuing peace with one another, we receive it from God.

Jesus told His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit after His own departure. Jesus also promised to leave peace with them. This is not worldly peace, but His own peace (John 14:26-27). Our peace with God comes through Jesus (Romans 5:1) and "the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20).

This peace is authoritative and protective. We are to "let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts" (Colossians 3:15). We need not be anxious "about anything," but give all our requests to God; His peace, "which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Peace is revealed in our lives as an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). As my favourite Psalm also states, we are to "seek peace and pursue it" (34:14).

I find it interesting that all three Persons in the Trinity are characterized as having the attribute of peace.
  • God the Father is referred to as "the God of love and peace" (2 Corinthians 13:11).
  • God the Son is titled "the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
  • God the Spirit gives us peace. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).

Friday, October 29, 2010


Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with the blessings in my life that I just sit on the kitchen floor and say 'Thank You.'

'Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!' - Psalm 34:3

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Be at Peace with One Another

"...be at peace with one another." - Mark 9:50
Peace is connected to agreeing with each other (2 Corinthians 13:11).

After commanding the Thessalonian believers to respect and esteem those with authority, Paul tells them to "be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:13). Where tensions could easily arise, we must be especially diligent at working toward peace.

Peace is another attribute that does not simply come; we must "pursue what makes for peace" (Romans 14:19). Recognizing the difficulty of doing so, Paul writes to the Romans, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (12:18). It might be hard to attain, but we should nevertheless "strive for peace with everyone" (Hebrews 4:14).

Doing so results in closer communion with God. We are to "live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with [us]" (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Be Kind to One Another

"Be kind to one another..." - Ephesians 4:32
We are to "put away" characteristics like bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice (Ephesians 4:31). Instead, we should act with kindness toward each other.

Kindness stems from remembering God's grace toward us. This attribute is one aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our character becomes more like God's character as we develop our relationship with Him and are indwelt by His Spirit.

Behaving kindly, however, is not passive. To the contrary,Colossians 3:12 says we are to "put on...kindness." It is something that we actively have to choose to do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nothing on Earth...

Not the Austrian Alps.
Not the Sistine Chapel.
Not the Yorkshire Dales.
Not the sculpture of Michelangelo.
Not the Scottish Lochs.
Not the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Not the islands of Greece.
Not the paintings of Monet.
Not the Pacific Ocean.

I have seen some beautiful things on this earth, but "nothing on earth is as beautiful as You."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Build Up One Another

"...build one another up..." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Building up is closely linked with encouraging one another. As previously written, this has to do with our hope of heaven and life in Christ. What a reminder that "whether we are awake or asleep we...live with Him" (5:10).

We are to "pursue what makes for...mutual upbuilding" (Romans 14:19). "Pursue" is an active verb that requires actually doing something. As the surrounding verses explain, we build each other up through acting selflessly and not putting hindrances in the way of a weaker Christian. In order to build up someone weaker, "let each of us please his neighbor for his good" (Romans 15:2).

Building up also relates to the use of spiritual gifts. Specifically regarding tongues, Paul writes that we should "strive to excel in building up the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12). How different would our churches look if we did exactly that?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stir Up One Another

"Stir up one another..." - Hebrews 10:24
We are to "consider" how we can stir one another up. This means to actively think about others and how to encourage and excite them (through "meeting together," in our manner of speaking to one another, etc.).

We do not aimlessly stir each other up, but do so with purpose. Intentionally, we should encourage one another toward "love and good works."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Instruct One Another

"...instruct one another." - Romans 15:14
We are to instruct one another with knowledge. This instruction should not be ignorant, but should stem from ability and competence (as translated in the ESV and NIV respectively).

It is important to pair instruction with love. Imparting knowledge without love is annoying and counts for "nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2). Used poorly, "this 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Not simply instructing, but how this instructing is carried out is vital.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Be Hospitable to One Another

"Show hospitality to one another..." - 1 Peter 4:9
We are to show hospitality "without grumbling" [which is much harder to do than with complaining]. Furthermore, we should not be passive about it, but actively "seek to show hospitality" to each other (Romans 13:13).

Although "one another" may focus on other believers, the author of Hebrews states that some who have shown hospitality to strangers "have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). To me, that sounds pretty exciting.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Submit to One Another

"Submitting to one another..." - Ephesians 5:19
Part of wisely walking in the Spirit is submitting to one another, specifically the authorities God has placed in our lives.

The reason for doing this is "out of reverence for Christ." Honouring Christ should be the main goal of our actions, rather than just seeking the favour of others.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speak to One Another

"Speak to one another..." - Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
We should not simply have idle conversation, but speak together "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs...giving thanks always and for everything to God..." (Ephesians 5:19-20).

This manner of talking results from being continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul contrasts this with being filled with alcohol, "which leads to debauchery" (5:18).

Our conversation should "be done for building up" (1 Corinthians 14:26). We should seek opportunities to speak to one another in a godly way.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Forgive One Another

"Forgive...one another..." - Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
In the preceding verses, Paul lists numerous sinful deeds and characteristics, saying, "in these too you once walked" (3:7). He encourages the Colossians to rid themselves of this behaviour, replacing it with godly attributes. Like us, the Colossians were sinners, saved by the grace of God.

Because of this, grace toward one another is necessary. We are to forgive each other.

Paul writes, "as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive" (3:13). Christ demonstrates forgiveness toward us; likewise, we are to forgive others.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Honour One Another

"Honor one another above yourselves." - Romans 12:10 (NIV)
We are to honor one another more than we seek to be honored. The ESV is translated, "Outdo one another in showing honor." It is like a competition; instead of "Who can do the most push ups?" it is "Who can show the most honor?" This competition, however, does not stem from rivalry or seeking the honored title of being "Most Honoring."

We are to humbly consider others "more significant" than ourselves and honor them by guarding their interests as we guard our own (Philippians 2:3-4).

As Paul writes, we are to give honor to those "to whom honor is owed" (Romans 13:7). We should not let an opportunity slip past to honor those who deserve it.

Peter goes further, commanding, "Honor everyone" (1 Peter 2:17). All men deserve respect. We should seek to treat everyone in a manner that honors them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comfort One Another

"...comfort one another..." - 2 Corinthians 13:11
In the midst of instructing the Corinthians to seek restoration, agreement, and peace, Paul tells the believers to comfort one another. Although we may be experiencing various struggles (even with fellow Christians), we can and should be a comfort to one another.

Just as Paul closes this letter by speaking of comforting each other, so he opened the book: it is the "God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

As you might have noticed, that is a lot of comfort. God is our source of comfort. One of the reasons He comforts us is in order to give us the ability to share that comfort with others.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Greet One Another

"Greet one another..." - Romans 16:16
Often in the closing verses of a book, Paul and others encourage their readers to "Greet one another" (1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14).

This is supplemented by giving "a holy kiss" or "a kiss of love." Culturally, a kiss may not be appropriate, but we can still greet one another in a holy and loving manner.

Instead of ignoring others, we should purposefully involve them in our lives through simply greeting and perhaps physically demonstrating our brotherly love and holiness.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Live in Harmony with One Another

"Live in harmony with one another..." - Romans 12:16
We are to live in harmony with one another, having a "unity of mind" (1 Peter 3:8). It is "the God of endurance and encouragement" who gives us the ability to live in this manner (Romans 15:5). With His grace as our example, we can be gracious to others.

The reason for living in harmony is so "that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6). It is all about honouring God with our behaviour toward each other.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Accept One Another

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." - Romans 15:7 (NIV)
We are to accept one another, specifically those who are weaker. This acceptance is not begrudgingly saying someone is okay, but involves joyfully receiving, seeking to please and build each other up. Like guests into our homes, the English Standard Version says we are to "welcome one another."

Christ is our example. Although it may be hard to accept some individuals, think of the greater act of God accepting and welcoming us, sinners to become His children. It is not based on our merit, but on God's abounding love that we are accepted. It is not based on their merit, but on God's abounding love that we accept others.

We are not to accept one another simply because it is something we are supposed to do; instead, we should do it "for the glory of God" (Romans 15:7, ESV). What we do reflects our beliefs about God. Our behaviour toward others either honours or dishonours God. An act of acceptance toward one another is an act of praise toward God.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Exhort One Another

"But exhort one another every day..." - Hebrews 3:13
We can help keep each other accountable by exhorting one another. Temptations to unbelief, falling away, hardness of heart, and sin come daily. Exhortations must also come daily.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Encourage One Another

We are not without hope. Christ will return. The dead will live. All believers will join Him. Forever.
"Therefore encourage one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:18
We are to encourage one another with the hope of heaven. We will live with Christ forever! What could be a more encouraging motivation than this?

We are to continually encourage one another "all the more as you see the Day [of Christ's return] drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).