To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
How do you react when someone is rude to you? Do you return evil for evil… insult for insult… rudeness for rudeness? Do you have a tendency to tear people up with your tongue?
One known for his sharp tongue was Sir Winston Churchill. One day his nemesis, Lady Aster, said in disgust, “Sir Winston, if you were my husband, I would put arsenic in your tea.” To which Churchill quickly replied, “And Lady Aster, if I were your husband, I would gladly drink it.” What a classic example of evil for evil, insult for insult.
The Lord tells us that we are to give a blessing EVEN when someone insults us. He says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). Truly, “a gentle answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1).
RESPONDING WITH A KIND HEART
When you are kindhearted, you respond to people by cutting them some slack and giving them the benefit of the doubt. Remember, rude, mean people are that way for a reason. Like the lion with a thorn in his paw, mean, angry folks have a deep hurt in their lives… that is why they are mean, cruel and argumentative. Kindness always tries to see things from the other’s perspective. Kindness always responds with patience, gentleness and understanding.
IN YOUR HOME
Let’s be honest, many homes are filled with insults. Brothers and sisters insult each other… spouses so often are mean and cutting with each other. What happened to “home, home on the range… where seldom is heard a discouraging word?” The good news is this: you can change the atmosphere in your home by keeping your tongue from insults… and giving a blessing instead.
Remember, when Jesus was dying on the cross, being laughed at and reviled, He did not revile in return. He prayed for those who crucified Him. His response of blessing for curses surprised the crowd. That hardened Roman Centurion who oversaw His death was so moved by His response that he declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” WOW!
YOU CAN DO IT!
With all those you come in contact with today, make a special point of giving them a blessing. Compliment them on something they do well. Encourage them in their daily life. Take criticism… learn from it… and bless the person who was mean to you. You will be amazed at how God will work when you do things His way.
Pastor Jeff Schreve, From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
The Book of the Revelation can be intimidating, as it is full of prophecy, tribulation and woe. It is also full of hope and encouragement because the King is coming for His own and to rule and reign forever! In this series, Pastor Jeff Schreve takes an in depth look at Revelation, laying out a timeline, explaining the symbolism, encouraging believers, and sending a wake-up call to those who have yet to accept Jesus as their Savior. The King is coming soon, so be watchful and be prepared for his victorious return!. Click here to find out more! DONATE TO FROM HIS HEART HERE
Perhaps you’re reluctant to entertain any dreams since daily reality turns them into nightmares of unfulfilled desire. It is possible that you are even laboring under the whip of that eternal taskmaster, Fear, who buffets your fondest fantasy with three brutal blows from his lash—public criticism, personal guilt, and perverted humility.
Why not meet your secret longing head-on? Why not declare that it’s there in your thoughts, waiting for an honest, wise, and intelligent response? I have a most interesting time asking Christians what they would really like to have—what they’d enjoy owning. I’ve had them look around like somebody would squeal on them . . . or squirm like worms, feeling uneasy as they admit that down deep inside they cherish some specific, luxurious wish. They occasionally whisper it to me under their breath as if confessing some vice or awful crime. Nonsense!
Now the only wrong in all this is when expensive and luxurious things possess us. On that axis, everything shifts. When that happens the green ghost of greed invades our dwelling and haunts our once-contented mind . . . like the farmer Jesus told about in Luke 12:16-21, who substituted the material for the spiritual. That man, said Jesus, was an outright fool. To him, luxuries were essential to life . . . they were his sole means of happiness and security. He became occupied with the gift and failed to consult with or recognize the Giver.
Remember, this is in the Bible:
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for enjoyment.
“Jesus was God spelling Himself out in language humanity could understand.”
S. D. Gordon
What does it mean to me when I read these words, “In the beginning was the Word”?
How do I get to know “The Word”?
What does “The Word” reveal to me about God my Father?
“When Jesus Christ utters a word, He opens His mouth so wide that it embraces all heaven and earth, even though that word be but a whisper.”
“If Jesus is the Son of God, His teachings are more than just good ideas from a wise teacher; they are divine insights on which I can confidently build my life.”
The Case for Christ
There is nothing I enjoy more than being able to hear the performance of Handel’s “Messiah” live in a large concert hall. At the beginning of this musical extravaganza, there is what can be called an “Overture,” an instrumental introduction to the beautiful musical rendition performed by soloists and chorus. Common in opera productions beginning in the 17th century and incorporated into the Romantic era of music by composers like Beethoven and Mendelssohn, overtures act as independent works that come before symphonic poems. Interestingly, we see the same technique incorporated into the book of John. Noted by contemporary Biblical scholars and pastors, we find that John 1: 1-18 is described as the “overture” to the entire book of John. Pastor James C. Howell, in his commentary on John 1: 1-18, uses the grandest words possible to explain the rhetoric chosen by the Apostle John to explain the phrase, “In the beginning was the Word”:
“The soaring symphony tries to express the inexpressible. God’s inner self, God’s loving heart, God’s eternal fellowship, spilling over and making a world, knowing full well that the world would miss the point, and be downright recalcitrant (stubbornly disobedient) in reply. But Love loves anyway.”
Then Pastor Howell continues to explain the way John begins his book about Jesus by pointing to the critical fact that words matter. As he shares, when you ask someone about the most beautiful and meaningful moments in their lives, they often turn thoughtful for a time and then as he explains, “they arrive at some truly beautiful moment when words that matter are spoken, ‘I love you. Will you marry me?’ ‘I forgive you!’ ‘I am immensely proud of you!’ ‘I just learned that I am pregnant!’ As he notes, “Life is birthed through words.”
Just think about your own life and the words which you have spoken or someone else has spoken to you. Which words glitter like gold in your memory bank? It is the fact that words are critical which makes the first few sentences in John 1 so vital as we “Behold The Man” – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let us then, for a few moments, look specifically at the first words the Apostle John uses in his book, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1: 1, K.J.V.). As author Craig S. Keener writes, in his tremendous commentary on the book of John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus, “has an important reason to open his Gospel with the phrase, ‘in the beginning.’ As most commentators observe, ‘beginning’ alludes to the beginning of creation, and the opening words of John’s prologue echo Genesis 1: 1. (John) refers here to the literal beginning of creation…the explicit reference to the world’s creation in Genesis 1: 3.” It is this essential element which the Apostle John underscores for his point is that from the initial start of eternity, forever and ever, the Word was present, the Word was with God. In fact, John tells us, “the Word was God.”
In his commentary on this Biblical passage, Professor Robert Redman explains, “The term ‘Word’, or logos, is a rich and nuanced word meaning mind or rationality, but also speech or communication.” He further expands on this thought by spelling out how John ‘deploys (the word loges)’”. He states: “the logos of God is both substantial and dynamic. As mind or rationality, logos conveys the content of God’s thinking; as speech, it conveys action and realization. In Jesus, God speaks God’s mind.” I just love this thought for it helps someone like me, who is not some renowned scholar, to understand more clearly Jesus’ own words to His disciple Philip who asked a very honest-hearted question of Jesus. “Lord, show us the Father, that is all we ask; then we shall be satisfied.” In response, Jesus replied, “Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14: 8, 9, Amplified Bible).
Just like Philip, you and I may have, at times, been confused about what our Father really was like. Down through Old Testament history, it was obvious God’s children frequently misunderstood the essence of “Who” God was. And so, in an act of inexpressible kindness, Jesus, the Word, came to earth not only to reveal by His actions, but also by His words what His Father was like.
I’ve frequently, in my personal Bible study, turned to the “old-time” commentary penned by Matthew Henry. In his comments on John 1, Henry shares the story of the 16th century theologian and lawyer Francis Junius who gave an account of his own life. We might today refer to his words as a personal testimony for he claimed that his thoughts on spiritual matters were “infected with loose notions.” But by God’s grace, he was “wonderfully recovered by reading, accidently, the verses in John 1: 1-5 from a Bible and which he shares, “My father had designedly laid in my way.” He goes on to tell that he ‘observed such a ‘divinity’ in the argument, such an authority and majesty in the style, that (my) flesh trembled, and (I) was struck with such amazement that for a whole day (I) scarcely knew where (I) was or what (I) did; and thence (I) date the beginning of (my) being religious.”
In the Greek, there is a word called “homoousios” which means “made of the same stuff.” I understand this word for on more than one occasion in my short life, my dad said to me, “Dorothy-girl, you and I are cut out of the same piece of cloth.” This statement was reinforced on my mind a few weeks ago when a dear friend of my parents came up to me and said, “When you were talking today, all I could see was your dad. You reflect him so much.” As Jesus told His closest earthly friends, “If you know Me – You will know what my Father is like.”
“In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” In the words of Aaron Klink “This text reminds us that, amid life’s chaos, the world belongs to God…that Christ always was, as if to reveal that God’s love and intention for humanity was not simply the result of human sin, but part of God’s intention and love for the world from the start…In the beginning are not our wishes, hopes, dreams and plans, but God, and God’s Word, and God’s love toward the world.” As Professor Stephen Cooper reminds us, “the Word is not simply a medium of God’s revelation considered as knowledge about God; for what the Word reveals, it transmits: God’s love for humanity.”
For those times in your life when God may seem far away and your huge problems appear to overwhelm you, how thankful we can all be for the “Word” that was from the beginning…for the “Word” that brought God to earth, not only in the spoken word but in active action. And today, for every challenge you face, the “Word” is dwelling with us. In the words of poet, author and professor Thomas H. Troeger, “you will spell the Word anew in every time and place.”
“How do you spell the Word?
Where do you search and look –
Amidst the coos and cries you’ve heard
or in a well-thumbed book?
Hold back the swift reply,
the pious, worn cliché
that softens how the child will die
when violence has its way.
Instead, let all you do
embody truth and grace
and you will spell the Word anew
in every time and place.”
Thomas H. Troeger
Jesus The Very Thought of Thee
“Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Jesus’ name,
The Saviour of mankind!
But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.
Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity.”
11th Century Latin Hymn,
usually credited to Bernard of Clairvaux
Translated Edward Caswall,
“You Jesus Christ are the Word of God humanified, and You are humanity deified.”
Nichols of Cusa
(1401 – 1464)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author When A Woman Meets Jesus
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February 16 Sounds like a prayer to me Jason Nelson
Lord, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m not sure how it all started or how to pick up the pieces of my messed-up life. I’m too tired to think, too stumped to put it into words.
Child, that sounds like a prayer to me. I hear it with my Spirit. I will do immeasurably more than you ask or imagine.
Lord, I want to come to you, but when I get on my knees, I should at least be able to start a conversation and offer you some suggestions for getting me out of this situation. That’s how I did it last time. But I’m coming up empty. That’s what I am—empty.
Child, that sounds like a prayer to me. I hear it with my Spirit. I will do immeasurably more than you ask or imagine.
Lord, maybe if I could cry or scream I would let off some steam and you would understand my frustration. That could be a starting point. You could take it from there. But all I have for you are these pathetic sighs.
Child, that sounds like a prayer to me. I hear it with my Spirit. I will do immeasurably more than you ask or imagine. This is how I know.
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 ESV).
Don’t miss out on what God’s saying to you!
Learn how to make sense of Scripture and read the Bible with confidence when you get Pastor Mike Novotny and Dr. Bruce Becker’s interactive book, Out of Context: 8 Bible Passages Most Christians Get Wrong.