5 really important sentences…

Father, in 5 sentences, Paul teaches us the basics in the exercise of our faith. We are equipped by You to rejoice always, in good times and in bad times. It is Your Holy presence with us and in us that enables us to raise our eyes and hearts to You when everything around us seems to be a severe weight upon our shoulders.

There is only one Judge…and He does not need our help!

Jesus, Your purpose is to unite our spirit with Your Spirit enabling us to exist in eternity with You. It is Satan that is set on bringing us down and accusing us of sin. Satan wins unless we realize that we need a new heart and a new start. You “save” us when we accept, by God’s grace, Your sacrifice on the cross as one which cleanses each of us personally.

To whom much is given, much is required

We do seek Your blessing but help us know why You have blessed us and why You will yet bless us. You have taught us that to whom much is given, much is required. Your blessings to us should cause us to want to be a blessing to others. That seems so right and so natural compared to being envious or self-seeking.

Should we expect to suffer as a result of our witness?

Father, You have called us saints and yet our hearts convict us. Here You tell us to sanctify our hearts, an active process of cleansing and renewal by You, that in good conscience we might provide others with a good defense of our love for You in meekness and fear, avoiding arrogance or the suggestion of appearing judgmental.

Love God and hate our neighbor…not an option.

Dear Jesus, Your half-brother James, received a great deal of specific instruction from You. James understood the Law. You taught him and us that to love your neighbor as yourself was a commandment that summarized the last 6 of the 10 commandments. We can not love a person, unsaved or not, and still be their judge. We would ourselves be breaking the Law.

Did you say enduring persecution is a good thing?

Jesus, this teaching goes against our nature. We seek revenge when we are wronged, as a natural instinct of the flesh. Why, Jesus, would You have us act in this way? The answer is clear enough in all of Your teaching; one can not say they love You and continue hating their brethren.

Haughty, proud…not me!

Father, in your economy, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. We know that life is very short (described as a vapor) and eternity is forever but these tiny moments exert more leverage than we sometimes acknowledge. The moments of our lives shape our eternity. That is leverage! Help us be loving and obedient, constantly, in the midst of both our triumphs and our losses.