Walk In Love And Learn To Hate
By: Mark Alyabyev
I love eating sweets, but I also love staying skinny. Unfortunately, I can only choose one and not both. I either have to walk in the way of “eating sweets” or the way of “staying skinny.” Simply stated: love for one thing excludes love for another. A more serious example would be: I love children, therefore I do not love (do not tolerate/hate) abuse of children.
When the Bible states that we are to “walk in love,” it means that we are to imitate Jesus and His sacrificial example. It does not mean that we are to be all-accepting and tolerant. While many may think that tolerance is a quality of love – you won’t find it in 1 Corinthians 13. As an example of walking in love the Bible lists things that we should avoid, such as immorality, impurity, covetousness, etc. Because I love God, I will not tolerate sin. If I love sin, I will not be able to walk in love. Will you remove all those things which prevent you from walking in love?
Love what God loves and hate what God hates.
“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
(Ephesians 5:2-3 ESV)
A Grateful Heart Is Never Out Of Season!
By: Natasha Toderashko
Thanksgiving has passed. It seems that the conversations about giving thanks, counting blessings, and showing gratitude to God have somewhat dissolved in the hassle of Christmas shopping and preparations.
We are now consumed with the new to-do list, and at times we remind ourselves that Jesus is the reason of the season. However, God requires true gratitude—every season, every month, every day! It is the grateful heart that will guard our hearts and minds in complete sanity! He is our Creator, Savior, and Friend! May we give Him glory every day of our lives!
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:21)
Events That Make Us Stronger
By: Inessa Deshkina
When was the last time someone did something that made you ponder about how you should react? Something that made you go back and:
1) Read the Bible – seeing what God says about it
2) Pray – asking God for wisdom, understanding, and encouragement
3) Search for an answer from trusted sources.
These little things test our faith. And at times we may feel like someone is bursting our bubble of comfort. For instance, someone may be criticizing us from the eye of a stranger but we don’t like their answer. How do we react to such things?
In James 1:2-3 it states, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” In my words, hardships make us into better people. They ground us, make us consider all over again what we believe in, and make use stronger in what we stand for. Hardships open our eyes to things we haven’t seen before.
So in your next “trial,” remember that it too carries benefits with great weight. This trial too will lead you closer to God and make you wiser.
Don’t Miss The Most Important Part!
By: Liya Abramova
Then He said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem…” (Luke 24. 44-47)
This is the moral of the story, the great end, the culmination of the message of the Bible. When Jesus rose from dead, and came to His disciples again, He explained to them that the Scriptures told of His suffering, and the following glory…of repentance and forgiveness. The glory did not come without suffering, and forgiveness did not come without repentance. This is what the Book is about. If you were following along with the Bible reading plan, this is what you should remember. If you didn’t read with the Bible reading plan, this is the part you can’t miss. Is there something on your mind—a sin that you can’t let go? It’s time to bring it to Christ. Have faith!
Ask The Wrong Question: Hear What You Want
By: Mark Alyabyev
Several years back I used to work in sales—selling various appliances such as fridges, washers, and dryers. From the time the customer walked into the door, my job was to sell them the product, the accompanying warranty, and the store credit card. My income was a percentage of the amount I could sell. In other words–the more money the customer spent, the more money I made. Often after showing them the product, I would ask them, “Would you like to pay with credit or debit?” Ideally the customer would then start thinking of how they were going to pay instead of whether or not they should buy the item.
The Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him tricky questions. His options to answer were seemingly limited by the way they phrased the questions. “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Manipulative questions are meant to invoke limited answers. The scribes, elders, and teachers asked questions that would promote their agenda.
When you come to God, do you want to hear what He really has to say into your life? Maybe you come with a question that already predetermines the “answer” you will get. You might hear what you want, but it won’t have a firm foundation under it. Come to God with an open mind, ready to receive His message without any biases or preconceptions. You may just see the world in a different light. The unfiltered “light” of God.
“The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on Him at that very hour, for they perceived that He had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched Him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch Him in something He said, so as to deliver Him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked Him, “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Luke 20:19-22)
Marriage Vows—Are You Ready To Accept?
By: Denis Toderashko
A few years ago I photographed a wedding. The walk in the park, ceremony, and reception were prearranged and went just as planned. Guests and parents wished long and happy life to the groom and the bride. As always, social media presented the day in the best light! Only recently I met one of the spouses to find out that they are no longer together. Surprised?! Probably not. Stories like this are more and more common today. What can I do to not end up in the same situation? Jesus warned us that marriage isn’t simply a romantic adventure but a lifelong commitment. How are you preparing yourself? Do you think that you’re ready to accept this challenge? Two things we can do to be better prepared:
1. Pray that God would lead you toward your future spouse and give you the strength to keep the commitment.
2. Use the resources God has given you today to prepare yourself for tomorrow.
And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. (Matthew 19:9-10)