Loving our Neighbor is no Joke!

So a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan are walking down the Jericho road…but there’s no rim-shot that follows this line up. In a lesson about eternal life, loving God and loving one’s neighbor, Jesus tells a story that is still reverberating up to this day, and Jesus’ main point is that loving our neighbor is no joke!

Loving our neighbor forces us to cross ethnic and racial lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross economic and social status lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross unconventional and personally uncomfortable lines.

Hands get dirty when love enters the picture. Resources get used when love enters the picture.  Lives change when love enters the picture. And this is only for those who are willing to show it. Even the self-justification seeking, or maybe we could say excuse giving, lawyer of Moses’ Law had to admit this!

So the next time we have the opportunity to laugh at the misfortune of those with whom we don’t “gee and haw” we may need to stop and reconsider who the joke may end up being on if we fail to have a heart that sees the seriousness of loving our neighbor.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

#christ-like, #christian-living, #christianity, #eternal-life, #great-commandment, #love, #neighbor

Labors! by Carl Hanson

Today (Monday, September 2) is marked on our United States calendars as “Labor Day”. Also celebrated by our Canadian neighbors to the north, this holiday always falls on the first Monday of September. Though initially established for the purpose of honoring the WORKFORCE, for some it has become a day to get some extra work done around the house or yard, while for others it merely provides a long weekend to just get away and relax.

What would this world be if there were no WORKFORCE? Though the WORKFORCE is associated with a variety of occupations, some may be seen as more significant than others even when the level of pay may not seem to say so. There is significant work done for little pay (i.e. providing care for the young and the elderly) while high salaries are paid for work that may not be so significant (i.e. professional athletes). There are those in society who have found the salary matters not when they understand the benefit their works provide. In that they find great satisfaction and their labors are a joy to carry out.

In view of all the things people stress over and get caught up in — including over-focusing on the physical while missing the significance of the spiritual — Jesus exhorted. . .

“(27) Do not WORK for the food that perishes, but FOR THE FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (John 6:27 ESV)

We know the body needs food to be sustained and the Lord noted that as well. (note Matthew 6:11 & 31-32) However, many were following Him because He had fed them, rather than because they were acknowledging Him as the Messiah. Though feeding hungry folk is a significant thing, the nourishing of the soul is an even more significant work.

In his letter to the church at Corinth Paul wrote. . .

“(58) Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. ALWAYS GIVE YOURSELVES FULLY TO THE WORK OF THE LORD, because you know that YOUR LABOR IN THE LORD IS NOT IN VAIN.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

Regardless of the occupation we may prepare for and take on to support ourselves and our families, there is LABOR IN THE LORD on many levels for all of us to do. In doing so, we become a worker with God! (2 Corinthians 6:1) I submit to you there is no grander WORKFORCE than that!

Have a great day HONORABLY INVOLVED IN THE LORD’S WORK! – Carl

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“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

Some previous “teEn-MAIL” focuses may be viewed at http://www.teenmailbiblestudy.org

#1-corinthians-15, #eternal-life, #labor-day, #spiritual-food, #workers

Where stars are pretty sprinkles

I long for life eternal, far
Above this earthly dust and doom,
Where God and Son and Spirit are,
And outer space is but a room,

Where stars are pretty sprinkles, moons
But globes to hang upon a tree,
Where worlds are served in silver spoons,
As humble Moses talks with me.

Here kings bear golden platters, heaped
With food they never ate below,
To serve the saints who sowed and reaped,
In tears, to make the kingdom grow.

The sea is but a basin, hands
To wash beneath Niagra Falls,
A children’s box, Sahara’s sands,
And Knox’s gold for inner walls.

Earth’s brightest splendors wither, pale
Inside the gates, their powers decline;
Both human craft and creation fail,
When the glories of the Godhead shine.

J. Randal Matheny, 21 April 2013

#christian-poetry, #divine-glory, #eternal-life, #heaven

To die is gain (Charles Box)

A person who dies faithful in the Lord has great gain. My attitude must be that whether I live or die, Christ is gain to me. Paul’s theme for living and for dying was, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Our sole aim for living must be to glorify God through Jesus Christ, both in life and in death. In our life we should imitate Jesus. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

True happiness is found as we live our life with Jesus and for Jesus; this happiness is also found as we die in the Lord. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

Our goal should be to know as much of Christ as we possibly can. Paul’s desire was “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10) No Christian, when he comes to die, will regret that he has lived unto Christ. There will be many regrets for those who live and die without Christ. Christ was both the beginning and ending of life for Paul.

Paul’s surrender to the Lord: From the time Paul met the Lord on the Damascus Road until his death, the Lord was his everything.If Christ was taken out of his life there would have been nothing left. A devout man named Ananias was sent by God to Saul (Paul) to ask, “Why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) He arose from baptism to walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) The Savior became the motivating force in his entire life. From the Damascus Road until his last breath his life continued as an honor to God.

Death for Paul was far better, not dreadful or tragic. Paul spent some of the last part of his earthly life in a Roman Prison. There he realistically faced the prospect of death. As he considered living and dying he was faced with two desires. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:23-24) Death for Paul meant that he was moving toward that goal that Christ had set for him. For the unbelieving and unfaithful death is the beginning of eternal damnation. For the faithful child of God death is the beginning of eternal life.

Our greatest desire must be a desire to depart and be with the Lord. There are many words and expressions used in the Bible for “death.” Sleep, earthly tent dissolved, absent from the body and breath goeth forth are some of the expressions for death that are used in the Bible. No term, which is used for death in the Bible, is more vivid than the term “to depart.” Physical death does not destroy our life. Life continues in a different form after this earthly journey has ended. We simply depart from this life to life’s other side. Our greatest desire should be that when we depart this life we can go to be with the Lord. Those who die right with the Lord have a wonderful reward. When our life on earth is over we will leave behind our earthly tent and move on to our heavenly home. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1) When it comes our time to move on let us make sure that we are right with God!

Are you ready for death and judgment? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ’s saving blood by being baptized into His death. John said, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12) We join with Paul in saying, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

#death, #eternal-life #Charles-Box

Thought for Today and Tomorrow!

Jesus didn’t cheat death – He conquered it and ripped the keys right out of the devil’s hand! Hallelujah!

Keep that thought in your mind today and in your heart tomorrow while partaking of His supper at His table on His day.

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18)

#death, #eternal-life, #grave, #jesus

I want to go to heaven (Charles Box)

Heaven is the eternal inheritance of all faithful children of God. “To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4) If we are children of God then we are heirs of heaven. “If children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:17) God blesses all those that live upon earth, but this inheritance is to none but His children. By regeneration we receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)

Heaven is our incorruptible inheritance. This inheritance is undefined; It is reserved in heaven for you. Let us observe:

I want to go to heaven because I want to be with the Lord.

Sin separates man from God both now and forever. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) The joy of the Christian is an eternity in the presence of the Lord.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The great joy of heaven will be that we will see the Lord, enjoy His presence and be with Him forever. Paul would have been happy to put off the rags of mortality to be clothed in the glory of the Lord’s presence. “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

I want to go to heaven because that means an end to all the struggles of this life.

John wrote, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Heaven will be free from all the troubles and sorrows of this life. “All tears shall be wiped away.” All the pains of past sorrow will be removed and all causes of future sorrows will be prevented. At this “living fountains of water God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17) Isaiah 25:8 says, “He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” There is no more sorrow because sin is no more. “They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11) It will be wonderful to enjoy heaven where there will be no more problems! Peace, joy and happiness will be there forever. Continue reading

#charles-box, #christian-hope, #eternal-life, #heaven

To Believe or not to Believe

“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…” John 6:53b, 54a NET Bible The teaching itself is only part of what is so astonishing. Jesus surprises us by purposely using this teaching to drive away those who do not truly believe. Not exactly a tactic we use today!

#drink-blood, #eat-flesh, #eternal-life