Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 ... Love Our Enemies! … Really?!!

Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 354

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images and lyrics from Steve Green singing … People Need the Lord … poignantly singing a reality we cannot dismiss with our feelings of anger or price … that so many people need the Lord!

Highlight Verse[s]: Jonah 4:4 [NKJV] …  
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 
… God challenges Jonah’s unrepentant anger at God’s mercy and grace.
Highlight Passage [context]: Jonah 3:1-4:11 … USE THIS LINK
… Jonah’s pride and anger consume his consciousness.

Reference Passage #1 [NKJV] : … Matthew 5:43-44 … 
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. ..."
… Jesus on how we, as His disciples, must love others, even our enemies, just as He loved us.

Reference Passage #2 [NKJV] : … 2nd Corinthians 5:18-19 … USE THIS LINK
… God has reconciled us to Himself through His Son’s sacrifice; and He expects us to carry on His ministry of reconciliation to all mankind, … yes, even our enemies.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Mart DeHaan, illustrates his teaching about extending God’s forgiveness and love to our enemies with a story about a Korean Christian during the Korean conflict. The ODB author writes: When war broke out in 1950, fifteen-year-old Kim Chin-Kyung joined the South Korean army to defend his homeland. He soon found, however, that he wasn’t ready for the horrors of combat. As young friends died around him, he begged God for his life and promised that, if allowed to live, he would learn to love his enemies. 
Sixty-five years later, Dr. Kim reflected on that answered prayer. Through decades of caring for orphans and assisting in the education of North Korean and Chinese young people, he has won many friends among those he once regarded as enemies. Today he shuns political labels. Instead he calls himself a “loveist" as an expression of his faith in Jesus. 

And then my ODB author, Mart DeHaan, reminds his readers (me) of how the Prophet Jonah had so much trouble setting aside his pride/anger at the historically evil people from Nineveh, refusing to honor God’s mercy/grace in saving these enemies of God’s chosen ones [see highlight passage]. And immediately I couldn’t help thinking of how so many Christians today hold on to hatred and anger at groups like ISIS or local street gangs in our day, refusing to pray for reconciliation and repentance from these people so that they might be saved as did God for those in Nineveh in Jonah’s day. And “… [OUCH!] …” I’m filled with conviction for my “Jonahvite” attitude.

Yes, … it hurts;… and how I need to take stock of my attitude and prayer for those who spitefully attack Christians in this world. And I need to be praying for them to see God’s light/love and repent to receive His saving grace; … just as Steve Green sings in today’s linked song above.

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Yes, Lord, so many who spitefully revile You need Your saving grace. Help me to pray for them today and all days as You have commanded in Your word. ... Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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