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Gracious Love

“I write this with my own hand, Greetings from Paul. Remember my chains. Gracious love be with you.” Col 4:18 (Simple English Bible)

Paul was under house arrest in Rome, chained to a guard — the same guard unit assigned to protect Caesar himself. (In this case, it was Nero.) From his confinement, the apostle wrote letters to various churches and sent messengers, such as Tychicus in this case, to deliver them. He was concerned for the Christians and churches. Even if Paul was unable to go, he did what he could for the body of Christ.

Ending this letter to the church in Colossae, he asked that they remember him. Some scholars believe that Paul never survived the trial in front of Caesar Nero;  other speculate that he was released and preached elsewhere for a time.

As Christians, we must be aware that other believers are under the gun, as Paul was. In the war torn countries such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic and other countries, Christians are being targeted. Many remain faithful no matter what, just Paul did. They need our heartfelt prayers and support.

Won’t you say a prayer with me today?

Steve

Mercy!

“At the judgment, God will show no mercy to the person who did not show mercy to others. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13 (Simple English Bible)

Greg’s wife ran off with another man. She didn’t want to be married any longer but footloose and fancy free. They both had good jobs and were paying off their mortgage. Mary was tired of all the work and responsibility that came with marriage. It was more difficult than she had expected. Greg still loved her and wanted her back but Mary was out and about, enjoying herself with new friends and parties. She wanted nothing from her husband, no money, nothing from the home. Fortunately, they hadn’t started a family.

When it was apparent that Mary wasn’t coming back to Greg, he decided to do something against the advice of his family, pastor and friends. He went to the bank and transferred half of their savings into Mary’s bank account even though she hadn’t asked for it! He was told that this was a total waste — she’d obviously blow it on useless things. But Greg felt differently — they’d both worked hard to save it and one day, Mary might need it.

Mercy might mean sacrifice. It is something which is granted even when we do not deserve it. God’s continual mercy will save us through our faith in His Son. No one said giving mercy would be easy or even sensible. But when our Father blesses us this way, we, too, should remember that we are His children and therefore, merciful!

Steve

Freedom!

“Brothers, although God called you to be free, don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do all the things your physical body wants. Instead, serve each other through love.” Gal 5:13 (Simple English Bible)

Janice and Robert were both single, having divorced their spouses a few years previously. They each attended the same congregation and participated in serving on various committees and programs. It was working in the Sunday School which brought them together. Janice had two teenager daughters and Robert a younger son. When their affair began, it was kept secret.

Soon, Janice’s daughters found out and confronted their mother, unhappy with the affair. Word got out and the pastor visited Robert first to chat but the man called Janice to come, too. They denied that they were having an affair — instead, they claimed they were in love and would be married within a year or so. They also said that it wasn’t wrong because they were both free from their former spouses. There was no happy ending — Janice’s daughters chose to live with their father. Robert left the church, then Janice did, too, but they never married.

Sometimes, “freedom” is an excuse to do whatever a person decides should be included in the term. Freedom in Christ is different. We are still His servants, His witnesses and His believers. Our example in the world should reflect our faith and commitment to our Lord. Love doesn’t excuse us but instead, binds us to God.