And so I plead with you this day as we go ahead: remain committed to nonviolence. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the other man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” Somebody’s asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?” Somebody’s asking, “When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?” Somebody’s asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?” However difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because “truth crushed to earth will rise again. How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow. How long? Not long because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Martin Luther King, Jr.) – Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Does your husband or wife “deserve” your love? Have they “earned” your trust? Do your children “deserve” your goodness? Have they “earned” your generosity? Does that person, family or friend “deserve” your forgiveness? Have they “earned” respect?
As you think about those “ungrateful” people that are coming to mind in your life, consider this:
Do you “deserve” God’s mercy? Have you “earned” His forgiveness and salvation? Are you worthy of the sufferings of Jesus?
What if God blessed us based on what we deserved or earned?
To deserve and earn something means we execute actions that make us worthy of the gifts of the giver. BUT HE GIVES US MORE GRACE (James 4:6). Generosity, Love, and Grace are not things that are given because they are deserved or earned. They are given because of the nature of the giver, not the nature of the receiver. Generosity is an expression of the love in your heart directed toward others, regardless of how they respond. See, God loves on us, not because of what we do, but because of who HE is! This is something just to ponder and allow God to use in your life. He desires to conform us to His image. He’s generous. Allow Him to work that into your nature as well, regardless of how “deserving” people are or whether or not they are willing to respond in kind.
Why is this important? Well, consider the following:
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:37-38) — in other words, what you give will return to you; even multiplied back to you! The bloom is always a multiplied representation of the seed! So is your blessing multiplied over what you have given!
Are those points about marriage, friendship, families, work? I don’t see how we can not apply them to ANY form of relationship! Those who are generous will receive generously, and those who are stingy will receive scarcely!
My friend, God wants to see us in His image – That desire from Him is shown in many places in The Bible: …Be ye holy for I am holy (1 Peter 1: 16); A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34); Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:36).
Remember, Grace: it’s not about the one being given to, but the one that gives! And God always gives to us greater than we deserve!
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? (Heb 12:6-7); Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty (Job 5:17)~~ Sometimes God allows afflictions in our lives to correct a behavior, change a habit or get our attention focused on Him. Understanding this as part of the work He does in us to develop us is vital to our growth in Him. Call it a chastening, coming from God’s love, for our good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Correction by affliction mortifies our corruptions, weans our heart from the world, draws us nearer to God, brings us to our Bible, and brings us to our knees. Though God wounds us, He supports us under afflictions, and in due time delivers us. Making a wound is sometimes part of the cure. We must remain faithful that all will be ordered for the best. Steadiness of mind and heart under trials, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when things go well, but if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands distant from our prayers, then, for us still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace Him, this is the patience of the saints. Be encouraged that our times are in God’s hands; and it is well they are so. In faith we may come to be happy though we are afflicted, for we haven’t lost our enjoyment of God, nor our title to Heaven. If God were to just let us ‘be’ in our erroneous ways, we would surely fall away, victim rather than beneficiary to our own circumstance. Instead, I joy in my infirmities, knowing it is the love of God protecting me, even from myself. If He didn’t ‘whip my butt’ sometimes, what manner of child am I to Him? I’m glad that He’s not that distant, uncaring or missing Father who would ignore me but rather the one that would never leave nor forsake me; the one that stays with me in all things, leading, guiding and correcting me, even in chastening…that I may know His love. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Ps 23:4).
We live in a world that is hungry and thirsty for so many things. We see people that are famished and parched for fame, position, power and riches. But God is always looking for people who are hungry for Him. Jesus said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). This is our invitation to come to Him. Jesus said that the one who comes to Him would He by no means cast away. In fact, Jesus also said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). Kind of like how your natural appetite works, you have to eat when you get hungry to satisfy that hunger and eventually you will get hungry again; you have to have a regular and sustained portion of God to be satisfied. But unlike your natural appetite where you have to stop taking it in because you get full – You never get to a point in God where you will be so full that you will not need Him anymore. And while God is always satisfying us, He is also continually increasing our hunger and thirst for still even more of Him. The more you hunger and thirst for Him, the more will He reveal Himself to you and the more you will yearn for Him. With your food you get full and you get tired of it and it becomes boring and you sometimes get to a point of not even wanting to have that particular food anymore. But we will never ever be frustrated when we hunger and thirst for The Lord Jesus. As we hunger for Him more, He will fill us more. He will reveal Himself to us more and more as we thirst for Him. There is simply nothing more satisfying as the knowledge of who God is. Do you have hunger and thirst for the Lord? As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Ps 42:1-2). O Taste and see that the Lord is Good! – (Ps 34:8)
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isa 26:3)~ Our peace is often the focus of the enemy. Satan knows without peace, we are in a weakened condition, vulnerable to defeat. If he can get us to hand over our peace, he knows it won’t be long before we become putty in his hand. But, have you ever thought of the power that we have been given in Jesus’ name when we speak His word and claim it in our life? One of the great provisions of Christ to us as His family is peace in Him. He not only gives us peace, He keeps us in peace; in His perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in Him, but shall receive from Him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is forever. God’s Word is true and it can be trusted! When we stand on God’s Word, we won’t fall for the tricks of the enemy! And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Col 3:15). As members of His family, peace is not just God’s gift but His WILL…His intention for us. He doesn’t intend that we live in stress and strain; He doesn’t intend that we have dysfunction in our families and relationships; He doesn’t intend that we struggle through life. It is His will that every need be supplied (Phil 4:19). Friend, I pray that God, the source of all hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ (Rom 15:13). Be Blessed in “Perfect Peace”!
..be ye stedfast, unmovable always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15:58)~ You can be the most reliable, the most trustworthy, the most loyal, the most truthful. You can be the best friend, spouse, family member or employee – and yet, those who are blessed through you don’t seem to even care – they just are who they are and you can’t convince nor impress them of your sincerity or intent! Reality is: people are not always going to appreciate you and in fact many will flat out disrespect you no matter what you do. Yes it’s frustrating when you give your best, love your best, help any way you can; and people just blow you off. But God appreciates it and HE will certainly make good of your works because you are the tangible conduit of His love! You are indeed one of the ways He blesses other people! But Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal 6:9). As hard and as exhausting and frustrating as it is, we can’t tap out, we can’t quit, we can’t let the other person turn us away from the love that God wants us to give; the blessings He wants us to share! Continue giving, loving, doing the right thing! Some of YOUR blessing comes from what you persevere to give! It does pay off, even though you might feel like it won’t! Don’t ever think He isn’t paying attention to your heart and your walk! God’s blessings won’t come THROUGH you without some of those blessings coming TO you!