True Love in All Things

In view of the current dialogues in our society that are promoting “Love, not Hate” and the variety of calls-to-action that are being sounded, let us remember the characteristics of True Love, as God defines it.

Anything that we do in the name of love and social justice should be in accordance with TRUE love. True Love is not weak, it is strong, but it is strong in a particular way!

Any social movement and any public protest in which we might participate, let us be careful and selective about joining them; their likely methods and how their message may evolve over time is a very important consideration. Will they be acting and expressing themselves in accord with God’s definition of True Love?

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.”

‭‭( 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬ )

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Live Today Deliberately

A Daily Thought Provoker Quote
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
Online Publications of David J. Hall

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“Live life today the way you will be glad you lived it when you get to Heaven.”

( David J. Hall )

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#PastorsTip #DTP

Love vs Hate

A Daily Thought Provoker Quote
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
Online Publications of David J. Hall

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“We often mistakenly believe that the opposite of love is hate. But I believe that is incorrect. The opposite of loving others is being self-centered. If your focus is always on yourself, you will never be able to build positive relationships.”

( John Maxwell / “Winning With People” )

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God’s Attention Is On You!

The infinite God who created the entire universe (its planets, moons, and stars; its shades of light and colors; and its angels, humans, and creatures) is completely mindful and thoughtful of humans.

It is estimated that the universe has billions of galaxies (like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains our solar system and associated planets). There are more entire galaxies in the universe than there are people on planet earth. We currently have about 7.3 billion human beings on our planet.

For comparison, consider one human being standing in the middle of one galaxy. God, with His infinite capacities, looks at that one galaxy with all of its fascinating beauty of every light beam, of every atom of every star, sun, planet, moon, comet, and… one human being.

When God has an entire galaxy to which He can pay attention, there is only one very small aspect of that galaxy of which He is completely mindful.

YOU!

He is surrounded by galactic beauty, but instead of looking at all of that, His eyes are on… YOU! You are more captivating to the loving attention of almighty God than an entire galaxy!

In ancient days, the Psalmist expressed his own glimpse into–and awareness of–the comparison between a galaxy and a human being, and that God’s delight is to give His complete and infinite attention to human beings. He wrote:

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“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens…

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”

‭‭~ Psalm‬ ‭8:1-5‬

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The next time you feel insignificant, and you think your value in the universe has been lost like a grain of sand lost somewhere on the floor of the world’s oceans, know this: God is mindful of you and He cares for you, deeply!

He welcomes the giving of your own attention to Him. His favorite thing to do in ALL of the universe is this: to interact with you.

Let Him hear from you through prayer. He loves to interact with human beings like friends, and He will speak with you in return. Using any method to speak to you, at a time of His choosing and that He thinks is best, He will speak to you. It will be in a manner that you can hear with your heart and believe it really is Him!

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#PastorsTip #Cosmos #Universe #Galaxy #MilkyWay #SolarSystem #Planet #Moon #Human #HumanBeing #Prayer #DelightOfGod #Friends

Honoring The Voice Of Our Conscience

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English Language Definition of Conscience :

: the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong

: a feeling that something you have done is morally wrong

~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Scripture teaches us to honor our conscience. It is an integral part of our being, and though it is not perfect (and can undergo heavy damage during our life if it is unguarded) we need to honor it. Just as we are called upon to honor our parents even though they are human and imperfect, likewise we are to honor our own conscience.

OUR CONSCIENCE + GOD’S TRUTH = GUIDANCE

Developing a healthy knowledge-base [in our heart and mind] of the truth of God through the study of the scriptures (through reading, discussion, and listening to preaching and teaching) is foundational to keeping our conscience healthy. Our implementation of God’s truth into and through our life in agreement with our healthy conscience is critically important.

Living and speaking in truth is then confirmed by a healthy conscience:

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit…”

~ Romans‬ ‭9:1

GUARD THE CONSCIENCE OF THE WEAK

Not only should we guard our own conscience, but we should help to guard the conscience of the weak, the young, or the spiritually immature. Their conscience may not be as healthy and discerning of what is right and wrong. They may see you doing something that you have a right to do (according to your healthy conscience) but their unhealthy or damaged conscience may impress upon their own mind and heart that doing that is wrong.

Our appropriate response should not be condescension, but loving and with honor for their conscience. Patiently instructing them and helping their conscience to heal and/or mature is more important than us insisting on our “right” to do whatever unimportant thing we are doing with which their conscience disagrees.

In the early church a question had arisen: Can Christians buy the food (meat) in the local market place that had been used in sacrifices to idols? Paul said yes, there isn’t a problem with the food (because there is only one true God), so you can buy it and eat it with a clear conscience. Eating the food is not a participation with other god’s.

“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but One.’”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:4‬

Though Paul answered this question and made it clear to the church, there were still some whose conscience was not adjusting to the truth as quickly as others. He added this caveat:

“But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:7-8‬

Our rights to participate in things that are not foundational to Christian discipleship should be laid down when it will be beneficial to another. This is called… “Love.” Our obligation to love overrides our rights to non-foundational matters in life. Our conscience should first be sensitive to others’ needs before we participate in things that wound our weaker neighbor’s conscience.

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols [and thus dishonor their conscience that tells them it is wrong]*?

So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin [going against their own conscience]*, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9-13‬,  [abc]*  Inserted by author for clarification

When Paul says “I will never eat meat again,” he is not saying he became a vegetarian for the rest of his life. He is not saying that the chutch needs to forever bow to the dictates of the consciences of the immature and the weak. He is simply saying that he will walk in-step with (and not wound) his weaker neighbor’s conscience until such time as they mature and are healed.

GOD IS STILL THE FINAL JUDGE

Even if our conscience approves of something, it does not transform it into a righteous or acceptable something. Right is still right, and wrong is still wrong. Even the Apostle Paul spoke of having been faithful to his conscience, but acknowledged that his own conscience was not perfect and still not the final judge of his life and motives.

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”

~ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:4‬

FINAL THOUGHTS

Developing a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, reading and studying the scriptures, listening to the church leaders as they disciple us, honoring our own conscience in daily living, and lovingly honoring and protecting the conscience of the weak or broken, these are all components necessary to building, healing, and maintaining a healthy and clear conscience.

Some people choose to accept the “teaching” of the world, and by so doing they wound and twist their own conscience until it is no longer healthy enough to lead them even in the most basic ways of right living. The most basic right and wrong is no longer discernible by their conscience.

Thankfully, Christ offers healing to them, and if that describes your condition, He offers you today a pathway of healing for restoring your conscience to a healthy condition. You can begin the process right now by simply calling out to Him, “Lord Jesus, please rescue me!” and then let the healing process begin…

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#PastorsTip #Conscience #Maturity #Immaturity #Healing #Sensitivity #InnerVoice #Scriptures #Bible #HolySpirit #Jesus #Christ #God

Terminator Disguised As A Church-Going Christian

Do you sometimes feel numb and cold like you are part machine, while at other times another part of you rages like an out of control forest fire, wanting to terminate relationships?

You may never dream of actually, physically murdering anyone, but if you harbor hate for a brother or sister your sin is at the same level and in the same category as murder!

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

~ 1 John‬ ‭3:15‬

Murder is not a Biblical misdemeanor, it is a Biblical felony. Hatred that is harbored and not even yet expressed in words or actions is not a Biblical misdemeanor, it is a Biblical felony. Hatred does not have its own minor sin category, it is in the same category as actual murder.

It cannot be over emphasized or exaggerated how destructive and how wicked the sin of harbored hatred is in the eyes of our Holy God. We downplay the issue of brotherly and sisterly harbored hatred with a common excuse of the world: “nobody is getting hurt, it can’t be that bad.”

If you are harboring in your heart any measure of hatred for someone else in the family of God, whether you think that you would never “act” upon it or “verbalize” it, please take to that same heart the stern warning from the scriptures. We like to downplay the seriousness of our sins, and the world likes to do the same so our light does not shine on their own darkness, but a wise person will look at themselves in the mirror and will see the reality of their condition.

God warns us so we will be motivated to change our course. I pray that you will know the joy once again of a heart that does not have any hatred harbored, whether great or small.

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#PastorsTip #1John3 #Murder #Hatred #Misdemeanor #Felony #Forgive #Love

Road Rage Detonators

A Daily Thought Provoker
from Heart & Path Journal at HeartPathJournal.net
by David J. Hall

Which is worse: a physically violent “Road Rage” person, or a verbally abusive and hand gesturing person who detonates another “Road Rager”?

The answer is obvious, but both are “Road Ragers.”

“Love is patient, love is kind… it does not dishonor others… it is not easily angered…”

( 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 )

Let’s be wise, mature, and gracious when we are driving. This isn’t out of fear of those whose Road Rage is prone to being physically violent, but instead out of love for Christ and heeding His call for us to be full of love.

Both kinds of people, “Road Ragers” and “Road Rage Detonators,” are in desperate need of spending time on their knees in prayer, seeking help from God for their lack of temper control.

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God’s Message to America

For many years I have held close to my heart and mentioned accordingly in my prayers for our nation this message from Paul’s letter to the church of the Galatians.  I believe it also serves as a message from our Heavenly Father to our nation.  If we will heed His message, our nation will not go they way of history’s previous world powers which have dissolved in a sea of sin and loveless relationships.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

~ Galatians 5:13-15

Losing When You are Right.

Son, you ‘won,’ but you lost!

~ My Dad

“If [you]… can fathom… all knowledge,… but do not have love, [you are] nothing.”

~ My Heavenly Father, 1 Corinthians 13:2

When I was a kid I would argue with my Mom about almost everything. Why? I don’t know, but I do regret the frustration that I brought into her life during that stage of my life.

One day I was arguing with her about something, and this time I was right. I had the information that she did not have. In fact, because of my having the right information I was able to argue her “under the table,” so to speak. I won the argument, and she knew it.

My Dad had been patiently listening-in on our conflict and once I had won the argument he took me for a walk.

He told me that though I had “won” the argument with my Mom (I had the truth and information on my side), he said that I had actually lost. I had “won,” but I had lost.

He taught me a powerful lesson that day! I learned that though I may have all the right information, all the right knowledge, and all the truth regarding a situation, I have nothing if I have not loved the other person.

Does this mean that knowledge and truth are irrelevant? No, of course not! It just means that the value of those things are found and enjoyed only when they are used and shared in an attitude of love.

I think we have all met fellow Christians who have a lot of knowledge about the Bible, doctrines, theology, Church history, denominational differences, and they have an opinion about every iota of information they have ever filed away in their mind. But they also are a horrible experience to encounter because they argue and make their point without any sense of love for those who may disagree with them, or who just may not know as much as they do.

They “win” their arguments, but they actually lose the encounter… they have knowledge without love… they are nothing (v.2).

This is a life-lesson that I have been continuing to learn throughout my life. I invite you to join me in this journey… if you aren’t already on this same journey. If you are ahead of me, send to me some lessons that you have already learned. I don’t like to learn the hard way when someone has already paid that price and can now offer that lesson free of charge.

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