Monday, June 29, 2020

Loving our Neighbor and our Enemies

I found this wonderful post, “Ten Commandments of Human Relations” as a way to begin our conversation for our information and guidance:

  1. Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting. Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.
  2. Call people by name. Music to anyone's ears is the sound of his/her own name.
  3. Be friendly and helpful.
  4. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn't, learn to make it so.
  5. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try.
  6. Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
  7. Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow's, and the right one.
  8. Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what we do for others.
  9. No copyright infringement intended
  10. Add to this a good sense of humour, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manifold through life. Adapted from the Bible Tract Bulletin.

Jesus stated a very clear commandment in Mark 12:31 about loving others, specifically for those we consider as neighbours: “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (NIV). And if you want to understand who our neighbour is, read the Parable of the Samaritan where Jesus provided a picture of the most unlikely person to assist a person in need during that time. After reading it, I hope and pray it would change the way you approach this matter. 

Jesus stated an unequivocal truth for our modern-day understanding about fulfilling God’s Law daily, i.e., “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Somebody said a wonderful summary of what’s expected of us:

The reality is that I can only ever love and accept others to the degree that I have learned to love and accept myself. What so many of us need from God and loving friends is help to love and accept ourselves in the same way that God loves and accepts us -- totally and unconditionally.

We need to remember that before God asked us to love our neighbour and others, He manifested His love to us through the death of Jesus Christ. While we were considered an enemy of God, He loved us despite our sinfulness. Because of this simple reason, it’s our turn to employ the same mindset of loving others and our neighbours. 

How do we begin? Let’s start in becoming mindful of others above our own interests: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). In dealing with those we consider as our enemies: If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Why? Jesus provided something for us to consider: 

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47)

Simply means, loving others we like is easier, but it takes a toll on us when our enemies are concerned. In this way, applying Jesus’ words becomes a reality and its application makes or breaks us as believers of Jesus. The only thing holding us back in loving anyone, especially our enemies, is pride, plain and simple. To bring us out of pride, remember how Jesus, at the cross of Calvary, prayed for His enemies and forgave them as well. And no matter what we think or say about it, it’s a choice we must make daily. 

Holly Mthethwa[1] provided some practical ways to love our neighbour as yourself. 

  1. I will love my neighbours, whoever they are, by truly seeing them. I will look past the obvious, the outer shell, and I will look into their eyes, their hearts, and their circumstances. 
  2. I’ll ask for forgiveness for the strongholds within my own heart that keep me from sympathizing with or loving another. If I need to ask for forgiveness from my neighbour, I’ll humble myself and apologize. 
  3. I’ll love my neighbours by praying for them—even if it’s through gritted teeth at first. I will pray for my neighbours, especially the ones I least want to pray for.
  4. I will walk alongside my neighbours. I will rejoice when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn. I’ll bear the burden of the pain and anguish, because I know that Christ is the ultimate burden-bearer, and I’ll shout for joy in tandem with their cries of thanksgiving and praise.
  5. I’ll allow my neighbours to challenge my heart without taking offense or becoming bitter. I’ll accept constructive criticism as the pathway that draws me closer to Christ. 

In the end, we’ll face God and He’ll be asking us how we did in this area. What would you answer then?

Let’s talk again!


  [1] http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/7-ways-to-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself.html

Friday, June 19, 2020

Just thinking out loud...

We are indeed living in the end times. As Christian believers living in his world, how are we to act and react to the various opposing sides vying for our attention? First, what does the Scriptures say about this: "You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. THEY WILL CONSIDER NOTHING SACRED. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good." 2 Timothy 3:1-3, NLT.
Should we take sides in what's happening? Should we adopt the current ideology permeating the landscape of the nations? As a matter of Scriptural fact, we ARE called to become salt and light of the world, therefore, the banner we carry at all times in the Name of Christ. However unpopular it might be, this is our identity. We hate injustice and all sorts of wickedness as people of God, yet Jesus told us about this. The only remedy is God's offer of salvation to everyone.
The Great Commission encapsulates the whole message of God's Kingdom. Many would not hear our message because it is unpopular and doesn't go well with the current trend. As always, God's message is always irrelevant to them and rejected. Is "loving your enemies" irrelevant? To a world filled with hate and anger, it is because loving your enemy is not the answer but destruction of the enemy. This is where we need to make a stand as far as identifying with any movement. Can we reflect Christ's message while carrying another banner with a different message? We need God's wisdom and only prayer counters any attacks of the enemy (John 10:10).
What am I saying? If you are burdened with what's happening, read about it and be informed. Then do what's appropriate as a Christian believer and pray for God's wisdom in all your actions and reactions. If you choose not to be involved, don't just watch but pray for God's intervention.
Until next time!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Living by Faith through God's Grace

In this pandemic, it’s easy to look up to God and ask various questions of inquiry and concern. Some might become frustrated in moving forward without any idea of what’s next. We feel being in limbo at what’s transpiring around us. People are suffering in many ways and feeling helpless. What does the Scripture speak in this time of uncertainty? The apostle Peter reminds us, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10). 

No copyright infringement intended
God is at work even when we do not know how He is doing it. He is the God of all grace and we need His grace to endure a seemingly bleak and unknown future. It is only through God’s grace that we are secured and assured daily. The simple fact is this: God’s grace is His provision especially given to those He called to live for Christ, in Christ and with Christ until we meet Him face to face in eternity. We need His grace to face anything that comes our way. Connecting to God’s grace is our guarantee of sustainability until Jesus comes again. 

G.W. Knight shared this illustration of how grace works:

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God's unmerited favour. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.

Allow me to share these great insights in reminding you that God’s grace is sufficient for us at all times and in every season of life:

  • When suffering comes, God’s grace will restore us.
  • When uncertainty comes, God’s grace will confirm us.
  • When pain and sorrow come, God’s grace will strengthen us.
  • When troubles come, God’s grace will establish us.

How do we access such a bountiful supply of God’s grace? God’s grace is always accessible through faith in Jesus. There’s no other way of appropriating it except through Jesus and Him alone. Something mighty occurs when God’s grace and our faith intersect. Grace provides mileage to our faith and faith sees grace ahead to attain victory at all times. Most importantly, it produces great things to those who believe. Remember, nothing is impossible for this who believe sustained by God’s grace. Somebody said these wonderful words to encourage us in our current journey during this pandemic:

He giveth more grace when burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength when the labours increase; To added affliction, He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. When we have exhausted our store of endurance; When our strength has failed ere the day is half done; When we reach the end of our hoarded resources; Our Father's full giving is only begun. His love has no limit, His grace knows no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again.

In the end, we can only anchor ourselves under the mighty hand of God’s grace and through faith we can overcome anything. No matter what we face, we are never alone because God’s grace sustains us all the way through. Believe it and you will never be the same again.

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

JRAM You Tube Channel

If you are looking for videos to encourage you during this pandemic, visit JRAM You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwYHSFRS3cHq1E85SooNmjw

Sunday, April 26, 2020

JRAM Church Online – April 26, 2020 “Shifting Mindsets: Experiencing God’s Best in our Worst Situation”


How does God shift people’s mindset? God has various ways of causing a shift of mindset among the people. Whether through literal imprisonment or through a specific judgment or fear of punishment of death, there’s always an expected response. Hopefully, it is the right response.
JRAM Church Online – April 26, 2020 Speaker – Aldrin Navo – JRAM Senior Pastor

Please click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEesQi1E7_g