Hate is No Surprise

Today’s reading is John 15.

It is surprising to me how many times throughout the Scripture the Holy Spirit prepares us for hate. Considering how good, loving, compassionate, and kind Jesus was, it is amazing that He was hated. But He was. In fact, so hated, He was taken to the cross. This was the very point those around Him didn’t grasp. If He was the Messiah, even if hated, He shouldn’t suffer for it. And this is, perhaps, one of the largest aspects of following Him that we miss today. If we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we heedlessly believe, everyone should like us. The world and the worldly will be so impressed with our Christlike love and compassion that they will long to hear what we say (if we are doing it right). The world shouldn’t hate us, we think. If they do, we are doing it wrong, we believe. And yet, Jesus prepares His followers again and again and again. It will not be different for us. Hate is no surprise. The world is going to hate us. The world is going to make us suffer for it. Obviously, we aren’t trying to be hated. But be ready. And be ready to keep loving one another and also loving those who hate us. That is what Jesus did when hated.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 16.

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If They Kill Us, So What?

Today’s reading is Matthew 10.

I sometimes have the idea that if I share the gospel at just the right time in just the right way, everyone will accept it. However, if anyone knew exactly the right time and exactly the right way, surely it was Jesus. And look what happened to Him. They killed Him. However, when they killed Him, He was resurrected. Certainly, the pain Jesus went through was no picnic, but ultimately, He had nothing to fear from those who executed Him. In like manner, if those who killed Him decided to kill us, so what? All they are accomplishing is ushering us into the very presence of our Savior and King Jesus Christ. We have nothing to fear and nothing worthwhile to lose. Let’s share the gospel in the light and on the rooftops. Let’s expose what Jesus has said and taught and done. Let’s be unashamed and unafraid. And if they kill us, so what?!

Monday’s reading is Matthew 11.

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Don’t Forget to Pray

Today’s reading is Acts 22.

To our readers who don’t attend the Livingston congregation, I’m sorry. I can’t help but connect today’s reading to a recent sermon.* In today’s reading, Paul recounts his conversion. Here was a man with authority to attack Christians among the Jewish synagogues. He was commissioned by the high priest and the San Hedrin to imprison them. And yet, on the road to Damascus, he met Jesus. God delivered His kingdom from the kingdom of men in a way unimaginable to anyone. I am reminded of the text inĀ 1 Timothy 2:1-7, in which Paul tells Timothy to teach the Ephesians that their first task was to pray for those in high position, including kings. This is good because God wants them to be saved too. Who would have thought that God would bring peace to the churches by converting their number one opponent? But He did. What I learn is our prayers accomplish more than our votes. So, tomorrow, go vote. Who knows, God may work through your vote. But don’t forget to pray. God definitely works in response to our prayer.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 23.

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