Strangers Among You

Leviticus 19:34

The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:34 (NKJV)

I remember when I was in grade school my family moved several times. My dad had been a farmer and when he sold out, he had several jobs at first. Each time he changed jobs, we moved.

The worst part about all those moves was changing schools. Each time I changed schools I was afraid of the first day. I knew I would probably meet someone that wanted to be friends, but I was always afraid I wouldn’t. It was hard being me.

About the fifth time we moved, we bought the house. That was a good sign. It was a place that we would probably stay.

By this time, I was in the sixth grade. The class I was in was filled with kind; thoughtful kids that made me feel a part of the class. It was a large class for that period of time. There were 60 children in the class and each one was determined that everyone would graduate grade school and move up to junior high. Once I was a part of them, I really felt good.

I remained with that class until I left school in the tenth grade. It was my choice to leave this time, but they all tried to get me to stay. We had become family that cared about each other.

In the verse of scripture above, God made this type of behavior law for the Israelites. He wanted them to welcome all strangers into their family and treat them as they would other member of their family.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (NKJV)

In the New Testament, God established a tie between the Hebrew people and the Gentiles. God demonstrated his love for all peoples by giving the greatest gift ever given, His only begotten Son. God sent him to bring all men together in one cause. This cause was the Love of God. No one could give more love than God gave.

I also remember how hard it was to go from a sinner to a Christian. I had already been accepted by the people I ran around with, I had the confidence of those I worked with, I was scared to surrender my heart to Christ.

After I had surrendered, I was living in a new environment. I no longer had the desire to use the words I had previously used, I no longer had the desire to go to bars and get drunk, fight, and get girls. I wanted to stay home and study God’s word. I had the opportunity to change my life for the better.

Before long I had people joining me for bible study and again, we formed a family and welcomed all who wanted to study about God and His love.

The whole reason behind the statement in Leviticus 19:34 is to keep the Hebrew people from fearing other people coming into their towns and allowing them to use God’s love to welcome them and their trade into their city.

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NKJV)

The message for us today still uses the same scripture and message. Why would God want them to welcome strangers into their family gatherings? It was never God’s intention to separate the Jewish people completely from the rest of the world. God’s intention was for the Jewish people to be an “example” for the rest of the world. They failed by rejecting the salvation brought by Jesus.

When you look at the church you will find many people that God has given many different talents to many people in the church. You will find people that are naturals at welcoming people for the first time. Those are the people that should be your greeters, not those who want to greet for a personal show.

Many people (like myself) find it hard to go out into the community and talk to people about salvation and God. That was really not what God had in mind. Christ never went into a community to talk to people about God, the community followed him because of the life he lived. God’s intention is that people will see Christ in you and follow you to church to hear about salvation.

Just as God intended for the Hebrew people to set the example for the Gentiles, the same is true for us today. Since we are Christians (Christ Like); setting the example should come easy for us. We have the advantage over the Hebrews because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and keep us from sin.

If we do our job as Christians, the strangers will come to our church and we can welcome them as God intended.

Vengeance is Not Mine

Leviticus 19:18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)

How many times have you heard, “Vengeance is Mine?” This is just a statement to make your grudge against someone legal in your eyes. No one else will ever believe you are right.

I heard a story about a woman who was angry at her sister. She always said that her husband cheated on her with her sister. In the story they had not spoken for 10 years. In fact, her and her husband had moved away, and she had not been home to visit her family all this time.

One day the woman got a call from her mother; her sister was in a Hospice and was not due to live another day. She reluctantly agreed to fly down to be there for her mother.

After she arrived her mother introduced her to some people in the lobby. They talked for a while and then she met Heidi. Heidi was a friend of her sister’s and they had been the closest of friends for years.

During the conversation, Heidi disclosed the fact that she and the woman’s sister were married. The woman was speechless for a moment, finally she asked how long they had been seeing each other. Heidi told her they had met in Little Rock Arkansas on November 01, 2001.

Heidi stated that they had remained in Little Rock until November 21st. They had flown to Mexico and were married on November 25th.

The woman could not believe what she was hearing, and she challenged Heidi. Heidi left the room for a few moments. When she returned, Heidi produced a marriage certificate that proved what she was saying about the marriage.

The woman’s husband was gone during that period of time and she thought her husband had spent that weekend with her sister. The woman and her husband had separated and divorced in 2002. Since their divorce, the woman had lived her life in misery. The woman had hated her sister and the hatred had caused her not only mental problems; she had also developed ulcers.

This woman found out what could happen if we don’t follow God’s commands. The woman took it upon herself to want vengeance on her sister and the result was a loss of God’s love and mental and physical damage to her life.

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26 – 27 (NKJV)

Paul went even farther than God in his expression of the fight against anger. Paul tells us in Ephesians that it is ok to occasionally be angry, as long as we do not let the anger grow and become sin. Vengeance is a growth of anger. If we don’t forgive and release the anger, it will grow within us like it did in the woman.

This woman lost not only her sister because of her vengeance, she also lost her husband and her mental and physical health. Don’t be like this woman; turn your anger into laughter by having faith that God will deal with any situation concerning anger.

Our job is to give God the vengeance in our hearts, give forgiveness to the person we are angry at, and receive God’s love because we did the right thing.

Serving Your Master

Christianity is not a religion; it is a way if life.

If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Exodus 21:4-6

With all the turmoil in the world today, it is my faith in God that helps me endure all the hardships that come my way.

I look at the marching and rioting in our streets and I can only think of the Indians that are still on reservations. The Cherokee were placed on the reservation in 1830. They have been living on the reservation for 190 years. There have been protest over food and living conditions over the years, however they resolved the issues in a peaceful manner. These resolutions didn’t come at the expense of the law being downsized to allow more crime, these resolutions were sensible and rational. Reducing the police departments invites more crime, not more peace.

There are several people today that have issues with different things in their lives. If we use our Love for and from God, it will lead us on our journey to discover a peaceful resolution.

God’s love for us is more than just love. His love will give us peace in our heart and allow us to think of things that anger would keep hidden from us.

I look at the Cherokees and compare them to our demonstrators today. Over the years more and more of the rules and regulations that governed the Cherokees have been changed through peaceful negotiation with the government. They were able to do this because they worked hard and sought out the education required to know how to talk to the government.

God’s love gives us the intelligence to study the bible and know what the peaceful resolutions are.

Without God’s love we let anger and terror rule our lives. There is no forgiveness and where there is no forgiveness for our fellow man, there can be no love for one another, there can be no love for God, and without forgiveness the way to God is blocked.

God’s love comes from studying the bible and listening to one another’s troubles (James 5:16). The great Martin Luther King Jr. preached this message until he was finally listened to. In fact, his message was heard around the world.

There are still some people who are bitter and cause trouble, but for the most part we are still living the message given us. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell us to hold on to the bitterness and use it to take down the monuments of past leaders of the people, instead he taught that all people, no matter the race, must forgive each other and move on in life. He taught that no matter how many laws and regulations you change, if it does no involve forgiveness, God’s love in not any part of it.

Today all I see is bitterness. This is not coming from true Believers, but from the lawless and misguided souls that are still looking for something to hold on to.

We need to find another man like Martin Luther King Jr. This man or woman can be black, white, red, or purple and it would be the same. People listen to those who can prove from their actions that they know God’s love and wish the same love on all men and women in this world.

Greed, racism, women’s lib, hatred, domination, and many other things are trying to take over the world. These things can only survive in those who don’t know God’s love. Peace, prosperity, equality, togetherness, love for one another, and Christianity are all the product of God’s love.

If we can get the church building open again, we can all worship together and all can be at peace with one another.

Just remember, the bible leads to God, God give us love, love leads to kindness, kindness makes us love one another, and loving one another leads back to God.

Christianity is not a religion; it is a way if life. In life there are bumps along the way and we must steer clear of these bumps because the bumps lead to sin. The only way to steer clear of these bumps is to keep our eyes of God, not the world.

If You Love Me

Love the world as God loves you and God will bless you. God Bless All.

Keep My Commandments

Exodus 20:6

but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandmentss 20:6 (NKJV)

Exodus 20:6 (NKJV)

When I was growing up, I remember the 10 Commandments were hanging in every church building and every courtroom in the United States. Over the years, people got them removed because they did not want to be reminded of their obligation to God.

God only asks us to do 10 things in honor of Him and He has promised to do hundreds of things for us.

The pledge of the allegiance at one time hung in the classrooms in our schools and we were asked to recite it every day. In my school we also had a prayer over the intercom. However, the people who have come from other countries asked that it be removed because they were still loyal to the country they came from. If they are getting an education in our country, they should at least be respectful and step out of the classroom during the pledge of the allegiance and prayer. Instead, our country bowed down and took away the pledge so they would not be offended. There are still small groups that meet and have prayer and bible study during lunch and recess.

Most of the couples of today, are not married. If they got married, they would have to recite wedding vows that would bind them in ways they do not want to be bound or constricted by anything. Where will all this end? You and I will not see it in our lifetime, but it will come. The parameters for a wedding were set in the book of Genesis. That parameter should never be breached.

We promise our children that we will do our best to feed and clothe them, to send them to the schools that will provide them the education they need to live in the world today. Isn’t that the same thing God promised the Children of Israel, isn’t that the same thing Christ promised the Christians of today.

We, as parents, expect our children to respect us by doing what we ask of them. As parents, we set ground rules that we expect to be followed by our children. We expect our children to love us enough to follow those rules.

Isn’t that what God was saying. If we expect our children to follow our rules to get our love, what makes us think that not following the Commandments of God are any different than what we expect of our children. Remember, we are adopted children of God. Jesus Christ is our brother and we are adopted children of God.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 15:9-10 (NKJV)

As Christians, we are not bound by the Levitical law in the Old Testament, however, we are bound by the 10 commandments. Why? Because they are the law. Let me explain.

The Jewish law contained in the book of Leviticus is a specific and detailed set of laws that must be followed, or the person will be punished by the people. However, these laws are based, on the Ten Commandments, but they are not the same. As Christians, we are not responsible for the Levitical law, However, we are responsible for the many commandments given by God and Christ. These Commandments are located throughout the Old and New testaments.

How do the Ten Commandments relate to the Constitution of the United States? Just as the Jewish Law was based on the Commandments, the Constitution contains the same rules as the Commands in the bible. We are a Christian Nation; however, we will allow other beliefs to worship in our nation.

There are many people that think we should not allow others to worship their god. According to John 3:16, God loves everyone in the world. If God loves them it is our responsibility to love them too.

If we can, in some way, get along as nations; then we could possibly have a better world. We can’t wait for the other countries to conform to us, we must be the first to introduce them to our God.

What we must do as individuals is dedicate all our lives to the service of God. I don’t mean everyone should be ministers, what we must do is study our bibles daily, talk to our children about God and let them study and be ready when Christ knocks on our heart’s door.

What we must remember that although we are friends with people who have religions to worship, Christianity is not a religion it is a way of life. We must study the bible and find the commands that we must follow.

If the people of our nation would welcome the Love that God gives us through his commands; we would be able to welcome loving each other. Once we become God’s Children, God will bless our nation, and using God’s love we can help the nations of the world.

Go to your bible bookstore and they can get you a copy of the Ten Commandments to hang on your wall to remind you daily of God’s Love for you. Then it is up to you to spread God’s word by talking to neighbors, family, and strangers about your God and How much He loves you.

If you go online, you can probably find a copy of the pledge of the allegiance to memorize.

With all the unrest we have in the world today and in our country as well, we need to love each other even more. If we can dedicate ourselves to God full time, we will also be more attuned to the solutions for dealing with the world.

Love the world as God loves you and God will bless you. God Bless All.

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