Sincere love

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Prepare

Have you ever tried praying the scriptures? As you read today’s passage, try to pray it for yourself. For example you might start, ‘Lord, help me to love sincerely. Give me your wisdom to discern what is evil and to hate it and cling to the good…’


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Bible passage Romans 12:9–21


Love
 9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
   "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Jane's story
I once read the story of a woman who I’ll call Jane, who just couldn’t get along with her next door neighbour. For some reason this lady rejected all Jane’s overtures of friendship, and was often inconsiderate and rude.

Jane knew that, as a Christian, she was supposed to show love even to her enemies, so she baked a cake for her neighbour and left it on the doorstep with a simple note.

True feelings
Later that day, the neighbour came round, and her attitude was transformed. She was full of gratitude for the cake, and apologetic for her former behaviour. All Jane felt was a deep sense of shame.

Outwardly, she had obeyed God’s commands, but her heart’s desire had been not to love her enemy, but to make her feel guilty. Now Jane was the guilty one, and the ‘burning coals’ she had intended to heap on her neighbour’s head were raining down on her own.


Respond


The transformed mindset we read about yesterday involves a total change of our heart attitudes, not just our actions. Are there any occasions when you have done the right thing but for the wrong motivation? Ask God for his forgiveness and his renewed heart.

Jennie Pollock


Deeper Bible study


‘God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ (Romans 5:5)

These verses offer a wonderful picture of the kind of Christian community that is possible. After all, God’s love has been poured into our hearts, so why not? Paul suggests that it is entirely possible for a local church to think, act and live according to the pattern that he outlines: humble, considerate, joyful, prayerful, passionate, righteous, hospitable, peaceful, forgiving – and the rest. This is the kind of faith community that anybody with sense would want to join. Paul is being idealistic, but is he being too optimistic?

There are few passages that capture so essentially what it means to live in a Christian way. Paul does not often refer in detail to the life and ministry of Jesus, presumably because when he writes he is responding to specific issues that have been raised. He also takes it for granted that his readers know the basic narratives of Jesus’ life. Yet here he could be spelling out the very shape of Jesus’ life as the one who absorbed and overcame evil rather than perpetuating it. Returning good for evil takes us very close to the cross: ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34). To be Christ-like is surely to exhibit the qualities that are listed here – and every Christian wishes to be like Christ.

I sometimes wonder how the world would be if everybody were a Christian. I would like to think that all would be well and the world would be different. I certainly believe it would be better, but not yet at its best. Human beings are perennially disagreeable and manage to create conflict wherever they go. In a Christian world this trait might simply be intensified in relation to matters theological. Evidently we still have to work out our salvation in relation to each other, let alone the watching world.

Nigel Wright


Background: Why burning hot coals?


Different possibilities

In dealing with a Christian’s treatment of enemies, Paul makes two main points: believers should not take revenge, and they should serve their enemies, following the teaching of Jesus (Luke 6:27-36).

But what is the meaning of the quotation from Proverbs 25:21,22 in verse 20? This exact quotation for the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, has been interpreted in three different ways. 

Increasing the judgment?

In the Psalms (11:6; 140:11) God is said to ‘rain fiery coals’ on the ungodly. So some commentators regard the coals as a symbol of judgement, and some even argue that being good to our enemies will increase the punishment they receive!

But this interpretation seems to be at odds with the positive emphasis in verse 21.

A forced change of mind?

It has been suggested that the cultural background to this saying is an Egyptian penitential ritual, where a penitent would literally carry burning coals on his head as a symbol of true repentance. In this case it seems that the offender is almost forced to change his mind.

Rebuked by kindness?

Perhaps the emphasis is not so much on the humiliation of the enemy, but on the genuine sense of shame and remorse brought on by the undeserved kindness shown to him. This fits well with verse 21.

Bible in a year


Read the Bible in a year.

Isaiah 6,7

2 Timothy 2
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Know your enemy


In the spirit of Mr Cholmondley-Warner, this spoof public information film explains why being good to others is good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn9ovD4B7Ds


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The good news fund


Good News Fund

 

Financial support available for great mission ideas

If you’ve got a brilliant idea for reaching out to children and young people beyond your church but you need a little financial support to get it on the ground, we’ve got some good news for you!

The Scripture Union Good News Fund provides grants of up to £5,000 to help amazing mission ideas see the light of day, and we’re ready and waiting to receive your application!

For more information or to apply, visit:
www.scriptureunion.org.uk/goodnewsfund

Good News Fund

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Audio


I want to serve the purpose of God (In my generation)
Mark Altrogge
Copyright © 1982 People of Destiny International/Word Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com



Love rain down
Kat Regester
Copyright© 2010 Vineyard Song (UK/Eire)
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.vineyardrecords.co.uk




Comments
  • Bruce Stronach | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Adding my "AMEN" to your yesterday's comment RACHAEL. Small group is where close fellowship and mutual support can develop.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    v14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Prov 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Every word we speak releases either life or death. Understanding this should make us pray this prayer with David, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:3).

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    #Background:Whyburninghotcoals?I heard a sermon many years ago ,where the minister interpreted this passage as, "making someone burn with shame".

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Jesus models the redeemed life for us and tells us of the cost in following Him; it will take courage and strength. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." (verse12) Thankyou God for showing us what sacrificial love looks and feels like; "I know that Your goodness LORD, and Your love will be with me all my life." Amen.

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    I remember complaining about my older sister. "Be nice to your sister!" - "why?" (Pouting) " because you will heap coals of fire on her head!" "Oh! " (smiling) more chances to cause trouble! I can verify that it is really a hard lesson for folk, for it's really making vengeance by another method, and as the story goes, it will rebound on us. I find that when the words "and the contents of each heart shall be opened." Still has me secretly thinking: "see how you feel then! " taking no consideration for the fact that whoever it is directed at may, even at the last moment of his life, have been received as an adopted son of God. Who can tell if Hitler did not turn before he died?

  • Derek Forster | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    To God be the glory, great things He hath done; So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, And opened the lifegate that all may go in. O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To ev’ry believer the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, And great our rejoicing thro’ Jesus the Son; But purer, and higher, and greater will be Our wonder, our vict’ry when Jesus we see. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His Voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father thro’ Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    ROGER you always make me think, and you often make me smile! I so much appreciate your honesty. Re the suggestion in today's 'Prepare' to use this Bible passage as a prayer - I did, and it was powerful! Made me take a long hard look at myself before God. Again. I do sometimes pray Paul's various prayers and make them my own, but have never thought of taking a passage of instructions on Christian living and turning them into a prayer. Thanks, Word Live!

  • Ruth Lewis | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Thank you DEREK for the Hymn. Again it is one of my favorites. Yes I give God the Glory!!! Great things He has done, and still doing!!! Thank you GILVIN, for the reminder that every word we speak releases life or death. I need to remember to pray Psalms 141:3 every morning as I begin my day. Lord help me remember to do this.

  • Ruth Lewis | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    I am so Blessed by all of the comments from my WL family!!! Been away for a few days attending my Grand-daughter's Beautiful wedding. God took us there in safety and brought us back safely. I am thanking God for traveling Mercies. To God be the Glory!!!!!!!!!

  • David Chipchase | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Deeper; "Human beings are perennially disagreeable and manage to create conflict wherever they go. In a Christian world this trait might simply be intensified in relation to matters theological. Evidently we still have to work out our salvation in relation to each other, let alone the watching world." A couple of months back WL had a particularly unpleasant debate about the Bible and its infallibility. From my viewpoint it damaged the fellowship of the group. I still struggle with a background negativity towards some of the participants. I wonder how much we have taken on-board about the need for loving and respectful discussion about these "matters theological" especially as we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I am particularly concerned about the same sex marriage plebiscite in Australia and its potential to damage Christian fellowships as sincere, dedicated Christians take opposing positions. And the world is watching and judging Christians and Christianity by the way we treat each other and the compassion we show to the less fortunate. In Oz this is both SSM and off-shore detention of illegal immigrants.

  • Peter Oliver | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Yes David I remember the ! debate! As few months ago we all need to be careful these days because the enemy will use it to his advantage to ruin our testimony.In two weeks I have to the doctors for heart tests.

  • Peter Oliver | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Missed word go third line

  • Hannah Watson | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    I agree Lynda the "prepare" today was a fantastic suggestion and I was also blessed by the meaning it gave to the passage. Praise the Lord for his word! Is it naive to say I prefer and think it best to focus on the positives of this group? I know we all strive to comment with God at the forefront and may on occasion not succeed, but I believe the blessings of this group far outweigh the occasional less than perfect comment and I want to thank every reader for their comments and prayers and long may it continue!

  • Eileen Smith | Tuesday, 05 September 2017

    Adding you to my prayers for our WL family PETER

  • Lynda Spencer | Wednesday, 06 September 2017

    No HANNAH, it's not naive to focus on the positives of this group! I think you have it just right. It's much the same in our individual churches and in our relationships with those we meet 'in the flesh' - the blessings far outweigh the occasional 'hiccups'. I guess the difference is that it's easier to misinterpret comments when we can't see and fully interact with someone, but the joy of communicating with brothers and sisters across the globe is immense!! I also want to thank every reader and contributor, past and present, for making this site the blessing it is.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 06 September 2017

    Dear Hannah, is it better to be lovely and warm inside, or be challenged to think more deeply?

  • Hannah Watson | Wednesday, 06 September 2017

    Roger I love your frankness in your comments. I believe Jesus showed us how to challenge others whilst also allowing them to feel encouraged and feel lovely inside. I relish any challenge, I love to learn. And even learning through some of the negativity in life and on wordlive. If I can feel anger whilst reading comments and learn forgiveness and understanding at the end of it, in that I am blessed. God works with all things, even our hiccups as Lynda so well put

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