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I was just thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan. And I think we tend to see ourselves either as the man on the road, or the good Samaritan. Those are the only good options, right? And we all want to be the Good Samaritan. He was the one who Jesus praised.

The reason this story was so revolutionary in Jesus’ time was the Jews and Samaritans were enemies. The Jews saw Samaritans as “mongrels” that were less than human, would avoid talking or eating with them at all costs, would even go the long way around their territory. That’s why it was amazing to imagine a Samaritan helping a Jew. Can you imagine helping someone you disagree with so fundamentally? Someone who hates you that much?

But he did it. And he was the man’s neighbor in that story. So of course we want to be the Good Samaritan.

But I was wondering: when we imagine ourselves as the Good Samaritan, as being willing to help someone in need, who do we imagine is the person we are HELPING?

Can you imagine helping that person if he or she was:

Black?

White?

Rich?

Poor?

Muslim?

Indian?

Atheist?

Protestant?

Catholic?

Homosexual?

Racist?

Dishonest?

Proud?

Handicapped?

Annoying?

Where do we subconsciously or consciously draw the line at who is worthy enough to love? Because Jesus didn’t have a line. The Good Samaritan had every reason to avoid helping a man he disagreed with so fundamentally. And he did not approve of the Jewish prejudice that treated him as unloveable by God by helping a Jew. I think we Christians often fall into the trap of believing that helping someone we disagree with is condoning their sinful actions, or confirming their belief that we are inferior. But God commands us to love our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Walk the extra mile. Care for our neighbors regardless of their background or race or physicality. Be examples of His loving-kindness, goodness, patience, brotherly love. As when Jesus saved the life of the adulterous woman and said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” As when Jesus gave his own life for every last one of us fallen, selfish, broken humans out of His love.

We are the body of Christ. Through our willingness to love even our enemies and to see them as God’s beloved creations, in need of a Savior, we open ourselves up to letting God shine HIS love through us and guide them home.

I’m going to work on remembering this. I hope this helped someone else, as well. Love you all, and praying for your health and safety.

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FoF#37

Luke/Acts

Day 30: Acts 6

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“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

https://www.bible.com/113/act.6.8.nivuk

In our modern culture we put too much emphasis on the status of a job, if it comes with a lot of power and notoriety, we see it as more valuable and worthwhile. During the recent pandemic we have come to appreciate that there are a whole range of jobs that really enrich society that are also worthy of respect.

Stephen is a prime example of this. He was given the job of distributing food within the growing Church community. Some may have thought that anybody could do that job but the apostles showed that they valued every role in their community and they sought to appoint the best people for the job. God has uniquely designed each one of us to excel in a particular area, if we use our skills to bless others then even if we don’t become famous we can know that we are building up the Church and that God sees and will bless us for our contribution.

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Proverbs 20:7  NLT

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

There is no question of blessing.  Almost everyone on the outside and on the inside notices when a person or family or business or ministry is blessed.  It is almost like everyone stops to see what is up.

The book shelves, both in the store and online, are filled with volumes and volumes of self-help leading to success books.  There are videos, seminars, programs, articles and blogs about how to reach your maximum potential and success.  Countless people and companies are making money off of those who are seeking to be blessed or to be successful.

No shortcuts when it comes to the blessings from God.  This will not come because you were dressed right or simply in the right place at the right time.  The greatest blessings come from some specific reasons.

The godly will be blessed.  Their children will be blessed because they chose obedience over pleasure.  Over and over in the Scripture God tells us that following His plan, loving others and loving God, will lead to blessing.

Take some time today and think through and read through the following verses.  I want to be that blessed person.  I want my family to be blessed.

Don’t buy the shortcuts.  Seek God for the best and for His blessings!

Psalm 1  NLT

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.  But not the wicked!  They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.  They will be condemned at the time of judgment.  Sinners will have no place among the godly.  For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

NOTE: this was first shared in October 2017 and remains true

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“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

Do you feel exhausted? Are you feeling weary? Is the anxiety raising and you always feel uneasy?

My dear, this is an invitation to you now to TAKE REST. Our gracious God is offering rest to you. You just need come. Lay down your worries and burdens and go through life with God because He said "my yoke is easy”, and He promised that the burden will be lighter.

Find refuge and rest to our gentle Father and surely you will renew your strength… for those who come upon Him will never fail.

~

Take a rest.

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(nice thumbnail Facebook) We have a grand time in the Spirit this morning and, aside from me needing a shave, I am feeling GREAT today! We go inside Galatians chapter 5 and explore more of Paul’s teaching about life in the Spirit - which is really the definition of what it means to be a Christian. We are upbeat and energetic today and I pray that this blesses you in some way. As always, feel free to share it and/or subscribe to Churchown’s YouTube channel! We will SEE YOU IN CHURCH!

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