“As each part does its own special work…the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭16‬ NLT)

While Queen Victoria’s status as the first known carrier of hemophilia is well documented, few realize just how devastating the spread of her genes were on the next three generations that followed her. A son, three grandsons, and four great-grandsons were all sufferers, most of whom bled to death. Since her children eventually married into other politically important wealthy bloodlines, Queen Victoria’s genes weakened the royal houses of England, Russia, Spain, and Prussia.

According to our text, the spiritual body of the Church is healthy when everyone is doing there part. So what happens if we don’t? Then not only is the Church and its people in danger of becoming unhealthy, but future generations of the Church also stand the chance of inheriting this destructive state since both activity and inactivity are learned behaviors. 

As Christians, we are made to know God and to make Him known. By doing the Christ Life right, we can prevent a spiritual equivalent of Victoria’s hereditary torment. Live right so that the future Church lives! You are loved! 

  

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'” (Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭21‬ NKJV)

In the early 1930’s, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was so appalled at how many in the church capitulated to Hitler, blessing his evil doctrines that were “shaded” with religious tones, that he wrote a response, his manifesto entitled, The Cost of Discipleship. In it, he warned of “cheap grace”, the teaching that stresses that grace is free, so it really doesn’t matter how we live. There is no cost for holiness. 

As Jesus encountered one who had both riches and a hungry heart, Jesus made him choose. Was that cruel? Not really. But there can only be one Master, one passion, and it must be Him. It says Jesus loved him enough to offer discipleship, but the man didn’t love enough in return to sacrifice whatever it took to follow. 

Grace is freely given, but it isn’t freely kept. There is a cost to be a disciple. But the unsaid is that there is a GREATER cost for disobedience, one we pay later and with both present and eternal consequences. If everything has a cost, then choose the one that leads to life! You will find the price not so bad and the dividends out of this world! You are loved today!

  

“They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ NIV)

In 2011,the Baltimore Sun ran a syndicated piece about atheists in the military that desired to become Athiest Chaplains. According to the writer, Captain Ryan Jean was “one of about a dozen military atheists that see the recognition of lay leaders as a step toward the appointment of ‘nonbelieving chaplains’, who would be responsible — like the priests, ministers, rabbis and imams now in uniform — for responding to the spiritual needs of service members.” Huh?!

As Paul wrote this verse, he was dealing with “religious leaders” who had no clue what they were talking about. Simply put, just because we have religious opinions does not mean we are scholars on the subject. Yet, many are fooled into false beliefs on the basis that someone makes a good argument. The Bible proves itself to be an authority because it’s been tested for years against the authenticity of history, doctrine, and practice. Yet many fall because of a desire for slick packaging over time-tested truth. 

One day there probably will be Athiest Chaplains and Athiest Churches, a misnomer that would leave us torn between despair and humor. People will get for themselves what they want, no matter how ridiculous it may sound. Come to church today and find out what God desires: The Truth that will set you free! You are loved today! Believe that!

 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ NIV)

During the Civil War, a Union private was being court-martialed for sleeping at his post, resulting in a sentence of death. According to the Great American History group, President Lincoln heard of it and resolved to pardon the soldier. He immediately had it drafted and sent.

On the day of execution, the President wasn’t sure that his order had been processed since there was no reply. So he personally had his carriage take him through the heat and dust to the camp 10 miles away to make sure the soldier was spared! I’m pretty sure that man never forgot where his rescue came from!

Know today that Jesus did the same for you, coming to your rescue at just the right time. Not only does He deliver us from Hell, but also from the daily struggles we encounter. We don’t deserve it, but I gladly receive it! Celebrate your Savior! You are loved! 

  

“Jesus…went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭38‬ NIV)

In May of 2006, the last high school class to ever graduate from Spade, TX, entered the room to receive their diplomas. There would never be another. But among that tiny class of 5 teens was one more graduate, fulfilling a dream he never got to experience: graduating from high school. For as Sherman Jones’ class was graduating from Spade in 1950, he was in Korea, fighting not only for his country, but also for his life. (Google the video “Spade TX last graduation” to see the whole incredible story)

Sherman Jones, the sweet and disabled war vet, had no right to share the stage that night. But 5 young people decided to honor a man through the example of Jesus. They wanted to do something good. And that unselfish good act will live on to touch many, many more lives. Do good because it’s what we should do in service to our Lord!

I leave you today with the words of Dr. Kent Keith, made famous by Mother Teresa, the patroness of good works:

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”

 

“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Acts‬ ‭24‬:‭16‬ NIV)

In 1991, a New Hampshire school administrator, Pamela Smart, had an affair with a 16 year old student, then convinced him to kill her husband. She was sentenced to life without parole. In an interview 23 years later, she admits not listening to her conscience:

“I was in a situation where I knew better. And I shouldn’t have made the decision that I did to be involved with him. It took me many years to see my own responsibility.” 

Our conscience is that ability within us that attaches itself to the highest standard we know, and then continually reminds us of what that standard demands that we do. If God’s standards are what I seek in my daily life, then those will be what I am, and should be, reminded of. So I must live in such a way that my conscience is clear towards both God and those around me by living to that higher standard, not intentionally sabotaging myself in a fit of selfish action.

When you begin to debate, stop immediately. When we argue with the Holy Spirit, we lose every time! If a stricken conscience is a cruel taskmaster, then find freedom that only comes from doing what is right! You are loved today!

  

“Love each other as I have loved you.” (John‬ ‭15‬:‭12‬ NIV)

I stood at the chain link fence, watching the football coaches work the high school boys hard. I say “work”, but my sons might say “punish”! It was a grueling workout. But the coaches knew how to win, themselves having been “punished” by their coach years ago that turned them into champions. 

God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show that same love to others, to those that can be hard to love. It’s easy to love those that are easy to love. But what about those that act towards you the way you act towards God, good at some moments but not so much most of the time? Like the coaches, we must give as it was given to us, if we would see Christ truly exemplified. 

As you start your week, do it with God’s love in mind. We deserve nothing but punishment for falling short of God’s reachable marks of holiness. And yet, He bears with us, not wanting to destroy but to refine, having seen in us the true champion caliber of Christian we can be. Love & be loved today!