Luke 6:27-49 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Luke 6:28 — Pray for them which despitefully use you.
Are there any who are making your burdens heavier than they need be? Sometimes very small things can make our burdens feel heavier. The temptation always is to resent this, and feel ruffled.
The Lord Jesus says to us, “Pray for those who compel you to carry burdens.” Don’t talk about them to others, unless that talk will bear the scrutiny of the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t talk about them to yourself. Look up to your Father for them. Pray that their burdens may be lightened. (Perhaps they have some of which you know nothing.) Pray, and as you pray, love will flow into your heart for them.
29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Proverbs 20:22 (CEV)
Don’t try to get even.
Trust the LORD,
and he will help you.
32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Psalm 141:4 (NLT)
Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.
37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
A Tree and Its Fruit
43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
How to produce good fruit: HERE is Don Francisco and “Steeple Song.”
The Wise and Foolish Builders
46“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Hosea 4:1 (ESV)
Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land.
47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
A Secure Foundation
Your greatest desire for me is for me to be happy and holy, and the only way to realize your dream for my life is to build it on a secure foundation.
A house built upon the sand will quickly fall to the ground. I could easily reduce religion to an external facade, empty actions that have no meaning, simply trying to be good. But this falls far short of true religion, which is a living relationship with you through Jesus Christ. If I build my life on any foundation other than that of your unconditional love graciously received in your Son, I build on sand.
Jesus is a rock, a sure foundation, upon which to build a life worth living. If I entrust my life to him, then I will want to do your will, I will strive to fulfill the law of love in all things, I will reflect his humility in my relationships with others, I will seek to be patient, gentle, and meek, and I will find the capacity to love you with all my heart.
So I ask myself, in prayer this day, upon which foundation an I building my life? Have I built upon the foundation of simply believing the right things, acting the right ways, doing good works, attending the right church? Oh, these are the least part of the religion of Jesus Christ!
Or am I building my life on a dynamic and living relationship with you? Here is the foundation that will stand the test of time! Add meekness of wisdom and contentment to my seriousness. Enable me to love the sinner while speaking the truth in love. Remove worldly desires for wealth, honors, and pleasures from my heart. Empower me to love my neighbor just as I love myself and to be merciful and kind to everyone I meet. Purify my heart and create a welcoming space there for you to reign forever. Amen.
–from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, by Paul Chilcote