Love One Another

 

In this letter, Peter writes to 5 regions in the Roman empire, and he addresses his audience as exiles who have been dispersed. 1 Peter 1:1 “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”

 

It can be surmised that he is writing to groups of Christians facing persecution and or trials. Peter goes on to remind them of the truth of who they are: children of God who have been born again through Christ’s resurrection from the dead. As such they should rejoice, for whatever trials they are currently facing, God has kept an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, in heaven for them.

 

Therefore, his audience is also reminded of their call to be holy and leave their ignorant ways behind, 1 Peter 1:14-15 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

 

Part of this call to obedience is to love wholeheartedly, sacrificially and selflessly.

United in Christ

Design: Joshua Wong

 

The first 10 verses of Ephesians 4 describe the concept of Christian unity and the importance of working together for God’s glory. All of us are uniquely created and gifted by God to serve him and each other to the best of our abilities.

Even though we may know this, we may sometimes find it difficult to put our knowledge into practice. Believers can come from any culture, any background, all walks of life. Regardless of our differences, we are called to love each and every believer as family.

Ephesians 4:2 is Paul’s instruction on overcoming these differences. We are to approach one another with humility, gentleness and patience. Pride and impatience have no place in the body of Christ and will only cause disharmony and chaos. As 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

A Cheerful Giver

Design by Joshua Wong

 

Paul is writing to the Corinthians to remind them about their previous commitment. Earlier in 2 Corinthians 9:3-4, Paul mentions that he has told the Macedonians about a gift to be received.

Paul’s point in verse 6 is this: The one who sows less seed can expect to have less grain. The one who plants more seed will have a more bountiful harvest. It is true both in a physical and spiritual sense, the more we can “plant” or give out of a willing heart of love for our spiritual siblings, the more that love will bear crops.

However, those results may not necessarily be in the physical wealth and prosperity that we expect. It is instead in a much greater form;  the spiritual lives of the givers and those who receive their gifts. In that sense, money becomes evidence of love given in the name of Christ.

In essence, money and the giving of money becomes evidence of the love the Church has for one another and a testament of Christ’s love on Earth. In this season, do consider giving cheerfully to EAST.

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Eyes on Heaven

In Colossians chapter 3, Paul gives clear instructions to his readers on Christian living. Since believers have been saved by Christ, we should overhaul ourselves to be more like him and less like the world. This verse is the summary of the chapter, telling us focus and think about things above rather than things on Earth.

 

Paul goes on to explain what things above and things on Earth encompass. Colossians 3:5 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness” speak of things of the Earth. Things which we as believers should put to death. Instead, we should do as Colossians 3:12 instructs “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”.

 

Above all, we should put on love, for it is how we can stand united as God’s people. Keep our eyes on the things above by doing everything in the name of Christ, and let the word dwell richly in us.

Work for the Lord

 

Do you find it easy to work wholeheartedly 100% of the time? Work can often be stressful, tiring and frustrating since we work for and with other imperfect, sinful humans.

 

It was not always this way, however. Genesis 17-19:

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust, you shall return.”

Work is cursed by God to be a form of suffering for us due to sin.

 

Paul tells us not to work for ourselves and other men, but work instead for God. Knowing that in the end our eternal inheritance will be granted by Him and no one else.

Earlier in Colossians 3:17, Paul instructs us to “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

As we work, we should remember that we don’t just work for ourselves or for our companies, but as Christians our work and our attitude toward it are opportunities for us to Glorify God, as we should in everything we do.

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