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Judging Out Of Evil Motives

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James 2:1-7 The Voice

My brothers and sisters, I know you’ve heard this before, but stop playing favorites! Do not try to blend the genuine faith of our glorious Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, with your silly pretentiousness. If an affluent gentleman enters your gathering wearing the finest clothes and priceless jewelry, don’t trip over each other trying to welcome him. And if a penniless bum crawls in with his shabby clothes and a stench fills the room, don’t look away or pretend you didn’t notice—offer him a seat up front, next to you. If you tell the wealthy man, “Come sit by me; there’s plenty of room,” but tell the vagrant, “Oh, these seats are saved. Go over there,” then you’ll be judging God’s children out of evil motives.

My dear brothers and sisters, listen: God has picked the poor of this world to become unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom, which He has pledged to those who love Him. By favoring the rich, you have mocked the poor. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the rich who step on you while climbing the ladder of success? And isn’t it the rich who take advantage of you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones mocking the noble name of our God, the One calling us?

We are often mesmerized by the rich, powerful, and beautiful people of the world. We dream of associating with them; but when we focus our attention on the fashionable people of this world, it is often at the expense of those who need it the most.

Ignoring the needy and favoring the wealthy is completely contrary to the example Jesus modeled for us while walking on earth. God often chooses those who are the poorest materially to be the richest spiritually. We should welcome everyone equally into God’s kingdom, even if it means upsetting boundaries like class and race. The rule is simple: we should treat others in the same way we want to be treated. God does not play favorites, and neither should we.

“But You Gave Me Two”

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A friend who was working in the Dominican Republic with Habitat for Humanity had befriended a small boy named Etin.  He noticed that when Etin wore a shirt at all it was always the same dirty, tattered one.  A box of used clothes had been left at the camp, and my friend found two shirts in it that were in reasonably good shape and about Etin’s size, so he gave them to the grateful boy.  A few days later he saw another boy wearing one of the shirts.  When he next met up with Etin he explained that the shirts were meant for him.  Etin just looked at him and said, “But you gave me two!”

 

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Above All, Put On Love

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Colossians 3:12-17 (VOICE)

Paul tells them the key to remain unified is to show compassion and forgiveness toward one another.

Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.

Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.

For Paul it isn’t enough just to believe the right things. Right belief always produces right living. The gift of salvation demands that we put into practice the character of our King. Just as we take off and throw away old, worn-out clothes, we must strip off certain attitudes and actions of our old selves. Since our lives have been made new in Him, things like sexual immorality, greed, anger, lies, and the rest must find no place in us. But it is not enough to strip off the old; we must put on the new. And that new creation has many qualities of Jesus: compassion, gentleness, and humility; putting up with each other, forgiving each other, and above all, loving each other. These are the ways of Jesus, so they must be our ways too.


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