|me with three of the 16 incredibly special blessings from the Lord –|
even if they don’t send thank you cards!!!!
Yes, as ludicrous as it may sound, that is precisely what I did, several times mind you, until the Lord lovingly and firmly put me in my place. His intention, of course, as it has been each and every other time He has chosen to use the dogs to convict me of my sins, lead me to repentance, and patiently and mercifully teach me how to walk in His ways rather than my own, was to continue His ongoing lessons with me on how to walk in His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and to learn and practice what it really means to love like He does and to lay down my life in order to do so. Argh? Ugh? Understatement! My flesh wasn’t altogether thrilled with the prospect to say the least, as it never is when I have yet another opportunity to turn away from my sins and to turn unto Him. So what was the lesson this time?
God doesn’t want us to love and give and serve based on what we receive in return. He wants us to love unconditionally, even when the recipient of what we give is totally unthankful. But that’s totally foolish, isn’t it? Utterly ridiculous, right? Yes, in the eyes of the world and our selfish, sinful ways, absolutely. But in God’s eyes, according to His ways, we were created in His image and need to look to Him as our role model. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God is good to those who are thankful and those who are not, and to those who behave well and to those who are evil. And in case for a minute we may question what exactly that looks like, we need go no further than the cross of Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, went to the cross to die a heinous death to pay the penalty for our sins WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.
|background of photo courtesy of morguefile.com|
That’s right, Jesus Christ, who came in the flesh to this earth and lived a perfectly sinless life, died for THE UNGODLY. That’s us. You and me. And He did not lay down His life so we would send Him a thank you card. He sacrificed His life so that if we repent and believe in Him, we will be forgiven our sins, enter into a relationship with God on earth, be promised everlasting life, and live out our salvation by making a commitment to study the Bible and learn to live according to God’s ways rather than our own. Even knowing how many humans on this earth would reject Him, how many people would never utter a single thank you for what He did on the cross, He went there anyway. And God sacrificed His only begotten Son knowing how much of the world would choose to reject Him.
How pitiful, and how convicting when I think about it, that I would for a single second be offended over someone, anybody, even a dog, not taking the time to thank me and to show gratitude for the little that I may choose to do for another.
As ridiculous, and laughable, as it is to picture how I shouted at the dogs that they don’t show me an ounce of gratitude, it is also perfectly serious. For I believe that I, and we, all need the reminder that the kind of love to which the Lord calls us is not a love with expectation. It is a love of sacrifice. And that, my friends, is a love I believe we are not capable of without the source of it Himself. The Lord.
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Luk 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luk 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Luk 6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
Luk 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
Luk 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Luk 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
Luk 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
Luk 6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
Luk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
underlining and bold added
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.