Salt of the Earth

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For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and leave in peace with each other.                              Mark 9:49-50

Jesus discusses three diverse things. “Everyone will be tested with fire.” According to Jewish law, each sacrifice offered to God had to be purified with salt (Leviticus 2:13) The salt for sacrifices was called a covenant of salt (2 Chronicles 13:5) It was the addition of salt to a sacrifice that made it pleasing to God. According to the New Testament, fire does two things: it purifies and destroys, It purifies all a person’s desires, and destroys all fear of persecution. Salt is good, but once it loses its saltiness, it loses its good qualities. Salt has two good qualities in particular. It adds flavor to things and it preserves something from decay. So salt preserves from corruption and the lowering of standards.

It is the Christian’s duty to add flavor to life. Jesus is busy challenging the Christians. The corrupt world needs the flavor that only Christianity can supply. If Christians lost that flavor where will the world get it? “You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Here salt means the purity of life. The ancient world regarded salt as the purest of all things because it is created by two of the purest things: the sun and the sea. Jesus says that Christians must have the purifying quality of salt in themselves. Only the life that is emptied of self and filled with Christ can really live in peace with their fellow humans.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

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Be Joyful

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“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”                                                           John 15:11

The central idea of this portion from Scripture is that Jesus tells His disciples, that they are not the ones who chose Him, but that He is the one who chose the. We didn’t choose God either, but God, in His infinite grace, chose us by making us and offer borne out of His love.

The important of this verse lies in the fact that we can use it to make a list of things we have been chosen and called for. In the first instance, we are chosen to be joyful. No matter how steep and difficult Christ’s road might be, both in its journey and purpose, it will always be a joyful road.

There is always joy in knowing that you are doing the right thing. If we have sidestepped some duty or another, and then go back and do what had to be done, we experience special joy. Christians are cheerful people who live by the words in Philippians 4:4. “Always be full in the Lord, I say it again, Rejoice!. A heavy-hearted Christians is a contradiction and nothing in the entire history of Christianity has done more harm than the negative connotations of black clothes and long faces. It is true that Christians are sinners, but they are saved sinners, it is in this that the secret of their joy lies. How is it possible to be unhappy if you walk the road of life with Christ?

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

We Must Be Different

Matthew 15 These are the words of Jesus according to the Gospel of John, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.                    Matthew 15:18-19

If you live in a community that is saturated with the Christian faith it’s not easy to imagine a condition where there is a marked difference between the regular community and Christianity. But it does happen in many places.

The Christian community was a small minority where John recalled Jesus’ prophetic words in this Scripture verse. there was a marked difference between the small minority of Christians and the world that loathed them. 

William Temple wrote in Readings in John’s Gospel: Are we not of this world? It is not so that our origin or character is in agreement?” Yes, only too often. But this is not the distinguishing and functional factor that makes us different when we become Christ’s followers. “You are no longer part of the world, I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. The phrase “the world” is repeated, but with a difference. Linked to the verb “chose”, it no longer represents origin and growth, but a place of separation, and consequently segregation. This is in part where the hate of the world felt. The world dislikes Christians. It begrudges them their new character, it is tortured by the new character and furious about their joy in Christ. Can the world notice that the difference in your life because you are a Christian? not always. 

You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.               (James G. Bilkey)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends