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Good Neighbors

  • Good Neighbors from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Today I want to talk about the importance of being a good neighbor. Ever since Adam and Eve had kids and one killed the other, it has been an ongoing thing, learning to live with one another. Most of the ten commandments are about how we treat our neighbor. 

    Over the years, God had to give many, many commandments about neighbors. Apparently the people kept finding loopholes, so we have fine, clear, concise commandments like: “You shall not disfigure your neighbor…” (Leviticus 24:19). Which tells me that some of the people tried to get around the murder command, by not going all the way.

    The list grew long and impressive and it covers lying, cheating, adultery, murder, disfigurement, buying, selling, and so very much more. There are even notes about when a man can sleep with his sister-in-law, and when he cannot (Leviticus 18:16, Deuteronomy 25:5). The word neighbor occurs about 153 times in the NKJV.

    Something that I have learned while building websites and programming is to never blacklist what you don’t want, but to whitelist what you do want. For example, we once hosted a website for a local church and the pastor’s son took care of it for them. He soon uploaded a video plugin that unknowingly had a security exploit in it. After I cleaned up the resulting mess, and moved their site to another host, I found that the programmer had designed the plugin with a blacklist of file type files to block from being uploaded, like the usual .php, .perl, python, etcetera. But you can never cover everything with a list like this as people come up with something new. In this case, it was a file type of .phtml which allowed executable scripts to be uploaded to the server. Using loopholes like this, they slip through your rules. This is basically what kept happening with the neighbor rules: “Don’t cut off your neighbors leg. No, nor his arm…”

    Jesus came and greatly simplified it, but also made it cover even more: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). He did not abolish the previous laws that existed, but now the test is simply: “Would you like this done to you?” Paul said it this way:

    Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8–10 NKJV). 

    All the previous commandments are covered with “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Think of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Give, and it shall be given to you.” and “What you sow, you shall also reap.”

    Love your neighbor as yourself covers all the bases. From the Old Testament and into the New, God is consistent about how to treat our neighbors: we are to love them. We should treat them like we would like to be treated.

    Now many today feel as if the Lord is distant, like He doesn’t care or know what is happening in our insignificant lives. I believe that it is partly because of all the cruelty and violence going on in the world today. They ask if God is so powerful and all knowing, so wonderful, why doesn’t He take care of it? Why doesn’t He make the world a better place? This is why:

    Psalm 115:6 reads: The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:6 NKJV).

    God has given the Earth to mankind, and it is exactly what we have made of it. If we want the Earth to be a better place, then we need to be better people. For example: People wouldn’t be shot, if someone didn’t shoot them. He already told us “Do not murder, Love your neighbor, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If everyone did that, then our world would be a better place to live.

    The Lord will not force us to do anything that we don’t want to. We are free to behave, or misbehave as we like. For example: We can choose to be a Christian, or an agnostic, or a satanist, or a doctor. We can choose to be the fireman, or the arsonist, a policeman, or a bank robber. That choice is entirely ours to make, and the Earth is what our choices have made it. Look around at what we have created. Impressive? Isn’t it odd that the most beautiful places on Earth are the ones that we haven’t cemented over yet?

    We have freedom to make our choices, but when we do, the Lord underwrites our decisions: “If that is what you have chosen, then very well, that is what you shall have.” He told the Israelites in the wilderness: “‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you’” (Numbers 14:28 NKJV). Oh God loves us, He loves us so much that He will let us have what we truly desire. Eve was free to pick the forbidden fruit and eat it, though the Lord had told them not to.

    The way that the Lord makes the Earth a better place, without removing people’s freewill, is to remove mankind from it. Make no mistake about it, He has done it before (Genesis 7:12), and when the time comes, He will do it again (2 Peter 3:3-7). It is just like the matrix resetting itself and starting over. Solomon wrote: “There is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, See, this is new? It has already been in ancient times before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9–10 NKJV).

    This is just another harvest, and His people have to make the best of living with bad neighbors, and to try to be good neighbors. How can God sort us out? We have all been wicked at some point. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. How can God separate the wicked from the wicked? He lets them all grow together till the end, the weeds and the wheat. They live their life and they become what they really are. A tree is known by the fruit that it bears, and they will be sorted out at the end. Each of us will get our reward. The choices that we made during our life will determine what that will be. Jesus told us:

    “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:38–39 NKJV). 

    When Jesus returns to Earth, it will happen instantly, suddenly, and irreversibly. There will be no second chances. The fruit hanging all over you produced by the choices that you have made, will instantly tell Him all that He needs to know about you. Just as the door on Noah’s ark was sealed and the rain came, no words on that day will change the outcome. It is a sobering thought. Today, be a good neighbor.

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let me see people through Your eyes. Let me carry Your love, Your peace, Your presence, wherever I go. Help me touch those around me for the better. I want to be a good neighbor, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.


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Social Sharing

18 comments
  • 0
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Amen.......
Sep 23
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Sep 22
  • 1
Brenda F
Brenda F

Amen

Sep 23
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen!!

Sep 23
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen

Sep 23
  • 1
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen, thank you Pastor Dion.

Sep 23
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen!!

Sep 23
  • 1
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen. Thank you Pastor Dion for your teaching. It is simple, yet so profound. God Bless you. 

Sep 23
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

Sep 23
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father thank You for helping me to be a good neighbor by applying what You have teach us. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. Lord, thank you for Your teachings. 

Very well said Pastor, God bless you. 

Sep 23
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

I love the Golden Rule. We must always apply it even when others don't do the same for us, Amen. Thank You Pastor Dion for this message!

Sep 23
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen!! 

Sep 23
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Sep 23
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Dearest God help me to always do what’s right and just. Thank You for your blessings praise God amen

Sep 23
  • 1
Judith B
Judith B

Amen

Sep 23
  • 1
Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Heavenly Father, please let me see people through Your eyes. Let me carry Your Love, Your Peace, Your Presence, wherever I go.

Help me touch those around me for the better. I want to be a good neighbor, in the name of Jesus  Christ I pray. Amen!

Thank You for a wonderful message!

Sep 24
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen!!! Dear Heavenly Father, Lord God Almighty, I want to be a good neighbor to each and every one, even those who would be against me, and especially include them in my prayers, in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!!! 

Sep 25
  • 1
Dana Rozell
Dana Rozell

Thank You for doing this Devotional Pastor, Your insight is much appreciated! Praise God!

Sep 25