What is the Cove of the Sower?

Holy Land Tour Feature from the Swindoll Study Bible

Scripture, Science, and geography converge at the Cove of the Sower, also called the Bay of Parables. As its name suggests, this small cove beside the Sea of Galilee is possibly the location where Jesus told the parables in Matthew 13. B. Cobbey Crisler’s study of the natural acoustics at the site estimated that between five thousand and seven thousand people could have clearly heard a lone speaker on the shoreline as they gathered on a slope that forms a natural theater above the cove.

When Jesus performed miracles of healing in Capernaum, amazingly, the people did not respond with repentance (Matt. 11:20-23), and the religious leaders attributed His miracles to Satan (Matt. 12:22-29). On that same day, Jesus anticipated that the nation of Israel would reject Him, so He began to teach the crowds in parables because the stories would conceal the truth from those who were unable to hear it but would reveal it to those ready to accept His Kingdom (Matt. 13:1-3, 34-35).

When Jesus’ disciples were alone with Him, they asked Him to explain the meaning of His parables (Matt. 13:36). He did, and then He declared, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (Matt. 13:43). He told them that His parable of the sower who scattered seed on various soils represented the various responses to God’s Word—that
of the hard heart that ignores the truth, the soft heart that hears and applies it, and others in between.

Jesus’ story also calls all of us to examine our own responses to the Bible. Do we hear God’s Word in order for God to change us? Do our hearts long to bear much fruit for the Lord? Or, like the crowd around the Cove of the Sower that day, do we just gather with others to hear stories from a gifted teacher? This Sunday, you’ll likely hear another sermon to add to the thousands you’ve heard already. How will you listen?

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What Does the Bible Say About 5 Challenges Many Are Facing?

We are living through some crazy times: pandemics, political unrest, we’ve even had Saharan Desert sand storms in the U.S. It’s no wonder so many of us feel overwhelmed and keep asking “what’s next?” When we’re backed against a wall, exhausted, and not sure who to trust we can easily fall into traps of despair. We’re going to use the HelpFinder Bible to find out what the Bible says about 5 common responses during times of confusion and pain. This is not an exhaustive study, but a good start to find out what God’s Word says about being angry, when we’re anxious, living in fear, dealing with grief, and how to respond when we are called to love those we don’t like.

Anger: Anger is a fire that burns and consumes—smoldering, flaming, at times white hot. Anger is passion. Of all emotions, it may well be the most passionate, for it has the power to fuel hatred and smother love. Anger itself is not necessarily bad; it is not necessarily wrong. God himself gets angry. What we need to consider is the object of our anger, the motive for our anger, and the outcome of our anger. Anger that is self-righteous, protects our pride, is self-centered, or demands its own way is dangerous. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will consume us. This kind of anger seeks harm and revenge; it seeks to destroy. Thus it can lead to bitterness and hatred, emotions that can cause violent behavior and obliterate compassion and forgiveness. God’s anger, however, is directed against sin and unrighteousness. He blazes hot against evil. His anger, like ours, becomes a consuming fire, but its focus is to eradicate the sin so that the sinner can be restored. Our anger often consumes others and even ourselves; God’s anger burns against evil and becomes a cleansing fire. The fires of our anger may aggravate our sinfulness and self-righteousness. His anger burns away sinfulness and allows the “gold” to emerge and make us fit for the Master’s use.

We all get angry at times, so what should we do about it?
• EPHESIANS 4:26-27 | And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Anger is like a skunk in the house. Don’t feed it to encourage it to stay. And carefully try to get rid of it as soon as possible.
• MATTHEW 5:21-23 | “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder.’. . . But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! . . . Go and be reconciled to that person.”
Confront those you are angry with in order to restore your relationship.
• 1 CORINTHIANS 13:5 | [Love] is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
Love is the mightiest weapon in overcoming anger.
• PROVERBS 11:29 | Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind.
• EPHESIANS 6:4 | Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.
To knowingly provoke your family to anger weakens the binding force—love—that bonds your family together. The control you seek actually enslaves you.

Anxiety: Pressures in our lives can build and pull us in different directions. These pressures pull against our sense of well-being, and anxiety begins to overwhelm us. Trying to do too much work with too little time or too few resources can stretch us beyond our capacity. Trying to cope with the financial demands of life without adequate income can make us begin to feel desperate. Difficulties in marital relationships, in parent-child relationships, or in work relationships can lead to deep anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. What is the answer? We need a perspective that comes from God. And we also need the help of wise counselors and friends who God can use to bring us his presence, wisdom, and hope.

What can I do when I’m overwhelmed by anxiety?

• 2 CORINTHIANS 4:9 | We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Keep going! Knowing that God is by your side during times of anxiety can help you to keep from giving up.
• PSALM 55:22 | Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
• ISAIAH 41:10 | “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
• PSALM 62:2 | He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
• JOHN 14:1 | “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
• HEBREWS 2:18 | Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
• PHILIPPIANS 2:4 | Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The first step in dealing with your anxiety is to bring it to the Lord. Only he brings true peace of heart and mind. God’s availability and promises provide effective stress reducers.
• 2 SAMUEL 22:7 | But in my distress I cried out to the Lord. . . . He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.
• PSALM 86:7 | I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.
Be persistent in prayer.
• MARK 6:31 | Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Take time to slow down and take a break from pressure-packed situations.
• 1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20 | Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Take care of your body. Adequate rest, regular exercise, and proper nutrition are essential to dealing effectively with stress and anxiety.
• GALATIANS 6:9 | So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Don’t let stress and anxiety defeat you. When you are tired of doing good, it may be because you are just too tired.

Fear: Fears are real and natural, at times more real than that which we fear. Fears may leave us feeling unsettled and insecure, doubting our self-worth, having sleep problems or health problems, and worrying about how tomorrow will treat us. The issues that we want settled are simple—how do we avoid fear when we can, how do we live with it when we must, and what can we learn from it?

What can I do when I am overcome with fear? How do I find the strength to go on?

• PSALM 46:1-2 | God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
• JOHN 14:27 | “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. . . . So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
God promises to comfort us in our fear if we seek him when we are afraid. We have the confident assurance that he is with us in any circumstance.
• DEUTERONOMY 31:6 | “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Remind yourself that God is always with you. Your situation may be genuinely threatening, but God has not abandoned you, and he promises to stay with you. Even if your situation is so bad that it causes death, God has not left you but has instead ushered you into his very presence.
• EPHESIANS 1:3 | All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
Remind yourself that no enemy or adversity can take away your most important blessings—the forgiveness God gave you for your sins, your relationship with him, and your eternal salvation. These remain secure even when your world falls apart.
• REVELATION 22:5 | And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.
Remind yourself that as a Christian, your destiny is victory! Present hardships and heartaches are temporary. You can go forward with the confidence that you are on the winning side.
• PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 | Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Pray with a thankful heart, asking God to give you what you need to deal with your fear. Peace is not the absence of fear but the conquest of fear. Peace is not running away but overcoming.
• 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 | For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Fear presents an opportunity for you to develop greater faith as you call upon the power of God to help you.
• GENESIS 26:7 | When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.”
• JOSHUA 17:16 | “But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots. . . . They are too strong for us.”
Fear must not keep you from doing the things you know are right. You are not meant to live in fear.

Grief: Grief comes from suffering, discomfort, confusion, restlessness, pain, heartache, and usually with plenty of tears. Some grief, like losing a loved one, can be understood only by those who have walked that dark valley before. Grief is like a deep pit. It tortures our soul and robs us of the joy of living. But there is a great theme in the Bible—that although we walk through the valley of the shadow, there can be comfort and hope, as long as God is with us. He doesn’t spare us from grief in this life, but he does help us through it. And ultimately, he helps us overcome it for all eternity.

How do I deal with loss in my life?

• JOHN 11:35 | Then Jesus wept.
Don’t deny your loss. Great grief is the result of great love. The tears of Jesus at Lazarus’s death forever validate our tears of grief.
• GENESIS 50:3 | The Egyptians mourned [Jacob’s] death for seventy days.
Grief is a process that must not be denied or hurried. The rituals of wakes, visitations, funerals, and memorial services all help us move through the stages of grief.
• 2 SAMUEL 11:1 | In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab. . . . However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
For reasons not entirely known, King David gave up the active leadership of his troops. The loss may have created a vacuum in his life that he was seeking to fill with an immoral relationship with Bathsheba. As we grieve our losses we must be careful not to “medicate” our pain with that which will only create more pain.
• JOB 1:20-21 | Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. . . . He said, “. . . The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.”
Losses always bring pain. Recognizing and expressing that pain is not wrong or sinful, but rather it is a healthy expression of how God created us.
• HEBREWS 10:34 | You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
It is important to allow yourself to grieve, but there comes a time for grieving to end. By serving God and others with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster, you will begin to find healing. And as a Christian, you have the comfort of knowing that you will be with God forever in a place where all grief will be gone forever.

Love: A healthy definition of love is crucial to understanding the central message of the Bible. According to the Bible, love is not confined to sexuality, and it isn’t primarily a feeling either. The Bible teaches that love is a commitment. As a commitment, love is not dependent on good feelings but rather on a consistent and courageous decision to extend oneself for the well-being of another. That commitment then produces good feelings, not the other way around. Jesus became the perfect demonstration of God’s unconditional love for us by laying down his life for our benefit.

How can I love people I don’t even like?

• 1 JOHN 4:19 | We love each other because he loved us first.
As you reflect on God’s love for you and receive it for yourself, you will grow in your ability to love those you do not like.
• 1 PETER 4:8 | Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
Love is an act of spiritual maturity, based on the eternal significance of each person and on what God is doing in your life. When you learn to love the unlovable, you have developed the ability to see others as Jesus does.
• ROMANS 12:20 | “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”
Even if you don’t like certain people, you can still choose to do tangible acts of love for them.
• ROMANS 12:3 | I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.
Before you are too quick to dislike or dismiss someone, remember that you, too, have qualities that others may find unattractive.
• MATTHEW 5:43-44 | “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Only in Christ’s love can we love our enemies.

Learn more about the HelpFinder Bible

In the Merry Old Land of Uz?

For many of us the first things we think about when we hear “the Land of Uz” is a yellow brick road and magic shoes. But that is the Land of Oz. The Land of Uz was a real place, filled with real people, who lived real lives (and they didn’t need to click their heals to get there). When the Bible lists a location it’s for a reason, for context. If there is a place we don’t know about it’s a great opportunity to do some additional study to understand why that location is important to the story.

Read from the Swindoll Study Bible to learn about Uz, the land Job called home.

Job lived in “the land of Uz” (Job 1:1). The location sounds as strange to our modern ears as the Land of Oz.

Determining the location of the land of Uz is no easy task. The presence and ancestry of various people named Uz in Scripture could suggest an Aramean location for the land of Uz (Gen. 10:23; 22:21; 1 Chr. 1:17). Jeremiah makes a connection between Uz and Edom, the land of Esau (Lam. 4:21). But at the same time, the prophet maintains a distinction from it (Jer. 25:20-21). The geographical and etymological references seem to place the land of Uz somewhere in northern Arabia, in close proximity to the wilderness as well as to land that could sustain livestock and agriculture (Job 1:3, 14, 19; 42:12).

Our unfamiliarity with Uz—as with many other geographical sites referenced in Scripture—might make this part of the text easy to dismiss. But mentions of these places are not throwaway statements. References to “the land of Uz,” as well as to other places mentioned in the Bible, do more than merely locate biblical events, as valuable as that can be. Naming specific places upholds the truth that biblical accounts are not mere fables or myths. They are history. The places where the people in the Bible lived and met God tie their lives and experiences to a particular context that is important for properly understanding their encounters with God. The place name of the land of Uz gives credence to the life of Job.

Understanding the historical details of Scripture helps us grasp the actual truth of the Bible and see its principles as grounded in real life. Even in cases like Uz, where the specific location is difficult to pin on a map, the reality of knowing that biblical stories happened to real people in real, named places in the world helps us to recognize the tangible truth that God is alive and active in the places we live today.

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God Uses Unexpected People Reading Plan Day 4

“‘But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, ‘This is not the one the Lord has chosen.’ Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, ‘Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.’ In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ Then Samuel asked, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’

‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse replied. ‘But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.’

‘Send for him at once,’ Samuel said. ‘We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.’

So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, ‘This is the one; anoint him.'” 1 Samuel 16:7-12, NLT

David: Profile from the NLT Study Bible

David is one of the monumental figures of biblical history. His reign was a high point in God’s plan for Israel, and it had great and lasting significance.

David was born in Bethlehem as Jesse’s youngest son; his lineage is traced back to Judah (Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chr 2:3-15; Matt 1:3-6; Luke 3:31-33). At the time, Jerusalem was occupied by the Jebusites, and large parts of the Promised Land were still occupied by foreign people, most notably the Philistines. God would use David to complete the conquest of the land.

As a youth, David was a simple shepherd, watching his father’s sheep (16:11; 17:15). His life took an unexpected turn when the prophet Samuel came to Jesse and anointed David as the next king of Israel. However, David’s kingship was not initiated by a coup or an assassination. Indeed, David became a faithful servant to King Saul. David first entered Saul’s service as a musician, playing songs that soothed Saul’s tormented soul (16:14-23). This service anticipates David’s role as the composer of many of the psalms. The youthful David also helped Saul by famously defeating the Philistine champion Goliath in individual combat (17:32-51). This victory anticipates David’s role as a victorious military leader.

Although David was loyal, Saul grew deeply suspicious of him, and David had to flee. He was able to escape with help from Saul’s own children, Jonathan and Michal. David led a virtual kingdom in exile. He had a standing army of 600 men. The prophet Gad and the priest Abiathar were also with him, providing direction and guidance from the Lord.

God’s long-suffering patience finally ran out with Saul, and Saul was killed on the battlefield. Yet it was still not easy for David to establish his rule over all Israel. Judah immediately proclaimed him its king, but at first the northern tribes chose Ishbosheth, a son of Saul, to be their leader. Ishbosheth was not a powerful or good leader; he only stayed in power because of the protection of his father’s military leader, Abner. However, Ishbosheth foolishly insulted Abner, so the general helped turn the kingdom over to David.

As king over a united Israel, David proceeded to solidify the kingdom. He and his men captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made this central city his capital. He also expelled the remaining Philistines from the land. He then brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. David wanted to build a permanent temple to God in Jerusalem to replace the Tabernacle. God denied this wish, but he showed his love for David by entering into a covenant with him that established his descendants as a dynasty (2 Sam 7).

David’s life soon took a turn for the worse, however (2 Sam 11–12). At a time when he probably should have been on the battlefield with his army, he was lounging around on the palace roof. He saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba taking a bath. He wanted her, so, like a Near Eastern despot, he took her. She became pregnant, and his attempt to cover up his adultery failed. In a desperate attempt to keep things secret, he had her husband, Uriah, killed. But not even a great king like David can keep secrets from God, and God sent his prophet Nathan to confront David. David repented (see Pss 32, 51), but the consequences of his actions plagued his family and the rest of his reign.

From that point on, David’s family fell apart. David’s son Amnon raped his half sister Tamar (2 Sam 13:1-14). Her brother Absalom then murdered Amnon (2 Sam 13:20-22, 28-29). Absalom later created a civil war as he tried to steal the throne from his father (2 Sam 15–18). Another son, Adonijah, tried to take the throne from David by having himself proclaimed king while his father was still alive (1 Kgs 1:5-10). But David was able to muster enough strength to ensure that Solomon would succeed him (1 Kgs 1:28-40). David died, Solomon was proclaimed king, and David’s long dynasty began (as promised in 2 Sam 7).

David’s successors rarely measured up. Only rarely did his descendants lead the nation to worship God faithfully; the united monarchy did not even outlive Solomon. In the centuries that followed, the descendants of David ruled only Judah in the south. Finally, the kingdom of Judah was destroyed. Never again did a descendant of David reign as king in Israel.

What, then, of the promise to David that “your throne will be secure forever” (2 Sam 7:16)? The NT points to Jesus. He was the descendant of David, and God proclaimed him the Christ, or Messiah—the anointed king (see Matt 1:1; 9:27; 12:23; Mark 10:48; 11:10; 12:35; Luke 18:38-39; 20:41; John 7:42; Rev 5:5; 22:16). The life and rule of David foreshadows the messianic reign of Jesus Christ, which will last forever (see Luke 1:33; Rev 11:15).

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God Uses Unexpected People Reading Plan Day 3

“Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’

‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’

The Lord said to him, ‘I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.’ Judges 6:14-16, NLT

Gideon: Note from the Africa Study Bible

The Israelites needed help. Because they had done evil, God handed them over to their enemy, the Midianites. The Midianites were so numerous and so relentless that they robbed Israel of its food and ruined their crops. The Israelite army that had previously been victorious over its enemies was now hiding in mountains and caves.

Then the Israelites cried out to God. His response to the distress of his people was to use the least significant person in the smallest clan of Manasseh to deliver them—Gideon. Gideon thought he was the lowliest of a lowly people, but God called him a “mighty hero.” God did not tell Gideon to seek help from Israel’s generals and strong men. Instead, God told him to use the strength he had (Judges 6:14). And God promised to be with him.

Do you need help? Do you think you are too weak to fight the battles you are facing? When we are weak and crushed by the enemy like the Israelites were, we must cry out to God for help. We should trust and depend on God just like Gideon did. God’s help is what we need. His power works best when we admit we are weak. When we recognize our weakness, we can find strength in God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Look inside the Africa Study Bible

God Uses Unexpected People Reading Plan Day 2

“‘Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’

But Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’

God answered, ‘I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.'” Exodus 3:10-12, NLT

Moses: Notes from the Wayfinding Bible

Moses escapes Pharaoh’s death decree and is adopted into the royal household. There he grows up, all the while knowing that he is a Hebrew. At thirty years old, embroiled in a murder scandal, Moses flees Egypt and settles in far-off Midian. He spends fifty years there herding sheep before God takes action, lights a fire, and calls Moses to be the leader of the Hebrews. It will require Moses to return to Egypt and face a new pharaoh.

Without his realizing it, Moses’ whole life had him trained for leading God’s people. He was educated as a royal prince in the palace of Egypt. He showed compassion for his own people and tried to help, but he failed. He intimately knew the desert land of Midian, where he would later lead the Israelites. At eighty years old he was well equipped to be a leader, but he protested again and again that he was not the right person. Sometimes God calls people who don’t think they are ready for the task. He sees potential that we can’t see, then strengthens us with his power.

Look inside the Wayfinding Bible

God Uses Unexpected People Reading Plan Day 1

“Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. ‘How could I become a father at the age of 100’ he thought. ‘And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?’ So Abraham said to God, ‘May Ishmael live under your special blessing!’

But God replied, ‘No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant.'” Genesis 17:17-19, NLT

Sarah Personality Profile from the Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition

There probably isn’t anything harder to do than wait, whether we are expecting something good, something bad, or an unknown.

One way we often cope with a long wait (or even a short one) is to try to help God get his plan into action. Sarah tried this approach. She was too old to expect to have a child of her own, so she thought God must have something else in mind. From Sarah’s limited point of view, this could only be to give Abraham a son through another woman—a common practice in her day. The plan seemed harmless enough. Abraham would sleep with Sarah’s servant, who would then give birth to a child. Sarah would take the child as her own. The plan worked beautifully—at first. But as you read about the events that followed, you will be struck by how often Sarah must have regretted the day she decided to push God’s timetable ahead.

Another way we cope with a long wait is to gradually conclude that what we’re waiting for is never going to happen. Sarah waited until she was 90 for a baby! When God told her she would finally have one of her own, she laughed in disbelief, not so much from a lack of faith in what God could do, but from doubt about what he could do through her. And when she was confronted about her laughter, she lied—as she had seen her husband do from time to time. She probably didn’t want her true feelings to be known.

What parts of your life seem to be on hold right now? Do you understand that this may be part of God’s plan for you? God may give us something else to do while we wait. But sometimes what we need to do is trust God, pray for patience, and wait for his perfect timing.

Learn more about the Life Application Study Bible

How Can I Love Someone I Don’t Like?

We often think of love as a feeling, but if we look at Scripture we see love is a choice. Let’s get a definition of love from the HelpFinder Bible and then read what the Bible has to say about loving even when we don’t feel like.

Taken from the HelpFinder Bible

A healthy definition of love is crucial to understanding the central message of the Bible. According to the Bible, love is not confined to sexuality, and it isn’t primarily a feeling either. The Bible teaches that love is a commitment. As a commitment, love is not dependent on good feelings but rather on a consistent and courageous decision to extend oneself for the well-being of another. That commitment then produces good feelings, not the other way around. Jesus became the perfect demonstration of God’s unconditional love for us by laying down his life for our benefit.

Must I love other people? What if I don’t want to?

• JOHN 13:34 | “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
• 1 JOHN 2:9 | If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.
• JOHN 13:35 | “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
• 1 PETER 4:8 | Love covers a multitude of sins.
• 1 JOHN 4:12 | If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

Being a Christian comes with certain expectations, and one of them is that we will love others. Our Christian conduct is proof as to whether we love each other, and loving each other is proof that we belong to Christ.

How can I love people I don’t even like?

• 1 JOHN 4:19 | We love each other because he loved us first.
As you reflect on God’s love for you and receive it for yourself, you will grow in your ability to love those you do not like.
• 1 PETER 4:8 | Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
Love is an act of spiritual maturity, based on the eternal significance of each person and on what God is doing in your life. When you learn to love the unlovable, you have developed the ability to see others as Jesus does.
• ROMANS 12:20 | “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”
Even if you don’t like certain people, you can still choose to do tangible acts of love for them.
• ROMANS 12:3 | I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.
Before you are too quick to dislike or dismiss someone, remember that you, too, have qualities that others may find unattractive.
• MATTHEW 5:43-44 | “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Only in Christ’s love can we love our enemies.

Learn more about the HelpFinder Bible

Loving One Another

Note from the Swindoll Study Bible

“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” 1 Peter 1:22, NLT

A central command of the Bible is to love one another. As Peter turns to this command, he reminds his readers of some important factors that go into the deep love we should have for each other.

He knows that we need to develop unity and community in the midst of trials. What makes this possible? First, Peter speaks of purity of soul: “You were cleansed from your sins.” Second, me mentions obedience to the truth. Third, he calls us to a lack of hypocrisy: “Show sincere love to each other.” These things make it possible to pull together.

We are to obey the truth, not our inner urges or the counsel of others who would like to turn us against each other. We are to do away with ulterior motives and deal in integrity.

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What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Taken from the HelpFinder Bible

Anger is a fire that burns and consumes—smoldering, flaming, at times white hot. Anger is passion. Of all emotions, it may well be the most passionate, for it has the power to fuel hatred and smother love. Anger itself is not necessarily bad; it is not necessarily wrong. God himself gets angry.

What we need to consider is the object of our anger, the motive for our anger, and the outcome of our anger. Anger that is self-righteous, protects our pride, is self-centered, or demands its own way is dangerous. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will consume us. This kind of anger seeks harm and revenge; it seeks to destroy. Thus it can lead to bitterness and hatred, emotions that can cause violent behavior and obliterate compassion and forgiveness.

God’s anger, however, is directed against sin and unrighteousness. He blazes hot against evil. His anger, like ours, becomes a consuming fire, but its focus is to eradicate the sin so that the sinner can be restored. Our anger often consumes others and even ourselves; God’s anger burns against evil and becomes a cleansing fire. The fires of our anger may aggravate our sinfulness and self-righteousness. His anger burns away sinfulness and allows the “gold” to emerge and make us fit for the Master’s use.

When I am angry, what should I avoid?
• EPHESIANS 6:4 | “Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.”
Avoid discipline in the heat of anger.
• JAMES 3:5 | “The tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”
Avoid speaking your mind when you are angry. You are likely to say something you will regret.
• 1 SAMUEL 19:9-10 | “As David played his harp, Saul hurled his spear at David.”
Avoid acting on impulse in the heat of anger. You are likely to do something you will regret.

When is it okay to be angry?
• JOHN 2:15-16 | “[Jesus] drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins . . . and . . . told them, ‘Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!'”
• NUMBERS 25:11 | “Phinehas . . . has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was.”
Anger at sin is not only appropriate but also necessary. It is a sign that our priorities are in line with God’s, that we understand the destructive force of sin, and will confront it with the same passion that God does.

We all get angry at times, so what should we do about it?
• EPHESIANS 4:26-27 | And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
Anger is like a skunk in the house. Don’t feed it to encourage it to stay. And carefully try to get rid of it as soon as possible.
• MATTHEW 5:21-23 | “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder.’. . . But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! . . . Go and be reconciled to that person.”
Confront those you are angry with in order to restore your relationship.
• 1 CORINTHIANS 13:5 | [Love] is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
Love is the mightiest weapon in overcoming anger.
• PROVERBS 11:29 | Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind.
• EPHESIANS 6:4 | Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.
To knowingly provoke your family to anger weakens the binding force—love—that bonds your family together. The control you seek actually enslaves you.

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