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Discover How to Treat One Another

Consider How the Bible Teaches Us to Treat One Another

The Bible gives us many “one another” commands that instruct us how to treat one another.

Things to Do

Love one another (John 13:34, John 13:35, Romans 13:8, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11, 1 John 4:12, 2 John 1:5).

Accept one another (Romans 15:7).

Instruct one another (Romans 15:14).

Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).

Forgive one another (Colossians 3:13).

Teach one another (Jeremiah 9:20).

Teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16).

Encourage one another (Judges 20:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:25).

Agree with one another (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).

Give to one another (Esther 9:22).

Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16, 1 Peter 3:8).

Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)

Serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

Bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10).

Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10).

Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Peter 5:14).

Greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12).

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).

Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).

Administer justice, show mercy and compassion to one another (Zechariah 7:9).

Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5).

Consider how the Bible teaches us to treat one another. Click To Tweet

Things Not to Do

Do not deceive one another (Leviticus 19:11).

Do not break faith with one another (Malachi 2:10).

Do not degrade your bodies with one another (Romans 1:24).

Do not lust for one another (Romans 1:27).

Stop judging one another (Romans 14:13).

Do not hate one another (Titus 3:3).

Do not slander one another (James 4:11).

When we follow these one-another commands from the Bible, we will begin to treat others the way God intended.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Lessons from the Life of John Mark

Learn More about John Mark

There is an interesting story that begins in Acts 13. From it we can learn about the life of John Mark.

God tells the church to commission and send out Barnabas and Paul to other cities, telling the people they meet about Jesus. They do this, taking with them John (also called, John Mark or just Mark).

A Rough Start

The thing is, God didn’t tell them to take John Mark. He apparently doesn’t belong there. This is borne out later, when John Mark deserts Barnabas and Paul to return home.

Later, Barnabas wants to give John Mark a second chance (an example of mercy), but Paul says “no” (an example of justice). They part company over this disagreement, each going their separate ways.

This might seem like a bad development, but it turns out to be good, as they are then able to cover twice the ground, doubling their effectiveness and outreach.

A Strong Finish

For John Mark, his story ends on a positive note, too, with him and Paul later being reconciled (an example of grace) and Paul esteeming John Mark as his fellow worker and as being useful to him.

This is a great lesson in life. Despite making mistakes along the way, we can still finish well. John Mark did and so can we.

[Acts 13:2-3, 5, 13; Acts 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24, and 2 Timothy 4:11]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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How Do You Handle Disappointment?

When God Wants to Give You a Second Chance Make Sure You’re Ready to Receive It

You’re probably not familiar with Ahithophel in the Bible. His life serves as a lesson in how not to respond to disappointment.

Though his name does show up a few times during the reign of King David, Ahithophel is a largely forgettable character. He is an advisor to the king. And when David’s son Absalom orchestrates a coup and tries to steal his father’s throne, Ahithophel switches his alliance from father to son, conspiring against David, the rightful ruler.

The Bible notes that Ahithophel gives advice to Absalom, which he follows. The second time Absalom seeks the counsel of his advisor, Ahithophel gives wise advice, but another counselor under the guise of helping—he’s there to help David, not David’s son—gives a counter recommendation.

This time Absalom decides not to follow Ahithophel’s advice.

How Ahithophel Responds to Disappointment

What does Ahithophel do?

He goes off in the sulk, puts his affairs in order, and hangs himself. End of story.

Yes, it would be embarrassing to be advisor to the king and have him reject your recommendation. But it’s not worth killing yourself over. And if his suicide is some misplaced honorable action, just remember that it is, indeed, misplaced.

What if Ahithophel hadn’t killed himself? Surely he would have another chance to advise Absalom. Maybe his counsel would’ve helped Absalom avoid being killed. Perhaps Ahithophel could have groveled before King David and sought his old job back. Then he could have continued advising the king.

But we’ll never know any of these, because Ahithophel chose to end his life. In one fatal decision, he removes the possibilities of what his future could be.

Can you think of another person in the Bible who hung himself? How about Judas?

How Judas Deals with Disappointment

Distraught over his role in bringing about Jesus’s death, Judas goes out and kills himself too. Yes, his remorse is much deeper than Ahithophel’s. Judas arguably committed the biggest mistake in human history.

Yet I wonder what might have happened had he not chosen to prematurely end his life. When Peter three times denied that he followed or even knew Jesus, he stuck around—although guiltily. And Jesus restored him into right relationship. Jesus forgave him and elevated him back into leadership.

Jesus is all about grace and mercy. Click To Tweet

If Judas hadn’t killed himself and stuck around, too, would Jesus have offered him mercy as well? I think so. Jesus is all about grace and mercy. But we’ll never know. Judas chose to end his life, so we’ll never know what it could have become.

When people end their life prematurely, they remove their future potential and take away the opportunity for restoration, to both other people and to God. The risk is simply too great to take.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 16-18, and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 17:23.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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3 Things God Requires from Us

God’s Expectations May Surprise Us, but They Do Make Sense

As Micah wraps up his prophecy to the people of Israel, he slips in a profound thought. In one short sentence he tells what God requires of his people. It’s succinct and simple. It’s startling but profound. Equally astonishing is what Micah doesn’t include in his list of things God requires.

God doesn’t say go to church, develop the right theology, or obey a bunch of rules. Yet these are some of the many things we put great importance on today. We focus on these elements—and others like them—at the expense of what God requires.

What does God require from us? He wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8).

Act Justly

We often hear the word justice, but we don’t often hear of acting justly. What does justly mean?

Here are some ideas. To act justly we should:

  • be honorable and fair in how we deal with others,
  • behave morally (that is, righteous), and
  • do all things properly.

Does this sound a lot like Jesus? It’s what he taught and how he acted. Yet we often forget to behave this way in our own lives. Instead we get caught up chasing secondary pursuits and even focusing on goals that don’t matter in God’s perspective.

Love Mercy

Another thing God requires is that we love mercy. This goes beyond merely showing mercy to others but to fully embrace mercy. Often people show mercy but do so in the begrudging way. Their attitude is wrong. Though they show mercy, they don’t love it. In fact, they may hate it.

God wants us to love showing mercy to others. Isn’t that what he does for us? Shouldn’t we follow his example and do it for others?

Walk Humbly with God

Humility is a word we don’t hear very often anymore. In today’s culture, humility is no longer an esteemed characteristic. In truth most people look down on the humble and dismiss them. Instead society embraces the bold, egotistical, and controversial. However, in God’s kingdom, this is the wrong perspective.

God requires us to walk humbly with him. And when we walk humbly with him, the natural outgrowth is humility toward others.

If God expected his people to do this thousands of years ago, is there any reason he doesn’t expect it from us today? Click To Tweet

A Final Thought about What God Requires of Us

Though Micah directs these expectations of what God requires to the nation of Israel, these points are consistent with his character and more broadly applicable to us. Yet these fall short of a command for us to obey today.

Even so we are well advised to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If God expected his people to do this thousands of years ago, is there any reason he doesn’t expect it from us today?

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Micah 5-7, and today’s post is on Micah 6:8.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Micah’s Personal Prescription

Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly, and Hope in and Wait on God

As the prophet Micah gives a series of stinging rebukes against the nations of Israel and Judah, he takes a pause for some personal reflection.

As if keeping a journal, he wonders how he should approach God. With reverence, with offerings, with sacrifices? No. That is not what God wants.  God requires something much different, for him to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly.

Then Micah returns to his God-promoted discourse of doom. After a bit more invective, he becomes filled with remorse, saying, “What misery is mine?”

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, and hope in and wait on God. Click To Tweet

Micah then reflects some more, delving into a depressing bit of introspection, before confidently affirming that his hope is in God; Micah will wait and God will hear him.

So Micah’s personal prescription then becomes to: Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, and hope in and wait on God.

Works for me.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Micah 5-7, and today’s post is on Micah 6:8.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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God’s Sovereignty At Work

In the story of Jonah, we see God’s sovereignty at work, with God exercising control over nature. Here’s what God does:

Furthermore, God’s sovereignty allows him to show mercy towards the people of Nineveh and not destroy them as he had originally planned.

However, God does not exercise control over Jonah, allowing him to do what he wants, when he chooses,and how pleases. Jonah has free will—and God does not interfere with that even though Jonah’s choices cause him a lot of grief.

God gives Jonah the freedom to mess up—or to do what is right.  That’s God’s sovereignty at work. That’s how God rolls.

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Beware the Adulteress

The book of Proverbs contains the majority of the Bible’s mentions of the word “adulteress” (seven times in Proverbs compared to five times in the rest of the Bible).

It refers to a woman who commits adultery, that is, she has sex with someone other than her husband. In today’s language, that is referred to as “cheating.”

Solomon warns his son—and all men—to stay away from the adulteress.

The Law of Moses notes that both the adulterer (the male participant) and the adulteress (the female participant) should be put to death (Leviticus 20:10). That is how serious God views the breaking of marriage vows.

Although the majority of modern society takes a much more casual perspective on lifelong monogamy, God’s staunch opposition to adultery hasn’t changed. Fortunately, his response has.

In the Old Testament (as mentioned above), the prescribed response to adultery is judgment. However, in the New Testament, Jesus—God’s son—demonstrates a kinder, gentler response: mercy (John 8:1-11).

However, remember that even though Jesus will give both the adulterer and adulteress mercy and forgiveness, the offended spouse may not likely be so understanding.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Leviticus 19-21, and today’s post is on Leviticus 20:10.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Isaiah Reveals 3 Things About God

The Lord Is Gracious, Compassionate, and Just

After Isaiah records the stinging words of God against his people, Isaiah adds a passage of comfort and reassurance. It starts with the word yet. He writes, “Yet the Lord longs . . .

Here are the three things that result from God’s longing for us, to offer us grace, compassion, and justice.

God is Gracious

God longs to be gracious to his people, to us.

On a general level, gracious means to offer kindness and courtesy. On a spiritual level being gracious is to offer mercy. Our gracious God is merciful. When God offers us mercy, it means we don’t get the punishment we deserve for the bad things we have done. We get a reprieve.

God is Compassionate

Coupled with mercy is compassion. Compassion is to offer sympathy to those who struggle, be aware of their suffering, and take steps to alleviate it. Our compassionate God is sympathetic to our situation. He’s aware of it, and desires to free us.

God is Just

As a just God, he is fair and righteous (does the right thing). When others treat us badly or unfairly, we want to receive justice. We want God to do the right thing, rescuing us and punishing our enemies. As a just God, he will do this for us.

God Balances Justice with His Gracious Mercy

However, this is where it gets a bit tricky, because we don’t want God to exact justice on us. We don’t want to receive the just punishment we deserve. Fortunately, this is where his mercy comes in. Mercy means not receiving the sentence we have justly earned because of our wrong actions. We want mercy, not judgement.

God longs to offer us grace, compassion, and justice. All we need to do to receive these blessings is to wait for him. Click To Tweet

God longs to offer us grace, compassion, and justice. All we need to do to receive these blessings is to wait for him.

If we’re patient, he’ll deliver.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Isaiah 28-31, and today’s post is on Isaiah 30:18.]

Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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What Will We Promise God When We’re in a Crisis?

Will We Follow Through When the Pressure’s Off?

God’s chosen people toil as slaves in Egypt. He tasks Moses with getting them out. So far things aren’t going so well. God has sent seven plagues to get the Pharaoh’s attention, without achieving the people’s release. Plague number eight is on its way. Locusts.

An army of locusts. They strip the foliage and fruit off everything in sight.

Panicked, Pharaoh summons Moses. He confesses his sin for having reneged on his last promise to let the people go. He begs for forgiveness and asks Moses to pray that God will take away the plague of locusts.

Moses prays. God answers. He whips up a wind that carries the locusts out to sea. Not one remains in Egypt. Problem solved for Pharaoh, at least for now.

Guess what happens next? With the threat of locusts over, and the pressure for relief gone, Pharaoh changes his mind—again. He refuses to let the Israelites leave.

It will take two more plagues, with the tenth being the deadliest of them all, before Pharaoh lets the people go. If only he had followed through on his promise to let them leave sooner, he would have avoided countless needless deaths—including that of his firstborn son.

What Promises Do We Make to God When We’re in a Jam?

It’s easy to criticize Pharaoh for making a promise during a crisis and going back on his word when life returns to normal. But we do the same thing. It’s human nature.

How many times, when in a moment of crisis, have we made a rash promise to God? It goes something like this, “Get me out of this mess, and I’ll never do it again.”

Or we pledge to do something that we should have been doing all along. Or we vow to stop doing something that we shouldn’t be doing anyway.

Then God hears our plea and often rescues us. But do we follow through on what we promised to God? Not likely. Or if we do follow through, our pledge lasts only a short time, and we soon return to living life as we’ve always lived.

Making a bargain with God is never a good idea, because if we don’t follow through, we may find ourselves in an even worse situation. Click To Tweet

Making a bargain with God is never a good idea, because if we don’t follow through, we may find ourselves in an even worse situation. We may be better off to confess our shortcomings and ask for his grace and mercy.

Else we could end up like Pharaoh who paid a huge price for his broken promises.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Exodus 8-10, and today’s post is on Exodus 10:12-20.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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What Can We Learn from Cain and Abel?

The First Brothers in the Bible, Cain and Abel, Provide the First Account of Sibling Rivalry

The first two people mentioned in the Bible are Adam and Eve. The next two people are their sons, Cain and Abel. It would seem these four people should get along. They can’t. The result of the conflict is tragic. Cain kills Abel. Here’s their story:

Cain and Abel worship God by giving him some of the output from their work. God accepts Abel’s gift but doesn’t accept Cain’s. The Bible doesn’t explain why. Though many people speculate on the reasons, we just don’t know.

There is, however, an implication that perhaps Cain sinned, either in his offering or in some other area of his life.

Whatever the reason for God rejecting Cain’s gift, Cain becomes angry. The Bible is unclear about the focus of Cain’s anger. Was he angry at God, or jealous of his brother’s spiritual success? Both are reasonable assumptions.

However, regardless of the source, Cain takes action against his brother Abel.

Cain lures Abel out to a field. There Cain kills Abel, in a pre-meditated act of murder. Only four chapters into the Bible and we already have our first homicide.

Cain must answer to God for what he did to his brother. Click To Tweet

The Story of Cain and Abel Teaches Us Five Things

1. Worshiping God is serious business

The Bible tells us to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We can go through the motions, and we can pretend. But God isn’t fooled. He wants us to give him our very best. This isn’t because he needs something from us but because he deserves it.

2. We must control our anger

When Paul says to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26), he implies anger is okay as long as we don’t allow it to cause us to sin. Cain’s anger caused him to sin.

3. Leave punishment in God’s hands

Whether out of anger or retaliation, Cain executes judgment on his brother. Cain kills Abel. This, however, doesn’t solve the problem. It just causes a new one.

4. There are consequences to sin

Now Cain must answer to God for what he did. Even though God is merciful in judging Cain’s sin, it’s still more than Cain can bear (Genesis 4:13).

5. Seek a Better Way

What if, instead of Cain getting mad and killing his brother, he sought to worship God in a better way? He could have asked God what he did wrong and what he should do differently. Or he could have asked his brother for help.

Had Cain taken the high road instead of lashing out in anger, we could have had a much different outcome: two brothers getting along and helping one another worship God.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Genesis 3-5, and today’s post is on Genesis 4:3-8.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.