Overcome Evil with Good, Part 2

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 2

Our last article dealt with overcoming evil with good in some detail. 

Luke 6:29-30 goes on to say even moreTo him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  How can we possibly conform to such a difficult teaching?

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26)  Whatever is impossible for man becomes possible for us who gave our lives to Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  Praise God!

Not only do we overcome the evil that people have done to us by forgiving them and praying for them, but according to Luke 6, we should even help to bless them in a material way.  Jesus overcame evil with good.  He is our role model.

When we pray for good to come upon our enemies; when we feed our enemy or give them a drink; or when we give him a blanket, a coat or any other helpful item, we allow the glory of God to be manifested in the earth through us. 

Jesus has asked us to live according to a new law—the law of love.  (Mt 5:44a)

Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  (Rom 13:10) 

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”   (Gal 5:14) 

James 2:8 refers to loving your neighbor as yourself as the ROYAL law! 

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Mt 22:35-40)

Jesus is our Savior and our King.  (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 19:16)  Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is a royal law because it was instituted by our benevolent and loving King. 

Overcoming evil with good will turn people toward the Lord in praise and thanksgiving.  It fulfills the law of love.  The law of love blesses us all, because we serve the God who is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)  Overcome evil the way that God did–with love!

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:17-21, emphasis added)

The Lord doesn’t want us to use our emotions to get even, to get revenge, or to punish other people!  The Bible says that we must not repay evil for evil. When we allow anger (or any other negative emotion) to rule us, it means we’re not allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us so then we inadvertently become a puppet/servant for some being other than our Savior.

Yes, life is full of hurts.  Someone may have hurt your feelings; another person perhaps lied to you; you’re skipped over for a promotion or a raise on your job; or maybe you’ve even been abused or disrespected.

The Message version of the Bible says it this way:

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”  (Rom 12:17-19 MSG, emphases added)  God is the judge over humanity.  Judgment belongs to God—not us. 

Even though a response to these unpleasant things that I mentioned isn’t wrong, did you ever notice that anger doesn’t improve your situation or how you feel?  When we’re so angry over something, we may allow ourselves to say things that we can never take back.  Another evil that anger can create is that instead of lashing out in anger at the person who actually hurt us, we lash out at other people unfairly.  Anger can beget more and more pain.

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  (Ps 37:1-2)  Psalms remind us that God will deal with those who act wickedly or cruelly.  God will vindicate us when we obey His word by forgiving and praying for those who hurt us.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute that you may be sons of your Father in heaven . . . “ (Mt 5:44-45a)  Jesus wants us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to even pray for those who malevolently use us!  He says, then we are children of our heavenly Father.  God pours out His grace and blessings upon us as we live obediently to Him by overcoming evil with good.

God’s ways are the only way to overcome evil.  (Isa 55:9)

The Importance of Remembering

The Importance of Remembering

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and judgments of His mouth . . .   (Ps 105:5)

The Lord is telling us to do something in this verse.  He tells us to remember the goodness of God. 

Remembering is of great consequence to God!  That’s why He instructed the Israelites to pile up stones in places where He did mighty works on their behalf.  That’s also why He instituted the many feasts that He wanted the Israelites to observe—so they wouldn’t forget Him and His mighty works on their behalf.  It also motivated them to share their testimonies about God with their children and grandchildren whenever they passed these memorial stones and celebrated their feasts.

Remembering and meditating upon: 1) the attributes of the Lord; 2) the miracles and blessings we’ve received from Him; 3) His Word; and 4) God’s personality deepens our relationship with God, and nurtures our faith.  It invigorates and galvanizes our faith!

David strengthened himself in the Lord by remembering all of the miracles that God had performed for David previously.  (1 Sam 30:6)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3)  We feed on His faithfulness by remembering and sharing testimonies of His power and greatness.  This nurtures our faith and the faith of those around us.

That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments . . . (Psalm 78:7 NKJV) This passage asks us to remember the works and wonders that God has performed for us in the past.  We’re also prompted to live a Kingdom lifestyle.  Jesus kept all of the commandments so that we wouldn’t need to be law-keepers, and we would have the privilege of living by grace through faith.  (Eph 2:8)

Rejoice in your blessings, and remember God’s past supernatural acts on your behalf.  You faith will be energized!

How Much More?

How Much More?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Lk 11:9-13, emphasis added)

The Lord Jesus is speaking here about the generosity of our heavenly Father, in that He wishes to bless us in many different and varied ways!  Jesus also encourages us, based upon everything that He has said up to this point, to ask the Father to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit!

What I want to ponder today is the heart of the Father who wants us to come to Him when we’re in need of anything at all.  He outlines that:

  • When we ask, whatever we request will be given;
  • After seeking for a specific answer to prayer, we will find (receive) the perfect answer; and
  • That when we knock at a door, that it WILL be opened to us. (This can be a spiritual, figurative, or physical door—a door of access, welcome, or opportunity.)

Then Jesus continues by reiterating that when we ask, we receive; that the one who seeks a blessing or benefit, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will conclusively be opened!  Then our Lord reminds us that when a child asks for bread, fish, or an egg, that any good parent would give their child exactly what they desire.  And if human beings, who were born in sin, are so good and kind and generous to their own children, then how much more good, kind, and generous will our heavenly Father be to us?

In making these simple yet affirming statements, Jesus opens up the entire world of God’s generosity right before our eyes. 

. . . but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10b, underlining added)

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  (Ps 51:12)

. . . no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11c, underlining added)

According to God’s own Word, He has a generous Spirit and He withholds NO good thing from us.  What a great basis of faith—to enable us to trust in God’s love, mercy, and generosity.  He has promised that He has given us all that pertains to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.  (2 Pet 1:3)

Why Was I Created?

Why Was I Created?

We were created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27; Col 3:10)  We were—each and every one of us—created by God to have and to enjoy a vital relationship with Him.  We have the choice of entering into a relationship with Him or not. 

The Bible reminds us that every human being has sinned (Rom 3:23).  Because God loves mankind, He provided a Savior for us.  (Joh 3:16)  Jesus is the Savior that God gave us.  (1 Joh 2:2; 4:10; Gal 2:20)

The Bible also reminds us that we have the free will to make this choice, even to reject our Savior.  (Joh 1:11; 2 Tim 2:12)  God has given us the freedom to make our own decisions.

But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33 ESV)

However, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, He gives us salvation:  abundant life as well as eternal life.  (Joh 3:16; Rom 10:13)

Jesus said about Himself:  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10)  The life that Jesus provides is an abundant one, full of blessings and benefits.  (Ps 68:19: 103:2; 116:12)

The Lord desires to have a daily relationship with each one of us where we experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations. With every step that we take, decision we make, conversation we have, and thought that we entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through each one of us. He desires to shine in our lives—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating our unique talents, traits, and personalities as we walk in obedience to Him.  He wants to live in each one of us and through each one of us.

Read your Bible, pray, worship the Lord along with other believers, and obey the Scriptures.  As you do these things, the Lord will lead you and teach you how to love Him, serve Him, and to walk in His ways.  Listen for His voice, and be sensitive to Him—even as you would be to your spouse—for your relationship with the Lord is your most crucial relationship.

So we were created:  1) for an intimate relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ; 2) to glorify God through our lives; and 3) to be loved by God and to give Him our love in return.

This is a life of harmony and unity with Jesus Christ—where He is the Captain of our souls.  He lovingly charts our journeys, decides on the ports of call, and brings us safely to our destination.  All glory to God!

Love Is the Gift of God

Love Is the Gift of God

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)

LOVE – the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  There’s no way that we can “love too much”!

Firstly, God is love—as shown in the verse above.  That’s why it was easy to make the statement above that love is the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  This is true simply because God IS love—and HE is the most important Being in life and in eternity.  I believe that without God, mankind would have no concept of love.  God IS love—pure, perfect, unconditional, unending love. 

God chose to create us with a free will.  We can choose to obey Him or not; and we can choose to love God or not.  But when we DO love God and serve Him, He causes amazing things to happen in our lives. 

Here are just some of the wonderful things that God provides and does for those who love and serve Him:

  • Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful . . . (Ps 31:23) He preserves [maintains, upholds, sustains) His people.
  • Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. (Ps 91:14)  God will deliver us when we’re in trouble; and He will set us on high.  God made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus—that is being “set on high.”  (Eph 2:6)
  • I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. (Ps 116:1)  God hears our voices as we pray to Him.  And another verse in the Bible (1 Joh 5:14-15) says that when we know that God has heard us, we know that He has given us the very thing for which we have prayed.  Glory to God!
  • The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. (Ps 146:8)  The Lord gives sight to the blind; straightens those who are bent over and removes their burden; and He loves us.  The Lord is our healer.  (Ex 15:26; 23:25; Isa 53:4-5; Jer 30:17; Jam 5:14-15)
  • That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries. (Pro 8:21)  Wisdom (represented as a person) is speaking in this verse, and all wisdom comes from God Himself.  So this verse says that God causes those who love Him to inherit wealth, and He fills their bank accounts. 

This list includes verses from the Old Testament only, but there are even better promises in the New Testament for us!  My point in this discussion is that LOVE is a hugely important gift to consider.  And there are even bigger and better indications of God’s love for us in the New Testament.  Search out those hidden treasures for yourself!

We know that God loves each one of us.  But in addition to His love, He has allowed us to love and to be loved by fellow human beings.  That is one of God’s chief gifts to us.  The reason it is so key is because every ounce of love that we either feel for another or receive from another is a reminder and a representation of God Himself—who is love. 

Treasure, cherish and appreciate every single person who loves you and whom you love.  Enjoy the fact that you’re able to love other people, and that you’re able to receive and to experience their love for you.

Love—it’s a gift of God to each one of us.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today’s topic is a consideration of what type of person each one of us wants to be.  How do we get T-H-E-R-E from where we are now?  The Lord Jesus is committed to each and every one of His children.  If we cooperate with Him, we will never be put to shame.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Mt 7:12 NKJV)  – This is the golden rule:  Do unto others what you want them to do to you.  If this rule guides your thoughts and actions, the results will be pleasing.  Allow this to motivate you to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”  (Acts 17:28 ESV)  – Remember, we are made in the image of God; we are His children.  We live and do everything in Christ.  God bestows His unconditional love and abundant blessings upon His children.  Remember WHOSE you are!  It will do wonders for your self-image, and for how you conduct yourself. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)  – God’s love has been poured out upon each one of us.  All of life’s circumstances are designed to improve our character and to conform us to the image of Christ.  (See Romans 8:29)  Allow your circumstances to soften your hard edges, and to nurture a merciful and loving quality within you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16 ESV)  – Each one of us is truly God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within each one of us.  Glory to God!  Be aware of God’s presence constantly, and allow the knowledge that He is with you to transform all of your decisions and actions.  It will bless you and cause you to bless others.

. . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  (Eph 4:15 NKJV)  – God wants us to grow up (mature) into the image of Christ.  One way of doing that is to walk in love and to do everything with a loving heart and attitude.

Grow up and BE the person you truly want to be.  How do you want your spouse, your children, and your friends to remember you?  Once you’ve come to a decision on that, take some time to strategize how to aim your life and your behavior in that direction.  Allow the Scriptures and the Lord to guide you.  God is committed to transforming each one of us, and will give us the grace that we need.  Oh joy!