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Overcome Evil with Good

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21, NRSV)

Do not seek revenge, and do not repay evil with evil. Instead, feed your hungry enemies and if they are thirsty give them something to drink, be kind to them for in doing this you will confuse them and they will not know what to do.

Revenge belongs to God and God’s wrath is worse than anything you could come up with, so love everyone, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are joyful.

Overcome evil with good.

Be good to everyone, and let God take care of the rest.

 

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love

wp-1457890772751.jpgBeloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:7-21, NRSV)

Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also…

So to justify ourselves like the Pharisees we ask Jesus, “Who are my brothers and sisters?”

And I believe Jesus would tell us those who are a part of me, are your brothers and sisters. All of those who believe and are followers of my way. We can not say we love Jesus and love God and follow after Him if we hate those who do the same. Regardless how they are different from us or believe that Jesus says something we do not believe. If they confess Jesus as Lord then they are someone you should love.

Oh and actually in another part fo the Bible Jesus says to love your enemies, those who would want to persecute you, so in actuality, you need to love everyone.

So love, as God loved you, a sinner of His own redeeming.

Do not be a liar, love everyone.

 

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what is your reward?

170219“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:38-48, NRSV)

This is a loaded text with a lot we do not see on the surface.

Jesus continues His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount telling His disciples to look out for the least of these.

You have heard it said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” We hear this and think justice, an eye for an eye. And that is why it was written in the Old Testament, for justice, so if I took your eye you could not seek more than that. It was for equal response to what was done. But Jesus said not to seek an eye for an eye, but if someone strike you on the right cheek, turn the left. This may sound like Jesus is saying be a door mat and let people abuse you and walk all over you. But my understanding of this verse is not that. When someone in Jesus day would strike someone of a lower status they would hit them on the left cheek with the inside of their right hand, and when you turn the other cheek, that would be the right check, in order for that person to strike you again they would use the back of their right hand (no one would strike with their left hand, just didn’t happen) and that signified that you are of equal status. So it is not saying be a door mat, it is saying in the eyes of God we are equal.

And go the extra mile, every person was required by Roman Law to carry the bag of a Roman soldier 1 mile. So if requested to carry, do not do the minimum, but go twice as far.

And it is easy for us to love those who love us because everyone does that, but Jesus calls us to be better than, or more Godly than the rest. So we need to love those who hate us, and we need to greet everyone. Because if we do what everyone does, what is our reward? But if we love everyone, we will show everyone the love of God, and that is the best reward there is.

 

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help

160625Save me, O God, by your name,
and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
For the insolent have risen against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they do not set God before them.
But surely, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
In your faithfulness, put an end to them.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.
(Psalm 54, NRSV)

Surely God is my helper.

Surely God will save me from calamity.

God will preserve my life, and watch over my comings and my goings.

God will be with me.

God will not let my enemies triumph over me!

 

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your servant

IMG_1860Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Save me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path.
For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant.
(Psalm 143, NRSV)

Hear me when I cry and help me.

Do not forsake me. Do not hide your face from me.

Save me O Lord from mine enemies.

All of these things are things we cry when we are in torment when we need the help of the Lord. We cry out for the creator of the whole world to save us and not forsake us, to not forget us or leave us alone in our troubles.

But do we remember that we also need to follow God in the good times? All of these things He does for us, because we are His servants, His children.

So allow God to be your master, and follow where He leads, and He will never leave you to fend for  yourself.

 

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lie in wait

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from those who work evil; from the bloodthirsty save me. Even now they lie in wait for my life; the mighty stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O LORD, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Rouse yourself, come to my help and see! You, LORD God of hosts, are God of Israel. Awake to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. There they are, bellowing with their mouths, with sharp words on their lips—for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?” But you laugh at them, O LORD; you hold all the nations in derision. O my strength, I will watch for you; for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in his steadfast love will meet me; my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. Do not kill them, or my people may forget; make them totter by your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield. For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, consume them in wrath; consume them until they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. They roam about for food, and growl if they do not get their fill. But I will sing of your might; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. (Psalm 59, NRSV)

Have you ever had someone or something lie in wait for you?

You know this when it happens. The attack is swift and seamless and you wonder afterwards what in the world happened, and where that train came from that just ran you over…

We sometimes have no idea it is coming and other times we do.

God! Deliver me from my enemies! Be with me and help me to follow you and not seek retribution, but help me to trust in you!

Your steadfast love will carry me and cover me. You will be my fortress.

Help me to know that even when my foes lie in wait, you will deliver me from the hands of those who mean me harm and use me for good, if I but trust in you.

God be my refuge and strength! My very present help and shelter!

 

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stronghold

The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
The hope of the righteous ends in gladness,
but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.
The way of the LORD is a stronghold for the upright,
but destruction for evildoers.
The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not remain in the land.
The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse. (Proverbs 10:27-32, NRSV)

The way of the Lord is a stronghold for the upright…

If you are following after the Lord and doing His will, then you have nothing to fear! for your world will be a stronghold against the enemies of God and the wicked will not be able to penetrate the walls of the defense around you.

You will live a long life in the fear of the Lord and be filled with hope. This does not mean life will be without battles or suffering or strife… But it does mean, if you follow the Lord and do His will that He will always be with you and will be shelter and shade for you and give you the strength to go on. He will be your stronghold. So follow Him and know that His promises are good!

 
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Posted by on 2014/05/19 in Biblical, Devotional, Easter

 

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