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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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The Fiery Furnace, part 2

Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:13-30, NRSV)

I find it interesting that we know this story about the 3 guys being thrown into the fire and then there were 4 and when they are called out, only three come out. But did you read what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said when Nebuchadnezzar asked them about worshipping his gods and the statue?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were connected to God in a way that nothing else mattered.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said that no matter what happens to them they would not worship any other gods or bow to a statue.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” If God is able, let Him save us, but even if He isn’t we still will not worship your statue!

Are you that grounded in your faith that no matter what you will always worship God?

Are we ready to place our lives in God’s hands as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did?

 

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spit out

160929“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22, NRSV)

Are you cold or hot?

Because anywhere in between is the making of Jesus spitting you out.

We think we are good, but we rely on our own understanding, on our own decision making, on our own self-made selves.

But that is what gets us into trouble. If we are not relying solely on God then we are not where we need to be.

Unless we are rich in God we are truly poor.

So are you lukewarm?

 

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delight

160229O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
(Psalm 63:1-8, NRSV)

In a dry and weary land where there is no water I look to you as my refreshment!

The love of God is better than cool water on a hot day, or a warm blanket in the dead of winter!

My soul and life are satisfied by God. Allow your soul to cling to Him and to rest in His shade.

Allow His love and refreshment to permeate your being.

 

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Making God Gag…

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22, ESV)

You’ve got your life together right…

No problems everything is going the way you want it to, and things are looking good. You are a self made man or woman and you have done it all by yourself. You pulled yourself up by your own boot straps and your success is your own doing!

We’ve heard this all before. I made this money and I deserve everything I have. I do not owe any one any thanks for where I am…

But are any of us self made?

Did we pull our selves up by our own boot straps?

Did we really get to where we are by ourselves?

Do any of us really need God?

That is exactly what is being said to the church at Laodacea. They are lukewarm, neither hot or cold. They do not think they need God or that God had anything to do with getting them to where they were.

But you see that is simply not true. All of us have had some help getting to where we are. Our parents, pour teachers, and other leaders around us, some of us baseball or softball coaches, football, or soccer coaches, or scout leaders, or others who influenced our lives. But God has also had a hand in our lives, whether we admit it or not. We can either acknowledge that God is a part of our lives, be hot for him, or we can say that God had nothing to do with us and be cold, but we can not say that it is all our own doing. When we try to take all of the credit, we are lukewarm, and we make God gag.

So are you living a lie and saying you are self made?

Are you making God gag?

Tell the world who helped you to where you are and whose you are! Shout it out loud and be hot for the Lord!

 

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