Archive for the ‘God Sense’ Category

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Repay No One Evil for Evil

July 18, 2011

Romans 12:17-Repay no one evil for evil but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

             ‘Think, Think, Think.”  Paul says to bless those who persecute you; Jesus said forgive 70 times 70, turn the other cheek, judge not, etc..  Scripture tells us that vengeance belongs to God.

             So many times, David’s life was in jeopardy by Saul yet David never repaid him with evil—even when opportunity placed Saul in the perfect place for revenge.

             1 Pet 2:23 says of Jesus:  “When He suffered, He did not threaten to get even”. LNT    

             I put the definition of “revenge” below.  This is not a place where we are to go.  This is God’s.  If we “get even” we are repaying evil with evil.  We are trespassing into God’s territory and that is not a good thing to do.

             We must forgive, turn it over to God to deal with, pray for the offender and quiet the disturbance within ourselves.  I have also been taught through my recovery program to look at myself, to see why I am offended…what is my root, how am I perceiving the offense—through what “truth”,  God’s or some learned childhood misconception. 

             For me to get offended, it takes a lot of work.   It’s easier just not to get offended, or to remove myself from the situation, take it to God, turn it over and leave it with Him.

  Revenge; Revenger  reMD-venj A, reMD-venj AeTr: The same Hebrew and Greek words are used to express the idea of “to avenge” and “to revenge” ( „QÁNF,or derivative; eÁkdikeÂw‰ or derivative). In English these words are synonymous in that they are both used to express the infliction of punishment upon the wrongdoer, but “to take revenge” may also imply a spiteful, wrong or malignant spirit. In the latter case, RV preserves “revenge” (compare Jer 20:10; Ezk 25:15; 25:17 is an anthropomorphism), but, wherever it is synonymous with “avenge,” this word is used (compare Num 31:2,3; Ps 79:10; Nah 1:2; Jth 13:20; Rom 13:4; 2 Cor 7:11; 10:6 RV; AV has “revenge” in all these cases). In Dt 32:42, AV “revenge” is a wrong translation. Read with RV “from the head of the leaders of the enemy” or RV margin “the hairy head of the enemy.”    A. L. Breslich

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Associate with the Lowly

July 17, 2011

Romans 13:16 goes on to say “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, live peaceably with all, never be conceited.” 

I find that to be true in recovery.  I see it there most of the time.  No one is looked down upon.  All are welcomed no matter what their condition or status.   Actually, for the most   part, no one’s status is even known.  The one who is the “lowly”, the “least”, the most needy is the one best welcomed, encouraged, accepted and loved. 

In the Church at large—not so much.  

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Romans 12:16a “Live in Harmony With One Another”

July 16, 2011

When I first thought about living in “harmony”, I thought…getting along with everyone in the Church is what it meant.  But I think that it is much more than that.  So, I looked it up.  The Greek word harmonia means “a fitting together, agreement from harmos, a fitting, joining”.  

  That makes me think of Christ’s body-the Church.  We are joined and fitted together.  God has placed each one of us in a specific position within His body to comprise the perfect bride.  Each of us has a specific duty and purpose.   When we function along those lines, the harmony is evident to all just as an orchestra’s symphonic tones blend and rise to heaven.

  The description goes on to say:  “concord or agreement in feeling, action, interests”.  What Pastor would not be overwhelmed with gratitude if that were the case in his congregation?  

  Each Pastor has a vision for his church.  It is his responsibility to clearly set forth that vision.  It then is our responsibility to take our place within the vision, to agree with it, to help him fulfill it and thereby, join in the symphony of the saints in the Kingdom’s orchestra.

 

 

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Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Weep With Those Who Weep

July 15, 2011

Romans 13:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” 

There was a time in my life when I had shut off most of my emotions.  I did not allow myself to feel happy or sad.  When I saw someone really happy, I resented them.  When I saw someone sad, I didn’t want to be around them.

 In thinking about this scripture, I am so very grateful that today this is not the case.  God has truly removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh (Ez. 36:26).  This process was not quick and was not easy. The stone had to be chipped away with His chisel and many times was a painful process.  There are still bits of stone hanging on, but I know that God will continue to conform me to the image of my Lord (Ro. 8:29).

 I can truly rejoice with those who rejoice today and I can weep with those who weep.  I am no longer afraid to feel. I am able to become vulnerable and not be threatened.  I can love.  Thank you Jesus Christ for making this possible and giving me Your heart.

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Bless those who Persecute You

July 13, 2011

Romans 13:14     Bless Those Who Persecute You, Bless and Curse Not.

   To be sure, I looked up the word “bless” in the Second Edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.  The root of the word is “blood” and signifies something holy, set apart or consecrated for God.  It goes on in the lesser meanings to declare “to make happy” or “wish happiness to”.  I think, here in Romans 13:14, Paul means the first definition.

   In recovery, we are taught to pray for those against whom we carry resentment and to pray a blessing.  That was a difficult task for me in my early recovery years.  In later years, we joked among ourselves with the phrase “Don’t make me bless you!” because of Romans 13:14.

  To be persecuted in this instance, I am sure, is in reference to our Christianity.  We are to bless, call upon the blood of Jesus to cover that person, those who attack us because we are Christians.  This is another place I would like our Pastor to give us a teaching.  Jesus never cursed anyone, even demons if I recall correctly.  He honestly described the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but never cursed them.

  When I listen to the atheists denigrate Christianity, it upsets and angers me.  I try and pray for them, but not wholeheartedly.  This is an area where I need clarification and some work on my self.  Are we to plead the blood and pray that they be set apart as holy to God?  If so, I have a lot to “practice” and learn.  But if that is the case, that is really cool…like “pouring burning coals on their heads” (Ro. 12:20), only these “coals” could convict to righteousness.  Hmmm..

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Practice Hospitality

July 12, 2011

In Romans 12:13c, Paul tells us to practice hospitality.  Since he says to “practice”, I would guess it does not come naturally.  I know it did not for me.  It took years for me to develop that trait, and it was my husband’s hospitality that initiated me. 

For most of my life, I did not allow others to get to know me.  I had a very few friends who managed to infiltrate my walled up self, but that was more because of them than because of me.  I was more comfortable by myself-isolating.  I did not invite people to my home because I didn’t know what to do with them, or I was afraid they would judge me as insufficient.  However, my home was open to my son’s friends any time they were in need.  But then, I was in a maternal position and I knew how to do that.

 Today, all of that has changed.  I got into a recovery program, turned my life back to Jesus Christ, and little by little, He changed me into the person I was always supposed to be.  He truly pulled me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a Rock. (Psalm 40:2)

 In attending recovery meetings, I began to interact with other women and found out that they liked me and didn’t judge me.  I married my wonderful husband and that broadened my world.  He truly has a heart of compassion and hospitality.  We slowly began inviting people that we did not know well over for dinner, a couple at a time.  I started a bi-monthly woman’s group on Saturday mornings so that I could learn to be comfortable around women…it lasted about six years and was a tremendous blessing to all of us.

We now host an open Thursday night dinner followed by Bible Study and a Sunday morning brunch following church.  We’ve opened our home to others in need.  And, guess what?  I love it.  I will continue to “practice”, I hope, for the rest of my life.

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Ro. 12:13a Contribute to the Needs of the Saints…

July 9, 2011

We are commanded to love one another (John 15:12).  When you love someone, you are aware of their needs.  Many of us support missions financially and that is good.   Many of us do not “see” the needs in our own church family.

I know that there is a “church mask” that is worn by most of us.  It masks the needs we may have.  The Holy Spirit can break through that mask by giving us discernment if we are willing to follow His lead.  He can also show us how to meet the need in a way that will not produce an enablement of what might be a bad habit (like giving money to an addict).   That is a place where the gift of mercy sometimes does more harm than good.  But, for the most part, if someone needs financial help and we can help, then do it.  If they need friendship, love, compassion, or just to be welcomed and noticed we must be able to fill that need.   And if we ourselves are in need, let others know. 

I belong to a fellowship where there are no masks for the most part.  If someone asks “How are you?”  An honest reply usually follows: “fine” is not an acceptable answer.  “Hi, how are you?” has become a greeting instead of a question in our society.  That’s too bad.

Jesus said in John 13:35 that all men shall know that we are His disciples by our love for one another.  So…how’s that going?

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Ro. 12:12c-Be Constant in Prayer…

July 8, 2011

 I don’t know about you, but when I am in trouble (or tribulation) it is easy to be constant in prayer.  I am afraid and run to my Father, imploring Him to help me.  But, as we learned yesterday Paul says to be patient in tribulation.

 I once asked my Pastor how to combat the fear that strikes suddenly, without warning.  He told me to pray in the Spirit as soon as I felt fear.  I began doing so.  I began to realize that when that false fear drops into my soul, it comes from what we call “no-where”.  Therefore, it is not mine and it is not real.  I do not have to let it take hold, I can cast down the “vain imagination”, and pray in the Spirit until peace returns and go on with my day.

 I use this example only because Paul exhorts us here to be constant in prayer.  Since I had so many of those false fear attacks, it became a habit to immediately pray in the Spirit.  I find myself today often praying in the Spirit without even thinking about it. 

I surround myself with praise and worship music, am aware of my Lord most of the time and am surprised at how much time I spend praying. Most of my prayers are self-centered, not for stuff, but to keep my mind straight so that I can be of maximum use to others.  I will work on this with God’s help.

 I, by no means, have this down pat.  It seems I pray more than I thought I do.  I still don’t pray enough, but God isn’t finished with me yet.

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Patience…

July 7, 2011

Ro. 12:12 b  Be patient in tribulation… 

It seems to me that, unless you know and trust God, you cannot possibly be patient in tribulation or trouble.  The worldly way is to “grab the bull by the horns” or charge into the problem without any counsel or guidance.  That usually just leads to more trouble and tribulation. 

The Christian way is to take our burdens to the Lord, lay them at the Cross, leave them and go back to seeking His Kingdom.  He promises that if we seek His Kingdom first, He will take care of the rest.

 I prefer to rest in Him, do the next right thing, get advice if necessary and rely upon the Holy Spirit for guidance through the Word of God.

 The worldly way does not work.  It only feeds the problem and gives way for more difficulties.

 I have learned to turn it over and not take it back.  It’s a battle sometimes, but if I keep my mind on Kingdom work, I don’t have time to go garbage picking.

 

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Rejoice in Your Hope (Ro. 12:12a)

July 6, 2011

I often wonder how those without faith can navigate this world.  I also can see the anger and combativeness of those who have chosen not to believe.  Without faith, there is no hope.   There are “wishes”, but no hope.

I often wanted to be able to place into an unbeliever, just for a minute, the experience of faith, hope and love in Christ.  Unfortunately, I cannot.

I listen to those who hate Christianity and am so grateful that I have the Lord, that the Father called me.  I don’t know why, but I am sure because scripture tells me, that He calls all men to Him.

We are being watched (even when vilified).  No matter what happens, we must rejoice in our hope.  God has planned everything out for us (Jer. 29:11) and nothing in His Kingdom happens by chance.  We are placed here to show others the Hope that overcomes all obstacles and by our example to draw others to Christ.   Our hope springs eternal…and is a beacon here in the surrounding darkness.  Let your light shine!