Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

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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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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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Never Lag in Zeal and Earnestness

July 3, 2011

Romans 12:11 begins, “Not lagging behind in diligence”; some versions say “zeal”.   

I remember when I was first born again in 1975; my passion for the Lord and for sharing the good news was intense.  I could not stop talking about Him, about grace, about freedom.  I drove most people around me crazy; they either ran away from me or accepted the Lord to shut me up.  Thankfully, those who accepted Him are still with Him today. 

I walked away from Him for several years in the 1980s and didn’t fully recommit myself until 1996.  During that time, although my life took a downward spiral, I always had a strong sense that He was just waiting for me to come back.  Even then, if anyone asked me about Him, the fire returned as I witnessed (in word, truly not in action).  The Holy Spirit honored the attempt despite me.  A friend told me during that time that because I had been sealed with the Holy Spirit, I would return to the Lord.

 Well, I did return and He received me back, and blessed me and loved me and forgave me.  What I learned while wandering in my self imposed wilderness has now given me compassion, understanding and a ministry to guide others who need a savior back to Him as well. 

 The zeal and passion has returned, but now in a mature, level-headed, scripture based and guided fashion (by the Holy Spirit, good teaching of the Word and great mentors). 

So, if the zeal has left, do not despair:  “Our misery becomes our ministry” (Mark Shell). Return to Him and He will return to you.

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GOD IS MY COUNTRY

June 24, 2011

I once read  an unusual introduction to the Prophets of the Bible.  In it, the author expressed that, although they lived in Israel, “God was their Country”.  I loved that expression.  I posted it on my refrigerator to remind me that I am not “of this world” although I live in it.  I once was told that “everything isn’t spiritual” by a Pastor I respect and admire.   I beg to differ.  Everything is spiritual .

I became born again in 1975, I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church after attending a Life in the Spirit Seminar.  I turned away from the Lord in a slow process when I let the world become more important to me than God.  After many years of slowly self-destructing, I found recovery, returned to my Lord and resumed my walk with Him.

Another preacher I heard once said, “Your misery is your ministry”.    I found that to be so true.  In the past fifteen years,  the Lord has enabled me  to mentor many women using my own experience, strength and hope, freeing them from the bondage of self,  “to bring good news to the afflicted…to bind up the brokenhearted,  to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” Isa. 61:1.

During my morning meditation with the Lord (which only consists of writing in my journal a little, reading one verse or so from the Bible and thinking about it for a while),  I felt a tugging to begin this blog.  I don’t know what I will write but I hope so do it on a regular basis; both to share my thoughts and to learn more about Him.

I hope you will join me as I “trudge the road to happy destiny” and find new ways to serve my Lord, Jesus Christ.