A BEAUTIFUL GUIDE FOR LIFE – (Part 3)


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Romans 12:6-21 – “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  NASU

 

We have covered verses 6-16a and now it is my hope to open some beautiful truths and give some beneficial things we can incorporate into our daily lives.  I believe that in verses 6-12 we have a most powerful guide to daily living and when embraced will bring incredible personal victory of sin and discouragement.  It will lead us to triumph rather than depression.

THE FINAL ADMONITIONS FOR LIFE.

In the first part of verse sixteen, we are told, “Be of the same mind toward one another…”  We discussed that this could and should be viewed in the light of how we would feel and react what we would desire if we were in the same situation.  Then the sentence continues, “…do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.”  That admonition was repeated several times by our LORD in the Gospels.  We are never to have partiality or show favoritism in our relationships with others.  A man in a lofty economic status is no better or worse than the man in poverty.  The so-called ‘beautiful people’ are not better than the ‘unwashed masses.’  God shows no partiality and judges the heart, not the bank account or the exterior.  Our response to everyone should be patterned after our Lord Jesus and not simply personal preference or appearance.

We are then warned not to become “Self-Inflated” in our own eyes.  The Bible tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  No, it is not saying be down on yourself, but the call is for humility.  The call is to remember that all we have comes from God.  Our talents and abilities came from Him. He equipped us and although we had to work to hone those gifts, talents, and abilities, their root and source are Him!

In verse seventeen we are given a much-needed warning – NEVER and the emphasis must be on NEVER pay back evil for evil.  An eye for an eye is an Old Testament Principle that was nailed to the Cross in Jesus.  We are to be those who forgive not those who hold grudges and we must remember that God said, “Vengeance is mine.”  It is not our right or place to be judge, jury, and executioner.  We are not God.  We are to forgive and place them in His hands and He will do what is right and needed.

We are to give respect and honor to what is Right both publicly and privately.  Integrity must be a cornerstone in our lives.  Then, he says something that places a major emphasis on our determination and personal responsibility.  In verse eighteen we are told, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Some will not allow us to be at peace, but we must seek peace and extend the olive branch of peace to all men.  We must be those who practice, “soft words” rather than “harsh words” of strife and discord. We must never be sowers of discord.  He then returns to the matter of personal revenge and says NEVER.  If you do, you hinder God’s wrath and judgment upon evil.

Here is the most difficult part of this entire message, verses twenty and twenty-one are often bitter pills to swallow but swallow we must if we are to become what God desires and be “like Christ.” 

“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Wow!  Lord, I react to this as I do to the admonition of James telling me to “count it all joy when trials come my way.”  This is so hard!  If a person is an antagonist and one who has sought your harm physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially extending a helping hand is next to impossible for most.  We must also be careful not to focus on the last portion of that directive and say, “Well, I’m heaping burning coals on their heads.”  We are, but not if the thought of burning coals is part of our thirst for vengeance or revenge.  No, that transpires when we release them to God and He begins to deal with them.  In that dealing the coals of conviction fall upon them and they find it, as did Saul of Tarsus, “difficult to kick against the pricks.”

The last verse is powerful and should provide incredible comfort in our pursuit of godliness and righteousness.  “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”  I realize that many times it seems that we are doing anything but overcoming when we seek to extend good to those bent on evil, harm, and destruction.  But it is a matter of Faith and Trust.  If we believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do – WE CAN DO THIS!

God bless you and may the LORD help you become all you can be in Him and live those Life Principles in your daily walk.  Have a Great Day!

A BEAUTIFUL GUIDE FOR LIFE – (Part 2)


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Romans 12:6-21 – “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  NASU

 

Back to our discussion of God’s Guide for Life as found in this passage.  Last time we highlighted some of the aspects of the Gifts and their Usage.  Today I’d like to delve into the next verses beginning with verse nine and consider some of the applications we are admonished to adopt into our lives and ministries.

LOVE – Complete Love God’s Way.

In verse nine we are brought face to face with the repeated admonishment in Scripture to Love and here it gives an interesting addendum or addition.  We are to love without hypocrisy.  Hypocritical Love?  What in the world is that?  He is contrasting hypocritical love to genuine love, not theoretical love or loves out of necessity or obligation.  He is speaking of Agape.  That is the Greek word for love found in this passage.  It is love that loves regardless of external influences or stimuli.  It is allowing the Love of God to flow through us to others.  I suggest that kind of love is far rarer than we care to admit and most of our love is conditional and dependent, at least to a degree, on “what’s in it for us.”

In this love, we are to abhor evil.  The word used in the Greek is “apostugeo” and means to detest utterly.  I have contended for years that too frequently, we in the Church, and in our individual lives do not truly detest and abhor sin as we should.  We have become anesthetized by modern television, the internet, interpersonal relationships, and a society that has become far more tolerant of sin than is healthy.  We are, too frequently, not disturbed by nudity on the screen, simulated sex acts, profanity in the movies or in life, and the various lifestyles that God calls abominable.  I lament this in my own life, that I have been guilty of not abhorring sin to the point that I shun the very appearance of evil and turn the TV off or walk out of the movie theater or away from a conversation that is base.  We are to receive anyone who is willing to come but we are not to be a part of the world.  There is a place and time to ‘come out from among them and be separate.’  We are admonished to be holy because He is holy.  No, I am not saying, become Pharisees but sin should break our hearts.

We are to Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and Weep with those who are weeping.  In simple terms, we should be touched by the blessings and troubles of our brothers and sisters in this life.  We are not islands and what affects you does affect me in the sense that we are part of the same body.  Therefore, if you rejoice I can share in your joy and if you weep I can offer comfort in your sorrow.

We are to “be of the same mind toward one another”.  What does that mean?  Let me offer this and you evaluate it and come to your own conclusion.  In Barnes Notes we read, “A literal translation of the Greek will give somewhat a different sense, but one evidently correct. “Think of, that is, regard, or seek after the same thing for each other; that is, what you regard or seek for yourself, seek also for your brethren. Do not have divided interests; do not be pursuing different ends and aims; do not indulge counter plans and purposes; and do not seek honors, offices, for yourself which you do not seek for your brethren, so that you may still regard yourselves as brethren on a level and aim at the same object.” The Syriac has well rendered the passage: “And what you think concerning yourselves, the same also think concerning your brethren; neither think with an elevated or ambitious mind but accommodate yourselves to those who are of humbler condition;” compare 1 Peter 3:8.

 It would seem that the Golden Rule is at work in the heart of this admonition and the directive to “be of one accord or agreement.”   If I consider your situation in the light of how I would feel or respond I am far more likely to be empathetic or sympathetic to your plight or embrace your blessing as a wonderful thing from the Lord.  I will not become envious or jealous but will, with humble heart give thanks to the Father from whom comes all gifts for His blessings on that person.

I want to discuss this just a bit more and will pick up with verses 16b-21 in tomorrow’s devotional.   Until then, may the rich and bountiful blessings of our LORD be upon you and may your day be filled with gladness and no sadness.

GOD’S GUIDE FOR LIVING…


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Matthew 6:9-13 –‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10′ Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11’ Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]”  NASU

There are no valueless passages in the Bible, in my humble opinion.  There are, however, some that are so powerful and impact the individual on every level of life in such a dynamic fashion that they rise to the surface as literally the “cream of the crop.”  This is one of those passages.  Realizing that you could write an entire book on this passage and many have, I will address it with much brevity.

Let’s take it a bite at a time and digest what it is saying:

  1. Our Father who is in heaven… The reverence to and the loftiness of the one being spoken of cannot be missed.  This is not just anyone it is JEHOVAH GOD that is being spoken of.  This is the Creator of the Universe.  This is the one who holds the worlds in the span of His hand.  This is the giver and sustainer of life.  This is GOD!
  2. Hallowed be Your name… A direct reference to the sacredness of the very name of God and His worthiness to be worshipped by all creation.  Wherever this is leading the foundation being laid is one that is unshakable and impenetrable by forces of destruction.
  3. Your kingdom come… This is a bowing down and an assertion of allegiance to His rule and reign and His right to do so.
  4. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… A further acknowledgment of submission to and desire for the Will & Purposes of God to be carried out in every life on earth as it is by every life in heaven.  Perfect harmony with the Mind of God is the stated and established goal and desire.
  5. Give us this day our daily bread… The first request and it is for provision but not just provision in the natural but in every aspect and dimension of life.  Jesus said that man could not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeded from the mouth of God so we know it is more than just natural food it is spiritual as well.
  6. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… An acknowledgment that we have come short and are indebted to the Grace  & Mercy of God.  Our sins have come before us and we are aware of them and we recognize that although we may have been wronged by others if we desire to receive pardon we must be willing to extend it fully and freely.
  7. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil… This is not a suggestion that God would actually lead us into sin but an acknowledgment that without His help we would never be able to resist and overcome temptation and evil.  We would, in our human frailness, fall prey to the wiles of the devil and fall short of God’s desired holiness.
  8. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever… An acknowledgment that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is, was, and will always be.  He is the I AM THAT I AM, the Alpha and Omega.
  9. Amen… So be it or let it be. 

If we were to follow this prayer on a daily basis, not make it some ritualistic recitation we would live above the fray of the storms of life and walk in such a relationship with our Heavenly Father that Peace would rule our hearts in all things and at all timesI suggest that you consider, meditate, muse on, and examine this prayer and see if the Holy Spirit might just want to make it the foundational guide of your daily life.  I can promise you if He does, you will never be the same and those around you will assuredly take notice not of your great wisdom, talent, or knowledge but “that you have been with Jesus.”

May God bless you as you enjoy your weekend in His presence!