Exacting Revenge

Revenge is sweet, or so they say. We plot and plan our next encounter and how we will get the jump on our enemy’s rude and spiteful behavior.

We set up a cycle of events in order to position our self to put our enemies in their place and to hurt them before they can hurt us. We despise them more with each breath we take.

Yet, revenge leaves us feeling empty. As Believers we even regret our display of ungodly behavior. Our vindictive and vengeful thoughts and actions take a toll on our spirit, and grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30).

It seems impossible to love our enemies. They taunt us, thwart us and stab us in the back every chance they get. We are willing to struggle with the concept of not hating them; but loving them is going a bit too far.

There is good news. We do not need to feel emotional affection to love our enemies, just a heart, which is surrendered to Christ.

When we love Christ more than we love our self, we can love our enemies with His Agape love. We grow to desire that our enemies will prosper and to experience the love of God, which we enjoy.

We can minister to our enemy’s physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and mental needs when God prompts us. He shows us opportunities to share His love with them.

God’s Word, which richly fills our soul, helps us to have meekness in order to walk away from the temptation to inflict revenge on our enemies (James 1:21).

God walks with us and in us through the dark night of our soul (Psalm 139:17-18). He rewards our faithfulness to walk in His truth. He roots us in His love and builds us up in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that vengeance is Yours and You will repay our enemies for their treatment of us. Help us to kill our enemies with kindness, pricking their conscience with our loving behavior toward them (Romans 12:20).

Soften their heart toward us. Show us the root of their feelings, which cause them to despise us. Use us to help them to heal from their wounds which cause them to bully us and others.

Cause their reasons for attacking us to diminish; and if nothing else, make them just walk away and leave us alone. In all things, help us to prosper even as our soul prosper when we follow Your will for our life (3 John 1:2).

Thoughts for the Day:
God establishes our faith in His faithfulness; and we abound in our gratitude to Him. – Colossians 2:6-7

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Avoiding the Pit of Depression

Three major causes of discouragement in this life are when our plans do not work out for us, our expectations are disappointed and our perceived desires are not fulfilled.

We hope that our life will turn out a certain way, and when it takes a course outside of our control, we get depressed or we fight tooth and nail to gain control again, which is impossible.

The little nagging issues that arise, setbacks that occur and people who disillusion us will wear our nerves thin and gang up to overwhelm us.

These issues etch away at our positive attitude and tear us down to the point of exhaustion. Rather than to succumb to them, we come up with witty mottoes to discharge our anxiety, such as: “Trouble only comes in threes.”

The remedy for plans going wrong is to stop making them.

We can avoid so many negative aspects in life by walking in the Spirit and seeking God’s counsel for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). We consult God for His plans (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Through prayer, we find out God’s desires and walk in His Spirit, accomplishing so much more through His direction, inspiration and power than we can through our own human strength.

God’s love, instead of our human compassion, directs us according to His will. When we walk in His ways, we find the resources, words and ideas we need to accomplish His list for our day.

We set our priorities according to Biblical principles, and we keep Jesus as our first love. As we rely on God’s agenda and wisdom, rather than on our human capabilities, we live a life centered in Him.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to do only those works, which You planned for us before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10). This means that we may say “No” to the good things and the dire needs presented to us, unless You tell us to say “Yes”.

Teach us that although we may feel guilty for not helping someone in need, even when we have the time and means to help, to obey You and not to step out of your will for them and for us by helping anyway.

As we wait on You, we never enter the pit of despair, because we view all of the opportunities, issues and demands in our life with the eyes of Your understanding and according to Your will for us.

Thought for the Day:
Rather than living under the tyranny of the next item on the agenda, or the next emergency, which presents itself, we dispel depression and stress by totally surrendering to God’s direction.

Loving the Unlovable

Too often we judge people for their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. We categorize them, box them up in neat little packages and stick them away on a shelf in our mind, ignoring them as much as possible.

Once in a while our paths cross again, and we are forced to interact with this peculiar individual once more. We take down our box, stick new labels on them and place them back on the shelf as quickly as possible. They may be our neighbor, spouse, child, sibling, relative, church member, co-worker or even our employer.

Please realize that within each of these precious people is a wounded soul. They are a product of a lifetime of events, which molded their personality to give them unique characteristics, which may irritate or even wound us deeply.

We may go so far as to harbor bitterness toward them and possibly even dismiss them from our life as a lost cause (Ephesians 4:32). However, these unlovable people are diamonds in the rough.

They are created by God, and He has a special plan for their life, just as He has for us (Ephesians 2:10). God put them in our life for us to minister His Agape love to them and to give them a secure and nurturing place to live (Matthew 5:47).

We are all fallible and have our own weaknesses and peculiarities. How would you want this person to treat you? There is healing for everyone at the cross of Christ.

Sometimes, people are unaware of God’s grace, and He gives us opportunities to give them unconditional love, patience, security and friendship to model God’s character to them. His plan for this relationship may be for us to help heal the deep wounds within their soul.

Prayer:

Father God, You create everyone in Your image. We are all unlovable until You redeem us (Ephesians 1:7). In fact, You loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Teach us that when we allow Your Agape love to flow through us to someone else, it is hard to stay angry at them or to consider them worthless.

Remind us to pray for them and to look for opportunities to bless them. You may just use this individual to bless us in some way too, if we look beyond the aspects of their life which irritate or hurt us, and love them anyway.

Thought for the Day:

Don’t throw people away, because God wants us to use our freedom in Him to love and serve one another, just as He died for and blesses us. – Galatians 5:13

Rest for Our Weary Soul

God is our Savior in the valley, as well as on the mountaintop. When we feel overwhelmed by life’s issues, spending time alone with God is the perfect place to find rest for our weary soul.

Rather than to allow the cares of the world to weigh us down and to give us a negative attitude, we can rest in the love, peace and joy of the Lord in every circumstance.

God plants opportunities for joy in every situation He allows. It is all a matter of our focus. Even death, ill health, a bad marriage and any other negative event has a positive side if we change our focus about it.

They say that “every dark cloud has a silver lining”; and God is eager to reveal it to us. I love to abide in the “quiet place” of my inner spirit, where the Spirit of my Lord and Savior dwells.

God’s wants us to walk in His Spirit, but that takes courage. He wants us to learn to forgive our shortcomings and to use our God given talents and abilities to their fullest measure for His service.

God has a perfect plan for our lives. As we walk in it, He blesses us abundantly above all that we can ever ask or think (Ephesians 2:10, 3:20-21). While we use the gifts He gave us for His glory, we enjoy His unique calling for our life (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, as You open doors for us that no one can close, help us to be all that You made us to be. Help us to willingly follow the direction of Your Holy Spirit in our thoughts, words and deeds. Remind us that, like the mountains, You created us to rise into the heavens.

You have a wonderful plan for our life; a plan filled with love, joy and peace through our Rock, Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 29:11). Remind us that our salvation does not come through human effort, but through accepting Jesus as our Savior and our Lord. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt we owe for our sins.

Thought for the Day:
As long as we navigate life by God’s Spirit, we will succeed in every area where He leads us.

Knowing God

The key to our life in Christ is to realize that as Born Again Believers, we are one with Him. Jesus gave us the glory that God gave Him, so that we can be united with Him just as He and our Father are one. He lives in us, our Father lives in Him and we are brought into complete unity with the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit (John 17:22-23). We are one Spirit with them all (1 Corinthians 6:17).

We know God personally through prayer and Bible study and we come to know Him intimately through the experience of Him manifesting Himself in and through us. This personal relationship is what eternal life is all about (John 17:3; Mark 6:53-56). The only issue that blocks our connection with Him is sin. However, confessed and forgiven sin opens the door between us again.

God is more than our ever-present help in times of crisis (Psalm 46:1). He is our Father each moment of the day. Jesus is our Brother. He sits on His throne with our Father in Heaven; yet, lives within us at the same time. The power of Christ is evident through us to the world around us as we live in Him and He lives through us (1 John 4:9). We do not follow our own desires and will for our day, but Christ’s life flows through us (Ephesians 2:10).

He is the vine and we are His branches (John 15:5). We are hidden with Christ in God and Christ is our whole life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4). Another analogy is that we are God’s temple and He abides in us. He creates us as vessels, to be used according to His will for our life (2 Timothy 2:20). Rather than work for God, we submit to God working through us. We are united with Him and we do what we see Him do by His Spirit (Galatians 5:6-25).

During witnessing opportunities, we open our mouth and God fills it with the right words to speak (Matthew 10:19). If we are counseling or mentoring or discipling someone, God gives us the words to share with this counselee to set him/her free to honor God with their life (Psalm 81:10). We take no credit for the results and God gets all the glory. We can do nothing from our own human effort, but God manifests Himself through us (John 15:19).

Prayer:
Father God, if we lack wisdom, we merely need to ask and You fill us generously without finding any fault in us (James 1:5). We come to know You through our salvation and then through spending each moment of our day with You. Help us not to allow the flesh, the world and the devil to distract us from walking by Your Spirit, but allow us to keep our mind on You (Isaiah 26:3). Then You will keep us in perfect peace as we go about doing Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit teaches us at all times what we are to say. – Luke 12:12