The scripture for today, April 1 (4/1), is Ephesians 4:1 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Paul, a prisoner for spreading the word about Jesus? Now he wants others to follow his example, even if they end up in prison like him? Did Paul’s incarceration stop the Christians he was writing to? More, did Jesus’ crucifixion stop them for fear they would be crucified too?
Did early Christians decide it was too dangerous to tell people the way to escape hell and go to heaven? Never. They loved people so much, they were willing to take insults and persecution and imprisonment and even death in the hopes that their persistent love would eventually lead to people becoming Christians and being saved from eternal hell. They knew their calling as Christians.
How about today? Do you live a life worthy of your calling as a Christian? Do you stand up for Jesus and reach out to the lost, regardless of the cost? Or do you cower and use the excuse, “Once people see my godly life, they will ask me how to be saved”? How many times do the lost really do that?
Rise up! Stand tall as a brave soldier of the Lord. Dare to march into enemy territory and do everything you can to snatch the lost out of the claws of Satan.
The Scripture for today, December 19 (12/19), is Romans 12:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Thank God he took away the old Law of Moses and gave us the new Law of Jesus instead. Under the Law of Moses, they often had to take revenge themselves. They had to stone adulterers and children who were disrespectful to their parents. If someone killed a relative, they were obligated to go out and kill that person. If someone knocked out the eye or tooth of a relative, they were obligated to go out and take that person’s eye or tooth.
Now God says to forgive and do good to your enemy (verse 20-21). That’s what God did to us ~ we who once were his enemies as sinners. As we are merciful to others, he is merciful to us.
Forgiveness is not condoning evil, but wishing the best for whoever did something bad to you. Hard to do? Indeed! But, with God, anything is possible. So, let go of it. Let go of them. Let God take care of it. He has released you of that burden. Released you to “overcome evil with good”.
The scripture for today, October 7(10/7), is Joshua 10:7f as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraidof them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’ “
We today cannot imagine a good God condoning violence, let alone promoting it. But think back. Mankind was quite barbaric in the centuries and millenniums before Christ. God never runs very far ahead of mankind, or else mankind would not understand, would grow discouraged and then not even try to follow God. By the time Jesus came, God was saying, “No more violence.”
In this scripture for today, God was telling Joshua to attack people in the Jews’ Promised Land ~ Canaan. This brings up a related question: Why would a good God allow one group of people to kill off another group of people? God had told Abraham centuries earlier, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16).
In Leviticus 18:24, 28, God warned the Jews through Moses, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled….And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” So God warned the Jews that, if they got as bad as the previous people in Canaan, he would drive them out too.
One of the monstrous sins of the Amorites was child sacrifice in the open fires of Marduck. Eventually, the Jews began doing the same thing, and God drove them out of their Promised Land to Assyria and Babylon.
Further, in Old Testament times, God often punished people immediately. Why punish them? Partly to get them away from the good people. And God used armies of believers to do the punishing for him.
In the New Testament, God does not expect us to do the punishing. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry feed him….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Thank God, he has taken the terrible task of vengeance away from us. We can just forgive (let loose of) our enemies and hand things over to God to take whatever steps need to be taken. In the meantime, we can read the Old Testament and learn that God takes notice when people are doing bad things to us. God does take care of us. God does love his children.
The scripture for today, July 19 (7/19) is found in Romans 7:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible.
“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do ~ this I keep on doing.”
Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of us in some area of our life? It may be eating too much, breaking the law by going over the speed limit, laughing at dirty jokes, habitual lying, stealing “little things” at work, cheating on tests, jealousy ~ any number of things. Sins of habit and attitude are hard to break. So, we go to God over and over asking him to forgive that which, deep down, we know we’re going to do again.
Perhaps this emphasizes the importance of us forgiving others who habitually do wrong to us. If we say, “I’m not going to forgive you anymore. You’ve done this to me too many times,” then God is likely to say the same thing to us.
Jesus said, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14).
Satan wants us to quit trying to do better. And he wants us to quit forgiving each other. Let us not give in to Satan. Let us give in to God.