OVERCOME EVIL

OVERCOME EVIL

In Romans 12:21 (AMP), Paul wrote:  “Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.”

Overcome evil. Don’t let evil overcome you. You are not a victim. Paul didn’t write, “Pray that evil never comes knocking. If it does, you’re toast! There’s no way you can win.” Paul wrote, “Do not let yourself be overcome…” We’ve all felt the pressure of evil trying to push its way into our lives. And yet, the only way it can get in is if you give it permission. The truth is, evil overcomes us because we allow it to, not because it’s stronger than we are.

We don’t overcome evil by ignoring it, hoping it will go way, or praying that God will take it away. We overcome evil by doing good! Screaming in the dark won’t do anything. You must turn on the light.

Pray for those who don’t deserve it. Speak life when others are speaking death. Choose peace when others create conflict. Walk in love instead of justifying hate. Praise when you rather complain. Declare victory when you feel defeated.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 19 & 20 ; Proverbs 30

PAYBACK DOESN’T PAY BACK

PAYBACK DOESN’T PAY BACK

In Romans 12:19-20 (NET), we read:  Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head.

Don’t pay people back for the hurt they cause. Instead, we are to “give place to God’s wrath…for He will repay.” Now, if you enjoy thinking about how God will punish those who hurt or mistreated you, think again. That’s not God’s heart and it shouldn’t be ours either.

The place of God’s wrath is the Cross. It was there that God punished Jesus for both the sin we commit and the sin committed against us. In every relationship, in every instance where we have been hurt by others, we need to give place to the Cross. We need to put the Cross in every situation. Don’t pay people back for the sin they committed against you. Instead, remember the Cross. Remember that God has forgiven you for the sins you committed against Him and others…and forgive in the same way.

So what about “heaping burning coals” on people’s head? What does that mean? In Bible times, when a person’s fire went out, they would go to their neighbor for help. To reignite their fire, they would be given burning coals in an earthen jar, which was carried on the head. “Heaping burning coals” on someone’s head wasn’t a picture of burning someone alive! It was a picture of warming their homes.

The people who hurt us need help. Their hearts need to be reignited with God’s love. By doing good to those who have done us evil is to give place to the Cross. Remember…it’s all about “loving people back to life.”

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 17 & 18 ; Proverbs 29

SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL

SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL

In 1 Corinthians 13:5b (AMP), Paul wrote:  Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. 

Surrender to God’s will. The “abundant life” that Jesus came to give us comes down to our willingness to surrender to God. Everyone wants it their way but only one way works – God’s way.

When it comes to our relationships, both personal and professional, we all tend to treat others the way they treat us. And this is clearly seen when we reach that “breaking point” in a relationship. It feels good to retaliate when people mistreat you. We feel justified giving people the silent treatment, the cold shoulder, or the evil eye when they’ve done the same to us.

We may feel that people have broken our hearts but they didn’t. Jesus makes His home within our heart. No one is powerful enough to break His home. Our hearts aren’t broken by the actions of others; they’re broken by our own. Our hearts are broken, not when someone hurts us, but when we choose to hurt them back. What we think will break those who have hurt us, in reality, only breaks ourselves.

God knows this. He created us. And He provides us with instructions on how to deal with the hurt others cause, so that hurt doesn’t cause us to break our own hearts. He says: Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Loving people that way doesn’t make sense. Lose the logic. Trust the Lord.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 15 & 16 ; Proverbs 28

KEEP YOUR VOWS

KEEP YOUR VOWS

In Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 (TNIV), we read: When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.”

The devil uses breaking points to attack our vows. A vow is a promise that we make to the Lord. And guess what? He expects us to keep them! Have you ever said the following?

  • Lord, I’ll do whatever You tell me to do.
  • Lord, where do you want me to go? I’ll go there.
  • Lord, use me to help others.
  • Lord, I’ll give whatever you tell me to give.

You may be telling yourself, “But I was desperate at the time. I didn’t really mean those things. I didn’t ‘promise’ God I would do it.” If we take our vows to God so lightly, it’s no wonder we so easily break our vows to each other.

Your marriage is based on a vow. It’s that vow that keeps two people together when conflict arises. It’s that vow that makes them work things out for the benefit of each other. And when that vow is taken lightly, when a breaking point comes, the marriage breaks down.

Being a parent is a vow. It’s a promise we make to God to raise our children in a way that honors Him. And when a parent tells a child, “Do as I say, not as I do”, they break their vow to God. Shouldn’t our vow to God to be an example to our children be greater than our bad habits and personal compromises? Don’t use pressure as an excuse to change, adjust or break your vows. Keep your word no matter what it costs you. Honor God and He will honor you.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 13 & 14 ; Proverbs 27

HIS WORD IS TRUTH

HIS WORD IS TRUTH

In John 17:17 (AMP), Jesus prayed: Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

To ensure that a breaking point becomes a breakthrough, and not a breakdown, we must know the truth about the situations we are facing. And guess what? You are not the source of truth! Let’s look at what this means…

Our minds: Just because a thought enters your mind, doesn’t make it true. The thoughts that run through our minds about any given problem can create a fog. Don’t get caught up chasing after them. Running after a thought in our minds only creates more stress and anxiety. Going through the “What if…then what?” scenarios in our minds will never lead us to the truth.

Our emotions:  Our emotions are like roller coasters – up one moment and down the next. Truth can’t be based on how we feel.  If it was, then the truth would change as often as our feelings do – and what good is truth that changes?

Many people make decisions when facing a breaking point based on their own thoughts and emotions. And that’s why they breakdown instead of breakthrough. So, what do we base our decisions on? We should base them on God’s Word, as Jesus said, “Your Word is truth.” Base your choices on God’s Word, the Bible. It will never steer you in the wrong direction. It will never fail you. It will never change based on how you feel or what you think. God is faithful. You can stake your life on what He says.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 11 & 12 ; Proverbs 26

WATCH ME PART II

WATCH ME PART II

In Matthew 26:38-39, the Bible records: Then [Jesus] said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

In yesterday’s devotional we shared that Jesus knew He was at a breaking point. He also knew that we would face breaking points in our lives, so He told His disciples to, “Stay here and watch with Me.” In essence, He was saying, “Watch Me. Let me show you how it’s done, so you can do the same.” Remember…God wants us to breakthrough, not breakdown, and Jesus is about to show us how.

FIRSTHe went a little further. When we are under pressure, the temptation to give in, to quit, to throw in the towel can be very compelling. So the first thing Jesus did when facing His breaking point was to go a little further. Jesus was on the Cross for six hours. On the third day He rose from the dead. Breakthrough isn’t as far away as you think. Keep moving forward.

NEXTHe fell on His face and prayed. You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating – don’t run from God, run to Him. The answers we need are waiting for us in the presence of God. Yes, it’s always a good thing to get godly counsel from those you trust, but it’s foolish to ask the world for advice (see Psalm 1). Go to prayer. Seek the Lord. Ask for His wisdom and direction. As Roy Lessin said, “The man who walks with God is always moving in the right direction.”

THENHe said, “Not as I will but as You will.” This is the most important lesson – the surrender of our will to God’s. When stress is mounting and emotions are flaring, we tend to make dumb (more like stupid) decisions – decisions that may temporarily make us “feel” better but make matters even worse than before. You may want revenge; God wants you to forgive. You may want to walk out; God wants you to keep your vows. The list goes on and on. When we do life God’s way…we’ll get God’s results.

When you reach a breaking point, stay with Jesus. Watch Him. Follow His example. He will lead you to your breakthrough.

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 9 & 10; Proverbs 25

WATCH ME PART I

WATCH ME PART I

In Matthew 26:38-39 (NKJV), we read:  Then [Jesus] said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Breaking points are the defining moments of our lives. We all think of ourselves as loving, compassionate, faithful people. But it’s the choices we make under pressure that reveal if we really are.

Jesus reveals the symptoms of a breaking point. He said that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful. Breaking points target our soul: our thoughts, feelings, and decisions. This is where we are most vulnerable to pressure. It’s usually what we think and how we feel that leads us to make good or bad choices. Our soul is the most unstable part of our lives and must be fortified with God’s Word.

What do we do when our soul is under pressure? If you removed the stress, pressure and temptation from every decision, they would be easy to make! We would always make the right choices. But the fact is, we all face pressure. And that pressure will either break us down or cause us to break through. Let’s look at what Jesus said…

Stay here and watch with Me. This statement, this invitation, this command is the key to turning every breaking point to a breakthrough. Knowing what He was about to go through, and knowing that we would be going through it at some point in our lives, Jesus told His disciples, “Watch Me. I’ll show you how it’s done. I’m going to give you an example of how to handle a breaking point.” What Jesus did next is our example of how to handle our breaking points.

To be continued…tomorrow!

[A new Bible Reading Plan will be released in our third 90-Day Challenge. In the meantime, the following Bible reading plan is from our second 90-Day Challenge. If you’ve completed this plan, we recommend that you read through portions again in a different version of the Bible. Use this time to catch up on any missed reading (Example: Instead of NKJV, try NLT).]

Daily Bible Reading:  Revelation 8; Proverbs 24