Monday, January 27, 2014

January 28, 2014

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 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; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:9-21

Have you ever thought how blessed we are to be alive in this amazing period of history? These are exciting days! Troubled days, for sure. Dangerous days, no doubt. But these are days of great opportunity. These are times that challenge you to clearly know and understand what we believe, to discipline our thoughts according to those beliefs, and most importantly - live what we believe.

We have just seen how quickly trends can turn with the results of just one state election. It seemed that our nation was headed full speed toward some ill-advised decisions that could threaten individual liberties. That should encourage you to know the power of one individual life who boldly stands for traditional conservative principles.

Romans 12:9-21 affirms the power of a life lived well.

This is one portion of Scripture that makes as much sense read backwards and it does read in order. Paul concludes this hopeful and encouraging admonition with this strong statement, "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Start there and read backward to know how to do it!

Do you hear that? Can you get your heart and mind around that? YOU CAN OVERCOME EVIL! Not only CAN you - you MUST! If you do not overcome evil you will be overcome by it. There is no moral neutral ground or DMZ. I am afraid we lose sight of that. I am afraid we drift into a shadow land of "I'm not that bad" rather than standing boldly in the bright light of "this is right"!

In this powerful 12th chapter, Paul is prescribing a powerful revolutionary plan of action for Christians who were living in one of the most corrupt cultures in history. On a good day, the Roman Empire was amoral, mostly it was grossly immoral. These Roman Christians were considered enemies of the empire and were unmercifully persecuted by the Romans in addition to being relentlessly pursued by the Jewish leaders. In that context, Paul says, "Live out what you believe and you will defeat evil." He didn't promise them comfort. He didn't promise them prosperity. He didn't promise them deliverance from suffering. He just promised them victory.

By the way, the Roman Empire crumbled and Christianity is alive and well!

Just when they must have felt like they were losing, Paul writes to remind them how to win. This might be timely advice for you and me.

Righteousness is restored one person at a time, one decision at a time and one courageous action at a time. Every time you do the right thing because you believe the right thing and think the right way - YOU OVERCOME EVIL!

It's not up to the Republicans or the Democrats or the TEA Party or the Independents or the Libertarians or any "ism". It is not the job of President Obama or Ted Cruz or Governor McAuliffe. It is not up to Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Joel Osteen, or James Dobson. Not even Dr. Phil can solve this one!

But you can! So can I! And it can begin today - right now!

You have to know what you believe. You have to believe what you believe. You have to think consistent with your beliefs and make decisions based on your convictions not your emotions. And then courageously behave according to your beliefs. If you do that and if I do that we will overcome evil today!

Have a GOOD day - world-changer!