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“Don’t forget to do good…”

I’ve often heard people misquote this verse and others with a similar message to justify their social activism and political agendas even though their ‘actions’ are completely contradictory to the context and whole of the Bible message.

‘Good’ can not be defined in human terms because ‘good’ in human terms is relative to the situation at hand and the mindset of the person or group defining it. Is the good you are doing helping the good of the majority of people who think like you do?

On the other hand, ‘good’ defined by God’s standards is impossible to attain without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s word. It is what empowered Jesus during the wilderness temptations to stay true to his mission and resist satanic influences. Each of the things Satan tempted Christ to do were not wrong in and of themselves but the motive behind them was!

When we consider our ‘good’ actions measure them according to the standards God instituted. Then thank him profusely for grace because even at your best you can’t do everything perfect. Thank him for his inner peace too because if you stand with God, you will ultimately stand against culture and society.

You’ll fair better in the long run when you stand with the one who holds your eternity in his hand that you will standing with those whose future is limited to this world. Your good deeds should be done according to God’s standards, not the whims and fickle ways of culture.


Jesus Christ was confronted by several of the religious leaders of his day. Their intent was to trap him in some statement. Bear in mind, these were the lawyers, the professors, the elite of his day. He was a mere carpenter from a small town — at least in their eyes.

So, Jesus. What’s the most important commandment of God. There are ten you know. What say you? What’s the most important thing?

Jesus’ words summed up the most important thing in life nicely. It was love. The power of love conquers everything. Paul says prophecies will end, gifts will end, but love? That lasts forever.

Jesus words to his accusers were simple. The more you love God, the more you will find it within yourself to love others. The opposite is also true, the more you love others; the more you accept their faults as God has accepted yours; the more you recognize the differences in others and either a God given gift or a personal struggle, the more you will experience the power of God’s love working through you.

Jesus describes this life of love as a fountain springing up within us and overflowing, Nothing can stop the power of God’s love. Love is contagious. Spread it.


Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27

help1I have a friend who has been a nurse for over 30 years. It’s always been interesting to sit and talk with him about his work. He’s seen a lot of things few of us would hope to see. He has one of the most compassionate hearts I think I’ve even seen. Soft-spoken, understanding, kind and respectful are all words I would use to describe Ben (not his real name).

Although been would rarely talk about individual patients or their situations, he’d tell about general situations that would tug at his heart. One of these was a life-changer. Ben had always considered himself to be non-judgmental towards other people but one shift taught him a valuable lesson about who he really was.

A patient had been brought up from ER and placed in his ward. Two police officers were stationed outside his room. When he inquired about the situation he found out that the patient assigned to him was the drunk driver in a fatal collision that took the lives of a young mom and two children. It was a sad story indeed, and one that is played out hundreds, if not thousands, of times every day. The drunk driver survived, the innocent did not.

As his shift progressed he knew it was time to go in and check on ‘the patient in #302’ but he kept putting it off. Finally, he could put it off no longer. Begrudgingly, he entered the darkened room to check on his patient. He was surprised to see a small dark form in the recliner beside the bed. As his eyes adjusted to the light he could tell it was a young girl. He asked the officer standing guard about her and found out she was the man’s only daughter. She’d been there since he was admitted and refused to leave for even a minute. Her mother had just died of cancer the week before.

My friend Ben removed himself and found an empty room where he could weep for a few minutes and regain his composure. His ‘hatred’ of the ‘drunk’ changed markedly when he realized the loss this man must have felt and the pain the little girl in the recliner felt. Why had he not checked on him sooner? If he had he could have perhaps offered some comfort to the little girl.

Proverbs 3:27 is one of the hard sayings of the Bible. On the surface it looks easy enough. If you have the means to help, help those who deserve it. Then the question comes. Who deserves it? In our humanness we can answer that question. If we look at others the way God looks at us, none of us deserve any help at all. But when we look at others the way God looks at us through the lens of Jesus’ love, then all of us are on equal footing. The man making a stupid decision to drive drunk is no better or worse than the self-righteous nurse refusing to care for him.

Who do you know that needs your help today? Perhaps just a prayer, a smile or a helping hand is all that is needed to show the love of Jesus. The key to this verse is that ‘when it’s in your power’ to help, help is required not optional.

PRAYER: Father God, every day we are surrounded by people in need of our help in various ways. When we encounter them give us the wisdom and strength to help them to the best of our ability regardless of their circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.


Now take seven bulls and seven male sheep, and go to my servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will listen to his prayer. Then I will not punish you for being foolish. You have not said what is right about me, as my servant Job did.” Job 42:8 (NCV)

One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is to forgive others.

Forgiveness doesn’t say the other person is deserving of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t condone their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean in any way that the relationship can or will ever be the same.

Forgiveness brings freedom.

Forgiveness allows us to become instruments of grace.

Imagine the pain and agony Job had endured. He had lost his children. Nothing is more devastating to a parent than to lose a child. Job lost ten of them all in one tragic moment. He lost his fortune. While still grieving the loss of his children he was met with financial calamity. While his head was still spinning, his health was taken from him. Then, to add insult to injury he was visited by three friends who continually reminded Job that things like this only happen to sinful people. Job should repent. Job should admit he was nothing but a filthy rag. Job should have faith.

Ironically, that’s all Job did have by this point was his faith. Job didn’t understand why God was allowing all this to happen to him, but he never lost sight of the fact that His God would deliver him. He never lost his trust in this God who’d gone silent.

God humbled Job with a series of questions and Job bowed in worship and admiration of this God who’d been so absent during his struggles. God never explained why he allowed such tragedy, and Job never again asked the question we all ask: “Why?”

Perhaps one of the most stunning parts of the story happens after the dialog between Job and God. God turns to Job’s friends and demands they bring sacrifices for their actions. They had spoken ignorantly of God and sacrifice was required for forgiveness. But not just any sacrifice. The sacrifice had to be administered by Job.

Amazing. The very people who had accused Job wrongfully would now humble themselves before him (and God). Their forgiveness was dependent on Job’s offering up of the sacrifice. Can you imagine how hard it was for the victim and the aggressor to approach the altar together?

That’s the power of forgiveness. We may not be able to physically approach the altar of forgiveness with those who have wronged us, but we can do so in the spiritual sense. To experience the freedom Christ gave us through his death and resurrection we must forgive those who have willfully or ignorantly wronged us. This is impossible to do through human will. This kind of forgiveness can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. This kind of forgiveness allows us to become instruments of grace.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that there is a need for forgiveness in my life. I harbor hurts, grudges and bitterness. I nurse feelings of judgmentalism. I gossip. Like Job, I need your power to bring my enemy to the altar of your forgiveness so that I can be free. Amen


Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. Galatians 4:7 (NLT)

A slave has no decisions to make about daily schedules, what food to eat or where they will live. A child is given new choices every day.

A slave has no future other than that decided by the master. A child is groomed every day to believe that they can be anything they want to be.

A slave lives every day with the fear that they may be ripped up from where they are and taken from their family. A child is secure in the knowledge that they are loved and that they can always come home. 

A slave lives knowing that all relationships are temporary, that those closest to him may be gone tomorrow. A child lives with the assurance that those who love him will always be at their side.

A slave lives with the presupposition that love is based on performance, that he is loved for what he does. A child lives with the foundational truth that he is loved for who he is, not for what he does.

A slave lives for today because tomorrow there is no hope for tomorrow. A child endures the struggles of growing up because he knows that his future is full of hope because someday he will receive the inheritance.

A slave knows that if he leaves, death is certain. A child knows that if he wanders he can always come home. Always.

A slave, even if he were to become ‘legally free’ still holds the DNA of slavery. A child will always bear the genetic marks of son-ship.

A slave sees a master. A child sees a loving father.

Brothers and sisters, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a child of the living God. You no longer need to live as slaves. You are a child of the King. Regardless of where you are, or where you have been. You have hope based on the person of Jesus Christ, not of yourself.

PRAYER: Father God. Daddy. I’m in awe as I’m reminded once again of who I am. It’s so easy with life circumstances to be deceived into seeing myself as a failure rather than your child. Forgive me for my doubt. Empower me with your spirit to live as your child. Thank you again for Jesus. Amen.

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