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Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

How do you respond to someone who attacks you? Or maybe the question should be “Do you respond or react?”

Reaction is immediate, swift and impulsive. Response involves thought and time and deciding if the best action is non-action. Sometimes, of course, the situation itself dictates the answer to that question. For example, when physical harm is imminent there is no time to waste. Action must be swift.

There are other times when our best action may not be reaction but taking time to step back and consider our response. The human reaction when we are attacked is either fight or flight. The decision is often determined by our ability, or perceived ability to win. That’s what it’s really all about isn’t it? Isn’t that why the guy cut you off yesterday? You were in HIS lane? Isn’t that why you felt so good (for awhile anyway) when you didn’t give a tip to that incompetent, rude server at the restaurant during lunch? Isn’t that why you got into the face of your teenager when they were disrespectful to you ‘for the last time’? It was all about control, all about who will come out on top.

From the very beginning of time, every conflict has been about who will control what or whom. That was the motivation behind Satan as he entered the garden, it’s the basis of every national and family conflict ever since. We want to win and sometimes we want to win at all costs.

Psalm 37:11 teaches us, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”

That’s just the opposite of how we normally think. It’s not the meek that get anything except to be treated as doormats. But meekness isn’t weakness; meekness is having power that is under control. As believers in Jesus Christ we are not called to be doormats, we are children of the king. We are, however called to be meek. We have all the power of the Triune God on our side, but we are to consider how we can be meek when it comes to our own way.

Meekness is hard because meekness means that even though we have all power and even though we may be right, we release the situation in which we feel attacked or mistreated to God so that he can handle it.

Meekness means we wait for God’s timing, not our own. God has promised to protect us. He’s promised to be with us, to walk with us during the dark valleys of life. Sometimes his promises seem slow, but they are not slow. He’s just much more patient than we are.

Meekness means we trust God’s methods. When we are mistreated or attacked we have a pretty good idea of how it should be handled. Usually, if we are honest, it will be handled in a way that gives us glory. However, God’s intention is never to give us glory; God’s intention is to bring glory to Himself; it’s never about revenge but always about restoration.

Meekness goes against every human part of us. It can only come as we learn to give control of our lives to Jesus through the power of His Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I confess that many of the conflicts I’m involved in are a result of my demands for my own way and not for your glory or the restoration of others. Empower me with your Spirit to give you the control in the conflicts in my relationships. Amen.


“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of one of those exclusive Country Clubs? You know the kind. Expensive, fancy cars packing the parking lot. Valets making sure you don’t have to bother with parking your car, or going to find it. Great food. Well kept gardens complete with pools. Beautiful scenery. Excellent service always delivered with a smile and a Mr. or Ms.  and, of course, red carpet treatment.

Most of us will never experience that kind of treatment. We wouldn’t meet the entrance qualifications, or wouldn’t have the money it would take to purchase those benefits. At least not in this world.

That’s not the case in God’s Kingdom. In God’s kingdom it’s the poor who are elevated because they are the ones who are most aware of their need for God.

It’s the person who constantly struggles with life who is uplifted because they know how much they need God’s grace.

It’s those who suffer the injustice of broken relationships, addictions and persecution who will feel the warmth of Jesus’ arms as they endure the pain of life.

It’s those who are merciful to those who mistreat them or don’t deserve their generosity that are clothed in the satisfaction only Christ can give. Satisfaction in knowing someone is better because they gave.

It is those who give up their own rights to make sure the rights of others are protected that enjoy the peace that passes all understanding.

The elite Country Club has a long list of qualifications. God has one: Love me and in so doing love yourself and others.

The elite Country Club has membership dues that need to be paid. God paid your dues through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The elite Country Club offers many benefits to make your life comfortable while on earth. God promises and eternal life in heaven with Him, free of pain and heartache, and all because of Jesus.

Because of Jesus you meet the qualifications, the membership dues have been paid, and the benefits will last for eternity.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank you for the promises of blessings far above what the world offers. There are so many times I feel insecure. So many times I worry. So many times I feel completely inadequate for the task before me. Thank you for Jesus and the comfort, forgiveness and hope for eternity I have in Him. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

 


Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36

When Jesus was on earth many people became disillusioned with him when he began to speak of his upcoming death. They misunderstood his mission. They were looking for someone to deliver them from the bondage that the Roman Government was putting on them

The people of Jesus’ time were tired of high taxes, tired of government rules and regulations and tired of being told how and where and when to worship. They wanted government off their backs. They wanted freedom. In Jesus they saw all that and more. Imagine having king that was not only righteous, but could heal as well! Life would be so much better.

But Jesus didn’t come to earth to provide the people with a guarantee of prosperity. He didn’t walk the dusty roads of Palestine to preach revolution from government. Jesus didn’t come to remove trials and tribulation from people’s lives, he came to show them how to live in the midst of them.

We really haven’t changed much from the days when Jesus was physically here. During those honest times we still expect, or at least wish, that he would wave some magic wand and make our world easier.

Who wouldn’t love to have a Savior that would provide all our wants? How marvelous would it be for him to remove the crabbiness from those around us. If we could pray against the guy who just cut us off and have a policeman promptly pull him over! If we could simply wish those extra pounds away, magically produce lower gas prices, or change our spouse/significant other into the caring person we once thought they were.

Life would be so much easier if Jesus were our Santa Clause instead of our Savior! Ok, maybe that was a bit of a stretch, but every day people lose faith because their prayers weren’t answered the way they hoped, or the strength they prayed for didn’t come.

Jesus didn’t come to bring his physical kingdom into existence. Someday that will come. Jesus came to bring a Spiritual kingdom into the hearts of those who choose to follow Him. We should not expect to feel at home in this world. Our home isn’t here on earth, it’s in heaven. Until we get there, we are aliens in a foreign land.

Since this world is not our home we can expect to be misunderstood, mistreated and even attacked for our faith. Since we are aliens if a foreign land our hope isn’t in the life we live here, but in the life we live when we get home.

PRAYER: Father God, sometimes I get so tired of being under attack for my beliefs. I’m misunderstood, I’m tempted to doubt and I’m encouraged by the world system to go against your word. I live in a world system of no values and no absolute truth. I ask that you would strengthen me through your Holy Spirit to remain true through the attacks and struggles. Help me to remember that my home is not here, but with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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