Sunday, March 31, 2013


This past week has included last-minute teaching, drama, suffering and death … and today: resurrection!   

It was a handful of women who were there to see Jesus’ final breath, and these same women who prepared him for burial.  Early on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath, these women came back to his tomb to further cover the body, and in the process, became the first to see the empty tomb, and the first to tell the gospel: He is alive! 

This became “the gospel,” - “the good news” for all people and for all times.  There is a resurrection from the dead, and Jesus was the first among us. 

Today’s lesson was written by Paul to the Corinth church of Christ … and I’ll let him finish this blog entry today … slightly re-arranged, and paraphrased for us. 

Please take these words to heart today and let them serve as your own personal message of hope. 
Like Jesus, we will all suffer. 
Like Jesus, we will all must take up our cross. 
Like Jesus, we will all die. 
Like Jesus, we will all be resurrected 
To them that overcome, we will be resurrected to eternal life

Now I make known to you the gospel
Which I preached to you,
Which you received,
In which you stand,
By which you’re saved …  
…(if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain)

That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and
That he was buried, and
That he was raised on the third day
That he appeared to Peter, to the 12, to more than 500, then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, he appeared to me. 

If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

I affirm that I die daily.
If  I fought from human motives, what does it profit me?
If the dead aren't raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

Don’t be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.  
Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God.  

But someone will say,
“How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?”
That which you sow doesn't come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or whatever.
But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
All flesh isn't the same, but there’s one of men, and another flesh of beasts, of birds, and of fish; and there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
So also is the resurrection of the dead: 
  • It’s sown a perishable body, it’s raised imperishable
  • It’s sown in dishonor; it’s raised in glory
  • It’s sown in weakness; it’s raised in power
  • It’s sown a natural body; it’s raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
So also it’s written:
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”
The last Adam was a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual isn't first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthy [Adam], we will also bear the image of the heavenly [resurrected Jesus].
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: we won’t all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
Thank God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Therefore beloved:
Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work - knowing that your toil for the Lord is not in vain! 

(excerpted from 1 Corinthians 15)

If you really want this resurrection message to help your daily life, go back through these verses and find the action items, and make them true in your life.  Don’t merely understand, but take action!  You will find (among other bits) Paul uses this message to teach us to:
  • Hold fast the word
  • Avoid the deception from keeping bad company
  • To die daily
  • To put our hope in eternity, not in this life
  • To be steadfast and immovable
  • To abound in the Lord’s work 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dark Sabbath

This week we remember Jesus’ final days.  Today is Saturday, the last day of the week, the “seventh day,” and that means today is the Sabbath, a day of rest.  God gave Israel the Sabbath day through Moses when He started providing food from heaven, just some 6 weeks or so after the first Passover.  For all those centuries from Moses to Jesus, Israel was to rest on the 7th day and do no work.  Of course religious leaders felt compelled to tell people what was “work,” and what wasn't.  They made up rules about how far one could walk, what kind of activities were acceptable and which ones weren't  and then those man-made rules became the same as the law to the ordinary person. 

Jesus’ disciples had learned these rules as children in their synagogue/schools, and probably followed them their whole lives.  But as they followed Jesus, they had learned new things about the Sabbath – they had learned that human rules weren't the same thing as God’s law – and they had been chastised for their actions by the religious leaders. 

Today we remember a special Sabbath, because today Jesus was dead.  His body was in a tomb, his soul in Hades.  What do you suppose was on the hearts and minds of his disciples today? 

I imagine they were very tired after several sleepless nights and happy to have the rest.  On the other hand, it can be very difficult to be still and rest, study and pray when one’s spirit is troubled; and they were certainly troubled.  How can this have been the Son of God, if he is now dead?  They thought he was The Anointed One (Messiah/Christ) and yet he had been mocked, beaten and murdered by the Romans – the very Romans they had expected him to destroy!  And now he was dead. 

I imagine they felt foolish for having believed in Jesus.  As they reflected today, I imagine they were confused, embarrassed and filled with guilt, anxiety and doubt.  Surely this was the longest, darkest day of their lives. 


Do you suppose they reflected on their Sabbaths with Jesus and wondered if it had all been a lie?  They must have thought maybe the religious rulers had been right the whole time. 


Today they must have been overwhelmed by guilt.  Remember how often they had disappointed him?  Remember that they couldn't stay awake to pray with him on his last night?  They had disbursed, abandoned and even denied him in his final and most desperate hours. 


On this day of reflection and rest, their next thought must have been to wonder: what now?  What will they do with the rest of their lives?  How does one recover from what they've given up to be followers of Jesus? 

Passover Comfort

Today consider Jesus’ BFF (John), who wrote the most about the last Passover.  Especially today – the Sabbath of Jesus’ “rest” in Hades – we should remember the words of comfort Jesus spoke to the 11 so they would make it through this dark day.  Read John 14-17 today and pray about it and consider their hearts as we reflect on this day.  Here are a few excerpts, but I hope you’ll read all four chapters. 
Don’t let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many dwellings; if it weren't so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I’ll come again and receive you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  John 14:1-3
After a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’ll see me; because I live, you will live also
John 14:19
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.  John 14:27-29
These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent me.  John 16:1-5

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What For

What’s the point?
Why bother? 

Most of us live for ourselves, even if it’s hard to admit.  We want to be loved, comforted, safe and happy.  Sadly these often elude us, and we find ourselves in distress. 

Many people seek out God for much the same reasons.  They see God as the One who can provide them the life they desire, and they believe if they are pleasing to Him, He will respond by giving them happiness. 

For people like this, the beatitudes and much of the rest of scripture can be disappointing.  In fact, this is one of our biggest issues for those who do the “three column” style study through the beatitudes.  While we focus on the “I will,” it seems to be at odds with what we really want.  For instance, who wants to be merciful when he’s been wronged?  That’s when we want justice.  Who wants to mourn, or have people insult us, lie about us, or persecute us?  If those things are “blessings,” then I’d rather be cursed!

Jesus and his audience (true disciples) are different, because they want something different.  The question we should ask is: How/why are these kooks willing to endure the very things most normal people so earnestly seek? 

The one word answer is: hope. 

Later in the S.O.M. Jesus will instruct disciples to store treasures in heaven and forget about earthly things, temporal things – or as the Hebrew writer says, “things that can be shaken:”
 “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:27-29
Whereas most humans work for earthly treasure (money, attention, popularity, relationships, etc.), true disciples of Jesus place their hope entirely in God’s hands, which promises greater rewards:
“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”  (Luke 18:29-30)
Now back to our question: what for?  Why do God’s sheep want to follow Jesus?  The answer is in the second half of the beatitudes (Matthew 5.3-12), in each one, after the word “for.”  Check it out:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
for they shall be comforted
for they shall inherit the earth
for they shall be satisfied
for they shall receive mercy
for they shall see God
for they shall be called sons of God
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
for your reward in heaven is great
Remind yourself often by asking the question: “What for”?  And you’ll remember to keep your hope focused on the best things: receiving grace, being known as a child of God because you’re like He is, and to inherit the kingdom. 

Sometimes – especially those of us who are doing the three column thing – focus on the first half of each beatitude, and forget the “what-fors.”  If you’re struggling with life, or even to be obedient to God or these beatitudes, maybe you should join me in asking: What for?  What’s the point?  Why are we ‘supposed’ to show mercy, be hungry and thirsty, accept persecution, etc.? 


The promises of Jesus are based on the delivery of hope.  Hope is what we cling to, and never let go.  I show mercy/forgiveness to my brother, not because I’m happy that he sinned against me, but because I genuinely believe God will show me mercy.  I have the hope of the kingdom, that I can be a “son of God,” and that I’ll be satisfied and comforted! 

The great chapter on faith (Hebrews 11) demonstrates clearly that faith is a product of hope.  We believe … in the promises of God.  We hope for the outcome He promises us. 

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see.  
(Hebrews 11:1)

If you’ve ever felt hopeless, you understand.  Hopelessness is the ultimate destroyer.  We don’t want to work, to eat, to live.  When there’s no hope, there’s no reason for any activity. 

We become hopeless when we’ve been seduced by a false hope, and abandoned our true hope, which is in Christ alone.  If we remain faithful and true to the only real hope, we will always have a reason to wake up in the morning, and face the trials of life with smiles and praises for God. 
So … spend some time selling yourself on the “FORs” of the beatitudes.  Pray, focus, and “sell” yourself all over again on the reason for our hope.  If you will, you’ll remind yourself of the comfort, mercy, and inheritance promised by Jesus. 

He is faithful – unlike people, He will never fail us.  And unlike things of this world, His promises are eternal.  Believe it. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Peacemaker

The rebellious & useless young slave Onesimus escaped one night, stealing from his owner on the way out.  This was illegal, immoral, and a betrayal of trust.  Philemon, the betrayed owner and victim must have thought he’d surely beat Onesimus to death if he were ever to return to their town of Colossae. 

Sometime later Onesimus did return, voluntarily, and he carried a letter from a mutual friend for Philemon.  It seems both slave and slave owner had, since their separation, both become disciples of Jesus.  Paul was a close friend of the owner, Philemon.  While Paul was in prison, arrested for his faith, he met a young criminal and escaped slave named Onesimus and baptized him.  And when Onesimus was released from prison, Paul became the peacemaker in their relationship. 

Paul wrote a letter of reconciliation to his old friend Philemon.  Morally, ethically, and legally – Philemon had the right to punish this criminal slave, but Paul asked him to forgive and welcome Onesimus back home.  Furthermore, he asked Philemon to go the extra mile.  He asked that Onesimus not only be welcomed home without punishment, but that he should even let him have his freedom!  Can you imagine?  He is actually asking Philemon to basically reward Onesimus’ bad behavior!!  Unthinkable

Two of our beatitudes are in this story: Paul plays the part of the peacemaker, and Philemon was asked to be merciful and forgiving – to give grace and extend the hand of fellowship.  

Peacemakers ask their brothers to do the inconceivable: to be merciful like God.  Peacemakers are the kinds of people who have the difficult task of convincing the Prodigal Son’s older brother to welcome home his sinful, rotten kid brother. 

Paul was just such a peacemaker.  He labored incessantly to reconcile sinners to God, Gentiles to Jews, people at odds in lawsuits, slaves and owners, rich and poor, families and fellow church members.  In fact, Paul would describe the whole of his ministry as one of peacemaking or reconciliation (see 2 Corinthians 5:16-21). 

Now consider your own situation … have you accepted Jesus’ challenge to be a peacemaker? 
If so, you’ll be called a child of God – by God Himself.  So now think: do you know someone at odds you can help reconcile?   

PS: The letter Paul sent to Philemon is found in your New Testament – check it out.  And after you’ve studied it some, challenge yourself to be a peacemaker, a reconciler, a child of God. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessed are the Peacemakers

 Below are notes contributed by Sharla ... I hope others will be encouraged to apply these teachings, and to contribute your own.  Send me your notes, like Sharla did, and: don't forget to be your brother/sister's keeper! 

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Ephesians 2:14 For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another

Blessed are the peacemakers - Those who strive to prevent contention, strife, and war; who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent lawsuits and hostilities in families and neighborhoods. Every man may do something of this; and no man is more like God than he who does it. There ought not to be unlawful and officious interference in that which is none of our business; but without any danger of acquiring this character, every man has many opportunities of reconciling opposing parties. Friends, neighbors, people of influence, lawyers, physicians, ministers of the gospel, may do much to promote peace. 

And it should be taken in hand in the beginning. "The beginning of strife," says Solomon, "is like the letting out of water." "An ounce of prevention," says the English proverb, "is worth a pound of cure." Long and most deadly quarrels might often be prevented by a little kind interference in the beginning. 
Children of God:  Those who resemble God, or who manifest a spirit like his. He is the Author of peace 1 Corinthians 14:33; and all those who endeavor to promote peace are like him, and are worthy to be called his children.  

The peacemakers (οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί)
Should be held to its literal meaning, peace-makers. The founders and promoters of peace are meant; who not only keep the peace, but seek to bring men into harmony with each other. 

John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
NOW PEACEMAKING is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation. … It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that "they shall be called sons of God." For they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with his love.  

---- Here Sharla shares her 3 columns, but I can't do vertical columns, so... 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Sharla's paraphrase: 
Those who work toward reconciliation and peace will be called God’s children.
Sharla's "I Will": 
I will consciously look for ways to be a mediator and bring peace between people who are at odds.  This is really hard for me since I actively avoid conflict.  I will encourage reconciliation and fellowship in these peoples’ lives.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hungry (Part 2)

“Seek first God’s kingdom & His righteousness”

Later in the S.O.M. Jesus offered the command above.  You can find the section in Matthew 6:19-34, and this particular phrase is the summary teaching in verse 33.  What’s important about this statement is that Jesus is teaching this as a cure for worry, stress, and/or anxiety.  I’ll write about it in more detail when we get there, but for now I want to focus on two things:
  1. New disciples
  2. Righteousness

New disciples

This command is important for new disciples, because this is your prime directive.  “Seek first” means: above all else in your priorities, your first goal is to seek God’s kingdom & righteousness. Top priority – above family, friends, money, career, love life, even above church - above all!  God’s kingdom & His righteousness should be our primary concern, and it should be the first thing a new disciple learns.  Knowing what this means, and obeying it fanatically will save the newbie from many issues.  After all, one of the hardest things for a new disciple is rearranging one’s life.  We want to study the bible, pray, make other disciples, tell all our friends and family … heal the sick, go to church a lot … it can be daunting.  If you learn to focus on this one phrase and wear it out – it simplifies your life and helps you stay on track.  If you have someone who’s shepherding you along this path, be sure and have him guide you into the full meaning of this section, and especially this verse.  If you don’t have someone clearly guiding you on this point … get in touch with me.  I will help you. 

God’s righteousness

As we discussed in the previous article, righteousness is fairness or justice.  In this case Jesus is commanding us to “seek first God’s righteousness.”  Pay attention to each part of this and make it real in your life.  Our Boss (Lord/Master) said:
  • Seek
  • Seek first
  • GOD’s righteousness

Seeking something can be unnatural unless you are hungry for it, as in our beatitude.  If you’re hungry for righteousness, you’ll seek it automatically, just as a person hungry for food doesn’t need to be told to go find food.  So why does Jesus say this, if we’re already supposed to be hungering and thirsting for it? 

The answer is in the word ‘first.’  We all want to be good, and we want good things for others.  The problem is that we don’t put it first in our lives.  As you can see in this section, the pitifully poor people are seeking first physical food and clothing and worried about where tomorrow’s meal will come from.  In our culture, we seek friendship and partnership and fun – or maybe family first.  Some put church at the top of their lives, many others seek money, fame, popularity, power, or respect.  Some of us (like me, sadly) seek the truth above all (usually only a mask for wanting to be ‘right’ all the time).  Examine yourself.  What keeps you distracted from seeking first God’s righteousness? 
We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:10)
God created us in Christ by His grace, but He did so for a reason: so we would do the “good works” which He has prepared for us to do.  What keeps you from discovering and doing these works?  This is our “Father’s business.”  It’s worship.  It’s caring for widows and orphans and those in distress (James 1.27), it’s feeding, clothing, housing, visiting … it’s doing good things for Jesus, by doing them for his creation (Matthew 25.31-46). 

And remember this is God’s business, it’s His righteousness … and we are only His slaves.  Slaves don’t work for themselves, they don’t work for a paycheck, and they don’t do only the tasks that interest them or that they find pleasant.  Rather, slaves do what they’re told.  When we prodigals came home, we asked our Father to be slaves in His household, and that’s what we are. 

The question is … are you hungry and thirsty to do good?  Can you put your own issues, dramas and struggles on the back burner and seek first God’s business?  If so, He has promised to give you peace.  But if you insist on being selfish, peace will elude you.  Seek ye first 

 “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hungry for Right (Part One)

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied"

I’m starving.  I’m not about to die, it’s just that I've been up for a couple of hours and still haven’t had breakfast.  I have some Honey-Nut Cheerios sitting here … and those things have been calling to me since yesterday afternoon.  Before I write this article, however, I want to get this out and look at it, because I want to write while I still have the craving. 

You know what I’m talking about, right?  Some of us get headaches if we don’t eat often … others get very whiny and irritable, still others get just plain angry.  Stop for a moment and think about that feeling and join me in it.  Or … maybe you should even wait to read this article, and only consider this blessing when you feel the feeling of hunger and/or thirst. 

Jesus promises satisfaction for the hungry, and a cool drink for those who are desperate for a drink.  But in this case he isn't talking about real food.  He isn't even talking about spiritual food or spiritual drink, like in John.  Here Jesus is talking about having a certain feeling about righteousness. 

How does one describe hunger? 
I don’t know, but I know what it feels like 

How do you become hungry?  
Simply by doing without 
The quickest way to be hungry for regular food is to fast – go for days without food, and you’ll learn the difference between mere craving and real hunger.  You’ll learn what real starving feels like when your blood sugar drops to zero and you seem to even lose your appetite.  Yes, it’s true … extended fasts will show you that your cravings for food actually get less after the first couple of days! 

So what is righteousness?  It’s justice or fairness.  Ever hear a kid (or childish adult) say “It’s not fair”?  Ever been the victim of a cheater or a liar?  For that matter, if you've ever been the victim of anything which you didn't deserve … you've suffered an injustice.  Now you are hungry for retribution.  Now you hurt for justice, like David:
…at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together; the smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me, they slandered me without ceasing. Like godless jesters at a feast, they gnashed at me with their teeth. Lord, how long will you look on?  Rescue my soul from their ravages, my only life from the lions. I will give you thanks in the great congregation; I will praise you among a mighty throng. Don’t let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.  (Psalm 35)
Of course, this is easy and natural to want justice when we've been unfairly treated.  What does not come naturally is waiting to let God make it right.  We want to take matters into our own hands when others “wrongfully” are our enemies.  But people who wait for the Lord’s justice – they are hungry for it, and wonder (Like David) “How long”? 

The more spiritually mature one becomes, the less selfish is our hunger for righteousness.  Instead we want righteousness for others.  David prayed for justice for Israel, as did many of the prophets.  Their desire wasn't for their own safety or ease or peace … their hunger was for people they loved.
How long, Yahweh, will I call for help, and you won’t hear? I cry out to you, “Violence!” Yet you don’t save. Why do you make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.  (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
Habakkuk saw that Judah was disobedient to God, and so harming each other, so that “strife exists and contention arises.”  Have you ever seen strife or contention within your spiritual family?  When God’s law is ignored in his own house, trouble follows.  When you and I “see” it like the prophet did, we will hunger for justice.  Some people will take matters into their own hands, and churches split and divide.  Some will simply ignore the problems and roll along calmly ignoring or excusing their church’s failures.  The faithful will be actively looking out for their brothers and sisters, and so they will be aware – but rather than take matters into their own hands, they’ll “cry out” to God like Habakkuk. 

Just as hunger and thirst come naturally to us all, so hunger and thirst for righteousness come to us all naturally.  But hungering for justice for others is a sign of maturity: being concerned that your fellow disciples may be following after false teachings, or getting lazy, or ignoring scripture – this is a good thing, because Jesus promised we’d be satisfied.  Trust God! 

With this in mind, revisit our passage from last summer:
Love sincerely. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and don’t curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; don’t be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9-21)
We all want payback – even to our brothers and sisters who hurt us – just as we want food when we’re hungry.  But God has taught us to help each other to grow, to love one another.  If one sins, we rebuke him, and if he repents, we forgive him.  Never are we allowed to take revenge or hold grudges or be mean or divisive.  Instead we are called to wait for God to take care of justice while we “hunger” for it.  

The challenges for us are: 
  • Is your hunger for your own hurt, justice for others, or for God? 
  • Will you try to satisfy your hunger yourself – or will you stay hungry and trust Jesus’ promise that you’ll be satisfied?