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Friday, July 29, 2016

The Path to a Miracle Goes Through Uncomfortable Territory

In review of 1 Kings 17:8-10 it says, “Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath”

Bottom Line:
When God says go, go and do as he says.

What this means to me:
When I get a prompting from God, I am to obey it. It may not make sense to me, however, God may use it to do something much larger.

Today’s passage comes from the middle of 1 Kings chapter 17. In this Elijah is instructed to go and see a widow at Zarephath and stay there. He is instructed to ask her to feed him. When he arrives she tells him she only has just enough for one last meal for her and her son. Elijah instructs her to make him a meal first and that as long as the rain doesn’t fall, she and her son will always have just enough for the next meal. (1 Kings 17:14, “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”)  She did as she was told and there was enough for several days until the Lord sent rain.

There will be times when I’m scared to death and vulnerable, I don't know where I’m going, I don’t know how long it’s going to take, and I certainly don’t know what’s going to happen when I get there.  So what do I do?

What I’m learning is that the path to a miracle often goes through uncomfortable territory.

This passage in 1 Kings 17:8-10 illustrates this: “Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (NCV).

What’s interesting and not necessarily revealed in this passage is that God told Elijah to walk more than 100 miles during a drought, through dangerous territory, where everyone knew who he was and that King Ahab had a price on his head. When Elijah finally made it to Zarephath, he met a poor widow who was going to feed him. But how could she help defend or protect him from a pagan town full of people who wouldn’t hesitate to kill him?

Miracles don’t happen when things are comfortable. Miracles happen when things are uncomfortable. Elijah didn’t say, “God, there are three things wrong with this plan. One, you’re sending me in the wrong direction. Two, you’re sending me to the wrong location. And three, you’re sending me to the wrong protection.” Elijah just obeyed.

God’s path to a miracle often will take me through uncomfortable territory because it forces me to depend on him.

Other examples:
. When Moses led the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land, they had to go through the Red Sea first.
. Before David could slay Goliath, he had to walk onto the battlefield.
. God told Jehoshaphat to put the choir before the army, and he’d win the victory. How much faith do you think that took?

Miracles will not likely happen in my comfort zone, when everything’s great and convenient. I don’t really need a miracle when everything is settled in life. A miracle is needed when I’m on the edge, when I’m scared to death, when I’m insecure, when I can get hit at any angle.

Next time I find myself where things are a little uncomfortable; financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically. If I’m a little nervous, a little on the edge, a little insecure. Then its an indication that I’m on the path to a miracle!

And just like Elijah, God wants me to obey so you can see his miracle at the end of the road.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Components Toward Answered Prayer

In review of Nehemiah 1:5-11, it says, "5 Lord God of Heaven! You are great, and we stand in fear of you. You faithfully keep your covenant with those who love you and do what you command. 6 Look at me, Lord, and hear my prayer, as I pray day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess that we, the people of Israel, have sinned. My ancestors and I have sinned. 7 We have acted wickedly against you and have not done what you commanded. We have not kept the laws which you gave us through Moses, your servant. 8 Remember now what you told Moses: ‘If you people of Israel are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the other nations. 9 But then if you turn back to me and do what I have commanded you, I will bring you back to the place where I have chosen to be worshiped, even though you are scattered to the ends of the earth.’ 10 “Lord, these are your servants, your own people. You rescued them by your great power and strength. 11 Listen now to my prayer and to the prayers of all your other servants who want to honor you. Give me success today and make the emperor merciful to me.” In those days I was the emperor's wine steward.

Bottom Line:
Ask God in line with who he is, confession, claims of his promises and being specific.

What this means to me:
Components toward answered prayer come from praying in line with God’s character, true confession, claiming God’s promises, and being specific in what I ask for.

Nehemiah had four components in his prayer that I can use in mine:

First he based his request on God’s character. Pray like I know God will answer me: It's much like expecting God to answer this prayer because of who He is. After all He is a loving, faithful and great God. He can handle this problem.

Secondly confess the sins that I’m aware of. After Nehemiah based his prayer on who God is, he confessed his sins. It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet, he’s including himself in the national sins. He saying, "I too have been a part of the problem.”

Thirdly claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, "I want you to remember what you told your servant Moses." Can you imagine saying "remember" to God? Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, “God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we repent, you’d give it back to us.”  God doesn’t need to be reminded, however it helps me remember what God has promised.

Lastly be very specific in what I ask for. If I want specific answers to prayer, then make specific requests. If my prayers consist of general requests, it will be difficult to know when they’re answered.

In this example, I see where Nehemiah is not hesitant to pray for success. He’s very bold in his praying. I too can pray, "Lord, make me successful?” Afterall what’s the alternative to being successful?

In summary, pray in line with:
God’s character
Confess what Sin’s I’m aware of
Claim the promises of God
Be very specific in what I ask for

But as I pray for success, I think it’s important to define what success is. A good definition of success is: "fulfilling God’s purpose for my life in faith, love, and the power of the Holy Spirit and expecting the results from God.”  I think I’ll add this statement to part of my quiet time so that I can reflect and pray with confidence and incorporate it into my daily thinking.

I also need to reflect on my life today, If you can’t ask God to make me a success at what I’m doing, I should probably be doing something else. After all, God doesn’t want me to waste my life.

Also, what are the other promises of God that I need to claim today?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thanking God When He Answers Prayers

In review of Habakkuk 3:2a it says, “O Lord, now I have heard your report, and I worship you in awe…”

Bottom Line:
I have heard all about you Lord, and I worship you in awe

What this means to me:
I have heard and see all the things you have done Lord, and I’m amazed at what you have done. I worship you in awe.

As I look to hear God, it’s important to worship him. I need to thank him for being a part of and for being interested in the details of my life. I should thank him for answering my prayers: “O Lord, now I have heard your report, and I worship you in awe…” (Habakkuk 3:2a TLB).  God will give me a vision. God will give me a dream. I know what God wants me to do, so now I thank God for answering my prayer. It’s part of worshiping God.

I need to stop seeing my prayers as a monologue and to start seeing them for what they truly are: a dialogue. Prayer is a conversation with God. God hears me when I pray and he answers me when I ask questions. He wants to talk to me every day. If I will faithfully talk to God every day throughout the day, it has the power to revolutionize my life.

What I’m learning is that in order to hear God there are three levels of knowing Him: recognition, acquaintance, and friendship. God wants me beyond the recognition and acquaintance levels and living at the friendship level. He wants to be my friend and he wants me to be his. God wants for me to talk with him all the time.

I’m reminded of this prayer from Rick Warren that I have encorporated into my daily quiet times, “Dear God, I'm amazed that you would want me for a friend. I really want to learn to have conversations with you. Help me to spend time with you everyday. Thank you that you care about every detail of my life. Jesus, I want to know you more and more every day and I want to depend on you for guidance in my job, my family, my future and in every other area of my life. I invite you to be the manager of my life, my Lord and Savior as I follow you and trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.”

I’m also reminded to thank God for all of his answered prayer, whether it went the way I wanted it to or not.  I realize that God knows what is best for me.  While my desires may be one way, he knows what’s best for me and the right timing. I just need to thank Him for arranging things that are best for me.  I just need to be obedient, continuing to do what he has already revealed to me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Acceptance Does Not Require Approval

In review of Romans 15:7 it says, “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory”

Bottom Line:
Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you.

What this means to me:
I am to accept others, just as Christ has accepted me. This brings praise to God.

Today's passage comes from Romans 15 where Paul is talking about living to please others.  In this he explains that we must not just please ourselves. Rather we should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. God who gives patience and encouragement, can help us live in complete harmony with others. Then all of us can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God. Therefore, we are to accept each other just as Christ has accepted us, so that God will be given glory. Paul ends this section with asking God to fill us with complete joy and peace because of our trust in him. Then we will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This means that every time I show love, it gives glory to God. Because God is love, and glory is revealing what God is really like.

God says, “I am loving. I am compassionate. He wants me to be like him. He wants me to develop his character.” I never going to be God, but God does want me to become godly. He wants me to develop his character. Like father like son. He wants me to learn to love people the way he loves people. God is love.

Every time I do this, it shows God’s glory.

One of the ways I love others is just by accepting them. Just because I don’t like what people do doesn’t mean I can’t accept them.

There’s a difference between acceptance and approval? I can accept someone without approving of everything that person does. There is a big difference! In Scripture we are told to accept everybody; we are not to approve everything everybody does. So no matter what people do or who they do it with or how they do it, or how long they do it, I’m to love them. I’m to accept them. It does not mean that I approve of what they do. God loves me, but it doesn’t mean he approves of everything I do.

Love is not saying I approve of everything you do. Love is saying I accept you in spite of what you do.

As pointed out in this verse in Romans 15:7, it says, “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (NLT).

Today I should consider those whom I don’t accept mainly because I don’t approve of their actions and beliefs.  I can accept and love, while not approving, revealing a heart like God’s.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting God’s Power

In review of 1 Corinthians 4:20 it says, “For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power”

Bottom Line:
His kingdom isn’t just talk. It is power.

What this means to me:
God's kingdom is not just a lot of talk; it is about me living by God's power.

Today's passage comes from the tail end of 1st Corinthians chapter 4. Paul is telling me that I shouldn't make judgments about anyone ahead of time, and before the Lord returns. For when he returns, he alone will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our true motives. God will then give to each whatever praise is due. So I am to not be too proud or haughty. I don't have the right to make judgments, for what do I have that God hasn't given me. If everything I have is from God, then why can I boast. Rather I am use my life to illustrate being different and useful for his purposes. For God's kingdom is not just a lot of talk; it's is living by God's power.

So what I’m learning is that in order to live a fulfilled life, I need to live by God’s power.

This verse in 1 Corinthians 4:20 reminds me, “For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power” (NLT).

I don’t believe God will bless one who is self-reliant. Rather he blesses those who are dependent upon him and surrendered to him.

God wants to use me, but I must live by his power. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

God is able to do more than I can ever imagine. There are three ways to get God’s power in my life:

First, I get God’s power by praying. If power doesn’t seem to be coming my way, it's a good indication that I’m not praying or praying enough. Prayer and power go together.

Second, I get God’s power by taking risks to obey God. When I take a risk to do what God tells me to do, even when it’s hard or unpopular, even when it may cost me, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when nobody else is doing it; God will pour out his power into my life.

Lastly, I get God’s power by not giving up. In order for God to grow my faith, he’s got to test it. When I’m going through difficulties and delays and dead ends and despair and discouragement, God is teaching me to trust him. I am to hang on, and God will bless me in his perfect timing.

Friday, July 22, 2016

To Get God’s Blessing, Put Him First

In review of 1 Thessalonians 2:12 it says, “You should live in a way that proves you belong to the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory”

Bottom Line:
Live in a way that proves you belong to the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory

Paul pleads, encourages, and urges me to live my life in a way that God would consider worthy, one in which I belong to him and reflect his character.  After all, He is the one who chose me to share in his own kingdom and glory.

What I’m learning is that the Kingdom of God is a present reality. It’s what I’m to be doing on the earth right now. The power of God is the present resource. It’s the energy I get to do what God wants me to do once I have surrendered and submitted to his will.

And God’s glory is the reason. It’s not the reality or the resource. It is the present reason for everything. It’s all for God’s glory.

Romans 11:36 says, “Everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory” (NLT).

It’s not just about having so much, (a good family, job, friends, congregation).  I was made for much more than this. In order to have a fulfilled live, I need to begin to live in God’s Kingdom, by God’s power, and for God’s glory.

This takes place by what Paul refers to in 1 Thessalonians 2:12, “You should live in a way that proves you belong to the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (GW).

To live in God’s Kingdom means I make God’s agenda my agenda. I make God’s will my will. I care about what God cares about. Whatever I want God to bless, put him first in that area.

Here are five areas that will help me put God first:

Finances: If I want God to bless my finances, I must put him first. Give a tithe and above.

Interests: Put him first in any of my hobbies, career, and even recreation. Give God first consideration in every decision.

Relationships: Put him first in my marriage, family, and friendships.

Schedule: Give him the first part of every day. Get up and start with “God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I just want to love you a little bit more and know you a little bit better.”

Troubles: Turn to God first when I have a problem. Prayer should never be my last resort. It should be my first choice.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I Can Change the Way I Think

In review of 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ”

Bottom Line:
We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ

What this means to me:
I am to capture and destroy every proud obstacle that keeps myself from knowing God. I am to make it give up and obey Christ.

Today's passage comes from 2 Corinthians chapter 10 where we see Paul Defending His Authority (seems others think he bold in writing but is timid in person). So Paul appeals to the church in Corinth with gentleness and the kindness of Christ. He tells them he chooses to use God's mighty weapons, not worldly ones, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments, the ones that keep people from knowing God. He ends this chapter saying that If we want to boast, we should boast only about the Lord. For when people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. It’s more important for our Lord to commend us.

This passage implies that we can change the way we think.  And when it comes to the temptations we face, I don’t need to fight them, I just need to refocus. Seems that whatever I resist persists.

In scripture I am not told to resist temptation, rather I’m told to resist the Devil. This is a whole different issue. The key to overcoming temptation is not to push back, but to change my focus.

From personal experience I know that whatever gets my attention will get me. The battle for sin always starts in the mind. I believe that’s why Psalm 119:6 says, “Thinking about your commands will keep me from doing some foolish thing” (CEV). Why? Because if I’m thinking about God’s truth, I’m not thinking about the less important stuff.

This is universal for all area’s of my life. If I focus on godly things, it’s going to pull me in that direction. If I focus on the stuff that’s in popular culture (at the movies and in magazines/TV), it’s going to pull me in that direction. Whatever I focus on gets my attention. Whatever gets my attention is going to get me.

The key is to just change my mind.

Temptation always follows a predictable pattern: attention, arousal, and action. My mind gets hooked, it mind kicks in, and then I act on it.

So I don’t fight a temptation; I just turn or redirect my mind to something else. I believe this is what Paul meant when he said “We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV).

It takes a lot of practice to capture each thought and turn it to Christ. I won’t always be able to control my circumstances, and I can’t even always control the way I feel. However, I can control what I think about. There’s always a choice. And if I change the way I think, it will change the way I feel, and that will ultimately change the way I act.

I should consider what I spend my time thinking about? What does my mind wander to when I’m not focused on something specific? I should start to train myself to focus on God’s Word and truths instead of the things of this world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When I Need Assistance Or Get Tempted, God Wants to Help

In review of Psalm 50:15 it says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me”

Bottom Line:
Pray to me in time of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me.

What this means to me:
God tells me that I can call on him when I’m in trouble, and He will rescue me, and I will give him glory for his work in my life.

Today's passage comes from the middle of Psalm 50. In this God is telling us that he does not need my offerings, everything belongs to him anyway. What he wants is my heart. When I provide my offerings and service to him, he wants me to do so in thankfulness and to keep my commitment to him. When trouble comes, I can call on him and he will rescue me and I will give him all the glory.

This verse reminds me that God is ready to help me when I need it. He says I’m to pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” That is an example of a prayer of deliverance. I ask God for help.

The prayer of deliverance can often be just one word: Help! It doesn’t have to be “Our gracious heavenly Father …”.  When I come to the prayer of deliverance, I can do a microwave prayer: “Help! Keep my eyes straight. I don’t like this person. I do not like the way my relative treats me, and I’m going to see him today. Oh, God! You’ve got to help me!  I really need your help today, because everything in me just wants to slug them!”

Scripture is full of examples of people who’ve prayed for deliverance, such as David, Daniel, Peter, and Paul. God will provide assistance for anybody who asks.

Why can I expect God to help me when I pray the prayer of deliverance? Because God has promised it. Psalm 50:15 says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (NIV). God says I don’t have to have a long conversation. I can just say, “Help! Mayday! SOS! God, I’m facing something now that willpower won’t help me get through.”

What I’m learning is that God will be sympathetic to my situation. He knows everything that’s going on in my life. He knows how irritating those people are. He knows the things that tempt me. In fact, look at this verse: “Jesus understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT).

He says Jesus understands. He sympathetic because he faced the same temptation.

Jesus was tempted to get angry, to have self pity. The Bible tells me he was tempted in all the ways I am, yet he did not sin. That’s the difference. He never gave in. He had the freedom to choose.

But even better is the fact that he never sinned. What does that mean? He can help you overcome. So the Bible says, “Come boldly to God.” Come and say, “I need your help!” God isn’t ticked with you when you get tempted. He’s not going to scold you when you’re tempted. He says, “I’m here to help.”

I could have benefited from this verse yesterday as something to meditate on, as myself and my team were faced with a large technical problem that had us under pressure. I do remember reaching out for God early in the situation and saying a quick “help”, but I also realize that after the problem was solved (after some very long agonizing hours) I didn’t immediately think to recognize, thank Him and give him glory for his work to help us. It wasn’t until this morning as I was getting ready that I thought of this and thanked him.

I think I’d like to add this as a verse to memorize so that I can bring it up when trouble comes. “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15 NIV).

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Freedom of the Cross

In review of Romans 6:6 it says, “We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us”

Bottom Line:
We know that our old selves were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that we would no longer be slaves of sin.

What this means to me:
I know that my old sinful self was crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power over my life. I am no longer a slave to sin.

Today’s verse from Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us” (NCV). But what does “our sinful selves would have no power over us” mean? I’ve learned that It means that my natural inherent inclination is to do the wrong thing.

My natural inclination when I’m hurt is to hurt back. My natural inclination when someone says something bad against me is say something bad against them and hold on to it and never forgive. And, all of the things that I’m naturally inclined to do actually make it worse.

But I can break that bondage to bitterness, that bondage to guilt, that bondage to resentment, that bondage to worry. I can keep from becoming slaves to the past and hurtful memories. I can choose to forgive.

The cross has the power to free me from grudges and grief and resentment. There is no other way to let go of these emotions weighing me down than the cross. Jesus on the cross broke the power of sin and death and bondage in my life.

What follows is a suggested prayer I got from Rick Warren to use when I need to forgive a person whose offense has planted a seed of bitterness in me:

“Father, only you understand how much I’ve been hurt by this person. I don’t want to carry the pain for another second. I don’t want to be a bitter person. But I need your grace and the power of the cross to release my hurt and to forgive those who’ve hurt me. This is the turning point. First, I need to experience your forgiveness. You know all the ways I’ve hurt others, and I’m so sorry for my sins. Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I accept your grace and forgiveness, and I need it daily. Today I’m turning to you, and I’m choosing to forgive the way you have forgiven me. Every time the memory comes back, I’ll forgive that person again until the pain is gone. Heal my heart with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Choosing Grace, Not Bitterness

In review of Hebrews 12:15 it says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”

Bottom Line:
Look out for each others so that none of us fails to receive God’s grace. Watch out so that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble or corrupt.

What this means to me:
Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.

Today's passage comes from the 2nd half of Hebrews chapter 12. In it Paul talks of our call to listen to God.  Within that call we are to work at living in peace with a holy (set apart for special purpose) life. We are to look out for each other so that none of us fails to receive the grace of God. We are to watch out so that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble and corrupt us.

This means that if I’m still holding on to resentment, then I’m letting someone is control me. If I was to say, “You make me so mad”? What I’d be admitting at that point is, “You are controlling me.” What I’m learning is that the only way I get this type of person out of my mind and heart is to heal it with grace; God’s grace.

Today’s passage in Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (NIV).

A bitter person can poison surrounding relationships. Unfortunately bitterness is contagious, and it can actually become generational. Somebody has to break the chain, and it better be me. There’s only one way to break it: Heal it with grace.

If someone is missing out on God’s grace in their life, life makes them bitter. Bitterness tends to come because life isn’t fair. Sin is in the world and we live in a broken society. Life here on earth is not Heaven. As such evil people get away with evil things all the time. Life is just not fair.

Missing out on God’s grace is going to make you bitter.

Is forgiveness fair? Not in some senses, however it is not about fairness. It is not about justice. It’s about grace. I don’t forgive a person because it’s the fair thing to do. I forgive a person because it’s the right thing to do, and I don’t want my heart full of poison. I don’t want my heart to hold on to the hurt and the hate.

While forgiveness is free, it is not cheap. It cost Jesus his life. It cost God his Son. And as Jesus was dying on the cross, with his arms outstretched and the blood dripping down, he said, “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they’re doing.” He was saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.” He was saying, “They don’t deserve it. They don’t even know what they’re doing. But Father, forgive them.”

So as I’ve been studying, I am to leave justice to God. I am to heal any bitterness with his grace.

I think we live in world that thinks everything should be fair. When things aren’t fair, then usually some injustice is taking place. But I should keep in mind, it's not my job to retaliate in fairness. Jesus calls me to forgive and to let him bring ultimate justice.  Today, I’ll consider who I may be able to show grace to today, especially in situations that don’t seem fair.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Forgiveness vs. The Restoration of Trust

In review of Romans 12:19 it says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord”

Bottom Line:
Don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. For he says, “I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.”

What this means to me:
I should not try to get revenge on my own, rather I should let God take revenge, for he has told me in His Word that he “is the one to take revenge and pay them back.”

Today's verse comes from Romans chapter 12 where Paul is explaining how to be a living sacrifice to God. Paul covers a lot of ground in this chapter and ends with how we are to never pay back evil with more evil. We are to do things in such a way that everyone can see we are honorable and living a peace with everyone. Therefore He tells us to never take revenge. We are to leave that to the righteous anger of God.

So in reality, who has a better arsenal to repay, me or God? Who can settle the score better, me or God? I think God! I have to choose whether I’m going to get back at someone or let God be the God of justice. So I need to learn to let God be the God of justice.

This brings me back to the subject of forgiveness from yesterday’s study. Forgiveness does not mean the instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instant. Trust is something that must be rebuilt over time. Forgiveness is based on grace. Trust is built on works. You earn trust. You don’t earn forgiveness.

I think a lot of people have problems with forgiveness, because they think if they forgive, then they’ve got to trust them again. However what I’m learning is that trust is a whole different issue. So forgiving someone does not mean I have to trust that person. That person still has to re-earn the trust.

Forgiveness and a restoration of a relationship are two different things. Forgiveness is only my part, whether they respond or not, whether they ask for it or not, whether they even recognize they need it or not. I forgive for my own sake. The restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It takes repentance. It takes restitution and a rebuilding of trust.

So while many may think they can’t forgive because that would mean going back to the same old way. It’s not true. But I do have to leave it to God. So to release any hurt, I leave it to God.

How to Bear Fruit That Lasts

In review of John 15:16 it says, “ You did not choose me , but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit t...