Overcome evil by doing good

Overnight we have heard of another terrorist attack that killed many people and injured many more. My heart and prayers goes out to the families of those who died and were injured.

As I have been thinking about this attack, my mind has gone back to a verse in Romans 12. The last verse says, “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good”.

Paul finishes this chapter that talks about being living sacrifices with a plea to not let evil overcome us, but to press on and overcome evil with good deeds. It is a big statement that is hard to live up to.

I remember years ago I was heavily involved in community outreach with our church in Perth. We would go door to door giving away Jesus videos. We were on fire and we wanted to take on the world. Many people were coming to faith in Jesus.

Then along came September 11. It is when I let evil overcome me. I was horrified at the evil people could do to each other. It really knocked me and I found it hard to go out every Saturday. 

I knew there was evil in the world, but somehow it brought it home to me. It took me a few months to get back on tract. Romans 12:21 was one of the things that helped me get back on tract. God commands us to conquer evil by doing good.

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. I think Princess Di used that in one of her famous speeches too.

It can be a sacrifice to have an overcoming attitude. But if we keep moving forward and serving God by serving others, the Bible promises we will reap a harvest at the right time. It tells us this is Galatians 6:9.

Now when I hear of terrible attacks like these, I pray for the ones that are injured and the families of those who have lost soomeone, and I recommit myself to serving God and doing good in the world around me. It is my way of overcoming evil.

Like the image above, we need to be the light that brings hope and love to the world around us. We need to be Jesus’ hands, feet and heart.

God Bless,

Dave

Judging others on social media

I have seen two examples of the importance of not judging others on the social media this week. One involved a speech made in parliament and the other and incident at a sporting event.

The incident at the sporting event was a man pouring some of his can of beer on an opposition player who was on the floor near him. Something that no-one should do and it caused a social media storm of outrage.

However the next day we find out that the man was 83 and “has some cognitive impairment and does not recall the incident.” His family apologised and he will not attend any more games. You can read the story here.

In another incident that caused a social media storm we see a politician did not stand at the end of an emotional speech to the Victorian Parliament. Rosie Batty, the Australian of the Year, made an emotional speech about the domestic violence.

Every member of parliament stood at the end of the speech except one. He was condemned on social media and it made news. It made such a stir that he had to release a statement.

“For very personal and private reasons I chose not to stand,” he said in a statement.

“Family violence is an issue of incredible sensitivity to me and my family and at some point I will be making a public contribution about the indiscriminate nature of family violence.

“I am very passionate about dealing with the scourge of family violence and supporting all those who are victims of it, male and female.”

In both cases it seems there was a lot more going on that what we could see on the surface. One had cognitive issues and it seems the other understood family violence personally.

This leaves me to wonder why people are so quick to judge others on social media. We need to be less offended and react less to things we see around us. None of us really know the full story straight away.

Remember it is up to God to judge because He is the only one who sees everything and knows our hearts of all people.

I will finish this post with two Bible verses.

“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT)

““Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:1-2‬ ‭NLT)‬‬

Free will and finding faith

I will never understand how someone can force another person to accept their faith by following their religion or be killed.

Finding faith is all about free will. God gave us free will to chose how we live. He even gave us free will to decide if we believe in Him or not. So how can someone forcefully with the threat of death expect someone to convert?

In the beginning the Bible tells us that God created the world and the first people – Adam and Eve. He walked and talked with them and cared for them. He was intimately involved in their lives. It was a two way loving relationship.

After the fall, when sin entered the world, mankind became separated from God. Since this time God has been trying to win people back to Himself. He has sent Prophets, His son Jesus into the world and the Holy Spirit to draw people to Himself. He even calls Christians to be missionaries to reach out with Christ’s love. But He never forced anyone to believe.

Real love and real relationship happens best when people have a choice and freedom to choose to love. When people find God through coming to faith in Jesus Christ, that is how it is meant to be. God draws us and reaches out to us, but we need to make a free will choice to respond.

God did not make us robots who automatically believed. He gave us choice. He is also a gentleman who does not force His way in. He knocks on the door of our lives, but the door handle in on the inside and we must open it ourselves and let Him in.

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent”.

God wants us to all find faith and relationship with Him. He wants all of us to walk with Him. He wants no-one to perish, but He is not going to override the free will He has given us. It must be our choice.

Finding faith starts and finishes in the free will God has given us. It is about us responding to God and His attempts to reach us as a personal choice. Only then is the faith and relationship real. This is the type of love that God wants.

Forcing people to convert with threats is not in God’s character or in God’s plan.

God Bless,
Dave

Love one another

With the terrible news of the Malaysian Airlines flight being shot down today. My heart aches as I read about the stories of the people who lost their lives. All I can do is pray for the families and friends who lost loved ones.

In the midst of this it is a timely reminder for me that we are called to love one another. Nearly every book of the New Testament calls us to love one another and care for each other. Many times it is Jesus Himself speaking.

Here are a few examples…

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

1Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

2 John 1:5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

A Bible passage for the Grand Final teams

I love the AFL Grand Final. Each year I watch all the lead up programs and sit on the couch and watch the whole game. Whether my team is playing or not I really enjoy it.

As I was reading Isaiah 40 today I thought if I was playing I would write these verses on my forearm strapping so I could read them during the game…

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT)

That would give me strength and encouragement if my energy was flagging.

As my team is not playing I do not have a clear favourite I am going for. I really like Hawthorn as a team, and since they lost the Grand Final last year I would not mind if they won. In saying that though, I am from WA where the Fremantle Dockers are from, so I should go for them too.

Either way I hope it is a great game and the best team wins. I just hope both teams kick accurately and it is won by good play rather than missed set shots.

God Bless,
Dave

The Royal Wedding from a spiritual perspective

My family and I watched the Royal Wedding of William and Kate last night. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Several things really stuck out for me from a spiritual persepective.

1. The Bible reading – Romans 12:1-18 was a great passage. It talks about being a living sacrifice, not to be conformed to the standards of the world, being humble, using our gifts to serve others, loving things that are good, sharing with those in need, keeping your spiritual fervour, being faithful in prayer and being joyful in hope. It is a great passage to guide our lives.

2. The sermonettes – All the messages spoken by the various Ministers were right on the money. They encouraged the couple to focus their lives on God and raising your children to follow God. They also talked about marriage being a covenant between two people before God, that it was God’s best for us all and that marriage can help us to be all God intends us to be.

3. The prayers – The prayer that the couple wrote themselves was also very good. “God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the business of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

All in all from a spiritual perspective I think it was done really well. I hope and pray they have a long happy life together and that they will be a blessing to many many people in the work they do together.

God Bless,
Dave

How does the Bible use the term saint?

With all the news over the last few weeks about Mary McKillop becoming a Saint of the Catholic Church, I thought I would do some research as see what the Bible says about the term Saint and how it is applied to people.

The Greek word that is used in the New Testament for saint is hagios (G40). This touches on things like being “sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): – (most) holy (one, thing), saint.”

However when we look and see how the term hagios (Greek) or saint is used, it is used as a noun and nearly always is used in the plural form. It is used to describe a group of Christian people in a place ie the saints in Ephesus.

Here are a few examples of how it is used in the New Testament…

  • It is used once in the gospels (Matthew 27:52 KJV) of the saints of the former age. Hagios is translated as “holy ones” (NIV) in this verse. The other references are in the Book of Acts  and later.
  • “Much evil he has done to thy saints” (Acts 9:13);
  • “to the saints that lived at Lydda” (Acts 9:32);
  • “I not only shut up many of the saints in prison” (Acts 26:10);
  • “the Spirit intercedes for the saints” (Romans 8:27);
  • “contribute to the needs of the saints” (Romans 12:13); hagios is translated “God’s people” in the NIV.
  • “I am going to Jerusalem with aid for the saints” (Romans 15:25, 26).

It is interesting to note that the only instance of the use of the word “saint” in the singular is found in Philippians 4:21 (KJV) where it says “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus”. The NIV translates this as saints plural.

I just found this research interesting and I thought I would share it. I hope it is a blessing to you and helps you to understand the New Testament use of the term saint a little better.

God Bless,

Dave