Overcome Evil With Good

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

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When Jesus was on the earth, He promised that His church would prevail against the gates of hell. “…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18b) Through the centuries Satan has perpetrated attack after attack against the kingdom of God, attempting to destroy the body of Christ, His Holy Church. The latest attempt last Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina, was another defeat snatched from satanic jaws of victory.

Nine people, all followers of Jesus Christ, including Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were murdered in church. It looked like a sure win for the enemy. Nine believers were dead at the hands of a confused young man who had said he wanted to start a race war. But just as Satan thought he’d won when Jesus died on the cross, it was no win but in fact was a great defeat. Just as Jesus took the first victory from him by rising from the dead, the church body at Emanuel AME has taken this victory from him. The families of the nine murder victims won by forgiving the young man used in this heinous act. Love trumps hate every time.

Satan thought he’d strike a winning blow against the church by inciting division in the body – black against white and white against black. Wrong again! Churches of all denominations, of all races and cultures have united in support of Emanuel AME Church. The devil fails to understand that when one part of the body of Christ is hurt, the rest of the body gathers around to support, to pray and to comfort. Churches across the nation are praying for their brothers and sisters in Charleston SC. My home church, Grace Outreach Center in Plano, was one of many that sent donations to show them our love and support.

I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans about how believers are to act toward one another and toward outsiders. I’ve seen this passage in action the last five days by the families of the murder victims, other members of that church and by believers across the nation.

Romans 12:9-21
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

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To Be Present with the Lord

          “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

             Last Monday we said so long to my Aunt Ruby Mae. She passed from this life much the same way she’d lived – quietly and without fanfare. She simply went to sleep here in her own bed and woke up in the presence of her Savior. What a glorious morning for her!

             The Apostle Paul said “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” For those of us who have trusted in Jesus, making Him our Savior and Lord, death is not something to be feared or dreaded. Physical death is not the end for us, it is a transition from mortality to eternity. In a single moment when we pass from this physical life, all of our physical limitations and weaknesses will be removed. Any sadness or burdens from this life will be done away with. We will be home. Here our spirit being is housed in a physical body subject to sin and decay. In heaven we will receive a new glorified body. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 5 says “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven…Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” The Message Bible puts it this way, “For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5, The Message)

             All of our questions will be answered, all of our “whys” and “how’s” will be resolved.  1 Corinthians 13:11-12 says “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

             I long for heaven. I want to see my parents and grandparents again. I want to see the baby who went to heaven before I had a chance to see or hold her. Most of all I want to see Jesus and to hear my heavenly Father say “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21) The Apostle Paul wrote that the he was torn between wanting to go to heaven and wanting to stay. (Philippians 1:23)

             God has given me assignments. Assignments that I must fulfill before I can go home. Aunt Ruby Mae fulfilled her assignments at the age of 90 and God called her home. Now I must be about my Father’s business until either Jesus returns to take His church home, or if He tarries, until He calls me home.

                       “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 The Message Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson