Posts Tagged evil

Ouch!!

Psalm 15: 1 – 5                    Passion Translation

Lord, who dares to dwell with you?
Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,
living next to you in your shining place of glory?
Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit?

2 They are passionate and wholehearted,
always sincere and always speaking the truth—
for their hearts are trustworthy.

3 They refuse to slander or insult others;
they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors,
nor would they ever harm another with their words.

4 They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers
while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.
They make firm commitments and follow through,
even at great cost.

5 They never crush others with exploitation or abuse
and they would never be bought with a bribe
against the innocent.
They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever.

The NASB version begins, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?” Then David goes on to answer the question. I have another answer, “Not me.” Though I clearly fail this test, it inspires me. David certainly had a clear standard for what is required to live with the Holy One. I particularly dislike verse three for I found I have not yet bridled my tongue. How about you? Don’t many of us trip up over that one?

There is only one caveat I would make to David’s song. While I strongly agree with speaking out passionately against evil, I do think there is a New Testament augmentation to speaking out against evil workers. The reason I say this is because, in a sense, there is no longer a chosen class and a gentile class. All have the ability to be adopted into the family now and our task is to pray for those who persecute us. I find this to be the most challenging part of the passage because although we are idealists, we are also called to be compassionate messengers of the Good News. You might have to ponder this a bit. See where you land. Personally, I get uncomfortable pointing my finger at “evil workers” or “sinners” because I am so aware of how I trample the ideals articulated in this song.

My prayer is that we might all aspire to live this life and that we pray for each other as we reach for higher ground. Moreover, it is my desire that we learn how to lift people up to the beauty that is Jesus rather than wallow around in the mire like so many mud wrestlers. Lifting our eyes up to Jesus, may we each reach a little bit beyond yesterday.

Plague Barrier

Psalm 91: 10

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

Do you believe this scripture? To whom do you suggest it is directed? Is it for you, or for someone else? Yesterday’s Word of the Day holds the key to making this verse real and viable in your life. The key to having no evil befall you and to keeping all plagues at bay is belief. Do you believe this verse is for you? Do you believe it speaks truth? Do you believe God is able to make this a reality in your life?

Psalm 91 is truly one of the outstanding chapters of the Bible. It is rich with the promises of God. What good does any of this do, though, if we do not understand that these words were written for each one of us individually? God has provided protection for you among His many gifts. You need to understand your rights as well as other allowances God has already made for you. There is chapter upon chapter of Bible promises, all meant for you. The activator for each and every promise is your belief. If you believe a promise is for you, then you activate it in your life. If you believe today’s verse, that no plague can come near your dwelling and that no evil can befall you, then it’s true. If you really want to add power to your punch, start saying what the Bible says, “No evil will befall me.” When people at work begin talking about all the sickness and disease you say, “No plague shall come near me or my household because we are a household of faith.” Then, you shall have what you say.

Goodness Me!

3 John 1: 11

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.

The instruction John gives us in the beginning of this verse is pretty obvious; do good instead of evil. When we get to the second sentence we begin to see the deeper spiritual considerations.

One of the most frequent questions I get is about Christians who behave badly. Even though we are saved, this transformation that Paul wrote about in Romans 12 is a process. None of us always behave in the way we want to, that is a certainty, so we have understanding and forgiveness for others as they struggle to be the person they are destined to be. How is it, though, that Christians can do evil? The answer is here in this verse. They haven’t seen God.

Everyone needs a personal encounter with Jesus. That is the singular event which ignites the transformative process. We need to see God, to have a personal encounter with Him. It is this which will open the doors of our heart. Merely uttering a prayer of salvation does not fuel the furnace of change. It is the beginning of the quest but the quest is for Jesus, the Father and for intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit as well. Saying a salvation prayer is not an end all. It is the inception of this wonderful time of coming to know the Father and of having meaningful fellowship with Him. It is that doorway through which we walk so that we can encounter the Father personally. The one who sees God, who meets Him; the person who has a one on one encounter with the Holy One will forever be changed. That is why I so want you to seek the Father. He is the power to radically transform our lives. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Only when we see the Father and the Son face to face will we have the power to put evil and bad actions out of our lives. Even though we are not yet perfect, this resident power within us causes a metamorphosis so profound that we are barely able to recognize ourselves.

Do you want to “do good”? Goodness is in the Father. The more we pour our lives into Him and allow Him to be intimately close to us, the more His goodness is revealed through us. I want to encourage you to pursue the Father, Son and Spirit with all your strength and help others to find their way to a direct encounter with God. It will be all good.

James 4: 7

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

I read something that Gloria Copeland wrote which had a profound effect on my thinking. She was in prayer one day when the Lord told her, “Separate yourself and you’ll be separated.” She went on to write, “[F]ollow God and separate yourself from evil (then) you will be separated from evil.”

That took hold of me. I thought about how applicable that is in an everyday sense. Gloria Copeland was writing on Psalm 91 and the protection God has provided for all of us. So many times bad things happen to folks and thus they are looking for relief. Well, the devil is in this world and he is going to make life difficult, if he can. One of the best ways to cut him off though, is to separate yourself from him and separate yourself unto God. What does this mean?

It really is quite simple and that is one of the things I liked about it. If you want evil out of your life, separate yourself from evil. In other words, bad things come from Satan, not God. As you live to God there is a greater and greater chasm between you and the effects of the devil. If you continue to dally in lies, deceptions, gossip, unkindness, etc., you are allowing evil to maintain a place in your life. As you separate yourself from those things which are not of God, then you are separating yourself from evil and then it is much harder for the evil to get to you to harm you.  It is a two edged sword, you cannot practice ungodliness without it biting you too. Don’t give the devil a place in your life. Separate yourself from the things of the kingdom of darkness.