Do you have the guts not to fight back? Do you have the guts to retaliate Jesus’ way? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 16]) – Did you have a Happy Jackie Robinson day on the 15th?


Ever considered what the Bible says about retaliation? Ever considered what being strong and courageous looks like? Ever considered not doing it the way of the world “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” but instead doing it God’s way “turn the other cheek”? How will you respond differently so that they know God is with you? How will you overflow hope and love in the midst of being attacked or threatened?

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 5…

The Sermon on the Mount

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Anger

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Lust

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Divorce

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Oaths

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Retaliation

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–from Matthew 5

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy comes from Matthew 5:39 and reveals the impact of this verse on Jackie Robinson making history.

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  –from Matthew 5:39

We see in today’s devotional how in 1947, overcoming incredible obstacles, Jackie Robinson became the first black baseball player in the major leagues. Not only did he do incredible things on the field on first and then on second base, at the plate with a .311 lifetime batting average, he also was the man who broke the color barrier by appearing in the 1947 World Series.

Today’s devotional also points to the general manager Branch Rickey who was known for making decisions based on the Bible and thought that Jackie Robinson was the man to help desegregate baseball. We see how Branch approached Jackie to set expectations when he said “I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back.” He was looking for more than just someone who could play ball but someone with the right character and attitude. He wanted “a person with the inner-strength and self-restraint who could withstand intense hostility and aggression without being reactive. He needed an athlete who wouldn’t perceive ‘not fighting back’ as a sign of weakness or lack of courage.” We see in today’s devotional how what he was asking aligns Jesus’ Words when he quoted to him part of the sermon on the mound to show it wasn’t a sign of weakness but of strength in Matthew 5:39 KJV – “but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

We see the impact this made on all of baseball as every year on April 15th baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson day to commemorate his retirement anniversary with everyone player wearing his number 42. In 1997 Major League Baseball retired Robinson’s #42 across all teams. Jackie Robinson was a hall of fame player. Jackie’s story has made into a movie back in 2013 too which shows and tells this remarkable story.

Apr 16 - Matthew 5_39 - Bibles Impact on Acts of Mercy - Jackie Robinson day on April 15th

So will you have the guts to retaliate like Jesus instructs us when you are faced with challenges and struggles today? Will you be all that Jesus wants you to be? Will you resist the attacks and lies of the devil? Will you let love overcome evil? Will you fight hate with love? How will you respond and live out your today?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and give it up into Your hands. I know the plans You have for me Lord and they are good, they are not to harm me but they are to prosper me. I know God that Your ways are not my natural ways but that Your ways are better than my ways and higher than my ways and so I ask that You would have Your Spirit lead and guide me today, encourage and correct me, help me to be the person You created me to be. Lord, this is the day that You have made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today is a Monday and because it is Your day today is Happy Monday! I choose no matter what happens to let today be Happy Today not because of circumstances, not because of challenges or victories, not because of problems or solutions, but because this is the day that You have made and so I will rejoice and be glad in it! Today is all I have! Yesterday is gone! Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed! So let’s live today out to the fullest with a Happy Today! I ask all this so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Are you able to get along with others?


Remember the reading from a couple days ago from Romans 12?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

–from Romans 12:18

Do you go out looking for an argument or are you looking for ways to solve the problem? Do you go out looking to pick a fight or are you going out to love on people? Are you looking to instigate a dispute or are you trying to understand?

There are so many things going on right now around us that you can find people on both sides. The ones that seem to make the news are tending to be the disruptive ones who are looking to have an argument, looking to create a dispute, and looking to pick a fight! I remember how hurt I felt when my grandfather died and how I went out to a local bar (where I normally danced and rank diet coke) but that night I went out in my suit I had been wearing for the funeral with the thought in my head that if someone tried to be funny and said “why you wearing a suit? going to a funeral or something?” that I would be able to just lay into them. Fortunately for me, God was protecting me as nobody said that all night. But there are people in this world who are out for a fight! They are looking to stir up trouble! They are trying to pull you into their trouble and chaos! And recently we have seen on TV how that has lead not only to fighting but to people getting killed. It’s wrong! It’s bad! It’s something that needs to be avoided as the innocent people tend to get in the crossfire between the opposing sides who are showing up to stir up trouble. The people who are peacefully protesting get overrun by the people who are just looking to stir up trouble and highjack the stage in order to have a reason to cause day, pain, and suffering. We need to stop and go back to the Romans 12 instructions and see how we can fight this evil!

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

–from Romans 12

So let’s consider today’s devotional which speaks to

How to Avoid Arguments, Deal with Disputes and Stop Fighting

We need to remember the wise words about the importance of unity and the troubles of having division within the house..

22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. 23 The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?”

24 But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,[a] the prince of demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. 27 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 28 But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.

–from Matthew 12

Today’s devotional used the example of Brexit to speak on the topic as follows…

The 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU resulted in a 52-48 split in favour of leaving. The campaign was acrimonious, the nation was divided, and the main political parties soon descended into infighting and division. This is one example of what we see across the globe. Every news update seems to include stories of arguments, disputes and fighting.

When sin entered the world, arguments, disputes and fighting began. Adam blamed Eve. Cain murdered his brother. The history of the world ever since has been one of conflict of all kinds.

When people turn away from God, they start fighting one another. We see the breakdown of relationships wherever we look: broken marriages, broken homes, broken relationships at work, civil wars and wars between nations. Sadly, the church is not immune. Right from the start there have been arguments, disputes and in-fighting.

How should we handle conflict?

–from Day 212: Bible In One Year 2017

We need to turn back to God! We need to receive His wisdom! We need to make a choice on how we will respond! We can’t go without a plan because the devil is out to rob, kill, and destroy and will look for each and every crack to be able to stir up that trouble. He is looking to divide! He is looking to create dissension! He is looking to cause pain and suffering! So turn back to God! Before you go out – have a plan for how to deal with the troublemakers who are going to try and get into your mix! Ask God for wisdom how to be accomplish the goal! Ask God for wisdom on how to protect against the attacks of the devil! Be prayed up! Be read up on His Word! Be filled up with the Holy Spirit! Be prepared through prayer and fasting! And before you go out, put on the full armor of God!

So we need to be ready! Whatever relationships the devil is going to try and divide today, we need to be putting Jesus in the center and then stick together like a cord of three strands!

So let’s take some time today and go through our reading and devotional to be able to be prepared and know how best to handle the attacks of the devil and the conflicts that not just may but will come our way today…and understand which things are worth fighting to the death for! Is it a mountain you are willing to die on? Let’s reflect on what Paul teaches today too…


Day 212: Bible In One Year 2017 — How to Avoid Arguments, Deal with Disputes and Stop Fighting

Devotional, Proverbs 18:17-24, Proverbs 19:1-2, Romans 14:1-18, 1 Chronicles 9, 1 Chronicles 10

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/212

  1. Avoid arguments … Proverbs 18:17-19:2
    • Proverbs is full of practical advice on how to avoid arguments.

      Listen to both sides

      There are usually two sides to an argument, and it is always worth hearing both parties. The right of cross-examination is an important one, with a vital place in any legal system. ‘The first speech in a court case is always convincing – until the cross-examination starts!’ (18:17, MSG).

      Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit

      We need God’s guidance especially when facing ‘tough decisions’ (v.18, MSG). In the Old Testament, ‘casting the lot’ was a way of settling disputes. However, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit there are better ways of receiving God’s guidance over disputes (see 1 Corinthians 6:1–6).

      Avoid unnecessary offence

      Do everything you possibly can to avoid offending your brothers and sisters: ‘An offended relative is more unyielding than a fortified city’ (Proverbs 18:19). Serious disputes create barriers among friends. These walls are easy to erect and extremely hard to pull down.

      Choose your words carefully

      Your words can be a life-giving force, bring great satisfaction and heal division: ‘Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest’ (v.20, MSG).

      Yet words can also be a destructive force: ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose’ (v.21, MSG). You can do great good or great damage with what you say.

      Choose your companions carefully

      The writer says, ‘Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more: the favour of God!’ (v.22, MSG). It is certainly true in my experience that Pippa’s wisdom, advice and involvement have often helped me to avoid getting into trouble in this area. A good husband or wife can often be a peacemaker.

      Whether we are married or not, what we need are really close friends. The second part of this proverb reminds us that while friends come and go, ‘There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother or sister’ (v.24b). These are the sorts of friends we need in our lives. Ultimately, of course, Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother or sister.

      –from Day 212: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. Deal with disputes … Romans 14:1-18
    • This passage is so relevant to some of the disputes going on in the global church right now. If only the church in the last 2,000 years had followed Paul’s instructions. As John Stott writes, Paul’s purpose in these verses ‘was to enable conservative-minded Christians (mostly Jewish) and liberal-minded Christians (mainly Gentiles) to coexist amicably in the Christian fellowship.’

      There are certain matters over which Paul was willing to fight to death – the truth of the gospel (that Christ died for us, vv.9,15). The life, death and resurrection of Jesus (v.9) and the Lordship of Christ (v.9) are examples of what is non-negotiable.

      However, there are other things that are not nearly as important. They are ‘disputable matters’ (v.1). They are secondary areas. He gives various examples such as vegetarianism or thinking of one day as more sacred than another.

      Today some Christians abstain from alcohol. Others do not. Some Christians are pacifists. Others are not. And there are many other issues where Christians are passionately divided about disputable matters. How do we deal with these disputes?

      Welcome those with different views

      He writes ‘accept’ (the word means ‘welcome’) those ‘whose faith is weak’ (v.1a). ‘Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do… Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God’ (vv.1,10, MSG).

      Do not be quick to judge

      ‘Don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with’ (v.1b, MSG).

      He goes on, ‘Who are you to judge someone else’s servants?’ (v.4); ‘You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister?’ (v.10); ‘Then let us no more criticise and blame and pass judgment on one another’ (v.13, AMP). We must allow people to have different views from our own without judging them for it.

      This is the heart of the matter. Four times in this passage Paul says we are not to judge one another.

      Don’t look down on others

      We ‘must not look down on’ (v.3a) those who have different views from our own. God has welcomed them (v.3b). So should we.

      Do what you think is right

      On all these secondary matters ‘everybody should be fully convinced in their own minds’ (v.5). ‘Each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience’ (v.5, MSG). ‘If you eat meat… thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian… thank God for broccoli’ (v.6, MSG). Just because we may agree to disagree on these matters does not make them irrelevant. We need to be careful to do what we think is right in every situation.

      Assume the best about other people’s motives

      ‘Those who regard one day as special, do so to the Lord. Those who eat meat, eat to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and those who abstain, do so to the Lord and give thanks to God’ (v.6).

      Give others the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are seeking to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord (vv.7–8).

      Be sensitive about other people’s consciences

      Paul says, ‘Make up your mind not to put any stumbling-block or obstacle in another believer’s way’ (v.13). For example, if someone regards drinking alcohol as wrong, it would be insensitive to drink alcohol in front of them. We do not want to cause them distress (v.15).

      Help and encourage one another

      ‘So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault’ (v.19, MSG).

      Always act in love

      ‘If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love’ (v.15). ‘So be sensitive and courteous… Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love’ (v.21, MSG).

      Disputable matters are important, but not as important as what unites us all: ‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (v.17). This is what really matters. Let us not get caught up in arguments about disputable matters, which divide the church and put off those outside the church.

      Follow the words of the medieval writer Rupertus Meldenius: ‘On the essentials, unity; on the non-essentials, freedom; in everything, love.’

      –from Day 212: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Stop fighting … 1 Chronicles 9:1b-10:14

So as we go out today, let’s take  hold of the truth of God! Let’s meditate on the words from John 17 which say…

23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. –from John 17:23

Forgiveness is the key - C-S-Lewis-quote