We had a fierce windstorm last night. This video shows a slight breeze today, but last night it was blowing 30mph and gusting to 40-50mph. The power went out until about midnight. Our emergency generator kicked on and we had heat, but no lights in my area of the building. I lit my emergency candle and couldn't read by it, so I got out the big kahuna-battery-operated lantern - the 1,000-candle type. Wow! It lit up half the house. Praise God! Now I could go to bed and sleep. What was I thinking? LOL
Anyway, how different it is when the lights go out. At first it isn't too uncomfortable, but after about 15 minutes I'm ready to assemble mega lighting throughout the building! That's how it feels without the light of Jesus to brighten our world. Without His mercy shining down upon us as brightly as the stars of heaven, we cry out, stumbling off the path and feeling lost. We need to be rescued.
As a Gentile, I used to be a wild olive tree branch in God's perspective. That's a person who is living a self-centered life and thinking that my works were good enough to get me in right standing with God. My world was dark and full of sadness. Then He lopped off my wild branch and grafted me into the cultivated olive tree of His Salvation Plan called Jesus (Romans 11:24). Yes, the cultivated olive tree refers to His covenant with Israel, His chosen people. Without the grace of God allowing me to receive His Son, Jesus, as my Savior, I would not be part of His covenanat with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There is much I don't understand about the depth of God's love. But this I know, because He said so:
For "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." ~ Romans 10:13 NLT
Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!
For who can know the Lord's thoughts?
Who knows enough to give Him advice?
And who has given Him so much
that He needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. ~ Romans 11:33-36 NLT
So, what does all of this have to do with conquering evil? It's about the condition of one's heart. If Jesus does not live in my heart, then I reside in the darkness caused by sin and evil. I have no power over this sinful condition or the evils of this world. But here are some of God's thoughts on the matter:
Don't just pretend to love one another. Really love them. Hate is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ~ Romans 12: 9-10 NLT
Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 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.
"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
Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. ~ Romans 12: 14-21 NLT
That's called V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! And practicing it is called The Fragrance of Christ!
Something to think about while we are making those New Year's Resolutions, eh?
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