Saturday’s Military Devotional – Avengers

 

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18

(AMP AND RVR 1960)

 


CONTEXT:

Leviticus 19 is a further breakdown or expounding of the moral (Ten Commandment) Law. The requirement is for folks to be Holy (something we know they are wholly incapable of doing apart from Christ) because God is Holy. It teaches separation from worldly desires and concentration on the thing that matters God. When our neighbor (anyone) offends v.17 us we are to rebuke them in love.

In our text for today we see the second half of the neighbor handling equation, vengeance or not being and Avenger. 

 


BREAKDOWN:

Thou shalt not avenge, – Remembering context if we are offended by the actions of our neighbors (anyone at large in the US or your own country) we shall not take actions against them. 

nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, – Nor am I to harbor malice in my heart against them. 

but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: – God says I am to LOVE even those tearing apart America which can be a hard pill to swallow. Unless…

I am the Lord. –  We understand that pill is not ours to Avenge, it is God’s, the creator of all things. He alone has the authority to take life that He created.

I will add to this a thought not found in the text for you to contemplate, we have an understanding being able to read the whole Word of God, that Man is completely corrupt apart from Christ. Should we not expect this unruliness from our youth and extend the Love of God to them?


APPLICATION:

As a soldier my job was to execute the orders of my superiors. To “take vengeance” if you will upon the enemies of the United States. After my military career ended it was not so easy for me to adjust to “civilian” life. I had been an Army Avenger for 20 years+ and suddenly I had to play by a different set of rules.

Unfortunately not everyone chooses to obey the rules. Look, let’s be real there are times when it is real easy to be extremely mad about what is happening in America (and I can only assume in your country). I am a Constitutionalist, that is I believe in the principles set for by the founding fathers in the Constitution not as an ever changing document but as one to be preserved. These same things I see being destroyed today so do I “avenge” them? No!

Do I fight, yes and there is a HUGE difference (one for another devotional) but only within the confines of v.17, rebuking them with the Love of God in my heart. 


Today’s Questions:

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on being Avengers? 

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?

 

Dealing with difficult people?

Question: “What does the Bible say about dealing with difficult people?

Answer: We all know people whom we find “difficult” in one way or another, and we’re all called upon to deal with difficult people at some time or another. A difficult person may be one who is condescending, argumentative, belligerent, selfish, flippant, obtuse, or simply rude. Difficult people seem to know just how to “push one’s buttons” and stir up trouble. Dealing with difficult people becomes an exercise in patience, love, and grace.

Our response to difficult people should model the examples provided by Jesus, for He surely dealt with many difficult people during His time here on earth. In His interactions with difficult people Jesus never displayed an attitude of harsh superiority or dismissive pride; rather, He showed authority under control. He used rebuke when necessary (John 8:47), but He also dealt with difficult people by remaining silent (John 8:6), asking questions (Mark 11:28–29), pointing them to Scripture (Mark 10:2–3), and telling a story (Luke 7:40–42).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was quite specific about dealing with difficult people in love and humility: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:27–31). We must never give tit for tat: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

In dealing with difficult people, we must guard against pride. It is important to recall the admonition given by the apostle Paul in Romans 12:3: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (see also Philippians 2:3–4). So, when we know we must deal with a difficult person, we approach the situation in meekness. Love is also key: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). We are to show God’s love to everyone—including difficult people.

The book of Proverbs provides much wisdom in dealing with difficult people. Proverbs 12:16 promotes patience in our relationships: “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 20:3 commends peace-making: “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 10:12 encourages love: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 17:14 values foresight and deference: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” If possible, it might be best to avoid the situation altogether by choosing carefully whom we associate with: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (Proverbs 22:24).

Dealing with difficult people is unavoidable. When we deal with difficult people, it’s easy to respond in the flesh. But that just brings out the worst in us. How much better to allow our dealings with difficult people to bring out the fruit of the Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22–23)! By the grace of God, may we deal with difficult people in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and—to top it all off—self-control. May we extend the same love, grace, and mercy that God extended to us. And may we be careful not to become the “difficult people” ourselves!

Recommended Resource: Who’s Pushing Your Buttons? Handling the Difficult People in Your Life by Dr. John Townsend

How and What are we to Preach?

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que prediques la palabra; que instes a tiempo y fuera de tiempo; redarguye, reprende, exhorta con toda paciencia y doctrina. (RVR 1960)

This is a very well known verse that has been used in thousands of sermons over the years but what is Paul really saying to Timothy here? Lets break it down.

First CONTEXT; Paul has just finished in Chapter 3 telling Timothy of tough times (struggles) that may be coming. There will be persecutions, false teachers, etc. Yet he has something greater that he can rely on 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (CSB) So Paul begins Chapter 4 with a charge for Timothy to begin his ministry in verse one and then we get to our text. 

In Season – simply put be ready to preach when you are supposed to. When there is no reason not to, when there is no danger in doing so. If you are a Pastor/Elder Sunday morning 15 minutes before worship service is not the time to prepare your sermon.

Out of Season – we must be ready to share the Gospel when it is inconvenient, not practical and maybe even dangerous.

Reprove – Correct those in error. What you mean I am to judge others, YES! Paul is telling us to us a LOVING RIGHTEOUS judgement to correct others errors. Yet like Christ warns be careful how you go about it. Wrongly and that big log in your eye may bet twisted.

Rebuke – For a long time I did not see a difference here, let me try and make sense of this we reprove a fellow Christian and rebuke error in non-Christians. An example might be if you hear a brother curse you would want to say something to him (Reprove) speaking out and condemning abortion (Rebuking) is something every true Christian should be doing.

Exhort – real simple here encourage fellow believers, provide comfort, support and assistance as needed. Quoting the Beatles “I can get by with a Little Help From my Friends”

Patience – all preachers must be patient, in fact all of God’s children must be Patient. Our Christian walk is not easy, but if we have good fellowship with God and like minded believers it is much more pleasant.

Teaching: preaching for the sake of speaking is pretty much useless as far as I am concerned. Paul is telling Timothy that a practical application of God’s word (teaching) should be a part of every sermon.

Why is is it so important how and what we preach? Paul follows our main text with this:

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. 

Porque vendrá tiempo cuando no sufrirán la sana doctrina, sino que teniendo comezón de oír, se amontonarán maestros conforme a sus propias concupiscencias, y apartarán de la verdad el oído y se volverán a las fábulas.

It is the preaching of SOUND Doctrine that will help make mature (Sanctification) Christians.