God is good to everyone. Yes, everyone! This is tough for some people to grasp. Because God is good, He is good to everyone. This means that He will be good to even those people we do not think deserve good. This also means that He only does good things. When something bad is happening in your life, it’s possible that He allowed it—but He does not pour out evil. So often people credit God to things and they miss the boat.
Today, recognize that God is good and He is good to everyone. As well, He calls us to be share in His goodness and spread it. Be intentional with your encounters today. Ask the Spirit if you are not being good to some people. Ask to be more compassionate.
“The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” – Psalm 145:9 [NLT]
Do Good. It’s a simple phrase but it’s not so easy for us. We have bad within us. The Bible says that our hearts are evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the “human heart is the most deceitful of all things.” The heart is so deceitful we cannot even know how bad it truly is because it’s that bad. Jesus says that evil comes from the hearts of men (see Mark 7:21). So we have bad inside us but we must do good. What a quandary!?!
Romans 12:21 says, “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” So don’t let the evil conquer you. Don’t let the evil control you. Don’t let all that evil within you be what guides your steps. Instead, do good and you’ll conquer the evil. How does this work? How can you do the good when the bad is within?
The Holy Spirit is called the Advocate for a reason. An advocate has a lot to do with support. The Spirit guides us, convicts us, teaches us, reveals to us, and more. The Fruit of the Spirit grows within us more as we continue to live in the Spirit, and allow Him to freely move within us. As He leads you to do good, you’ll find the more and more good you do will allow for less and less evil. What you put in, you get out. Then when the evil of the world comes at you, you will be filled with so much of the goodness that comes from God. You will be able to continue to do good despite the evil you are facing head on. If the evil doesn’t keep you from doing good, then there is victory. You can conquer evil by doing good. Start today. Do something good. Allow the Spirit to control your steps. The victory will come. Conquer the evil with good.
“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:21 [NLT]
Every year, there is the annual ant season. I get out the ant baits and liquid gel a friend recommended. In a few days, everything is back to normal. But before this happens, there is a time period when the ants come and take the bait. This morning, as I was checking to be sure things were flowing smoothly, my daughter asked me about how the ant bait works. I explained the process.
As I was explaining everything, I considered the plight of the ants. An ant grabs the stuff from the bait contraption and carries it back to his home. He shares this with his family and friends. Together, they fall. It’s a simple process that works each year during ant season. But it’s also a process that is played out with humans.
We, like the ants, can take the bad bait and carry it to our homes, which results in destruction. It is sad, but it happens often. We carry home our acts of sin. We carry home lies the devil has provided. We carry home false teaching. We carry home a lot of things that can cause problems. Today, take back your house. Consider what’s coming into your house. Is it right? Is it pure? Is it truth? Don’t allow the devil to get a foothold.
“Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.” – 3 John 1:11 [NLT]
Today I had Chinese takeout for lunch. The end of the meal always consists of eating the fortune cookie. It said something like don’t just think about it, act on it. Though I am not into fortune cookies, despite finding them tasty for being crispy bits filled with air, the words on the little slip of paper are a great reminder to us all.
See we can all think about living for Christ. We can all think about being a shining light. We can all think about what is good and pure and holy. We can think about how it is good to help the needy. We can think about how it is important to love others. But where does thinking get us? What happens if we all just sit and think and no one does a thing?
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Today I pray that thinking isn’t the only thing you are doing. Actions speak louder than words. James said to be doers of the word. It’s important to ponder things. It’s important to not rush into things. But if we do nothing else but think, if we never be the hands and feet of Christ, then we miss so many great opportunities. Take advantage of each opportunity. God put these people in your path for a reason.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22 [NIV]
When someone does something wrong to you, there is usually this desire for justice and even revenge. Over the years I have heard many stories about how people have gotten even with others who did something bad to them. We all have this need for retribution but God doesn’t want us to “get even” with people by repaying them with evil.
Too many people take the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” concept the wrong way. God is a God of justice and He will judge. He is fair. He is right. He is faithful. Our retaliation, our revenge attempts only bring us a moment of temporary satisfaction for getting someone back. But does it really do something good for us? Does it really make us feel better?
God wants us to pay people back with a blessing. Has someone done something mean to you? Has someone hurt you? Has someone stolen from you? Has someone spoken badly about you? Pray for them. Pay them back with a blessing. Don’t stoop down a level for retribution. Trust God will handle it all. Be a blessing.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” – 1 Peter 3:9 [NLT]
People like to talk. I know I talk a lot, sometimes more than I should. Solomon advised that when we “enter the house of God” we are to do two things. We are to keep our ears open and we are to keep our mouth shut. If we are not entering the house of God with ears to listen, why are we even there? We are to approach the Lord for wisdom, for guidance, to seek His will for our lives.
At the same time, Solomon says that we need to keep our mouths shut. Why? Because we tend to approach God and tell Him what we want—what our plan is for our lives. But that’s not necessarily what God wants for our lives. If we are too busy telling God what we want Him to do, we are not focused on listening to Him tell us what we were made to do, what is our purpose—the plan for our life.
Today consider how you enter the house of God. Consider how you read and study your Bible. Do you have your ears open? Do you have your mouth shut? Are you listening for what God has to say or are you using your mouth to interject with your instructions?
“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:1 [NLT]
I often get my dog Max soup bones. I cook them, allow them to cool, and then he has enjoyment that lasts for a long time. He has bones all over the house. We often have to collect them and put them back in his bin of toys. Sometimes he takes them and places them right in our pathway. The other night, I went to walk to the stairway so I could go downstairs and start my day. The problem was Max grabbed a bone after I had gone to bed and stuck it in the middle of my pathway. I walked right by the bone and the end of the bone cut my foot.
I would have seen the bone if I had turned on the lights, but I did not want to wake up my children. The problem is that things hide in the darkness. We cannot always see what is lingering about when it is dark. Sometimes we do things that we should not and we like to keep people in the dark. Darkness is usually linked with evil. But when there is darkness, there’s always some light—even if it is only a flicker of light.
I love Zechariah’s song. Consider this “morning light from heaven.” He noted that it would “break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness” (NLT). There are still so many sitting in the dark—so many who need to see the Light. Today, be a beacon of Light. Shine the Light. This world can be a dark, dark place; however, with each one of us shining Light, we are able to pour out the grace and mercy that God has poured out to us.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79 [NLT]
This morning it was drizzling but I still faithfully took my dog for a walk. As we continued up the street, I noticed that there was a newspaper that was poking through the plastic covering that the delivery person used for protection. In a quick moment, I passed by thinking that the newspaper would get all wet and perhaps I should pick it up and put it under the safety of the porch roof. But instead, I did nothing. I left it where it was and made excuses as to why I could not do that simple act. As I was a few blocks away, I started to feel regretful for not taking the opportunity that was right before me. It was a simple act of love that did not happen.
I think that too often there are opportunities presented to you and I, and I personally know that there are times in my life when I make excuses to not take action. I have heard many excuses as to why help cannot be given to someone, to the church, to a family in need, to a cause. Though this world is a hectic place and our schedules get busy, I think of how Jesus was walking toward one person when another person came in need of help. The lady reached out and touched His garment, and although He was on His way to pay a visit to the daughter of Jairus, He stopped and spoke to this woman (Mark 5). I remember how even after He was teaching at Capernaum and most likely tired from a busy day, He went back to Peter’s house to settle, only to still continue healing and reaching out to help others (Mark 1).
We will not always reach out. We will find ourselves making excuses. We will say we are too tired, too overwhelmed, too busy, too focused elsewhere, too unworthy, too untrained, too afraid. The list could go on and on with excuses I’ve given or heard. Thank God that He never makes excuses.
Today I encourage you to be the person who puts the newspaper on the porch. I pray that when you notice that you are making excuses for something that you can easily do before you walk away so that later you won’t be feeling guilty that you did not do more. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Do not neglect to do what is good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]
As a parent, a dog owner, and a former caretaker, I have made an observation. When there is something that may seem to be dangerous to a person or a pet, people and animals feel safer in the situation if there is someone between them and the danger. I can note that my best friend would most likely jokingly say that if I was between the danger, it gives her a chance to push me toward the danger and run. All joking aside, the truth is that we feel comfort knowing we are not alone with the situation, and there is this protective barrier that causes us to feel safe as well. My children were not so scared to approach the scary looking clown when they were little if I was standing on the side closest to the clown. It gave them security. They knew they were safe with mum.
We have a barrier of protection from God our Father. We are facing much more than scary looking clowns in this life, but God promises us that we are under His protective wing. “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge” (Psalm 91:4a NASB). The Bible says that “He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11 NASB). Isaiah 49:2 says that the shadow of God’s hand conceals us, and we can rest knowing that our walls are continually before Him (v.16).
God is between us and the world, protecting us from evil. This is not saying that evil will not come our way. It simply means that He will keep protection of our soul. When we are His children, we have the promise of victory in Christ. We have the promise of everlasting life with Him. There will be evil– bad things will come your way– but you can find comfort knowing that God is between you and the evil. He is your barrier of protection. You are able to seek Him at all times and at any location to help you walk by whatever is trying to break you down, cause you to fall, and disrupt your life. We never need to do life alone.
“The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.”
– Psalm 121:7-8 [NASB]
We often take things back. We can return a shirt that is the wrong size to the store where we made the purchase. We can take back library books so that we can make new choices. We are able to return so many things, and we are able to make changes to items as well if we do not like them. If we are not happy with something we wrote, we can edit and revise it instead of tearing up a piece of paper and writing it again. We can add more seasoning to our meals to make them change their taste. One thing we cannot take back or change is our spoken words. As they flow from our mouth or off of our fingertips while we are engaging online, they are gone. We may be able to delete comments we make online; however, people saw them and words are powerful. This is why Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (ESV). It is so easy for us to get into trouble.
There are times when we want so badly to shout back, to get in an argument to plead our case. We sometimes engage in discussions with people to stand up for what we believe in, to defend what we believe in and who we care for, to protect ourselves and others, and there are even times when we want to show someone that we are right and they are wrong. The Bible says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts” (Prov. 12:18a ESV) and “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21 ESV).
It is important to be mindful of our words. When we say something, it says something about us. Matthew 15 says that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (v. 18 ESV). When we speak or write, it is how we express ourselves. What people hear– the words, along with the tone, body language, and facial expressions — will be how they form many opinions about you. The written words can be worse, for they many times do not go away. That mean, unpleasant letter you wrote a former friend may still be out there. Those comments you left online may still be viewed. These words do not simply hurt the person they are directed at, but they hurt you even more.
We are to love one another like Jesus loves us. We are to build each other up and support each other through life’s journey. We are to be a comfort and a blessing to others. In accomplishing these tasks, it is most important that we watch our mouths. Instead of taking the energy to speak negatively, we can use that same energy and speak positive thoughts into our lives and the lives of others. We can be an encouragement and a blessing to so many if we are able to take time to think before we speak– if we take the much harder step to act in grace instead of acting out in emotion. Next time you speak, remember the power of your words and decide if you wish to have a life built around the positives or the negatives. The choice is yours.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
– Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]