It didn’t take too long to realize that my van had a fuel gauge issue, as the van continued to show I had a full tank of gas after driving it for a week. I had a car like that before, and knew the quick remedy was to use the faithful trip monitor for mileage and get gas frequently. It was working well for me. I was told it would cost a lot of money to fix the gauge and I certainly didn’t want to make that kind of investment.
Recently, my van has been involved in numerous vehicular accidents. People cannot seem to get enough of hitting the van. At times, I’ll be in the van. At times, it’s park and people ram into it like playing bumper cars. Nonetheless, the accident that began the domino occurrences of accidents did something wild. It fixed my gas gauge. The accident that caused whiplash and days of pain fixed the fuel gauge. What a blessing in the middle of chaos!
Today, look at the blessings around you. Perhaps you are going through a great trial. Maybe you feel like you have been struggling for a long time. But through it all, there are blessings upon blessings. Acknowledge them. Thank the Lord! He is good. Always! And He uses everything—the good and the bad – for His good purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NIV]
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]
God wants the very best for us. This is something that some people cannot fathom because they do not truly know God. Often it is because we think we know what is best, that we grumble at things that are placed before us or we complain as we journey on a path that simply doesn’t make sense. But God wants the best and wherever we are and whatever we have is all a part of His plan. Trust in Him.
If you are scrambling right now, attempting to gain something you consider good, think twice about this goal. If it’s difficult to reach, is it because you are supposed to grow as you walk in faith? Or is it difficult to reach, because God has something different (and better) for you? Rest in Him.
The Psalmist understood that God will “withhold no good thing.” God is good and He will pour out His goodness upon us in abundance. If you wonder where the good is at, first look at where God is at in your life, and then look at where He is leading. Consider the way you view things in your life; sometimes we see something as not-so-good because our perspective is skewed.
Life is a journey, not a race. His timing. His plan. His way. He will withhold no good thing.
“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” – Psalm 84:11 [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 you are living for Christ, there should be a noticeable difference from the life you had to the life you are living. People should see a difference. People should be asking, “What is different with her?” or “What happened to him?” when they see you. If there is no change, it is likely that you are still living the same life. This is very easy if you stick with doing the same things as you did before.
Paul tells us to “check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” This is not something done overnight, but it is something that helps us to grow in Christ. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is not good for you. This can vary from person to person. If it is not good, toss it out. As you slowly remove what is not good, and you surround yourself with what is good and pure and true and worthy of praise, you will start to change. You won’t even realize it is happening.
If you stay right where you are and do not listen to the Spirit, you are neglecting the opportunity to become who you were made to be and you are missing out on so many great things. God promised you that you would do great things through Christ. That is an awesome promise and it is true. You cannot imagine the great plan He has for you. But if you start cling to the good and remove the bad, you will see that plan unfold—and it’s a beautiful plan.
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 [MSG]
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]
The pathway that we travel in life can be a challenge or a breeze, a struggle or a journey. The Bible says that God will guide us “along the best pathway.” This reminds me of the Red Sea pathway. When the Israelites were freed to leave, God led them the long way. They didn’t go what we would consider as the best pathway. But it was the best pathway. We just do not think like God so we cannot always see why it is the best.
You might be in a place in your life right now where you are questioning the pathway you are on or the pathway that God is pointing you to take in life. You may be wondering if it truly is the best pathway. It might not look like a good path to take. It might not seem like the easiest path or the path that will bring about the most fun. It might be a scary path or a path that will cause you some grief—maybe some people will turn their backs on you when you select the path God is leading you to take right now.
We might not know where this pathway will lead or what God may have in mind, but we can always trust that He will guide us along the very “best pathway.” Don’t be a senseless horse. Keep pressing forward and allowing Him to show you the way. He knows the best pathway.
“The LORD says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.’” – Psalm 32:8-9 [NLT]
I do not like the taste of grapefruit; however, I read many articles claiming that it would be beneficial for my health so I decided to start drinking grapefruit juice daily. The problem is that I cannot stand the taste. The first time I had some of the juice, I could not even force it down; it made me sick just tasting a sip of the juice. But I knew that it would be beneficial to me so I continued to drink it daily and still have a glass every morning.
Something that leaves a bitter taste in most mouths is discipline. People don’t generally like to be disciplined. Who wants to get a write-up at work for being late? What child wants to be grounded? Yet discipline can help us to grow as well as to correct our behavior. Discipline is for a reason. Discipline is for our best. Yet we have become a society against discipline. People are able to buy themselves out of a punishment. Children are un-grounded thirty minutes later because a parent “feels bad,” doesn’t want the child to get a complex or doesn’t feel like taking the time to enforce the punishment.
It is no different when it comes to the Lord’s discipline. We do not like discipline. We complain about our circumstances. There are situations we go through that are to help us to be holy as God has called us to be as His children, and we don’t recognize the discipline or don’t wish to accept the discipline. Proverbs 3:11-12 states: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (NIV). God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to be living in sin. He set you apart for a reason. You can choose to ignore or you can choose to submit. Submission will lead you toward the goodness, to holiness, to life.
Read Psalm 39 and see how David reacts to discipline.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
– Hebrews 12: 7-11 [NIV]