Conquer Evil

“Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 HCSB)

It appears as if evil is out of control in our world today.  We hear and see more and more of it, and it seems as if we and people around the world have succumbed to it, accepting it as if there is nothing that can be done about it.  We seem to have the “if we can’t beat it, we must join it” mentality.

But evil can and must be conquered and defeated in our society and in the world.  God, through the Apostle Paul tells us that in today’s verse of Scripture. Let’s take a closer look at it.

  1. “Do not be conquered by evil” – means that, as Christians, we do not have to be conquered by anything, much less evil.  In Romans 8:35-37, God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that “we are more than conquerers.”  Therefore, if we do evil, it’s because we allow ourselves to be conquered by evil; we give up the fight against it and join it. There are many so-called Christians who believe that the way to fight evil is by accepting it, in the name of “love”. Accepting evil is in itself evil, and can never be love.  Evil cannot defeat, or conquer itself.  There has to be a greater force that conquers it.
  2. “but conquer evil with good.” – God is telling us that the only way to conquer evil is by doing what is good, even as we face evil.  As Christians, we are “not to repay evil for evil,  or insult for insult (1 Peter 3:9; italics added).”  Here’s what Jesus has to say to us:  But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28; italics added).” Christians, this is the way that Jesus wants to use us to conquer evil in this world; He wants us to take His love and goodness to the entire world, beginning where we are.

The problem is that few are the Christians who are willing to do what is good to conquer evil, because they fear what evil is going to do to them for their efforts.  

But God tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:7; italics added).” So we, through the power of Christ who lives in us, have the power to overcome and conquer evil and do what is good to all people.

So, what will you choose to do?  How will you make a difference in your community and the rest of the world?  Will it be for good, or for evil?

*** If you are someone who wants to do what is truly good and make a difference in this world, you cannot do it on your own, you need the power of God’s love and goodness living in you.  Think about it.  God is calling you to Himself, right now.  If you are interested in knowing how you can have God’s power in your life, message me. I’d love to help you. ***

Love

“He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39 HCSB).””

If you are a Christian, please join me in this prayer, and then in obedience to this prayer.

Lord, today I’m going to need your help to love You with all my being, in such a way that I live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Your Word, and love others the same way I love myself.  You don’t command me to see if people are worth my love, You command me to love others the same way You have loved me, even though I’m totally unworthy of Your love.  Fill me with Your love so that I can share it with all people, all the time.  May it be so, Father.  In Jesus’ name.

Have a glorious day, everyone!

Our Resurrection

 “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”  (1 Corinthians 15:14-17 HCSB)

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can also be raised from the dead into eternal life, which is our only hope.  Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would have no hope, and our destiny would be an eternity in complete separation from God in a place called hell.  God had mercy on us and provided a way for us to pass from death to life, from eternal torment in hell, to an eternal life of joy and peace in heaven with Him.

All that is required us is faith in the fact that Jesus was punished for our sins so that our sins can be forgiven, and that Jesus rose again from the dead so that we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.  Jesus said,

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.” “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:1-6 HCSB).””

The choice is ours. I pray you will make the correct choice.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Life and Death

“The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36 HCSB)

There are those who read this verse and immediately think that God is cruel, and without love, or compassion for people as He claims to have.  Most people who believe this way do not understand God because they have very little, or no knowledge of God.  What’s most troubling is that there are many who call themselves Christians who have this same mindset and have no idea of the danger they are in.  So, let’s break down and understand this verse.

  1.  “The one who believes in the Son…” – the word “believe”, here, means much more than a simple intellectual conviction that Jesus exists, and that He died on a cross, and rose from the dead.  God, in James 2:19, tells us that even the demons believe in Jesus, and even shudder in fear of Him.  This does not mean that demons are going to heaven.  The belief that this verse speaks of is a complete, unconditional surrender of our lives to the lordship of Christ in such a way that we strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands; not out of obligation, or as a “stay out of hell card”, but because we understand what He has done for us.
  2. “has eternal life,” – eternal life in heaven with Him is our reward for surrendering our lives to Jesus, and submitting ourselves to His Lordship, in such a way that we strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.
  3. “but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life;” – the person who outright refuses to surrender his/her life to the lordship of Christ, and refuses to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands. this person will not see eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
  4. “instead, the wrath of God remains on him.” – God’s wrath remains on us because we choose to live our lives in rebellion against Him, which is what’s in our nature to do.  We don’t want to surrender our lives to anyone, or anything, unless it satisfies our lusts, and desires for the things of this world – “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).”

Here is what we need to understand about God, folks.  God does not hate anyone.  On the contrary.  God loves us all enough to give us the choice to surrender to Him and live according to His will and purpose, or to live according to our will and desires.  But, He also loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of not living according to His will and purpose.

God sends no-one to hell.  We send ourselves to hell by the choice we make.  With every choice we make, we also choose the consequences we will suffer.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

Love One Another

“Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:11-12 HCSB)

Church, how else is the world going to know Jesus if the world doesn’t see and hear Jesus in us?  Are we ashamed to speak and act like Jesus?  Then why aren’t we doing it?  I know what some of us are saying, right now, “Of course I’m not ashamed of Jesus, how dare you question my love for Him!”  And some of us are even adding an excuse to it, saying, “I just don’t want to offend anyone!”  We seem to have forgotten that Jesus, our Lord and King, has given us a command:

 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 HCSB).”

How can we, the church, love others outside the church, when we can’t even love one another, in the church?  How can we even call ourselves Christians when we are indifferent to the suffering of our Christians brothers and sisters?  One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen is a church budget.  We spend thousands of dollars caring for buildings and programs, and just a few dollars, in comparison, for the overall care of our own brothers and sisters in need.  Where we, the church, spend the most money is where our hearts are.

I would rather be hated by the world for my love for God and others, than be loved by the world for my indifference.  Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me and others, so I will love Him and give myself for Him and others in return.  I will love Him, and others, even if it costs me my life, because I would rather be loved by God and hated by the world, than to be loved by the world and hated by God.

So, church, how can we love one another as the Lord has commanded us to do?  It’s simple, just find someone in your congregation that is need of love and care, and love and care for them.  Supply their needs without expecting anything in return.

Church, if there is no benevolence fund for your congregation in your budget, isn’t it time to change that?  Isn’t it time to be an example to the world of what it looks like to love one another?  If we want our world to change, change has to begin with us.

Got Peace?

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 HCSB)

Many of us Christians do not live in God’s perfect peace.  Instead, we choose to be self-sufficient, completely setting God aside.  We have made up our minds to depend wholly on ourselves.  We’ve looked at our Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God and said to Him, “Step aside, God, I’ve got this. I don’t need you.”

Then, when things don’t go the way we thought they would, we’re too prideful to admit we made a mistake.  We are quick to blame others, including God, for our mistakes and the consequences we’re suffering.  Even though we may be part of a higher socio economic class, we still have no peace because we have put our faith in money, which we know we can lose in the blink of an eye.  Jesus said:

 “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money (Matthew 6:24 HCSB).”

God expects every one of His children to put the full measure of their faith and dependence in Him, just as new born babies do their parents.  He alone is our “Good, Good, Father.”  No one else can match His great love and care for us because we are His.

Here’s is how we can have that “prefect peace that God offers:

  1. Put the full measure of your faith and dependence in Him alone.  Do not try to be self-sufficient.  You are not Omniscient, Omnipotent, nor Omnipresent.
  2. Strengthen your faith and dependence in Him by staying in a constant posture of prayer, and by reading His Word, every day!
  3. Stay busy obeying what God reveals to you through prayer and the reading of His Word.  Worry more about that, than anything else.

Father in Heaven, I lift up the person who is reading this, to You.  I pray that they will humble themselves before You, go to Your throne of grace and pray, seek Your face, and turn away from their selfish pride.  I ask that You will increase their faith and help them put the full measure of their faith and dependence entirely in You.  Grant them peace.  May it be so, Father.  In Jesus’ name.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Got Wisdom?

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” (James1:5 HCSB)

Many of us think we have wisdom, but the state of our lives tells a different story.  We have made such unwise, bone-headed decisions that we’ve almost destroyed our lives and the lives of others, including our families.  Then, our shame makes us look for others to blame for our failure.  We don’t even want to think of taking responsibility for our destructive behavior.

Our problem is pride.  Pride keeps us from asking family, or friends for help because we fear being thought of as weak.  When we find ourselves at a crossroads in our lives we just do the “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” thing and go with it.  However, we soon find out we were wrong.  When we leave God out of our decision making process, we quickly end up paying costly consequences.  There is a reason why God told us:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).”

God is Omniscient, and likes it when we humble ourselves before Him and recognize that He is all-knowing, and all-wise, and we’re not.  When we do this and then ask Him to give us wisdom, He will not criticize, or judge us. Instead, He will give us the wisdom to make the right decisions according to His will and purpose.  There is nothing more important to God than His eternal purpose.  God will never give us wisdom so that we can go our own way and do our own thing.  He gives us the wisdom we need to carry out His eternal purpose.

So, do you lack wisdom? Take a close look at your life and see what it says about how wise you really are.  God has all the wisdom you need, and He is ready to give it to you.  Just humble yourself before Him, and ask Him for it.  He will give it to you – He promised He would, so He will.

In Christ’s love,

Phil

 

 

Insights from God's Word