Author: Denny Livingston
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how we should pray for our enemies. Since the Bible is the ultimate fact-checker, I thought I would share a few scriptures to put a Christians position on this subject in perspective.
I believe it when the Bible says we should pray for our enemies. I also believe it when it says we should mark them that cause division. Proverbs teach us that there are seven things that God hates, and the final one is those who sow discord among brothers. Maybe that’s another reason why we should “WATCH AND PRAY.”
Matthew 5:44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Proverbs 16:19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
For the last several weeks, I have been taking my church through a study on the book of Colossians. Though it is only four chapters, it is some of the Apostle Paul’s most profound writing. We are currently in chapter two, and I couldn’t help but rejoice as a read a particular line. I am starting at verse nine.
Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
All of this is so powerful, however, as Paul talks about the fullness of the Godhead being in Jesus, he then makes this simple but incredible statement. “AND YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM.” Because of who Paul was talking to, he was saying; you do not need anything else once you are filled with His Spirit. You don’t need the philosophy of the Greeks or the traditions of the Jews. Your salvation is secure in Jesus.
God fulfilled the law through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That means He completed it in Him, so He could then complete us. We should rejoice and be glad this day for all we need is in Jesus. WE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM!!!
When things in life go wrong, or in ways, you didn’t plan or want, it can leave you with a lot of different emotions. Sad, mad, heartbroken, shocked, and overwhelmed. To put it in terms we’ve heard before; it’s a roller coaster ride. But when it’s all over and the dust has settled, what I have left means everything. My next move is contingent on my final feeling. If I’m left with anger, I’ll inevitably become bitter. If it’s a broken-heart, chances are, I’ll struggle with depression. All I’m saying is that the last feeling or emotion is what directs the next step we take.
No matter what I’ve faced or how bad it is, I have to make sure when it comes to an end, I still have hope. It’s ok to go through every other emotion throughout the situation, but I must walk away with hope. That’s what will save my heart, mind, and emotional security. All the other feelings were there, and that’s fine, but when I close the chapter, I do it with hope.
You know who you are today, and what it is you’ve faced. I’m not just telling you what to do; I’m living it with you today. In the long list of emotions I’ve dealt with, each had their time and place. But now, it’s hope time. Not hope in me, but hope in my God who can turn what the enemy meant for evil into something good. I can’t change it, fix it, or even make it better, but God can. So as I walk away from another painful trial, I’m left with all I need, and that’s hope.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.
Sometimes a Bible verse seems to jump out at you and speak to your situation. I love the fact the Paul says; God will give you what He already is. He is what we need, so For Him to offer peace, it means that He is giving of Himself. Peace is not an attribute of God, it’s a part of who He is. In other words, He already is what we need.
The word peace in this verse means, quietness. It’s bringing a calm or a hush. God operates in that peace because He is peace and wants to give that same quietness to us. You need quietness when something is getting too loud. A noise that is keeping you from focusing. Maybe that sounds like your life right now. Perhaps you’re having a hard time focusing because the stress in your life has gotten way too loud. It could be the noise of your past drowning out the sound of your future. Whatever it is, make your prayer today this simple. God, I need your peace. I need who you are to speak into the chaotic, loud noise of my life and bring calm. Turn down the volume of worry Lord, and let this day be complete with quietness.
We have been taught that God is omnipresent. That means He is everywhere present and nowhere absent. It’s hard for our human minds to comprehend that. Not only does He feel all space, but He is also present in any area of time. There is literally nowhere He cannot go. He told Isaiah, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? To say we serve a great and big God is an understatement. Think of a sermon you’ve heard recently where the minister proclaimed the greatness and size of God. That minister was reminding you that God is bigger than whatever it is you are facing.
But here is the reality. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been told or taught. Even the number of sermons is irrelevant. You can read about Him, hear others talk about Him, but if you don’t see the vastness of God for yourself, then it’s not going to do you any good. How great I see Him, and how big I try to preach that He is will not help you if you don’t start viewing Him that great in your own eyes. You can’t live off of your parent’s vision of God. You can’t exist off of your Pastor’s perspective of Him. No matter how your spouse sees God, you have to get your own vision and revelation of Him. I don’t want you to just hear about His greatness; I want you to see it for yourself.
So, at the start of 2020, I ask you this question; How great do you see God? Your eyes, your vision, your perspective, and your revelation of His greatness.
The ability to focus takes determination and commitment. There will always be things to do, something to think about, and things to fight for our attention. You have to be determined to block everything except what is most important at that time. During these 21 Days, choose daily the things you need to focus on and make them the center of attention. Divide them up blocks of time for your day so you can make the most of that day. Don’t just randomly pick from the list, be intentional. Use your time wisely. Open and close each day with a set and achieved goal. Decide for 21 days what are reoccurring things that you will continually focus on, and what are those unique things that need specific days to accomplish.
It’s my opinion that these 21 days can be the foundation for how we build the rest of the year. A year can be a crazy ride because you don’t know today what August is going to bring. You can’t predict your summer. All you can do is prepare now for the unexpected events in 2020. I’m not trying to be negative, but the truth is, both negative and positive things are going to happen this year. Get a head start on all of it by establishing 21 days of focus.
Today, our Church begins, what we’re calling “21 DAYS OF FOCUS.” The definition of focus is to bring something to the center of attention. It also means, having clear vision. I’ve heard a lot about 2020 being the year of vision, and I love that, but what good is a vision without focus? We don’t just need vision; we need a clear vision. We have to make sure we have the right things at the center of attention. So, for the next 21 days, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. In fact, it’s going to be a year of focus for us. We all get busy with other things in life, and before you know it, certain things start becoming blurry and out of focus. Here is a list of some things that we are bringing to the center of attention.
RELATIONSHIPS (Marriage, family, and friendships)
YOUR GIFTS AND CALLING
MISSION AND EVANGELISM (Reaching out to the lost and hurting)
FAITHFULNESS TO THE HOUSE GOD
You are more than welcome to go on this journey with us. If you are a part of a Church that is doing something similar to this, that is great, and I am praying for you and your Church. Let’s set the pace for 2020 by joining together in unity and focusing on things that might have become blurry in our lives.
We are three days into 2020. How are you doing on your goals? Remember, you have to maintain a consistent pace to last throughout the year. It’s not about how great you start, but how well you end. You will experience highs and lows as you strive to reach your goal. Don’t let the highs cause you to be overconfident, and don’t let the lows convince you to quit. No matter what you want to see happen in 2020, it will take daily commitment to achieve it. Things might look a little blurry now, but begin to focus and wait for clarity.