October 14

Psalms 55:12-14 (NIV) 12If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. 13But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.

The deepest pain is from betrayal by those we have placed our trust in, those who are closest to us. It was after three years of pouring into Judas' life, and immediately after washing his feet as an expression of love that Jesus was betrayed by him. We hurt so much because we have such love for that person. We expected just the opposite from them. We sowed love, and we expected love in return.

This is one reason churches have such internal conflict. We sacrifice for one another with one goal in mind. We experience special times together, and from that conclude that our hearts are one in our mission and purpose. Then, someone becomes offended by something, intentional or unintentional. They begin to look for fault in the one who offended them. The offense may even have been an expression of love or a complete misunderstanding. Then the offended one offends. The wounds become deeper and the attitudes more bitter, until Satan has achieved his goal, division.

Once the cycle begins, there is only one way out. Unconditional forgiveness, expressed because of the supernatural love of God in our hearts. You can't work it up or try hard to express it. It must come from God. Only His love can say of the ones driving nails into him, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." We must see as he sees, that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers and principalities. It is never personal, no matter how personal it seems. Division in the body of Christ is Satanically inspired. We can't dismiss sin and leave it buried, for leaven will permeate the whole. We can love and forgive those who get caught up in it and encourage repentance and restoration.

Remember: Has someone offended you? Don't let the cycle begin. Refuse to play Satan's game. Do everything possible to restore your relationship with the offender, but begin by asking God for His love for that person.

October 14

Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV) 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Here is the attitude of the Christian that has a living relationship with the Lord of the universe. They know God is sovereign over all things and loves them dearly. The know they are in the palm of His hand and that nothing can get to them without the Father's permission. If things are difficult or painful, they know that there is good coming from the experience and that the Father will see them through. What peace the child of God should have as they walk through this life!

When troubles come their way, they submit them to God and seek His desired response for them. Once they have discerned the godly response, they act. Then they leave the rest in His omnipotent hands. This understanding and resolve allows God to give us His very own peace. It is peace for our heart, which means our desires are left with Him. It is peace for our minds. We don't have to revisit the problem again and again, fretting with worry about what we should have done or can do in the future. Your heart and mind are kept in Christ Jesus. As He abides in your heart and mind, you yield to His desires and thoughts about your situation. Then your attitude will be entirely different from the flesh. This is when people truly see Christ in you.

Paul adds that we need to keep our minds on what is good. We must take control of our thoughts, dwelling on the things that are uplifting. The enemy of our soul wants us to dwell on the opposite of these. That would be to declare that he has more power than God. Dwelling on the good says that God will prevail. That is the attitude most in tune with Christ, most in line with reality. This will affect your attitude about life, your countenance, and your health, not to mention your daily witness.

Consider: Children of God wear a smile, not because life is easy, but because they know everything is in their loving Father's hands.