Posts Tagged ‘affirmation’

Affirmation and Expectations

August 19th, 2017

Affirmation is more powerful than expectation. 

 “Look for the best in each other and do your best to bring it out.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 MSG

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Affirmation and Expectations.”

In my observation, a person’s reasonable expectations of others are typically proven to be true, whether for the better or worse. Usually, a child or teen lives up to what is communicated as expected. Of course, there are times that generality may fail to apply, just as happens with adults. But people who look for good in others usually find good. Conversely, people who have lower expectations for others ordinarily find what they’re looking for, as well.

When people truly like people and themselves strive to be their best, they typically assume goodness in others also. This seems supported by the Apostle Paul’s description to Titus, “Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Titus 1:15 NLT. If you expect people to disappoint, they probably will. Check your own heart first. Sometimes, what you readily see in others may merely be a reflection of your own heart.

Faults ignored in yourself can seem glaring in others. With deliberate exaggeration, Jesus highlighted the folly of ignoring your faults while judging another’s faults. “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye . . when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? . . first, get rid of the log in your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Luke 6:41-42 NLT. Specks and logs. Take care of the worst first.

The Bible provides a clear objective. “Look for the best in each other and always do your best to bring it out . . this is the way that God wants you who live in Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15/18 MSG. Do you consistently look for the best in others? Inclination, interest, attention, and a listening heart are essential relational skills to see the best when others are too preoccupied elsewhere to notice. God asks you to see the good in others that might otherwise be overlooked. You can reinforce that good with your benevolent expectation and sincere affirmation. In children and adults alike, what is affirmed is repeated. God’s grace in another’s life deserves to be affirmed. Affirmation is more powerful than expectation. You may not always get what you expect from others, but you will likely see what you affirm.

Along my spiritual journey, there have been many gracious people who saw things of God in me that I dared not assume for myself. They affirmed those qualities and abilities, and then tirelessly supported their further growth and development. My friend, Don, reminded me of once saying to him years earlier, “Thank you for not letting me be what I would have been without your friendship.” My words were accurate; his expectations and affirmation prompted my desire to be better and encouraged my efforts to do better. I really hope, in some measure, I have been that kind of friend for others.

To my parents, teachers, friends, and especially my remarkable wife and family whose affirmation and companionship make me better, thank you. Consider whose friendship makes you a better person than might have happened without them. Whatever credit accrues to you for character or accomplishments is rightly shared with them. Thank God for them, and be sure to thank them. And do better than tell them; write them so they can read it again and again and be continuously encouraged.

Today, I pray for you to recognize the many contributors to your achievements.

Christian Communications 2017




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January 13th, 2016

“Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.

Live so your family and friends have no cause for embarrassment.

My thoughts and comments today are about “unashamed.”

As a teen, I recall occasions when my father wisely reminded me, “Allen, remember; you are a Randolph.” His words were not of distrust, but of his trust and expectation of me. From his words, I understood that my conduct and conversation should reflect positively or would reflect negatively on others as well as myself.

Shame is a negative, but healthy, emotion you feel when you behave in a less worthy manner than you or others should expect. I am ashamed of some things I have said and done across the course of my life, and thankful to God and others who have shown me love and grace in spite of that. Along the way, I hope I have learned to do better. Though admittedly as human as the next person, my aspiration is to live so my family and friends have no cause for embarrassment.

Though not an exhaustive list, the twelfth chapter of Hebrews describes multiple people of exemplary faith in these words, “They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Read Hebrews 11:13-16 NIV. To me, that is the most incredible description of grace and the confident power of God.Grace includes you in that noble company of saints. Read Ephesians 2: 4-10 NIV.

I know that  my name is linked to His in grace. Imagine the power of that and personalize the Bible’s affirmation; read it aloud right now; “God is not ashamed to be called my God.” It is neither pretentious nor presumptuous to affirm that as true. Let its transforming truth sink deeply into your heart and spirit.

Dare you and I believe, that in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in a manner that God is not ashamed to be called our God. How dare we not believe what God has said to be true? Paul had every expectation of that truth, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 NKJV. “Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” Read Hebrews 2:10-12 NIV.

It reassures and comforts me that God chose to identify Himself to Moses affirming, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Exodus 3:15 NKJV. The record of each was less than sterling. But God was not ashamed to be called their God. At the end of my life, it will be satisfaction enough to hear my Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to live in the strength of my Dad’s belief in me and my Heavenly Father’s grace toward me. Read 2 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to live as honors Jesus, with neither shame nor regret.

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May 8th, 2015

“Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Ephesians 5:6 NKJV.

Words devoid of substance are unworthy of those who love truth.

My thoughts and comments today are about “flattery.”

Words have awesome potential. They can unite or divide people; they can edify people or destroy reputations. Words can convey truth or clever deception. The Bible has much to say about your words. Solomon observed, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 NKJV. Be wary of those who are always first to speak on any and every subject but have the least to say. They discount the value of their words.

The Bible cautions, “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Ephesians 5:6 NKJV. Words devoid of substance are unworthy of those who love truth. One form of words devoid of substance is flattery. The Bible describes a flatterer this way, “When they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh.” 2 Peter 2:18 NKJV. Flattery is defined as: “to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively.” At its core, flattery is self-centered, possessing the hidden intent of ingratiating the speaker more than elevating the recipient. With sadness, Paul described those whose selfish agenda was, “By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.” Romans 16:18 NIV. Don’t be naïve; flattery feels good, sometimes too good, and can become addictive.

“They mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” Jude 16. Jude exposes the selfish motive for flattery. Flattery can be disguised to gain favor by falsely assigning or exaggerating virtues to someone. I love Jude’s description of flattery as, “great swelling words.” In past years, such people were described as being, “full of hot air.” Beware of flattery; it is usually unhealthy, sometimes even unholy. “A flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 26:28 NKJV. “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Ephesians 5:6 NKJV. Flattery can be mistaken for affirmation. Don’t be confused.

EDL pic affirmationUnlike flattery, affirmation is selfless and sincere edification of another person through gracious words that encourage and strengthen another’s soul with truth. Everyone needs affirmation. When our children were young, my wise and Godly stepfather, Warren, frequently reminded me that, “children need a good number of ‘atta boys’ every day.” Every person, young or old, needs a healthy amount of honest, Godly affirmation. Sincere affirmation is a powerful source of confidence and assurance.

Paul’s New Testament letters are rife with sincere affirmation. Affirm lavishly; avoid flattery. David’s prayer should be yours and mine as well, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NIV. Amen.

Today, I pray that you are sufficiently affirmed and sincere when affirming others.

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May 20th, 2013

“A word out of your mouth . . can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it.” James 3:5 MSG.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either but you cannot do both.

My thoughts and comments today are about “words.”

Words have a longer life span and far greater importance than you may realize. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21 NKJV. James gave good advice when he wrote, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19. I always thought that a strange pairing of words, until I observed how anger fuels how you hear and what you say before you realize the havoc and hurt your words can cause. Choose words well; use words wisely.

You possess the power to bless or curse; you can do either, but you cannot do both. Choose words wisely. James wrote, “No one can tame the tongue . . sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out in curses against those who have been made in the image of God. So blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth – this is not right!” James 3:10.

Every time you use words positively you enhance their power; used improperly, you devalue their meaning. Sometimes slang and definitely profanity or vulgarity devalue the importance and strength of everything else you say. Their destructive power touches the one who speaks them and those who hear them – long after their sounds fall silent. That is true of the words you hear and read, as well as the words you speak. See Matthew 15:18 NLT. You live in a vulgar culture, increasingly profane. Civility and propriety are discounted as unimportant. Promises are defaulted; truth is compromised. Be decidedly different from the culture surrounding you.

Words have power. They strengthen or harm friendships, inspire or dishearten, encourage or discourage. Words of affirmation empower dreams in the heart. Words of doubt and disbelief predict fear and failure. All words have power; the more important you view person speaking them, the deeper and more lasting their effect on you. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. Let that be your objective as well. There is unimagined authority within your spoken words. John writes of those who “overcame the devil by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, taught me appreciation for words in a book about the origin of words. My Dad taught me the practical integrity of words, “A man is only as good as his word. Don’t say something you don’t mean.” The words of my Mom and Dad influence my life long after they were spoken; words can endure beyond lifetimes. The Bible taught me the enduring quality of Godly words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.

Life taught me the double-edged potential in words, “A gentle answer turns away wrath; but a grievous word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV. Make every word count; weigh them carefully; share them gently. Here’s how God says this should work, “God wants you to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love – like Christ in everything . . watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”  Ephesians 4:15/29 MSG. Each word can be a gift from God through you. My prayer is as David’s, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14. See Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will be pure and your words pleasing.

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May 15th, 2013

“We say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my Helper . .’” Hebrews 13:6 NIV.

To be real, your confidence must have a strong foundation in the Word of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “confidence.”

Life is better when you live with confidence. That doesn’t mean that everything will always be well or that everything goes as you expect. Confidence rests on a broader context than the moment at hand. Most people try to live in the immediate, which is ever changing. Therefore, they are ever changing also – changing moods, vacillating feelings, shifting plans, strained relationships, lessened expectations, and wavering confidence. “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” See Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV. Everything in your life is better with confidence.

Better that your reliance is upon what is eternal, unchanging, and enduring. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 NKJV. God wants you to live confidently – secure in God, strong in His Word, settled in your salvation, and safe in your faith. Confidence has to be about something more than the moment. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

The context for enduring confidence is a real faith in truth that endures; such truth is found in God alone. Paul concluded, “Therefore, we do not lose heart . . For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal.” Read 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 NKJV. Take your focus off anything that is “but for a moment,” and rest on what both precedes and succeeds every moment – the character of God, the Word of God, and the grace and goodness of God. Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV.

Real confidence begins with right living. “We are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.” Hebrews 13:18 NKJV. Confidence rests secure on truth that is eternal not with facts of the moment, with what God says rather than what is happening presently.God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV. To be real, confidence must have an unchanging foundation, the Word of God. “God has said . . so we say with confidence . .” Confidence strengthens by the truth of God’s words to your heart.

“The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Confidence is a strong affirmation, a clear choice, and an obvious conclusion. You won’t worry about what anyone can do to you when confident of what God has done and will do for you. Read Psalm 118:8 NKJV. What concerns you today? What worries you about tomorrow? Solomon wrote, “Keep [these] words always in your heart . . Wherever you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake in the morning, they will advise you. For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you.” Proverbs 6:21-23 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that your confidence rests securely on God and His Word.

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