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Better Together

August 11th, 2014

On a personal note: after this mailing of EDL, Gayle and I will be taking a few weeks to celebrate our 50th anniversary – though a year late! The importance of the occasion and the travel involved dictate that the writing of EveryDay Life be set aside, to resume in September. I will miss the discipline and enjoyment of sharing my thoughts from God’s Word, as well as reading your kind responses and comments, but anticipate resuming my joyful assignment upon our return. During these weeks, let me suggest that you use the option of browsing the archive of more than 1,100 previous devotionals available at the EDL website: www.allenrandolph.com. I look forward to our return and our visits together around God’s amazing and practical Word.

Blessings, Allen Randolph

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“That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:12 NIV.

Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “better together.”

Let me journey a little further on our recent theme of encouragement. The Bible is clear, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV. Human nature is a bundle of contradictive inclinations; for example, a person can long for meaningful closeness with others, while at the same time requiring privacy from others. Relational intimacy can seem threatening; isolation can feel discomfiting.

At every level of personality, our fallen natures conflict with the Creator’s intention. At creation, God observed all that He had made, then declared, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God’s solution was, “a companion who will help him.” Genesis 2:18 NLT. God’s assessment is unchanged and His solution remains the same. People need other people.

Jesus chose His disciples, “to be with Him.” Mark 3:14 NKJV. Much of God’s intention for you begins with a call to divine companionship. I think the mention is significant that when Jesus gave His disciples power over unclean spirits and all kinds of disease, He sent them, “two by two.”  Mark 6:7 NKJV. Jesus knew they would face challenges and feel rejection, and partnered them for the mutual encouragement they would require. Together is a better option.

The Bible is full of such examples: Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and others. In prison, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life . . bring Mark when you come, for he will be helpful to me.” 2 Timothy 4:10-11 NLT. It is a wise individual who recognizes his or her need for others.

“I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:9-12 NIV. The encouragement of each other’s faith provides a mutual strength.

Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one . . pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. Solomon reasons that your efforts together are more productive; help is more readily available; comfort is found in company; strength is compounded. Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others. You will not reach your full potential without the meaningful fellowship of others. And some measure of others’ accomplishments and fulfillment requires yours. Encouragement is neither complicated nor extravagant; it can be as simply expressed as a genuine interest, a sincere inquiry, an affirming word, a heartfelt prayer, an overture of assistance, or an act of generous benevolence.

Today, my prayer for you is to be as encouraging to others as someone has been to you.

Christian Communications, Inc.

 

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Together is Better

February 27th, 2012

“Thus far the Lord has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12 NIV

“Rarely, if ever, can a person truly say, ‘I did it all by myself.’”

My thoughts and comments today are that “together is better.”

When you take an honest look at life, you recognize that whatever your successes, there were few things you achieved by your efforts alone. Rarely, if ever, can a person truly say, “I did it all by myself.” And if you did, you did not do it as well as you could have with others’ help; together is better! “Two are better than one . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. Why does it seem important for a person to claim full credit? What drives a person to need to believe an achievement is theirs alone? Those who fail to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of others will eventually find themselves without others’ help.

The seed of that need is insecurity. If you struggle with that, maybe you need to become “comfortable in your own skin.” Security within yourself occurs when you are at ease with what your abilities are, as well as what they are not. Insecurity is not uncommon and only means that you have not identified the extent and limits of your securities. It is healthy and helpful to recognize that you have both. However multi-talented you may be, no one – not even you – possesses every ability, skill, and talent for every task. Insecurity insists that others know what you can do but worries they may find out what you cannot.

Letting people think you can do it all by yourself is an exhausting way to live. You will never do as much, never do as well, and never be as satisfied. Anyone has something to contribute to make the work of everyone a little more, a little better. God says, “Give to everyone what you owe them . . give respect and honor to whom it is due.” Romans 13:7 NLT. To whom it is due; so simple and practical a lesson to remember. Be thankful for others’ help and generous to share credit where due. If you require all the credit for what is done, you will receive all the blame for what was not done well.

When you do succeed, through benefit of the unrecognized work of others, pride is birthed from the insecurities you carefully deny. Pride is a tyrant that cannot allow or admit any failure, but with pride failure is inevitable. The Bible warns, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. The longer that takes, the greater and further the fall. The Bible says, “God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 NLT. Better to have God for you, than resisting you; don’t you think?

“Be down to earth with each other for – God has had it with the proud, but takes delight in just plain people. So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is upon you; He’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7 The Message. Content, carefree, and cared for, that’s what God promises; isn’t that what you want most?

Samuel led Israel in a great victory. Their constant enemy, the Philistines, had been soundly defeated. It takes a leader to lead, but it takes more than one man to win a war. Samuel recognized his part was not apart from the help of God and others. “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 NIV. Notice two words: the Lord, and us!  Samuel gave credit where credit was due. Where you include God, God includes you. See Psalm 28:7 NIV. The result? Continued success for everyone! “So the Philistines were subdued . . and throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:13 NLT. Why do alone what you can do better with God and others?

My prayer today for you is that you feel no need for the credit, nor requirement to do it all alone.

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