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Posts Tagged ‘reaction’

Get Over It

July 29th, 2016

Love and forgiveness is always the right response.

“Shake off the dust from your feet.” Matthew 10:14 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today urge, “get over it.”

In our daily lives, all of us gather mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter. Others, as well as yourself, are capable of saying, doing, or behaving in ways that are less than helpful. Our words, actions, and attitudes in daily discourse impact one another more than you may at first realize. To our harm, we collect and hold in our memories and emotions disappointments or hurts that occur.

With a little time, much of those common slights are soon disregarded. Those apparent slights we don’t dismiss easily, we gradually process and ultimately discard. At other times, feelings of misunderstanding or misjudgment may lodge in your psyche a longer than is profitable to your healthy well-being. Jesus’ advice is simple. Get over it. Here is the reality. You can neither control nor change what another person chooses to say or do. You, however, can choose what you say or do in return. For your own sake and the sake of the other, you must.

Forgive and forget, in that order, is good counsel. One of two things happen when affronted; you will either react or respond. Those are similar but not near the same. Either can occur when you feel hurt. Reacting exacerbates a problem; responding offers reconciliation. When explaining this principle in counseling, I describe a person throwing a rubber ball against a wall. The ball reacts against the wall according to two relevant conditions – the force the ball is thrown and the hardness or softness of the wall.

The initial force is at another’s initiative; you can neither control nor change that. The resulting absorption of that force is your decision alone. A natural reaction usually occurs in a force equal to or stronger than the initial action. A person angrily shouts at you; you naturally react by shouting back angrily, and thus it escalates. That’s how and when feelings get hurt and relationships are harmed, usually temporarily but sometimes permanently. A spiritual response absorbs another’s words or actions, giving back kindness for unkindness.

As a boy, as I entered the house my Mom would remind me, “Allen, wipe your feet outside. I don’t want dirt on my clean floor.” She knew that I would otherwise be bringing into our home the dust, dirt, and little debris from where I had walked. Jesus’ counsel to His disciples was similar except he was talking about the stuff that gathers in our thoughts and feelings from our daily journey, “Shake the dust off of your feet when you leave that home or town . . let your peace return to you.” Read Matthew 10:11-14 NIV. Don’t journey on without God’s peace, with which you came; don’t leave with hurts you did not bring.

A Godly response is always better than a natural reaction. Love, understanding, and forgiveness is always the right response. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was clear; “Pray for those who mistreat you . . Do to others as you would have them do to you . . Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” Read Luke 6:27-38 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to rest your cause in His capable hands.

Christian Communications 2016

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Failures and Sorrows

September 4th, 2015

“Simon, when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 NKJV.

Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime.

My thoughts and comments today are about “failures and sorrows.”

Failure comes in many forms and sizes, but inevitably comes to all. May yours be insignificant and easily redeemable. Learning from your own and others’ failures is essential. The prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, held 1093 patents but failed hundreds of times before successfully inventing the electric light bulb because he didn’t stop trying until he succeeded. Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Turning failure to success is possible.

Who does not identify with Simon Peter? His record was not flawless. When he failed, he failed publicly and on a grand scale. Despite Peter’s earlier protestations of allegiance and after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied three times to even have known Jesus. As the day dawned, Peter heard the crow of the rooster, remembered Jesus’ words and, “went out and wept bitterly.” See Luke 22:60-62 NKJV. Failure is not final; mistakes are not fatal.

Earlier, Jesus had spoken words of warning to Peter, but also reassurance, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 NKJV. Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime. “My salvation will last forever; My righteousness will never fail.” Isaiah 51:6 NIV.

Regret is a natural reaction; repentance is a spiritual response. Though the emotions feel similar, the resultant remorse is not to be confused. Paul explains the difference in these terms, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NIV. Regret is a natural, emotional sorrow that you are less holy than you thought you were. Repentance is a spiritual sorrow that you loved God less than you thought you did.

May your failures be from human judgement, not lack of spiritual character. You will not always get everything right the first time, but the first time should not become your last effort. And don’t give up on yourself; Jesus doesn’t. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22 NIV. Bring every failure to Jesus quickly, Who alone can give you a fresh start. “Jesus appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5-6 NIV. Jesus appraisal and commendation of your life can be, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . Enter into the joys of the Lord forever.” Matthew 25:21 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you that your failures will be few and your successes many.

Christian Communications 11216

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Rejoicing Is a Choice

January 31st, 2014

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NIV.

You can choose to make any day a Sabbath experience.

My thoughts and comments today are that “rejoicing is a choice.”

Emotions! What would you do without them? Without emotion, life would be without color or definition. Yet without direction and discipline, those same emotions will wreak havoc. At any given moment, your emotions are either a choice or a reaction. You do not choose, nor can you control, what will happen in your day; however, you must choose how you will respond. Be prepared. Solomon offers a good reminder, “You do not know what a day will bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1 NKJV. Happiness should not relate to happenstance.

You will have good and bad days, happy and sad days, helpful and hurtful days, pressured and care-free days. Addressing this assortment of life experiences, Solomon gave wise counsel when he wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven . . [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has set eternity in the hearts of men . .” Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8/11 NIV. Solomon packages the diversity of life experiences within the larger context of eternity and the overarching capability of God to bring beauty into any season or circumstance.

In this [an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you] you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials . .” Read 1 Peter 1:3-14 NIV. Exactly in the context of suffering, grief, and trials, Peter writes of “inexpressible and glorious joy.” Without a broader, spiritual context for your life, emotions will be rampant – unrestrained and unpredictable.

The most ordinary or difficult of days should be celebrated with the perspective of the Lord’s presence and providence, as David encouraged, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NIV. Read the surrounding context of this Psalm. The words of the Psalmist are not a casual detachment from life’s realities. David’s simple declaration is his response, not to the most tranquil of times, but in the most troubling – personal anguish, swarming enemies, feeling surrounded, searching for refuge, yet finding God in the midst of it all and every reason to rejoice. Such days are when you rejoice, not why. Your rejoicing is because, “the Lord made the day.”

What should you do on your worst day? “Rejoice and be glad in it.” Paul instructed, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! . . Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Philippians 4:4/1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV. You can choose to make any day a Sabbath experience.

A Sabbath experience reveres God’s sovereignty in daily life, rests in His sufficient providence, and recognizes that God is the author of this day and every other, whatever the source or challenge of its present circumstance. The nature of any day should not determine the joy of your embrace of that day; every day provides you opportunity to respond in joyous faith and thanksgiving to God, rather than react in doubt or despair to its situations.

My prayer for you today is that you will rejoice in God regardless of present circumstance.

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Successfully Serving

October 10th, 2012

“I depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Colossians 1:29 NLT.

Serving is simply letting God touch a person’s life through your hands and heart.

My thoughts and comments today are about serving successfully.”

Serving is no easy task. That may help explain why so few people ever experience the joy of serving. A serving lifestyle takes so much sacrifice and hard work, and sometimes receives so little appreciation. Jesus was clear about His mission and modeled the only way to serve successfully. “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28 NIV.

Serving is a practical sacrifice for others’ benefit and God’s glory. My friend, Des, has often reminded me and others that, “It isn’t ministry unless it costs you something.” Doing the right thing doesn’t come at a cheap price. Serving is costly – costing time, effort, expense, caring, and the willingness to be second, rather than first. That may not be how you wish it were but is so basic, even obvious, when you understand serving; there is a cost to be paid but incredible blessings result to those being served, and amply repay the one who joyfully serves. A servant has Jesus’ own promise of reward. “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water . . because he is My disciple . . he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV.

Serving restores your heart to God’s original design. Listen to Paul’s words, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. Serving restores your spiritual DNA when you embrace faith in the Savior. What would serving look like? “Through love, serve one another . . in honor, giving preference to one another . . let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out for the interests of others.” Galatians 5:13/Romans 12:10/Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV. Selfless serving was unnatural to your old nature, but altogether normal for your redeemed life. “There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true.” Ephesians 4:23-24 NLT.

Serving successfully is only through Christ’s power and enabling. My friend, Campbell, taught me this practical truth, “If you want to know how you well are doing as a servant, just notice your reaction when someone treats you like one.” A servant does not look for notice nor require applause; they just want to be helpful and effective. Serving is simply letting God touch a person’s life through your hands and heart. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything coming from ourselves . . but from God who also made us adequate as servants . .” See 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NASV.

Paul discovered his own inadequacy to love and serve at all times, and in his dependence also found the solution; “I depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Colossians 1:29 NLT. If you depend on anything less than God, you will fail as a servant. If you look for others’ approval and appreciation you will grow discouraged at times. A servant’s heart is content just to please the Master who called us. You too will need, and can depend upon, Christ’s mighty power to work within you, creating a heart to serve and a release of joy.

My prayer for you today is that you find serving to be joyous, not grievous.

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Correction

February 21st, 2012

“If you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Proverbs 15:32 NLT

“God loves you too much to let you ignore everyone.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “correction.”

Correction is necessary at some time for everyone. No one is perfect enough to never need some words of counsel and correction at some occasion. The person who bristles – isn’t that an interesting, descriptive word? – when corrected will eventually have no one around who loves them enough to offer help. If you are usually unappreciative of others’ opinions, they will eventually avoid your company or interact cautiously and reluctantly, if at all.

None of us like to be corrected, but all of us will need it, usually at the time you least appreciate. Here is what I have learned the hard way. When I do not heed wise and needed counsel from people God placed in my life, God will use a person from whom I least like to hear it. God watches to see if you will receive the message He brings or react to the messenger He sends. God loves you too much to let you ignore everyone.

Admittedly, there is an art to correction that most of us have not mastered. Correction done improperly – wrong time, wrong way – will probably cause more reaction than reception, negating its very intention. It appears that correction is not so much what you say as it is about when, how, and why you say what you do. Also, a proven relationship best gives opportunity to offer advice. The Bible establishes the importance of a context of mutual love and trust, “speaking the truth in love.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV. Love does not give you a right to say what you feel; love gives you a responsibility to evidence concerned caring, considering how your words will make the other feel.

Solomon had much to say in Proverbs about criticism, advice, correction, and discipline. I would differentiate between those in this way: criticism must pass the most stringent criteria of motive and responsibility, or reserved for a friendship you are willing to be without (if you are unsure it is your place to do so, it probably isn’t!); advice is one person’s opinion in response to another’s request, respecting their freedom of choice; correction should be given sparingly and prayerfully with loving regard and tenderness; discipline is exercised by someone in authority to only those accountable to them. “To learn, you must love discipline.” Proverbs 12:1 NLT. Read Hebrews 12:11 NLT. When those lines get blurred, the result is often more harm than help.

“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home with the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Proverbs 15:31-32 NLT. Counsel and correction can do you no more good than your willingness to accept them.

My prayer for you today is that you welcome Godly counsel and correction.

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