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Posts Tagged ‘response’

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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Resilience

March 31st, 2014

“Paul got up and went back into the city.” Acts 14:20 NIV.

Resilient people are irresistibly joyful and ultimately successful.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “resilience.”

In life, it is not what happens to you that’s so damaging; it’s what happens in you. There will be people who go out of their way to cause others needless pain. Hurting people hurt others. They wound with hurtful words and walk away – or punish others for their own unhappiness – or are unkind when they don’t have to be. They leave pain in their path. You can retreat; you can resist; you can resent. Or you can respond with faith and confidence in God. But you can’t change them.

What you decide and do after what happens to you is what’s most important. I love people who develop resilience as a character trait – “the ability to recover, bounce back, or to be flexible.” Resilient people are ultimately successful; they bend rather than break. There is an interesting account from the earliest years of Paul’s ministry. Read Acts 14:19-22 NIV. “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”

Paul was savagely stoned, dragged, cruelly dumped, and left for dead outside the city. Then an amazing thing happened. “He got up and went back into the city. The next day he left . .” That’s resilience only God can provide you. Paul met life on his own terms; he would leave in his own time. There are times that there is not much else you can do except get up, dust yourself off, treat your wounds, and walk away from the hurt and hurtful. You may have a limp but you still have your life. The bad thing that happened to you need not be the end of your story. See Romans 12:21 NLT.

The Apostle Paul was resilient, therefore his words ring true, “We have this treasure [the light of the knowledge of the glory of God] in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 NIV. Whenever you are having a pity party, read Paul’s personal diary. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10/11:23-28 NKJV.

Resilient people are irresistibly joyful. “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:2-5 NIV. See James 1:2-4 NIV.

Responded to joyfully and expectantly, God will make suffering productive rather than destructive. Draw strength and inspiration from Jesus. “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Read Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you are not overcome with the evil others do.

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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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