Month: September 2019

Time to Grow Up

Ephesians 4:31–32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Written by: Larry Van Laar

One of the great things about the whole of God’s creation is His people. We are all created with exceptional uniqueness all the way down to our personal DNA. Then, throw in how we were raised and how we were loved—or not loved. Add in how we were treated and cared for when we were young and as adults. This is the age-old tension of “nature versus nurture.” What this trite cliché fails to factor in is the virtue of the Holy Spirit living in the life of the believer.

The verse in Ephesians above is a command from the Creator, not a suggestion. But let’s be honest, this is not something that followers of Jesus are knocking down doors and other barriers to achieve. All of us have personal reasons why “we are the exception”—why we deserve a pass or at least larger room for continued error in these areas.

That’s why Christ is full of relentless grace. Nonetheless, this is what we are called to in our relationships with loved ones, friends, and enemies. As believers, we have the virtue of the Holy Spirit living in us to change us, grow us, and direct us. Why then do we still act with bitterness, anger, and rage? Because we all need to grow up.

Like all growth, growing in the Lord can sometimes be a painful process. But being kind, compassionate, and forgiving should be at the top of all of our lists of virtues to attain. If I may be bold to say, we will never grow to spiritual maturity while we harbor bitterness, anger, rage, and malice. We must grow up.

9.4Thought of the day: Make a list of who you hold in contempt. Who are you bitter with? Who have you slandered? Who are you always angry with? Ask the Lord to help you with forgiveness. The first step is saying out loud to Jesus, “I choose to forgive ______________. Lord help me to forgive. Show me how to love like You do.”

Prayer: Lord, thank You for forgiving me, washing me clean, and making me whole. I want to love like You. I want to show compassion and mercy to all. Help me to be more like You today. Help me grow up.

Serving Creates Peace

Matthew 23:8-12
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Written by: Michael Burgard

The greatest benefit of relationships is that we get to experience the unique gifts that others bring to the table. We also all have our own creative ways and desires of what we think is the best way to accomplish or handle a certain task, problem, or situation in our relationships.

One of the greatest ways I have learned to address conflict in relationships is by being authentic and transparent on what each party believes is best. This provides an open environment to share our personal desires on what we want the outcome to be. This eliminates grey area and hidden agendas. Another way is to commit to trying to understand others’ opinions and how they arrived at their conclusion.

As explained in our verses for today, the best way to understand someone is to serve them. When we can humble ourselves to serve despite our differences of opinion, it lowers the wall that has been built up by the conflict. This allows us to see others’ points of view more clearly, providing the ability to address conflict with a transparent understanding.

9.3Thought of the day: Are you currently experiencing a conflict with someone?  Have you not been willing to fully understand them before throwing up the boxing gloves?

Prayer: God, give me the courage to humble myself and take a position of serving anyone I experience a conflict with. Help me to bring down the wall of conflict and better understand where they’re coming from. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Give Me Patience

Proverbs 19:11; 19

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.

Written by: Kyle Glenn

“You make me so angry!” These are common words that come out in a heated discussion. Then there’s often a point in the argument when the topic moves from what the original disagreement was about and becomes personal. In conflict, we naturally become defensive and move toward attack mode. The Bible gives us some clear guidelines for getting peeved.

There are two types of anger. The first is righteous anger. It’s easy to get angry over extreme cases of sin, abuse, evil, and injustice. No matter how reprehensible the people or activities are, we still aren’t justified to sin in our responses. God says in Romans 12:19 that He will punish those who do evil and will fight those battles for us.

The second type of anger is self-produced anger. What does God say about this? The bad news for all of us is that scripture contains many more verses giving caution against losing our cool than verses advocating for righteous anger.

Anger comes from within, meaning no one can make you angry. Regardless of how annoying or how unfair they are, this anger speaks more about you than anyone else. This anger boils up on the inside because you have unfair expectations or unresolved conflict. It has everything to do with you.

A good question to ask to distinguish between the types of anger: “Am I more concerned with being right or being righteous?”

Proverbs 19:11 reminds us in those moments to allow wisdom to take over. When we feel anger rising up from within, we are encouraged to seek wisdom. Stop and ask the Holy Spirit for peace and to know what the right thing to do is.

9.2Thought of the day: Who is someone you believe makes you mad? What do you think this says about you? What does it look like to be patient with this person moving forward?

Prayer: God, give me patience today toward the people I interact with. May You help me be known as a person of peace.