Don’t Go Looking For Trouble

How many times have you been accused of doing something or saying something maliciously? I mean really, some people are always on the defensive, looking for something done wrong or said wrong. Do you know anyone like that? I think we all do.

So, how do handle situations that others put us in like that? I know for me, if I let my flesh decide what to do I would cut off all contact with this person and just be done. But guess what? I try really hard not to listen to my flesh and seek out God and what HE would have me do when I find myself in a situation like that. By seeking HIM it gives me a chance to cool off, calm down and react out of love and not anger or bitterness. Scripture commands us to forgive others so we can also be forgiven.

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures. Matthew 6:14-15

If this individual continuously causes you strife you may want to think about setting some new boundaries with them. I found a great devotional the other day that dealt with this specific issue, here it is:

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. Titus 3:10

Paul admonishes believers to be satisfied in whatever circumstances they endure (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:7-8), but Scripture makes a distinction between godly and ungodly contentment. Because of their own brokenness, some people are not happy until they’ve stirred up strife in the relationships around them. Uncertain about others’ love for them, they attempt to find security in controlling the environment and creating factions.
When we come to Christ, however, He redefines our understanding of normal and healthy. No longer dependent on our selves, we find that he calls us to trust in His protection rather than our own. But we may not recognize how deeply our defense mechanisms rn, and some individuals simply choose not to walk in Jesus’ promise to make all things new (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:5). In Titus 3, Paul shows us how to handle relational strife: First, we respond with grace through a right understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross (vv. 4-7); we teach, model, and warn if necessary (vv. 10-11).
Reflecting Jesus’ love doesn’t mean partnering with other’ dysfunction. Instead, we mush present to others the light of His truth (1 John 1:5)
~ Regina Franklin

Now this isn’t to say that we should appear perfect and holier than thou, we will never be that and never could be. But we should be vulnerable when we make mistakes, we should be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but we don’t ask for it and we don’t offer it. Why do we choose to darken the light within us? Our God is big enough to change not only you but whoever you are having trouble forgiving. We need to let go of the chains of un-forgiveness, because we are not shackled to them we are holding onto them. God tells us to forgive and then He will forgive us. It’s pretty simple but we make it so complicated, God doesn’t want the perfect person He wants us with all our baggage. And with HIS help we can start to sort through that junk too!

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Christian Interrupted

Do you like interruptions? Most of us don’t, what we need to consider is that God can only use us if we are willing to be interrupted from the things we are doing. Discipleship is messy and at times difficult and when people struggle it usually isn’t at opportune times, so are we letting ourselves be interrupted or even worse are we sitting around making excuses; because Christ told us to go make disciples. But before we go and make disciples we need to examine our own lives and ask ourselves if it’s a life that should be replicated.

One of the hardest things about discipleship for us to do and teach a Christian is accountability; we avoid it not because we don’t want someone to feel bad, but because we don’t want them to blame us for making them feel bad. When it comes to sin we all know what we do, and most of us know how we do it, but very few know why they do it. When we keep each other accountable we need to see clearly the why and we need to be disciplined in the how and the what.

I believe the resistance of the flesh comes from the moving away from selfishness and comfort. A step towards faith is a step away from comfort and the flesh resists this and when we disciple we need to encourage and lift up because fear is always around when someone doesn’t know what comes next. Remember it takes courage to embrace the broken instead of the comfortable. And no matter how hard we try, we won’t make everyone happy and we can’t make anyone read their Bible and we can’t make them pray and we can’t make them fall in love with Jesus, but we can continue to point them to Him. We need to remember that we are never going to make Christianity cool, it offends and if it doesn’t then it’s not the gospel. It’s not our ideas that can change people it’s God and don’t forget He has changed the convictions in our own hearts, so lead with your heart. For it’s our hearts that contain the hope that God has given us and too many people live their lives with an absence of hope.

Discipleship is hard but if we are being obedient to God we will face opposition and we will be criticized. Everything significant and everything new and effective will face resistance. Remember in the face of resistance, opposition, and being criticized prayer is the difference between the best you can be and the best God can do.

Chains

Beloved, has God changed your heart? Is HE still working in your heart? Are you having trouble forgiving someone? Listen, our God is big enough to change not only you but whoever you are having trouble forgiving. Let go of the chains YOU are holding onto. Please hear me, you are not shackled anymore but when you CHOOSE not to forgive & you CHOOSE not to deal with your junk you are CHOOSING to HOLD onto those chains. God says FORGIVE so then He will forgive us. God’s word clearly says that if we don’t forgive others He won’t forgive us.

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures.
~ Matthew 6:14-15

Let go of the chains that are keeping you captive. Aren’t they heavy?

Blessing & Cursing

Our job as parents is to train and teach our kids the right way to go and how to make decisions and to show them what is important by our actions. As long as they are considered underage we need to provide for them and keep them safe, which isn’t always possible. Once our kids reach the age when they are making their own decisions, we need to realize that those decisions are their’s whether good or bad and they are the ones that will have to live with them. What we need to recognize are the curses that we hand them. We have issues of our own and if they happen to be issues with our own parents they will learn from us and the issues that they have with us are usually more severe. If we do not model what a relationship with Christ looks like how will they know what to do. Whatever our kids see us doing we have to remember that is the same as giving them permission to do likewise and in their case it is usually to a higher degree.
Just because we have passed sin or curses onto our children doesn’t mean it’s too late, it’s never too late to bless them. We have to bring our own shortcomings, our own sin, into the Light and let them see it and let them know we were wrong, one reason is because this is what they will have to do, as do all who profess to be Christians. And then we need to ask God to help us change what we are doing, change will only come with His help and our kids need to see these things in us if we ever expect them to understand or change.
Many of the issues we have with our faith can stem from our parents, if our dad was an absent father we can easily struggle with not thinking we matter to God or that He can hear us. Our first example of a father comes from our dad and if that is messed up we struggle with a relationship with God. Most of what we learn is modeled first and foremost in the home and guess what, we all make mistakes and we all bless and curse our children. But it’s never too late to change those curses to blessings and we shouldn’t get discouraged because it’s not on our timetable, and just because we are obedient doesn’t mean that God will undo all the consequences of our past actions. We need be vulnerable with our kids and be the example they need or they will take the example of the world and we know where that leads.