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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How to Rejoice in God’s Goodness to Others

In review of Romans 12:15, Paul reminds me to Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (ESV).

When others are happy, I need to be happy with them. If they are sad, then I need to share in their sorrow. When I see God providing for others, I can choose to respond with either joy or resentment.

In some ways, the second half of today’s verse is much easier to do than the first half. It may be easier to weep with those who weep.

It’s much more difficult to rejoice when someone else experiences success. At times, I may even feel threatened by it, and/or resent it. This comes from the thought that the world is a giant pie that’s divided up into slices. If somebody gets a slice that’s a little bit bigger, that must mean my slice is going to be smaller.

What I’m learning is that this kind of thinking is wrong. God has all the pie slices in the world! He doesn’t run out of blessings, nor does he run out of grace. There’s more than enough to go around for everybody. Just because God blesses somebody else doesn’t mean there’s not enough blessing for me, as well. He wants to bless me, but it may be in different ways.

Envy will keep me from entering into the joy of other people. As a result, I don’t enjoy much that goes on in the world. In fact envy will make me a miserable person.

This is what happened in the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20. The owner hired some people at the start of the day and others later in the day, but he paid them all the same. The first workers thought they’d been cheated. Instead of enjoying their pay, they resented it.

But if I choose to rejoice in God’s goodness to others, I can be joyful all the time, because something good is always happening to somebody.

In summary, rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. When I see Gd providing for others, I can choose to respond with either joy or resentment. It may be easier to weep with those who weep. It's much more difficult to rejoice when someone else experiences success. At times I think if someone gets something bigger, my slice will be smaller. I must remember that God never runs out of blessings, nor does he run out of grace. He wants to bless me, but it may be in a different way. I must also be cautious of envy, because it will keep me from entering to the joy of others. If I choose to rejoice in God's goodness to others, then I can be joyful all the time. 

Often, I want it to be all about me. I want to be the one receiving the bigger piece of the pie. I see someone else getting a blessing and I want one for myself at the same time. I must remember that God does and continues to bless me. Many times it’s in the things that I take for granted. Sharing in others successes can help me extend my joy. 

This morning Father I take time to thank you for the blessings you continually give me. I pray that I can learn to change my attitude when I see others blessed, so that I can be joyful in their blessings with them. I also ask you for wisdom and guidance for my day and my activities. Help me to be a leader that encourages, and help me to respond rightly to people. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Learning to Be Content

In review of 1 Corinthians 4:7-8 it says, “Isn’t everything I have and everything I am are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? I already have all I need” (The Message).

What do I have that God hasn't given me? If everything I have is from God, then why boast as though it were not a gift? Why compare and complete. For I already have everything that I need.

Instead of focusing on what I don’t have and what didn’t happen, I can choose to be grateful for what I have and what has happened. However, this doesn’t come naturally, not even for the apostle Paul, who said, “I have learned to be content.” Being content is a learning process.

It’s hard to admit that I struggle with envy because it’s such an ugly emotion. When I’m envious of others, I really want them to fail, because it makes me feel better that they don’t have more than I do. That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? If I can learn to be grateful for what I have, I can begin to get rid of these feelings of envy.

It’s important to understand that envy is not about having a desire or a dream or a goal. It’s good to have those. Envy is not about looking forward to something or hoping that something can happen in my life or even wondering if I should have something. Instead, envy is resenting somebody who has already obtained what I desire or who has reached a goal I have yet to attain. Envy says I can’t be happy until I get that desire or reach that goal. Envy is not being grateful for what I already have.

The Bible tells me that I already have more than I need and far more than I deserve. Every good thing in my life is a gift from God, and it is up to him to decide when and how he blesses me. It’s up to me to choose to be grateful and make the most of what I’ve been given.

In summary, everything I have and am are gifts from God. I should need to compare or compete with the others. If everything I have is from God, then why boast as if it wasn't a gift. God gives me everything I need. Instead of focusing on what I don't have or what didn't happen, I can choose to be grateful for what I have and what has happened. Like Paul, I can learn to be content as contentment is a learning process. I need to be cautious of envy. Envy is resenting someone who has already obtained what I desire or has reached a goal I have yet to obtain. Envy is not being grateful for what I already have. I have everything I need and far more than I deserve. Every good thing in my life is a gift from Go. It's up to him to decide when and how he blesses me. It's up to me to choose to be grateful and to make the most of what God has given me. 

Father I pray that I reflect and absorb all that you have already given me. I pray that you help me to stay away from envy. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance for me day. Allow me to lead well, interact in a loving manner and look to serve. These things I pray in your Son Jeus name, amen.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Be Willing to Be Interrupted

In review of Luke 10:37, I read that “Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise’” (NIV).

In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of a man who was robbed and injured. There different people came upon the injured man. Only the Samaritan showed mercy, We are told to go and do the same

If I want to serve others the way Jesus serves me, then I need to toss my schedule out the window. People need will need me when they need me, not when it's convenient for me. I must be willing to be interrupted.

Love is often inconvenient, and serving others takes time. One thing I’ve learned about Jesus is that he allowed himself to be interrupted. He stopped and helped.

One day Jesus told a parable about a Good Samaritan, who found a man beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho. A priest and a church official had already walked right by the injured man without helping, but the Samaritan stopped.

Think of the excuses he could have made to justify walking by as well, and not helping. He could have said, “I’ve got my own problems to think about” or “I’ve got important business to care for” or “Somebody else will help him.”

Anytime I want an excuse for not helping a need God puts before me, the Devil will be right there to give me one. He will gladly give me a thousand excuses on why I don’t have the time, energy, or money to help someone before me who needs help.

But when I encounter hurting people, it’s an opportunity to learn to serve and learn to love, that’s how God wants me to use those moments in my life.

If and when I encounter these opportunities today, how will I respond? Will I pass on by? Or will I seize the moment?

Jesus takes the time to help me in my time of need. When Jesus finished the parable of the Good Samaritan, he said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37 NIV).

In summary, If I want to serve others like Jesus serves me, then I need to toss my schedule out the window. I must be willing to be interrupted. Love is inconvenient and serving others takes time.  Jesus allowed himself to be interrupted. When I encounter hurting people, it's an opportunity to learn to serve and to love. Jesus takes the time to help me in my time of need. When Jesus finished the parable of the Good Samaritan, he said, Go and do likewise.

I need to learn to build margin into my schedule so that I can more easily show kindness to others. I need to move beyond any fears I have to show kindness. Father I pray that I can be ready when this comes up, allow me to be your hands and show the kindness you show me to others. I also pray for your wisdom and guidance today in my work, leadership and interaction with others. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Seizing the Opportunity to Serve

In review of Proverbs 3:27-28 it tells me to Never walk away from someone who deserves help; my hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell my neighbors to wait until tomorrow if I can help them now” (The Message/GNT).

If I delay in doing good to others, I'm being inconsiderate and unfair. This is true whether it involves repaying a debt, returning a tool, or fulfilling a promise. Withholding what I owe destroys trust and creates inconvenience for others. I need to be eager to do good to others as I can, just as I would want others to do for me.

Love is something I do, not just say, “I feel sorry for what happened to that guy. Isn’t it a shame? Isn’t that too bad?” Love seizes the moment.

For instance, in one of Jesus’ most familiar parables, the Good Samaritan did several things to seize the moment. Some translations say he even “stooped down.” In other words, he got on the man’s level. He didn’t pretend he was superior, and he didn’t talk down to him (Luke 10:34).

Second, the Good Samaritan used what he had. He dressed the man’s wounds with wine and oil. Why? That’s what he had on his donkey. The wine worked okay because it’s alcohol. It’s an antiseptic. The oil worked okay because it would be soothing to the man’s wounds.

Then the Bible says the Good Samaritan dressed the man with bandages. Where did he get the bandages? This guy wasn’t a doctor. He didn’t have a first aid kit. And the hurt man had been stripped naked, so he didn’t have any clothes. The bandages were from the Samaritan’s own clothes.

The Good Samaritan did what he could with what he had at that particular moment.

The world is full of wounded people. I’m challenged this morning to consider how many people I walk by every day who are wounded? Maybe they’re not wounded physically, but they’re wounded emotionally. They’re wounded spiritually. They’re wounded financially. And they need my love. They need my kindness.

So, I shouldn’t wait for better conditions or wait until it’s more convenient. I shouldn’t put off what I know I can do for someone today. God will be with me as I seize the moment.

In summary, I should never walk away from someone who deserve help, as my hand is God's hand for that person. Never tell them to wait for tomorrow if I can help today. To delay is to be inconsiderate and unfair. I need to be eager to do good to others, just as I would want them to do for me. Love is something I do, not just say. Love seizes the moment. Just like the Good Samaritan, use what I have to help. The world around me is full of wounded people. They need my love and kindness. Most importantly, I shouldn't wait for better conditions or until it's more convenient. 

As I think about my schedule, I’m always running by the clock, a place to be or a meeting to attend. I don’t usually build in spare time. I often use keeping to a schedule/place as a way to hold back on helping. I think I need to learn to hold my schedule more loosely. Perhaps I can miss a meeting or there is always another train that I can catch. Also, I need to consider the tasks I have and the ones that can immediately help others and the ones who can be postponed so that I can show love and serve. This morning Father I ask and pray that you send the Holy Spirit to remind me to hold my schedule loosely and help those who need help at the moment. I also ask for wisdom and guidance for me day. Allow me as I work outside of the office today, I less hurried pace where I can think and properly plan and respond. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

As I Care for Others, Trust In God’s Care for Me

In review of Isaiah 58:10-11 it reminds me to " Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then my light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around me will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide me continually, giving me water when I’m dry and restoring my strength. I will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring." (NLT)

Looking out for the needs of others will always require a cost, and some sacrifice on my part (my time, money, energy, reputation, or privacy.) Jesus sacrificed for me, and I become more like him when I sacrifice for others.

In Luke, Jesus told a parable about the Good Samaritan, who found a man beaten and abandoned by the side of the road. The Samaritan “took [the man] to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here’” (Luke 10:34-35 NLT).

The Samaritan did this for a total stranger. He started by administering first aid at the scene of the crime. Then he put the man on his donkey, which means the Good Samaritan walked. He checked the man into a motel, cared for him through the night, paid the bill in the morning, and pledged to cover any additional costs.

What did he gain from it? Nothing. He didn’t even know the guy! The Good Samaritan stepped in to help without any concern for the sacrifice it might require. His focus was on the injured man’s needs, just as Jesus is focused on mine.

This is the way God planned it: I assume responsibility for the needs of hurting people around me, while trusting God to meet my needs.

If kindness on my part didn’t cost me anything, I would not be giving up my wants and desires for the sake of others. Kindness on my part worhip’s God by putting what He feels is important.

In summary, God wants me to give of myself to help those in need. When I do, I reflect well his characteristics. As I do this, the Lord promises to guide me continually giving me what I need (not what I want) and restores my strength. This will help my life be balanced, full of vigor and fresh. I must remember however that looking out for the needs of others will always require a cost and sacrifice on my part. This is what Jesus did for me. I become more like him when I sacrifice for others. Jesus gives us an example of this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is the way God planned it. I assume responsibility for the needs of hurting people around me, while trusting God to meet my needs. 

In my work, my role is to help support others. I’m caught up however in now having a large load of backlogged work. I find my attitude gets affected by the load and as a result I don’t respond correctly or with having a feeling of being refreshed. Perhaps this is because I’m trying to do it all on my own and not resting in God’s promise to take care of my needs and to help me accomplish what needs to be done. Today Father, I pray that you help me rest in knowing that you will take care of me as I sacrifice and inconvenience myself to help others. I also ask you today for wisdom and guidance in how I approach my work and what’s being asked of me. Help me to lead my team effectively and to respond correctly to those around me. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amen. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Reasons We Argue, and What To Do About It

In review of Philippians 2:4-5 today, it tells me, Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (NLT).

Paul encourages me to guard against any selfishness, prejudice, or jealousy that might lead to dissension. My showing a genuine interest in others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity. Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve others. Like Christ, I should have a servant's attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt or fear. I can choose my attitude. I can approach life expecting to be served or looking for opportunity to serve

When I meet someone to resolve a conflict, I need to first confess my part of the problem. Then, I need to listen to the other person’s hurt and perspective.

It’s natural to think that we argue over ideas. But we actually argue over emotion. Anytime there’s a conflict, someone’s feelings were hurt. Somebody felt abused, or slighted. It’s not the idea that causes the conflict. It’s the emotion behind the idea.

Hurt people hurt others. The more people are hurting, the more they lash out at everybody else. People who aren’t hurting don’t hurt others. People who are filled with love are loving toward others. People who are filled with joy are joyful to others. People who are filled with peace are at peace with everybody else. But people who are hurting inside are going to hurt others. They’re going to lash out.

If I want to connect with others, I must start with their needs, hurts, and their interests. If I want to be a good leader, I need to start with people’s needs, hurts, and interests.

Philippians 2:4-5 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (NLT).

I need to consider how often I’m trying to get the people I’m in conflict with to see my position, that I’m not listening to theirs? I’m too busy speaking and not listening, so I move further and further away.

I need to intentionally switch my focus from my needs to their needs. Conflict resolution starts with the way I at the situation. The word “look” in Philippians 2:4 is the Greek word scopus. It’s where we get our words “microscope” and “telescope.”

Scopos means to focus. The next verse says my attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ. I am most like Jesus when I”m focusing on the hurts of somebody else rather than my own.

This is Habit 5 from the 7 habits of highly effective people: “Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood.” When I’m focused on the other person’s needs and not my own, I’ll be able to get a better understanding of the situation and move forward with resolving the conflict.

In summary, I'm to not only focus on my interests, but to take an interest in others. Have the same attitude that Christ had. My genuine in others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity. I should have a servant's attitude, serving out of love for God and for others. I can choose to approach life expecting to be served or looking opportunities to serve. To resolve conflict I need to first confess my part, then listen to the other person's hurt and perspective. I need to practice habit 5, "seek first to understand, then be understood."

So as I approach my day filled with many items to focus on, I need to be considerate and have the attitude of humility that seeks to serve others, and to understand their needs. I pray this morning Father that you help me balance service and understanding others while making progress toward finishing the tasks I have at hand. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance for handling my tasks, my interactions with others, and my leadership. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amen.

When I’m Overwhelmed, Stand Strong

In review of 2 Chronicles 20:20 it tells me to “ Put your trust in the LORD your God , and you will stand your ground . Believe what his pr...