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Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Only Need God’s Approval

In review of 1 Peter 4:16 it reminds me that  It is no shame for me to suffer for being a Christian. In fact I should praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” (NLT).

It is not shameful for me to suffer for being a Christ follower. When Peter and the other apostles were persecuted for preaching the Good News, they rejoiced because such persecution was a mark of God's approval of their work. I shouldn't seek out suffering, nor should I try to avoid it. Instead, keep on doing what is right whether or not it brings suffering.

I should never be embarrassed for standing for the truth and doing what’s right.

Will insult, putdown or name calling kill me? I don’t need other people’s approval to be happy.

No matter what I do in life, somebody’s not going to like it. I can’t avoid disapproval. So, if I’m going to have people’s disapproval either way, I may as well have their disapproval for doing the right thing rather than for doing the wrong thing.

As I face opposition, if I let other people’s opinions matter more to me than God’s, then I’m going to crumble when those people attack me because of my faith in Jesus. But if I focus on God and what I know is right, then I can make a firm stand.

1 Peter 5:9 reminds me to “Stand firm against [Satan], and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are” (NLT).

In summary, it's no shame for me to suffer for being a Christian. I should praise God for the privilege. Such persecution is a mark of God's approval of their work. This doesn't mean that I should seek out suffering, but I should not try to avoid it. I must keep on doing what is right whether or not it brings suffering. I should never be or feel embarrassed for standing for the truth and doing what is right. I don't need other people's approval to be happy. No matter what, somebody's not going to like it. If I'm going to have people's disapproval either way, I may as well have their disapproval for doing the right things rather than for doing the wrong ones. I need to focus on God and what I know is right, then I can make a firm stand.

While this mornings verse speaks to sharing the Good News, I see it’s application beyond this. For instance in my daily work life, I face not always keeping everyone happy. This passage is a reminder that I don’t really need to please everyone, however, I should do what is right in the situation. I need to not focus on pleasing or getting approval or even trying to make my self and my teams reputation look good. I just need to focus on standing for the truth and doing what’s right. This morning Father I thank you for this reminder. I ask that your Holy Spirit remind me of this fact. I also ask for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my leadership and my interactions with others. I pray this through your son Jesus name, amen!

07/17/19 - Daily Hope - (Starbucks, Folsom)
Look for Ways to Bring People Together
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 
God has restored my relationship with him through Christ, and has given me a ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given me this message of restored relationships to tell others” (GW).

God brought me back to him (reconciles me) by blotting out my sins and making me right with him. When I trusted in Christ, I was no longer God's enemy, or a stranger or foreigner to him. Now because I have been reconciled to God, I have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same, and thus "task of reconciling people to him."

If I want to repair a relationship where there is conflict, I need to focus on reconciliation, not resolution.

There’s a big difference! Reconciliation means reestablishing the relationship. It means you’re at peace with each other.

Resolution means you resolve every disagreement, and that just isn’t going to happen. Because the truth is, there are some things in relationships that I would never be able to agree on, because we’re all different. But I can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s called maturity and wisdom. That’s being like Christ.

We can have unity without uniformity. We can walk hand in hand together without seeing eye to eye

There’s a lot of conflict in the world. It’s filled with wars, division, arguments, prejudice, racism, terrorism, and partisanism. And as a result, we have broken relationships, economygovernment, and broken marriages. We have broken lives and broken hearts.

The challenge for me as a Christ follower is to commit to becoming an agent of reconciliation in a world filled with conflict. Become a bridge builder, not a wall builder. Look for ways to bring people together rather than tear them up.

God’s word in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “[God] has restored our relationship with him through Christ and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others” (GW).

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have a ministry of reconciliation. It’s my job to go out in society and say, “God’s done everything to put you back in fellowship with him. He’s already paid for all your sins. You don’t have to be his enemy. He’s not mad at you. He’s mad about you. Be reconciled to God. Be at peace with God. Then spread that peace with everybody else.”

In summary, God has restored my relationship with him through Christ. In this he has also given me a ministry of restoring relationships. If I want to repair a relationship where there is conflict, I need to focus on reconciliation, not resolution. Reconciliation is reestablishing the relationship and being at peace with each other. Resolution means that every disagreement is resolved, which is not going to happen. We can disagree without being disagreeable. That's called maturity and wisdom. 

Lately my thoughts have been about being wronged left out, being the last one at the table where everyone else has left and I’m stuck paying the check. Today’s passage has helped me understand that I need to turn from this feeling and work toward what needs to be done and bring people together through reconciliation. Father I pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit today to help me with this. I also ask you for wisdom and guidance in handling my day, my leadership and my interaction with others. I ask these things in your Son Jesus name, amen.

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