Archive | September 2011

Unjust Treatment

“When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee.” Matthew 4:12

There are days of mistreatment that come from disloyal and jealous people. Sometimes good people experience bad consequences, so that the glory of God can be made known through their lives. John boldly took a public stand for his faith and was punished for his courageous obedience to God. Do you feel like you have been wronged for doing right? Has your faith been put on trial and were you convicted for speaking the truth?

Your circumstance of ill treatment may not result in a physical rescue from Christ. It is in your trapped condition that He wants your intimacy with Him to grow deeper and sweeter. Your authorities at work may have broken a promise or used an unscrupulous process to get their desired results. You feel used and abused. So how will you respond? Will you return evil for evil, or will you extend grace in the face of extreme frustration?

“Do not repay evil for evil”… “If your enemy is hungry, feed him: if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” (Romans 12:17a, 20). A radical response of love is a remedy for being isolated by an unjust person.

What are you learning as a result of feeling rejected or misunderstood? Has your determination grown in its resolve and do you have more focused attention on the mission of the organization? Loss of freedom and/or resources aligns us back to the essentials of an effective strategy and efficient execution.

Use this time of limited options to build sustainable systems and the most productive processes. Cling to your core values as your compass for behavior. Your optimism is an insurgent against others’ insecurities. Lastly, let the Lord be your source of strength. Faith forged on the anvil of adversity becomes solid steel in mental toughness, emotional stability and spiritual maturity.

When people see Jesus in your humble, non-defensive attitude they hear His voice of truth. Learn your lessons from the Lord during stressful situations and leave it with Him to change others as to what needs to be done. Humility pays off with respect and results.

Am I consumed with trusting Christ or with my unjust treatment? How can I, by God’s grace, love the unlovely?

Related Readings: Psalm 23; Psalm 109:5; 2 Timothy 3:2; Revelation 7:12

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Jesus Our Example ( A Childs View)

He… was subject unto [his parents] Luke 2:51

Young people, you may sometimes feel as though your parents do not understand you. Neither did Jesus’ parents understand him. In fact, the verse before (50) specifically mentions “they did not understand” what Jesus was saying to them.

You may sometimes have difficulty overlooking your parents’ flaws. But imagine what it was like for Jesus, who was absolutely perfect, to have parents who were both sinners! Every day would be an occasion for offense and fault-finding, if Jesus had wanted to criticize His parents.

But here is this remarkable statement about Jesus: “He was subject to his parents.” Regardless of their failures, regardless of their inability to fully understand him, Jesus obeyed and honored his parents!

What about you? Are you listening to your friends, or are you looking at Jesus? Are you following the crowd, or are you respecting your parents?

If Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to the leadership of his flawed and sinful parents, what possible excuse could you give for disregarding your own parents? If Jesus could overlook his parents faults, when he had none himself, how much more should you be able to forgive and look over your parents’ failings, knowing that you too are a sinner.

Marriage & Family

If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel1 Timothy 5:8

We live in an age of self-justification. We can excuse or explain almost any personal behavior or habit or shortcoming, making a case for our own innocence. But Paul here cuts through all our layers of self-defense and plainly states our obligation.

If you, husbands and fathers, are not carefully laboring to provide the food, shelter, and clothing that are needed by your family—to the best of your ability—then you are not a Christian, no matter how much you may protest to the contrary.

In fact, Paul says, you have denied the faith of Christ by your actions; therefore, you are worse than an unbeliever, because you are bringing reproach on the name of Christ. You cannot claim an allegiance to Christ, on the one hand, and selfishly or carelessly deny the help to your family that Christ demands of you.

These words may sound strong or harsh, but in reality they are helpful and loving. We might be tempted to deceive ourselves on this issue, if it were not so plainly worded for us. Our families might suffer because of our thoughtless neglect, except that Paul has forced us to consider them.

If you have failed in this regard, do not give up; it is never too late to repeal your denial of the faith, to throw off your unbelief, and to show your commitment to Christ by laboring for the welfare of your family.

A great reminder!

Several years ago, a preacher from out of state accepted a call to a church in Houston, TX. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area.  When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself. ‘You’d better give the quarter back.  It would be wrong to keep it.’ Then he thought, ‘Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount?  Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it.  Accept it as a ‘gift from God’ and keep quiet.  When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, ‘Here, you gave me too much change. The driver, with a smile, replied, ‘Aren’t you the new preacher in town?’ Yes’ he replied.  Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church on Sunday.’ When the preacher stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, ‘Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.’

Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians, and will put us to the test!  Always be on guard — and remember — you carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself ‘Christian.’

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.