Friday, March 25, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

personal relationships

Matthew 5:22-24 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Our relationships with others are important to God--so much so that this passage instructs us to take care of those relationships before worship. And it's got a correspondingly harsh condemnation of those who verbally abuse others. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

be the first

the first to apologize is the bravest
the first to forgive is the strongest
the first to forgive is the happiest

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

God's resolution plan

"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” 
Matthew 18:15-17

These steps find their practical use “if your brother sins against you.” While there may be situations of other kinds of conflict where the model of private before public can well be followed, this procedure was given to address one kind of conflict: “if your brother sins against you.”  This is the situation of a private offense. Our reaction should be just as described by the Lord. To be hurt, then hold that hurt in your heart over several years is never recommended in the Scriptures! To complain and gossip is not the right response. “If your brother sins against you,” you are obligated by virtue of discipleship, to follow the Lord’s method of conflict resolution. Go to him.

Step #1 is to “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Necessarily implied in this is, the matter is private. You are taking a private matter up with the alleged offender privately. Based on this, at the first thought that I have been sinned against, I need to GO, not stay and sulk and go and tell others. The Lord said, “go and tell him his fault,” and do this privately at this point: “between you and him alone.” 

The hope: “If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” If you approach the guilty party with right attitude and sufficient evidence, and this is combined with a receptive, humble spirit, “you have gained your brother.” In the case of sin proven, there would need to be repentance. (In some cases, since we are fallible, our perception of sin may not be reality. Once the misunderstanding is cleared, the matter is over.)

Step #2 is, “…if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that, ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’.” In modern lingo, you “kick it up a notch” now. This doesn’t mean you get angrier, campaign or gossip! The “notch” is defined by the Lord: “take with you one or two more, that, ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’.” These witnesses are not “on your side,” and their function is not to “gang up” against the offender! You are not getting your friends to help you fight a battle. You are asking fellow disciples to listen objectively to the matter. “Witnesses called in at this level should have impeccable integrity and be people whom the accused will recognize as fair and impartial,” (Ken Chumbley, The Gospel of Matthew, p.#329).

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 ~ National ‘Awareness’ Days, Weeks, and Months

March 2016

March 1, 2016  Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) 
March 1, 2016  Zero Discrimination Day
March 16, 2016  Kick Butts Day (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
March 21, 2016  World Down Syndrome Day
March 21, 2016  International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
March 22, 2016  American Diabetes Association Alert Day

March 6-12, 2016  National Sleep Awareness Week

American National Nutrition Month
Brain Injury Awareness Month
Mental Retardation Awareness Month
Self Harm Awareness Month

overlooking an offense

(Devotional from

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 (NIV 1984)

What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? I didn’t realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out.

She ended many of our conversations with, “Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?” Or, “Mom, you’re so sensitive.”

At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying.

For years, I allowed people’s words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots.

Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, “I wish ______ was here. She really needs to hear this!” Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together.

Without realizing it, the words of others consumed my thoughts and focus and stole my time. About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom.

One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). I had a choice. Up until then, I heard people’s words, jumped to a conclusion and chose to be offended.

But through His Word, God gently corrected me. I sensed Him saying that I can choose to look past people’s words and not receive them with an offended heart. I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Or do they need something I am not giving?

The responsibility was on me to stop the words from taking root in my heart. When I accepted this, my attitude changed. Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it before letting it take residence in my mind. I hear the words, recognize my issue, and speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, “It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense.”

Everyone wins because I don’t ruin the rest of the day by pouting, making it all about me, or soaking in self-pity. Each time I make this choice, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended.

Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You that I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story by Wendy Blight

Check out Wendy’s study of the book of Proverbs, All Things Wise and Wonderful: Applying God’s Wisdom in Everyday Life(eBook).

Stop by Wendy’s blog and leave your thoughts about today’s devotional for a chance to win a copy of her newest book coming out in March 2014, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.

Reflect and Respond:
Read 1 John 1:8-10 and reflect on its meaning in relation to this devotion.

Over the next week, listen to your conversations and note if you are easily offended.

Power Verses:
Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (NIV 1984)

Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV 1984)