Browsing the archives for the Relationships tag.


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James 4-5: Don’t Be Friends with the World

Christian Living, James, Jesus, Kingdom of God, morality, overcoming sin, Relationships, Victory in Jesus, Working for God

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Colossians 3-4: Walk in Wisdom Toward Outsiders All the Time, not Just in a Bible Study

Colossians, Evangelism, Relationships

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Acts 21-22: Have Better Relationships Today

Acts, Christian Living, Communication, Relationships

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Acts 17-18: Those People Around You are Part of the Family; Treat Them Like It

Acts, Christian Living, Evangelism, Relationships

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II Corinthians 12-13: The #1 Frustration in Doing Business with Christians

Finances, Gratitude, II Corinthians, money, Relationships
Wordle of Second Corinthians chapters twelve and thirteen

2 Corinthians 12-13 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is 2 Corinthians 12:1-13:14.

“Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children” (2 Corinthians 12:14).

I know Paul is dealing with his apostleship and the issue of receiving financial support from the Corinthians (which he did have a right to). But I can’t help but see a principle for relationships in the church.

I’m cheap. Actually, I’m not cheap. I just don’t want to spend much money on things I don’t like to spend money on so I can spend more money on things I do like to spend money on. Thus, I’m always looking for a deal. I always want to cut costs. My favorite line is, “Hey, do you have a discount for preachers?” I especially look at brethren who are in business and say, “Hey, what’s your brother-in-Christ discount? (wink, wink)” It is as if I think that since someone is a Christian, they ought to cut me a deal.

Now, I don’t have a problem with people giving discounts for any reason they want to. And it is not wrong to do the best we can to save money and cut costs. I’m not saying it is wrong to ask for a discount. But, I have to wonder, do I ever say, “Hey, since you are a brother in Christ, I want to pay you a little extra for this service”?

I have to ask myself whether I’m seeking the person, or what is theirs. Paul meant that his biggest concern was their souls’ salvation, not getting their money. Am I just excited that someone is a brother or sister in Christ or am I looking at that relationship as a ticket to good deals and more money?

Yes, yes, we may want to give special discounts and consideration to brethren, but I need to quit thinking that is owed. The laborer is worthy of his wages whether the person he is working for is a Christian or not.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules here. After all, as a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist, I know there is way more to all this discounting and selling than just a relationship in Christ. I just need to think about how I’m relating to my brethren in the business world.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? You can add your input by clicking the following link: Post a Comment

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

 

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I Peter 3-4: The Best Way to Gain Peace

Christian Living, God's Way, Healing, humility, I Peter, Love, Peace, Relationships

I Peter 3-4 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is 1 Peter 3:1-4:19.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and  a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (I Peter 3:8-9).

How many of my own conflicts could be resolved if I would simply follow this instruction? If I sought harmony rather than vindication, if I tried to grasp what the other was feeling rather than vent my feelings, if I viewed my brethren as friends rather than enemies, if I offered compassion rather than vengeance, if I humbled myself rather than lifting myself up, and if I honored others even when they put me down rather than speaking in kind, then I’m guessing most of the conflicts I have had would just go away. And then I would know peace.

Instead, I often push that responsibility off on others. They are the ones that need to straighten up. Before I seek harmony, strive for sympathy, bestow friendship, offer compassion, and humble myself, I explain my demands. Here is what you must do before I will strive for these things. Guess what happens. The conflict just gets worse.

Here is the sad part. I don’t want conflict. I want peace. I want joy. Why can’t we all just get along? The problem is not that I want conflict. The problem is I want peace on my terms. I want peace on the basis that I come out looking like a rose, never once having to admit any of my own faults or ever trying to understand what the other person has endured from me. So, I keep pressing on trying to get peace by forcing others to be subject to me. But what I’m learning is that just doesn’t work. Maybe I should try God’s way and maybe that would get me a little more peace. What do you think?

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click here to add your input.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Colossians 3-4: Redeem Your Time Wisely with Outsiders. Wait! What?

Christian Living, Colossians, Evangelism, Relationships, Teaching

Colossians 3-4 (ESV) by Wordle

Today’s reading is Colossians 3:1-4:18.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).

I often go to Ephesians 5:15-16 to talk about making the best use of my time. Somehow, I’ve overlooked this parallel passage. Paul’s point is a little more…well…pointed. In Ephesians, the point is more general. Just be a better time manager. Here, Paul points me to an area in which I need to make better use of my time. How do I walk toward outsiders? That is, how do I walk toward those who are outside of Christ?

I’m humbled by this. I’ve read this book dozens of times and slid right through this passage. So now I have to ask how I’m walking? When I relate to outsiders, am I being wise about it? Or am I essentially ignoring their souls? When I am paying attention to their souls, am I walking in wisdom? Or am I being reckless and careless? Am I acting in ways that will let them know that Jesus is with me? Or am I caustic, harsh, devilish? When I talk to outsiders, is my speech always gracious? Or am I sometimes sarcastic, cynical, mocking? Do I seek to understand them so I can learn from them and help them? Or do I listen only for their intake of breath so I can jump in with my “greater wisdom”?

My aunt once cautioned me not mock others beliefs. I recklessly responded, “But some people believe stupid stuff (chuckle, chuckle, mischievous grin).” Next time I say something stupid like that Mary, smite me with this passage.

Today, I have something to really think about. Am I making the best use of my time when it comes to outsiders? How about you?

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click here to add your input.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

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Romans 5-6: The 3 Times We Need to Offer Grace to Others

Christian Living, grace, Growth, Love, Romans

Romans 5-6 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Romans 5:1-6:23.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

If God did this for me, shouldn’t I do it for others?

What about my spouse? Too often I get mad at my wife and start to dwell in resentment and bitterness. I think if she would just get her act together, everything would be okay. I pray that God will fix her so I can love her. I expect her to grovel, beg, and earn her way to my good graces. But that isn’t good graces is it? You know what I’ve found? When I get in that place, my marriage doesn’t get any better. I need to offer her the same grace, at the same time, that God offered me. The 3 times I need to offer grace to her are while she is still 1) weak, 2) ungodly, and 3) sinful. After all, don’t I want her to do the same for me?

What about my brethren? Too often I get mad at a brother or sister and start to dwell in resentment and bitterness. They have committed some sin against me. They’ve hurt me. They’ve betrayed me. They’ve violated a boundary. I get in a huff. I think if they would just get their act together, everything would be okay. I pray that God will fix them so I can love them. I pray that God will make them apologize and grovel and some how earn their way back into my good graces. But that isn’t good graces is it? You know what I’ve found? When I get in that place, my relationships with brethren don’t get any better. I need to offer them the same grace, at the same time, that God offered me. The 3 times I need to offer them grace are while they are still 1) weak, 2) ungodly, and 3) sinful. After all, don’t I want them to do the same for me?

What about my co-workers? What about my neighbors? What about my parents? What about my children? What about…?

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? You can add your input by clicking here.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

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Acts 9-10: No One is Common or Unclean

Acts, Christian Living, humility, Love, Relationships

Today’s reading is Acts 9:1-10:48.

“And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean’” (Acts 10:28).

I should not call any person common of unclean. It doesn’t matter if they are black or white, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, employee or employer, upper or lower class, southern or northern, Democrat or Republican, whatever or whatever else.

It doesn’t matter if their hair is painted green, if their pants are hanging low, if they have tattooes or nose rings. It doesn’t matter what they have done. They may have been idolaters, coveters, adulterers, or homosexuals.

Peter’s statement is not saying the person is holy. They need to be in Christ for that. The point is I must not believe that somehow I’m so good and someone else so bad that he can defile me by simply being near me. The point is I must not look down on anyone as if they cannot be saved by the blood of Jesus. I must not look down on anyone as if they need to be saved more than I do. I must not look down on anyone as if they are so bad I must not share the freeing message of Jesus with them.

I am so glad Peter learned this lesson, since I am a Gentile and not Jewish. I would be upset if anyone viewed me as common or unclean. I must not do the same for others.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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Ephesians 5-6: Marriage Will Make You More Like Jesus, If You Let It

Christian Living, Ephesians, Growth, Jesus, Marriage, Relationships

Today’s reading is Ephesians 5:1-6:24.

I’m reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (Yes, that is an affiliate link. I’m liking it so much, I hope you’ll buy it too). So, Ephesians 5:22-33 really hit me again today based on what I’ve been getting out of the book. Sadly, because of our modern culture of “falling in love” we have the idea that marriage was given to us to make us happy. Thomas offers a different theory. Certainly, when pursued properly great joy will come from our marriages, but perhaps marriage wasn’t given to us to make us happy, it was given to us to make us holy. 

Consider the connection Paul makes between our marriages and the church’s relationship with Jesus Christ. In marriage, we truly learn how to be like Jesus. It is through marriage that we learn to love the unlovable. It is in marriage that we learn how to forgive the seemingly unforgivable. It is in marriage that we learn how to sacrifice ourselves for another. It is in marriage that we learn how to respect another. It is in marriage that we learn how to give thanks to God for someone even though they’ve let us down again and again and again. 

I certainly know there are biblical reasons for divorce. But in general, the issue of staying together in marriage is not for the kids good, it is not to keep up appearances, it is because when we work to make our marriage work, we are becoming more and more like Jesus. 

The fact is our marriages should grow to be a reflection of Jesus and His church. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could look at Christians who were married and say, “Wow, I want what you’ve got in marriage,” and then we could respond with, “Well, let me tell you about Jesus and His bride”?

Put connubial bliss on the backburner and start abandoning your life to Jesus in your marriage. When you do, watch as your marriage causes you to be more like Jesus at home and everywhere. But you have to let it do this. If you maintain a stubborn rebellion, you might stick out a semblance of a marriage for years, but it won’t help you at all. Let marriage be your key to holiness. Grow to be like Jesus.

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