WWJD with Difficult People?

Good insight and advice.

Walter Bright

My first attempt at a title for this post was, “7 types of people I really don’t like.” I know! I know I should love people unconditionally. I know I should go the extra mile. I know I need to be like Jesus, but I fall short so many times  in my love and patience for difficult people. How many can handle a church member whose always giving you a dirty look, a sarcastic remark or a backhanded compliment.

I can still remember the conversation between a church member and myself as we sat in the hospital room visiting with his wife.  In our conversation, I had mentioned that I’d received some pictures from the current pastor of a church I pioneered few years back. 10 years after I left the church, it had become on the fasted growing churches in that region.

My friend looked at me and said, “well, I don’t…

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The Storm

dark clouds

The Storm

The storm is coming, clouds dark and black
I can see through the clouds the sun is in the back

The sun’s yellow rays shining through to see
The beautiful skyline God laid before me

He wants us to know that His Son will always shine
Even through the dark clouds He is there behind

For the Lord our God need not hide
But gives us opportunities to release any pride

So give to the Lord, all your heart, soul, strength and mind
And trust in the Lord, He has been there all the time

Kim Thomas
August, 2002

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Love Made Known

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John 17:20-26 Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus was betrayed and led to his death on the cross, but right before that happened he prayed for all believers. He prayed for unity among believers and complete unity with himself and God. He said if we have this unity, then the world will know that God sent Jesus and the world would understand God’s love.

I wonder if we have missed the mark and this saddens me. I don’t know if we are united as a group of believers. I don’t necessarily see us all working together for the kingdom as much as working to make our own churches or ministries successful. We get so hung up on our doctrine that we forget lives are on the line.

Last weekend, I attended a memorial service for my uncle who was a Jehovah Witness. It’s my understanding that he believed Jesus existed but didn’t believe he needed him as a Savior. He didn’t believe in hell and didn’t believe he needed “saving” from his sin. He “worked” hard to achieve in that faith and believed his “good works” would allow him to be resurrected when Jesus comes to establish his kingdom on earth. Until then, he will be asleep like being under anesthesia is how it was explained at his memorial service.

I loved my uncle, he was my mother’s brother. There were approximately 20 Christ believing followers at his service among approximately 100 Jehovah Witnesses. We were definitely outnumbered but all of us were praying for them while they were trying to convince us of their belief system. You see the power of God and God’s love can and will transform hearts under any circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s too late for my uncle but it’s never too late for those who are still drawing breath.

Will you unite with me and join me in praying for those who need to know God’s love and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because when Christ does return, my hope is that we can say we did all we could.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:13

Cloudy Times

Today the clouds are gray and there is a breath of coolness in this summer morn. It is summer, yet the day doesn’t reveal the strong nature of a summer day in Texas. The day seems questionable as to whether it will produce rain or sun and if it will be warm or cool.

I find myself wondering what the day will bring much like the circumstances that surround me. After all, this is the last day my husband will perform his job. He was hired nearly 14 years ago by his company and was recently told his job was being eliminated. Now he waits to hear if he has a job as this is the last day he will work in his current role. This leaves uncertainty and with uncertainty comes insecurity.

When I give this much thought, I feel silly. Silly because who knows what tomorrow brings? None of us really know but we plan according to today and last week and last month and last year. We like certainty and a plan yet this is not reality. The only thing I am certain of is the God I know and serve yet have never seen with my eyes. Isn’t it funny the things that seem certain with our eyes is not and what we cannot see is certain. This is the whole premise of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen”.

Dave Ramsey says that women have a gland that spasms when we worry about the uncertainty of security and provision (ie: money). He is right, we do! Did God make us this way? It’s funny to me that as a woman I have this “gland” yet I also have the ability to trust God completely and know he always provides. I will let the gland rest as I trust God with this matter. You see God knew this was coming all along and I’ll just bet on God to have a better plan when this is all said and done.

Continue reading “Cloudy Times”

Three Good Questions

As Jesus went on from there. He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him. Matthew 9:9

Following is leadership and leadership is following. You can’t have one without the other. Jesus challenges us to follow him just like he did with Matthew.  Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Do you want to follow me?”. He said, “Follow Me!”. This was not a question but a statement. Matthew got up and followed him. May I suggest that when we are following Jesus, we are leading. We are leading simply by following Jesus Christ.

I’ve been particularly interested in leadership recently. Over the last few years, many speakers and teachers are talking about leadership. Andy Stanley has a Leadership Podcast titled, Simply Lead. Andy tells us to “keep leadership simple” and as your organization is growing, it typically grows with complexity and that is an unavoidable reality. Our approach to leadership should not be complex because our clarity in leading is vital to the growth. Andy tells us to ask three simple questions as we consider the vision or mission of our organization. 

“What are we doing?”  Asking yourself the vision or mission statement of your organization should bring clarity in answering this question. Does this new idea or project follow our vision for the organization? When everyone asks this same question, your team is united in moving forward.

“Why are we doing it?” This is where we find inspiration and clears up what’s at stake if we don’t do it. This goes beyond money and finds us considering how we can make the world a better place. What would be lacking in our country or community if we went away. This is a question all organizations can ask themselves. The leader has to ask him/herself why am I doing this. The “why am I doing this” helps us to see our personal and corporate passion. “Why” has the power to get us through the tough times and is the reason we don’t quit.

“Where do I fit in?” What is my critical role as a leader and what is my unique contribution. What is my core responsibility and am I doing what only I can do? Am I in my sweet spot as a leader. These questions helps us to re-center ourselves. We are at our best when we are doing what we do best and our organization is at it’s best when everybody is doing what they do best.

Andy suggests a one sentence responsibility description for your employees. If all else fails, this is the one thing that is expected from a particular person. That way, with everything else going on in a busy workplace, this helps the employee keep focus and answer the question as to “where do I fit in?”. This helps streamline an organization as the organization becomes more complex.

I love these three simple questions and how they are helping me to stay focused in practical ways in all areas of my life. I hope I’m a better leader which ultimately makes me a better follower. And since we are all following someone, I hope and pray you choose to follow Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).Image

 

 

Grow Your Faith

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If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10

As a believer in Jesus Christ, how much faith do you have?

Consider this, you have a friend who needs money. You loan your friend the money and your friend repays you. Trust has been established and you believe your friend is trustworthy. When your friend comes again for money, you don’t hesitate to loan it because you trust your friend to repay you. What if your friend did not repay you the first time around? Would you loan the money a second time? I know this seems like a simply analogy but I believe it works the same way with God.

As you spend time in the bible getting to know God and the character of God, your faith cannot help but increase. When God gives you a task or a challenge and you go through with it, God blesses your trust in him. He will increase your opportunities to trust him more. This is how faith grows and with each time God reveals more of himself to you. 

On the other hand, if you didn’t go through with something that you knew God was calling you to do, then you’ve not only missed an opportunity to serve God but you have missed an opportunity to grow your faith. We’ve all done this from time to time because of our imperfect sin nature. However, when you miss those opportunities or just refuse to take them, ask God for another one.

For example, one day I was at my local Sonic drive in ordering lunch. I saw a city trash worker sitting at a table. I knew God wanted me to buy his lunch but I didn’t. As soon as I drove away, I was feeling convicted. I asked God for another opportunity and purposely went back the next day. The same city trash worker was sitting there again and I had a second chance to buy his lunch! I have no idea why God put that on my heart but I was filled with joy and blessed beyond words when I saw his face light up. God knew his story, I didn’t need to know it, I just had to be faithful. This little faith step was one step toward bigger faith steps and I pray that it continues because the joy and blessings that come with an increased faith is remarkable. We serve a remarkable God who has big plans for us.

Will you allow God to grow your faith?

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

 

 

Love of Money and Wealth = Futile

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The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile. Ecclesiastes 5:10

 Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 gives us seven reasons not to devote ourselves to getting rich.  

  1.  Seeking wealth is an endless quest and those seeking are never satisfied.
  2. The more you have, the more consumers around you who care only about your money.
  3. Once you have an abundance, all you can do is look at it.  
  4. Worry and anxiety keep you awake at night, your thoughts are consumed with your money and investments.
  5. The more you have, the more you risk. In one deal you could leave your children with nothing.
  6. You can’t take it with you!
  7. The love of money will leave you in darkness with much sorrow, sickness, and anger.

The bible goes on to tell us that you are better off not to have been born than to love money and wealth. Why? Because when you love money and wealth, there is no happiness. It is a life without joy and a life that is wasted. How sad and how true for many people even believers. 

These verses speak to me and I wonder how much is enough? Am I content with what I have or better yet, what I don’t have? I truly want God to be my focus and if money comes with that, praise The Lord. This is the attitude that I desire for my mind and heart. 

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward. God has given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God, for he does not consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.

What’s more important, the love of money or wealth or joy in your heart? You cannot serve two masters.  Choose the better one today.

Dry Bones

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I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I have spoken, and I will do it. This is the declaration of the LORD. Ezekiel 37:14

This passage is speaking of the Israelites and how God was going to resurrect them. God took Ezekiel to the Valley of Dry Bones and set him in the middle of the valley where it was full of dry bones.  The bones were very dry and God told Ezekiel that he was going to use him to prophesy concerning these bones to breathe life into them. He did just that, Ezekiel commanded the bones and at first he heard a rattling sound of the bones coming together. Then tendons appeared, flesh grew, and skin covered them, but there was no breath verse 8 tells us. God directed Ezekiel to command the breath to come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so they may live and it worked! They came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army. 

There was a time when I felt like I had dry bones. I moved to Texas from another state where I had been very involved in my church. I was leading a bible study and felt very close to God. When we started looking for a new church home, it was not an easy task. I could not find church that felt like home and I felt myself drying up spiritually. Gradually, I began to shrivel and I remember telling my sister and friend, that I felt like I was drying up. I was reading my bible but I needed community and not just any community but a spiritual community. They prayed for me and shortly thereafter, we found our church home. It wasn’t long before life came back into these dry bones and I was leading a group of women in bible study. It was refreshing!

In verses12-14 God says the dry bones represent the whole house of Israel as dried up, hope has perished and they are cut off. God tells that a time is coming when He is going to resurrect the people of Israel, lead them into the land and they will know that he is Yahweh. He will put his Spirit in them and they will live and they will know He is their God!!

Since we live in New Testament times, we don’t have to wait to be spiritually alive. It’s a simple heartfelt decision and action to move toward God through his son, Jesus Christ. If we take one step, He meets us there, ready to breath life into us! 

What are you waiting for?