Sibling Squabbles

So, we’ve all had opportunity to be offended in life.  If you haven’t, please don’t wait, send a comment, we all want to know your secret!  Our Lord assured us that it wasn’t a matter of if offences would come, but rather when.

“It is impossible, but that offences will come…” Luke 17:1a

Now, you can look in many different translations, and find it the term offences  rendered as things that cause people to sin and in my Jewish Bible, it’s rendered a snare.  All for good reason, I believe.  Giving offence can be done quite on accident (I won’t venture to address the times when it is done on purpose), but how we react to it, that can be an issue of sin, and the offence itself can be a snare of the enemy to get you to respond in a less than godly manner.

So, how do we respond according to Kingdom principles?  Jesus laid it out very clearly in Matthew, chapter 18:15-17.

1)  Go to the person who has offended you privately, one on one.  My Bible stresses privately.  Public confrontation is never an appropriate initial reaction, in my opinion.   God’s primary goal is the reconciliation of man to Himself, but secondly between men and themselves and finally, men and each other.  That cannot happen if we are flying off the wall, constantly exhibiting an attitude of anger rather than an attitude of reconciliation.

2)  If he doesn’t receive you, then you are to approach him with one or two others so that “every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”  If you don’t have the supporting witnesses, it’s best not to confront to begin with.  In other words, if you are operating under a spirit of suspicion, and not factual knowledge, because you simple don’t like someone or because they rub you the wrong way, according to the Kingdom, you don’t have a leg to stand on.  You must have proof.

3)  If proof exists, and the brother/sister still refuses to repent and work towards making restitution then the congregation must be told.  This is where it gets difficult for us pastors.  We don’t necessarily like to make waves, but again, we must administrate according to Kingdom principles.  Quite frankly, ministers are fond of preaching the first two, but are quick to preach the gospel of grace when it comes to enacting the third.  However, let me admonish that if we take the definition of grace meaning, “enabling power,” then man, woman of God, you have God’s power to carry out step three!

The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6,  that God’s people should be able to solve problems that arise between brothers and sisters in Christ among themselves.  In other words, there shouldn’t be unresolved issues in our midst that cause the world to look at what is transpiring in God’s Kingdom and shaking their heads.  Rather, they should be able to look at us as a template for the appropriate way of confronting issues head on and seeing them successfully dealt with.

3 Dangerous Words

We know it. We quote it to ourselves and we quote it to others.

Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit.”

We are told to watch what we say and to be positive, and for the the most part the mature Christian can and will bring themselves into obedience in this area.  However, what about words being spoken to us?  What do we do when there is a constant stream of negative information being thrust our direction, and not just from one source?

There are three very dangerous words that every Christian must be on guard against.  What are they?

but what ifThat’s right-but, what, and if, and not always necessarily together! There’s nothing the enemy loves more than to cause you to second guess God, or to step out and do things in your own way, in your own timing and then wonder what happened when it all falls apart.

This is a hard thing to learn, especially if you’re a planner like me, but I’m learning that not everything can be administered (even if you have a God-given gift of administration).  Sometimes God just wants us to have faith.

Paul says concerning Abraham that,

“He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises.  On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to God, for he was fully convinced that what God had promised he could also accomplish.”  Romans 4:20-21

When we question God, we are actually making a decision against God’s promises!  I don’t want to do that, do you?  I want to agree with God’s promises concerning my life.  It says that as Abraham gave God glory, he was given power, and as God is no respecter of persons, I have to believe that He also empowers us as we glorify Him.

So when three dangerous words are whispered or shouted in your ear, whatever the case may be, just begin to glorify the Lord.  Remember that He who promised is faithful!

Bony Hands & Feet

The boys and I have been studying the skeletal system for the past two weeks and we learned something that I found rather fascinating.  Frankly it’s all very interesting, but in light of our new FLIGHT School that Destiny Outreach began yesterday morning, which was extremely fun by the way, I thought it would be appropriate to share.

skeletal hand & footDid you know that the adult human body has 206 bones?  Really?  Ok, so did you also know that your hand has 27 bones and your foot has 26.  Between both sets of hands and feet, those four members alone have 106 of the 206 total in the body. Interesting, to see the importance that God placed upon those members, how many different parts it takes joined together to get something done.

The same is true in the Body of Christ.  As we embark upon the study of our spiritual gifts in FLIGHT (Family Learning Igniting God-given Hope & Talent) School on Sunday morning, we would do well to remember that just as miraculously each cell in the human body knows its place and its part, we too were created with individual gifts and talents with a God-given purpose and place prepared just for us.  Amazingly none of the human cells fight or argue over which one is going to become a brain cell or heart cell or bone cell, they just automatically know their place and report for duty.  That is how the Body of Christ should work together.  Who are you, what were you designed to do, child of God?

Romans 12:4-6a

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.  In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”

What is it that you do well?  God has certainly gifted you to do something.  You have a destiny, and over the next several months, we will be discovering spiritual giftings and talents not just for adults, but also in children, so that you too can find your place in the Body of Christ.  We look forward to seeing all your bony hands and feet there!

 

 

A Horse Tale

Picture2We just returned from visiting some dear friends of ours who live in Arkansas and whom our older two sons, Ezekiel and Joshua had the opportunity to visit two springs ago.  While they were there, Joshua had an unfortunate experience with one of their horse’s named Star, who he had to dismount into the arms of our waiting friend.  Needless to say, when we arrived this time, there was speculation on everyone’s part as to whether or not Joshua would even ride a horse.  Unfortunately, his brothers had been mercilessly teasing him regarding this incident, creating an unnecessary fear in him and he did not want to go riding.  They were insisting that he was going to have to ride Star again, something that the adults had already agreed would not happen, even though what had happened previously was not Star’s fault.  It took everything in me to convince Josh that he didn’t have to ride Star even though his brothers said he did.  Why?  Simply put – I’m the parent and I say so!  I love him and would never put him in a position that would jeopardize his security emotional or otherwise.

That got me to thinking about sin.  How often do we go through life fearing the consequences of a sin we’ve committed or something that has happened to us through no fault of our own.  People, good, Christian people tell us we have to live with the consequences, but can I tell you that you have a loving, heavenly Father who not only has forgiven every sin, but that has the ability to set you free from the consequences of sin as well?  Now don’t misunderstand, there are consequences that can’t be escaped, but I’m talking about the emotional toll that enables you to rise above where you’ve been in, so that you can live a life of freedom and victory.  The freedom that enables you to get on another horse, just like Joshua did and enjoy the scenery of life.

Interesting thing, after riding Straight-Edge for a while, Joshua ended up leading Star around the property.  He didn’t get back on her, but he was learning not to be afraid of her.  Sometimes it’s not just about listening to well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sometimes we just need to listen to our wonderful Heavenly Father who says simply that it never has to be a part of our lives again, simply because He’s said so!  He loves you!  Who are you listening to?  Walk in freedom today, it’s yours for the asking!