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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

As a brand new mom I learned a valuable, but painful lesson that what I ate went straight through my body to my baby daughter’s system as she got painfully ill after I ate some very spicy food and then breast fed her.  I realize that may be graphic, but it makes the point that we are in a position to pour into the lives of others by our words, our actions and our attitudes.  What I pour in immediately becomes a part of that life. 

II Chronicle 22:3 actually provides a compelling challenge for me as a wife and mom.  “Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong.  He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab did.”  WOW!  His mother poured into his life a legacy of evil. 

Yet, we can look at Ruth and Naomi, Ruth chapters 1-2, and see that Naomi must have poured positive teachings and deeds into the life of Ruth.  She was a foreigner, likely worshipping foreign gods and idols, yet because of Naomi’s influence and friendship when Ruth became a widow, she chose to stay with Naomi and even leave her homeland rather than stay in Moab with her family. 

The best way to know what to pour into the heart of another is to draw close to the One who pours grace and mercy on each of us daily.  He will provide the words, the encouragement, the attitude necessary when we seek Him fully and ask to be an effective instrument as He works to touch the life of another with His love. 

Oh, Lord, help me today.  Give me the grace to add value to the heart of another just as you consistently extend your grace to me.  Show me how to encourage, lift up and pour out my faith with your mercy and grace to meet the need of a heart that needs your love. 

(Additional study:  Psalms 119:93, Prov 4:13, II Tim 1:14)

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We are looking this week at how we “hold” the heart of another.  Protecting and strengthening the heart of another allows the opportunity to help another open their heart to all that the Lord God desires for them; it allows us to be God’s instrument to enlarge their hearts. 

We have all known people who are wounded or hurting because of past incidents in their lives.  We cannot take away those wounds, but when we begin to offer love and grace, we become an instrument the Lord can use to enlarge their heart to see truth and love. 

Proverbs 4:20-22 states that God’s word lived out in us brings health to a man’s whole body and gives life.  Through our words and actions we can either bring someone closer to accepting God’s love or we can lead them astray. 

O Lord, help me today to check myself so that my words and actions draw someone closer to Your Love rather than push them away.  Forgive me for my impatience, for my pride that led to cutting words.  Help me to fill myself with Your Word so that I open the heart of another and not close it.  Amen

 (Additional study:  Psalms 141:3, I Peter 5:10)

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Have you ever met someone and just connected?  Like your best friend in elementary school.  You never disagreed on what to play at recess. It was obvious…Charlie’s Angels, and you never argued over who played which character.

Well, now as an adult, you enjoy your weekend with your family running here and there, watching this sporting event, driving to that dance class….you get the point.  Monday rolls back around and you are at work, and suddenly the music starts in your head.  You know the one, that old western ditty that plays when the bad guys enters the scene.  It is your arch rival.  Mortal enemies.  Okay, so maybe I am being a bit melodramatic…..but, the office isn’t big enough for the both of you, so you strategically plan your day around avoiding “that person”.  The funny thing is,  it appears you are the only one who hears the theme music or sees the adversarial relationship that you are involved in. 

You send your kids off to school with “play nice”, while you are strategizing for your showdown at noon.  How do we reconcile these thoughts, feelings and behavior with what Jesus wants for us.  Psalm 139 tells us that God knows us, from the beginning, He created us to be just who he wants us to be—which means the other person is just who God wants them to be also.  More importantly, Colossians 3:12-14 gives us a better description of what a Christ follower should look like…it says:

                “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Instead of dreading going back to work on Monday, try preparing yourself with these qualities ahead of time.  Choose them, just like you choose your outfit for the day.  And commit to following through regardless of how others respond.

There is no guarantee that your co-worker will become your new best friend and always play nice.  And you don’t have to go out to lunch with her or share a coffee break.  But if you are putting on kindness each day, it might just drown out the creepy western music you have been hearing in your head.

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Is there such a thing as great in-law relationships? Family dynamics can be complicated, to put it mildly. Add in a person from a completely different family, with different upbringing, different ways of seeing and handling things…complicated becomes challenging very quickly and in-laws start looking more like out-laws. Maybe for you, this challenge is with a new brother-in-law marrying your sister, or perhaps you have a unique parent-in-law, or a daughter-in-law who marches to a different beat…regardless, this relationship is something that you would like to be great but somehow it isn’t.

Ruth and Naomi had their share of challenges. With two different cultures colliding, not to mention the generational gap, you would think this relationship doomed rather then destined for greatness. Yet these two ladies have gone down in history as one of the most lovely relationships the Bible ever recorded.

Here are a few reasons why:

*The widow Ruth had a history of faithful kindness towards Naomi’s son and also to Naomi, her mother-in-law.
Ruth 1:8 “May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me.”
Principle: Great in-law relationships start and finish with the simplicity of faithful kindness.

*Ruth humbly took the risk of pursuing Naomi’s friendship, even when Naomi didn’t appear receptive.
Ruth 1:16:“Don’t urge me to leave you…Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
Principle: Great in-law relationships require humility and risk on both sides.

*Ruth and Naomi were committed to good communication.
Ruth 3:16: “When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’ Then [Ruth] told her everything Boaz had done for her…”
Principle: Great in-law relationships thrive through careful listening and sharing with one another.

God is a God of relationships, and He desires us to have great relationships with each other, particularly in our family. Pray today and ask God to bring healing and wisdom in your relationship. He would love to do that for you and will walk with you through the entire process.

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Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Have you ever heard a 5th grade band performance? There may be pockets of greatness, but combined it is absolute musical chaos. There is no harmony. Individual honks and squeaks break through moments of awkward silence. The instruments seem unable to blend together in a pleasing way as the instructor sweats his way through the concert.

But take these same kids four years later, and the performance sounds completely different. Perhaps perfection has not been reached, but the song is recognizable. Silences are intentional, and not broken by someone getting off time. In short, the performance is enjoyable without earplugs!

The difference between the two is time and effort. Relationships can work much the same way in our lives. Harmony isn’t always going to be easy or automatic with those we rub against daily. We have rough edges and they have rough edges. But as we humbly pursue great relationships, we can see improvement, and those rough edges soften.

Think about your life. Who are you in relationship with? Is it great? Or could it use some improvement. Pray and ask God to make this verse today your own inspiration to pursue a great relationship with that person. Ask Him to help you take the time and put forth the effort that living in harmony will require. And wait expectantly for His blessing of a great relationship!

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Coach Norman Dale, played by Gene Hackman in the movie Hoosiers, spoke these words of encouragement to his small, inexperienced, “underdog” basketball team before they stepped onto the court to play in the regional championship game.

“…If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.”

Contrast that with the acts of careless coaches who in striving to win: scream, demean, humiliate, neglect…throw chairs…you get the picture. You may have been on such a team or have had a child in that unfortunate position.

As a former team member, coach, teacher, and now parent. I am keenly aware of how influential our words, tone of voice, body language, and lifestyle are on those we are leading.  We can choose to encourage and build up or we can discourage and tear down. Either way the results will change a life.

The bible has many great mentors to emulate. To name a few: Timothy had Paul, Ester had Mordecai and the Apostles had Jesus. Taking a closer look at these examples would be a great exercise this week. For today let’s look at what Paul said to the young Thessalonian church in 1 Thess 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

A word of encouragement given at the right time can make the difference between winning and losing. It can also assist someone in reaching their full potential and experiencing greatness.

Who do you know that could use a word of encouragement today? Who has encouraged you? Do you know someone who has been “torn down” by discouraging words or actions? Pray to God for each person that comes to mind and then reach out in love as He directs you.

For further Study Read: 1 Corinthians 16:18 &1 Timothy 1:3-7, 2:1-7 and then Watch the video below to remember the one who was “raised up” so that you will be too!

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