The Sharpening Process Requires Commitment! Proverbs 27:17

As Iron Sharpens Iron - Never Give Up! Proverbs 27:17
A friend suddenly stops communicating. You ask if you've offended her, and she refuses to talk about it.

A relative is distant and angry but refuses your repeated attempts to discuss things. 

We're messy, fallen people and our attempts at communication are flawed at best. But we'll never learn godly perseverance if we refuse to respectfully listen to the concerns of friends and family, especially when those concerns are related to how we treat them.(1)

There will always be people who "shut down" relationships by refusing to discuss things, but we should take care not to be those people, even if it means we must continually forgive offenses (Luke 17:3-4).(2)

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” 


This sharpening process can be noisy, abrasive and humbling, but it's important in our walk with the Lord, especially when dealing with family.(3)


Have you given up on someone in your life? Please ask God to help you work through it Biblically.
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Check out these 1-Minute Bible Love Notes for additional thoughts on this subject: Movin On  Get Out of Yourself and I Remember the Log.

(1) Sometimes big relationship problems can be solved by very small things. But our pride and stubbornness keep us from doing it.
(2) If someone becomes angry, we may need to take a break, letting them know we want to talk when they calm down.
(3) Whether we like it or not, God is the One responsible for placing us in our particular family, and He never does anything without good purposes.

To do a short Bible study on this devotion, check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.
As Iron Sharpens Iron - Never Give Up! Proverbs 27:17

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a Friend We Have in Jesus - He Will Never Forsake Us
I’ve moved forty times, and my lifestyle has taught me a lot about friendships. 

Some friends are forever friends. Whether we live near them or far away, we stay connected. Other friends bless us for a season and move on.

Some friends are casual friends. Others are like family.

However, no matter how many friends we have, most of us also experience periods of loneliness. That's when we need to remember these truths:

“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’" Hebrews 13:5

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
 
“Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

If you are feeling lonely, discouraged, alone, forgotten, or friendless, memorize these truths and let your fellowship with Christ go deeper.
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If you want to read other 1-minute devotions about human friendships, check these out:
Partners in Prayer
Peer Mentors
Friends, Not Fans
Offline
Be One to Have One
What a Friend We Have in Jesus - He Will Never Forsake Us

6 Ways to Keep Rooted in The Changing Winds of Culture

6 Ways to Keep Rooted in The Changing Winds of Culture
Strong winds from Hurricane Irma blew down a huge pine tree in our yard. It could have gone through our roof were it not for another tree that stood in its way and held it back.

The tree that stood in the way is a good representation of our role as Christians. When we are being salt and light, we won’t stop all the evil that rages around us. But we can stop some of it.(1) 

We stand firm by letting our roots go down deep into Christ (Colossians 2:6-7):

1. Setting life goals with Christ’s purposes in mind (Colossians 3:17).

2. Lovingly speaking up for Biblical truth (Ephesians 4:14-15).

3. Returning good for evil (Romans 12:17-21).

4. Treating others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

5. Sharing our faith so other trees can stand with us (Matthew 28:18-20).

6. Caring more about God’s opinion than man’s opinions (Galatians 1:10).

We won’t keep all the trees from falling, but in Christ’s strength, we can prevent some damage.

(1) Matthew 5:13-16
6 Ways to Keep Rooted in The Changing Winds of Culture
 

Did Jesus really call a woman a dog?!

Why Jesus called a woman a dog in Matthew 15
In Matthew 15:21-28, a woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter and He says, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”(1)

This sounds a bit harsh until we remember:

1. God’s is 100% loving.
Nothing He does is unjust or unkind (1 John 4:8).

2. God is omniscient.
Jesus knew everything about this woman (Hebrews 4:13). He chose His words to test her faith, and she proved her perseverance (James 1:3).

3. Timing is part of God's purposes.
Christ's priority was preparing the Jews so they could take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24; Galatians 3:8).(2)

4. Jesus rewards faith wherever it's found.
Despite His first priority to the Jews, on more than one occasion He rewarded the faith of Gentiles, and He healed this woman’s daughter!
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(1) The word Christ used can be translated "little dog" or "house pet," so it wasn't a cruel term, but that alone doesn't explain this passage. Jesus still compared her to a dog and the Jews to children. Testing sometimes requires this confusing and mysterious element. See "I Didn't Know I Had it in Me."
(2) In His Great Commission Christ launched God's mission to the whole world - Matthew 28:18-20.
Why Jesus called a woman a dog in Matthew 15

Get Out of Yourself!

Get Our of Yourself! Philippians 2:3-4
We cannot fully understand the difficulties of others unless we experience those same difficulties ourselves. But kindness involves trying to understand and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

George Washington Carver, American inventor and educator who was born a slave, put it this way: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”(1)

The young may envy the free time of retired people; retired people may envy the health and energy of the young. It’s easy to see things from our perspective, but much harder to see things from others' perspectives.

If you’re having difficulties with someone, ask God if there's something lacking in your perspective.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4
(1) Site: About.com
 Copyright 2012, Gail Burton Purath
These 1-minute devotions are about George Washington Carver: Carver Overcame Evil, 300 Uses for the Peanut
Get Our of Yourself! Philippians 2:3-4

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