Dear Lord, thank you for teaching me new truths while I meditate on Your Word. As I read this 1 Peter 3:8-9 today, I realized you were talking to me about my reaction to a situation yesterday. In reality, I was offended at how I was treated and what was said to me. However, you made me realize it was my selfish, prideful heart that I allowed to control me. I am sorry. Help me not offend others, but more importantly, help me not to be offended, even if that was the intent. Please help me to be patient and kind at all times.
The words that follow were written several years ago. Even though I wrote them, I needed to reread them, and once again, put the principles into practice. Yes, sometime we forget what we have learned.
Have you ever felt “out of sorts”, left out, or neglected? Sometimes things don’t go the way I would like them to. Sometimes my ideas go ignored. You’ve probably got buttons of your own that, when pushed, send you into a “funk.” There are so many things that can put me in a bad mood and ruin my day. But, years ago I realized that I have a choice to make. I can continue to wallow in self-pity, or I can determine to do what is right and have a pleasant attitude. The verse in Acts 11:23 describes how I need to live in all circumstances.
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Barnabas had travelled to Antioch to investigate rumours that a group of unknown men were preaching about Jesus. The Apostles were concerned that this group might be preaching false doctrine. However, it seems that it didn’t take long for Barnabas to discover these men were indeed preaching truth and their ministry was being blessed by God. The verse states that “he was glad.” Some versions translate the word “rejoiced.” He was excited to see God working among these people. It doesn’t say so here, but I can imagine that Barnabas whispered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. Then, true to his nature, Barnabas “encouraged them.” He went on to give these new followers of Jesus specific direction. He encouraged them to continue with the Lord “with PURPOSE.” They were to live a life pleasing to God with intention and determination.
It’s easy to fall back on the old “I’m a woman; it’s my hormones” excuse. Yes, hormones are real and we don’t have complete control over them. But, often it is not the female hormones. Both men and women fight bad attitudes.
Several years ago my pastor’s wife walked past me in the busy church foyer and didn’t stop to speak to me. I remember being faced with two choices of thought. The selfish, touchy Debi could have thought, “She walked right past me today at church and didn’t even acknowledge that I was standing there.” Or, the patient, understanding Debi could have thought, “She walked past me today and didn’t speak. She is so busy. I am sure she must have a dozen things on her mind. I’ll give her a call to see if there is something I can do for her.” And then, I could take it further and remember to pray for her as she faced all the pressures and responsibilities of being a pastor’s wife.
Many things can put us “out of sorts” if we let them. Many people in our lives seem to bring out the worst in us and get us into a bad frame of mind. I encourage you today to remember, and heed the words of Barnabas:
“…with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
Then you will be able to say with confidence:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” Psalm 28:7
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 8-12 ESV
As I read this passage of the first Christmas story, I was reminded of several things.
Observations from recorded events about 6 – 4 BC
When was the last time the Lord spoke to you?
What was the result when you listened and obeyed?
Open your ears, heart, and mind to what God is saying to you this Christmas Season.
Our hearts are breaking for the people of Ukraine and all those affected by the actions taken in eastern Europe. God directs us to pray for others, and specifically for those in authority.
I hope to gather enough people to pray for this situation continuously, over the next 16 hours, in 10 minutes intervals. We will pray specifically for all those in Ukraine, Russia, and the rulers of countries making decisions that will affect the outcome of this conflict. Will you join me?
We will being today, February 25th at noon and conclude tomorrow at 4pm. Although some may want to sign up to pray further into the day(s) ahead.
If you commit to joining me, I would love for you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your first name and the time that you will be praying.
Let’s pray for God’s blessings, direction, and wisdom.
Debi Snider... more