Turn Down the Noise

Psalm 17:6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words (ESV. )

The other day my husband and I got into an argument. It started with a misunderstanding. I walked in the living room to find the children watching a learning video. I asked (or attempted to) my husband a question. He didn’t hear all of what I said. There was too much noise. He told me first to speak louder, then responded with a statement that didn’t match my inquiry. We both thought we could just speak louder and the communication would be fine. It wasn’t.

Not until the television was quieted and the kids were settled did the mess actually get resolved. Both of us clearly thought we understood the other person. But we didn’t. I sought God shortly after in prayer and exclaimed in frustration, “Speak louder. I can’t hear you!” In that moment a spiritual light bulb went on. God was speaking. He didn’t need to talk louder. I needed to be quieter.

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I have been processing the times in my life when I thought God wasn’t speaking. I’ve discovered a few things.

  • God communicates primarily through His Word.
  • He doesn’t always use words
  • God speaks through His creation (sometimes people)
  • Silence doesn’t mean ignored
  • His voice is, in general, more like a whisper
  • You have to listen to hear
  • He speaks through peace or a “check/caution”
  • If we are in sin or not seeking wholeheartedly we cannot usually hear (though there are scriptural examples of God speaking through a donkey or using a whale with Jonah)

The bottom line is…God and the world around us has lessons to teach. We must be humble enough to recognize them and apply the wisdom to our lives. Sometimes our lives are too loud to hear Him.

Today, I want to encourage you to be still. Read the Word, pray, and let your prayer be a two way conversation. Speak, then listen. Or perhaps let God speak first. Just recently I’ve been doing that. My formula used to always be “I speak then He speaks.” Really, what He has to say is more important than my words. God is much smarter.

Get somewhere quiet. Or at least be in solitude with yourself. Riding a bus is alone although there’s people around you. In the car. The shower. While vacuuming. On break at work. There’s time if you really want to.

Get quiet. You never know what He’ll say.

1 Samuel 3:10 ESV And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Job 13:22 ESV Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.

Psalm 119:135 ESV Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Colossians 4:2 ESV Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

It’s OK.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Yesterday was an interesting day spiritually. God’s voice was clear. And different.

I didn’t sense the convicting nudges of the Spirit I expected. Many days, especially in this season of my life, God is highlighting something He wants to refine in me. Remove. Heal. Redeem. I want to emulate Messiah. Truly. But this process gets very tiring. I asked God to create in me a clean heart. Fix me. I waited with slightly anxious anticipation at how and when the conviction would come. It did, but boy was I surprised.

It’s OK.

That’s what I heard in my spirit. Hmm. I sat puzzled for a bit. I’m sure there’s plenty of things wrong with me. I fail often.

You aren’t receiving my love and mercy for you. Just take it.

Just take it.

I could sense God’s displeasure…at my displeasure. Yes, this is a season of teshuvah. Yes, we need to examine ourselves per 2 Corinthians 13:5. But I don’t need to constantly look at myself with disdain. God doesn’t view us that way. He loves us. Is proud of us (regarding believers.) He doesn’t seek to shame and condemn. God wants us free, whole, and thriving. However, we live in a fallen world. And we have choices. Those decisions determine what we reap (curses or blessings.)

Balance is key.

We shouldn’t refuse to look at ourselves out of pride nor should we be stuck in a state of constant self reflection. There’s a place to search our hearts and get prostrate before our Maker. There’s also a place for rejoicing and resting.

Someone needs to hear this…

You are not a failure. God isn’t waiting to smite you or take the good from your life. He wants to bless you.

Psalm 103:14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

I’m not suggesting a “sloppy grace” doctrine. I am saying that God is faithful to forgive us and give us mercy when we call on Him with a sincere heart.

Take a moment and thank God for His unfailing love for you.

Today, I want to encourage you in this season of teshuvah to not forget God’s love and mercy for you. Don’t let the enemy get you stuck in shame. If anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation. None of us will ever be perfect. Sincerely seek God with all of your heart. You’ll mess up. We all do. Repent, get back up and keep going.

Hear Him say to you now, “Go and sin no more.” You are loved. There’s no condemnation for those in Christ (see Romans 8:1.)

It’s OK.

Romans 8:1-4, 10-11 ESV There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

If You Want Cotton Candy…

Job 34:12 Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.

Continuing on in my teshuvah (repentance) blogging, what God is currently dealing with me about has several parts.

  • Trust
  • Forgiveness
  • Hypocrisy

The fun stuff. Typing those words was quite unpleasant. The other day I exclaimed to God, “I want fair!” Wouldn’t you know it, shortly after I saw this meme online…

Ugh. God has an interesting sense of humor. This truth has been resounding in my spirit…

Life isn’t fair but God is just.

But there’s something else too. Something I’d prefer to not admit.

I am not always fair.

I know that. But I forget. We all do sometimes. As I was listing all the unfair things I want God to bring restitution on, this verse was playing in my spirit…

Matthew 7:2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Bottom line: if I want cotton candy, then I should go to the fair. “Fair” isn’t the reality of this life. Truth is painful sometimes. Truth is often those vegetables we loathe. The ones that make us gag. Our flesh doesn’t like it. It’s anything but sweet. Before it sets us free it often makes us miserable. But it’s in the misery that we seek God out in repentance. Comfort doesn’t grow us. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. We are too quick to forget what wretched sinners we are and how much we need the Savior.

*I am not trusting God enough yet. It’s little by little for me. My life has contained a lot of disappointment and grief.

Life is sometimes bad but God is always good.

*I am not forgiving like I should. I’m so much better than I used to be. But I still linger on things I need to let go of. I’ll bet some of you reading this can relate. Deep wounds take time to heal from. It’s a decision and feelings don’t follow immediately. Be patient with yourself. Keep giving it to Abba daily.

*I am currently being a hypocrite. Gosh that’s hard to say. How easy it is to judge and criticize, overlooking my own failings. Too easy. The pride in me wants to say, “You’re messed up too.” As if it makes me healthier. More godly. It doesn’t. The judgment day I’m going to attend is mine. No one else’s.

But what about them?!

John 21:22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

That’s what God has been saying. “You follow me.” I spend a lot of time in self focus. In the past some misunderstood me for being too preoccupied with others’ issues. I am very hard on myself (though I’m getting much better.) I would take that high standard out on others. It wasn’t fair. I’m not the benchmark for morality and health and I’m no more than a hypocrite.

Today, I want to encourage you to really get humble before God. Are you trusting Him with your battles like you should? Are you letting bitterness go and loving those that hurt you? Are you being a hypocrite?

Believe me, I know how hard this is. I can almost hear the enemy calling, “Ha! See, you are a mess.” The fear of what others think threatens to creep in.

Don’t you know that admitting this makes you look terrible? That’s stupid. You’re giving people ammunition to use against you.

That voice is trying to shut me up. But I know where my worth lies and where my victory comes from. That junk no longer works on me. When Satan is shouting, I can calmly respond with a solid faith in my Savior. Yeshua. Jesus. He is my Rock. The more messed up I feel, the more I say, “Thank you Yeshua for the cross.”

Thank Him for the cross. For His faithfulness. His love and mercy. And His refinement.

If you want cotton candy, go to the fair. It’s the only fair there is here. If you want truth and to trust in His righteousness, go to the throne. Lay it all down. You weren’t meant to carry that weight.

Psalm 33:4-9 ESV For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Romans 2:1 ESV Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.

Complaining

Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness

As I’m getting into my teshuvah focus, I’ve been especially mindful of my thoughts and actions. These past couple of days have a theme: don’t complain.

Bad attitudes don’t honor God.

As I said in my previous blog, I’m going to show a lot of transparency (more than usual.) I’ve spent the last 48 hours basically complaining. Not the entire time, but significantly so. I’m rather ashamed. I know better. But, I’ve been tired and my goodness, one thing after another has been getting on my nerves.

  • My son’s agency (for disability) and their errors
  • Cleaning up after my children again and again…and again
  • Things getting broken
  • Well meaning people sending the wrong messages at the wrong time
  • Setbacks

I just want to sit at a beach for a while and check out.

That’s the nutshell of what I told my husband. My patience tank hasn’t been full.

But patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Give thanks.

I was out with my 6 yr old son shopping and started to lose patience. He was getting hyper and I was drained. I sharply said, “Be quiet! Stop it!” Almost immediately I remembered when he was just a desire in my heart. Scenes of my pregnancy and his birth played out in my mind. I’m going to miss these times. One day my children will no longer be little anymore. They’ll be all grown. I reminded myself to cherish these moments. They are fleeting.

Today, I want to encourage you to not complain. Give thanks. Encourage. Compliment. It’s so easy to grumble and many of us do it out of habit. We whine about the weather, bank account, our back hurting, something our children did, the person who cut us off in traffic, the long line we have to wait in, the person who inconveniences you when you want to just be left alone, something else needing to be fixed etc etc. We miss noticing the blessings we do have.

Don’t complain. I’m speaking to myself here. It’s a bad habit. In everything I will give thanks. Life hurts. God is still good. I repent of not giving God the praise He is due. He has blessed me, and I will proclaim it. And, I’ll live mindful of others. God’s plan for my life doesn’t revolve around just me and what I want. Many things that happen are a part of a greater divine plan. We need to stay open so we don’t miss out on what God is doing.

I’m choosing to praise Him throughout my days, in all that I do, looking for His hand everywhere I go. I hope you will too.

1 Corinthians 10:1-10 ESV For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

Teshuvah

Acts 3:19-20 TLV Repent, therefore, and return—so your sins might be blotted out, so times of relief might come from the presence of Adonai and He might send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you.

Teshuvah: Hebrew word translated as repentance or turning.

As some of you readers know by now, I am Messianic. I celebrate the biblical feasts of YHVH. The fall feasts are my favorite, although they are pressing for my flesh. We are entering into the Hebrew month of Elul (the 12th month of the civil and 6th month of the religious calendar.) This is a time of introspection, reflection, and repentance or teshuvah. It peaks at Yom Kippur, a day of “afflicting the soul”/day of atonement (and prophetically judgment.)

Leviticus 23:27-28 “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.

I love Autumn. The changing leaves, cool crisp air, pumpkin everything, hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, sweaters, fireplaces etc. Summer, especially in Minnesota with our brutally cold winters, is a rejuvenating time. But, it has a weariness to it. The heat comforts but also exhausts. There’s a spiritual and emotional dryness to the humidity. Fall brings a refreshing and sobering perspective of reality. The shorter days are a reminder to me that life is cyclical. And one day the cycle will end.

Bittersweet changes.

I admit it’s bittersweet for me. My personality type in general tends to introspect. In the Spring I wrote a leaven series on various sins or “leaven” God was having me face and repent of. This Summer I felt a little respite until the Ruach (Spirit) nudged me again.

It’s a lifelong process.

My blogs are going to take a very transparent, reflective turn these next few weeks. I am going to be publicly sharing what God is convicting me of and give real life examples when appropriate. My purpose is to help you on your spiritual journey of teshuvah and reassure some of you that you are not alone. We all have issues. We all have that chapter we don’t read aloud. But God knows everything. He sees. In His great love He desires us to repent so we can be set free and walk in His best for our lives.

Today, I want to encourage you to join me in this season. Let’s seek God with all of who we are and get before Him pleading, “Create in me a clean heart.”

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

Psalm 51:10-12 ESV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Yes Mom and Teaching What Matters

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The other day my 6 yr old son started crying. A mini drama show was ensuing. He really wanted an ice cream cone and I, the mommy, was being “mean.” “Selfish.” So, I caved and bought him a kid’s cone. Scenes of my childhood were flashing through my mind.

I wanted a candy bar and my mom would say no, citing we couldn’t afford it while buying two cartons of cigarettes. And this was the 1980s. Imagine the cost today. That hypocrisy really bothered me. I internally vowed that I wouldn’t be that way. However, recently I’ve realized I took it out of balance. My husband noticed this and told me…

Stop being a yes mom.

I admit it. Guilty.

We live in a time when Millennials as we call them (people reaching young adulthood early 21st century) have everything (just about.) They are, in general, spoiled. They lack basic life skills and carry a sense of entitlement. Technology makes the world easier, more accessible, sinful and even dangerous. Social media dictates social norms and communication skills. Nowadays a person can just push a button and shun someone. Cutting a person out of your life and causing hurt has never been easier. And many use the internet to portray a well glossed over, ideal image that’s far from reality.

My point?

The value of what really matters has been diminished and reduced to the fleeting things this world offers. It’s all about the selfies (I’ve taken a few I admit), what we want and how we feel.

Narcissism.

Genesis 4:9-10 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.

Matthew 12:48, 50 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

And this…

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

There’s a decision to be made.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The world will tell us what to value if we don’t already have grounded, biblical principles.

If I give my children whatever they want whenever they want it, the value is lost.

What we obtain too easily we esteem too lightly.

Have you ever met an adult spoiled brat? Someone in essence that is easily offended, selfish, and really doesn’t like to hear the word no. I used to be one when I was younger. God has refined me and thankfully removed that. I think many grown ups who act that way do so because of their upbringing. Either a) they were spoiled or b) have a chip on their shoulder from some kind of real or perceived abuse/neglect. That self centeredness is then projected on others.

I don’t have to.

I don’t feel like it.

That isn’t comfortable.

Excuses because we are thinking of ourselves.

Bottom line: I realize I can’t live out my childhood again through my children. I can and should want better than I had. But, I also need to teach them the importance of sacrifice, humility, thankfulness, loving others and what the Golden Rule is all about (which in essence is the spirit of Torah.)

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Life isn’t all about us.

Today, I want to encourage you to say no to your children when it’s truly warranted. Don’t spoil them. Bless them, yes, but do so as they are obedient. God’s unconditional love isn’t unconditional approval. Nor is it unconditional blessings. Teach them to be thankful for what they have and to be generous (in wisdom.)

Sometimes what we want isn’t in the right timing or it’s not good for us. Just as we must trust God’s “no” in our lives, our children need to learn the same.

May we remember that what really matters isn’t things, it’s people. Always.

Psalm 90:12 ESV So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Proverbs 22:15 ESV Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Proverbs 20:21 ESV An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.

1 John 2:15 ESV Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The Death to Make Two, One

Mark 10:7-8 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

*This is one of the hardest blogs I’ve written to date. It’s usually pretty easy for me to throw words together about something. But this blog is so tough for two main reasons: it’s been quietly burning in me for a long time and it requires tremendous tenderness and humility. I’m a rather transparent person in my writing and in general. Not everyone is. When you know you’re given a message that involves others, there’s a sensitivity that needs to be taken. And self disclosure when it reveals something less than stellar is at times dreadful. I’ve felt unfit (and too uncomfortable) to attempt anything, so I avoided it altogether. Until now.

This morning.

I got up around 4:45 this morning with my husband. The “have a good day” interaction was strained. We’re tired. Life is much harder than we envisioned it would be. Feeling like one flesh is a fight. There are times it’s as if we are two people in different universes. Both have desires. Needs. Personalities. And pride.

Our oldest son’s disability and tremendous needs get overwhelming. Day in and day out for years really wears on a person. That has been quite a catalyst, no doubt about it. Every area of our life has been completely affected.

I’ve knelt on the floor in tears before crying out to have the “normal” others take for granted. However, that is not ultimately why us two often stay two versus one flesh. As hard as our circumstances and trials have been, that isn’t why the disconnect can be felt.

I don’t want to die.

1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

I die daily of what? From what? How?

Our flesh doesn’t want to give up its “rights.” Mine sure doesn’t. I have made sacrifices for my family, but there are moments when I admit I’ve said, “I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to. I want to be happy like that person…”

I compare. Complain. Covet.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I don’t give thanks enough.

I grew up like most females, being given equal opportunity in general as my male counterparts. Perhaps even more favor because I’m female (males really do have more expected of them but that’s for another blog.) I was told that the only way to live is to go to college, have a career, get married, have children and fit them all into your established title or position. Your job meant everything. It was your livelihood. After all, people often ask those newly introduced to them what they do for a living.

It’s taught that title=identity.

The world screams I should fight for my autonomy. God whispers for my death.

True fulfillment isn’t in bank balance, title, outward beauty, status, or the possessions I have. It’s in who I am and whose I am.

But the lie is appealing.

Any decent husband will value his wife and her desires. And my husband does. But I haven’t valued his as much as I should.

Help meet isn’t hurt meet, manipulative meet, nagging meet, or Holy Spirit meet.

I am equal in value, but I am not equal in role. Oh I stepped on someone’s toes there. No, I’m not old fashioned though feel free to call me that. I’ll gladly accept the label. I’m not brainwashed. The world is. I have learned and am still that fulfillment comes in doing things God’s way.

My husband has his issues. He knows it. But I have my own. One of the hardest things to do (but it must be done) is to “die” so something greater can live. We have a choice. Right or peace? Ego or love? Our desires or his (speaking to you wives here.)

Or His?

I’m not trying to depress you. Out of love I’m telling you the key to happiness is to rejoice in the Creator. Be a servant.

It’s not about our happy.

Today, I want to encourage you to be humble. Wives, within biblical legal reason, submit to your husbands. Again, I don’t mean take abuse or submit to something unlawful. Realize the influence your life has in being a female. You were created by God for a great purpose.

I have wanted and sought autonomy. I have quietly and loudly proclaimed “What about me?!” Yes, I do have value. And I show my value through valuing others. It starts at home.

If you’re struggling in your marriage or any relationship, you can only change you. When we decide to serve, we are emulating Messiah.

My decision is…

  • I’ll give a soft answer in anger
  • I’ll value what you value
  • I’ll listen to understand, not to reply
  • I’ll help ease your burden and recognize the responsibility you have
  • I’ll learn the wisdom of silence and going to God in prayer
  • I’ll seek to love, not fix

I choose to die daily. That is true happiness.

John 13:3-8 ESV Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

Colossians 3:18-19, 23-24 ESV Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Overcome Evil With Good

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I had a great conversation with a friend last night. We got on the subject of forgiveness and “not letting the sun go down on your anger” per Ephesians 4:26. Both of us talked a little about situations we’re learning this in. My friend shared one particular circumstance that bothered her.

We have to love people, even our enemies and those that mistreat us.

We both know that. Now, that doesn’t mean just take abuse or be in a toxic situation. However, we do need to love people. All people. Even if it’s from a distance. The discussion led to this question…

What does loving our enemies and blessing those who curse us look like?

When we get really wounded, how should our response look?

Overcome evil with good.

Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

There are times I’ve done this and a few folks thought I was being manipulative or playing some kind of game. I wasn’t. I made a deliberate choice to do good and be a blessing.

In addition to praying for those who hurt us, we can-and should-do good. A few things I’ve done over the years is (and please don’t take this as me wanting praise. I am still working on this. I haven’t arrived yet and I consider it no more than Christianity 101)…

  • Given compliments or encouragement
  • Bought gifts
  • Done them a favor or helped them in some way (in some cases unknowingly to them)
  • Spoke kindly of them
  • Given an offering or donation to something that affects them or they care about

One time many years ago after I was unfairly passed over for a promotion (I’m not just being sour-it was unfair) I bought that manager a small holiday gift and helped her succeed in a project she knew little about. My flesh really didn’t want to. But I did and God blessed me for it.

We can’t control what others do. We can, however, control how we respond.

Proverbs 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Romans 12:20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

And this..

Matthew 5:39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Today, I simply want to encourage you to take the high road. Respond with love when you’re faced with hate. Respond with kindness when someone is cruel. When a person criticizes, encourage. We cannot be close with someone in gross sin that’s exhibiting rotten fruit. But we can lead by example. We can respond as Yeshua (Jesus) would. The love of God is so powerful and transforming.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

When you’re wronged, forgive. Don’t let the sun go down with you in anger. Deal with it. A bitter root will only hurt you. Do yourself and the other person a favor and let it go.

And overcome evil with good.

Matthew 5:43-48 ESV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.