Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Ephesians 5:16 Amplified Bible
Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.
I joke with my husband that the reason I like word games so much is because they are so affirming. When I figure out words from the revealed letters, the app pops up with, “Fantastic!”, “Amazing!” “Brilliant!”…sometimes even with just a 3 letter word, lol.
Read today’s entry from the current bible study I’m doing with some friends. It addresses this very topic ❤
An excerpt from the Better Together Devotional by Rick Warren
Affirm Others By Accepting Them
Here’s a little secret: Everybody is looking for affirmation. Have you noticed that? People will do almost anything to get it. If you don’t believe that, just watch some of the reality shows. Look at what people do to get on TV, just so people will applaud them.
God is an incredibly affirming and loving Father. When you affirm other people, you are showing love and representing Christ. Jesus affirmed people as he ministered, so you are ministering like Jesus did. You’re showing the world a little bit more about what God is like.
One of the best ways to affirm people in everyday life is to show them acceptance. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (NIV).
The easy choice sometimes is to snub and belittle and demean people, especially when they don’t measure up to our standards. We all have a tendency to take our strengths and project them on other people, and then put them down when they don’t meet our expectations. For instance, you may be someone who is always punctual, and when other people are late, you tend to look down your nose at them. At the same time, it makes you feel good about yourself because you’re better at being on time. Or maybe you’re a very tidy person who can’t help but notice when you go to other people’s houses how messy everything is, and it makes you feel better about yourself. We tend to project our strengths on other people, forgetting that we have weaknesses in other areas.
Let me tell you a better way to feel better about yourself. Instead of doing it by putting other people down, why not try lifting other people up? It gives you a thrill like nothing else.
The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another” (AMP).
In order to do the work of God, you and I have to value the God given differences among us and the way we are uniquely shaped. Here’s how you know when you’ve accepted someone: You stop insisting that they be just like you. You realize and rejoice in the fact that they’re different. The truth of the matter is, the world would be a boring place if everyone were just like you. So God has made us in all different kinds of ways to do all different kinds of things so everything can get done in this world.
The goal of a family, a small group, a church family, or any community group is not to mold people into your image but to accept and affirm each other and help each other discover who God made you to be.
God spoke through the prophet Hosea, revealing that His people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
Ignorance is not bliss in God’s kingdom. Not knowing God and not knowing His way of doing things is, by default, opening the door to a world of hurt & suffering.
Right now in the U.S., we are witnessing some of the most turbulent & rancorous times in our country’s history. You don’t have to look very far to find angry, vocal & enraged people expressing themselves in angry & violent ways. This leads people with opposing ideologies to rise up with an equal amount of anger & rage in response. Or – inreaction to is the better phrase. “In response” implies thoughtful consideration. That’s not what we are witnessing.
Somethings gotta give.
Or more correctly, someone’s gotta give…an inch (or more)…toward reconciliation and peace.
Here is one of those deep scriptures, that if you breeze right over it, you miss what God is revealing:
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16
Slow down. Now re-read the verse: where envying and strife is…
What happens when envying (jealousy, desire for something that someone else has) & strife (vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism) are present?
There will be confusion and every evil work. The New American Standard Bible says it this way, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”
You can see this playing out in social media, in politics, in race relations. The anger & constant strife has lead to increasing rage, destruction and violence. Civility has seemingly left the building!
As Christians, we are not to emulate the behavior of people who do no know God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were, “… still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?“
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
We can be at peace because Jesus gives us His peace. Peace is a by-product of trust. We have the privilege of going to God and PRAYING ABOUT EVERYTHING (Philippians 4:6)
We can shut the door on confusion & other evil, destructive influences in our life by staying out of strife and resisting envy, jealousy & selfish ambition.
It is a choice. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. Choose to be at peace. Ask God to lead you away from the temptation to react and be argumentative. Turn off the TV if you have to and avoid strife-ruled people. Then go a step further and ask God to bring peace to your family, your community, our country. This is exercising your God-given ability to be a peace-maker, as all of God’s children should be.