Do you feel dishonored? Many people feel dishonored by the people closest to them: a parent, a child, a spouse, or just society in general. It seems every day we hear of a person lashing out against someone whom they believe has dishonored them personally, or their nation, race, religion or family. Sadly, dishonored people tend to dishonor others. In our often cynical, sarcastic, polarized, condescending, bullying, culture, it’s not hard to feel dishonored. Yet, honoring is the invisible weapon God has given every one of us to be on an equal level with everyone else. It’s hard to learn from someone you resent or envy. We learn best from people we respect. So, do what the Bible says and you can change your world, “Honor everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17, ESV) “Respect everyone.” (1 Peter 2:17, NLT) “Treat everyone you meet with dignity.” (1 Peter 2:17, The Message) You can respect everyone without respecting what they believe.
Making Friends of Enemies
Perhaps the most important takeaway from of our past is learning from our mistakes while appreciating the grace and forgiveness of God. Yet, we all struggle to learn sufficiently. It reminds me of a sad reality spoken about in the Book of Judges. We’ll have to live with the enemy we refuse to drive out. When it comes to the inner battle we each face in our soul, making friends with enemies never ends well. If we don’t resist the devil, we’ll eventually make friends with him. The Bible says, “…resist the devil, and he will flee.” The devil would love us to believe that evil is really not that bad, and good is, likewise, not that good. But the only truth that will set a person free is aligning our lives with God’s reality, which is all that will ultimately last.
What Miracles Are We Missing
We have all seen miracles. But if we refuse to believe them or just plain forget they took place, we’ll lose their full potential. For it is the miracles we have each experienced that give us faith to believe for the miracles yet to come. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV) “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37, ESV) “Jesus, what miracles are we missing today? Open our eyes to see who You really are: the God of miracles. It is Your nature to do the impossible. And it is Your will for us to know You and see You as You really are. For only then can we see Your beauty. Only then can we discover the greater works You promised.”
Key To Happiness
A study was done on the effects a major life change has on a person’s happiness. Half of the people tested were big lottery winners. The other half suffered severe injuries in bad car accidents. It was determined that a few weeks after these drastic life-changing events took place, both groups were equally happy and satisfied with their lives. Thus proving: winning a million dollars is about as much fun as getting hit by a bus. Hmm? Who are the healthiest people you know: the spoiled or entitled ones, or those who have responded to the challenges of life by trusting God? Only by trusting the Author of life can we find fulfillment, and living a fruitful life is never about what we have or don’t have, it’s about how we respond to what we have or don’t have. Only then can godliness with contentment be a great gain.
The only life worth living is the one God has planned for you, and the only way to experience that life is through a personal, intimate relationship with your Creator. Jesus said, “I am life!” (John 14:6) and the only people who believe Jesus was overstating what He would provide for them, are those who don’t yet know Him. If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, you know that His goodness is one that surpasses all expectation. Forty-three percent of Americans say they have been born again, but only thirteen percent have a truly transforming faith. My question is: what good is a faith that doesn’t change you? If we say we’ve been born again, but don’t have a transformed life, then may I suggest being born again…again? Though it may sound funny, get “born again” as many times as it takes to see your life change.
Lovely People Love
It’s been said, the secret of being loved is being lovely, and the secret of being lovely is learning to love others. There are no lovely, self-centered people, and we can’t even fully love until we’ve received God’s love. So, what’s the solution? Let the God who is love be the Lord of your life. Let the love He has for you, flow through you to others. The Bible says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16, NLT) “Jesus, so live in me, that when people see me, they, in some tangible way, are seeing You…Your love…Your kindness…Your selfless heart for them.”
If your goal in life is to lead people, you’re going to be frustrated, because only a few people want to be led. But if you aim to be a servant, you’ll never lack for followers. Jesus said in Mark 9:35 (ESV), “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” No person is ever honored for what they have received. Honor is the reward of those who give. God is a giver, and He searches the whole earth to find someone like Him. And when He does, He blesses them. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV) Want people to follow you? Lay down your life for them. Never forget, there is a servant leader sitting on a throne in Heaven.
Encourage One Another
A minister in Florida had a funeral conducted for himself while he was still living. The printed order of service gave his explanation, “This, my funeral, is being held because I have no pleasure in words I cannot hear, flowers I cannot smell, and friends I cannot see.” After the service one man said he would never compliment his pastor because it might make him proud. Really? More likely, it would’ve encouraged him. Flattery is always wrong, but a genuine word of affirmation is always right. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “…if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” When was the last time you honored someone who has helped you, by encouraging them? “Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out…no one left behind.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, The Message)
Exhorting One Another
Did you know that none of us can fulfill our destiny, without other people? Pastor Bill Hybel’s, when he was the chaplain of the Chicago Bears Football Team, would do a Bible study for the players. One day, he walked into the locker room and found them critiquing one another while watching films of the previous game. They were laying aside pride and asking other people to tell them the truth. They realized that they needed others to help them improve. We all do! The Bible says in Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” I can only fulfill my destiny if I let God and other people speak into my life.
Every since I was a baby Christian, I’ve had to deal with three consistent attacks of the enemy, especially in my finances. They are Fear, Unbelief and Ignorance. “F” for Fear, “U” for Unbelief, and “I” for Ignorance. I call them the FUI’s. “Ah FUI! I’m afraid I won’t have enough if I obey God!” “Ah FUI! I can’t believe God will provide for my needs if I obey Him!” “Ah FUI! I don’t believe God’s Word asks me to obey!” They are the wasps, gnats and mosquitoes that attack my life. Annoying little buggers that I must continually swat and resist. Jesus said it clearly, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38, NLT)
Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. But it’s never His way of staying distant. The sooner we eliminate words like “accident” and “lucky” from our vocabulary, the sooner we will take the blinders off our spiritual eyes. We are eternal, spirit beings having a temporary earthly experience. Don’t be distracted by what you see. Be committed to what you can’t see, and yet lasts forever. There are no coincidences in any of our lives, just divinely scripted, perfectly crafted, absolutely majestic moments that only a loving God could orchestrate. Love never fails, and God is love. God’s plans for us are always for our good; to fill our future with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Commit to seeing your life from God’s perspective, trust Him every moment, and eventually you will see His genius.
All of us at times fail, and even though these failures can be devastating, if we process them well, God will show us their true value. The Bible says, “…we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT) So, in order to see the value of your failures, believe what God says about you, that, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, ESV) that, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, ESV) and lastly, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” (1 John 4:16, NLT)