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Archive for the tag “relationships”

Courageous People Resolve Conflict (by Rick Warren)

The below is a good reminder for us from Rick Warren.

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“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

 

Why does God want us to live at peace with everyone? Because unresolved conflict has three devastating effects in your life.

First, it blocks your fellowship with God. When you’re out of whack with others, you can’t be in harmony with God. When you’re distracted, when you’re in conflict with other people, you cannot have a clear connection with God. 1 John4:20 says, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar” (NLT).

Second, unresolved conflict hinders your prayers. Over and over again the Bible says that where there is conflict and sin and disharmony in your life, your prayers are blocked.

Third, unsolved conflict hinders your happiness. You cannot be happy and in conflict at the same time. When conflict comes in the front door, happiness goes out the back.

So, don’t you want to get rid of the conflict in your life? The starting point of resolving any conflict is to take the initiative. Don’t wait for others to come to you; go to them. You be the peacemaker.

Don’t ignore the conflict. Don’t deny the conflict. Don’t push the conflict under the carpet.

Have you heard the expression, “Time heals everything?” That’s a bunch of bologna. Time heals nothing! If time heals everything, you wouldn’t ever need to see the doctor.

Actually, time makes things worse. When you’ve got an open wound and you don’t deal with it, it festers. Anger turns to resentment, and resentment turns to bitterness.

The conflict is not going to resolve itself. You’ve got to intentionally deal with it.

Only courageous people resolve conflict. Maybe the most courageous thing you can do is face an issue that you’ve been ignoring for a long time in your marriage, or with your kids, or with your employees, or your boss, or whoever.

Where do you find the courage to face it? You get it from God.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self discipline.” That means if you let God’s Spirit fill your life, you’re going to be filled with power, love, and self-discipline. And God’s love overcomes fear.

When your love is greater than your fear, you’ll do things you’re afraid to do. That’s called courage. When you’re filled with God’s love, you’ll also be filled with love for that person who is irritating you or that person you’re in conflict with.

Talk About It

  • What are you pretending is not a problem in your relationships? Money? Trust? In-laws? Family? Children? Communication? Values? Work schedule?
  • What will you do today to take the initiative to resolve those conflicts?

 

Positive Prayer Makes Strong Relationships (by Rick Warren)

 

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

I want you to think of somebody who irritates you — maybe somebody you’ve got a strained relationship with or who just rubs you the wrong way. I have two questions for you: One, do you pray for that person? Or do you just complain and grumble and nag and nitpick? If you prayed more, you’d have a lot less to grumble, complain, nag, and nitpick about. It’s your decision.

Does nagging work? No. Does prayer work? Yes. So why do you do more of the thing that doesn’t work than does?

Paul says in Philippians 1:4, “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy” (NLT).

Paul didn’t just pray for people in his life; he prayed with joy!

There are things in other people’s lives that you’d like to change. You don’t want to change yourself; you want them to change. We always want to change other people. But you can’t!

You can, however, pray, and let God do his work in other people.

Positive praying is more effective than positive thinking. All the positive thinking in the world isn’t going to change your husband or your wife or your child or your friend or your situation. Positive thinking can change you, but it won’t change somebody else. But positive prayer can make a difference in someone else.

Do you want to know the quickest way to change a bad relationship to a good one? Start praying for the other person! It will change you, and it can change the other person.

Paul even told us how to pray for others: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).

From these verses, we can learn to pray for the people in our lives in four ways:

Pray that they will grow in love: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.”

Pray that they will make wise choices: “… so that you may be able to discern what is best …”

Pray that they will live with integrity: “… and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ …”

Pray that they will become like Jesus: “… filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.”

Pray these for yourself and anyone else in your life, and watch how God turns around the relationship you thought had no hope or that needed to be revived.

The Funny Thing About Community (by Jessica Francis)

Growing up, my mom used to always say that God gave me good eye sight to make up for my poor sense of direction. Now, I’m not entirely sure that’s the way God was thinking about things, but that thought has always stuck with me. When I’m lost (which is very common for me) and frustrated with my (lack of) sense of direction, I am actually more grateful for my eyesight.

Just recently, I have begun to think about how this way of thinking applies to my understanding of community. The bible tells us that we are to live in community with one another.  Romans 12:5 says “… so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” If our community (or church) represents one body, then we are supposed to function in light of each others’ differences and flaws. And we are meant to function in a way that shows the love of Christ to the world, for it says in John 13:35 that “your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Now as selfish individuals, it can be extremely difficult to appreciate the differences, be they strengths or weaknesses, that exist between ourselves and our brothers and sisters in our church community. But I think that if we are grateful for our differences, then they actually strengthen our love for one another… thus exemplifying Christ’s love to the world.

Think of it this way. I am an introvert. I love people, but people wear me out. Because of that, I can become frustrated with extreme extroverts and my tendency might be to distance myself from people who are not introverts just like me. But if I‘m focused on being part of my community, rather than my own personal agenda, I am grateful for my brothers and sisters that are extroverts. I can see how our differences, when combined, form a strong body.

This shift in perspective is uncomfortable, especially in light of the individualism that is worshipped by our US society. But when I can embrace this new perspective, I am so grateful that God has chosen my brothers and sisters to fill the roles that I cannot fill. And because I am so grateful for their uniqueness from me, I am better able to love them the way that I am supposed to. I can see them as one body, of which I am just one part, and only by functioning together can we show the love of Christ to the world.

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