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Archive for the ‘Conflict’ Category

workerKnowing how something is built is not the same as knowing how to build it.

Part owner of a construction company years ago, it was my job to know how walls, ceilings, and floors were constructed and to know when these were built according architectural specifications; but to actually do the building was totally different. Building skills are only learned by building.

Likewise, the Bible tells us how to be godly but learning how to do it comes from experience. As a young preacher I knew a lot about how following Christ was done but I am still learning how to do it.

Jesus said,

“Here’s what I propose: … If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously… love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer…If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? … You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it.” (Matthew 5:38-48 Message)

There are things we must learn how to do if we expect to be of service to Christ.

How are you going to learn how to “turn the other cheek” unless someone slaps you? How am I going to learn how to love my enemies unless I have enemies? How are you going to learn how to pray for those who spitefully use you unless you have a boss that throws you under the bus or co-workers that spread malicious gossip? How am I going to learn how to trust God to provide unless I sometimes lose my job or go through difficulty?

We say, “God why would you let me get slapped in the face?!”, when all God is doing is teaching how live for Christ instead of just knowing how living for Christ is done.

– fritz

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Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – Psalm 23:5

Rejected applications, separation and/or divorce, those dissatisfied no matter what, sarcastic teens letting you know you are out of touch, a snub here, a lack of coöperation there, even downright hostility — hey, it’s a fact of life.

Even in the midst of God’s banquet-like blessing the Psalmist pointedly adds, “my enemies all around!

Why can’t we all get along?! There could be lots of reasons or no reason, it’s life. While the Bible doesn’t say why, it does says what to do about it.

Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble. As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone. Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.” — Romans 12:17-19 (God’s Word Translation)

  • Be as friendly as you can — work on your people skills
  • Don’t retaliate, turn those feelings over to God (he judges what’s right better than you)
  • Choose to not let it bother you, in fact, choose to happily move on with Christ ready to help even your enemies find the life changing power of Jesus

–fritz@langgang.com

Related post: “The Most Misunderstood” – June 7, 2012

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The apostle Paul has a disturbing word to those who think that Church should be perfect!

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. — 1st Corinthians 11:18-19

Some stay away from church because of all the hypocrites and cliques– but they don’t let hypocrites and cliques keep them from ball games, work, or the various clubs and groups they like.

Sure there are factions and hypocrites in church, the Bible says it must be that way to help us more easily pick out genuine believers — the ones who act like Jesus!

— fritz@langgang.com

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Song of Solomon

[His call] “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse … Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” [Her response] “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” [but later] I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.” — Song of Solomon 5:1-3, 6

Some see the Biblical “Song of Solomon” as nothing more than ancient poetry but within its pages there is an important lesson — no relationship remains static, it either grows or quietly wains.

Whether with Christ or each other, within a church or secular organization, relationships are quietly built or diminished with personal responsiveness or its lack.

Seth Godin, motivational speaker and blogger, puts it this way

“Most partnerships don’t end up in court.

Most friendships don’t end in a fight.

Most customers don’t leave in a huff.

Instead, when one party feels underappreciated, or perhaps taken advantage of, she stops showing up as often. Stops investing. Begins to move on …

Just because there are no firestorms on the porch doesn’t mean you’re doing okay. More likely, there are relationships out there that need more investment, quiet customers who are unhappy but not making a big deal out of it. They’re worth a lot more than the angry ones.” — Read Seth Godin’s complete post here

It takes alertness to the subtle change and a reaching out.

— fritz@langgang.com
See related post: “Jesus Passing By” – May 21, 2011

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And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. – 2nd Timothy 2:24-26 (NIV)

People are not changed by arguing but by repenting.

The answer for arguments and stubborn objection is not more arguments, convincing reasons, or strict logic but a change of heart and only God can do that.

This works on ourselves, too. Having trouble believing? Ask God to first change your heart (your “want to”) then the mind will come right along!

— fritz@langgang.com

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At a local scooter club I heard a safety saying, “Dress for the fall, not the ride”. I took it to advise being prepared for difficulties not just the enjoyment. Today my daily Bible reading surfaced a scripture with a similar message but in a larger context.

Two are better than one … if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up … and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

My culture values independence and, certainly, we all are sometimes forced to stand alone in difficulty but all too often we do so unnecessarily and to our peril.

We dress our lives, so to speak, for the ride and don’t consider the fall. This is why it is essential to pick (and be) a good spouse, one with godly character who will follow through with the vow to love for better and for worse. This is why it is important to actively seek a good church and a good pastor, people who can say the hard things without offending. This is why it is essential to be and actively seek friends with godly character, who can give the right kind of encouragement. All three (spouse, community, friends) together should be sought for strength like a three strand cord, holding should any single strand fail. Going it alone easily ends in disaster!

Anyone can follow Christ when living is easy. Don’t wait for a storm, take the easy times to prepare for when it gets hard — “Dress for the fall not the ride.”

— fritz@langgang.com

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The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’ His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand.”
— Luke 15:29-31 (Message Bible)

Children have a keen sense of fairness. What parent of more than one child hasn’t heard “You’re not being fair!”

Jesus tells the famous parable of “The Prodigal Son” — a young man who rejected his family, took his inheritance early, and went to live the “good life!”. Life happened and it wasn’t good, he realized the real “good life” was back home. To his and his brother’s surprise the father not only took him back but fully restored him to the family giving the ring, robe, and shoes.

It didn’t seem fair to either. Neither child understood the most important factor of true fairness — LOVE. Learning selfless LOVE enables receiving undeserved forgiveness AND it enables rejoicing, without keeping score, when others receive.

Sound bite: “Love is the missing factor of human fairness.”
Prayer: “Jesus, put the love of God in both my heart and mind so I can understand your actions, forgiveness, and grace. Amen”

— fritz@langgang.com

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