Don’t Dish Out What You Can’t Take

1 Corinthians 13:5

I think at various points in time, we have all had people be rude to us, and nobody ever really comes away from such encounters feeling good. If we’re being honest however, we will see that we also may have been rude to people sometimes. Think back to the times you said/did something rude; what was going on with you? Were you going through something? Where you frustrated? Often times, there is a link between our emotional state and our behavior. Happy people tend to be nicer, angry people tend to be more irritable.

Paul Cohelho said, “how people treat others is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves”. I believe that people who are mean and unkind are often that way because somewhere inside they are hurting. They are usually so frustrated with their lives and circumstances that they take out their irritability on the people around them. They’re hurting, so on some unconscious level they transfer this hurt to other people to try and feel good about themselves.

Different Bible versions have different interpretations of this verse. The KJV says, “love doth not behave itself unseemingly”; the HSCB says, “love…does not act improperly”; AMPC says, “love…is not rude (unmannerly)a and does not act unbecomingly; NIV says, “love…does not dishonor others”.

From the various interpretations, we can see that rudeness has to do with our actions and conduct towards others. “Love is not rude” means that we seek to honor people around us with our attitude, that we do not behave in an unbecoming, dishonorable, and crude manner.

We all feel hurt when people dishonor us with their words and say cruel things to us. Loving others the way we love ourselves means realizing that other people also feel this way, and making a conscious effort to address and act towards people the way we want to be addressed, no matter what we may be going through. It means that, even in the midst of our problems, we give the people around us the same respect and courtesy we demand for ourselves.

As children of God, in all we do and say, we should edify others. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”

We will all have bad days. However, even on our worst days, we must remember and obey the words of Jesus, “And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.” Luke 6:31 AMPC

This week,

Are you often rude to people? Why?

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Chaing Fairytales

[Love] bears up under anything and everything that comes, it is ever ready to believe the best of you, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening] (1 Cor 13:7, AMPC)

A perfect or fairytale kind of love is one that most of us long and hope for. People spend their lives chasing after the idea of a “happily ever after”, but unfortunately some people do not find it because they keep searching for it in the wrong places. They don’t realize that it isn’t something we search for, it is something we already have, something we’ve always had, something we just need to become conscious of. A popular hymn sung at weddings begins with the line, “O perfect love, all human thoughts transcending…” and of a truth, the concept of a perfect, unconditional love is one that the human mind can never actually fully comprehend (Eph 3:19).

Perfect love is one that looks at you with all your flaws, faults, shortcomings, all the mistakes you made in the past, the ones you’re making now, the ones you’ll make in the future, and says to you, “No matter what, to me you are worth it. I love you, and I will always love you”. .

We have a deep, God-created need for this kind of love and intimacy, but too often we look to people and things that were not designed to meet these needs and elevate them above everything else, making them idols, and the result of this is always heartbreak, bondage, and destruction.

God IS love. He is the embodiment of this “perfect love”. His love for us is so great the even while we hated Him, He was willing to give up everything, empty Himself of divinity, become a man, suffer at our own hands and die a shameful death, all so that we would not have to go through the same, (Rom 5:7-8). He loves us so much that he is constantly looking to draw us closer and closer to Him. It is only in Him that this deep-seated need for love and intimacy can fully be satisfied.

“…Perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18). There is a sense of freedom we get when we truly realize and understand that we are loved unconditionally. We no longer fear judgement, because at that point we realize that the love isn’t even about what we are doing. It is not dependent on us! It is not something we “earn” or are worthy of, and It is not something we chase. There is nothing we did to get to be loved so deeply, there is nothing we can do that will make us more loved, and nothing can separate us from that love.

With all of this in mind, all that He asks of us is that we love Him in return. Isn’t it really painful when we deeply love someone who doesn’t or can’t love us back? Just as unrequited love breaks our hearts, when we turn away from Him His heart is broken. He is calling us into a deep, amazing, breath taking, real life fairytale love, and all we have to do is say “YES!”

The Sky is Falling!!

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed
And though the mountains be carried
Into the midst of the sea
Psalm 46:1-2

I think we’ve all had ”Chicken Little” moments when it seemed like the sky was falling down around us but every other person was walking around, unperturbed.
I’ve had days when I felt shaken down to my core by situations that were beyond my control and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry but the world kept rushing around me, oblivious to the fact that the sky had, indeed, fallen.

In times like this, it’s so easy to want to withdraw from everyone and everything in a bid for self-preservation. A lot of the time, we even attempt to withdraw from God because somewhere at the back of our minds we’re thinking, “you abandoned me and let this happen”.

For King and Country’s “Steady” is my go-to song whenever I feel overwhelmed,
You keep me steady when the sky is falling
And I’ll keep steady after You
I’ll carry on when my strength is failing
Take heart ’cause you’re with me
So let the stars drop
Whatever comes, I’ll be ready

I love Psalm 75:3 which says, “When the earth and all it’s people quake, it is I who holds its pillars firm”. Whenever I’m about to start panicking and thinking that God has abandoned me and allowed my world to quake, He reminds me of all the wonderful things He’s said in His word,

“Trust Me with all your heart, don’t try to figure everything out on your own ” Prov 3:5 MSG (paraphrased)

“I know the plans I have for you and they are for good, not for disaster” Jer 29:11 NLT

“Be convinced that every detail of your life is continually woven together to fit into My perfect plan of bringing good into your life, for you who loves Me” Rom 8:28 TPT (paraphrased)

“Don’t panic, I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you” Isa 41:10 MSG

So, Child of God, next time your world feels like it’s being shaken down to its roots, hold on to God and remind yourself that He holds its pillars firm and He is a very present help in times of trouble.

This week,
Have you ever had a “Chicken Little” moment? How did you get over it?

Where Feet May Fail

“Now the LORD had said to Abram: Get out of your country, From your family And your father’s house, To a land I will show you…” Gen 12:1

You call me out upon the waters,
the great unknown where feet may fail…
Oceans”, Hillsong UNITED

I’ve always been a homebody. Adventures have never had any serious pull for me and I get very uncomfortable when I have to leave my comfort zone for any reason. So, while I love the song ”Oceans” by Hillsong United, it lowkey inspires some form of anxiety within me because the fear of being called out into the unknown is a real one. How must Abram have felt when God called him? While packing up his belongings, what must have been going through his mind?
God was taking him to a point where he had no security blanket;
No inheritance to look forward to;
No relatives or friends to fall back on.

“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him….” Gen 12:4a

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
Your sovereign hand will be my guide”

It must have taken a lot for a 75 year old man to pack up all his worldly possessions and set off on a blind journey, with nothing leading him but the hand of God.

God had to take Abram out of his comfort zone in order to establish His covenant with him.

I think God did this so Abraham would trust and hold on to Him and Him alone. See, if someone called you and told you to go to a place only they could lead you, best believe you’d stick to them like glue. You’d check in with them at every point to make sure you were going in the right direction.

Sometimes when we’re comfortable with our circumstances, we tend to “forget” God. We don’t feel the need to seek Him, because we think all our needs are met and we already have everything neatly planned out.

”Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me;
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith would be made stronger…”

John Bevere said, ”We certainly are creatures of habit who can become set in our ways. Once these patterns are established, it is uncomfortable to adjust them. But if we are to step into the fullness of what God has planned for us, we must be willing to leave our comfort zone and pursue the way that God’s Spirit leads. This path will often take us through what the Bible refers to as a wilderness. This is where God causes new life to spring forth.”

God sometimes takes us out of our comfort zones to open our eyes to the plans He has for us.
He brings us to a point where the only option we have is to turn to Him because He’s all that we have left.
Note that if Abraham didn’t obey God and leave, he wouldn’t have gotten the covenant.
Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. God might just be calling you for the adventure of a lifetime.

This week,
Have you ever felt God calling from your comfort zone? Did you step out?

Go Away, I’m Not Ready

Acts 24:22-26

Although I was born and brought up in a Christian household, for the longest time I didn’t want to give my life to Jesus. Christians seemed too boring and restricted and I felt like I’d miss too much out of life If I became one. So I had it all planned out; I would do everything I wanted to do while I’m young, and then when I turn 50 or something, I would give my life to Christ so I’d go to heaven when I die. Win-win, right?

From the above scripture, we see that Governor Felix had knowledge about Christianity. Scripture says “He had a more accurate knowledge” (v22). He and his wife even came to seek out Paul to hear about Jesus Christ. However, after hearing Paul speak about righteousness, self control and the judgement to come, he became afraid, and so he said “Go away for now, when I have a convenient time I will call for you” (v25).

It is the same with a lot of people today. They have heard the gospel, They know about Jesus. They’ve listened to teachings, they have the head knowledge, but the thought of surrendering and living for Jesus terrifies them.

So they say,

go away, I’m not ready.

I don’t have the time repent.

I’m not ready to embrace righteousness and self control.

Hold on to your gospel please, there’s still so much for me in the world.

Keep your Jesus aside, I cant surrender to Him right now.

Leave me alone, now is not a convenient time for me to become ‘radical’.

When I’m old, tired of the world, and have taken of all life has to offer, I will call for you.”

There is no record that Felix eventually found a “convenient” time to repent. He most likely missed his chance. This is the story of so many. Many people have been lost because they “set aside” the gospel for a later date. They thought they would have the opportunity to turn to it on their own terms, but nobody knows tomorrow.

“Seek the Lord while He can be found, call upon His name while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Please do not defer your repentance, you may never get another chance.

Recycled Burdens?

Philippians 4:6-7

A while ago I had this issue that was bothering me so much that it became a burden. It was something that I prayed about constantly, but it was like each time I prayed, I became more anxious and burdened by the issue. Finally, one day I cried out to God, “why isn’t this going away Father? Why is my heart still so heavy?” And the answer I got was one that has changed my life. God simply said, “how do you expect me to take this burden from you when you are holding onto it so tightly?”

A lot of people have this habit of praying from a place of anxiety (myself included sometimes). Whenever a bad situation comes up, the first reaction we have as humans is one of fear and worry, “oh, what do I do? How do I handle this?” most people will actually try and solve the problem with their own strength, and when we are unable to sort it out and prayer does come to mind as a last resort, we often take this anxious mindset into the place of prayer. And after praying, we promptly pick our burdens back up and go right back to worrying about them.

According to our scripture in focus, in any and every situation we are not be anxious, but we are to make known our requests to God through prayer, supplication (which is an intense earnestness in extended prayer by making direct request to God and fully transferring the burdens of ones soul to Gods hands), and then thanksgiving, and when we have given thanks we are to let go and allow His peace which passes all understanding to guard our hearts. It is important to take note of the progression of the scripture; Prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and then peace.

Once you have prayed concerning an issue, give thanks to God because you know that He has heard you and stop worrying! 1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, because He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (AMPC, emphasis mine). The word “cast” means to throw something forcefully in a specified direction. We are to cast all of our worries and anxieties on God, and the amplified Bible adds a very important phrase, “once and for all”. This means that our casting should be a one time thing. When you throw something away in the trash do you keep going to pick it back up only to just throw it away again? No! You throw something away once and then walk away. It’s the same thing here, We are not to cast our problems, run and pick them back up, then cast again.

The peace of God, according to the amplified bible, is “that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fears nothing from God and is content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is”, and this peace is one that surpasses all understanding. Prayer and this kind of peace are closely connected. A person who entrusts their cares to Christ instead of worrying about them will experience the peace of God and this will help to guard their mind in Christ.

So, whatever it is that you are going through, that you are facing, that you are struggling with, take it to your Father in the place of prayer with the knowledge that He cares for and about you, and that He has good thoughts towards you to give you a good future. Give thanks to Him for this, leave your burdens at His feet, and allow His peace to fill you.

This week,

What burdens have you been unable to let go of?

Pardon me, my Lord

Judges 6:13

Have you ever had something inexplicably tragic happen to you? Have you ever been in a situation where it seems like there’s no hope and things can never get better? Have you felt abandoned and alone? Then you’ve been in Gideon’s position, and you’ll be able to identify with him in this verse.

Here were his people, the Israelites, under the rule of the Midianites for 7 years. Things were so bad that they were hiding in caves, starving and dying. In the midst of all this suffering and pain, The angel comes and says, “mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”. Gideon’s response is one that, if we’re being honest, most of us have had at different points in our lives. “Pardon me, my Lord, but if the Lord is with us, then why are all these things happening to us? Where are all His Miracles, signs and wonders that people are always talking about?” (v13, paraphrased).

We’ve all heard testimonies of the wonderful things God has done right from Bible times till now; Healings, resurrections, jaw-dropping miracles. So when bad things happen, we cannot help but feel short-changed. When people come and try to remind us of all the promises of God with things like, “All things will work together for your good” or “God is with you” the thought that crosses our mind is, “pardon me, but if God is with me as you say He is, and if He loves me like you say He does, then why has this happened? People have told me that He did mighty works for them, but as far as I can see, He has abandoned me”

It is no secret that bad things happen. Sometimes they are as a direct consequence of our sins (as in the case of the Israelites here), but a lot of the time, bad things happen for seemingly no reason. People who have done nothing wrong, who love and serve God with all their heart, have bad things happen to them and the first question that comes to mind is, “why?”

Even Jesus had bad things happen to Him. One of His closest friends betrayed Him; He had the very people that He left heaven to come and save crying out for His blood; He was whipped, ridiculed, and ultimately, hung on a cross to die a slow, painful, agonizing death for crimes He did not even commit. So if anyone knows about having unfair things happen to them, then its Him. He is fully able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He has been in our positions (Hebrews 4:15).

Whenever bad things happen to me, there are 2 portions of scripture that always comfort me. The first is is Isaiah 43:2-4,

“But now, this is what the Lord says— He who created you, [insert your name here], He who formed you, [insert your name here]:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom,Cush and Seba in your stead.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you;”

The second is Romans 8:28 (AMPC), “we are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and called according to His design and purpose.”

In Isaiah 43, we do not see “if”, but “when”. It means that at various points we will go through rivers, waters and fires (challenges), but that through it all, He will be right there with us, helping us. In Romans 8, we do not see “all good things”, but “all things”, so even the bad things will ultimately work out for our good. These are promises contained in the very word of God.

The hope that we can cling to in bad situations that happen is that, God will always have the final say. Every bad thing that happened to Jesus, happened for a reason. Through His stripes, we received healing; From His suffering and death, eternal life sprung forth for us. To people looking on, it was as if the devil had won, and Jesus was no more, but no, there was a plan that not even the devil saw coming.

I cannot pretend to know the answer to the question, “why do bad things happen to good people”. What I do know however, is that when these things happen, He has promised to be right there with us, holding us up, pulling us through, working it all for our good.