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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, January 14, 2015
“Follow only what is good” (3 John 1:11, NLT). There are so many lessons in the Scripture reading today about the way we treat people and the way we get treated by others. Try to put these lessons to practice in your life and unwrap the gift Jesus gave us—the peace of mind and heart. You will see a difference it will make in your life, attitude, and the way you feel.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. – Romans 12:14 (NRSV)
Danielle J. Lang (Maryland) has a very good story today titled “BLESS, NOT CURSE,” and I would like to share it with you. Here is Danielle’s story:
“Sometimes it seems as if every day we encounter a difficult person – whether a co-worker, a neighbor, or a family member. We may try to avoid them, complain about them, or even confront the one who offends us. We may spend a tremendous amount of time allowing our conflict with this person to rob us of our joy and energy.
“Jesus said, ‘In this word you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:331, NIV). In Christ we have peace. When faced with a difficult person we can remember that we are not to ‘imitate what is evil but what is good’ (3 John 1:112, NIV).
“As difficult as it may seem, we are to speak blessings on the other person – for God blesses those who bless others. Instead of focusing on someone’s negative attributes, we can find at least one trait that we admire or respect about the person. Maybe they’re a hard worker or a talented musician or a caring grandparent. Instead of gossiping about other people or arguing with them, we can pray for them. We cloud God’s light when we allow anger or insensitivity to control us. Once we start focusing on the positive and turn to God in prayer, God’s love can shine through us.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today I will look for the image of God in everyone I meet.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to speak blessings on those we find difficult to love. Teach us to pray for them. I Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Prayer Focus: CO-WORKERS
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
The Jews despised the Romans because they oppressed God’s people, but Jesus told the people to love these enemies. Such words turned many away from Christ. But Jesus wasn’t talking about having affection for enemies; he was talking about an act of the will. You can’t “fall into” this kind of love—it takes conscious effort. Loving our enemies means acting in their best interests. We can pray for them, and we can think of ways to help them. Jesus loved the whole world, even though the world was in rebellion against God. Jesus asks us to follow his example by loving our enemies. Grant your enemies the same respect and rights as you desire for yourself.
Love means action. One way to put love to work is to take the initiative in meeting specific needs. This is easy to do with people who love us, people whom we trust; but love means doing this even to those who dislike us or hurt us. The money we give others should be a gift, not a high-interest loan that will put a burden on them. Give as though you are giving to God.
A forgiving spirit demonstrates that a person has received God’s forgiveness. Jesus uses the picture of measuring grain in a basket to ensure the full amount. If we are critical rather than compassionate, we will also receive criticism. If we treat others generously graciously, and compassionately, however, these qualities will come back to us in full measure. We are to love others, not judge them. (NLT)
Luke 6:27-38 – [Jesus said] “But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you.
“Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don’t be concerned that they might not repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
FOLLOW, FOLLOWING: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/follow-following/
GOOD, GOODNESS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/good-goodness/
ATTITUDE, ATTITUDES: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/attitude-attitudes/
DIFFERENCES, DIFFERENCE: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/differences-difference/
DECEIVE, DECEIT, DECEPTION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/deceive-deceit-deception/
LISTENING, LISTEN: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/listening-listen/
FRIENDS, FRIENDSHIPS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/friends-friendships/
EMPLOYERS, EMPLOYER: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/employers-employer/
PROTECTION, PROTECTING: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/protection-protecting/
1 Jesus summed up all he had told them this night, tying together themes from John 14:27-293; John 16:1-44; and John 16:9-115. With these words he told his disciples to take courage. In spite of the inevitable struggle they would face, they would not be alone. Jesus does not abandon us to our struggles either. If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times. (NLT)
John 16:33 – [Jesus said] “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
2 3 John 1:11 – Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.
3 Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him. (NLT)
John 14:27-29 – [Jesus said] “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that you will believe when they do happen.”
4 John 16:1-4 – [Jesus said] “I have told you these things so that you won’t fall away. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember I warned you. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.”
5 John 16:9-11 – [Jesus said] “The world’s sin is unbelief in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the prince of this world has already been judged.”
May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-a-g/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-h-n/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-o-u/; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-v-z/