DAILY DISCIPLINE #23
By Colleen Donahue
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love..." (words to a popular song)
You may recognize the words above that belong to a familiar old tune. It speaks of a love that is like oil between our relationships both with God and with other family members, friends, and acquaintances. Real love is not the "feelings" that modern media portray it to be. Real love is a gift from God to man that enables us to put into action the kind of unselfish love that Jesus expressed.
Our whole life is one long story of relationships: parents, brothers, sisters, school friends, work colleagues, spouses, children, neighbors, and fellow citizens. All of these relationships need the oil of love that enables them to be maintained. There have been numerous books written on such topics as: "How to Make Friends and Keep Them"; How to Win Friends and Influence People"; "How to Get Along With Your Husband or Wife"; and "How to Handle Your Children". I'm sure that all of these books have some nuggets of truth, but there is one book written centuries before all of these that contain advice from God Himself. Let's look this month at what the Bible says about...
OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS - Part I
Day 1- How did Jesus say we are to respond to a) people who insult us; b) those who "persecute"' us in some way; and c) those who speak unkindly of us?
Day 2- Are there ever times when we are to submit ourselves to someone even though we are really in authority?
Day 3- How are we to act when we're out in public?
Day 4- What is our responsibility as parents, or teachers over children?
Day 5- What does Jesus compare our anger with someone to?
Day 6- Is it possible to be right before God but not right with some other person?
Matthew 5:23-24 / I John 1:5-7 / 1 John 2:9-11
Day 7- What is the best way to deal with an adversary?
Day 8- With what does Jesus compare looking at a man or woman lustfully?
Day 9- We are to deal with people in a straight-forward manner -- letting our "yes" be "yes" and our "no" be "no"!
Day 10- What is to be our response to someone wishing to harm us or make life difficult for us?
Day 11- This is perhaps a most difficult pill to swallow, but the Lord has made it very clear who is to take revenge and bring forth justice.
Romans 12:17-21 / I Thessalonians 5:15 /2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 / I Peter 2:19-21 /
Day 12- Now, if that seems difficult, God requires us to go one step further!
Day 13- What is to be our attitude regarding giving possessions or time to other people?
Day 14- The Bible makes it clear that we are to have a spirit of giving and generosity towards men. This has become less and less apparent in Western society where it's "every man for himself".
Leviticus 25:35 / Deuteronomy 15:7-8,10-11 / Proverbs 28:27 / Ecclesiastes 5:13 / Matthew 19:21 / Luke 6:38
Day 15- If we have a relationship with God it should be true and real the way we relate to other people. But some use this relationship in the wrong way.
Day 16- What is the personal consequence of not having forgiveness in our hearts for some other person's wrong?
Day 17- We often boast in our ability to "size up" another person, i.e. to be able to discern the mind and heart of another. But the Bible has another name for this.
Day 18- This is an old saying coming from the Bible that actually sums up nicely what our behavior should be to each other.
Day 19- What was the Lord's attitude towards lepers?
Matthew 8:1-3 (A leper today might be anyone who you might consider repulsive or unlovely.)
Note: Nobody touched lepers. Whenever a leper even came close to normal people they had to cry out, "unclean, unclean!" as a warning to stay away. But Jesus deliberately reached out and touched the man.
Day 20- How did a man with authority (the Centurion who was a Roman officer) deal with Jesus, who he considered a higher authority?
How did Jesus relate back?
Day 21- How did Jesus respond to people whenever He walked into situations where they had needs?
Matthew 8:14-17 / 9:1-2 / 9:18-19 / 9:20-22 /9:27-30 / 9:32-33
Although we may not seem to be able to meet others' needs by miracles, it is a fact that Jesus said in John 14:12-14 that we would have the capabilities to do even greater things. Why aren't we seeing this happen? So many of us are not being obedient to God's inner promptings in the small things and therefore are missing opportunities. If we will not stop to help the lady with the flat tire, then how will we expect to be used by Jesus in greater things?
Day 22- How did Jesus relate with the "sinners" of the world?
Day 23- What was Jesus' attitude toward those who used "religion" as a substitute for responsibility toward family?
Day 24- As adults, our relationships with children should be one of good examples and leading them into the deeper things of God. What is God's warning for any of us who lead them in an opposite direction?
Day 25 -What is our attitude to be for someone in our charge who has "gone away" from us-whether physically or emotionally--or who has spiritually become distant from God? Matthew 18:12-14
Day 26- Matthew 18:15-17 gives a plan for restoring a relationship between two Christians. What do we do if a "brother" (fellow Christian) sins against us?
Day 27- Forgiveness for someone who wrongs us is almost a "forgotten art" today. Instead, it is replaced with avoidance or distance from a person. If we do forgive, there is still the remembering of their action that often keeps a wall built up. But notice Jesus' reaction to Peter, who generously was willing to forgive more than once.
Day 28- Forgiveness is not a matter of the right words or going on with a relationship pretending everything is better. It is a matter of our hearts.
If God has forgiven us of OUR sins that nailed His Son to the cross, is it too much to forgive the one who has spoken unkindly to us? Or stolen from us? Or even one who seems to have ruined our life?
Day 29 -What was the Lord's secret for being great among other men?
Matthew 20:25-28 / Mark 10:42-45
Day 30 -Can our relationship with Jesus be measured by the relationships and service we've had with others during our lifetime?
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