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Thursday, September 03 2015

Dear Friends:

This week there have been two incidents where hurt, and misunderstandings have threatened several of my most precious relationships. I know you too have dealt with this, and maybe it was also this week!  As I referenced last week, ‘friendly fire’ is the worst kind of pain we must deal with!  When those we love and count on offend or betray us, it hurts. A lot!  They are ‘supposed’ to be our safe place. And as a result, our natural inclination is to stay focused on the offense and ourselves. Our reaction will be to either ‘fight or flight’. We may want to ‘fight’ and hurt the person back, or choose to take ‘flight’ and distance ourselves from the offender. We may even flee the scene for good, and call it quits on the relationship. None of these actions solves the problem or offers healing, but God’s way does.

His directions heal hearts and renew minds, and move us in a new direction…

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

Forgive ANYONE who offends you? Really? How in the world do we accomplish that? We don’t have to look far. All we need to do is look for God’s message and instructions in the scriptures leading up to and after the command itself.

Here are some ‘keys’ to being successful in forgiving and taking no offense.

  1. Remember who we are and where to place your focus. (Colossians 3:1-4). If Christ is your Savior, then His focus is yours to have. He kept His eyes on the fact that He was God’s son, and what ultimately mattered was what mattered in heaven and the reward that would be awaiting Him. We can too. We have a choice not to sweat the small stuff. Take your focus off your hurt and look back to Christ. Make a new decision (laying down pride, picking up forgiveness) in resolving your conflicts that will have a positive payoff for you here on earth, and also in eternity. That’s an investment in all your relationships.
  2. Die to self. (Colossians 3:5-9) Do you know what that means? It’s about making a choice to believe you aren’t the priority or the number one concern. Our normal responses (fighting back, name calling, anger, etc.) indicate that we are prioritizing ourselves above Him and others. God instructs us to put all that to death. Lay it down and be willing to pick up something else, His priority.  How? Verse 8 gives us a clue: “…get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.” We choose to strip off what comes naturally to us. Look at our perfect example, Jesus. He didn’t make everything personal and about Himself.  He put God’s agenda over His own.
  3. Pick up and put on ‘new clothes’. (Colossians 3:12) “…clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Remember who you are, who lives in you and where your focus is. Make a decision to approach all situations with the heart of love. This will help you lay down the ‘clothes’ of anger and revenge and put on the ‘clothes’ of the Holy Spirit which reveals God’s heart for the other person (Galatians 5: 22-23). He gives us the power to do this. Ask for His help if you are struggling with His exchange program.
  4. Reap the rewards of forgiveness. (Colossians 3:15-18) As we obediently follow God’s guidance, make allowances for each other’s faults (give the benefit of doubt), forgive and clothe ourselves with God’s love. The pleasure of God will be felt in our hearts and His peace will rule in our lives. The outcome of this? We will live with grateful lives and have thankful hearts.

Anger and gratitude don’t coexist well. Offense and peace are enemies of each other. God promises us peace if we follow Him. His truths in Colossians give us the directions. Choosing to give forgiveness in the face of a wrong or asking for forgiveness is one of His ‘keys’ to move past offenses in our lifetime.

It’s a choice. Live your way, or God’s way. Things go better if we allow the fullness of what Christ has afforded for us to have it’s way in our lives!  Forgiveness is a natural by product of who God is and what He has already done for us out of His love. Follow His ways and your life can be rich and rewarding. Not to mention your relationships will be healthier!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…do all in the name of Jesus Christ.” Colossians 3:15-17


Posted by: Angel H Davis AT 10:25 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

Benefits of Weariness


WOW! How weary I am. And so are many of you. I know because I hear your cries: in my office, on the phone, online, in church, at the grocery store, you name it! So much of what I hear from people today is about how tired, weary, and worn-out they feel.

Then again, you may not feel weary;  instead you may feel anxious, depressed, scared, lonely, angry, or any mixture of these emotions. Perhaps these are more your prominent feelings.


However you may feel, it’s too easy to look for the source or to find blame: social media; busy schedules; technology; work/family demands; the causes are endless. Of course, these have validity, and we can certainly manage them in more appropriate and successful ways.


Yet, as I sit with God today, in my quiet time, and look over my journals, what I see is the benefit of weariness—the benefit of our broken feelings and situations.

 I see, time and time again, over the years (yes, I am rebellious and slow-learning, and God is very, very patient), God working in me and through me, enabling me to receive His antidote to this tough life and all of its problems. 


It is so simple; and yet it is so hard.


It is HIM: Jesus; always more of Him.


“But,” you say, “Angel, I have to know what to do with my children,” or, “Angel, these bills are piling up,” or, “Angel, you don’t have a CLUE of how bad it really is.”


And I will say, “You are right, I don’t. And you are correct, these things need to be taken care of.” 


BUT FIRST, we have a larger need. Oh, the catch is it doesn’t appear like the larger need. Our core need, before bills, children, purpose in life, change in our feelings, is to be convinced, truly convinced and accepting of God’s love for us and our identity as His children.


And your heart and head may rebel like mine did.


“BUT, I need to know the answer to my problem.” 

And Jesus says:

“I am the answer.”

“I am so tired.”

And Jesus says:

“I know. Let me restore you.”

“I am afraid.”

And Jesus says:

“I know, and my love will take care of that.”


That just doesn’t seem like much; doesn’t seem like enough, when we are about to be evicted or our kids are in harm’s way. That support just doesn’t seem practical enough for our human brains to rest on.


Perhaps then we’ve hit on the real source or problem of our weariness: ourselves. You and me believing that if we work hard enough, try enough, worry enough, take enough time to figure it out, talk enough to that person, ignore it long enough—whatever your “enough” is—WE can fix it. The true problem is that it’s all about US!


We want to stay in the driver’s seat and be our own savior. Or we look to other humans to be that for us. If we believe our answer lies in us or other humans, we are likely to stay in that “out of control” anxious space, and the weariness or depression or addictions are bound to take over. There can only be one driver in our car of life.


The benefit of our struggle is to be wooed into the true solution. Life’s struggles are an invitation to know God more intimately. As we allow Jesus, who is ALIVE, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, to become more real for us, more tangible, as we take Him at His word (Hebrews 13:5), as we choose to focus on Him and His promises, instead of the problems or feelings we are having, then we start to experience the reality of His presence with us.  With this, we begin to experience the peace He promises.

Why? Because our problems have been solved? The bills have all been paid? The feelings change?

NO…  peace comes from HIS presence. And in that place of peace we can see clearer, hear more accurately, and receive wisdom and direction.


As we “bend our knee” to Jesus’ love, dare to take Him at His word (John 3:16), choose to look to Him and depend on Him, and keep (John 17) depending on Him, then His life-blood starts to flow through us. It revives us, directs us, and transforms our thinking and feelings. Then life and all of its troubles, which are many (John 16:33), become manageable, doable.


Breath comes; rest comes; peace comes.


In this place new life springs forth. New ideas emerge and joy is eventually restored.


Struggling today? Rejoice in it, because it is calling you back home. Home to His heart of love (Romans 8:38-39), the place of true peace and rest. 

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