Bible Devotions

Relational Conflicts

 

We’ve all had relational conflicts at one point or another, haven’t we?  The following list reveals some of the ways conflicts exhibit them self in our relationships:

  • A refusal to do or not do something.
  • A refusal to sacrifice our desire for someone else’s benefit.
  • A refusal to serve one another.
  • A refusal to place a high priority on relationships.
  • A refusal to see from another’s perspective.
  • A refusal to be open, honest and vulnerable.
  • A refusal to accept one another.
  • A refusal to stick it out until the end.

 

What do all these statements have in common?  They are geared towards self.  Selfishness damages relationships, doesn’t it?

 

What does the Bible teach about each of these things? 

  • That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:10 NKJV
  • Your [God’s] will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Luke 11:2 NKJV
  • For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45 NKJV
  • And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
  • Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Romans 12:10 NKJV
  • Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16 NKJV
  • And is kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
  • [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV

 

Want to remove conflict and create peace in your relationships?  Assess how well you’re currently handling your relationships.  Do you identify with anything on the first list?  Ask God for wisdom and discernment to turn the worldly refusal into a godly response.

 

This devotional idea came from the fifth chapter called Shalom-Filled Relationships out of the Peace Making Women book.  This book provides practical advice, tons of personal examples as well as lots of encouragement to guide us on the path of peace.  I highly recommend you buy your own copy at ThinkOnIt Devotions Bookstore. 

 Lord thank you for your word and wonderful God-centered resources to guide us on the pathways of peace.  Enable us to assess our relationships and give us the courage to handle them your way.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Conflicts – No one wins unless handled Biblically

 

As Peacemaking Women book shared in the Biblical Peacemaking chapter, we are called to unity in Christ through the Spirit of peace.  To validate that a review of scripture reveals the following verses on unity and living at peace with others:

  • Ephesians 4:1-3 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
  • Philippians 2:1-3 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
  • Romans 12:17-19 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  • Romans 15:5-7 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:9-11 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

 

But conflict arises for many reasons and upsets this unity, if we allow it.  Rather than reacting too quickly in a heated emotional state, we are wise to wait and pray for discernment.  Reviewing scripture is a good place to start getting our focus back on God and His will for our lives through the conflict at hand. Seek first to have God point our anything offending in us, so we may confess our sins and remain humble.  Only when our sin is dealt with properly will we be able to humbly help others with their sin. 

 

What’s our solution to conflict?  As always, it’s found in the Word of God and prayer.  Following Jesus and the apostles’ examples of how they handled conflict, their teachings on restoring and forgiving others will show us the right way to approach conflict in our lives.

 Lord thank you for your wisdom and guidance through the pages of your blessed Word.  Thank you for your Spirit leading on the pathway of righteousness.  May we seek to be right with you before attempting to help any one else.  In Jesus name Amen.  

 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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The Mouth is connected to the Heart

 

The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. Psalm 37:30-31 NKJV

 

To speak of wisdom and justice one must have God’s Word securely hidden away in his heart.  For the things proceeding from our mouth come from the heart (Matthew 15:18).   Jesus taught us out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).  He also warned us we would be either justified or condemned by our words (Matthew 12:37).  Let’s face it, how many times have we said something we regretted later? 

 

Jesus knows us when he asks “How can you, being evil, speak of good things?”  The truth is we can’t speak good from our own resources because of our fallen sinful nature.  James 3:6 says the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  Proverbs 15:14 says “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of the fools feeds on foolishness.”  What are we feeding on today?

 

We need to be careful with our words.  We can use words to build others up or tear them down.  Jesus told us for every idle word spoken we will be accountable in the Day of Judgment (Matthew 12:36).  This should compel us to use words sparingly and to make sure the words we do use are pure and pleasant and pleasing to the Lord (Proverbs 15:26).

 

So far we’ve learned our sinful and foolish nature prevents us from speaking good.  How can we every speak good?  There is good news, Jesus taught us a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things and that means we can do (Matthew 12:35).  Through Jesus Christ in us, we can be good and bring forth good things.  But we have a responsibility to store up good in the treasure of our hearts.

 

How do we do that?  We immerse our self in God’s Word.   We find ways to fill our mind with His goodness.  We read His Word daily.  We listen to His teaching whenever possible.  Maybe we start listening to Bible teaching on the radio as we get ready for work or while driving anywhere.  We memorize God’s Word, so we’ll never be with out it and so the Holy Spirit can bring it forth when we need it. 

 

We are blessed with many opportunities to receive God’s Word.  We have churches to attend, tapes/CDs to listen to when we miss church.  There’s even on-line streaming audio message of church services available.  We have books, magazines, email devotions, newsletters and of course the Bible itself.  Between radio and internet technologies we really have no excuse for not getting enough of God’s Word stored away in our hearts. 

 

Stop and consider the words we speak.  Are they words of good building others up, coming from God’s Word stored in the treasure of our heart?  Or are they evil words of envy, strife, anger, fear and selfishness pouring out of an evil treasure stored in our heart? 

 

Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NKJV says “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”

Oh that you would choose life and good that come from embracing God.

 Lord thank you for your life-giving word.  Enable us to keep our mind set on you. Help us to seek you in all things and store good treasure in our hearts that our words may be helpful to the hearers.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Careful with Comparisons

 

Do you ever compare your self to others?

 

Let’s say someone wrongs you.  In your heart you think “I would never do such a horrible thing.”  Are you not comparing your self to the person who did wrong?  What do you gain through this comparison?  Do you feel better than them or self-righteous?  Watch out, that’s how judgmental attitudes are formed.

 

Maybe you wouldn’t do exactly what they did, but guaranteed you let someone down before.  We all have made mistakes.  In the chapter on suffering in the Peace Making Women book it says we are more like the wrong-doer than unlike them.  Think about that.  It’s good to remember when we’re wronged by someone we are more like them than unlike them.  Instead of allowing thoughts of “I’d never do that”, try to remember you’ve failed at times too.  Then let God’s grace and mercy shine through.

 

How about when a neighbor has a better car, nicer lawn and more beautiful house than you?  Compared to you they have the best of everything.  Have you ever compared your things to their things?  What good can come from such a comparison?  Why do you suppose God included coveting as one of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:21)?  In all likelihood, it’s because He knew we’d be tempted to be envious of others.  Envy left unchecked turns into bitterness.  Bitterness clouds our judgment and grows into resentment. 

 

Instead of envying try thanking God for blessing your neighbor so richly and asking God to help them be good stewards of all He’s giving them.  Stay focused on God to avoid our self-center stinking thinking.

 

When comparisons start, be careful because that’s when we start developing judgmental, condemning or bitter attitudes.  That’s certainly not God honoring.  The only comparison we need is that of Christ.  How well do we respond like Christ in each situation?  Even then we need to be careful because it is not about being perfect by our own efforts.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us our efforts towards righteousness are like filthy rags.  It’s more about allowing Christ to live through us changing the way we react to what life throws at us.

 Lord thank you for your amazing mercy and grace towards us.  Help us remember to extend the same mercy and grace towards others.  Enable us to keep our eyes on you rather than others around us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today

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Idolatry Stands in the Way of Peace

 What’s the greatest commandment of God?  Matthew 22:37 NKJV says “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5.   Anything that hinders us from doing exactly that is an idol.   Idols are not good because they lead us away from God and down a path leading to death.  Idols are not God, therefore, they can not satisfy our longings.  Idols have no power except the power to enslave us. They are a trap preventing us from pursuing our relationship with God.  What stands in the way of peace with God for you?

  • Work-a-holism
  • Guilt over your sins
  • Watching too much television
  • Constant perfectionist tendencies
  • Being overwhelmed with worry, anxiety or fear
  • Being too legalistic following the letter of the law
  • Thoughts and longings for a more intimate marriage
  • A hobby your spending extraordinary amount of time on

 To overcome idols in our life, we first must identify them.  Second, we confess our sins to God and seek His forgiveness and ask for His strength to turn away from the idols.  Third, we allow God’s Word to change how we think.  Lastly, we ask a godly friend to become an accountability partner.   

Where are you struggling today?  James 5:16 NKJV says “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

 Lord we thank you for your spirit who reveals idols in our lives that need to be dealt with and for your strength to turn from idols.  May your word renew our minds that we would know your good and perfect will.  Help us to be accountable to you through the help of others.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Peace – We all want It

At church two weeks ago, while checking out what books were available, I ran across a book with the title: Peace Making Women – Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict.  It was written by two women, Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Babler, who are both counselors.  

 

It’s delightfully interwoven with God’s Word in almost every sentence.  That’s my kind of writing!  While I haven’t read the whole book yet, I thought I would share what I’ve gleaned from the first chapter. 

 

The premise behind peace is having peace with God.  If that’s not there, trying to get peace with others or even yourself is impossible.  The first chapter focuses on our relationship with God.  It attempts to uncover unbiblical thinking that robs you of your security in Christ.  It exposes the lies we may have believed and points you right back to the source of life itself – God and His Word.  

 

At the end of each chapter are Personal Reflections questions.  Hang on to your hats, ladies, there not just one, two or three questions, but ten!  That’s right.  The ten probing questions really get you thinking about your relationship with God.   For example, question number one is about how you became acquainted with the gospel, naming some of your favorite verses and why they are so precious to you. 

 

Because of how I came to know Christ, there were two sections of scripture that God used to draw me closer to Him.

(1)    Luke 23:40-43 – about Jesus on the Cross with the two thieves.  When one thief recognizes Jesus did nothing to deserve death on the cross, he says “remember me when you come into your kingdom” and Jesus responds “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Oh how those verses convey the simplicity in Christ.  Nothing more is required than believing in Jesus and receiving the gift of salvation He offers.

(2)    John 8:1-11 – about the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus, great merciful Lord and Savior, takes time to point out everyone’s sin when He says “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the stone at her first.”  He put the adulterous woman on the same level as everyone.  She was no worse than those who accused her.  Then precious Jesus says to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  How liberating!  Knowing you deserve death for your sins, yet set free instead!

 

Oh ladies, this book is worth checking out for your self.  Visit ThinkOnIt Devotions book store or go to your nearest Christian book store and buy a copy for yourself.  As I continue reading this great resource, more insight is bound come which I’ll gladly pass along to you.

 

Lord, thank you for leading these women to write this book.  May this book be used to draw women deeper in their relationship with you.  May your word go out to all the world and change hearts everywhere.  In Jesus’ name Amen.    

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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