Tag Archives: relationships

They’re Just Leaves…Right?

So many times today, Father, I felt Your presence – affirming, directing, correcting. I am grateful that You are ever by my side. Whatever comes my way I am not alone. All praise goes to You, Almighty God!

Matthew 5:23-24 (<<click the green)

Yesterday, I realized water was backing up in the large drainage ditch the cuts through our property. I figured that leaves were the culprit. We have lots of trees, hence lots of leaves. So I put on my big rubber boots, got my handy dandy rake and headed back to check things out.

Leaves were for sure part of the problem but a fallen tree and several chunks of wood were greatly restricting the flow or water trying to get through. After some tugging and pulling and a fair amount of raking, the water was released and the backup was cleared.

Relationships are so important, especially as followers of You, Lord Jesus…and this directive from You proves that point. Every time I read this passage of Scripture, it makes me pause and think. We hear You speak of loving and forgiving each other quite often but that’s not what You are saying here. This is another perspective entirely. We are challenged to look at our relationships from the viewpoint of others, not just our own.

Putting this into a modern day mindset, if we are interacting with You and we are working on our end to draw closer to You and we “suddenly remember that someone has something against [us] we are to stop right where we’re at and “Go and be reconciled to that person.” Then, as the Message translation stresses, “and only then”, are we to come back to working on our relationship with You.

Do I do this, Lord? Do I even think about it? If I do think about it, do I just sweep past it? If I just ponder on it for a bit, it can become really complicated. Most translations narrow the field a little in specifying that that “someone” You are referring to is a “friend” or a fellow “brother” or “sister” in our relationship with You. It would be overwhelming to try to remember our interactions with every person we encounter. But we must also keep in mind the Apostle Paul’s admonition. “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

So what are we talking about then? There’s no way we can know what other people are thinking but it is quite often obvious if someone has a “grudge” (MSG) or “a grievance or legitimate complaint” (AMP) against us. Again, it’s about relationship.

How often do we let “leaves” accumulate in our relationships? How are a few “leaves” going to hurt anything, right? But anything that restricts the “flow” of our relationships with others is a problem. Sometimes when we check things out, we find that it is more than just “leaves”. Sometimes we find bigger things that must be dealt with if we are going to clear the backups in our relationships.

Lord, help us to keep clear our relationships with others so that our relationship with You is unhindered as well. Amen.

Nov 7th, Tues, 7:41 pm

Love Your “Family”

Ugh… it has been two days too many since I have sat here in Your presence. Sleep has been too alluring and once the day begins to roll it just doesn’t stop. But Father You are faithful! Thank You for once again waking me and encouraging me to be with You this morning.

 1 Timothy 5:1-2 <<click here)

Our families play crucial roles in all our lives. And if they are to have the greatest beneficial impact then they must be families that are bent on living out Your call on their lives, Lord.

In this passage Paul calls upon Timothy to interact with people in his church as he would with his own family. Now when I think about this in my own life it is not difficult to do so. I grew up in a loving, supportive family. I still love and respect my mom and my dad and my sister. I would do anything within my power to help them and they would do the same for me. I feel the same way, as time has moved on, about my wife, my son and my niece. I have a loving and supportive family so it’s easy to parlay that wonderful blessing over to those in my churches.

But, Lord, I am well aware of the fact that not everyone shares this blessing. Sin has brought much hurt and pain into families across the globe. Many will forever carry scars of abuse for the rest of their lives, be it emotional or physical. And of course it is a multi-faceted problem involving relationships with parent to child and child to parent, husbands to wives and siblings to siblings.

Lord, a simple prayer seems too little too late to address this issue which is so deep and so wide, but I lift it up anyway. For You care about every child and man and woman who would do anything to be truly loved. I pray for them, Lord, but enable me… give me the wisdom and the power and the courage to be Your hands and feet… to love others as You have loved me… as You have inspired my family to love me and how I have loved my family. Help me, help us all, Lord to love You with “all of our heart, soul, mind and strength” and in so doing to love our neighbor (…our family) as ourselves.

Sept 18th, Fri, 6:57 am

Work of the Faithful

Father, thank you for a good night’s sleep. As I humbly come into Your presence I am acutely aware of my shortcomings. The Great Deceiver popped off a few rounds and I was hit. My “shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16) dropped. I come before You asking for Your forgiveness and for the fortitude in standing strong against future assaults. Even when I stumble You are there to lift me up and set me on the narrow way once more. Praise Your holy Name – thank You for Your mercy and grace!

I Thessalonians 1:1-7 (<<click here)

Lord, I am extremely grateful for the churches I have the privilege of serving. Verses 2 & 3 of this passage, communicate a lot of how I feel being a pastor. I have wonderful people with which to walk this journey and I am thankful for them and their companionship. Living on this old earth we all need lots of prayer to keep us strong and get us through each day. I pray for them and I know many pray for me. When I pray, I “think of [their] faithful work.” Over the years we have consistently supported local ministries to help the needy, we’ve gotten behind impacting faith based films in our local community (FIREPROOF and COURAGEOUS) and been there for evangelistic events in our surrounding area (Will Graham Celebration). We pray for many people, both those close to our hearts and those we may not know – lifting up those ravaged by disease, those struggling with relationships and those struggling with the many spiritual issues in their lives. Their “loving deeds” include meals for the bereaved, letters of encouragement to those who are sick or recovering from procedures, “cheer” plates of goodies encouraging those unable to get out to church any longer, as well as, weekly contact with bulletins and CD recording of our services Lord, thank You for such loving caring people with which to serve!

And Lord we thank You for the “enduring love” You have given us. No matter what trial we may have to endure, no matter what losses we may suffer – You are there to sustain us through it all. Thank You for Your love and care!

July 6th, Mon, 5:33 am

Going after God’s Heart

Good morning, Father! Thank You for so many things – a good night’s sleep, my wonderful wife, my exceptional son, a job that more than adequately meets my needs, a beautiful home, two churches that You have blessed me with to serve, a world of diverse variety in which to live – and my mind goes on and on! But, Father, most importantly thank You for Your love for me! For my salvation sure and free, for the awesome (and this is where this word truly fits!) sacrifice You made to make it possible for me to love You back! All praise and glory and honor to You, O God!

Colossians 3:1-4 (<<click here)

“…set your sights on the realities of heaven…” v.1b

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” v.2

Lord, I have much in this world for which to be grateful – but in reality all of it is temporal. In the blink of an eye, it could all be gone…or I could be gone. There is nothing here that is forever. Only what You are involved with is eternal. When I step free from the clutches of this world nothing that I cling to here will be anything – it will all be as nothing. The only things that will remain are my relationships – my relationship with You (may it grow every day) and my relationship with others that are based on You! But even those relationships will be different – deeper, fuller, richer!

Help me to be a “man after your own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) and in that frame of mind to be forever seeking to establish your kingdom here on earth. May I be always striving to bring others into a closer relationship with You, Lord, so that they and I will be investing in what is truly worthy of our time and energies.

June 16th, Tue, 6:06 am