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Showing Impartiality

In my devotional, Drawing Near, by John MacArthur, we’re in the book of James for the month of June.

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism” ~ James 2:1

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

The devotion discussed how we all are prone to treat other people differently based on a variety of criteria from race and gender to  looks and financial status. Thankfully we serve a God who does not show partiality, only executes justice. And as believers and followers of Christ, we need to be mindful not to give preference to some over others out of selfish desires.

The additional reading, Ephesians 6:5-9 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21 got me thinking. The final question was “how does God’s impartiality apply to how you should respond to your coworkers and your church leaders?” and that is when that still, small voice started to talk to me. At first I had thought, “I don’t show partiality to people, I treat everyone the same” and that was the start of the flash backs to things I’ve said about having to work with certain people, or others work ethics, and the complaining I’ve done to my select circle when I don’t like the schedule because I get stuck working with someone who doesn’t seem to share my passion for how I do things.

As I prayed about it, asking God to show me where this all applied to my life, He reminded me of just yesterday when I was miffed about not getting to work with the person I wanted to be with for the next shift. Oh the one I would be with is a hard worker, but I wanted someone else.  Que the remorse, I had screwed that up. Instead I realized I was indeed showing partiality. Instead of being thankful I had anyone working with me at all rather than flying solo, and a good worker at that, I’m whining because I wanted to be with a certain other aide for the day. I prayed about that little situation and asked for Abba’s help to not do this anymore and be impartial and grateful for whoever I am working with on every shift.

As I ponder this further I realize that in showing partiality, even if it is simply my inward attitude, I’m likely not making my other coworkers feel welcomed and appreciated. Especially when they work very hard to make sure they are carrying their weight.

Confessed and forgiven, it is an area where I will need to continuously check myself and my heart motive.

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Praising God In The Hallway

Romans 5

New King James Version (NKJV)

Faith Triumphs in Trouble

5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

One of the college students at my church started a Facebook group to bring a bunch of us together across the miles to read through the book of Romans together.  We post our thoughts and discuss it as we go along, following a week by week schedule.  It has already been a blessing to me as I needed the push to find a place to again begin the practice of daily reading my bible.

We’re in chapter 5 this week and as I was reading it yesterday I stopped dead at verses 1-5, especially verse 3, which I highlighted in pink above.

See, my week started off Sunday morning with trials and tribulations.   My car has been in the shop being fixed more than it has been driven this year.  I finally got it back Friday and was so excited to finally be able to get around independently again.  Sunday I get up, get ready for church, it is pouring down rain…and the car is messing up again.  I wanted to cry, instead I yelled.  No one heard me, but that wasn’t real productive.  It was not rejoicing either.  I was determined to go even if I had to walk to services.   The car eventually cooperated and I made it on time for Sunday School, but it was not the way to start the morning.

In hind sight I wonder, could I have handled it better? Certainly!  A stopping, regrouping, and praying would have been a better way to handle it.  Yelling didn’t do anything, I simply raised my blood pressure and stress level.  Instead I could have prayed for the Lord to help me.   I need to be more aware that when a bump in the road hits, I need to stop, breathe and pray.

I did get a lesson in faith though, during worship services.  I put the last bit of cash I had to my name in the offering plate, praying and trusting the Lord for what I needed this week in order to keep my Avon business running.  I did not get a huge influx of cash, but instead, after praying, received just enough to meet my needs.  🙂

My prayer of late has been, “help my unbelief”, and to continue to seek joy.  Only now I understand a bit better that even in the rough spots, I need to find the joy and rejoice, praising Him in the hallways of my life.

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Me, Heaven, & Righteousness

I recently began a fantastic bible study written by Kay Arthur, Lord, Only You Can Change Me.

I picked this study because it is one of Kay’s studies, and ALL over her books, studies, etc. are outstanding.  Another reason is because I’ve been trying to get myself back to the right path in my life.  One that is Christ honoring and not so self centered.

One of the first things this study does is to take the reader through the Sermon On The Mount, reading all of Matthew chapters 5-7.  Then going back and marking each reference to ‘heaven’ and ‘righteousness’ throughout those passages.  Next, going through and listing the verse reference and what it says about heaven, then the same for righteousness.  If you are having any doubts  about your own position in on your journey toward the pearly gates, this is a good place to start.  It is an eye opener.

Here are some of the things I learned about heaven:

It belongs to the  poor inspirit.

It belongs to those persecuted for righteousness.

Our Father is there.

Until it passes away none of the law will pass away.

Unless our righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees we won’t enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Our Father there is perfect and we are to be perfect.

God’s will is done there.

Not all who call out “Lord, Lord” will enter there.

Only those who do God’s will can enter.

Our forgiveness from our Father hinges upon our forgiveness of others.

There were many other things, if you mark the word ‘heaven’ then go back and list everything these chapters say about it, but that gives you an idea.

The list for righteousness was a real eye opener as well.  One of the biggest being we must SEEK it.  That was my “one word” last year.  I fell rather short on SEEKING most anything I needed when it came to my journey.  Praise the Lord for His forgiveness.

While going through these passages for this study I did note that I have the following passage highlighted in every bible I own, and I had underlined verse 44 in addition to the highlights.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others?Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

For the record, the red highlight above (my doing) is the verse I underlined.  This one is a place I fall very short.

I wonder about where my heart might be today had I stayed more grounded in the Word of God and not allowed myself to move away from what I knew deep down was right.  Would I still be married? Or how much faster would I have healed (still in that process) if I had clung to God’s Word when going through the divorce and afterward?  I can honestly say I did NOT love my ex-husband through that time, certainly did not bless him or do good by him.  For the first time in our history I said unkind things.  Throughout our marriage, when outside of our home, I never spoke ill of the man.  But once he sought a divorce and I had moved out, I let it fly with both  barrels in my other blog and to anyone that listened.  I turned my hurt into hate.  And because I could not begin to pray good things for him, I simply didn’t pray at all.  No, not blaming him for my failure to live a Christ like life, that is all on me.  I’m not responsible for his actions, only my own.

Another section that really bothers me when I read it, is Matthew 5:31-32.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

I don’t know where to go with this one.  I struggled with it when my first marriage ended, and even more so now.  Not having been the one that ended the marriage, where does it leave me?  Per the passage it causes me to commit adultery because he divorced me.  Does this mean that blame, that sin, is on his head and not mine?  And what of a future marriage…if I marry again it causes someone to commit adultery.  It is a messy business, this whole matter of divorce.  I understand now why the bible says that God hates divorce.  It causes ripples of pain, confusion and further sins in the lives not only of the one wanting out, but for the one left behind too. (For more about this topic see Matthew 19:3-9)

I’m a long way from that place, but I have a long way to go.  I’m past the meanness in my heart and soul, the hate, but the pain is still there, my heart very raw.  But I will be applying scripture to my life in this and every other area, and praying for ME to be the one changed.