CONFLICT RESOLUTION

(Note: Today is not International Conflict Resolution Day. I am merely sharing a devotional on reconciliation.)

 

By David C. McCasland

I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. —Philippians 4:2

Today is observed in many countries as International Conflict Resolution Day. Its purpose is to encourage people to use mediation and arbitration rather than the legal system to settle their differences. Because we as followers of Christ are not immune to conflict, we need to learn how to resolve our disagreements in ways that honor the Lord.

It has been said that “church fights are the worst fights,” perhaps because they break out among people who profess to believe in unity and love. Many Christians have been so hurt by a fellow believer that they walk away from the church and never return.

Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned by name in the Bible and urged to resolve their differences: “Be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). Instead of leaving them alone to settle their dispute, Paul appealed to a trusted fellow worker to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel” (v.3). In this same context, Paul urged the Philippians to bring their requests to God, noting that prayer brings the peace of God (v.7) and a sense of His abiding presence (v.9).

Fractured relationships in a Christian community are a community responsibility. In the midst of hurts and differences, we can encourage, listen, and pray.

For Further Study For biblical advice on reconciling relationships, read What Do You Do With A Broken Relationship? on the Web at www.discoveryseries.org/q0703

Forgiveness is the glue that repairs broken relationships.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

BARREN BUT NOT BITTER


By David C. Egner

They were both righteous before God . . . . But they had no child. —Luke 1:6-7

Barrenness, whether physical or spiritual, can lead to bitterness in some of God’s people. It can develop in the heart of a disappointed couple who cannot have a child. It can also occur when people serve God and see no results.

A missionary couple who served diligently for many years with no visible fruit asked in frustration, “Have we wasted our lives?” A young pastor and his wife labored 5 years for a thankless, unresponsive congregation, pouring out their lives for their people. “Do they even care?” the woman asked.

Zacharias and Elizabeth, mentioned in Luke 1, are a model for anyone who is facing physical or spiritual barrenness. The aged couple had an impeccable reputation, having faithfully and obediently served the Lord for many years (v.6). They had prayed for children, but none came. Yet instead of becoming bitter, they kept serving and obeying the Lord. In His time, God honored Zacharias and Elizabeth with a son named John, the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah (vv.13-17).

To avoid developing a bitter spirit in your life, faithfully serve and obey the Lord in the place where He has called you. Trust God to bless you in His time, in His way, and according to His plan.

Lord, keep me from being bitter
When things don’t go my way,
And grant me Your grace and wisdom
To do Your will today. —Fitzhugh

Be faithful—and leave the results with God.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

A GRATITUDE VISIT

By Anne Cetas

I commend to you Phoebe, . . . for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also. —Romans 16:1-2

Counting your blessings promotes good physical health, according to a study by some US doctors. Volunteers who kept weekly gratitude journals reported fewer aches and pains than those who recorded daily hassles or neutral events.

A “gratitude visit” was developed by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman to promote strong emotional health. He tells people to think of someone who has made an important difference in their lives. He asks them to write the story of how that person has helped them, and then to visit that person and read the story aloud. Tests show that a year later the people who had done so were happier and reported fewer episodes of depression. Even more important, think of what it must have done for those who were thanked!

The apostle Paul had a long list of people who had helped him and for whom he was grateful (Rom. 16:1-16). He wrote that Phoebe had “been a helper,” Priscilla and Aquila had “risked their own necks” for his life, and Mary had “labored much” for him. And he took time to write his thanks in a letter to the church at Rome.

Who has helped to shape your life? Could you make a gratitude visit—for their sake, and for yours?

Consider what the Lord has done
Through those who’ve shown you love;
Then thank them for their faithful deeds,
For blessings from above.  —Sper

Gratitude should not be an occasional incident but a continuous attitude.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

TRAVELING LIGHT

 

By David C. Egner

Whose will those things be which you have provided? —Luke 12:20

Many vacation travelers take along too much stuff. They pack more shoes, clothes, and gadgets than they will ever need. Their mindset is, “I’d better not forget anything because I can’t go home and get it.” They would be better off if they asked, “How much can I get along without?” They often end up dragging around heavier-than-necessary suitcases. Some people even purchase so many new items on vacation that they have to leave some of their other stuff behind in the hotel.

We’re inclined to accumulate far too many possessions on our journey through life. We’re bombarded with ads that urge us to purchase things we “just can’t live without.” So we buy more and more and more.

The rich man in Jesus’ parable (Luke 12:13-21) may have been dreaming about all the good things he could acquire because he had a great crop. He said he would build bigger barns, and he would spend his time eating, drinking, and partying. But God told him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (v.20).

The principle is clear: Be “rich toward God,” not rich in things (v.21). Besides, you’ll have to leave it all behind when it’s time to go Home.

If we pursue mere earthly gain,
We choose a path that ends in pain;
But joy will stay within the soul
When we pursue a heavenly goal. —D. De Haan

Life is more than the things we store.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

GESTURES OF LOVE


By Dave Branon

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love . . . and weep with those who weep. —Romans 12:10,15

Cards. Hundreds and hundreds of cards. Our mail carrier must have thought we were going for a world record. They came by the stack—day after day after day.

It was just one of the many ways we knew that people cared for us as our family endured the painful first weeks after our teenage daughter Melissa died in a car accident.

But it wasn’t just the cards that provided assurance of loving support. Food came in so fast we nearly filled up the freezer. Flowers filled every corner of the house, especially sunflowers—Melissa’s favorite.

People sent pictures of her, blankets with verses, memorial gifts to her school, and books—lots of helpful books on trusting God with a broken heart. Then there were the e-mails, phone calls, and personal words of hope and help. Promises of prayer. Offers to do anything we needed. All from friends following God’s prompting.

Our aching hearts were lifted by these deeds too numerous to list but too beautiful to forget. The love behind these expressions carried us through days heavy with sorrow.

Look for people in need and follow the Lord’s leading. Help heal their brokenness with gestures of love (Romans 12:10-15). Encourage them for God’s glory.

It was only a brief little note,
Or a word that was prayerfully spoken,
Yet not in vain, for it soothed the pain
Of a heart that was nearly broken. —Anon.

A little kindness can make a big difference.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

PAIN’S PURPOSE

 

By David H. Roper

No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. —Hebrews 12:11

Affliction, when we accept it with patience and humility, can lead us to a deeper, fuller life. “Before I was afflicted I went astray,” David wrote, “but now I keep Your Word” (Psalm 119:67). And again, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (v.71).

Pain, far from being an obstacle to our spiritual growth, can actually be the pathway to it. If we allow pain to train us, it can lead us closer to God and into His Word. It is often the means by which our Father graciously shapes us to be like His Son, gradually giving us the courage, compassion, contentment, and tranquility we long and pray for. Without pain, God would not accomplish all that He desires to do in and through us.

Are you one whom God is instructing through suffering and pain? By His grace, you can endure His instruction patiently (2 Corinthians 12:9). He can make the trial a blessing and use it to draw you into His heart and into His Word. He can also teach you the lessons He intends for you to learn, and give you His peace in the midst of your difficulties.

The Bible tells us, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). God is making more out of you than you ever thought possible.

Through trials we learn to overcome,
Through Christ our victories are won;
Come lay your burdens at His feet
And find this inner peace so sweet. —Halsey

Christ can transform painful trials into glorious triumphs.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

CALLED

 

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. —Romans 12:6

In September 2001, Lisa Jefferson had an unexpected opportunity to be used by God. Her now well-known 15-minute conversation with a passenger on United Flight 93 forever changed the direction of her life. In her book Called, she emphasizes that her listening skills and her ability to take charge and stay calm in a crisis were used to encourage fellow believer Todd Beamer in the last moments of his life.

She didn’t ask to be used that way. But God saw a woman who was available and matched her with someone who was in need. Lisa now shares her story with whomever she can to encourage believers to always be ready to serve.

Not only has God given us natural abilities, He also equips every believer with spiritual gifts for the purpose of ministry. God doesn’t use the unwilling—He won’t force us to serve Him. His part is to equip us (Eph. 4:11-13) and empower and prepare us for service. Our part is to be faithful and available and aware of opportunities to use our gifts (Rom. 12:6).

When you feel impelled to help fill a need, when you are inwardly driven to serve—listen to those thoughts. You don’t want to miss God’s call.

In gladness I go forth each day
Expectantly to serve and claim
The happiness that service gives
When freely rendered in God’s name. —Anon.

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary work.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC