John 4:14 NIV
Jesus loved people. He associated with people that society overlooked. He spent time with those society rejected. One time He demonstrated this was when He spoke with the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan woman, who had been divorced five times. In society’s eyes, Jesus shouldn’t have associated with her. Even the disciples were confused by it. The Bible tells us that when they returned to the well they ‘were surprised to find him talking with a woman’ (John 4:27 NIV). Jesus went into her world to bring her into His. He mixed with her not to take advantage of her or become like her, but to reach, redeem, and restore her. That’s why He’s called ‘a friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (Matthew 11:19 NIV). Do we reach out to those society has excluded? Do we have a heart for the broken? Jesus also spoke to her in a way she would understand. She’d gone to the well to collect water, so Jesus used that topic to explain that He could provide ‘living water’. When we’re talking to others about Jesus, we need to use language that they’ll understand. The ‘Christian words’ that we use in our churches might not make sense to people who have never heard about Jesus before. Loving others and sharing our faith with them come hand in hand. How can we say we love someone but never tell them about how Jesus can give them eternal life? People need Jesus, and we can be part of introducing them to Him. That can seem scary. We might worry that they’ll reject us. But Jesus is with us, giving us the words to say, and the courage to step out to point people towards Him.
Rev 10-14; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 4; Pro 12:25
Lukas 6:23 DB
Wanneer jy sleg behandel word, vra jouself altyd af: ‘Wat kan ek uit hierdie ervaring leer? Hoe reageer ek op ‘n Christelike manier? Is ek gewillig om my foute te erken? Hoe kan ek wyser word en soortgelyke ervarings in die toekoms beter hanteer?’ Wanneer alles gedoen en gesê is, is die sleutel tot ‘n misverstand vergifnis. Vergifnis beteken nie noodwending dat jy met die persoon wat jou mishandel het saamstem of ‘n nabye verhouding met hom wil hê nie. Dit beteken egter dat jy dit laat gaan. Moenie die handvatsel laat uitsteek wanneer jy die strydbyl begrawe nie! Met ander woorde, moenie net vergewe nie – kies om te vergeet! Paulus sê: ‘Soos ‘n atleet wat sy oë net op die wenpaal hou, so span ek alles in my in: ek wíl die prys aan die einde kry… So behoort volwasse Christene oor dinge te dink… laat ons nie nou die verkeerde pad vat nie. Laat ons op die regte pad bly’ (Filippense 3:14-16 DB). Hoe lyk die Christelike pad wat ons moet stap? Jesus sê vir ons: ‘Julle is gelukkig as ander mense julle haat, julle verstoot en julle sleg behandel. As hulle julle beledig en julle goeie naam onder hulle voete vertrap omdat julle my volgelinge is, moet julle baie bly wees. Spring dan op en dans rond van vreugde, want daar wag ‘n groot beloning op julle in God se nuwe wêreld. Wanneer mense julle slegsê, is julle in baie goeie geselskap: God se boodskappers is nog altyd so behandel’ (Lukas 6:22-23 DB). As jy op hierdie manier lewe, neem jy ook jou mag terug deur te weier dat die ander persoon jou bui en jou lewensuitkyk dikteer, en jy behou jou vreugde.
Sielskos: Op 10-14; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 4; Pro 12:25
Luke 6:23 TM
When you’ve been treated badly, always ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience? How do I respond in a more Christlike manner? Am I willing to acknowledge my mistakes? How can I grow wiser and handle similar experiences better in the future?” When all is said and done, the answer to misunderstanding is forgiveness. Now, forgiveness doesn’t mean you necessarily agree with or want a close relationship with the person who mistreated you. But it does mean that you let it go. When you bury the hatchet, don’t leave the handle sticking up! In other words, don’t just forgive – choose to forget! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” And here’s an even better statement: “To be greater is to forgive the one who has treated you badly.” Paul refers to the Christian life as “the high calling of God” (Philippians 3:14). So take the high road! What does that road look like? Jesus tells us: “Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is…the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable…be glad when that happens…all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my…witnesses have always been treated like this” (vv. 22-23 TM). By living this way, you also take back your power by refusing to let another person dictate your mood and your outlook, and you keep your joy.
Soul food: Rev 10-14; Mark 10:35-52; Ps 4; Pro 12:25
Colossians 4:2 NIV
What do we do when we’re under pressure, stressed, overwhelmed, and facing challenging circumstances? Do we turn to God or do we turn away? As life becomes more and more pressurised, we need to pray more, not less. Jesus rose before dawn to pray. Sometimes He prayed all night. Other times He left the crowds to pray (take a look at Luke 5:16 and Matthew 14:23). He valued time with God, even above doing the things God had called Him to do. Our kingdom work is hugely important, but time spent deepening our relationship with God is even more important. Our power, peace, joy, and effectiveness are directly related to the time we spend in God’s presence, and we do that through prayer. It isn’t just about listing off all the things we need or desire. It’s about cultivating a close relationship with a Father and a Friend. Through that relationship, we learn to trust Him when things get hard. But, just like any friendship, it needs to be prioritised. We can’t expect to feel close to God in the hard times, if we haven’t spent time talking to Him in the good ones. But we can often struggle to pray every day. Prayer requires discipline that only we can put in place. It’s up to us to decide to prioritise prayer. The Bible says: ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.’ How devoted are we? How much do we desire to spend time talking to God? How willing are we to sit and listen to what He wants to say to us? It doesn’t matter about the words we use, God’s interested in the heart we come with. We need to wholeheartedly seek God and bring our problems to Him.
Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11; Eph 4:7-10
Proverbs 12:11 NLT
In The Finishing Touch, author Chuck Swindoll tells about a man he met who made a great impression on him: “With a grin and a twinkle, he whipped out his hand. It was a hand you could strike a match on, toughened by decades of rugged toil. ‘You look like a man who enjoys life. What do you do for a living?’ I asked. ‘Me? Well, I’m a farmer from back in the Midwest.’ Swindoll asked him, ‘What did you do last week?’ He said, ‘Last week I finished harvesting ninety thousand bushels of corn.’ I then blurted out, ‘Ninety thousand! How old are you, my friend?’ He didn’t seem at all hesitant or embarrassed by my question. ‘I’m just a couple of months shy of ninety.’ He laughed again as I shook my head. He had lived through four wars, the Great Depression, sixteen presidents, ninety Midwest winters, who knows how many personal hardships, and he was still taking life by the throat. I had to ask him the secret of his long and productive life. ‘Hard work and integrity’ was his quick reply. As we parted company he looked back over his shoulder and added, ‘Don’t take it easy, young feller. Stay at it!’ Hard work and integrity! Those two qualities go together, and are the essence of a life well-lived. And when you practice them faithfully, you experience the highest level of joy and fulfilment in life.” The Bible puts it this way: “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.”
Soul food: Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:1-11; Eph 4:7-10