Remember to forget

2017-09-18
Mark 11:25 NKJV

No matter how much two people love each other, conflicts are sure to arise that call for extending grace and showing forgiveness. Do you know that couples who are happy and stay married have the same number of disagreements and conflicts as couples who are unhappy and get divorced? Statistically, that is true! It’s not the absence of conflict that preserves marriage, but the ability to manage conflict when it happens. So how do you “manage” conflict? By practicing the kind of self-control that keeps conflicts from mushrooming into hurtful and divisive standoffs. It also means knowing what to do with hurt feelings like anger, disappointment, and dashed expectations. In other words, it means knowing how to forgive it and forget it. But emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember. So what’s the answer? Remember to forget! Try to act like God, who chooses not to hold against us what He knows about us. He says in His Word: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV). That means if you are holding something against your spouse, there’s only one solution: Forgive it and forget it. You may never forget how you’ve been hurt, but you can choose to forgive it and move on. No, it’s not easy, but you can do it. How? By remembering the things, known or unknown to others, that God has forgiven you for and extending that same grace to your spouse.

Soul food: 2 Tim 1-4; Mark 13:24-37; Ps 3; Prov 24:23-25

Remember to forget


Mark 11:25 NKJV

No matter how good our relationships with other people are, conflicts can still happen. And when they do, we need to be extending grace and showing forgiveness. We need to be managing conflict well. So how can we do that? Well, we need to be practicing self-control which keeps conflicts from escalating into hurtful standoffs. We also need to learn what to do with hurt feelings like anger and disappointment. Basically, we need to learn how to forgive and forget. The Bible says: ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18 NIVUK). But that’s much easier said than done, especially when we’re battling our emotions. Emotional hurt and tension are almost impossible to forget; the harder we try, the more we remember. We can end up holding grudges, becoming resentful and bringing it up in future conflicts. We may never forget how we’ve been hurt, but we can choose to forgive it and move on. God doesn’t remember our mistakes or hold them against us. The Bible says: ‘I am the One who erases all your sins, for my sake; I will not remember your sins’ (Isaiah 43:25 NCV). So if we’re trying to grow in our character, we need to be aiming to be people who don’t hold things against others, people who forgive and move on. In Ephesians, we’re called to ‘Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ’ (4:32 NCV).

2 Tim 1-4; Mark 13:24-37; Ps 3; Prov 24:23-25

What does God want? (3)

2017-08-28
Acts 20:23 NIV

About 75 percent of believers now live in developing countries, often in anti-Christian environments. Xu Yonghai is one of them. He worked to make house churches legal in China. The government responded by locking him up for two years in an eight-by-eight-foot cell in a Beijing prison. There was no bathroom, only a pipe in a corner that poured water onto the concrete. ‘My cell was the last stop for prisoners sentenced to die,’ he said. ‘At times there were as many as three other prisoners in the tiny damp room, awaiting their date with the executioner.’ Yonghai survived through prayer, meditation, and writing. Using a bar of soap to write on the walls of his cell, he outlined the major points of a book about God. When he was finished, he committed the thoughts to memory, and upon his release he turned his prison notes into a fifty-thousand-word book called God the Creator. More often than not, your difficulties and hardships you’re in the will of God rather than out of it! Paul writes: ‘I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace’ (vv. 23-24 NIV). That last word, grace. That’s the key – whether you’re in prison like Paul or Yonghai, or living free and able to talk about Jesus openly. It’s all grace. No matter how difficult the will of God might look to you right now, you can do it, drawing each day on His limitless supply of grace.

2 Chr 35-36; 2 John; Mark 8:14-26; Ps 119:169-176; Prov 22:20-23

Understanding God’s will (3)


Acts 20:23 NIV

About 75 percent of believers now live in Third World countries, often in anti-Christian environments. Xu Yonghai is one of them. He worked to see the legalization of house churches in China. The government responded by locking him up for two years in an eight-by-eight-foot cell in a Beijing prison. There was no bathroom, only a pipe in a corner from which water flowed onto the concrete. “My cell was the last stop for prisoners sentenced to die,” he said. “At times there were as many as three other prisoners in the tiny damp room, awaiting their date with the executioner.” Yonghai survived through prayer, meditation, and writing. Using a bar of soap to write on the walls of his cell, he outlined the major points of a book about God. When he was finished, he committed the thoughts to memory, and upon his release he turned his prison notes into a fifty-thousand-word book entitled God the Creator. More often than not, your difficulties and hardships confirm you’re in the will of God rather than out of it! Paul writes: “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (vv. 23-24 NIV). Note the word grace. No matter how difficult the will of God may be, you can accomplish it by drawing each day on His limitless supply of grace.

Soul food: 2 Chr 35-36; 2 John; Mark 8:14-26; Ps 119:169-176; Prov 22:20-23

Sharing your life with someone

2017-07-30
1 Corinthians 7:33 NLT

When four-year-old Sarah attended her first wedding, she had lots of questions. At the reception her mom explained there were two cakes – a groom’s cake and a bride’s cake. “What’s the matter, Mom?” Sarah asked. “Haven’t they learned to share yet?” Seriously, the Bible says, “A married man has to think about his…wife…a married woman has to think about…her husband” (vv. 33-34 NLT). If you devote more time to your career than your relationship, there’s a good chance it won’t last. That’s why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Understand this: When you marry someone, you marry everything they are and everything they’ve been through. It’s a package deal! And if you ask God, He will give you the wisdom and grace to enable both you and your spouse to “grow in grace.” It may not happen right away. As Shakespeare said, “What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” It takes time for even a small cut to heal. But if you let Him, God will give you the oil of compassion and the wine of love to pour into your spouse’s wounds. Never become so available at work that you’re unavailable at home. Your first calling is to your family. Your priorities should start there, then spread to your vocation and other pursuits. In effect, Paul is saying, “I release those who are married from the level of consecration I expect from those who are single, so they’ll be able to spend time working on their relationship” (vv. 32-35 paraphrase). You say, “But I need to spend time with God.” You’re called to love the Lord – and your spouse!

Soul food: Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110; Heb 5:5-11