Tag Archives: grace

Respect


I once heard someone say, “If you want respect, you need to give respect.” They were purposefully disrespecting a person in authority because they felt like they weren’t getting the respect they deserved. Of course the situation escalated because now the manger was feeling disrespected. It created a vicious circle and a broken relationship. It was sad to watch, and unfortunately it’s pretty common in our world today.

The Bible has a lot to say about respecting others. However, in no place, does it say we are only to respect those who respect us. Our flesh is what cries out for that. You and I are to respect our parents, our leaders, and those in authority whether they deserve it or not because they are placed over us by God. You can disagree with them without being disrespectful, but God’s Word is clear. If each of us learned to respect others, a lot of strife would go away.

Here are some Bible verses on respect. 

1. Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. “Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added: “so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.” Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.
Ephesians 6:1-4 GNT

2. Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Titus 2:2 HCSB

3. Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God. I am GOD.
Leviticus 19:32 MSG

4. Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor.
ROMANS 13:7 AMP

5. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:17 NLT

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The Brutal Truth


Were you ever taught, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? I was. My parents were trying to teach me a few lessons, including that not everything that comes into your mind needs to be said. They were building filters in at an early age. I know people who don’t have any filters. He things they say are almost comical, if they weren’t so sad. They are often saying the truth, but not in a way that gets heard. 

When I’m developing a relationship with someone, one of the first conversations I have with them is about the truth. I let them know that if they ask me a question, I’m going to tell them the truth, whether they want to hear it or not. I also will try to give them that truth in love because as Warren Wiersbe said, “The truth without love is brutality.” I’ve found that the brutal truth is just like not having a filter. 

So why do we watch what we say? As James 3:6 says, the tongue can be a world of evil. Even though it’s a small member of our body, it can destroy relationships that have taken a lifetime to build. James 3:5 says, “Just think of how large a forest can be set on fire with a tiny spark” (GNT). He was reminding us of how small words from a small member of our body can burn down things that have taken years to build. 

I believe he was also teaching us to watch what we say so that we will get along with others. James concludes the chapter by saying, “You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor” (MSG). We are to be developing healthy community, and the way to that is learning to control what we say, and how we say it. If you’re not sure what needs to be said or how it needs to be said, ask God for wisdom. A well placed word brings life rather than destruction. 

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Be An Uplifter

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


In my job, I work with both management and their employees. Something I see more and more often is employees who take very little responsibility in situations and shift the blame to leadership. If something goes wrong, it’s management’s fault. They don’t take the initiative to repair the situation themselves. They offer malicious obedience so that when they fail, they have a scapegoat. Maybe you’ve seen this too. This is a problem in our churches too, and all of us are guilty of doing it. When things aren’t being done the way we think they should be done, we blame the pastor or leadership instead of doing things ourselves.

One of the most memorable stories in the Bible that captures this attitude comes from Exodus 17. The children of Israel had left Egypt and were wandering in the desert. They were hot and thirsty. Instead of looking to resolve the problem, they complained and blamed Moses. They said, “Why did YOU bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (GNB) They took no responsibility themselves. Ultimately, God spoke to Moses to strike a rock with his staff and water would come out of it. God did it as a favor to Moses rather than as a reward to the people.

In the following verses of that chapter, we see the characteristics we should display instead. While there in the desert, they were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses commanded Joshua to get some men to go fight. He then went with Aaron and Hur to the top of a hill to watch the battle while holding his staff in the air. While his arms were up, the Israelites prevailed; when his arms were down, they began to lose. The problem was that holding up the staff for a long period became tiring, and soon he could no longer hold up his arms.

Instead of complaining about leadership’s responsibility in the battle, Aaron and Hur found a rock for Moses to sit on. They then held his arms up for him as long as was needed until the Israelites had won. They recognized it wasn’t Moses’ job alone to lead the battle. They saw what needed to be done, without being asked, and they did it for their nation. In doing so, they provide for us a great example of how our lives should be. We can choose to be complainers, or we can choose to be uplifters. We can either blame, or we can be the solution. It’s up to each one of us to do our part in the church so that the body as a whole is successful. Will you be a complainer or will you be an uplifter?

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Rescued


Hurricane Harvey did a number on Houston. It dumped over 40 inches of rain in just a few days, which stranded many people. It’s been incredible to watch all the people with boats locally and from afar coming to rescue people who were trapped in their homes and cars by the rising waters. The news would show people standing on their roofs, or hanging out their windows, waving white flags indicating they wanted to be rescued. Thousands of lives have been saved through the generosity of others. 

As I’ve watched it happen, I can’t help but draw a parallel between it and the spiritual application. Because sin entered the world, every one of us needs to be spiritually rescued. We are all stranded and in need of being taken out of the rising waters. All it takes is for us to raise the white flag of surrender, and Christ will come to our rescue. Some look to be rescued at the first sin of the rising water, and others will stay put and never raise that flag hoping to wait it out.

I saw a man on the local news last night being taken to a shelter. He said, “All these people are crying over their lost possessions, but I look at it as a fresh start. I get a second chance to wipe the slate clean and be who I could have been.” For those of us being rescued, it should be the same way. Our old life has passed away in the flood of sin, and Jesus has given us a new life. He has given us the opportunity to be who we were created to be. We shouldn’t lament the life we once had that was in need of being rescued. 

Jeremiah 17:14 says, “Lord, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise!” (GNT) If you have been rescued, your spirit is healed and safe. If you’re still in your old house, don’t wait until it’s too late to raise the white flag. Jesus is looking for you, hoping to rescue you so He can give you new life. Call out to Him. Ask Him to rescue you and to give you a new life, and help will be there immediately. We all need to be rescued, but we have to want to be rescued first. 

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The Hierarchy Culture


If you’ve never had the opportunity to go to a Disney park, you’re missing out on more than rides. They have built a culture at the parks where everyone is responsible for making sure all guests “have a magical time.” Part of creating that fantasy world us making sure the park is clean at all times. Whether you are a princess or a kiosk worker, you can lose your job if you walk past trash and fail to pick it up. No one is too important to not have to pick up trash if they see it.

Our human condition is such that we create hierarchies. At certain levels we think we are above doing certain things. At some levels, you don’t have to wait in lines. At others, people stand when you enter a room. Other levels mean never have to drive, cook, or clean. Many people spend a lifetime trying to achieve a level of importance where they don’t have to do certain things. However, no matter how important you get in this life, you will never reach a level, high or low, where you aren’t supposed to help others.

If someone has a flat tire, is financially destitute, has to move, or even has fallen into sin, it falls on each one of us to do what we can to help. Many of us don’t help because we feel we are at too high of a level or not on a level high enough to help. We must get beyond seeing these imaginary levels, look to the need and the person, and do what we can to help. If someone has fallen into sin, instead of announcing it on social media and talking about that person, go to them to bring restoration.

Galatians 6:3 says, “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important” (NLT). Paul puts us all in check with this one verse right after he talks of restoration and sharing burdens. We can’t let the hierarchy culture of the world seep into the Church. We can’t think for one moment that we are better than someone else and that we are above, or below, helping. Each of us have a responsibility to share the load, help others, and fulfill the Law of Christ as Paul puts it.

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The Value Of Grace


I work in an industry where for years we gave our customers free equipment in exchange for a contract. The problem that arose was that our customers didn’t treat the equipment very well. After losing it or breaking it, they would come back and say, “Can you give me another one?” When I would tell them this time they had to purchase it, they would get upset and say, “Just give me another free one.”

I learned during that period that people rarely value what they get for free. I remember valuing my first pair of shoes I paid for. I worked for weeks to earn enough to buy them. I was at an out of town tournament playing basketball with them. One night, someone decided to pull the fire alarm at the hotel. The first thing I grabbed to take with me outside was my shoes. I didn’t care if I lost everything else, I didn’t want to lose those. 

Because of this tendency of our human nature, it’s difficult for us to value God’s grace. It is a free gift that affords us salvation. Our minds can’t comprehend how something so valuable could be free, so we often try to earn our salvation by doing things instead of trusting God’s grace. In several of his letters, Paul warns against this kind of thinking. He also warns of the mentality that says, “Since its free, I’ll just do what I want and ask for more.”

I love how in Galatians 2:21, Paul strongly says, “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless” (NLT). I believe you and I have to fight every day against our minds to not treat God’s grace as meaningless. It’s something we should value highly. The cost was high even though you and I didn’t have to pay it. To treat it as meaningless or to try to earn our salvation is to devalue what Jesus did on the cross. May we ever be grateful for God’s amazing grace and treat it with the value it is worth. 

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The Walk Of Shame

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


One of the things I love about our car is when you get low on gas, not only does it notify you, the navigation screen automatically shows you where all the gas stations are. If I keep going, the alarm will continue to let me know every few miles that it’s time to fill up. So far I haven’t run out of gas in it. That’s a good thing because I know what it’s like to run out of gas and to have to do the walk of shame to the gas station.

What about you? Have you ever run out of gas? Have you ever run out of gas spiritually? Again, I’m guilt of that too. I’ve let myself run out gas spiritually and I’ve stalled. There were warnings that I over looked and things that I did that caused me to run out. One of the first things I quit doing was reading the Bible daily. It was more of a box to check off for me at the time and I saw it as a chore. When I quit reading my Bible, my faith took a hit.

Romans tells us that faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I increase my faith by putting God’s Word in me. I wasn’t doing that, and I quickly found out that I was susceptible to attacks. It turns out that faith is also our shield that helps protect us against the fiery darts of the devil. I then began to slip in areas I had never had trouble in. I started to go places and to do things that I never dreamed I would have.

After that, I noticed that my church attendance began to slip. “I wasn’t getting anything out of it,” I would say. I wasn’t getting anything out of it because I wasn’t trying to. I wasn’t listening because I didn’t want to be convicted of the things I was doing. I didn’t want to be questioned by people at church when I did go, so I started leaving as soon as the pastor ended his sermons. I cut myself off from the community of believers.

Hebrews 10 tells us not to forsake the assembling of fellow believers. I looked up “forsake” and dictionary.com said, “to quit or leave entirely.” Because I did it, I know why the writer said we shouldn’t. I left a group of people who loved me, prayed for me and lifted me up when I needed it. Church is more than just a group of believers going to hear a message. It’s a place where we connect and find a sense of belonging.

After I left, it didn’t take long before I ran out of gas. When I couldn’t move forward in my life anymore, I decided to take that walk to the altar. The good news is that this walk isn’t a walk of shame. It’s a walk of rejoicing because God comes in, fills us with His love and restores us to a right relationship with Him. If you’re on empty today, you might have made the same mistakes I did. The good news is that He’s waiting to fill you up again and to restore your life. He did it for me and my church accepted me back with open arms. There’s no shame in walking home. 

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