Consider Those Around You

While we should remember to consider others year-round, it can be especially helpful to remember around the holidays. We can get a little too wrapped up in what we need to do for ourselves and our loved ones, and we forget that other people are people, too. The strangers around us have just as much to worry about as we do, sometimes more.

Sometimes it feels like kindness and consideration for others is waning in the world. On the one hand that means we have a harder time getting along. On the other hand that means it stands out more when someone is kind and considerate. Either way, it is good and godly for us to be kind and considerate to each other. After all, hasn’t God Himself been kind and considerate to us? He created everything we perceive and enjoy, and had our enjoyment in mind. He didn’t just give us what we need to survive, He gave us enough to thrive. He made Himself reachable through Jesus. He makes Himself findable to those who seek Him and to those who don’t. He extends mercy and grace to anyone who will have it. He allows us plenty of time to turn to Him from our sins and get right with Him.

As we go about our lives, both in and out of holiday seasons, let’s make it a point to consider others and be kind to them. That’s part of what we Christians should do to display God’s love and kindness. Let someone else go before you in line. Help someone carry things to their car. Buy someone lunch. Help out a homeless person. Tip the waiter or waitress really well. Smile at and be pleasant to the cashier. Do some volunteering. Greet your neighbor across the fence. Smile at people. All this will make people wonder what’s up with you, and then you can talk with them about Jesus and His love.

Trusting God

I found some sermon notes on trusting God from several years ago, and that got me thinking about some things.

Whatever we feel about God, He is trustworthy. His position and power do not depend on anyone’s vote or opinion. God is God, and that will never change. So we don’t have to worry about whether or not God can do anything. God is sovereign, and that cannot be contested.

We often trust God with the extraordinary circumstances, but not the common ones. While praying about the bad things, we forget to praise God for the good ones. We need to remember that God can be trusted at all times, whether we can do anything or not, and we are better reminded of that when we make it a point to praise God for the good when praying about the bad.

God doesn’t know about you, He knows you. And God isn’t going to do anything bad to you with this knowledge, He will help you with it.

God doesn’t abuse His power.

God doesn’t ignore you.

When God tells you to do something, He’ll supply what you need for it. God funds the work He wants done.

Sometimes we miss the point, but God never does.

God will never let you go, never let you down, and never let you off.

The worst thing that can happen to you is God leaving you. But God has promised to never leave you or forsake you! Hebrews 13:5-6

And a couple more things that come to mind: Isaiah 45:22-23; 46:9-10.

A bit more on trusting God:
Trust Issues
For Eternity and for Today
Fear, Worry, and Trust
Trust Without a Miracle
Trusting God with Others
Trusting and Responding at Full Speed

A Few Notes

I’ve been looking through notes again and would like to share once more.

No one becomes more righteous by counting another’s sins.

The voice of the Lord leads us one step at a time.

“Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share, and sought advantage over no one.” -Robert Brault

Christianity (being like Christ) is not a label on a jar, it is a whole new design of the jar and its contents.

True faith grows by testing.

Wisdom is knowing what to do. Skill is knowing how to do it. Virtue is doing it.

Peace Passing Understanding

In church yesterday we talked and learned about peace, specifically God’s peace, the kind that passes understanding, the kind that can be inexplicable. God’s peace comes from salvation. If you’re not saved by believing in Jesus and what He’s done, then this peace is not in you. When you are saved, this peace is now and always within you.

But sometimes we constrict that peace. We don’t let it flow freely like it should. In Philippians 4 where it talks about the peace that passes understanding, there is an “and” on that verse (7). The verse before it (6) tells us to worry about nothing and to pray about everything. That’s how you keep the peace flowing, how you guard and maintain it: you worry about nothing and pray about everything. In the verses after having that peace (8-9), we see more about what to do to keep that peace: focus on truth and goodness, and do them.

When we worry about nothing, pray about everything, focus on truth and goodness, and do what God says, then the God of Peace will be with us and His peace will flow freely through our lives, even when it doesn’t make sense for it to be there.

And when the presence of peace makes the least sense, that’s when it passes understanding. God can give us peace even when we would normally have it the least.

On top of that, when we have peace we naturally praise the One who gives it, showing God’s peace to others.

More on peace:
Peace on Earth
World Peace
Notes on Peace

Related to praise coming from peace:
Choosing Praise (While I do not specifically mention peace in this telling, I certainly felt it and it can be seen.)

Setting Priorities

When you have to do something, you should do it when it needs to be done, preferably as soon as possible. Though I’m a procrastinator, I have found it’s actually much less stressful to just do something right away instead of putting it off, that way I don’t have to worry about it anymore. When it’s done, I don’t have to do it anymore! Then I can go put off something else – until I realize I need to get that done, too!

But sometimes there’s just something so much more enjoyable than that thing you have to do, and you do that fun thing instead. It might even be something that needs to get done, so sometimes you don’t even realize you’re putting off something else. For example, when I was a child I had things I really, really liked to do and think about, sometimes to the point of neglecting homework and chores. Most often I would play Star Wars games and the piano for hours. None of the things I liked were wrong to enjoy, and piano was something I needed to practice, but they became wrong when I put them ahead of more important things.

When I got older I grew out of a few things, but soon found new things that can take my attention from responsibilities. Again, these things are not necessarily bad, they just need to be set in a correct order and place. If I have work to do, I can’t sit around messaging friends if it’s going to disrupt or distract me from my work. I can’t go hang out or play video games with friends too late at night if I need to have sleep for something in the morning. Spending time with friends is certainly important and time should be made for it, but finding the balance between family, loved ones, work, spiritual needs, and other life responsibilities can be a challenge.

Setting priorities for how, where, when, and why you spend your time is important, and there will be multiple times in life when you will have to stop, sit down, and take a good look at what your time is going to. Things creep in all the time, and if you don’t sit and take inventory once in a while, time and important things will slip away from you before you realize it.

How do I go about setting priorities? Start with prayer. God is the Inventor and Creator of time, and He has seen all of it, beginning to end, so He knows what to tell you about time and priorities. God will help you see who and what needs your time and attention, and who and what doesn’t. He will show you who and what needs more of your time, and who and what needs less.

When you prioritize God first and put Him in the place He is supposed to be, the rest of your priorities will be much easier to place.

A bit more:
Spending Time, Investing Time
Choosing Your Time
“I Just Don’t Have Time”

What Is Thankfulness?

I was teaching the little kids in Sunday School about thankfulness, putting it in a way they can understand. It got me thinking more than usual about what it means.

When you are thankful for something, you are happy that you have it and you say thank you to the person who gave it to you. Whether to mom, dad, a family member, a friend, or God Himself, you say thank you because you’re happy and it’s good to tell the person who gave it to you.

It almost feels too simple. I talked a bit more about this in Thankfulness. I still don’t feel like I have properly summed it up, but I wonder if I’m getting closer.

Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, and opinions with me. I’d like to learn.

A little more on the topic:
Give Thanks… But to Whom?
Give Thanks to God
Why Give Thanks to God?
Thankful Attitude

Special Things

Some things are special because there is nothing else like them, or if there are others, there aren’t many.

Some things are special because we don’t get to see or have them all the time.

Some things are special because someone we love gave it to or made it for us.

Whatever the reason for something being special, it’s often because it isn’t typical or common. It means something more than the everyday, normal things in our lives. It’s different.

But I have found that when a special thing becomes more common or regular, it becomes less special. There are certain snacks and candies that I like, but if I have them all the time instead of occasionally, they lose their luster. They aren’t special anymore, and sometimes I even get tired of them.

That’s why I sometimes think it’s good that big, extraordinary things don’t happen to us all the time. If special things become commonplace, they mean less and stop being special.

But remember there are some things that are special even when you don’t feel like they are. Don’t let the good things God has done for you lose their luster. Don’t get so used to something that you forget how special it really is.

May I never get so used to God’s love that I take it for granted. May I never get so used to the story of redemption through Jesus that I don’t think it important. May I never get so used to the Holy Spirit within me that I forget to listen.

A Few Things to Remember

When you aren’t qualified, God always is!

Sometimes we forget that the Christian life is supposed to be hard.

Sometimes God has a different miracle in mind than you have in mind.

The Bible does not list every possible decision we will face in life, but it does address all choices with principles that govern Christian decisions.

Everything that you have or happens to you is temporary, even if it lasts your whole life.

Sometimes you receive a miracle you weren’t looking for. Sometimes the miracle isn’t relive and release, but transformation. God’s grace is sufficient.

Being Afraid

It’s okay to be afraid as long as you don’t let that fear control you. Often, being afraid means you’ve found something dangerous, so that fear keeps you cautious and likely out of trouble. But what if you’re afraid of something that you need to face and conquer?

God can help you conquer it. God’s love casts out fear. Because He loves you and wants to help and protect you, you can know that you are safe. Because God is bigger than your fears, you can turn around and look your fear in the eyes.

More on fear conquering:
Worst Fears
Fearing God
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear
Show Jesus’ Love and Do Not Fear
Don’t Fear; Do Remember
Fear, Worry, and Trust
Why Is That Scary?

Take a Moment

Slow down for a moment. Breathe.

Take a moment to talk with God. Take a moment to listen to Him.

Take a moment to pray for someone.

Take a moment to reflect on God’s blessings in your life.

Take a moment to read your Bible and work on a memory verse.

Take a moment to call or text someone you love.

Take a moment to process.

Take a moment to be aware of God. Let God help you relax and have a breath for a moment.

A little more on slowing down:
Breathe
Preparation
Pausing for Thanks
Praying First