Quick Listener, Slow Speak/Anger

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”
(James 1:19-21 NLT)

– Sometimes we talk too much and listen very little, communicating to others that we think our ideas/thoughts are more important than theirs (mostly SN)
– Selfish anger never helps anybody (SN)

1) Do you take time to really listen to others? Do you really take an interest in what they have to say?
2) What kind of things are you quick to get angry about, that you should maybe become slower to get angry about?
3) Are you one that enjoys talking?

I have prayed before to become a better listener in college, and the next day I woke up not being able to hear out of one ear.  Answered prayer, and I was forced to really look at the person talking to me and pay close attention to what they were saying.  It usually happens that way, where I pray expecting one thing and God delivers it packaged in a different way.

I tend to have lots of selfish anger within me, something that I continually try to work on. I pray that someday I can get rid of this selfish anger and unjustifiable anger once and for all, but for now I’m stuck with it.

I am a talkative one, most times I just like to talk to talk, with no real purpose in my talking.  I guess I just like the sound of my own voice at times and I get carried away.  I’m actually shy, so I don’t know why I enjoy talking so much, but I do.

Do Everything

“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.  Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:14-15 NLT)

> Study Notes
– Why’s complaining and arguing so harmful? If all that people know about a church is that its members constantly argue, complain, and gossip, they get a false impression of Christ and the Good News.  Belief in Christ should unite those who trust him.  *good reminder!
– Lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience, and peacefulness, so that we’ll “shine brightly” in a dark and depraved world.  A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God’s word. **

QUESTION TO PONDER: Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining and arguing?

<< This is probably one of the greatest devotions I’ve had in a long time! I got the verse off of my brothers wall, they use it to teach their kids and as soon as I saw it, I took out my bible, journal and wrote it down.  How many times do we, as Christians, find ourselves arguing and/or complaining? I do it every single day. I do it especially at work, where I need to be the best example of a Christian, and yet I fail every time.  I complain because I feel like I’m being burned out by the amount of work they give me, but the flipside is I do more work and work harder and faster to glorify God haha, so I don’t feel like it’s ok for me to slow down.  I argue with the things that I feel are common sense, but others don’t see it the way I do.  I am around it all the time.  This verse though teaches me that I need to rise above the world, rise above what everyone else may be doing and be a shining example to those around me of who God is.  It’s a horrible challenge, but it’s one that I hope I can win over time.  Will you join me? >>

Bright Future

“My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste.  In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul.  If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.” (Proverbs 24:13-14 NLT)

* Reading different verses in Proverbs today, the last sentence is what stuck out to me.  One of my recent hopes was cut short because I was hoping to have an interview for one of two full-time custodial jobs that opened up.  To my bitter sadness, I did not get an interview at all.  Recently, I have been doing two sections at work, and sometimes up to three on part-time hours and I’m about burned out.  Now, I get help in them most days, but there are a few days when I have to do two pretty much by myself in six hours, sometimes less time if there’s a game going on we need to clean up after. 

The fact that I have been doing all of this created a thought that I deserved AT LEAST an interview.  ((EXTRA NOTE: I take on everything that is thrown at me, or attempt to, so that (if I was ever replaced, let go) I wouldn’t leave thinking/wishing I did more or have any regrets.  I give it all of my energy and just pray that God would get the glory through it all))  I don’t deserve anything, God blesses me with what I need, not what I necessarily want all the time…

In the end, I won, my HOPE was greater than the position, my HOPE is to glorify God.  All I can pray for concerning this is that God take away the bitter feeling and allow me to use this opportunity to glorify Him *

QUESTION TO YOU: Has there been anything you have not received that you think you deserved, but after thinking about it, realized your real Hope was never really cut off?

Speaking Up

(Taken from Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional, Faithlife Study Bible App)

The verse this one was on was John 4:27-42, which talks about The Disciples and the Harvest. Where Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman and tells her everything about her life and through her testimony, hundreds believe in Jesus Christ. Take some time to read that section right now, it is a steller chunk of scripture to chew on.

Alright, the devotional talks about a lot of cool things, I almost highlighted the entire section. Here are a few sections I enjoyed:

– “Because we convince ourselves that people won’t accept our testimony about God’s work in our lives, we’re not usually ready to share it.”
= This is very true in my life, I can give a testimony, but I’m not usually particularly ready to give it all the time. I attempt to show my testimony through the way I live, but that’s sometimes a cop out of sharing my faith.

– “Soon, staying silent becomes a way of life.”
= People often feel this way, they think their faith is personal and shouldn’t be shared even though it talks in the bible about proclaiming the Good News and sharing with people. I sometimes find myself keeping silent instead of speaking up when an opportunity arises though.

– “But we’re called to action. Our words have power, and not because of our own storytelling talent or our ability to tap into others’ emotions.”
= You may not know it, but your words really do have power, we don’t give God the credit he deserves. Even if we don’t “package” our words in the most elaborate of ways, God can use them to do powerful things in peoples lives. I’m not very good at wording things in the best ways, but God has used my words to change people and help them in various areas.

– “God can and will use your words to draw people to Him through His Spirit – perhaps without our even being aware of it.”
= This one hit me hard, I’m never aware of anything I do as far as faith goes. When I look at my life, I don’t see any “fruit” being produced (if you’re a non-Christian, this whole “fruit” talk makes no sense I’m sure, if you want me to try to explain it let me know) I feel like I’m a failure as far as my faith goes, but who knows… God may be doing big things through me that I am unaware of.

– “Like the disciples, we have to realize the urgency of the good news.”
= The Kingdom of God is near! We don’t realize the urgency of this task at hand, we don’t know when he is coming, but the urgency is very important to remember. We can’t sit down and wait for someone else to share and act, but we need to get on the “front lines” and act ourselves. The battle rages on around us, we need everyone in it!!

– “Verbalizing with humility, what God has done for us is an important part of faith. We shouldn’t shy away from it or doubt that He will use it to bring others to Himself.”
= Amen to that! It’s probably one of the most important parts of our faith. If no one ever shared their testimonies or what God is doing, no one would ever know!! Think about if the disciples and those who have paved the way before us never shared their faith, we would never have heard about the Good News and we’d be lost without it!!

– Do you speak to others about your faith?
– How can you begin telling others about the work God has done in you?

Student or Scholar

(I got this from faithlife study bibles “Connect The Testaments: A Daily Devotion” app on my iPad)

“We have certain expectations of who He should be for us, but we don’t think about how we should align our lives with Him.”  This daily devotion talked about Nicodemus and Jesus’ encounter.  The scholar (Nicodemus) quickly became the student and Jesus was quick to show him that he was not in a place to hold Jesus accountable.  It also talked about how we often approach God with off par expectations.

Some Questions to think about:
> Are you teachable?
> Do you approach God ready to learn and apply His words?

I personally want to be teachable, but I know I have a hard head when it comes down to the truth of it, I like things one way and don’t like change, I never have liked it.  I talk about wanting God to teach me to be strong and control the parts of my life that are very flawed, but when he gives me the opportunity, I throw it out the door.  I don’t usually approach him ready, I moreso approach God because I feel I have to most days. I feel I have to read the bible, pray a certain way and if he wishes it, I’ll get something good in my life.

It doesn’t work that way though, God is far far greater than any of us and who are we to expect something out of Him, he is the one who holds us in his righteous right hand and protects us from the troubles of this world.  We need to learn how to become teachable and approach God the way he deserves to be approached…