How Should Christians Handle Unfriendly Earthlings?

Christians are citizens of Heaven who are merely passing through Earth, so this isn’t a Christian’s final home. Because of this, it’s not unusual for Earthlings to mistreat, insult, and even persecute these “aliens and strangers.”

How are Christians supposed to respond to this?

First off, let’s make sure the persecution is for the right reason. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matthew 5:11).

Jesus also told us that this persecution has a blessing in it: we would be able to share our faith in Jesus Christ at the highest levels on Earth: On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them” (Mark 13:9).

In 1 Peter 3:8, the apostle tells us how to live with everyone, Christian and Earthling alike:

  1. Harmoniously—keep The Main Thing the main thing; don’t get caught up in petty arguments
  2. Empathetically—put yourself in others’ shoes
  3. Kindly—treat everyone like a sibling that shares the same parents with you
  4. Compassionately—be strong enough to handle other people’s stuff
  5. Courteously—remember this: manners matter!

This list may be easy to live out when people are friendly to you, but what about when unfriendly Earthlings are downright mean to you? In the very next verse Peter gives us two Don’ts and one Do:

  1. Don’t repay evil with evil—Jesus is our example of this (see 1 Peter 2:21-23)
  2. Don’t insult the insulters—treat others as you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31)
  3. Do bless those who slander and persecute you—Jesus says we get absolutely no credit if we only treat kind people kindly (see Luke 6:32-33)

In Psalm 35 David is dealing with people who are fighting against him. They are saying mean things and trying to do even meaner things. This prayer shows both God’s part and our part

God’s part—defend me against the evildoers … remind me of Your salvation … pursue those who are falsely pursuing me … stay close to me.

My part—listen to God’s voice of assurance … live quietly … don’t give others cause to mistreat me … pray for those who persecute me … continually turn my thoughts and praise to God.

Peter wraps up this thought with these words—Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even it you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed (1 Peter 3:13-14).

Don’t give in to mistreatment and lash out in anger. Trust God to handle things. Keep on living a good life that is focused on bringing God all the glory due His name!

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Peace In The Face Of Cancer (book review)

My Mom has cancer. Chances are very good that you or someone very close to you will be rocked with a cancer diagnosis during your lifetime. What do you say? What do you do when it feels like the bottom just dropped out of your life? Here is an excellent resource you simply must have close at hand: Peace In The Face Of Cancer by Lynn Eib.

Lynn is both a cancer survivor and a long-time patient advocate in an oncologist’s office, so right from the opening pages you will feel the compassionate care and knowledgeable insight Lynn brings to those with this medical turmoil swirling around them.

Lynn is also a seasoned writer, so she brings her word craft to this book, making it accessible for anyone. Whether you are the one with cancer, a caregiver to a loved one with cancer, or just someone who wants to be an empathetic friend, Lynn writes in a style that benefits everyone.

And, most importantly for me, Lynn is a committed Christian. Her faith in Jesus Christ brought her a solid hope in the midst of cancer’s uncertainty, and she has a way of imparting this sense of peace in page after page.

Peace In The Face Of Cancer is written in 40 short chapters, each targeting a specific aspect of cancer that both patients and caregivers will find extremely helpful.

I am a Tyndale book reviewer.

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

A Unique Look At “Church”

gods-people-are-the-saintsHave you ever noticed that nowhere in the New Testament do we see an “order of service” for a church congregation? It’s simply not there.

Neither is there a list of acceptable songs, or the design of a church building, or how or when Communion is served, or even what clothing the pastor is supposed to wear. Yet we modern-day Christians seem to spend a lot of time not only arguing about these non-essentials, but even (gasp!) evaluating the “churchness” of a church based on these things.

It’s understandable, then, when someone says, “I enjoy being a Christian, but I really don’t like going to church.” Or even insisting that they can be a Christian without attending a church.

But here’s where those statements miss the mark: “Church” was never intended to be merely a group of people who met at a designated address once a week.

The Church that Jesus described—and the Church the apostles were a part of—was a living organism. It was fellow followers of Jesus Christ interacting with each other as they worshiped the Lord.

The Apostle Peter describes a gathering of Christians in just one verse. In this verse he gives five descriptors of how Church should be done. To stress the point that every gathering of Christians is unique, three of Peter’s five descriptors are found nowhere else in Scripture.

  1. Live in harmony with one another (the first unique word)

One translation has this as “one mind.” Paul has a similar thought in 1 Corinthians 14:20. The bottom line—get on the same page working toward the same goal. What’s that goal? Pointing people to Jesus!

      2.  Be sympathetic (the next unique word)

A definition we may better understand is “empathy.” This world literally means to “vibrate with others.” Be on in tune with what they’re going through that you can feel it just like it was happening to you.

      3.  Love as brothers

This is the Greek word philadelphos, which means to treat other Christians like they’re from the same womb as you.

      4.  Be compassionate

That is: be strong enough to step into other people’s stuff. Keep on increasing your capacity to carry a bigger load for someone else (Galatians 6:2).

      5.  Be humble (the last unique word)

The King James Version translates this “courteous.” Not just being strong enough to help, but gentle enough that your help will be accepted.

Let me repeat: The Church is not a physical address where we gather once per week. YOU are the temple of God’s presence, which is why Jesus said if just two of His followers get together, He is right there with them. That’s right—two Christians can have “church” wherever they happen to meet! 

Don’t just go to church, BE the church. Don’t miss an opportunity to encourage, pray with, instruct, or learn from another Christ-follower whenever and wherever you happen to meet.

10 Benefits From Suffering

Horatius BonarCommenting on one of the opening passages in Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, Horatius Bonar shares ten benefits to Christians who will cling to God during times of suffering.

“The meaning and use of trial:

  1. It shows God to be in earnest with us. He does not let us alone. He takes great pains with our spiritual education and training. He desires fruit and progress.
  2. It assures us of His love.
  3. It draws us to prayer. When one member suffers all the others suffer with it. As soon as it is said, ‘such a brother or sister is in sorrow,’ all who hear of this begin to pray for the afflicted one. Thus sorrow becomes a magnet which attracts the prayers of the church.
  4. It knits us in sympathy to the whole body.
  5. It teaches us sympathy with brethren.
  6. It brings us into a mood more receptive of blessing. It makes our spirits tender, it softens our hearts, it makes our consciences alive, it empties us of adverse influences.
  7. It makes us prize the Word.
  8. It shuts out the world.
  9. It bids us look up.
  10. It turns our hope to the Lord’s great coming.”

10 Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel has given us a great reminder to keep technology in its proper place. Check out my book review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention.

“We were created not for earth but for eternity. We were created not to be Liked but to show love. We were created not to draw attention to ourselves but to give glory to God. We were created not to collect followers but to follow Christ.”

“Make the time to love people face to face, not just keyboard to keyboard.”

“Make sure that the person you’re with is the most important person in the world when you’re together.”

“Pictures aren’t the only thing we’re becoming used to controlling, thanks to technology and social media. We have the luxury of sending an article, text, tweet, or email to virtually anyone we want to communicate with. And we can edit and revise as much as we want before we hit send. The problem, however, is that many of us have filtered our messages so much that we are no longer comfortable with the real, unscripted, spontaneous conversation. We’ve become so used to the luxury of being able to edit the things we say that some of us really struggle when we have to have normal, everyday conversations with and in front of real, live human beings. Technology has given us tools that are unprecedented in human history, but an entire generation is growing up uncomfortable in conversations they cannot control.”

“Many of us are making life choices just to create a string of social media moments, and all because we want to show some imaginary life that we think people want to see.”

“Being authentic is not about being brutally honest and confrontational about everything on your mind. But by all means—at the right time, with the right people, and when you’re face-to-face—drop the veil completely. If you don’t, you’ll always be longing for something more. When you put on the veil and post something hoping for Likes, hoping for affirmation, even if you receive it, you’re still going to feel empty because you’re not being real with people about yourself. But the place to be vulnerable is where God wants you to be vulnerable: in the context of private, life-giving, healthy, God-honoring relationships.”

“We want so badly to connect with others, and we think the best way to do so is by showing off our strengths. But it doesn’t work that way. Here’s why: we actually connect with people through our weaknesses. We may impress them with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses.”

“Social media encourages us—I say it even trains us—to become more narcissistic, more full of ourselves.”

“Compassion is not just an emotion, not just some feeling you have that eventually passes. True compassion demands action.”

“Clicking doesn’t change anything. Caring is not Liking a post; it’s loving a person.”

More quotes from #struggles coming soon…

Links & Quotes

link quote

“True servants of God demand to see for all church ordinances and doctrines the express authority of the church’s only Teacher and Lord. They remember that the Lord Jesus bade the apostles to teach believers to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. The Holy Spirit revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to His teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, or Wesley, or Gill. We will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has authority, but ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts.’” —Charles Spurgeon

“Beyond simply confronting cultural abuse and misuse, Christians must make a conscientious effort to restore culture so that it serves as a means and end to the glory of God by demonstrating the love He intends all people to know. … Principally, as we’ve seen, God intends to bring His glory to light through those He has redeemed and come to indwell by His Spirit. Thus, in every aspect of our lives, and in all our cultural activities, we must be diligent to allow the glory of God to show through in us, so that the love God has for humankind and the world can be plainly seen by all.” —T.M. Moore

Fight The New Drug lists 3 types of pornography viewers, and how pornography affects them. If you are affected by pornography, here is some help.

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace talks about the best explanation for moral laws—

“It is true that we must be personally bold and afraid of no man but courageous as we contend for the truth. If we are simply nice, concerned, genuinely curious, attentive, supportive, and affirming, we may win a hearing with suffering people, but we will never lead them to life. Grace means courage and clarity. But it is just as true that our boldness must be brokenhearted boldness, that our courage must be a contrite and lowly courage, and that we must be tender contenders for the truth. If we are brash and harsh and cocky and clever, we may win a hearing with angry and pugnacious people, but we will drive away those who suffer. Paul makes it so clear that we are laid low and given comfort ‘so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God’ (2 Corinthians 1:4). Those we counsel must feel that we are utterly dependent in our lives on the merciful comfort of God to make it through our days.” —John Piper

[VIDEO] The danger of radical Islamism—

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