Rick Warren On What Mercy Means

rick-warren“Mercy means…

…being patient with people’s quirks (James 3:17)

…helping anyone around you who is hurting (Proverbs 3:27)

…giving people a second chance (Ephesians 4:31-32)

…doing good to those who hurt you (Luke 6:35-36)

…being kind to those who offend you (Jude 22-23)

…building bridges of love to the unpopular (premeditated mercy) (Matthew 9:13)

…valuing relationships over rules (Romans 13:10)” —Rick Warren

5 Key Parts To A Synergy Relationship

img_1970King David of Israel was a stud! Outstanding song writer, professional shepherd, bear killer, lion killer, giant killer, decorated army general, and ultimately king of Israel.

Near the end of his life we read an extensive list of Mighty Men that supported David. Some of these guys were also giant killers. One guy singlehandedly defeated 300 enemies, another guy defeated 800 bad guys, one guy killed a lion, and on and on the list goes.

I believe it is clear that David wouldn’t have become king without the support of his Mighty Men, and these guys probably wouldn’t have been recognized as “Mighty Men” without David’s support.

This is a classic definition of synergy. Synergy is when the outcome is so much greater than just the addition of the parts. Sort of like 1 + 1 = 5.

All of us can be a part of synergistic relationships, if we will include these five key parts.

[1] Humility

Without humility, you will never let anyone else into your life, and it’s doubtful they will let you in. Humility says, “I don’t have all the answers. I need some help in fulfilling my God-given dream. I have some areas of weakness where you are strong.”

[2] Confidence

Just like humility, without confidence it’s doubtful others would allow you access to their lives. Confidence says, “I have some something I am willing to offer you. I have a God-given strength in an area where you may be struggling.” The Apostle Paul said, all of us have strengths that God has given us that are to be used to help others (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7).

[3] Collaboration

Quite simply, in order for synergy to work, the people in the relationship have to be willing to labor together. Paul used the example of one person planting the seed and another person watering the seed. Both laborers are necessary if there is going to be a harvest.

[4] Patience

The journey with others may be slower and messier than traveling solo, but it’s so much more rewarding (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

[5] Investment

Synergy is really about there being a return on investment. But if you’re not willing to invest your time, your learning, your love, can you really expect there to be a synergistic return?

I just wrapped up a year-long investment with a group of guys from my church. What an amazing time! I am definitely better for having been involved with this synergy group, and I believe all of the other guys would tell you the same thing. You, too, can experience this same joy by investing in a synergy group of your own!

George Matheson On The Value Of Waiting

George Matheson“The Spirit requires not only a service of work but also a service of waiting.

“Dear Holy Spirit, my desire is still to be led by You. Nevertheless, my opportunities for usefulness seem to be disappointed, for today the door appears open into a life of service for You but tomorrow it closes before me just as I am about to enter. Teach me to see another door even in the midst of the inaction of this time. Help me to find, even in the area of service where You have closed a door, a new entrance into Your service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a person may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still, or by waiting.” —George Matheson

Waiting For Hope

George Matheson“Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope.

“When we see no hint of success yet refuse to despair, when we see nothing but the darkness of night through our window yet keep the shutters open because stars may appear in the sky, and when we have an empty place in our heart yet will not allow it to be filled with anything less than God’s best—that is the greatest kind of patience in the universe. …

“Dear Lord, You have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us that Your will should be accepted, simply because it is Your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup yet still be willing to drink it because of a conviction that Your eyes see further than his own.” —George Matheson

F.B. Meyer On The Purpose Of Obstacles

F.B. Meyer“God will make our obstacles serve His purposes. …

“The obstacles may be untruths told about us; a difficult occupation; ‘a thorn in the flesh’ (2 Corinthians 12:7); or our daily cross. And often we pray for their removal, for we tend to think that if only these were removed, we would live a more tender, pure, and holy life. … These are the very conditions we need for achievement, and they have been put in our lives as the means of producing the gifts and qualities for which we have been praying so long.

“We pray for patience for many years, and when something begins to test us beyond our endurance, we run from it. We try to avoid it, we see it as some insurmountable obstacle to our desired goal, and we believe that if it was removed, we would experience immediate deliverance and victory. This is not true! We would simply see the temptations to be impatient end. This would not be patience.

“The only way genuine patience can be acquired is by enduring the very trials that seem so unbearable today. Turn from your running and submit. … There is nothing in your life that distresses or concerns you that cannot become submissive to the highest purpose. Remember, they are God’s mountains. He puts them there for a reason, and we know He will never fail to keep His promise.” —F.B. Meyer

Love = Patience

PatienceLast week I wrote about how we can be empowered to get along with everyone, everywhere. But something I didn’t mention (which might be obvious) is this: Connecting with everybody, everywhere is hard work!

We have to remember that relationship is the goal. We’re not trying to make converts to Christianity and rack up some sort of high score. We’re building relationships with people because we love people; and that love for them should motivate us to:

  1. Want what’s best for them
  2. Be willing to serve them

The Bible says this: And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Everyone?! There’s that word again!

This word patient has five parts to its definition. I’m struck by how these aspects of patience also echo the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13

  • Patience doesn’t lose heartLove is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4a)
  • Patience endures misfortuneLove is not self-seeking (13:5a)
  • Patience is slow to angerLove is not easily angered (13:5b)
  • Patience bears with the offenses of othersLove keeps no record of wrongs (13:5c)
  • Patience perseveres bravelyLove always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (13:7-8)

How are you doing in your relationships? Are you losing heart? becoming angry? about ready to throw in the towel on a difficult relationship? Ask God to renew your love, and your patience level will increase as well. 

Let’s all strive to love others—even the difficult “others”—the way God loves us!

Lettie Cowman On Prayer

Lettie Cowman“Often it is simply the answers to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in the Christian life.

“We pray for patience, and our Father sends demanding people our way who test us to the limit, ‘because…suffering produces perseverance’ (Romans 5:3). …

“We pray to be unselfish, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice by placing other people’s needs first and by laying down our lives for other believers. …

“We pray to the Lord, as His apostles did, saying, ‘Increase our faith!’ (Luke 17:5). Then our money seems to take wings and fly away; our children become critically ill; an employee becomes careless, slow, and wasteful; or some other new trial comes upon us, requiring more faith than we have ever before experienced.

“We pray for a Christlike life that exhibits the humility of a lamb. Then we are asked to perform some lowly task, or we are unjustly accused and given no opportunity to explain….

“We pray for gentleness and quickly face a storm of temptation to be harsh and irritable.

“We pray for quietness, and suddenly every nerve is tested to its limit with tremendous tension so that we may learn that when He sends His peace, no one can disturb it.

“We pray for love for others, and God sends unique suffering by sending people our way who are difficult to love and who say things that get on our nerves and tear at our heart. …

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance and every trial as being straight from the hand of our loving Father.” —Lettie Cowman

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