Jealousy in the Kingdom?

Jealousy in the Kingdom?

Day 3
31 Reasons To Praise by Melanie can be purchase at www.itsmelanielee.com

I have ALL the Spiritual Blessings
-Ephesians 1:3

As I read the devotion there was one thing that JUMPED out at me. “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING” – then I remembered something that I questioned; why is there so much competition in the church? Why is there jealousy in the church, God? And in an instant the answer was clear!!

People are seeking the same “Spiritual Blessing” – but I think there is a lack of WISDOM in knowing that we are all on the same level playing field. None of us is so special to be more worthy than another. Not one of us is “UNWORTHY” of any blessing – but we are given this “GIFT” because of the precious blood that was shed by the Lamb of God who died so that we ALL have the right to “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING”

If you read further Ephesians 4:11 – 13 MSG
..He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

We each have our own calling. When we each focus on what God has called us to do – which is clearly listed in the above scripture, we will have no need to envy another. Unless we are guilt-ridden because we are not running our own race and desire the race of another. The other rational is a person is comparing “temporal blessings” – which are not guaranteed…and for me, that is were I would say; FAVOR AIN’T FAIR.

Broken Crayons Still Color On Purpose – All of us come to God with a zero. And God comes to us with a ten, and He gives us everything we could ever possibly dream of in His Son Jesus Christ.

Day 3 of 31 Reasons to Praise

Thank you, Melanie N. Lee

Being TWO

I Can Do It All Myself!

The two most common phrases to come out of the mouths of three-year-olds are “Why?” and “I can do it myself.” Questioning authority and making your own decisions are hallmarks of adulthood. But it tends to rattle us when the “young adult” is only three feet tall and stands with her hands on her hips and her lower lip pushed out and, once in a while, stomps her feet. Not always getting your way is another grown-up experience. Learning to deal with disappointment in an appropriate and healthy way is what makes a grown-up truly worth knowing. Tell that to the mom in the checkout line with a toddler writhing on the grimy linoleum and you just may get slapped!

Our children are well on their way to becoming contributing and productive adults who can care for others even by the age of three. They will test the boundaries, question the status quo, and find ways to step out on their own—as they should. They make plans, carry out those plans, and don’t always run their choices by us first. Even Jesus of Nazareth stepped out on his own before his parents were ready (see Luke 2:41-52). I suspect they were surprised more by his independent streak than his detour into the temple. After all, Mary and Joseph probably raised a compliant child who respected his parents and followed the rules.

When our kids step out like that, our first reaction might be to feel disregarded, disrespected, or even rejected. Although rules are meant to be followed and expectations are meant to be met, it’s important to double-check whether those rules help our kids grow or squash their development. Without opportunities to pull themselves up, they won’t know how to stand and how to walk—without holding our hands. Remember making sure there was a table within reach of your toddlers when they began cruising? At some point they let go and walked into that big empty space of your living room, on their own, with that goofy grin on their faces.

And we all prefer that when our kids let go, they do it with a silly smile and not a look of terror.

Six-degrees-of-separation

Degrees of Separation

The six-degrees-of-separation concept posits that any two people on earth are only six or fewer acquaintance links apart. At this point in my parenting journey, I thought there would never be more than one degree of separation between me and my children. After all, I can text them whenever I want. I can and should be able to get to them in the blink of an eye or by a tap on my smartphone. Yet the text I sent my younger son two days ago remains unanswered. He’s busy. He’s working. He’s helping his older brother and his wife move. He’s living his life—apart from me.

My mother always said, “Be careful what you wish for,” and she was right. I wished for my children to be able to live lives that mattered, to be able to take care of themselves and others—to be independent. And they are. They live two thousand miles away from me, and I have to remember—I’m the one who moved!

But this independence thing may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that at this point we are no longer supporting our children financially. That, my friends, is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Sometimes, though, it’s other types of support I miss. Where there was fellowship, emotional caretaking, and spiritual navigation, there’s now a void. And the fact that I now have to watch The Walking Dead alone doesn’t help.

When I think back to how this state of independence came to be, I see it didn’t just happen. My husband, Chip, and I planned it. We put this in motion when we encouraged our firstborn to wait ten more minutes before we picked him up out of his crib and he slept through the night. I guess it probably happened even sooner than that. After all, we did cut the umbilical cord after birth. The first degree of separation between mother and child is natural and life-giving.

Be careful what you wish for? Yes, definitely, because it certainly might come true. For example, we want our child to sleep through the night, so we encourage him to do so, and then he doesn’t need us to sleep through the night. He is able to sleep through the night because we wanted him to. See how that works? It’s important to remember that you are still connected even if it takes a child three days to answer his mother’s text.

HEART

A HEART OF GENTLENESS

TALKING TO GOD
Ask God to help you keep your heart gentle. Talk to Him about times when you haven’t had a heart of gentleness, and ask for His forgiveness.

DIVING IN
Place a small amount of flour in one brown paper bag and rocks or gravel in another. Without their knowing what is inside, have another family member guess, then reach into one bag at a time and describe how the contents feel.

GOING DEEPER
Both bags look exactly the same on the outside, but the contents of one are soft, while the contents of the other are hard. People are like these bags — you can’t always tell what’s on the inside. You learn in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God knows you can use your outward appearance — how you act and what you say — to cover up what’s really inside, just like the bags covered their contents. You might act kind and gentle but have bad attitudes or mean thoughts. While God wants you to be gentle on the outside, He also wants your heart to be gentle. When your heart is full of gentleness, God can use you to bless others.

TALKING TO EACH OTHER
– Who is someone you know with a gentle heart? What do you like about this person?
– Who is someone you know with a hard heart? How does this person treat you?
– What causes your heart to become hard?
– What are some ways you can keep your heart soft?

Nudged

GOD LEADS IN HIS GENTLENESS

Talking to God

You serve a loving God. Thank Him for His desire to lead you gently toward Him and His willingness to give you the choice of obedience.

Diving In

Put on a blindfold. Then, have another family member guide you through different rooms by “steering” your shoulders from behind. Then walk through the same rooms, still blindfolded, following the whispered directions of a trusted family member.

Going Deeper

Just as family members can guide you with touch and whispers, God has many ways of gently leading you forward. He directs you through His Word (Psalm 119:105),
with a quiet voice (1 Kings 19:11–13) and through other people (Hebrews 13:7). No matter how He leads you, God can do so without being harsh. If you accidentally head in the wrong direction, He can gently help you back onto His path. Even when you purposely disobey, His desire is to lovingly correct you. In the process of
learning to follow Him, God allows you to make choices and suffer the consequences of your choices; but He also knows how to pull you gently back into His fold.

Talking to Each Other

How was having someone steer you through the rooms different than having directions whispered to you?

Which way is more like how God leads you? Explain.

How can you learn to better recognize God’s gentle leading?

Speech

GENTLENESS IN SPEECH

TALKING TO GOD
Thank God for giving you the ability to be gentle with your words. Ask Him to help you choose your words carefully so they are not hurtful.

DIVING IN
List five words that describe your best friend. Now list five words that describe someone you don’t get along with very well. Say each of the 10 words out loud and consider how you’d feel if each of those words were used to describe you.

GOING DEEPER
Words are powerful. “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21). Wow! What you say — and how you say it — really does matter. Words can hurt, or they can heal. When you respond to hurtful words with more hurtful words, you only make things worse. If you answer with gentleness, you can soothe angry or bitter feelings and restore broken relationships. Our gentle words show people that they have value, whether you agree or disagree with them. Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

TALKING TO EACH OTHER
– How have others hurt you with their words?
– How have you hurt others with your words?
– What gentle words have been given to you, and how did they help you?
– Who is one person you can use gentle words with, even if this person doesn’t deserve them?

One…

It’s hard to simplify life. Narrowing the focus seems impossible. Over this past year, you may have been asked hundreds of times, “How is it going?” Your response was probably something like, “I have been SO busy!” You never hear anyone say, “I’ve had so much time on my hands and I’m looking for something new to do.” That person doesn’t exist.

You have tons of responsibilities, and your schedule is crazy. You feel like you’re sprinting in life. That’s why we need to be intentional about clarifying and simplifying life. We have been sharing with many people the simple discipline of developing just one word as a theme for the upcoming year. We decided to stop listing the resolutions and start living One Word. Even though the Bible does not have the phrase “One Word theme,” it is interesting to note that the phrase “one thing” appears five times in the Bible: once in Philippians and four times in the Gospels.

In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul uses the phrase “one thing” to bring focus and clarity to his calling. In Luke 10:42, Jesus says to Martha, “only one thing is needed.” Both Luke 18:22 and Mark 10:21 include His words to the rich man and express a lack of “one thing.” John 9:25 also includes this phrase as the blind man tells the Pharisees, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” In the same way that Scripture uses these words, we also can put it to use by asking God to reveal a One Word theme for us for the year.

When we first started this process, half of the fun was choosing the word for the year, but we have learned that it is not necessarily us who chooses the word, but rather God who reveals it to us. God can indeed drop an anointed, specific word into your soul. In our first few years, we admit that it was mostly just us picking a word and very little receiving the word from God. Even so, God still used it! But as we became more experienced in the process, we learned to really listen and watch for God’s leading in selecting the word. By listening for God’s voice, you will discover a God-word, not just a good-word.

Enjoy the process and remember: just One Word. Not a phrase. Not even two words. Narrow the focus for life change. Just One Word!

Go
1. Why is it so hard to simplify life? Why is this life so complex?
2. Why do you think we try to impress people with more rather than less?
3. What is God saying to you now about your One Word theme for the year? Commit some serious time to praying and asking God to speak to you.

Workout

Hebrews 12:1-2, John 9:25, Phil 3:13-14

Overtime
“Dear Heavenly Father, I am asking for just One Word. I want a word from You. Please reveal Yourself to me. I am ready to receive the word meant for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

FOLLOWING….

“The Shocking Truth About Following Jesus”

At the end of Luke 9, we find a story about three men who approached Jesus, eager to follow him. In surprising fashion, though, Jesus seems to have tried to talk them out of doing so.

The first guy said, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus responded, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” In other words, Jesus told this man that he could expect homelessness on the journey ahead. Followers of Christ are not guaranteed that even their basic need of shelter will be met.

The second man told Jesus that his father had just died. The man wanted to go back, bury his father, and then follow Jesus.

Jesus replied, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” I remember distinctly when my own dad died, and I cannot imagine hearing these words from Jesus.

A third man approached Jesus and told him that he wanted to follow him, but before he did, he wanted to say good-bye to his family.

Jesus wouldn’t let him. He told the man, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total, superior, and exclusive devotion.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these would-be followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I were the potential disciple being told to become homeless? What if you were the one who was supposed to let someone else bury your dad? What if we were told that we couldn’t even say good-bye to our families?

This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that supersedes our closest relationships in this world. For that’s what it means to live out the biblical gospel rather than our cultural assumptions of what it means to follow Jesus.

Let us determine not to spend our lives on anything but radical abandonment to our Savior.

What should you cut out of your life, starting today, if Jesus is your overriding priority? 

Give me a chance

New Beginning

You can have a new beginning. It doesn’t matter how many new beginnings you’ve had before. Don’t believe the lie that you can’t have any more. Jesus’s work on the cross paved the way for another new beginning and another and another – as many as you need. Our Father’s mercies are new every day. Seasons change. Believe that you can have a new beginning in any area of your life that has not aligned with Father’s perfect will for you. Embrace this precious promise, get back up again, and walk toward the new beginning. Father has good plans for you. It’s up to you to move into His grace.

I believe I can have a new beginning because the Word of God tells me so. Help me walk in this promise as I transition from one season to another. Give me strength to hold fast to this great and precious promise when I can’t see what door to walk through. Walk with me.

Let’s Get Serious

Spirit or Flesh?

Being able to discern spirits requires you to have a discerning spirit. Deducing, supposing, presuming, or otherwise guessing can be a dangerous exercise. Many times what you think is merely the flesh.

Be cautious not to get out of balance in the spiritual realm. The flesh is at enmity with Me. I war against the flesh. Often what you are facing is not a spirit but someone’s carnal nature rising up against you. The person’s actions may or may not be motivated by a spirit. Always ask Me.

I don’t want to play guessing games in the spirit, so I need You to show me what You need me to see. Help me to stay in balance with the Word of God so that I don’t open myself up to deception. Increase my ability to discern the spirits.

  • 1 John 4:1
  • 1 Corinthians 12
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21