Tag Archives: relationship

what can we learn from job’s friends?

When Job’s friends heard of his difficulties, they went to be with him. The first few chapters of Job tell us they took two actions.

Job’s friends were with him in a difficult time.

Chapter 2 records Job’s friends coming. They showed up at a difficult time. They didn’t leave Job all alone as he suffered. They were there with him as he grieved. At first, they said very little, but their presence said much.

Scripture encourages us to be there for one another. We are to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Sometimes, we just do not have words to help our friends, and that is okay. Our presence can speak volumes. It was actually when Job’s friends started to talk, they made a mistake.

Job’s friends came across as judgmental.

Job’s friends determined it had to be his fault. They blamed him for the pain he was experiencing. They approached the problem with a judgmental attitude. In many ways, Job’s friends were trying to find the speck of dust in his eye while they may have had a plank hanging out of their own eye.

Scripture reminds us to not be judgmental. Matthew 7:1 says, “Do not judge.” It is true good friends should speak truth into one another’s lives, but this should always be done in a gracious manner.

Colossians 4:6 implores, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Job says when we are down, we should always have the loyalty of our friends to count on. He remarks in 6:14, “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not abandon the fear of the Almighty.”

With Jesus as our friend, you and I can always count on this loyalty. Proverbs 18:24 says Jesus sticks closer than a brother. He will always be there to speak truth into our lives in a gracious way.

Job’s friends were not perfect, nor are we. Perhaps we can better our friendships from looking at how Job’s friends responded to his difficult season. How can you be a better friend today?

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Skillful Fishermen

Every occupation has tools which are necessary to get the job done. Fishing is no different. Fishermen have a tackle box filled with various lures and different kinds of bate. Each lure and kind of bate serves a specific purpose, and fishermen are skilled at using the equipment needed for their occupation.

Equipment has evolved, but the skill needed to use the equipment has always been necessary. Fishermen, in Jesus’ day, were skilled at using their equipment.

This is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. They were skilled in using the tools at their disposal.

Like fishermen, Christians have a variety of tools at our disposal. We need to make sure we are skilled at using them. Here are 3 tools and some tips to sharpen your skillfulness in using them.

1. The Bible

We have Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Jesus illustrates how to use Scripture in Matthew 4. Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into the desert for a period of temptation. Satan approached Jesus multiple times trying to tempt him, and each time Jesus responded by quoting the Bible. Jesus used Scripture to overpower temptation.

There is great power in Scripture, and we need to be skilled in using it.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The Psalmist says he placed God’s word in his heart; he stored Scripture in his heart, so he had it to use. The Bible is a powerful tool, and you and I can become skilled in using it by…

  1. Gaining an understanding of the Bible.
  2. Memorizing Scripture to recall in stressful situations.
  3. Using the wisdom within the Bible to guide our life.

2. Prayer

James says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Jesus illustrates how to use this tool. Jesus frequently withdrew to private places spending time in prayer. He prayed about everything.

We have the tool of prayer. It gives us the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with the Lord. The skill comes in using it daily. Prayer is a powerful tool we’ve been given.

3. Community

We are not alone. We have one another, and community is a grand tool for us. Christians are available to each other in all seasons of life.

We celebrate each other’s victories. We support one another in difficult times. We mourn and grieve as a community. We laugh as a family, and work together as a team. We do life together.

Relationship is a valuable tool for us, and we can sharpen our skills by participating. Don’t take on life by yourself. Allow the community to support you, and when your support is requested, be ready and willing to offer it. Community is a tool which can accomplish much for the Lord.

Acting

The Christian toolbox has powerful and effective tools. As Christians, we need to keep our skills sharp. We are more effective if we’re using the tools at our disposal. Take steps today to sharpen your skills. Spend time in the Bible and in prayer. Spend time building relationships with other Christians.

What tools would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.

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Why Fishermen? They Can Relate.

“I don’t think I’m going to go to church any longer,” Beth told her mom from the passenger’s seat. The two were pulling out of the church’s parking lot after attending a Sunday morning service. Beth, a college Sophomore, was home for the weekend, and her mom, Vicki, thought it would be nice if the two attended a church service.

Beth went on to explain, “It’s not that I don’t believe in God. I do; I believe God exists. I’m just not sure God is in there with those people.”

Vicki replied, “Yeah, I see what you are saying. I wonder that too.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus called fishermen? Jesus would have had his pick of people to call, and he chooses to call fishermen. He did not call scholars, individuals well versed in the Old Testament, or religious leaders; 7 of the first 12 disciples were fishermen. Jesus called them because they possessed characteristics, he found desirable. Jesus called fishermen because they were relatable.

Fishermen are relatable.

Jesus spent most of his time outside the synagogue, and the religious leaders would often become upset because of the class of people around him.

Luke 15:1-2 says, “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear Jesus, but the Pharisees and teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus was relatable, and he called fishermen. They were also relatable. Fishermen were hard working, had families to support and bills to pay, and could easily relate to the stresses of everyday life. The fishermen Jesus called didn’t completely understand the Bible or everything taking place, but they could relate to the people who came.

As word concerning Jesus spread, people from all walks of life came to hear his message and accept his invitation of grace. Most people who came to hear Jesus were ordinary folks. They were fishermen, tax collectors, shop owners, government officials; they were moms and dads. They were individuals who had to work today to eat tomorrow. And the fishermen, turned disciples, could relate.

Christians need to be relatable.

Beth and Vicki were struggling because they did not feel they related to the people at church, and maybe the people at church did not feel like they could relate to Beth and Vicki; however, a relationship fostered outside the church walls might reveal lots of common ground. Christians, in many ways, are like the fishermen.

As word concerning Jesus still spreads, it is still ordinary folks who come to hear his message and accept his invitation of grace. Those coming are assembly line workers, customer service representatives, administrative professionals, salespeople; those coming are moms and dads and their families. They desire to find someone who relates to them; someone who has bills to pay and understands the stresses of life.

God called us because we are those people. We are the people who can relate. We are the ordinary folks. We are the friends and neighbors who can relate.

You may feel you have nothing to offer, but you do.

You may feel you have no insight to give, but you do.

You may feel like your story cannot encourage or inspire anyone, but it does.

You and I are relatable to the people around us, and we are how they see the Lord. Jesus didn’t call fishermen because they were experts; he called them because they could relate to people. You and I don’t have to be experts; you and I just need to be ourselves.

Acting

Be intentional with your relationships today. Allow someone to relate to the Lord through you today. It may be through a kind word, generous act, or simple and polite interaction.

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Love is Hard

Did the Bible have to say this?

We watch the news, read the newspapers, and follow social media, and every day we are frustrated at all the hatred in the world. If everyone would just get along, how much better would the world be?

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who hurt you,” Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28.

I like this statement. Don’t you?

I like this statement until I realize Jesus is not just talking to everyone else. He is talking to me also. Love your enemies. Did God really have to put that in the Bible?

God put this statement in the Bible, so the answer is yes, it must be in there.

Stop and think for a moment. How much better would the world be if everyone had sacrificial love for one another? Bullies would not exist. Teamwork would increase in the workplace; backstabbing would stop. Groups with opposing views would compromise rather than sitting in their corners hating each other. The landscape would change drastically.

How to love your enemy?

Here’s how the Bible suggests living out this statement.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule. If we do not want others to be rude to us, why are we rude to them. If we dislike bullying, why do we bully others. We don’t like backstabbers in our office, so why do we participate? We should treat others the way we desire to be treated.

Acting

How well do you live out the Golden Rule? If you are like me, there’s room for improvement, so set a goal to take a small step toward improvement each day. For example, set your daily goal not to be rude to a cashier no matter how you are treated in line.

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Do you have true love?

Love is more than we realize. Here are true love’s characteristics.

The couple had been married for 5 decades. He suffered from dementia, and her strength was fading, but day after day she cared for his needs. She was not compelled to care for his needs by romance, but sacrificial love compelled her.

Love is more than a deep romantic attraction to someone. While there is a place for such feelings as romance and attraction, The Bible encourages us to reach higher in love to obtain sacrificial love for one another.

It is sacrificial love which compels a wife who has been married for 50 years to care for her husband. It is sacrificial love which sends a husband married for decades to visit his wife in the nursing home every day. It is this love which allows a parent to forfeit sleep to care for an ill child. So, what are the characteristics of this love?

The Love Chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, tells us. We also find a challenge in this chapter. To fully obtain the character described in this chapter is a growing process. I know I have more growing to do. How do you measure up?

Characteristics of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says love is…

Love is patient and kind.

A man was lonely, so he decided to get a pet. He did not want to get just any pet. He wanted a unique pet, so he purchased a Centipede. The pet store put the animal in a box and the man returned to his apartment.

That evening, he decided to go out on the town, so he invited the Centipede along. The man opened the box and said, “Centipede, would you like to go out this evening?”

A couple seconds later, the man asked again, “Would you like to go out on the town tonight?”

Hearing no answer, the man thought maybe the Centipede had trouble hearing, so he shouted, “Centipede, do you want to go out tonight?”

A little voice came from the box, “I’ve already said yes! Be patient with me! I’m putting on my shoes!”

Patience can be hard. We live in a world in which everything is a web search away. We want what we want when we want it, but sacrificial love learns to be patient.

Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.

Love is not irritable.

“By now he had learned enough to know that when he was getting annoyed at somebody else it was usually because there was something that he himself should be doing and he wasn’t doing it,” says Lev Grossman.

Love keeps no record of being wrong.

  1. S. Lewis comments, “Everyone believes forgiveness is a grand idea until he or she has something to forgive.” Forgiveness is hard but necessary for sacrificial love.

Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

God is love.

1 John 4:8 says, “God is love,” so if God is love, here are God’s characteristics.

God is patient and kind. God is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. God is not irritable and keeps no record of being wrong. God does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. God never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How do you measure up?

1 John 4:9-12 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God but if we love each other God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

How do you measure up? Put yourself in the list of characteristics above. Can you say, “I am patient and kind. I am not jealous,”

I need to grow. How did you do? Are there characteristics in which you lack?

Acting

Make a mental note of the characteristics in which you fall short. Ask the Lord to help you grow in those areas.

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