Conflict is inevitable. Jesus shows us how to deal with it.
Matthew 5:23 “If you are presenting an offering at the altar and you know that your brother has something against you, go first and be reconciled with your brother.”
Matthew 18: 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and show them their faults in private.”
3. Welcoming the Stranger
Matthew 25: 35 I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
Matt. 25:40 Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren you did it to me.
“The stranger that lives with you shall be to you like the native, and you shall love him [or her] as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your G-d” (Leviticus 19:34 )
Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
4. Fellowship with other Christians
God made us as social beings. Sociology tells us that our individual worldview is largely shaped and reinforced by our social milieu. When we spend time with other Christians, our faith walk is supported. We all have blind spots. Friends who can "speak the truth in love," to us are true friends indeed.
Jesus was not a loner. He called 12 disciples. He was friends with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They did not always "get" him. But he enjoyed his time with them. He turned the water into wine at the wedding celebration, to the amazement and delight of those at the party. He showed up after his physical death to cook breakfast on the beach for the disciples as they returned from their fishing trip. He cried when he discovered that Lazarus had died. Jesus sets us an example of fellowship and membership in a group.
“He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realized what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not ‘Who are you?’ but ‘So it was you all the time.’ All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered...He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a man.”
5. Think Good Thoughts
“When tears come, I breathe deeply and rest. I know I am swimming in a hallowed stream where many have gone before. I am not alone, crazy, or having a nervous breakdown . . . My heart is at work. My soul is awake.”
― Mary Margaret Funk, Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life
"To obsess on past negative actions shows a lack of faith in God. It doesn't matter who was wrong: parents, teachers, authorities or myself. It is over. When thoughts rise, the believer prays once again with wholehearted faith. If feelings of dejection linger, they are only thoughts. If attachment to negative feelings dominates one's consciousness, this is not compunction; it is lack of faith in God's great goodness. Christ asks us to put our head on his heart and let him carry our burdens. Honest remorse takes away any trace of wrongdoing. The news is so good that we have a hard time enjoying it."
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change
6. Trust in God's plan for you
"it is very much easier to do what god made you for than not."
"I didn’t go into mission or need to be called – I was told to go and that seemed to be very clear from Scripture, and every time I prayed. God spoke to me through Scripture, a dream, a vision and this was in 1965, a time when we were not talking about these things. The only thing I did was to decide where and how. "
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become confirmed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren."
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
7. Practice detachment from things and ego
"Everyone thinks of changing the world. But no one thinks of changing himself."
"There is no greatness where there is no goodness, simplicity and truth."
"The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity."
'We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.'
1. PRACTICE SILENCE
"Silence is the first language of God. The rest is poor imitation." ---St. John of the Cross
Kings 19:11-14 Elijah hears God's voice not in the earthquake, wind or the fire, but in the "still, small voice."
Unless you are Joan of Arc, or Agnes of God, you probably do not hear the voice of God with your ears. We are all able to "hear" God's voice speaking in our hearts.
2. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS
“Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.”
― Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Our Father in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever.
Matthew 5:44 “I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.."
“All through the short afternoon they kept coming, the people who counted themselves Father's friends. Young and old, poor and rich, scholarly gentlemen and illiterate servant girls—only to Father did it seem that they were all alike. That was Father's secret: not that he overlooked the differences in people; that he didn't know they were there.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place
The man who wrestled with Jacob, the angels who visited Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, the stranger who met the disciples on the road to Emmaus, God comes to us, when we least expect it, in the meeting of a stranger. If we are to break free of the tribalism that infects so much of our world, we must be in the habit of welcoming the stranger and seeking God in that interaction.
“In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
“No matter what provokes it, anger blinds the soul’s eyes, preventing it from seeing the Sun of Righteousness.”
+ St John Cassian, On the Eight Vices
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
"The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God.
All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility.
Humility, in its turn, can be achieved only through faith, fear of God, gentleness and the shedding of all possessions.
It is by means of these that we attain perfect love, through the grace and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory through all the ages. Amen."
+ St John Cassian, On the Eight Vices
From the Mayo Clinic...
The health benefits of positive thinking
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Our Reformed theology affirms that God has a plan for each one of us. When we pray and follow what God puts in our hearts, we act in accordance with that plan. God provides what we need to carry out our mission.
From Joyce Meyer:
"We all want good things to happen in our lives, but too often we want it now...not later. When it doesn't happen that way, we are tempted to ask, "When, God, when?" Most of us need to grow in the area of trusting God instead of focusing on the "when" question. If you're missing joy and peace, you're not trusting God. If your mind feels worn out all the time, you're not trusting God.
The tendency to want to know about everything that's going on can be detrimental to your Christian walk. Sometimes knowing everything can be uncomfortable and can even hurt you. I spent a large part of my life being impatient, frustrated and disappointed because there were things I didn't know. God had to teach me to leave things alone and quit feeling that I needed to know everything. I finally learned to trust the One who knows all things and accept that some questions may never be answered. We prove that we trust God when we refuse to worry. "
"Blessed are the poor in spirit. for their's in the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:23
“Therefore, I say to you, don't worry about your life, what you'll eat or what you'll drink, or about your body, what you'll wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothes?" Mt. 6:25