Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 19:11 NIV
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence.
President Ulysses Grant was a remarkable man. He reputedly displayed more patience than any President before his time. Once he came downstairs to take a drive in his buggy. The buggy was not there. He smoked his cigar, and waited and waited. He walked up and down the portico, and would “right-about” in regular army style, and walked up and down, and smoked again. After waiting until the patience of an ordinary man would have been worn out, Albert his driver finally appeared. Instead of railing out at Albert for his slow appearance, he said something pleasant to him, took the reins and drove off.
We need patience to sustain meaningful relationships. We need to develop the capacity to tolerate people, just as we expect to be understood and tolerated by others. To be patient is to be slow to anger—not easily irritated. This requires self-control, giving us the inner space to give others the benefit of the doubt.
God is patient. He declared to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). We have the capacity to be exactly this too since He created us in His image.
Marriages have been destroyed by quick tempers. Friendships have been strained by easily offended parties, and employees have had their morale dampened by bosses who lash out at them at the slightest provocation; but you are different. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. You have the Spirit of God, and you manifest self-control and patience.
Today, God is at work in you to will and to do, according to His good pleasure. If your relationships have hitherto been strained by impatience, God is rebuilding them today, in Jesus’ name. You have what it takes!
Memorize & Meditate:
“Love is patient, love is kind….” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Lord, grant me the grace to continually be patient. The love of God has been shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit, so I am patient and kind. I am not easily angered. I bear the fruit of patience, and walk in it, in Jesus’ name.
Admonishing the congregation from the promise of the week which is in Psalm 91:3-4, Pastor Nomthi at the January 29 Sunday service said that God is always mindful of their well-being and always watches out for them, just like a chicken protects her chicks from hawks. In her words, “If a hen can see to the protection of her chicks and covers them with her feathers to protect them from harm, how much more will your heavenly Father see to your protection and make sure you don’t get harmed?”
Believers, she said, need to be bold to confront the devil and his cohorts irrespective of their threats. This is because God will always keep them safe and protected. “You are kept safe in His hands and He will make sure no harm comes near you because He is the Creator of the universe,” she said.
She noted that full protection can only be guaranteed when one continually stays under God’s wings of protection. Moving outside His will and arms, she said, will lead to harm. “Don’t go away from His presence because His presence is where you get protection,” she stated.
Pastor Taiwo @Sunday Service
Pastor Taiwo at the January 29 Sunday service said that one major reason why believers do not usually get their blessings or possess their possessions is the lack of spiritual sight to see that (more…)
Today’s Scripture: Matthew 25:23
His master replied, ’Well done good and faithful servant!’
The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realized that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live all over again. Wellington thought for a moment, and then replied, “I’d give more praise.”
According to William James, the renowned American psychologist and philosopher, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” Experts across disciplines, including human resource practitioners, have since realized the need to deal with this legitimate human desire. Genuine appreciation has the potential to inspire people to behave better and strive to live up to their potential. And because we are interdependent beings who thrive on relationships and collaborations, understanding how to apply genuine appreciation becomes imperative.
Take a break from seeing and acknowledging only the negatives in the people around you. Adopt a better approach: appreciation. Let your wife or husband know you appreciate the value she/he adds to your life. Take note of their strong points and compliment them. Tell your children how much of a blessing they are and how beautiful and smart you think they are.
Appreciation should be extended to parents and siblings, employers and employees, pastors, friends, and neighbours. Give a call to say ’thank you’ to someone. Send a handwritten note. By all means show appreciation. The Bible states that God inhabits the praises of His people, implying the premium we place on being praised and appreciated is not out of tune with the divine nature.
Today, take time out to show special appreciation to those you love and those around you; and let it become a habit.
Memorize & Meditate:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
Father, I praise You. I appreciate all that You have done for me. Grant me the grace to be appreciative of those around me. Let my words today encourage those around me and bring out the best in them, in Jesus’ name.
Today’s Scripture: Galatians 6:1 KJV
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
After 15 years of marriage, a couple began to have more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work, so they agreed on an idea floated by the wife. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a “Fault” box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: “leaving the jelly top off the jar,” “wet towels on the shower floor,” “dirty socks not in hamper,” on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, “I love you!”
It does not require much effort to find faults in relationships. It takes a lot more however to empathize; to approach the faults of those around us with kindness and love, finding constructive ways to help them overcome their weaknesses. Harsh criticism has been the ruin of many a relationship. Oftentimes, we mean well but allow our emotions convey our concern with more force than it should.
The truth is, people respond better to criticisms meted out in love than out of resentment or frustration. Relationships generally work better when we criticize less. In fact, the most effective way to deal with the weakness of others is not to lash out at them, but to pray. Take the faults of the ones you love, first, to God. If you need to confront them after that, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to do it in gentleness and wisdom. Be slow to criticize. This is how God relates with us; and this is how He desires we relate with others. Today, make a commitment to criticize less and empathize more. Receive the grace to bear the faults of those you love in gentleness and wisdom. Let your desire to see them become better drive you to pray for them.
Memorize & Meditate:
“Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:13 (The Amplified Bible)
Father, grant me the grace to be less critical of others, to bear their faults in wisdom and love. I am not a fault-finder; I believe the best of others, in Jesus’ name.
Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The year was 1934, and Hitler’s plague of anti-Semitism was blowing across Europe. Caught up in the midst of it was an 11-year-old Jew called Heinz. Heinz lived in the Bavarian village of Furth. His father had lost his job as a school teacher. Hitler’s thugs were overrunning the streets. It was a dangerous time to be a Jew. Young Heinz would often move to the other side of the street upon sighting the out-for-trouble Hitler youths. He could however not run forever. One day, he ran into some Hitler’s bullies intent on beating him up; but he got out of the confrontation unhurt, without throwing a single blow. What did he throw? Words! He spoke kindly to the thugs, persuading them to jettison the idea of a fight. There, on the streets of Furth in 1934, Heinz learnt the power of words in resolving conflicts. Years later, the world would remember him by his Anglicized name, Henry Kissinger, one of the greatest diplomats that ever lived.
Words possess the inherent power to build and destroy. Relationships can be torn apart by words wrongly applied; spouses get offended beyond recourse, children are set on the wrong path, employee morale is damaged, and even church folks are hurt. On the other hand, relationships can be built and healed by words. A few kind words can make your loved ones feel good about themselves and inspire them to reciprocate. Words like “I’m sorry,” “Please,” “I love you” can douse the tension in a relationship and create an atmosphere for the mutual expression of warmth and love.
The truth is, words proceed from the abundance of one’s heart. We can train our lips to utter words of edification and grace by allowing the Word of God dwell richly in us. And because you have the Holy Spirit, your words will build bridges and preserve peace, in Jesus’ name. Perhaps your words have not always come out right, even when you meant well. It is time to ask God to help you. Ask the Holy Spirit to season your words with salt so that you speak what you mean henceforth and communicate love and concern. Your words will douse conflicts. You will minister grace to your hearers, and your relationships will awaken to new dimensions of love, joy and fulfillment, in Jesus’ name.
Memorize & Meditate:
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Lord, cause the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth to be acceptable in Your sight. Let my speech continually be seasoned with salt, conferring grace to my hearers, in Jesus’ name.
Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4:31
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Two monks came across an old woman sitting at the edge of a river. She could not cross over on her own because there was no bridge. So the first monk offered to help. Together, they carried the old woman across, dropped her and journeyed on. A few miles on, the second monk began to complain: “Look at my clothes,” he said. “They are filthy from carrying that woman across the river, and my back still hurts from lifting her. I can feel it getting stiff.” The first monk just smiled and nodded his head. A few more miles up the road, the second monk griped again, “My back is hurting me so badly, and it is all because we had to carry that silly woman across the river! I cannot go any farther because of the pain.” The first monk looked down at his partner and said: “Your back hurts because you are still carrying the woman. But I set her down five miles ago.”
Many relationships are plagued by lingering hurts and offences, carried on by both or either party. Sometimes hurts are carried in from past relationships and they become toxic to the present. We must learn to let go. To let go, we must learn the art of needful forgetting. God does not allow our past offences prejudice His expectations of us. The Bible says He throws our offences into the sea of forgetfulness. So do not allow the past offence of a person—your husband, wife, children, employer, employee, friend or colleague—cause you to hold back love, affection or trust. This would only strain your relationship and hurt you more.
Also, refuse to allow the hurts of your childhood or youth becloud the expected bliss of your present relationships. Keep your relationships fresh, unpolluted by hurts and the offences of the past. Learn to let go. Learn to forget. The truth is that no one can help you better than the Holy Spirit. Take your hurts and offences to the Master and drop them at His feet. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you. Ingest the Word of God, meditate on It. Hold fast to It. Nothing can offend you with the Word of God firmly in place in your heart.
Today, the Lord will comfort you, help you offload the burden of past and present hurts and offences, and give you the grace to meet every relationship with a renewed sense of love, peace and joy, in Jesus’ name.
Memorize & Meditate:
“Great peace have they who love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165 (KJV)
Father, I lay every hurt at Your feet today, even those I am unconscious of. Help me Lord to let go o f every hurt. Let Your love reign in me. I declare that I love everyone around me for who they are. I am free from past hurts and offences, in Jesus’ name.
Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 13:16
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
A trained nurse was asked if she did not grow weary of her work. She replied: “Yes, when I have to attend to rich patients who might hire someone else to wait on them; then my head aches and my hands are heavy. But give me my basket of foods and medicines, and let me go among the poor who can pay me only with their eyes, and I can imagine no greater happiness.”
Service should be a thing of great joy. We find joy in serving others because we know God is pleased with such actions. And what greater joy is there other than knowing that our actions bring pleasure to our heavenly Father. Service is a thing of greater joy because its rewards are reaped on earth and in heaven. You will reap the rewards of your service and you will be filled with joy. Few things bring as much joy as seeing the impact we can make in the lives of other people. Only a few people ever experience this because only a few people ever go out of their way to help others. I find the preceding story of the nurse very inspiring. We can also find happiness serving those with no apparent means to pay us back, knowing that reward transcends what any earthly being can provide.
The Lord will multiply your joy and His joy will be your strength today, and always. Serve cheerfully and abide in God’s favour, in Jesus name.
Memorize & Meditate:
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Prayer & Confession:
Father, I thank You for the privilege to be able to serve others with my gifts and resources. I make a commitment to do so cheerfully always, in Jesus name. The joy of the Lord is my strength and my joy shall be full, in Jesus name! Amen.
So many Christians, according to Pastor Nomthi, are like the proverbial woman who had a heavy load on her head even while enjoying a free ride. She said this at the January 22 Sunday service while admonishing the congregation from Matthew 11:28, which is the promise for the week. “As a Christian, you don’t need to carry your load anymore. Take the load off your heart and drop it at Jesus’ feet in exchange for His rest,” she said.
She noted that the death of Jesus Christ has paved way for a resting and refreshing place for anyone who believes in Him and so believers should make good use of this rest in Christ. This, according to her, would make them affect their environment positively and attract others to that resting place. “If you carry that load in your heart, it will disturb other people because they will see the impact of the load in your heart. So, come to Christ and get restored and energized for the journey,” she enjoined.