Conflict Resolution – Part 2

In my last post, we saw that internal personal relationships are the price we pay for being human. Hard as you try, you cannot avoid them and as our title suggests, but they can be resolved.

One of the common places we face conflict is in the workplace. What do you do when asked to do something that is against your personal convictions or beliefs? You cannot go to your employer and dogmatically refuse to do what they want. (Unless you want to be fired!) So, how could resolve the conflict and both parties be satisfied?

In Daniel Chapter One, we have the account of four young Israelite men who were asked to disobey a Biblical teaching that they had obeyed since their childhood. The backdrop of this story is that the Jewish nation had been taken into captivity by the heathen country of Babylonia. The king searched for the wisest men among the captives. Those selected would go through a three-year training program [Daniel 1:3-5] and at the end of three years they would be brought before the king and he would choose those to be his advisors.

As part of this program, the candidates were compelled to eat from the king’s table. Seems logical to feed them the very best food if they were to be healthy and intelligent! But they refused the food because it had been offered to a pagan deity. Acts 15:29 Daniel knew the goal of eating the king’s food was for the candidates to be at their best when they were presented to the king. Daniel 1:10 Daniel resolved this conflict by offering him an alternative to eating the forbidden food. Vs.12-14

Daniel proposed they only kosher food for ten days and then compare them with those eating the king’s food. By suggesting an alternative both parties achieved the desired goal.  vs. 15 So, the next time you are asked to compromise your convictions/beliefs; suggest an alternative to achieve the desired goal. 

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Three Pounds Of God, Please

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I came across this poem recently –  and wanted to share it with you.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
— Wilbur Rees

My first thought when I read this was, “EXACTLY!” Isn’t that exactly how Christians act? We want all the benefits of the title “Christian” but want nothing to do with any of the sacrifices that would come with more than just a small portion on our plate. Study after study shows that there is little difference between the Christian and the non-believer in the way we act when it comes to divorce, pornography, domestic violence, charity, volunteerism, or basically any other category you want to pick. The reason? For the most part, we’re $3 Christians. The key line in the poem is this: I want ecstasy, not transformation. People want to be happy, not Christ-like.

I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of people who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior do not. Allow me to explain. I believe that they (and most ‘Christians’) have conformed to a lifestyle without being transformed by the Holy Spirit! They know that being a believer means you do certain things [read your Bible, attend church, give money to the church, etc] but they have not been transformed; there has been no change internally. 

When you talk to them about a real, dynamic relationship with Christ; they stare at you like you are speaking a foreign language and you are. ” But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” They cannot understand because there has been no change in their spirit. 2 Cor. 5:17 

For many $3 is all they’re willing to pay. But for them I ask this simple question: When you die and stand before Jesus (and you will) what are you going to tell him? When Jesus asks you why you didn’t go all in knowing what he expected of you and instead you chose to be a $3 Christian what are you going to say?

Don’t be a $3 Christian. Stop conforming to the pattern of this world! Make God and His ways your priority! Allow God to transform your life – go all in. 

If You ask Me…

In my last blog, I spoke of two different views on life: a worldview and a Biblical view. Whichever view you choose it will dictate the decisions you make and how you live your life. In today’s culture, most people view truth as relative.  That is what is true for me is not necessarily true for you. But the truth is NOT relative. Take, for example, Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father [Heaven.] John 14:5-7 Many people do not accept that. They feel there are many ways to heaven and their way is just as viable as yours. 

So often we look to “experts” to determine what is true or false. I once had a person ask me a question concerning a relational issue they were facing. They asked what I thought about the issue and I said,“Well, the Bible says...” They cut me short with, “There you go again always bringing up what the Bible has to say!” I asked for your opinion!”  If you ask me my opinion on what color to paint your living; no problem, I will give you my opinion. But if you ask me a question that Bible addresses; I’ll tell what Scripture says!

The Bible was given to us, not as a law book, but more as a manual for living. When we violate a Biblical Principle (knowingly or unknowingly) there are consequences. So it pays us to study God’s Word. Jesus says both knowing and applying the Word creates the foundation for our lives: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” Matthew 7:24

Your Life View

We have all heard the question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” It sounds like a trick question but it isn’t. Either answer is correct, that is according to your perspective.

Your perspective on life is called your ‘life view.’ It is how YOU see and interpret life. (Half full / Half empty) Most people are not even aware they have a life-view but they do.

Basically, there are only views of life: a worldly view and a Christian view. Your view is critically important because it dictates how you live your life! This is why two totally different people can experience the identical situation and respond in a “Don’t be like the people of this world but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.” Romans 12:2.

I remember reading a perfect illustration of this. Matthew Henry, a renowned writer, and minister he wrote of a man who once stole his wallet. In reflecting on the incident, Henry said, “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” Matthew Henry knew how to make lemonade out of a lemon — how to be grateful despite a bad experience.

The Battle: “Mind” Field

Jesus Christ was once asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 

The great teacher and writer Oswald Chambers wrote, “Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.” I believe that is true and if the mind is greatly valued by God; then you can be sure Satan is going  to fight it. The mind is the most important part of spiritual warfare. It is amazing how little Christ-followers give attention to safeguarding their minds.

Satan does not own this world but he does have access to it. His influence is seen everywhere – in government, education, entertainment, the family, business…everywhere! That is why Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”  And yet we allow just about any thought to enter our thinking.

On the battlefield one of the most dangerous places is a mine field.  What makes it so dangerous is that you do not know where the explosive are hidden.The enemy is not going to put little red flags everywhere a mine is planted. That is why you need to ask yourself, “Where did that thought come from?”

Every temptation has its origin in the mind. It is a thought before it is an action. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:28] The implication is what you are dwelling on in your mind.

“Satan is more concerned about what you think and believe than anything else.” [David Jeremiah] We must not fall for Satan’s trap. “I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.” [2 Corinthians 2:11]

The battle is for your mind. Guard Your heart.

Are You Different?

One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us.  Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted. 

Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. … Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.

  • Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
  • Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
  • 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
  • Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.

Seven Spiritual Truths on Wealth

We live in a world that is obsessed with money.  As a whole:   wealth
People love money
People live for money
People believe that money will solve at least most of their problems.
It would not be an over-statement that people worship money. They love to make it, have it and spend it on themselves. On the other hand, God expects His followers to understand and reflect His view of money.
Here are seven spiritual truths every Christ follower should follow:
1. God owns everything and man manages His property
The concept of God’s ownership is introduced in the very first verse of the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…

2. God is the source of all wealth
Since God owns everything, everything we see comes from the hand of God. The tendency is to think otherwise. Deut. 8:17                 

  3. You cannot serve both God and wealth God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. God expects us to have money without becoming addicted to it. Luke 18:18-22                     

 4. The love of money is a root cause of many problems
The love of money will rob you of contentment.  Eccl. 5:1                                                         The love of money hurts your relationship with God 1 Timothy 6:9-10

5. God blesses the person who honors God with his wealth.
God teaches us to invest our money in His Kingdom 2 Cor. 9:6-7 

6. Earthly riches are temporal. Treasures in heaven are eternal Mt. 6:19

7. When God has your money; He has your heart. Mark 12:41-44