Shine Like a Star

by Michelle Lazurek

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure “children of God, without fault, in a crooked in a crooked and depraved generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.     Philippians 2:14-15 NIV

Opening up my Facebook page one day, in my news feed, I read:

“Those dummies in government, they should be fired!”

“I can’t believe Kim Kardashian…”

“I had another terrible day…”

I wouldn’t have minded reading these status updates on occasion, but for the second straight week, I had had enough.

“Isn’t there anything good going on in people’s lives?” I asked myself.

Depressed and frustrated, I contemplated closing my Facebook account down permanently. I didn’t need any additional negativity in my life. I hadn’t had the best week, either. It would have been easy to post my own rant for all my friends and family to see. But instead, I chose to redeem the situation rather than quit altogether.

I wrote a post on how proud I was of my kids and husband. And you know what? I found that my attitude about how bad my life had all but disappeared. Moving from self-centeredness to others-centeredness made it almost impossible to wallow in my own misery. As I began to count my blessings, I quickly realized there were more of them than I originally thought.

In the midst of difficult circumstances, we need to go to the Lord with our concerns and complaints rather than to social media. He will remind us of His deep love for us. We will no longer need to go to social media for that fleeting moment of praise or attention. The inward love we have for God will eventually pour out in every thought and subsequent action, including what we write on social media.

Stars can’t shine if they are hidden behind thick clouds or fog. Yet, even one star can reflect light in a darkened sky. As God’s children, we are not immune from trials in our lives. However, how we choose to react to those circumstances can make the difference in whether people see Christ in us or not.

Protect your heart from the sin of anger and resentment by opening your heart to open and honest communication with the Lord. We can choose to shine our light to the world both on social media and in real life by allowing God’s love to overflow out of us and into the lives of others.

michelle lazurekAbout the author: About the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, national speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she loves to help people encounter God and engage with the world around them. When not writing, you can find her enjoying a Starbucks latte and collecting vintage records. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com.

Join the conversation: What kinds of things do you post to keep things positive on Facebook?

 

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Preventing Resentment

by Julie Zine Coleman

When we were dating, my husband had the habit including four or five pink demerit slips he had earned at Bible college in each of his letters to me. At one point I asked him just how many he possessed, since he appeared to be drawing from a never-ending supply. He showed me the stack in the top drawer of his desk. It was impressive.

Now don’t get the wrong idea—they were all for relatively small misdemeanors, like leaving the lights on or the bed unmade. Over time, however, they accumulated into enough of a statement that he was called into the dean’s office to give an account for his actions. Apparently small infractions, over a long period of time, can add up.

This principle is true in relationships as well. It is why Paul, in describing a godly kind of love, reminded the Corinthians: “[Love is] not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV) In this simple description, Paul gives powerful preventive medicine for all of our relationships: choosing forgiveness over bitterness.

The Old Man of the Mountain, a massive granite formation which once overlooked Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, stood for thousands of years. It was the state symbol, and beloved enough to earn a place on the New Hampshire state quarter. Thousands of tourists stopped each year on their way up I-93 to take photographs of this famous landmark. But one night in May 2003, during a heavy rain storm, the Old Man formation collapsed into the valley below. What felled such a huge granite structure, after it had stood for thousands of years? Tiny individual molecules of water.

The collapse of the Old Man was a result of small amounts of water seeping into cracks year after year, freezing and expanding, making the fissures just a bit wider each time. Finally, the cracks became wide enough to weaken the entire structure, and the monument crumbled.

Elisabeth Elliot wrote of this principle within the context of marriage: “Marriages break up when ‘small’ things accumulate and resentments build. Love is the intention of unity. Resentment is the destroyer of unity.” Making frequent decisions to forgive is crucial to the health of any relationship.

Easier said than done, you are probably thinking. You are not alone—Peter struggled with this idea as well. “How many times must I forgive?” he asked the Lord. He then offered, “Up to seven times?” Rabbinic standards required forgiving up to three offenses. Peter had more than doubled the standard. Surely seven times, the number denoting completeness, was generous enough.

Jesus surprised Peter with His answer. “Seventy times seven,” he replied. (Matthew 18:21-22)

How can anyone do that? By remembering what God has done for us. An ability to forgive reflects an understanding of how much we have been forgiven ourselves. We choose to love because we know we are loved. We give grace because He has given it to us. And in the process of imitating our Savior, we understand a bit more of what it took for him to bear our sin. Choosing to put ourselves aside in the interest of restoring others is a perfect way to identify with Jesus Christ.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How do you avoid resentment?