Expectations. What we project on others; expecting them to behave, say, do as we think they ought to; which results in us being disappointed, upset, offended and angry when they do not behave as we want them to.
So often, we think that other people should be like us. We assume that they have the same perceptions and way of thinking that we do and become frustrated when it becomes apparent that they do not think like us. I was thinking of Martha and Mary in the infamous Luke 10:38-42 story. Jesus and everyone in His entourage descends on Martha’s house and this throws Martha into a frenzy of preparing food to be hospitable for everyone who walked through her door. I can understand Martha at that moment. I would probably do the same, except that maybe, I now have the option of ordering pizza. But, if Jesus walked through my doorway, I would worry if the house was all clean for Him, if my floors had been mopped or if they are sticky. And, I would definitely rope my husband into helping me make everything acceptable for Jesus.
So, I can understand Martha’s frustration with Mary. Of all the times to go and do nothing, this was not it! The injustice of having to do everything and not being given help to do it. I wonder if Martha was upset at Jesus for showing up and expecting her to do everything without help especially since He was encouraging Mary to sit and do nothing. Perhaps that was why Martha directed her question at Jesus, to ask Him to say something to get Mary up and moving. I can only surmise. But, Jesus did the opposite and instead, basically told Martha to do the same thing as Mary. Be still and know that He is God.
Martha had been projecting her expectations on Mary, thinking that she should respond to Jesus’ arrival in the same manner as Martha did. She wanted Mary to do what she thought was the correct thing; doing based on her own ability and capacity. Martha probably figured that she had to do it all if it was going to get done at all and if she was not doing it, who would feed Jesus and His entourage? She had forgotten that Jesus is more than capable and able to make miracles happen. Martha was relying on her own ability and expected that Mary do the same thing, rather than to lean on and draw from Jesus’ strength and ability to get things accomplished. Which was why she was frustrated and flustered.
She had also forgotten that Jesus did not ask her nor expect her to do what she was doing.
Jesus, being the Son of God, was more than capable of feeding them all if He had to and by doing things in her own manner and by her own ability, Martha might have forfeited herself from being part of a miracle Jesus could have and might have performed right there in her house. She had thought that it was expected of her to do as she was doing, perhaps because society and good manners dictated it; but not only that, she had expected her sister to be like her and to behave in the same manner.
So often, we act like Martha, doing things because we thought we should as Christians because of others’ expectations, and then we think that others should do the same as us (I am not referring to sin here, or being disobedient to the Word of God) and when it does not happen in the way we expected, we get frustrated and upset. Or become self righteous. Instead, we need to find out what the better way is and do that, lean on Jesus and rely on His abilities rather than our own and rest in Him to know that He is God and more than able to accomplish that which He said He would do in our lives. Let us not get all riled up, frustrated, offended and upset because we have chosen to do things in our own abilities or based on other’s expectations and are now expecting others to do the same when they have chosen to go a better way.
Like Mary, let’s sit at His feet constantly, waiting for His direction, and His timing instead of working ourselves up in a frenzy and possibly missing out on a miracle that He would have done had we just waited on Him.
Peppa Pig just LOVES jumping in muddy puddles! – Makes me wonder just how many of us like doing the same?
Muddy puddles come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we don’t just love jumping in them but we wallow in them as well.
The muddy puddles of taking offence and hanging onto that offence is probably one of the biggest muddy puddles we will have to encounter in our lives.
Taking a guess, I would suggest everybody – every single one of us has at some point taken offence at some stage in their lives, some HUGE and some slight, regardless – offence is offence.
Some of us get so offended with others that we carry that offence or resentment for the rest of our lives. In other people the offence is hardly noticeable, they seem to able to brush it off like water on a ducks back.
Other people can put up with the most pointed offences, even personal attacks, bullying etc and can, even though they may get hurt in the process, recover quite quickly and seem to overlook it all and carry no spite at all to the offender.
So why do we get offended and what does God say about the ‘wallowing in offence’ that some us are prone to do?
Offence usual happens when someone says something to us, about us or about our family that we interpret or perceive to be insulting, wrong or just plain nasty! We could be blamed for something we didn’t do or something we failed to do and so we take offence.
We could interpret someones actions to be negative to us, to be inconsiderate or even plain thoughtless towards us. Anything can make us offended.
So offence can be pretty dangerous – it can isolate us from people and friends but more importantly it can isolate us from God and have a real impact on our very salvation, depending on how we cope with the offence and what we decide to do with it.
Some of us even become offended with God; blaming Him for not taking into consideration all of the ‘things’ we have done for Him, or “I gave my heart to God and look what happened’ syndrome.
We can see that offence is so wrong – in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us just how solemnly He looks at the sin of offence “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of sea” Jesus said of those who committed offence.
So what do we do when we are offended – should we reach for the millstone or do something about it?
Whether your offence is towards God or towards other people, the way you handle it can either make you bitter and twisted or make you stronger and strange as it sounds the stronger you get the more humble you become.
Humility is the key to getting over offence! The proud find it so difficult and prefer to wallow in the mud of offence and unlike Peppa they don’t just like ‘jumping’ into muddy puddles, but rather wallow in the mud of offence until it gets into the very pause of their inner beings.
Such people live in bitterness and anger, preferring confrontation with others and being the ‘victim’ in all situations. God can’t work with people like this; there is no room for God to grow this person; there is no room for such people to reach out to God either.
Where there is bitterness and offence, there you will find, frustration, unforgiveness and all sorts of envy and strife.
Alternatively with God working in your life there are the gifts of love, humility, patience, kindness and self control as mentioned in the Galatians 12.
Maybe as you have read this, you, like me have been reminded of your past relationships and some of the offences that may have occurred with them. Are there any that need to be ‘put right’?
If you have been ‘convicted’ of some offence in the past or present, make sure before you do anything to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through and to make your thoughts and your tongue pure before Him.
Ask God to give you the wonderful gift of humility; a humility that will see you accept what the other says even though inside of you it may feel offensive. Ask God to give you patience and endurance and to offer that person the wonderful gift of your real love.
It’s definitely time to step out of the muddy puddle, clean yourself off, and like the prodigal son, come back to the Father. your relationship with him will be amazingly fulfilling; your relationship with others will never be the same – you will start to see them through the eyes of Jesus.
Stay quiet before God and allow Him to show you what you should do. Big blessings to you as you continue to grow in humility, forgiveness and in the handling of offence.
I made it! Today marked a milestone in my short 18 years of living. I graduated high school! The last four years have been an incredible time of growing and maturing, ups, downs, and fellowship. I wouldn’t change a single one of those years (except maybe to add time to my senior year). So, I’m about to take you on a quick reflection on the last four years.
Freshman year: Oh boy. What a big step. I remember walking into my first day of high school as a little immature and scared kid. Now it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, but it was a little nerve-racking for awhile. As I told a friend a few weeks ago, I made some mistakes almost right off the bat. I let the people I was around and my own selfish ambitions shape who I was becoming, how I talked, and how I thought. Somewhere along the right I got back to who I was and I remembered Who I represented. God made me (and everyone of you) for a particular purpose. I forgot that for a time. Freshman year is when I started strengthening the friendships I began over my elementary and junior high career. I lost some friends, but I guess that happens.
Sophomore year: Honestly, I dont recall much of my sophomore year. At least, nothing major really stick out for me. This was the first time I spoke at church though! That was more nerve-racking than my first day of high school for sure!
Junior year: Wow. This was probably the hardest year I had academically. I was so busy with classes that legitimately challenged me. My intention here is not to brag, but school has always come fairly easily for me. I make good grades and most of what I learn will stick with me for quite awhile. Junior year was a test and I passed. I continue to do well in school and make friends. Some of those friends that made a lasting impact on me will be discussed in a minute. Junior year is really when I started maturing both as a person and in my faith.
Senior year: This year was different than all the rest. I took a couple dual credit classes at a local university. That was a great experience! I also spent a lot of time in the front office (my school as a class where I got to work in the front office). I’m extremely glad I chose to do that (again I’ll tell you more about that in a moment). This year was incredibly fun and exciting! I met some new friends, I made a college decision, and obviously graduation was huge! As for my college decision, I will be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the intent of going into some sort of ministry field after college. I have to do my first year online because of limited space on campus, but I have a good shot of moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2015.
Friends that made a lasting impact: Now don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of friends that I will never forget. The thing is, if I wrote about all of them, I might as well write a book. I could fill pages. I’ll spare you the time and effort by just writing about a few that are really the closest to me.
First, my brother and I have really formed the relationship brothers should have. We used to fight a lot as kids. We didn’t get along. Yes, it’s normal for sibling to quarrel. But, we just never got really close until around my eighth grade year. Maybe even my freshman year. The point is, now we are best friends. We set aside what was hindering our relationship from progressing and allowed our faith in Jesus to shape our friendship. I love Joey and I’m grateful for the relationship we have now.
I have another friend named Craig. I knew Craig a little bit in elementary because we played on the same sports teams and of that good junk. He didn’t go to the same school though until eighth grade. What I love most about my friendship with Craig is the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him grow in his walk with Christ. I don’t claim to have any huge part in that growth, but I’ve been completely delighted when we have had the opportunity to discuss the Word and I’ve been delighted when he has had questions about God that I was able to give him an answer to. He’s really been an encouragement to me through the years! He knows what it takes, or rather Who it takes to live the Good Life. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Like Craig, I’ve knew the next guy just a little in elementary. Trace also came to my school in eighth grade. Trace is an incredible athlete! I know if he works hard, he can achieve a lot both in life and in his future athletic endeavors. Through high school, Trace and I would poke fun at each other (always in a friendly way, of course!), but he has also been an encouragement. Just watching how hard he works to be the best he can be is what has encouraged me the most. I wish him nothing but the best!
The next friend is Drake. To be quite honest and a little blunt, Drake is good at aggravating people. It isn’t often I show frustration and anger in public, but at times Drake has successfully brought it out of me. And on purpose I might add! Regardless, he quickly became one of my best friends. Even though we spent much of our time together joking with each other, he’s always been a person I could talk to just to get things off my chest. All of these friends that I have listed (and the last one I will list) are people I can talk to if I need to. We’ve both share a love for golf. Now, Drake is better at golf than I’ll ever be, but I still enjoy the game. I remember one particular time on the golf course, we had a pretty serious discussion in which we basically shared some of the history in our lives. I won’t get into the actual conversation we had because it was just a talk between he two of us. However, the point is that that is a moment that really stuck out to me.
Finally, the last friend I’m going to talk about. I’ve rambled enough. :) I met this girl for the first time this year. In the front office. Yep. Remember that blow off class I was talking about? It ended up being a bigger blessing than I thought possible. Saylor is an all-around incredible person. Just about every time I’ve been around her, she either laughing at random things, smiling about something, or blankly staring at me because I said something incredibly stupid. Many times this year when I’ve been stressed or down about something, she’s been able to lift me up just because of her attitude. She didn’t know it of course, but just being around her often brightened my day. I looked forward to that time in the office every day just because of the fun and uplifting time I knew was coming. I’ve only known Saylor for a year, but I’m glad I met her and I thank God for her daily. I hope we can continue to grow closer as individuals.
I thank God for all of these relationships I have managed to make over the years. God is good! My time in high school has shaped me and matured me into the person I am now. My faith has grown tremendously as well! Again, there are many more friends I could talk about, but time would not permit me to do so. I sincerely hope to remain in contact with all of the ones I listed as I enter my college career and beyond. I know many classmates and other relationships formed in high school often lose contact after one or both people graduate. It’s just a fact of life. But you can bet that I will do everything within my power to keep in contact with my friends.
I think this verse fits well for the relationships God has blessed me with:
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
When anger rises within you, consider the power found within a softly spoken word. An enemy who is hard of hearing and unable to hear shouts of fury will strive to hear a whisper. Although you may FEEL like yelling out your complaints, you will get more notice and consideration if you avoid harsh words and an unfriendly tone.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)
Using a gentle answer in the midst of an irritating situation, problem, or quarrel will propel you forward in your attempt to remedy a matter of contention. Angry words and a loud reply only serve to stir up conflict and cause delays to possible solutions. One who has the self-control to remain patient and calm during an argument is wise and perceptive.
“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)
If emotions are on the rise and anger is in the picture, you can be sure that “FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE” is close at hand. Saying something you will regret later is very probable if you let your feelings rule a situation. It is a fool who speaks words without considering their long-term affect.
Is it easy to calm yourself and speak words of love when you are angry? No.
Is it a sign of maturity when you think before you speak? Yes.
Is maintaining inner peace while addressing conflict a sign that the fruit of the spirit is evident in your life? Yes.
Can you take back hurtful words once they have been uttered and pitched? No.
Can forgiveness follow harshly spoken words? Yes.
Did Jesus use patience and soft answers with His disciples? Yes.
Is the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” true? No, Not at all!
We are called to love. We are told to witness with gentleness and respect. Speaking with unkind words or a tone of voice that sends shivers down the back is not love. Love speaks the truth but it is always patient and kind.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how canhe love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 (NKJV)
The next time you find yourself in an argument, pretend you are looking in a mirror. Observe your face. Would your expression put someone on the defensive? Can you see love and honesty in your eyes? How would you react if you were talking to a person wearing this face?
Words can be destructive or life giving, toxic or encouraging. They have the power to bind up or set free. What will your words serve up today, misery and heartache or exultation and delight?
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)
I post this blog every year at this time of year, so I will do it again! :)
Matthew 27:32-56: 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Jesus went through torture beyond any of our imaginations. He went through personal humiliation, physical pain, and spiritual anguish. The worst of all was probably the suffering that came in verse 46. He experienced separation from God. That is the ultimate consequence of sin. Separation. Spiritual death. I can’t even imagine what he went through at that moment. The weight of sin for everyone who ever lived, was living, and would live was upon him at that moment. That full amount of God’s wrath was on Jesus. Jesus had never sinned, but God made him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s Son, the Creator of the universe, was rejected by His creation and isolated from His Father. The separation had to be the worst suffering of all. The wrath of God was satisfied. Because of Jesus’ suffering, we are restored to a right relationship with God if we accept His FREE gift of salvation.
According to John’s account (John 19:30) of Christ’s death, what Jesus said in verse 50 was “It is finished.” These words mark the end of his suffering. It marks the completion of Jesus’ mission to restore us to a right relationship with the Father. At the time Jesus Christ died, the “curtain of the temple” was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes that the way into God’s presence was now open. Because of what Jesus did, we have permanent access to God for all those who give their lives to Christ.
Just one person’s sin would’ve been enough to put Him on the cross. ”A cross, 3 nails, the weight of my sin, loneliness, pain and sorrow. That was on my Savior’s,”to do list”,for today. I am the cause.”
“It was my sin that held him there. Until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.”
Jesus did all of this out of love. When He was hanging on that cross He was thinking of you. He gave salvation to anyone who comes into contact with His saving and delivering power. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t have to be separated from God anymore. We now can have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
“It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was love.”