Friday, February 29, 2008


In the last several years a phrase has been used that has always bothered me. It bothers me because it teaches an inappropriate concept about how we are to treat each other. That phrase is:

You have to earn respect.

That totally contradicts the definition of the word. It also opposes God’s definition of respect and is the opposite of the Golden Rule...

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

The dictionary (Encarta) defines respect as:

to show consideration or thoughtfulness in relation to somebody or something; to feel or show admiration and deference toward somebody or something

The beginning of a healthy definition of respect is a proper respect for our Creator:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 (NASB)

We owe respect to people who teach us about God and do His work…

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 - 13 (NLT)

And we owe respect to others because they, like us, are God’s creation…

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:16 - 18 (NLT)

We are all due respect and we each owe respect to other people...

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 9Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites. Ephesians 6:5 - 9 (NLT)

Being respectful doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone. It simply means that we need to be considerate of other people’s feelings and respecting their right to be different than we are. This means, essentially, that we love them with the love of the Lord!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The dictionary (Encarta) gives one definition of vision as the ability to anticipate possible future events and developments. If a leader wants his team to work hard for him, he has to paint the picture of what the outcome should look like. Then everyone will be working toward the same goal with eagerness.

Where there is no vision, the people perish… Proverbs 29:18a (KJV)

Without a picture of what God has in store for us, what hope do we have? If we had not read in His Word that believing in Jesus Christ would allow us to live forever with Him in heaven, could we have imagined it? Vision gives our lives purpose.

Some dare to dream of incredible things. Walt Disney dreamed of a place where people could go that would challenge their imaginations. He had a vision for a theme park that would inspire many and today, 53 years after opening the doors to the first park, there are more throughout the entire world.

When we have a vision for something that God has laid on our heart such as helping youth in a community, it can seem rather impossible. After all, think of the money needed, the people to staff such a place and other unforeseen challenges. That’s where God comes in! He is the power behind dreams and visions that are in line with His will.

When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25 - 26 (NASB)

Don’t be afraid to dream dreams. Let God take your dream and turn it into a true vision for His kingdom. He will not let you fail. He has given you a vision of what He has in store for your life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Jesus inspired the disciples and us when He gave us a vision of what lies in wait for us…

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1 - 3 (NASB)

Close attention to the rest of God’s Word will reveal His vision for our life here on earth.


Monday, February 25, 2008


Tolerance is a word that is thrown about quite a bit these days. More often than not, it is meant to indicate we should accept all people’s views as valid except the Christian view (“because ‘they’ think they’re the only ones who are right!”).

The Bible speaks of acceptance in Romans chapter fourteen in a most specific way…

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. Romans 14:1 (NLT)

Perhaps this is the point that causes non-Christians to be intolerant of us…we don’t seem to get along with Christians that are not in our denomination and sometimes anyone outside our particular local church. The Bible clearly indicates here that is an inappropriate attitude.

If we disagree over how or how often we should take communion, what kind of music is appropriate or what clothing one should wear to church, we should keep quiet about it! Those issues are not critical to salvation…only Jesus Christ, crucified, buried and raised from the dead for our sins…that’s all that matters. We cannot run around “bad-mouthing” other Christian denominations, churches, etc. just because they don’t agree with us. The rest of the world looks at us and says, “We don’t want anything to do with that kind of narrow-mindedness. And, God agrees with that sentiment right here in Romans 14.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. Romans 14:13 (NASB)

Whether it is worshipping on Saturday versus Sunday, grape juice versus wine or yeast versus non-yeast bread/crackers for communion…it simply doesn’t matter. You think they’re wrong and they think you’re wrong, but heed God’s word:

22You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. Romans 14:22 (NLT)

Lift up Jesus in everything you say and do…

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. Romans 14:17 - 19 (NLT)