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Tag: mercy

Finding the Good in Conflict

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Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark…They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.” Acts 15:36-37,39

Conflict. Conflict among believers? Conflict among Christian leaders! When we read the powerful stories of the Holy Spirit’s movements in Acts, this episode between Paul and Barnabas stands out as a blemish.

By now they had ministered in many cities throughout the Roman Empire, silenced a false prophet, explained Jesus’ place in Jewish history, performed miracles, and been mistaken as Zeus and Hermes (Greek gods). And they had weathered rejection, abusive language, even stoning. But in Pamphylia, their third partner, John Mark, suddenly left them to go home to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13).

That became a sore point. Acts 15:38 states Paul didn’t think having John Mark rejoin them was a wise decision. Perhaps Paul didn’t wish to trust a deserter with so much on the line. Paul had churches to visit, sermons to preach, Jews and Gentiles to enlighten about the Good News of Jesus. He valued gospel proclamation. Barnabas, it seems, wanted to give John Mark a second chance, to mend a fence, to build up a young believer who probably felt horrible about ditching them.

We can learn a few lessons here:

We may be called to unity of purpose (Romans 5:5-6), but our means might differ. Both Paul’s big picture approach and Barnabas’ relational one grew the church.

Conflict may be difficult, but good can come of it. In this case, Paul and Silas went one direction, and Barnabas and Mark another — all to visit new churches in order to build them up.

Conflict is a part of life, and good-meaning people rub each other the wrong way routinely. The question is how we will deal with it — either destructively or constructively?

Dear God, please help me see that conflict with people may be your way of growing me and people around me. May I not wish it away, or run from it, but may I find your good in it. Amen.

By Bill Strom
Used by Permission www.thelife.com/dailydevotions

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How to Hold On

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Read: Psalms 37:5-7

Job was a man who certainly knew trouble and temptation, and yet he boldly claimed, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him(Job 13:15). That is commitment. Job had lost his children, his fortune, and his health, but he refused to abandon faith in God. The stricken man was determined to hold on because he trusted the Lord to do right.

Unwavering commitment to trust the Lord in all situations is a cornerstone of unshakable faith. From the vantage point of that foundation, we can focus our eyes upon God alone. It is easy to be distracted by circumstances and allow them to dictate our emotions. But if that’s the case, then when life is good, we’re happy; when times are tough, we’re frustrated; and when hardship pours in, we’re downright miserable and looking for escape.

Unlike Job, we are fortunate to have Scripture, which reveals God’s nature and promises. And it is a wise believer who claims those promises when enduring hardship. For His Word tells us that our Father is always good, always just, always faithful, and always trustworthy. When we take our eyes off the whirl of day-to-day activity and concentrate on honoring Him and following in His way, we find a consistent peace that carries us through both plenty and poverty.

In order to hold on to God through any trial or temptation, commit to trust and follow Him all of your days. Lay claim to His promises: The unchanging Lord and Savior (Hebrews 13:8) is committed to caring for you in all circumstances
(1 Peter 5:7) and will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission http://www.intouch.org/

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