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None of what follows here is particularly revelatory, and I’m sure that we can all think of somebody else that these apply to.  But the value is in looking at our own failing relationships, and seeing ourselves in some of these things.  Just because we understand the issues in principle doesn’t mean that we are somehow immune to them.

Common Characteristics that Poison Relationship

·         Controlling:  Attempting to control people and situations is exhausting and frustrating for the one who endeavors to do so, and oppressive for the one who is being herded.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

·         Callousness:  Most often it isn’t that people don’t care at all, it’s that they are too absorbed in their own feelings to seriously consider anybody else’s.  Relationships that only flow in one direction tend to dry up quickly.

·         Contentious:  Dealing with someone who is triggered (i.e. offended, hurt, fearful…) by every little thing is like trying to put out a forest fire using buckets of creek water.  At some point you just have to step back and let the fire burn itself out.

·         Complacent:  The silent killer of relationship is simply taking people for granted.  Forgetting to cherish them for who they are instead of resenting them for who they’re not.  Generally, it’s not until we lose them that we realize how special they were to us.

·         Conceit:  Being around a person who is either the hero, or the victim in every one of their stories is like listening to a song on “repeat”.  Even if the tune is catchy, after about the third time, you’re ready to puncture your own ear drums.

Until we get “Self” in check, unity is off the table.

We can easily get into the weeds with our theology and doctrine, but unless we get this one thing right, the rest won’t matter.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind (Luke 10:27)

Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39)

People will know you are my followers by the way you love one another (John 13:35)

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar (1 John 4:20)

love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be childrenof your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:44-45)

These three remain: faith, hope & love.  But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13)

Love one another, as I have loved you (John 13:34)

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself as love (Gal. 5:6)

If I have not love, I have nothing (1 Cor. 13:3)

If I have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor. 13:2)

Darkness will not run from our hatred of it,

but it has no choice but to flee as we embrace the light

Investing hope in deeply flawed individuals,

Who are working within a corruptible system,

Is a recipe for disappointment

This morning I’ve decided to come at this day
Because the alternative is to allow this day to come at me

Another Question

The Answer:

Self-absorbed

Self-acting

Self-adjusting

Self-appointed

Self-asserting

Self-assured

Self-aware

Self-centered

Self-confident

Self-conscious

Self-contained

Self-deceived

Self-defense

Self-destructive

Self-determined

Self-directed

Self-educated

Self-fulfilled

Self-governed

Self-gratified

Self-important

Self-indulged

Self-involved

Selfish

Selfish Ambition

Selfish Pride

Self-made

Self-pity

Self-possessed

Self-proclaimed

Self-propelled

Self-regulated

Self-reliant

Self-righteous

Self-ruled

Self-satisfied

Self-seeking

Self-serving

Self-starter

Self-sufficient

Self-sustaining

Self-taught

The Question:

What are some things that stand in the way of becoming a partaker of the divine nature (2Pet 1:4)

We tend to celebrate Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 16:13-20) based on the idea that he was the first one to solve the mystery (or maybe to have the gumption to boldly declare such a thing).  But Jesus’ excitement wasn’t as much about the content of the revelation, as it was in where the revelation came from.  He said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”  I’d like to suggest that when He said, “upon this rock I will build my church”, He wasn’t just talking about a people who recognized Him as the Messiah, but also a people who listened for the voice of His Father.  A few passages later (Matt. 16:21-23) we see the same zealous Peter making yet another bold declaration, as Jesus explained what needed to happen to fulfill His Father’s eternal plan.  Though Peter’s pledge that, “This shall never happen to you!” was rooted in love and concern for Jesus, he received the strongest of rebukes, “Get thee behind me Satan!”  Jesus explained, “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns”.  There is little doubt that Jesus loved Peter’s passion and boldness, but in the bluntest of terms He told him that He needed to be mindful of the forces that propelled him.  A short time later, Peter failed this test, as the Temple Guard came to seize Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Instead of watching and praying as Jesus had instructed, he grabbed for a sword.  

Without a doubt, we live in troubled times, and our passions are easily stirred.  Those of us who call ourselves by His name can easily relate to the temptation to grab a sword.  But like Peter, unless we hear the voice of our Father, Jesus may well have to undo the destruction that we bring about.

It is a people who do not comprehend the sovereignty of their Heavenly King who desperately clamor for an earthly king

There is a significant difference between being right and being righteous. One is based on having accurate information, while the other is an attitude of the heart