Daily D – Romans 12:10
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ROMANS 12:10 (NLT)
Those closest to us most often rise to the level of our expectations. Part of this is due to how our attitudes and behaviors shape our relationships. Part of it is due to how others respond to our attitudes and behaviors. Let’s pretend for a bit that we are the kinds of people who lead ourselves and others with loving words and actions. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we lead ourselves and others with gentleness, kindness, and deference.
This kind of lifestyle creates beautiful relationships. Couldn’t we use more relationships like this in these days of pandemic, protest, and problems?
“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers,” (1 Chron. 4:9). The man whose name was a constant reminder of pain always started behind the eight ball. He never used that as an excuse, or a reason, or a destiny. Instead, he lived a noble, honorable life. He lived a life God could bless. Who do you know whose starting place is less than ideal? Who needs a kind word and a loving relationship from you to help him or her overcome the challenges of life? How can you help him or her live an honorable life?
Let’s start with another question. How do we honor others? Three things come to mind quickly: Think the best of them, say the best about them, and expect the best from them.
One of the hardest things to do in our current culture is to turn positive, focused attention on others. The sheer number of selfies snapped with iPhones should convince us of this truth. A young woman died a couple of weeks ago at the Grand Canyon. She was taking a selfie on the rim when she lost her footing and then lost her life. If only she had focused on others instead.
Positive, focused attention requires noticing individuals within crowds. A quiet, reserved young woman sipped her beverage and stood alone at a meeting I attended a year or so ago. A buddy of mine and I struck up a conversation with her. My friend Caleb has never met a stranger. He thinks every new person could be his next best friend. This young woman has eyes that remind me of the title of a recent short story by James Scott Bell: I See Things Deeply.
Layer by layer, Caleb peeled the onion. There was guarded depth there. There was intensity there. There was passion there. And yes, Caleb walked away with a new friend.
Caleb thought the best of Meg (That is her name). He saw beyond the caution to the depth. He looked for what God was doing in her heart and patiently drew it out so they could both examine it and appreciate it.
Caleb would repeat what she said from time to time, affirming the power of her words. He emphasized her deep truths. He encouraged her with his ears. He noted her pain, her progress, and her potential.
Caleb looked down the road and asked her what was next. As she filled in the details, she saw hope and life and meaning in all its glory. Caleb quietly and beautifully agreed and blessed her journey and destiny.
Caleb thought the best, said the best, and expected the best of Meg. Someday, when this pandemic is over, Caleb, Meg, and I will gather again in Atlanta, Georgia, and catch up. I fully expect to see a beautiful smile accompanying those intense eyes.
Put out a BOLO today for the Megs in your path. Think the best, say the best, and expect the best of her. Establish or deepen a relationship. Empower him or her with your ears and your words. Bless him or her with great expectations.
Take delight in honoring others.
I will take delight in honoring others.
Our Father, empower me to see what you see when you look at the individuals among the crowds. Empower me to see those who are hiding in plain sight. Empower me to think the best of them, to say words that will give life, and to fill them with positive expectations. Slow me down. Fill my life with love, gentleness, kindness, and deference. Amen.
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Daily D – Psalm 143:8-10
Psalm 143:8-10 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Daily D – Psalm 142:5
Psalm 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Daily D – Ezra 3:11-13
Ezra 3:11-13 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:22-25
2 Chronicles 35:22-25 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 32:31
2 Chronicles 32:31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.