Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

At BC4 blog:

I would venture to guess that many reading this today have difficult people in their lives. They are the people with whom you have frequent or constant friction. They annoy you, irritate you, and you would avoid them if you could. Some of them are just Gloomy Gus’s always finding that sliver of darkness in any silver cloud. They are happy to tell you every negative detail of their day and see little joy in anything.

How do you deal with them? What is your goal in interacting with the difficult and grumbley people?  If you are like me, you sometimes have success in accepting them for who they are and not letting them get under your skin or spoil your day. Other times, the response or reaction is less than godly and you find yourself being as difficult as they are!

Keep reading here for some reliable counsel on how to love the difficult people in your life.

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Tim Challies has stirred up a bit of discussion on the book by Gary Chapman called the Five Love Languages.

Here’s a link with a longer article by well-known biblical counselor David Powlison.

Read the comment section on Challies articles for various people weighing in on this.

Have you read the book?  What do you think of it as you compare it in light of Scripture?  

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Do you have a harvest mentality in regards to your relationships? How about an investment mentality? Or a grace mentality in your earthly relationships?  Or all three? Paul Tripp explains with some words on our relationships.

 “I encounter people everywhere I go who are discouraged and confused about their relationships. I want you to think about your own relationships and look at them through three perspectives derived from biblical wisdom. These mentalities are essential in creating and sustaining a healthy relational lifestyle.”

Worth reading and remembering.

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“A Christian should at all times keep a strong guard against everything that tends to overthrow or corrupt or undermine a spirit of love.  That which hinders love to men, will hinder the exercise of love to God. . . .If love is the sum of Christianity, surely those things which overthrow love are exceedingly unbecoming to Christians.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits

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In Maggie Jackson’s book Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, she shows how life today offers many more distractions than at any other time in history.

Tim Challies writes,

“One way this societal distraction manifests itself is in the way we eat. Meals are no longer times to be spent with family savoring good food. Rather, they are times to quickly and effeciently refuel. In 2006, she points out, 1,347 products with “go” on the label debuted on the global market, a nearly 50 percent increase from the previous year. We can get our coffee on the go, our cereal on the go and everything else that we find we need.

She writes about Dr. Rapaille, a French-born consultant with a doctorate in medical anthropology who says, “Americans say ‘I’m full’ at the end of a meal because … [their] mission has been to fill up their tanks; when they complete it, they announced that they’ve finished the task.”

Challies shares some other snippets from Maggie’s book worth pondering as you finish up eating your sandwich as you walk out the door:

We need handheld, bite-size, and dripless food because we are eating on the run-all day long. Nearly half of Americans say they eat most meals away from home or on the go. Forty percent of our food budgets are spent eating out, compared with a quarter in 1990.3 Twenty-five percent of restaurant meals are ordered from the car, up from 15 percent in 1988.

Now we’ve left the fork behind, the casualty of a time-pressed age. But while we again eat with our hands, we’re rarely touching our sustenance. Wrappers, packaging, cans, straws, and the pace of life keep us from directly connecting with food until it’s halfway down our gullets. And the food itself, of course, is many steps removed from the drippy, messy, and sometimes wholly recognizable fare that graced many a groaning table of the past. In the name of civilization, we’ve moved toward clean, processed, and unobtrusive foods. A quiet fill-up, that’s what people tell [researchers] that they want. Nothing smelly, crackling

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“Self-awareness takes shape in community.  We know ourselves not in isolation but in the pingbacks we get from others.  An obvious illustration is a child in his early years at home.  But it continues.

This dimension of self-knowledge is imperfect, because we know one another incompletely and can even be unkind.  But still, self-image takes shape in “partnership” with others.

The most important way this works is through Jesus and his loving imputation.  He blesses us by redefining us from enemy to friend.  We look beyond what we are and receive his authoritative word by faith.  This is decisively uplifting.”

A secondary way this works is at church, by treating one another according to the same gospel.  We look by faith beyond what we see and retrain our perceptions with gospel categories.  This too is strongly uplifting.

We can go into church tomorrow with gospel thoughts: “This person I’m shaking hands with is in Christ.  This person is a living miracle, a resident of eternity, a knight of the King.  Wow.”

It will make a positive difference deep inside that person.

Ray Ortlund

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Me, you and love

“My business is to love others, not to seek that others love me.”–Robert C. Chapman

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” I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” (Philippians 4:2-3, ESV).

“Some honest differences of opinion among genuine believers could be resolved if they would take the time to sort out why they are looking at things differently and if they would take their views and attitudes and submit them afresh, self-critically, to the Scriptures. But many disputes will not be resolved, because those who are quarreling will neither take the time nor deploy the energy to study the Scriptures together. In some cases, neither side wants to be corrected or sharpened; both sides are so convinced that they are right that mere facts will not correct them, and , in any case, all they want to do is win. In that frame of mind, they easily forget that it is always inappropriate, at best—and frankly sinful, at wort—to try to manipulate believers into changing their minds. You know the kind of comments I have in mind: “Your stance hurts my feelings. Don’t you trust me?” Emotional blackmail is never a mark of godliness. It is never a sign of Christian maturity when, under the guise of preserving good relations. Christians try to manipulate others. Usually what is being exposed is a rather embarrassing immaturity. Where there are disagreements of principle, argue them out. Take out your Bibles, thing things through, find out why you are disagreeing and be willing to be corrected.

“But in every case, whether you can reach agreement on this detail or that, identify what takes absolute priority, and begin with that. Focus on what you have in common. Make sure you agree over the gospel. Work hard to develop perfect agreement on matters of greatest importance: the gospel, the Word of God, the glory of Christ, the good of God’s people, the beauty of holiness, the ugliness of sin—especially your own sin. Personal differences should never become an occasion for advancing you party, for stroking bruised egos, for resorting to cheap triumphalism,for trimming the gospel by appealing to pragmatics. Focus on what unites you: the gospel, the gospel, the gospel. Be like-minded, think the same things; agree with one another. Work hard and humbly on these central issues, and in most instances the peripheral matters will take care of themselves. Resolve to pursue like-mindedness with other believers. This will ennoble and strengthen all sides so that you will never abandon the Christian walk.”

–D. A. Carson, Philippians

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Chris Braun talks about bricks, buildings, and the church:

“Four bricks hide behind my tool shed. The shed sits on the edge of the woods so leaves hide the bricks. If you weren’t looking, you wouldn’t notice them: just a few bricks settling into moist, black soil under brown oak leaves.

If I picked up one of those bricks, brushed the leaves off it, and asked it what it is doing, I wonder what it would say. I know that bricks can’t talk. Bear with me for the sake of the thing. A brick disconnected from any building, lying behind my tool shed, how would it explain itself?

It might be a little defensive. Can’t you just hear the brick bristling when asked why it is not in a building?

“Look, I am a brick! I assure you that I am a brick. Are you implying that I am not a brick?”

I would probe gently. “No, I’m just wondering why you aren’t part of one sort of building or another? Just curious.”

The defense would continue. “Look, I don’t have to be in a building in order to be a brick. I can be a brick all on my own.”

True enough.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be a defensive brick. It might be a “friendly, procrastinating” brick: agreeable and well-intentioned.

It would say, “I know what you are thinking and you are right. I do need to find a good building. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I mean there was a time when I was in a building, a school actually, but I drifted away and now I’m back here behind the tool shed. But, I am going to find a good building. I still listen to the radio – – -you know, to stay in touch with what is going on in the building industry.”

Or, it might be critical: a brick that lists and describes the imperfections in other bricks. This brick would point its finger while it answered. It would go on offense.

“Hey, I got tired of being next to so many irregular bricks. Bricks, and I am talking especially about the ones in buildings – – they have rough edges. I don’t want to judge, you understand, but they’re lopsided. They’re uneven. I decided if that’s what the other bricks are like, then I am not interested in being in a building.”

Or maybe the brick would be too busy. It has nothing against buildings per se. At some point it would even like to be part of one; it just can’t find time.

At the end of the day, there would be as many different excuses as there are loose bricks in the world. Each brick would offer some logic about why it is stacked out behind a tool shed and not mortared into a building.

Of course, none of the explanations would work. There is no good reason for a brick to be lying in a sloppy pile, dirt crusted on the side of it, underneath brittle leaves.

Don’t get me wrong. The explanations make sense. I can relate. I understand that a brick is still a brick regardless of whether or not it is in a building. We’ve all seen enough brick-laying going on to know that it is an involved process; there are legitimate reasons why a brick might take some time jumping into the wheel barrow. And, there are a lot of uneven bricks in the world – – certainly, it is a challenge to fit next to them day after day.

What brick isn’t busy?

But, none of those reasons adequately explain why a brick would be tossed aside next to a tool shed under decaying leaves and hollow excuses.

Bricks are made with a building in mind.”

Read the rest of this story by Chris Brauns.

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About 12 years ago, Josh Harris, now senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD wrote a book that challenged common dating practices. He recently posted some links and thoughts about what he thinks now and what others are saying about his book:

The good folks at Boundless Line have done two posts reflecting on the good, the bad and the ugly related to my book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I think I must be getting more mature (or maybe just tired) because I started reading some of the comments and just got bored and stopped. But I did see one comment where a guy said that the stories in the book were didactic and totally predictable. That is so not true. My book is filled with shocking, totally unexpected, never-before-told tales of spine-tingling, non-dating, romantic wonder. Okay, maybe they are sort of predictable. Anyway here’s Post #1 and Post #2 from Boundless. And here’s a more serious post entitled “What I’ve Learned Since I Kissed Dating Goodbye” that features links to several messages I’ve done in the past few years that hopefully clarify the message of my book.

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