There are many definitions of this word in Webster's Dictionary but I like this one best:
Different in nature or kind (it is other than you think)
It's hard to interact with others if we remain isolated literally or isolated in our opinions or beliefs. As a practical example as a Christian, if we hang out with folks who only believe what we believe how do we spread the Good News to others? Or, if you are a parent in a larger family, you understand that this definition often applies when we wonder how in the world is that kid mine? Certainly other than what I think!
I have found that one of the greatest strengths of a human being is that of one who can freely communicate with others, understand others point of view (not always agreeing) and establish a dialogue both ways that may open up the door to change. In marriage, in family in any relationship that lasts, this has to be present. Unfortunately I learned from some major mistakes in this area.
And one of the ways I learned was from the master communicator: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:3
We can all wish that our political leaders would be like this, and that countries of opposite belief could get this, but how about you and I, do we get it?
How about if we just try this week, one day at a time?
Expect The Unexpected
Yesterday was a full disclosure day for me. I got some news I wasn't expecting that temporarily threw me off. Things have been going very well, so well that I was floating on a cloud, but yesterday the cloud burst, storms and thunder came as they always eventually do.
If you are wondering, no this is not about my health, finances, relationships or the health of ATB. It will remain personal but I would rather talk about how I worked through it. Stunned, disappointed, a little angry and immediately reflecting on what I could have done may be familiar to you as you may have felt exactly as I did. These are all natural feelings, but then the supernatural kicked in.
Just because things don't happen like we want or others don't become what we expect them to be, doesn't give us the right to play God and judge the situation or the person. Instead we look down on it as God would do from above and think as he may be thinking. What was he thinking, what would he do in this situation?
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
That means something obvious to us, he loves us enough to die for us even when we were or are at our most dysfunctional. In my case my life has been dysfunction junction and the hurt level of those who I steamrolled over has been great. So, the not so obvious is how does that scripture makes us look at life?
With forgiveness, with compassion, with understanding just how much we have been loved and forgiven ourselves before we determine how we respond to adversity of any kind. Point the finger at me before I point at others, or my circumstances. Doesn't stop us from getting stunned or somewhat angry, just takes us in a supernatural direction instead of our natural response.
Just something to think about, how we can Expect The Unexpected without getting misdirected from the path God has set us upon. Stay focused, He will calm that storm, most likely without our help.
Truth Or Dare
I had read the chapter many times, the story of the Apostle Paul's conversion in Acts 9. Many points had been made in sermons and meetings about the parallel from his transition from unbelief to belief and how it mirrored addiction recovery. What I had missed though was the significance of verse 26.
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
And the words from Monday nights meeting came back to mind as one spoke of the man receiving his one year chip, "When I saw him I never thought he would make it". He was referring to his cocky know it all attitude, much like Paul's arrogance about his faith in God and his Jewish roots rather than belief in Jesus. Paul was ignorant about who Jesus really was much like we are unaware of what it takes to recover at first.
We are afraid, like the disciples, to be around someone who so quickly changes direction. Time proves whether change takes root, unless of course it involves the Lord. After this man received his one year chip there is still doubt, but not in his mind because he is working in a detox facility to help others, he is giving back in the same arena in which he failed before. His faith leads him to understanding what it takes to succeed.
After a few days, Paul got up and preached, and he did so boldly even though he had doubters. In fact some tried to kill him. But the church grew, it enjoyed a time of peace as well as growth and Paul's incredible influence grew. He told his story until people began to believe in the one who changed his life. He got back in the same arena in which he failed before, this time he got it right.
It is important to note here for those in recovery that at first, your friends, family and known associates may express disbelief in your change, but we must press on boldly, yet humbly led by God's Holy Spirit and eventually others will start to believe that we have made a real change. Don't let the feelings of others stop your faith and confidence in your walk from growing.
Speaking of that time of growth in the church, these are the words in verse 31: Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.
We must remember if we speak in faith, if we know we are headed in God's direction, we may be moving our mouth's, but it's Him doing the talking.
That's what makes the difference between Truth Or Dare!
I have been blessed to have three sons, and they are all a true light to my life and to others, including my youngest Paul, who looks down upon us now from heaven. In each one of them is a light that helps others, and I am sure it began from the light my own mother shined upon me.
In one of the last cards she wrote me the pre-printed caption reads as follows: Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others can't keep it from themselves. In a way some could look at this as why shine the light on yourself when it should be on others. Some would also say it is the blessing for being a blessing.
Great leaders stand out. People notice them and look to them for guidance and answers. If they reflect truth and provide solutions folks tend to shine the light back on them by re-electing, contributing or joining them on whatever journey they are on. Consequently time judges the quality of their efforts and history documents it.
In the book of John, these two verses do so for Jesus. Through him all things were made: without him nothing was been made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Simply, he is everything, he is Son Light, he is truth, and the light has reflected back on him because of it to show us how to navigate the darkness of life's challenges, as a true leader does. If we are to lead, we must lead like him though we are not him, and if we do, we do not need to shine our own light in the face of others, we just need to reflect his light.
And then, not only does he light the way, but his light falls upon us in such a way that others want to know how we got so illuminated. Simple answer.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.