Fall: A Season of Change

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FALL – “to lose the old, to have its proper place.” This is just part of the many definitions of what the dictionary says “fall” is. What does this autumn season mean to you?

I love fall. The color change, the weather change, the smell change…..its about change. But to change means that something must go. Always.

As I sit here looking out the window at all the trees, I see the changes happening right now. Leaves falling. What was once a tree deep in rich green, then a tree with vibrant shades of red and orange, now is soon becoming a tree that will be empty. Nothing left but the branches. I guess our human side finds that sad and we wish the color stayed, we think the only thing that makes the tree beautiful is the colorful leaves …why does it have to be so bare but that’s a sign of what is to come.

But for every beginning there is an end and for every ending there is a new beginning. What I find amazing is that those trees still stand. Those branches still reach out and upward. .

This is such a picture of what Jesus does in our lives. We go through all kinds of seasons in life don’t we? Some are seasons of hard times, some loneliness, seasons of loss or other things such as health problems, divorce, financial hardships, family worries. And those seasons change us. Some seasons push us to grow, to move on, to take a fresh perspective at our lives and see where we need to make much-needed adjustments in order to enjoy our lives to the fullest. 

We have seasons that are bright and beautiful and rich in life. Then we have seasons that He allows things in our life to enter so that we don’t remain the same. But through all those seasons He is telling us let go and let Me. Let go and let me show you what I can do. Let go and let me show you what I can teach you… There is strength in your branches with Me. We have to let go grow a new perspective. 

Ask God to help you see the things in your life that need to go, that you need to release to Him. Maybe it’s not really bad things, but things you’ve tried to control but find doing so only brings you unnecessary stress and loss of peace. Only the Spirit of God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, can help us not only see what needs to be let go, but also help us in the process of letting go and letting God be our all. This is the only way to truly enjoy this season of change with true, inner joy! Happy Autumn to You!

Isaiah 43: 18-19, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a NEW thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

How to Deal with Difficult People in a Biblical Way

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How Did Jesus Deal with Difficult People?

“How should we deal with difficult people as Christians?”
 
Some people in our lives may be difficult simply because they challenge us. Or they may be difficult because they are different. Or they may be difficult because we live with them (and close proximity amplifies foibles). Or they may be difficult because we are difficult and something about us just rubs them the wrong way.
 
Or they may just be difficult.
 
Regardless, by growing in holiness we can learn to accept the inconvenient, the in-congruent and the bothersome (people and events) in our life not just as necessary nuisances but as gifts.
 
Heather King writes:
 
[W]hen we are open and receptive to all the world has to offer, and all the world has to teach us, then everything becomes illuminated from within.
 
Then we see that everything is, or can be, connected to our quest for beauty and order. Everything “belongs”: old dolls, decrepit diaries, discarded buttons. Difficult people.
 
Seeing difficult people in such a positive light seems like a tall order. But we can start by learning to deal with other people in a Christ-like way.
 
Scripture teaches us some ways that Jesus dealt with difficult people:
 
Jesus Asks Questions:
 
In Chapter 12 of Luke, Jesus is asked to settle a family dispute and basically responds, “Who do you think I am, Judge Judy?” (a loose translation). It is interesting to note that Jesus asks a lot of questions in Scripture. Jesus’ questions were sometimes rhetorical, or challenging, and at other times he was also seeking feedback. By using questions, Jesus emphasizes his openness to the other person.
 
It is funny, but we humans tend not to ask a lot of questions. We assume, we pontificate, we lecture, we observe, we interrupt and we judge. But we rarely make it a point to ask other people questions. In using questions frequently, I think Jesus is modeling the behavior of a good communicator, one who cares about the other person enough to engage with them and challenge them. Even, and perhaps especially, when they are being difficult.
 
♦ Jesus Is Never Cornered:
 
In Chapter 6 of Luke, Jesus is taking a Sabbath stroll with his disciples and the Pharisees pop up out of nowhere and accuse them of breaking the Sabbath by picking grain. Jesus is unflustered. He is never scared of the people who try to slip him up or think the worst of him, because what other people think is not his focus.
 
Sometimes people corner us with their assumptions and judgments and we can begin to wonder if the way they see us is more objective than how we see ourselves. It is hard when we feel like others misunderstand us or do not take the time to get to know us before judging. But, like Jesus, we do not have to feel defined by the projections of other people. Our identity resides and is found in God, not in what other people try to push on us.
 
♦ Jesus Knows When to Ignore:
 
Remember that time when Jesus ticks off all of his former neighbors and friends in his hometown of Nazareth? They are so worked up that they decide to throw him off a cliff. Jesus, seeing that there is no reasoning with these people, walks through the crowd, ignores their rage, and “went on his way” (Luke 4).
 
Sometimes difficult people throw tantrums, speak harshly or treat us in an abusive way (this happens online all the time). This is the cue to disengage and walk away. Jesus knew how to keep his blood pressure in check and his eyes on the prize. Of course, if we have to deal assertively with someone who does this in person, a face-to-face discussion might help. Later.
 
♦ Jesus Is Not Defensive:
 
In Chapter 10 of Mark, James and John say to Jesus: “We want you to do for us whatever we ask.” Wow. Talk about overstepping boundaries! But Jesus is not codependent, so neediness and boundary crossing is not threatening to him. He knows when to say no and when to say yes and does not beat himself up when he doesn’t make other people happy.
 
Sometimes people can demand more from us than what we can give them. They may try to sway us with guilt trips. Before we know it we find ourselves bending over backward trying to satisfy a needy or aggressive person (who is rarely satisfied!). But Jesus does not try to people please. Jesus does not need to protect himself from other people; God’s will is enough security. This is where his non-defensiveness comes from.
 
♦ Jesus Is Flexible:
 
In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman demands that Jesus heal his daughter and Jesus says no. But then he is moved by the woman’s response of faith and heals her daughter. Jesus approaches others with an open mind. Even when he had preconceived notions, he allowed the Spirit to move him and go against his instincts.
 
When a difficult person approaches us, we may think, Oh great, here we go again, or I know how this will go, but Jesus kept an open mind when he was approached by others. You never know. The Spirit may move you, or the person who is normally difficult, to act in a different, unexpected way. Being closed to others closes us to the Holy Spirit who is working in us and in the other person.
 
PRAYER:
“Lord Jesus, help me see You in everyone, even the people who challenge me. Light me up with Your radiant love so that I may see You even in the most difficult of people. Every human being is made in Your image. Help me to recognize You and love You in them.”