Divine Appointmets – A Missed Opportunity

Growing up as a shy melancholy, I did not change very much when I first came to Christ. I still hesitated to talk to people, for fear of rejection and ridicule. Yet, I wanted to tell others about God’s divine love.

An opportunity arose a few weeks later, when a school chum pulled into the gas station just outside the window of the office where I worked. I knew my boss would not like me to take time away, and I figured my friend was also very busy.

So I just ran outside for a moment, greeted him and told him I had some good news to tell him as soon as we could get together. He was married to my boyfriend’s sister, so I did not think much time would pass before we could chat.

I ran back to my desk, excited that this would be my first opportunity to share with someone about the love and mercy of Christ in my life. A smile adorned my face for the rest of the day.

That very night…my lifelong school friend…committed suicide.

When my boyfriend gave me the news, I was devastated for his wife and their families, but more distraught because the Gospel of Christ may have saved his life both physically and spiritually, if I had only taken the time to speak to him when God gave me the opportunity.

I felt such deep remorse for days. I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness of this sin of omission. At the funeral, I cried more for my failure than I did for his family. I felt bereft and condemned by Satan’s shame.

The next day at work, I stared out the window, watching the cars come and go at the gas station next door. I judged myself for my failure and felt such regret that his life ended too young, and that his eternal destiny was already set.

My failure haunted me for weeks, until I stopped rebuking myself long enough to listen to the Lord. The shame of my failure left, but in its place came a dogged determination never to miss another divine appointment to share the love and grace of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, Your mercy and grace to forgive our sins of commission and omission humbles us and increases our love for You. I know that You had a plan for my school friend, and he chose to end his life rather than to surrender His life to You (John 3:16-18).

Thank you for the many opportunities You continually give us to share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ with everyone You bring into our life. Help us never to hesitate from fear or human reasoning, but to step out of our flesh and into Your Spirit, and to open our mouth and allow You to fill it by Your Spirit (Psalm 81:10).

Thought for the Day:
Not everyone will accept the Gospel of Christ when we share it with them; but we take them to a crossroad in their life where they have to make a choice to accept or reject the Lord. – John 3:16-18

Understanding Emotions

God gave us emotions to express our self and the mood we are experiencing at any given moment. They are an important part of our soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and choices. Each emotion has many variations of intensity and nuances of feeling, such as annoyed, angry and enraged. We often think that we are too vulnerable when we express our true feelings, so we hide behind masks, which help us to pretend.

We suppress our feelings in an attempt to be patient and to get along with people, trying not to nag or to complain. Once our patience runs out, however, this usually compounds the problem due to a rise in the intensity of our feelings. Prior to the point of frustration and anger, it helps if we will calmly express how someone’s negative behavior or words are affecting us and making us feel. No one is perfect, and we all have value and worth.

As we take frequent stock of our emotions, we get a clue as to how we are really doing in that moment of time. If we are not being treated properly, our emotions give us a clue that this abusive behavior is not acceptable. Our underlying thoughts fuel our behavior. We simply need to get alone and take the time to journal or to think, in order to get in touch with how we really feel at the core of our soul.

Sometimes, following the roadmap that emotions give us leads us back to the disturbing incidents in our past, which still affect us today. Then, once we understand the cause of our emotions, it is much easier to explain to others how we really feel. Their offensive behavior may be just a misunderstanding, or a lack of discernment or manners on the part of the other person. That is why relationships work out better if we express how we really feel before our soul hides behind a mask.

If the other person sees no problem with their words or behavior, or if they consistently disregard our needs, we can erect boundaries to protect our soul from their painful words and behavior. Putting distance between them and us, or changing our focus about how their actions, opinions or beliefs affect us, will ensure that our heart is not constantly bombarded by their insensitivity and callous behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to choose our words carefully and to speak up when we are violated by another person’s words or actions. Help us to change our focus about their behavior, so that we can maintain the relationship without severing the unity between us. When the whole world misunderstands or criticizes us, You are holding out Your arms, ready to pour out Your love and grace on us in our time of need. We can unburden our heart to You, sharing with You our deepest feelings without any fear of censure or ridicule.

Thought for the Day:
We can pay attention the red flags that our negative emotions give us and use our words to express how we really feel before we let our emotions dictate our behavior.