respect

Give Honor

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You can’t talk about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi without talking about honor. To honor someone is to grant a person a position of respect and authority and to value someone highly.

I believe one of the reasons why some of us haven’t seen God do what He promised is because we refuse to honor and respect the people who He has placed in our lives to guide us, to train us and to help us. Seven months ago, God toId me something regarding my pastors that I will never forget: They are not perfect, but they can help get you to where you need to be.

When Ruth honored Naomi, she honored God. We sometimes don’t see it this way, but when Naomi gave Ruth instructions, it was God giving Ruth instructions. It’s interesting how some of us go to church Sunday after Sunday and yet still struggle to believe what the man or woman of God said, but Ruth believed what Naomi said. The moment she obeyed, God blessed her.

You will only obey what you honor.

One of the reasons why we are so quick to leave a thing or a person is because we were never really committed to begin with. When things got tough, Ruth stuck it out with Naomi. Where you go, I go. Your people will be my people, and your God my God (Ruth 1:14, 16). She had the option to leave, but she chose to stay. When we get our feelings hurt, when someone offends us or when things aren’t going the way we planned, some of us leave (Orpah).  We leave the church. We leave good friendships.  We walk away from the very thing that God is trying to give to us.

We don’t know all the details, but Ruth went through some things. She lost a husband. She faced a famine. She had to go out and work – something she didn’t have to do prior to her husband’s death. But despite the difficulties she faced, she remained faithful.

Naomi and Ruth were two different women from different backgrounds. They had different beliefs. They didn’t serve the same God. One was much older than the other, but despite the differences, Ruth took very good care of who God had placed in her life. And Naomi wasn’t even her biological mother. She was her mother-in-law, but because Ruth took care of Naomi, God had to take care of her.

Ruth’s life would have never become as great as it did had she not honored who God had placed in her life. And I’m not just talking about the fact that she got another husband or a child out of this situation, but look at how God used Ruth to get Jesus here to us. And Boaz begat Obed of Ruth…and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born, who is called Christ (Matthew 1:5, 16).

Let us learn to honor others. You don’t know what it is that God is trying to birth out of you. God knows what you need (as well as the generation after you) and He knows how to get it to you, but sometimes it will come through people that you didn’t expect it to come through or through people who don’t always say what you want to hear.

But before you get upset or offended, remember it is God’s message. They are just the messenger.

Give respect to those you should respect and honor those you should honor (Romans 13:7, CEB).

Become Someone God Can Trust

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When someone has bad credit, it’s not the end of the world for them.  They can learn how to build their credit.  Paying off credit card debt and paying bills on time are just some of the ways you can build your credit as it shows others that you are responsible and that you can be trusted with more (a home, a car or more credit).  There are classes and seminars on how to build your credit, but how do you build trust?  How do you regain it after you have lost it?

To answer those questions, I’m going to use the parable of the unjust servant in Luke 16.  Jesus told his disciples about a rich man who had a steward.  I don’t know how well he knew him or if he knew him at all, but the rich man trusted him to manage what belonged to him.   The first verse tells us that the steward wasted the rich man’s goods.  I’m not sure if he was stealing money or making foolish decisions with what he was given, but what we do know is that he was dishonest.

Jesus never said how long the steward had been doing this, but I’m sure he did it multiple times thinking he would never get caught.  The rich man had no idea that he was being taken advantage of.  In fact, someone else brought it to his attention.  When he learned of what was going on, he called his steward and told him what he heard.  He didn’t want to just take someone else’s word so he told his steward to give him an account or a report of what he was doing with what he had been given, but in the meantime, he could not be his manager because he could no longer be trusted.

This man allowed a good opportunity to pass or to be lost.  The scriptures never stated that the steward admitted to the accusation, but apparently he knew what he was doing was wrong because he wasted no time trying to make things right.  He started thinking about his future.  What was he going to do next? I cannot dig and I am ashamed to beg  (verse 3).  I think he probably could have digged for a living, but he just didn’t want to.  He probably looked at digging as a menial job.  It was beneath him.  He was too smart for that.  He had managerial and accounting skills, but to dig ditches seemed more like a demotion than a promotion.  And he was too proud to become a beggar, but he knew he had to do something – and fast.

Since it seemed like he was about to be fired, there was a possibility that he was also going to be homeless so he came up with a plan to befriend his lord’s debtors.  A man that has friends must show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).  The steward called everyone who owed his lord and made a deal with them.  He basically cut their bills in half.  I can only imagine how grateful they were to this man.  They didn’t have to pay all the money owed. The steward knew that if he needed a place to stay that someone would remember what he did for them and open their home to him.  Smart, huh?

When he reported to his lord what he did, the rich man commended him – not for being unjust, but for being wise (vs 8).  We don’t know if the rich man fired him or allowed him to continue to manage his goods, but this parable teaches the just how we ought to be regarding our relationship with God and with people.

Take responsibility for what YOU did.  So, you messed up?  Don’t be angry at others or blame THEM for something YOU did.   Like David, acknowledge what you did (Psalm 51:3).  Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that you may be healed  (James 5:16)Apply this scripture to your life so that you may be healed – emotionally (heart), spiritually (soul) and physically (body).

Building will take work and time.  Sometimes an apology is not enough.  The foundation is very important so you want to build on what will stand and what will last.  Trust must be built on truth, not lies – so be honest.  The servant immediately started working.  I don’t know how many hours or weeks or months it took, but he didn’t stop until he collected from every debtor (probably in hopes that his lord would change his mind).  Now, there is a possibility that the individual(s) involved may not forgive you or give you another chance, but no matter what happens, make up in your mind that you are going to do to others what you would have them to do to you (Matthew 7:12).  And don’t worry about what others are doing to you.  You are only accountable for what you do with what God has given you.

Do what you do for the Lord rather than for men.   Sometimes we do the right thing for people, but with wrong motives and sometimes we do the right thing only when we know someone is watching us, but do it even when no one is watching.  Show that you can be trusted at all times – no matter who is watching.  People don’t see everything we do, but the eyes of the Lord is everywhere. Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord  (Jeremiah 23:24).

Respect what others have.  It is not yours.  What the steward took or wasted belonged to someone else.  It was not his and he was not entitled to do whatever he wanted to do with it.  Let’s examine how you are in the workplace.  Do you take personal items from work?  If so and your manager doesn’t know about it, you’re a thief.  You are getting paid to work, but are you spending more time on social media or on your phone or taking breaks?  Would you hire you?  Would you give yourself a promotion?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?  (vs 12).

Love in deed and in truth.  If you are really sorry, don’t just say it.  Show it.  I know none of us are perfect, but please stop using that as an excuse not to change or to do whatever you want to do.  I pray that we all get to the place where we truly love God again because when we love Him, we will obey Him.  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments  (2 John 6, KJV).

Judas didn’t betray Jesus by himself.  He made a covenant with some of the chief priests and captains, but we hear more about Judas than the others.  That’s because Judas knew better.  He walked with Jesus.  They didn’t.  He betrayed Jesus for selfish reasons, but when he realized what he did, he probably thought, What have I done?  Judas tried to make things right.  He tried to return the thirty pieces of silver.  I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood  (Matthew 27:4).  The same people that he sinned with no longer wanted anything to do with him.  They got what they wanted and they had no more use or need for Judas.

Judas saw Jesus forgive others yet he didn’t believe he would be forgiven so he hung himself.  Some of us are the same way.  We think that what we’ve done is unforgivable.  Some of us still walk in condemnation and shame over things that we did, but God is not disappointed in you and He is not ashamed of you.  He still loves you.  People may never forget what you did, but God remembers it no more.  Take the truth, which is the word of God, and build your trust in what HE said about you and not what people said about you.  Trust God to turn things around.  Trust God to make everything beautiful in His time.  Trust that all things will work together for good.  God didn’t hurt you nor did He fail you.  The only reason why some of us have trust issues is because we trusted the wrong people.

Sometimes when people get mad, they give what is called the silent treatment, but God isn’t like that.  Think about all the things you and I have done to God or to His people, yet He still speaks to us.  If God is dealing with you and He is sending people to encourage you, it’s because He loves you and He wants to do what He promised. He wants to prove Himself to you.  Maybe certain people will never trust you again – maybe they will never speak to you again, but if you ask God to forgive you, He will forgive you.  Let what happened draw you closer to God, not further away and let it teach you how to value the things and people God has gave you.

Become someone who God can trust.