God’s Keeping Score So We Don’t Have To

It’s natural to feel some sort of negative emotion when we’re treated unfairly or are slighted in some way.

Or when our motives are misread, our words misinterpreted, our actions mischaracterized. When the things we do for people aren’t appreciated–or even noticed.

It manifests in different ways. Frustration. Sadness. Defensiveness. Anger. Withdrawal. Cynicism. Defeatism.

We get demoralized, disillusioned, even depressed, or experience a desire for “justice” that can consume us.

We want to right these wrongs for ourselves, and sometimes, write-off the people who’ve hurt us.

We’ve gotta fight those feelings with everything we have. They lead us inward, toward ourselves, and away from a Godward and missional focus.

Yes, as humans, these things hurt, but we can’t get stuck there.

It’s one of the tools the enemy uses to take us off mission.

When we’re living for God’s glory and pursuing His purpose, our perspective changes.

We don’t see these things as personal insults or reasons to give up, get mad or go off.

We see the same resistance we used to employ toward God (and sometimes still do) before we surrendered.

What we’ve gotta do, is trust God.

He sees our hearts, knows our motives and is keeping score, so we don’t have to. Knowing this, frees us from the need to chase approval, appreciation or validation from people.

Remember what Paul said: .

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Lets not allow the approval, lack of approval, disapproval or disrespect from others knock us off mission.

Our greatest win isn’t in righting these wrongs, or proving anything to anyone, but in pointing them toward Jesus, and helping lead them into the kingdom, by our humility, patience and love.

When we make it about us, it’s almost impossible to stay on mission. Let’s remember what we’re here for.

Let’s live, love and serve for HIS glory and purpose, not ours!


 Note: The other side of this is being intentional about not doing these things to the people in our lives. Let’s recognize and show appreciation for the things people do for us and try not to get caught up in assigning motives for their actions (or inaction.) Try not to be easily offended or defensive. A rule of thumb I try to live by is giving people the benefit of the doubt. Be gracious. Assume the best. photo (16)

Song Of The Day: All To Him | New Life Worship/Desperation Band

Did you know that whatever trials you’re facing or difficult circumstances you’re walking through, they represent a promise fulfilled?

“…In this world, YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But TAKE HEART, I have OVERCOME…”
– Jesus (John 16:33)

Jesus told us flat out, we will have troubles.

These things shouldn’t take us by surprise! They’re going to happen.

There will be people who let us down.
There will be things that happen to us that are completely unfair.
There will be times that make no sense.
There will be hurts that are unimaginable.
There will be mountains that seem unclimbable.
There will be circumstances that seem impossible.
There will be days we feel we can’t go on.

BUT GOD…

There is a God who has overcome.
A God who is faithful.
A God who is just.
A God who is fearless.
A God who is a healer.
A God who is higher.
A God who is greater.
A God of the impossible.

A God who loves us, and is for us and will carry us to the other side!

More than we can know!

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Song Of The Day: No Man Is An Island | Tenth Avenue North

A reminder that we need each other.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

More: Tenth Avenue North
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Off The Shelf | Wisdom Keys from “The Marriage Turnaround” by Mitch Temple

One of the biggest obstacles to living the life God has planned for us is distorted thinking.

This can affect every aspect of our lives.   It’s destructive to our relationships,  especially our marriages.

I got some great insights on this from author Mitch Temple‘s book The Marriage Turnaround.

Mitch tackles myths and attitudes that destroy marriages, and ALL relationships, by affecting our thinking and gnawing away at intimacy and affection from the inside.

He talks about something he calls relationship nearsightedness, based on 2 Peter 1:5-9, and a great chapter called “I Shouldn’t Have To Ask,” both of which I’ll cover more deeply in a future post.

One of the things this book does a great job with is identifying, deconstructing and debunking some of the myths and lies we’ve somehow come to believe about ourselves and others.

In a hope filled chapter entitled, “Attitudes Don’t Really Count,” Mitch includes a list of common distorted thoughts, some of which may sound familiar:

• It’s easier to avoid the problem than to deal with the conflict
• What has happened in the past will determine the future
• Things always turn out this way
• I must be approved and loved by all people
• If things don’t go the way I expect them to, then it’s catastrophic
• If I make a mistake, it means I am incompetent and that I’m inferior to others
• You always act this way
• You never treat me the way I deserve to be treated
• You should always feel, or act, a certain way
• We should never have conflict
• You should meet all my needs

If any of these jump out at you, as thoughts you or someone you know struggles with, I strongly recommend reading this book.

The author explains how distorted thinking can lay “ruts” in our minds. We’re creatures of habit who tend to follow the same patterns of interactions and reactions, particularly under stress.

“When you and your spouse disagree. . .or get hurt. . .or become frustrated. . .or reach an impasse. . .the easiest thing to do is what you have always done.”

Temple shares some of his own failings and weaknesses, along with real life examples from friends and acquaintances, to help us overcome this distorted thinking that has such a detrimental effect on our relationships.

The chapter closes with the important reminder that, “Spending time with Jesus can have a huge effect on our thinking, attitudes and behavior.”

WISDOM KEY: Distorted thinking destroys! How and what we think really matters. Attitudes count. Identifying and overcoming these thoughts is absolutely vital to our emotional health and the well being of all our relationships.

Look Inside via Amazon.com

The Marriage Turnaround: How Thinking Differently About Your Relationship Can Change Everything

By Mitch Temple
2009 Moody Publishers

Hear Mitch Temple‘s podcast with Gary Chapman
Part One
Hear Parts 2-4 at mitchtempleonline.com

Editor’s note: Over the past few years, I’ve read about a hundred books, many of them on the topic of marriage and family relationships. I am hoping to share with you some of the wisdom keys I’ve pulled from these books in a series I’m calling, Off The Shelf. The goal is to make these pieces powerful, insightful, and quickly digestible. I truly hope they’re helpful to you or someone you know.

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One Way Grace | The Deceptive Double Standard

One way grace.

There’s a lot of it in our world.

I’m talking about when we say, “I deserve a pass when I mess up,” then want to throw the book at everyone else.

Did you know that Jesus actually said that the standard we use with others, is the one that will be used on us?

“For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”
– Matthew 7:2

This has radically changed the way I live my life.

When I began to really listen to the Holy Spirit and acknowledge the shortcomings in my life, I had no time to worry about the speck in their eye. I was busy working on the 2×4 sticking out of mine.

Jesus said this straight out in the next verse, but it was also a theme he wove throughout his teachings. Continue reading One Way Grace | The Deceptive Double Standard