Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to Deal with Difficult People

Dear Friends,

No matter what our position or function in the church body, all of us have to deal with difficult people. It’s all Eve’s fault!

But it does no good blaming her for the awkward people we have to cope with in our lives and ministry. After all, all we need to do is look in the mirror to see evidence of our own Eve-ness too! So what’s the answer in dealing with difficult people? Maybe an acrostic using the word difficult will help.

Deliberately go out of your way to make friends with difficult people. It’s amazing what friendships can do. Most difficult people are lonely.

Investigate what the Bible says about the problem, then apply the truth you learn.

Forgive them for being difficult.

Forgive them again!

Intercede for them. It’s hard to be irritated with someone when you’re in the presence of God.

Confront the difficulty and try to talk about it. A third party may help to referee if necessary.

Understand “why” the person is behaving like he or she is.

Love them practically. Do something for them they don’t deserve.

Thank God daily for the difficult people in your life. Praise changes relationships. You’ll see!

I have to go now as I have an appointment with someone who wants to see me. She says she finds me a really difficult person! Help Lord!

In His Joy,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Monday, June 21, 2010

Becoming a Woman of the Word

Dear Friends,

There were five of us sitting ‘round her feet. Molly was vibrant, godly and seemed to be made of Scripture. She loved the Lord, was renowned as a speaker, had a mischievous twinkle in her eye, and we five students hung on every word.

“Such wisdom,” my friend whispered to me. I nodded, mesmerized by everything she was and everything she said. I supposed she was in her 50’s yet age difference didn’t seem to matter to her. We were obviously center stage in her thinking as she gave us her time and full attention.

I was at a teacher-training college in Cambridge, England and had just converted to Christ. As we listened to Molly talk about the Lord she loved, a resolve was born in me. “When I am Molly’s age, Lord,” I breathed, “make me a wise woman like she is.” For there was no doubt about it, this woman was wise.

Wisdom was what Cambridge was all about. The ancient corridors I was privileged to walk reeked of learning. But I had been there long enough to realize that knowledge and wisdom are two different things. Knowledge is an accumulation of facts. Wisdom is knowing what to do with them once you have accumulated them!

I had just come to know Jesus Christ who is the wisdom of God, but I realized I needed to get to know Him better if I was to be wise. But how did it work? How did you become wise instead of just accumulating a lot of knowledge?

Molly was speaking so I tuned back into what she was saying. I couldn’t believe it. She was answering my question! “If you want to be a wise woman of God,” she said, “be a woman of the Word.” There it was, the secret! No shortcuts to this sort of spiritual greatness. The Word of God must become my most necessary food. I must “read, mark, and inwardly digest it,” I must soak myself in Scripture so when I arrived at 50 (impossible to grasp then!) students would want to know from me how to become wise. “Lord,” I prayed inwardly, “I will do my part. Show me how.”

God delights to hear and answer such prayer. And remember this: wisdom is not for a few special people, it’s for all of us who, like those five students many years ago, will refuse to settle for anything else. May you, by God’s grace, settle for nothing less, and may you be willing to do your part.

In his Joy,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Monday, June 14, 2010

Battling Spiritual Warfare

Dear Friends,

We’re living in a war zone. But, we who love the Lord have a secret weapon. It must be a “secret weapon” because many Christians don’t seem to know about it, or if they do, they don’t bother using it. However, it is certainly no secret to the devil. That weapon is prayer. As the little couplet says: “The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”

The basis of effective prayer is helplessness. When we are in the heat of battle, we must quickly come to “wit’s end corner” and cry out to God. It is in prayer that we can talk to God and “complain” about the devil doing his worst to us – and it is in prayer that we will be reminded that Jesus will do His best for us.

When we are on our faces before God, we can confess the sins we have committed that have the devil believing he rules our lives. And then we can take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:19) and tell that old serpent, “sin shall not be my master” (Rom. 6:14).

Is the devil using “the world” to make you discontent? Read Philippians 4:12 and remember “the content of contentment” is Christ. Is the devil using your flesh to bring you down? Are you tempted to be ungrateful to your husband, disloyal to your leaders, or give in to sinful appetites? “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). In the power of the Holy Spirit just say no!

As Satan’s footsteps dog you, remind him in a loud voice, “God’s fingerprints are all over my life, because prayer puts them there.” Run to God and don’t give up. Always remember the crib, the cross, and the crown, and believe what you believe!

The devil may be allowed to touch everything you have, but God will never allow him to touch anything you are (see Job 1:12). God rules, not Satan. He is the Prince of the power of the air – Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Prince of all Princes.

So make the horrible creature sick to his horrible stomach and hide in God, and let the Lord finish him off. May we exhort each other in the immortal words of Corrie ten Boom: “Keep on kicking the devil” or short, KOKD!

Enjoying His Victory,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Battling Ministry Stress

Dear Friends,

At one time or another we all experience stress. A practical formula I have used to handle ministry stress is:

Stop – even if it causes you more stress than keeping going!

Think – through your stress-inducing ‘to do’ list. When can you take time out with God? Mark it on your calendar. Make it soon. Keep your appointment – 15 minutes will do.

Reflect – when you make it into your still point – on something peaceful, something pleasurable, something poignant, or something precious. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Philippians 4:4,6,7 “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness and everything working together for good will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Empty your stress box of other people’s expectations – then – fill it with expectations of God’s company, compassion, and calm.

Sing a soul song or a calm quiet favorite hymn. Make it a prayer. A favorite of mine is:

“Drop thy still dew of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.”

Smile at God, yourself, and others (you can do this in your mind). Then smile at your stress (stress hates being smiled at) and go out in His strength to tackle the rest of the day!

Formulas can help, but only if they restore your focus. Make sure you are ‘full of the spirit,’ fixed on His Word, and focused on the Father. That will make the old stress Grinch run squealing away.

In His peace,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine