Our preschool opens again next Monday!  We have the best teachers in the world, very gracious!

Years ago Yovany Zuluaga and I were in a corner store in Medellin, Colombia.  Theshop keeper got angry at me for something. (I have that effect on most people, believers or not).  When we left, I was mad, but Yovany said, “What do you expect?  He isn’t a Christian.”  That revolutionized my way of thinking as a believer.  It gave me more grace with the ungracious.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Graciousness is easy when you live in a controlled environment.  Monks and nuns have been trying to reach that state for centuries.  Problem is, as soon as the world and it’s problems come in to their safe place, it all changes.  We are in this world specifically to show God’s grace in spite of all of it’s problems.

Last week was interesting.  I went to KC to make some money for the ministry.  Everything was set up perfectly.  However, there were problems with the job, and credit card issues made me almost have to sell my back pack at check/in, and left me stranded at a gas station in KC while my wife and little girl were stranded in Nicaragua at the same time.

Things always will happen and other people get angry, and we quickly become angry ourselves.  We forget that we as believers are called to be gracious.  Gracious means full of grace.  You can be full of grace if you have God in your heart.

We as Christians have to be the ‘big boys’ in the situation, and show grace.  Not thenon believers.

Proverbs 23 is funny, it says just that…

Proverbs 23:1
1 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you,
2 And put a knife to your throat, If you are a man of great appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies.

It says, when you are invited to supper, don’t eat too much, even if you are hungry.  We are ambassadors of Christ.  We are being watched under very critical eyes.  Kind of like company parties.  They say that the best thing you can hope to get out of a company party is not to be fired the next day.

We are going to be condemned no matter what we do or say.  Don’t give people any more reasons to talk bad about you than what they already have imagined.  They may invite you to eat because they want to feel good about themselves.  Accept theinvitations.  Go with them and love them and learn from them.  They want to show how generous they are.  Everyone wants to be seen as kind.

If they aren’t believers, don’t expect them to be gracious.  They don’t have to be.  People have to look down on others if they aren’t looking up to God.  It is our job to be gracious, not theirs.  If they aren’t believers, they don’t know anything about grace.

Don’t get angry.  Love them anyway.  If they let you come to their table again, GO.  Even if you heard that they talk bad about you.  Know that whatever you do will be criticized, but God is working on them through you.  It is a blessing to be invited.  It is an opportunity to show God’s grace and love.  That is the only reason we exist.

How do we be gracious in spite of people who judge us or talk bad about us?  Phillippians 4:8-9 is a sure fire recipe.

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true,whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things. 9 Whatever you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, put these things into practice. And the God of peace will be with you

When things get tough, and they will, think about God and His blessings.  Everything mentioned in Philippians 4:8 is of God.  Focus on God, not the temporary things going on around you.  When you do that, the God of Peace will be with you, and you will be more gracious and be a better testimony of Christ’s great love for us.

God bless you and have a good week
Dean Peters

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