Week Thirty-Six, 2021

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Monty Williams is an NBA coach whose team, the Phoenix Suns, lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the final playoff game this year. He has remarkable faith in the face of horrific adversity.

After a driver on methamphetamines crashed into his wife’s car and killed her, Williams said at her funeral, “Everybody is praying for me and my family, which is right. But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will toward that family.”

Then again as he responded to his team’s loss in the NBA Finals. Speaking to reporters after the final game, he choked up and said, “I think it’s going to take me a minute. I just don’t take it for granted. It’s hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know? It’s hard to process right now.”

Despite the pain of the loss, however, Williams stopped by the Bucks’ locker room to congratulate the opposing team. Putting his arm around one of the players, he said, “I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as a man and a coach. You guys deserved it, and I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach. You guys made us a better team.”

Williams exhibited his faith one after his wife’s death and again after losing the NBA championship. When I heard his story, I wondered if I could do the same. Could I forgive someone who while on drugs killed my wife? Frankly and honestly, I am not sure.

The Bible mentions forgiveness ninety-five times. Jesus told the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) – this parable teaches that God will forgive a person who genuinely repents, but this person should also be prepared to forgive others.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easy, even for Christians, but there are steps to make it happen. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you or making up with the person who caused the harm. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. Forgiveness is not really about “them”. It is about you.

It is not always easy and it is not always fast, but we have to uncover our anger, make a decision to forgive and work on it as best we can. After all, it is the only way to release ourselves from our own emotional prison.



Our part of the equation is to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), to yield to God’s sanctifying Holy Spirit every moment of every day. When we “submit yourselves therefore to God,” we can “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Our culture teaches us that we can do anything if we just try harder. However, holiness is not trying harder to do better. It is being so “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3), so humbled and surrendered before God, that he can make us like Jesus (Romans 8:29). Then we can join him in turning the challenges of our day into opportunities for the godliness that glorifies our Lord.

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The Scottish minister John Baillie prayed:

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today to nurture the fruits of the Spirit rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience;

Let me use success as material for thankfulness;

Let me use anxiety as material for perseverance;

Let me use danger as material for courage;

Let me use criticism as material for learning;

Let me use praise as material for humility;

Let me use pleasures as material for self-control;

Let me use pain as material for endurance.

Will you make his prayer yours today?

Jim Denison

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Rules and Efforts:

▪ Your rules and effort cannot give you the peace that passes understanding, but Jesus can.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot offer you unbroken love, but Jesus does.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot give you courage in the darkness, but Jesus, who walks with you, will.

▪ Your rules and effort do not always make you feel worthy, but the one who shed his blood for you will.

▪ Your rules and effort cannot satisfy your hungry soul, but the bread of life and living water can. Edgar Aponte

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According to data from World Backup Day, 30% of people worldwide have never backed up their devices, and every 60 seconds, 113 mobile phones get stolen or are lost. If your data isn’t backed up, you risk losing it forever…

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This is a time of skyrocketing gun violence. In recent months, between July 17 and July 23, the Gun Violence Archive tracked at least 915 shooting incidents, which averages to one every twelve minutes. At least 430 people were killed and 1,007 wounded.



Sin is the poison the devil got into the blood of our first parents and it poisoned the mankind. Hence Jesus had to transmit His blood to keep the humanity alive. Stephen Bernard

Resentment is destructive. Dan Shock

Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. Ken Weliever

Guard your heart and mind of any idea that takes you away from Jesus and keep your eyes on Him. Edgar Aponte

We all know that money and things will not bring happiness, but why do we stare longingly at a 500 horsepower sports car or a 5 carat diamond ring? We forget during this dreaminess that insuring or repairing all these expensive toys requires another small fortune. Dwight Short

Jesus’ kingdom is not about earning and deserving; it is about believing and receiving.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’ SYDNEY J. HARRIS

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

When you remember that the road we’re traveling on is really a highway to heaven, the roughness or smoothness of the road becomes less important to you.

Unfortunately, negative news garners attention, attracts viewers, and improves ratings. Ken Weliever

I believe that some obstacles that we’ve had always work out for the better because God knows that without those obstacles, you wouldn’t be as strong as you are. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles

Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health. JULIA CHILD