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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

Sept. 10, 2010 - No More Fences

By T. Ray Rachels

My family and I were in Northern California visiting the church we had served as pastors and meeting again with old friends. It was our first time back in many years, so we drove by our old neighborhood to see if anyone we knew still lived there. We found two or three, talked about some of the good times and nostalgically remembered that it was there that our kids were preschoolers and elementary students.

Nothing, however, stood out more soberly to us than an awkwardly placed front yard fence that still separated two of our neighbors.

The fence story was really rather simple and involved an estrangement that became hardened through anger and stubbornness. It began as a lawn-mowing incident. Their yards connected in the front. All of ours did! But there had been an ongoing private battle between these two over who should mow the center strip that divided their properties.

One Saturday both were doing their yards when sharp words were exchanged. The words became harsher. One began screaming obscenities, and the other telephoned the police to complain of harassment. A cold war began.

A week or so later a soccer ball was accidentally kicked into the other’s flowerbed. That was the last straw. The offended party bought fence wood and built a wall to fully separate his house from the neighbors’.

Now, many years later, the fence was still there and included a hedge grown up so high that all visibility between the yards was gone.

That vine-braided fence stood as an eloquent reminder of a relationship that soured because of misunderstanding, anger and unforgiveness.

A tragic legend tells of a Greek Olympic athlete whose bitter spirit prevailed over grace when he lost an important race. A statue was erected to honor the champion, his competitor. Filled with revenge, he vowed to destroy the statue. Every night he secretly chiseled away at the statue’s foundation. Finally, one night while resentfully working away at the base of the statue, the whole thing toppled over and killed him, the chisel still in his hand.

There is a price for anger, resentment and unforgiveness. They destroy. There is no immunity to such feelings. The only true antidote I know to this poison is:

“Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you” (Colossians 3:13, The Message).

You can blow up a relationship, or you can build a bridge. Anybody can blow up a bridge. Building one takes patience and work, but in the end, it’s worth whatever price is spent.

Jesus said, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Penetrate your neighborhood with grace-filled living, and be good for something, and Someone. Do that, and surprise everybody.

— T. Ray Rachels served as superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God for more than 22 years.

 

 

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