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Intimidating the Devil

Oct 31, 2017

PROGRAM D-7957

When you get up in the morning, does the devil send up a groan and say, “Oh, no, she’s awake!”? I want to be the kind of Christian that gives the enemy fits, don’t you? How do we live in such a way that, instead of being constantly defeated by our enemy, we have him scared of us?

One way I have pointed out is that it takes a strong commitment to God’s Word. A person who really knows the Bible and how to use it will give the enemy a hard time.

Here’s another sure way to upset the enemy: Be faithful and steadfast.

When we refuse to quit or be discouraged, Satan is defeated. Discouragement is one of his most powerful weapons, and he knows how to use it well!

If he can get us discouraged, the next step is to quit and sit on the sidelines. A Christian sitting on the sidelines is no threat to Satan; he wants to get you on the sidelines and then leave you there.

He’ll do that through self-pity, bitterness, or failure. Maybe you’ve been mistreated by someone and, as a result, you’ve decided to drop out. Did you know that Satan loves it when you quit? You’re no threat to him when you’re having a pity party!

When you allow bitterness to control your mind, you become a very unlovely and unlovable person. A bitter person who refuses to forgive and let go of injustice or pain is not likely to have any positive effect in their worlds for Jesus. Satan doesn’t mind at all when a bitter person is awake—you’re easy to defeat when you’re bitter!

Maybe it’s failure that has caused you to be discouraged. Don’t you know that God is so great he can turn your failures into a tool for doing good? He’s done it in my life. Satan wanted me to feel guilty for the rest of my life because, for ten years, I walked away from my commitment to Jesus. If he can saddle me with guilt, I’m no threat to him. But praise God—he didn’t get me on that one. I’m living proof that even when we mess up, he can use us.

If the enemy has been defeating you because you haven’t been steadfast and faithful, I encourage you today to get rid of your self-pity, bitterness, and guilt. Tell him, “Satan, I’m going to live in such a way that when I get up in the morning, you’re going to say, ‘Oh, no, she’s awake!’”

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Over-reacting

Sep 1, 2017

PROGRAM D-7915

Proverbs 16:20 tells us, “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” Fran has learned again the difficult lesson of not overreacting. She was willing to listen to the Lord’s instruction, even though it took her awhile and, therefore, she will prosper, as Solomon wrote.

If you think back, you can see why Fran overreacted to her client’s remarks. He challenged her in the one area where Fran felt she excelled—her attention to details and her competence at doing her job. You see, Fran has done very well in her company because of these good qualities and, subtly, without realizing it, she had started to take some pride in herself for her achievements.

Pride is such a deceitful snare. It sneaks up on you while you’re not looking. The very gifts God gives us can become points of pride in our lives when we begin to think we’ve done something ourselves. This somewhat painful meeting Fran had with her client—where he informed her he wasn’t satisfied with the latest proposal she made—punctured that pride and the poison came oozing out.

But, as humbling as it was, it was a very good lesson because Fran was able to see it for herself and recognize her pride before it got too far out of hand. Pride does indeed precede downfalls but, as downfalls go, this was a rather mild one. Yet it offered Fran an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson.

Not only did she have to face the pride that was there, but she again saw her tendency to overreact. Before she prayed about it or sought anyone’s advice, she allowed herself to become very angry at her client’s comments and accuse him of being unprofessional. A good rule of thumb is to make yourself pray about a painful or upsetting situation before you talk to anyone else about it. Had she done that—slept on it, so to speak—she could have saved herself some embarrassment. I know how she feels, for I’ve been there and done that.

Maybe you, too, need to learn to control your reactions. If you find yourself speaking hastily when you’re upset, start praying that God will help you not to overreact. Frankly, I’ve been praying for that for myself for years and, though I’m not there yet, I’ve made some progress in the right direction.

I hope this lesson in story form has reached your heart and that you’ve had ears to hear so that you too can prosper because you give heed to instruction.

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Over-reacting

Aug 31, 2017

PROGRAM D-7914

Proverbs tells us that “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (Proverbs 12:16). Learning not to overreact is a challenge for many of us. It certainly is for me. Fran’s had some difficulty with her tendency to overreact, too, and it has caused her to get angry at her client and, even for a moment, at her Uncle George.

Having recognized the error of her way, she has apologized to her aunt and uncle for—what else—overreacting. She has come to understand that the comment which upset her so much was not as rude and unprofessional as she had made it out to be.

As she talks with her aunt and uncle about it this evening, she says, “I think some of it is just the difference between men and women, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?” her aunt doesn’t quite get it.

“Well,” Fran answers, “we women tend to be more subtle and careful about the words we choose because we know how easily our feelings can be hurt. I think men tend to simply state facts and let the chips fall where they may, so to speak. Therefore, what Mr. LeFevre said about me not doing a complete job really hurt my feelings, but you saw it as a simple directive, Uncle George—something to be expected. Tell the truth, would it have affected you the way it affected me?”

He thinks about it a minute. “Well, it sure makes us men sound terribly insensitive, but I have to admit, I couldn’t see why you were that upset over it. I mean, it’s just a business decision; it goes with the territory.”

Fran starts to laugh. “Isn’t it crazy how differently we see things?” she replies. “His comment hurt my feelings so badly; I took it very personally. But you heard it as just a simple business decision. God made us quite different, didn’t he?”

“Vive la difference!” her uncle says with a twinkle in his eyes.

Fran laughs. “Don’t you think it would have been easier if he’d made us both think the same way?”

“Are you criticizing God’s design?” her aunt asks. “I’m glad George is different from me. It keeps us from being bored! Besides, we need each other.”

“Yeah?” Fran asks, smiling at her aunt and uncle.

“Yeah; your uncle needs my perspective on things and I need his. That way we have the best of both worlds,” her aunt philosophizes.

“I agree with that,” Fran says. “It’s sure worked well for you two. How many years now have you been married?”

“Fifty-two—but who’s counting,” George laughs.

Some good lessons have been learned.

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Over-reacting

Aug 30, 2017

PROGRAM D-7913

Fran has been hurt by a client’s comment to her, and after sharing it with her Uncle George, he doesn’t seem to understand why such a comment should have hurt her. But he tries to help her.

“Okay, I want to be understanding, but I’m just not sure what Mr. LeFevre said that upset you so much. Maybe you just had to be there or something.”

Tears start down Fran’s face. “Don’t you understand? He said I didn’t do a thorough job  and. . . and. . .”

“And you always do a thorough job,” her uncle says quietly. “Yeah, I’m beginning to get it.” He puts his arm around her. “Do you want me to pray about this for you?”

Fran knows prayer is long overdue, but on the other hand, she doesn’t want to give up her pity party! However, she hesitatingly says, “Yeah, please pray.”

As she listens to his prayer, Fran’s defenses start to break down.

Fran, she hears the voice of Jesus, “Truth sometimes hurts, but remember, truth sets you free.” Jesus has told her that before, but once again she needs to be reminded that facing the truth, painful as it may be, is always the best way to go.

After Uncle George finishes, Fran prays, “Dear Jesus, I hate to admit it, but I’m wrong. I overreacted again. It’s one of my worst weaknesses and I don’t think I’ll ever get control of it. Please forgive me. Mr. LeFevre had every right to say what he did and I just blew it out of proportion.” She finds it difficult to continue.

Jesus whispers in her ear, “I understand; you don’t have to say any more.”

“Thank you for understanding me even when I don’t understand myself,” she says as she finishes her prayer.

Fran looks at her aunt and uncle. “I can’t imagine why you put up with a mess like me,” she says.

“And I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather put up with,” he says with a squeeze.

“Do you think I’ll ever learn not to overreact?” she asks. “I mean, I’ve done it all my life, haven’t I? In retrospect, I can see how silly it was of me to read so much into Mr. LeFevre’s comments.”

“Well, I think you delight the Lord because you’re always honest and real with him, Fran, and you come around quickly,” he says. “I’ve never known anyone as honest with oneself as you are.”

“Really?” Fran is surprised. “Hmm. . . I never thought about it that way.”

“I think that company is really blessed to have you on their team,” her aunt chimes in.

“Oh, thanks, but you’re a little prejudiced, aren’t you?” Fran asks, as she wipes a few tears off her cheeks.

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Over-reacting

Aug 29, 2017

PROGRAM D-7912

Do you tend to overreact? I can share with you that this is one of my major weaknesses. Our friend, Fran, is having that struggle today. She had a meeting with her biggest client. He wasn’t satisfied with the research she did on their latest project, and has told her to come back with better research.

This bruised Fran’s ego considerably, as she takes great pride in doing the job right the first time and going the extra mile. She has interpreted Mr. LeFevre’s frank and candid remarks as harsh, cruel and unprofessional. When her friend, Louise, gently tried to reason with her, she wanted none of it. Sometimes we don’t want to give up our pity parties, do we? Because then we have to face ourselves!

As she’s leaving the office that afternoon, she decides to drop by her aunt and uncle’s home. She’s always been close to them, but since her father’s untimely death, Uncle George has really helped her like her dad used to do. She feels confident he will take her side, right? She calls her aunt and uncle, picks up the kids, and heads over to their house.

“Oh, Fran,” her uncle says as he opens the door, “I’m so glad you came by. Hi, Kids, how’re you doing?”

After a little small talk, Uncle George says, “Is something wrong, Hon?”

“Does it show that much?” Fran asks.

“Well, I know you pretty well,” he says, as he puts his arm around her.

“Oh, I had a rough meeting with my biggest client, Mr. LeFevre,” Fran says. Tears start to come to her eyes, “It’s probably no big deal but he really let me have it today in front of everybody. You know that big promotion I’ve been working on—well, he said I didn’t have sufficient research to proceed and to ‘take it back to the drawing boards,’ to use his words. He said there were too many unanswered questions.”

Fran pauses and looks at Uncle George, waiting for his response, still fighting to hold back her tears. He nods and says, “And. . .”

“And what?” Fran raises her voice. “Isn’t that enough?”

“Well, I mean, is that all he said?” he asks.

“Don’t you think that was very rude and unprofessional of him? I mean, in front of everybody. . .” Fran says in frustration.

“Who was there?” Uncle George asks.

“His assistant, Bernie, and Jim from the Art Department,” Fran says.

“Uh, huh,” he cautiously responds. “That’s not exactly ‘everybody’, Fran,” he says.

“Oh, you just don’t understand, Uncle George!” Fran is angry. “I guess you’re thinking it was just a female overreaction, huh?”

“No, Fran. . .” he tries to respond. “Maybe I just don’t understand the situation, like you say. But it just doesn’t sound like he was that tough on you.”

In frustration, Fran replies, “Okay, if that’s how you see it. I just think he was unnecessarily brutal. I guess you just don’t understand the situation.”

This conversation is going downhill fast.

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Over-reacting

Aug 28, 2017

PROGRAM D-7911

I am continuing the story of Fran and Jesus on the Job. If you’re new to these devotionals, I should explain that for a few years I’ve been sharing this on-going story of a fictional woman named Fran, who is a young widow, a single mom with two children, and has a demanding job. Through the struggles of her everyday life, she is learning to practice the presence of Jesus and look to him for guidance in every area of her life.

Today is not such a good day for Fran. In fact, she is at the point of tears as she comes back to her office from a business meeting with her most important client. Closing her door, she plops in her chair and brushes away a tear that tries to escape. “Why did he say that to me?” she says out loud to herself.

Her friend, Louise, a fellow believer, knocks and sticks her head in. “How did your presentation go with your client?” she asks.

“Terrible, Louise,” Fran replies. “That man was brutal to me. I’m telling you, brutal. I worked so hard on that promotion and he shot it down without even listening to my idea!”

“What man?” Louise asks. “You mean the president—what’s his name. . .”

“Yeah, that’s him. Mr. LeFevre. He was insensitive and unprofessional, to put it nicely. Believe me, Louise,” Fran adds, “he was unnecessarily brutal.”

“For goodness sake,” Louise sympathizes. “What did he do?”

“Louise, I’ve worked so hard for that account and, before this, he liked everything I did,” Fran explains. “Now, out of the blue he hits me with this response out of left field.”

“What exactly did he say?” Louise asks again.

“Well, he said that I had not researched this promotion adequately and he was not comfortable going with my idea until I did my homework,” Fran replies, with obvious pain in her voice.

“Oh. . .” Louise is not quite sure what to say. “He just sent you back to do some more research. That doesn’t sound too bad. . .”

Louise’s response doesn’t sit well with Fran. After all, when you’re having a pity party, the last thing you want is for someone to take a rational approach.

“Doesn’t sound too bad?! I had an entire report backing up my idea. I did my homework. I always do my homework. That’s what’s gotten me where I am; everybody knows I do the job right,” Fran responds.

Louise senses that it’s time to make an exit. “Well, I hope it works out okay. I better run,” she says.

Fran doesn’t like the tone of that conversation and her feelings are hurt even more. “Nobody understands me,” she mumbles to herself, all the time knowing it’s not true.

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