Everyone Is Unique

Remember the Samaritan woman? Let’s think back to her story (John 4:4–30, 39–42). She was a sinner and an outcast. She went to the well at a time no one else was going. All the other ladies had probably gone earlier that day. Maybe other women avoided her. Maybe they felt she was dirty or they gossiped about her.
Have you ever felt left out? Maybe your guy buddies or girl friends ditched you when you quit drinking. I went to get coffee with some young girls, and there I saw my group of friends. I hadnt been invited. Oh, that hurt.
This Samaritan woman was most likely left out, yet Jesus—God in the flesh—reached out to her.
Are you like the Samaritan woman? Are you the one who goes out when no one else is around? Maybe you are living in secret sin and are feeling condemned. Perhaps, on the other hand, you are the one who avoids others. As a Christian, maybe you only go out during the daytime so you’re never around party animals at night.

Whom do you avoid? Whom are you overlooking every day?
The homeless man—whom you could give a smile and a meal.

People with skin color different from yours or people from other cultures—whom you could see as potential brothers or sisters in the family of God and to whom you could offer encouragement.

The sick—you avoid them because of fear that you may catch their disease.

The rich—you avoid them because they intimidate you.

The poor—they may be praying to God for help, but you avoid them because you think they should help themselves.

People who look dirty—you are a germophobe and think they must not be clean, but what you do not realize is that they may be angels of the Lord.

People who are fit—you avoid them because you struggle with your body image, but maybe they have an eating disorder. You could understand that, but you are too selfish to see the need thats right in front of you.

People who are overweight—you think they are lazy, and you judge them before you know their heart. Maybe they have a heart condition and need prayer.

The broken-down car on the side of the highway—you ignore the family of five on the side of the road because you are, once again, late to soccer practice.

The store cashier—the store has twenty-six lanes, but only two were open that day. You waited in line for twenty minutes and lost your cool with the clerk rather than offering her a smile and kind words. What you didn’t know was that she had lost her mom to cancer that month. And you didn’t even see her. You were too busy thinking about you.

The ambulance that passes by you—it may make you late to the bank, and the bank may close before you can make your deposit. Frustrating, I know. But maybe the person in the ambulance will never go home again. You should stop to pray, but you avoid seeing the need.

The man on crutches—he walks slowly and takes up most of the aisle. You can’t even get around him. Can’t he see that you are in a hurry? Why isnt he moving over? Well, why arent you stopping long enough to help him or pray with him? We have the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Maybe your prayer could help him get off of his crutches and up to speed. Everyone wins.

Someone alone at dinner—she keeps looking at you and your spouse on your date night. It’s annoying you. What you don’t know is that this person is in a terrible place in her marriage. She sees you and thinks maybe it is possible for a husband and wife to have that kind of relationship. You could invite her over to share a meal with you, even if it means interrupting your date.

Deep in your heart, you already know whom you avoid. You are convicted by it. You see this person and quickly cross over to the other side of the street. Its the person whose eyes you try not to meet. Ask Father God to give you a heart for the people you want to overlook.

Serving That Adds You a Credit

Isn’t it fun to be asked to do something? Isn’t it great when people trust you with a job? Sometimes you look at those people and think, “Well, I don’t want to let them down. They entrusted me with this great responsibility.”
The truth is that we should never work for people. We should always work for God. Whatever we do, we should do it as if we’re serving the Lord (see Colossians 3:23).
Many times, people get lackadaisical in what they are doing. They start serving people or a cause. They stop serving the Lord, and their work becomes less than excellent. They become lazy. All they offer is poo-poo service. They have great ideas but no execution, no follow through. They’re not willing to put in the hard work. They want someone else to do it for them.
Scripture says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6 NIV). I believe every one of us on God’s team should be like an ant. God tells us what to do, and we should be working hard, day and night, night and day, lifting things that are heavier than our own bodies and working as if we’re serving Him. We need to be strong and accomplish His work with great excellence!

Confession—I Didn’t Listen to My Husband

Why do some wives (ahem, me) have trouble taking workout counsel from their husbands? To me it feels like criticism, like Im not good enough as I am. I end up rebelling and not taking care of myself until I know Im loved just the way I am. 
Not anymore. I decided Im worth it for myself. In the journey, I realized what an idiot I had been. I wrote this transparent letter to the love of my life after I realized how stubborn and foolish I had been for not listening to this man for years. 
Ty,

I’m ashamed of myself for not listening to you earlier. Years ago, you told me, “Hey, if you do some cross training with your running, your running will grow faster and stronger, and everything will be better.” 
I believe I was so insecure and afraid you thought I wasn’t skinny enough, pretty enough, or in shape that I couldn’t receive your suggestions or constructive criticism. 
Instead, I built a wall. 
I wouldn’t listen to your unsolicited advice about my body or anything related to it. 
I think it’s because I knew I wasn’t in good shape and I wasn’t happy with myself—and if I wasn’t, how could you possibly be? You men are so wired in the physical attraction direction anyway. If I wasn’t happy with me, I concluded that your suggestions were against me, too. 
Every single little comment you made about how I should do this or that speared what I already knew to be true. It pierced the insecurity I was already treading lightly around every single day of my life.
I think about the number of years you’ve tried to get me to listen to you or accept your help. A long time ago, we did Body for Life. In 2005 and again in 2009, we completed P90X. We did that together, but even though I did it, I never fully surrendered control of my body and diet. I would work out for a while but never completely commit to it and revamp my ways.
I think if only I would have humbled myself and listened to you a long time ago, it wouldn’t be such a fight right now. What I’m doing at my age is really hard. Today, when we are at a gym, there’s a guy off to the side about 65 or 70, and he’s lifting a ten-pound weight and doing this little lean over thing. Do you feel that over here? He’s just now entering where we are today.
We could have taken back our health a long time ago if I would have humbled myself, but instead we floundered for years. We let it go and called it a party; we had all that fun life together. I’m ashamed that I didn’t listen to you because I ended up leading us into rebellion, gluttony, and sheer laziness with our temple. 
I don’t think we’re gluttonous or lazy in any other area of our lives. We work really hard, but I think I ended up leading us because I was unwilling to submit when it came to my temple. With all that is in me, I submit my will to following you in every area of our lives. Will you forgive me for my pride and insecurity regarding my temple care? Will you forgive me for assuming you were only being critical? I commit to assuming the best about your comments, suggestions, and leading in this area. 
I am your wife, and I want to be the best me—fit for life! I don’t want to be a woman who always needs you to care for me. I want us to help one another. I am so sorry for failing us by not following you well. I love, love, love you! I praise God for you. 
Will you forgive me?

Love, 

Sheri

Serving That Adds You a Credit

Isn’t it fun to be asked to do something? Isn’t it great when people trust you with a job? Sometimes you look at those people and think, “Well, I don’t want to let them down. They entrusted me with this great responsibility.”
The truth is that we should never work for people. We should always work for God. Whatever we do, we should do it as if we’re serving the Lord (see Colossians 3:23).
Many times, people get lackadaisical in what they are doing. They start serving people or a cause. They stop serving the Lord, and their work becomes less than excellent. They become lazy. All they offer is poo-poo service. They have great ideas but no execution, no follow through. They’re not willing to put in the hard work. They want someone else to do it for them.
Scripture says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6 NIV). I believe every one of us on God’s team should be like an ant. God tells us what to do, and we should be working hard, day and night, night and day, lifting things that are heavier than our own bodies and working as if we’re serving Him. We need to be strong and accomplish His work with great excellence!