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Just For Today

A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture


Just For Today Daily Devotional

Thursday, July 24

“God blesses those who work for peace.”
Mt 5:9 NLT


Dr. Gary Fenton says church conflict is a lot like championship wrestling—not nearly as painful as it looks! As a leader, you need to recognize the difference between: (1) Disagreement and conflict. Conflict exists when a group is stuck and can’t make a decision. For example, two strong-willed church committee members had a spirited discussion, and the following morning a concerned young pastor met with them to iron out their differences. He asked them if they were ready to make a decision, or if their heated debate the night before had stopped them from moving on. After due consideration both conceded that while their discussion the previous night had resembled a street fight, it was more like CNN’s Crossfire: good theater, but the participants don’t quit when things get heated! (2) Reconciliation and resolution. Resolution is about coming up with answers; it’s about bringing people into relational unity, not necessarily into agreement. The fact remains that while some issues will never be resolved, they can still be reconciled. It’s in the process of seeking resolution that you learn to compromise and find middle ground. (3) Being peaceful and being a peacemaker. A pastor who refused to get involved in church controversy was a constant no-show at board meetings. He justified his absence as “the desire to be peaceful.” But being peaceful and being a peacemaker aren’t the same. Peacemakers don’t sit on their hands…they’re in the thick of things trying to reconcile the parties…they’re risk-takers who are willing to enter the fray with an expanded heart. That’s why “those who work for peace…will be called the children of God.”

Friday, July 25

“Through love serve one another.”
Gal 5:13 NKJV


Bill Wilson builds Sunday schools in some of New York City’s worst areas. He has been stabbed and shot, and had team members killed. A Puerto Rican lady who could barely speak English said to him one day, “I want to do something for God, please.” Bill said, “Okay, ride a different Sunday school bus every week and just love the kids.” So she rode different buses—Bill has dozens of them—and loved the children. After several months she became attached to one little boy. “I don’t want to change buses any more. I want to stay on this one,” she told Bill. The boy came to Sunday school every week with his sister and sat on the lady’s lap, but never made a sound. She would repeatedly tell him, “I love you, and Jesus loves you.” One day to her amazement, he turned around and stammered, “I…love you too.” Then he gave her a big hug. That was at two-thirty on a Sunday afternoon. At six-thirty that night the boy was found dead in a dumpster under a fire escape. His mother had beaten him to death and thrown his body in the trash. “I love you, and Jesus loves you.” Those were some of the last words that little boy heard in his short life—from the lips of a Puerto Rican woman who could barely speak English. Bill says, “Who among us is qualified to minister? Who among us even knows what to do? Not you; not me. But I ran to an altar once and got some fire and just went. So did this woman who couldn’t speak English. And so can you.”