Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8
All over the world there are people of all ages arguing or disputing about everything and anything. Everyone has a different idea on how things should be done or not done.
In the process of having these disputes, many will get angry about the other person’s stand on the issue. Words will be said to hurt or attempt to destroy the other person, without any regard to who the person is outside of the differences in a given issue.
Paul desires that men everywhere would pray and worship together, rather than be angry or disputing.
One can often find as much anger and disputing inside the church as there is outside of the church. Part of that is because the church is made up of fallen people who have chosen to follow the Lord. The things that are argued about are so numerous that one cannot count the total number of reasons.
Even though the church is made up of fallen people, there should be a desire to pray and worship together without any anger or disputing. Both prayer and worship takes the focus off of self, others and any problems and puts the full focus upon God. It allows God to guide and take care of the situation.
As people pray and worship together is will allow God to reveal His plan for any and every situation that people may face. It will also bring people together in unity of love for God and for each other. As people love each other and God, it will draw more people to God.
The praying is the seeking God for a solution. The worshipping is giving God praise and thanks for every situation. You may find yourself at times at odds or angry with another person or group of people. The anger and disputing will often lead to nothing but division.
Rather than stay angry, pray about it alone. Offer to pray together with the other person and then focus on worshipping God. Put God first in your life and in your relationships with other people.
As you pray and worship God, it will allow God to work in your life and in the lives of others. God will bring about unity when He is at the center of all.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God in prayer about every situation; that you will worship God in every situation; that God will be the center of your relationships; and that God will strengthen you to avoid anger and disputes of no value.
All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. Acts 6:15
People who do not like someone else are quick to slander someone else. They want to cut the other person down, in hopes to build themselves up.
One of the most common ways people slander other people is with lies. Lies are spread about the person in the attempt to destroy the person’s reputation and character. How a person responds to those lies will reveal the true character of that person.
Stephen had been preaching about Jesus and many people were beginning to believe in and follow Jesus. Some hated his preaching and spread lies about him. As they brought him to trial, his face looked like one of an angel.
When slander is spread about a person, the most common reaction is anger and retaliation. The person slandered tries to strike back and destroy the enemy out of anger and hurt. This type of action can be seen in the world and inside the church.
Neither Jesus, nor Stephen retaliated in this way. They responded in love, control and the wisdom of God. While it is easy to understand why a person would strike back out of anger, it does not promote the things of God. Striking back in anger does not reveal the character of God.
Believers are to be loving and quick to forgive. Stephen was very calm and at peace when he began to speak in his defense against his accusers.
A soft answer that is filled with the truth of God will destroy the lies and slander of the enemy. It will expose the corruption and plans of the enemy, even if it does not stop the plans of the enemy.
Going through life as a believer will cause you to have some enemies. The world does not like you to stand strong and true to the standards of God and will sometimes do what they can to slander and destroy you.
You have a choice as to how you will respond. Acting like the world, you can respond in anger, fighting back. Or you can act like Jesus, responding in God’s wisdom and love.
God’s wisdom and love will prevail over anything the enemy throws your way. You may or may not lose your life, but you will remain true to God and gain eternal life.
Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will give you words to speak in light of slander; that God will give you strength to love as He loves; and that you will allow God to control your reactions to the world’s attacks.