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"Bitter To Better?"

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright."

Hebrews 12:14-16

Gavin Coffee was a man who loved people, especially youth. I never met him but I like him and I know if I had known him this side of heaven we would have been friends. I look forward to meeting Gavin one day. Gavin was the youth pastor of City Calvary Chapel in Washington who was killed in an automobile accident many years ago now while driving to work while talking to his pastor on his cell phone (which was legal at the time). The local news paper had done an interview with his wife after the accident and she had said she had no malice toward the man who was driving the truck in front of her husband and who caused the accident that took her husbands life when the load he had in his vehicle was not secure and fell from the moving vehicle as it traveled down interstate 5. She told the newspaper that her husband would not have held a grudge and nor would she. As a matter of fact she reached out to the young man, and his entire family as well as the young mans friends at her husbands memorial service. The newspaper reporter was a little taken back by her response when she replied that her husband had a philosophy that helped govern his life with regard to bitterness or holding a grudge. She said he husband believed, "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die".

Reading from the book of Ecclesiastes I am reminded in chapter five verse twenty, "For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart." It's so sad how many Christians lack real joy, Holy Spirit joy because their hearts are bitter because they hold grudges. As a former youth pastor myself I remember teaching on many occasions the old saying, "garbage in garbage out" to students reminding them often to guard their heart because Jesus said, in Matthew 12:35, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things." It's been said, "You learn more about the person speaking about someone else than you do the person being spoken of" because as Jesus said, "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." We have all had the thought, if they will say this about them, what will they say about me? Each of us has a choice every time we speak, to choose if we will be bitter or better.

Gavin's memorial made me think of another quote I received in an email that said, "Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, JOY." Today, loved one, I pray God grants you the the opportunity to make a difference in another persons life, to be used of God to bring joy to someone else. It's so easy to focus on ourselves and miss the divine appointments God brings our way. Don't miss your chance today to overcome evil with good. It's been said that the way you move from being bitter to better is to drop the "I". Choose to live like Jesus and prefer others better then yourselves and you too will learn this old lesson I'll leave with you with today. It said this, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get others people interested in you."

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

Philippians 2:3


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