All posts by J. Emm

Take Care in Giving Advice

Making the Most of Conflicting Advice From Mentors

This morning I was reading Mark 5: 21-43. It’s the story about Jesus tending to the deceased daughter of a synagogue leader named Jairus and another story about a woman who is healed by touching the the garment of Jesus.

These are stories of Jesus’ miracles that I have read many times, but after this most recent reading I realized how much bad advice and instructions the disciples and others gave Jesus. Thank goodness Jesus knew what his purpose was and was fully aware of the power of God.

When Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house some people informed him that the daughter had died and not to bother the father. Jesus didn’t listen, instead he knew that they were upset and experiencing grief, anger, and disappointment. Instead of accepting defeat and going away, he continued on and entered Jarius’ home to find everyone crying and distraught.
When it came time to heal the daughter Jesus kicked those who were laughing at him out of the home. With only his selected disciples and the parents of the young girl in the room Jesus healed her.

When Jesus had been on the way to Jairus’ house he was interrupted by a woman’s actions. We find the disciples giving Jesus bad advice when he asks in a crowded space, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples give the side eye and remind him he’s asking a ridiculous question considering all the people pressed up upon him.

The woman, realizing she had been healed by her faith after touching the hem of Jesus’ garment speaks up and he tells her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go and be in peace from your suffering.”

Had Jesus listened to those around him, neither of the miracles would have taken place. Those whose faith turned to doubt weren’t trying to hurt anyone with their words, they were being somewhat realistic. But what I think we can learn from these two incidents is that giving advice that seems realistic, but is rooted in a lack of faith is not good for others.

Before giving advice to others ask yourself:

Is what I’m going to say rooted in my own personal insecurity, doubts, and fears?
If so, remember: spread faith not fear.

Were you asked for advice?
Sometimes it’s alright to give unsolicited advice, but before doing so ask yourself if it’s the right time and the right situation for doing so. Also avoid giving advice about something you are not knowledgeable about.

Did you pray about it?
If the situation is quite serious and could have grave effects on a person’s life bring it before God in prayer. Ask God what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Giving advice is not something we do in our own strength.

Be open to the other person’s response.
Not everyone accepts advice even when they’ve asked for it. Be prepared for what you have to say being rejected or ignored. You’ve done your part and leave it at that. You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, no matter how much you care.

Acknowledge when you are wrong.
There are times when we have given bad advice. This is why we need to be careful with advice giving. If you have done so acknowledge that you were wrong, and when necessary apologize. You can’t take back what you have said and done, but you can always make amends.

Let’s not be like the disciples and the doubters who almost blocked the miracles and blessings from God with our unnecessary and unasked for advice.


One Day at a Time: Pandemic Version 2021

Being a Person of Peace - Experiencing God | First15 Daily Devotional

It’s been almost a year since I last posted. When our city first went into lockdown in March 2020 I thought that we would be houled up in our homes and backyards for several months and when it was all over we would go back to life as normal, except with really dry skin from all of the hand sanitizer.
Boy was I wrong!

We are now 19 months into this pandemic and my city has some of the highest COVID19 numbers in the country. We even made international news for our government’s incompetence in handling this ongoing crisis.

At the time of writing this we are still under provincial mandates aimed at slowing the spread of the delta variant.

I know I’m not the only one who wishes this would all end. No more over run ICU’s, no more people fighting about vaccinations, conspiracy theories, masks, and passports that don’t involve traveling outside of the country.
I was ready for a first-world problems meltdown when I couldn’t order a bed from IKEA due to their inventory shortage related to COVID19 procedures and process, and whatever other excuses they wrote about.
I had to stop and remember to give thanks that I wasn’t one of the thousands of people who have succumbed to this virus.

I reminded myself that I have been employed throughout the lockdowns and mandatory work from home orders. I haven’t had any material needs since this virus took over our country.

I was also reminded of a record my mother used to play frequently. It was by an artist named Cristy Lane. She had a song on the album called One Day at a Time. I’m posting some of the lyrics here with the hope that it will be more than lyrics to an old song, but rather our prayer as Christians while we continue to hopefully, move closer to witnessing and experiencing the end of this viral pandemic.

One Day at a Time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.

Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Do you remember, when you walked among men?
Well Jesus you know if you’re looking below
It’s worse now, than then.
Cheating and stealing, violence and crime
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time.

Whatever your situation is in the midst of all these pandemic disruptions, may you take it one day at a time in trusting that God is still with us. Call on the Holy Spirit to guide you as you made daily decisions for safety, community, and well-being.

No politics at thanksgiving dinner

American Thanksgiving 2020 is only a couple of weeks away. There are so many events that have happened this year that should lead to being extra thankful at the dinner table, but when you get family together who have differing views it’s easy for gratitude to be overpowered by heated arguments.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”

Proverbs 15:18

If you know that a family Thanksgiving gathering is going to lead to heated arguments, fights, and emotional wounds that may never heal; it’s alright to say no to an invite. A holiday gathering is no longer meaningful if it becomes an uncomfortable afternoon of attacks and arguments.

If you choose to attend a family Thanksgiving dinner knowing it will become a very tense environment here are a few ideas to help you deal with those you have strong differing views with.

1. Let relatives know that you are aren’t going to discuss politics. They are free to discuss and argue, but let them know you won’t be participating.

2. Don’t initiate any discuss about politics. Even if you are the type of person to keep the conversation civil and neutral, others might not be able to do so.

3. If you are travelling to spend time with family, limit the number of days you spend with them. You don’t need to spend your entire holidays from work with them. Maybe 2 days is better for you than 4 days.

4. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your battles. Holiday get togethers aren’t the time or place to be trying to change someone’s mind. Some people will go to their graves holding on to their beliefs no matter how harmful they are.

5. Find family activities that don’t involve a lot of talking. Board games, card games, video, etc. allow family to interact with each other while having fun.

6. Find out if there are any inhouse rules they might have regarding COVID19. If they ask you to wear a mask, do so. If they don’t believe in wearing masks and think COVID19 is just a flu, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to take the risk.

However you spend your Thanksgiving holidays and whom ever you spend it with, do your best not to get into emotionally driven arguments. No one enjoys themselves when this happens. We all want to make the world we live in a more justice filled place, but arguing at dinner, trying to prove a point, and working to change someone’s point of view has never changed the world for the better.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

2 Timothy 2:23-24

Pray for your Enemies?

Praying for one’s enemy is a spiritual exercise and altruistic value that is taught within Christianity. It is also something that is unnatural, and this might explain why loving, forgiving, and being kind to those who hurt us is heavily emphasized in the bible. The idea of praying for our enemies seems to be a strange thing to do, probably because it IS a strange thing to do.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5: 44-45

O.K…. Jesus has made it clear, pray for our enemies. But I’m concerned about what some people think is involved in praying for those who cause us harm.

Praying for those who continue to harm us is involves:

-Praying they will change their harmful behaviour

-Praying that they will be transformed for the better

-Praying that they see the error of their ways and the harm they have caused others

-Praying the person(s) involved in an offense make amends with those they have hurt (only if it is safe for the victims)

-Pray for the person to develop a Christ-like heart

-Praying for wisdom and guidance about how to deal with the person

-Praying for courage to protect and stand up for ourselves

Praying for our enemies doesn’t involve:

-Praying that others die or are harmed. This is called revenge; we are not called to be spiteful.

-Praying ill-will on their family

-Praying to God by asking him to do horrible things to others

-Ignoring the wrongs that a person has done

-Praying for a quick recovery so the person can rapidly return to the same destructive behaviour they engaged in before becoming sick

-Forcing others to pray for YOUR enemy. Prayer is heart-filled, intimate communication with God, it needs to be voluntary.

-Thinking that because we as Christians believe in praying for our enemies, it means that others are bad people if they don’t pray as well.

Prayer helps us remain focused. When we are emotionally driven, our thoughts are all over the place; we begin to lose control and are no longer thinking rationally. Nothing makes an enemy happier than seeing the people they are harming fall apart.

Engaging in the spiritual discipline of prayer also helps to prevent self destructive responses to the harm inflicted upon us. Praying before we act gives us time to slow down, identify what we are experiencing and feeling, and make smarter decisions. Praying for our enemies is as much a benefit for ourselves as it is for others.