Becoming “Favour Friendly”

The Bible states that “As a person thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). So, what we focus on and think about has a powerful impact on the direction that our lives take. 

As I was thinking about that verse recently, I realized that God’s grace (favour) is impartial from one person to the next. It simply is not compatible with everyone’s attitude and mind-set. Believers simply don’t expect to see God move in their everyday life and thus limit what God is doing in and through them. The attitude and mind-sets of some people keep God’s favour at a distance, while the attitude and mind-sets of others draw it in.

1 Peter 1:13 states, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace (favour, charis) that is to be brought unto you.”

The word “charis” comes from the Greek ‘xdris’ and from the Hebrew word ‘kand,’ which is a reference to God’s grace expressed through His favour and kindness towards us. But it has an even deeper connotation: ‘charis’ describes God reaching (inclining) to people because He is ready to bless them.

A visual image of ‘charis’ pictures God leaning in, eagerly extending Himself to show His favour to us. The apostle Peter, the author of this verse, is telling us to rein in our thought life so we’re not distracted or drawn into speculations and fears but we remain hopeful, expecting to experience God favour (grace) at all times. He’s saying that we should stay mindful ( keep your mind full) of favour so we can experience the fullness of favour that is “to be brought unto you.” There is favour that is coming our way! We should remind ourselves, Don’t blow it … Don’t let your mind mess it up … Heaven has some awesome things planned for you! 

When you have the right mind-set you become ‘favour friendly.’ You’ll think in way that cause favour to be released and drawn into your life and be a part of your life. Nothing increases favour in our lives like thinking about favour and expecting favour.

Being favour minded means you have hope … you live with expectation of the best, God’s best in your life. You have a confidence in God and believe that He is for you and with you, and that He is working all things for your good, even when you can’t see it and are not experiencing it yet. 

Nobody is ‘favour minded’ every moment of every day, but being favour minded means you are intentionally doing what the Bible refers to when it tells you that you can be transformed by the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

For centuries renewing the mind was mostly a biblical concept that wasn’t supported by science. During most of the twentieth century, the consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure was fixed and didn’t change after early childhood. Since, then, however, scientists started changing their opinions and created a term – neuroplasticity – that is defined as “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.”

What God has known since the beginning, science is now discovering: no matter what our age, we have the ability to change the habits of our mind.

Research shows that how we think repeatedly does literally create small pathways or ‘grooves’ on our brains. With some intentional effort, we can redirect our habits of thought and create new grooves or pathways in our brains. It takes time and effort, but it is the key to transformation.

For example, you may have heard it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit. The reason for this is it takes about that much concentrated time for our new thoughts to build a new path to travel on. In other words, this is what the Bible refers to as the renewing of the mind.

One reason for this renewing of the mind is so that we will think in a way that is congruent with having faith in God. If someone hasn’t been thinking about God’s grace (favour), blessings, and promises, new thought patterns will not be set overnight. However, by being deliberate, the mind will adapt quickly to a new way of thinking – becoming “favour friendly.”

Spiritually Restless

 

In the last few weeks we have been setting the stage for 2020 

We looked at how the Church will be changing so as to impact people’s lives

What God is doing in His Kingdom and with the Church Jesus is building

We looked at the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit

And some of the principles of powerful prayer from the life of Jesus

We looked at how we can’t be passive if we want to be a part of what God is doing

Passive in our personal lives nor passive spiritually 

And, in the midst of this I have mentioned the “spiritually restless” Read more

There Is No Off-Season

The year we have just entered is a year when the Gospel will be setting more people free than any other year in your lifetime. As we pray and the Holy Spirit works opportunities will open for us to share the love of God. And, that love is discovered and received through the finished work of Jesus the Christ. So, we need to be ready to share the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14) as doors open allowing us to do so. 

The key to being ready to plant seeds and bring in the harvest is preparation. Always being ready. The most excellent athletes in the world have this principal down pat.

Every sport has an off-season. This is the time when players who have been enduring a long, exhausting season take a break to relax and rejuvenate. All sports have these designated periods of rest. The best competitors will take a few weeks to allow their bodies to recuperate, but then they’ll use the rest of the time to prepare for the next season.

They train.

They lift weights.

They run.

They go through drills.

They push their bodies to the limit so that they will not only be ready for the next season but will also be better than the previous season.

The Bible clearly states that there is no off-season for an ambassador of God. And we are all ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, “I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Notice this wasn’t a casual suggestion, but a charge. A strong command for all believers – not just pastors – to be ready to preach the Word anytime, anywhere, to anyone. When it’s convenient, and when it’s not. When it’s easily accepted, and when it is adamantly rejected. Our circumstances, situations, or surroundings do not alter the charge.

The mandate is still the same – no matter if you’re in Southern California, Mexico City, Bangladesh, South Africa, or any other region of the world: preach the Word!

God’s Word is precious. It is everlasting, unchanging Truth. We as believers have been given the awesome responsibility to become stewards of the Word of God. It is our duty and spiritual obligation. Now is the time to preach the Gospel … more than ever before. It is exciting to anticipate Jesus’ return to this earth – but until that happens there are specific mandates God has made clear to every Christian.

Receive the Word. Be faithful with the Word. And preach the Word as often as you can. 

To preach the Word simply means to share the love of God with others you relate to and those you don’t. It is more than helping or serving someone in a physical way. It must always include speaking God’s Word to them – sharing your experience of being born again and set free by the Cross of Christ. You will, of course, need to be familiar with the Gospel of the Kingdom. You will also need to learn how to share that good news with others in a way that they can understand and receive it. And, you need to become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work and let Him do what He does best – convict the person of their sin (John 16:8-10). So there is some training to undergo. 

And, as important, realize that when you are speaking to another generation – that although the message has not changed the method by which you share it must. You need to approach each generation differently and be sensitive to where they are at in their understanding of spiritual truths  and in their spiritual journey.

We are mandated to be ready to share. But, there is a season of intense preparation and I believe we have entered that season here at the start of 2020. 

If your church is not teaching you how to share the life-changing Gospel of the Kingdom, change churches. Find one that believes in being born again and that teaches, trains, and equips believers to share the Gospel with others. Find someone more mature than you are who is “going into al the world and making disciples” and ask them to teach you how to do what they are doing. It is your responsibility to fulfil this command that Paul writes to Timothy about. And, everyone of us will be held accountable for what we have done in this regard. 

Prayer Is the Key

We are called to “make disciples in every nation.” That means we are to “seek and save the lost” as Jesus did. The key to success in this endeavour is prayer.

The beautiful thing about prayer is that it can break down any obstacle, open any door, and change any circumstance. When you are *compelled to tell others about Jesus, prayer is the key God has given you to unlock the doors of opportunity and to allow you to walk right into your divine appointment. 

  • “compels” is a Bible word that Paul uses to describe how he felt and what he understood about the task of telling others about Jesus. It means to be “pushed out” and propelled into the world of non-believers absolutely needing to share the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV) 

This truth regarding prayer is exemplified in the life of John Hyde, the son of a Presbyterian minister, who moved to China in 1892. At that time he was only one of five known Christian missionaries in a region consisting of nearly one million non-Christians. Physically challenged through partial deafness, John Hyde soon realized something that was stronger than his weakness: The power of prayer.

After many years of very little success and very few conversions to Christ, John Hyde began to pray what many thought to be an impossible request: “God, give me one soul today.” Because of his dismal beginnings as a missionary, this prayer seemed to be asking for the entire world. But he just wanted to lead one soul to Jesus Christ every day. All throughout the year, he kept track, and at the end of 1908, he had in fact led over four hundred people to Christ.

That was just the beginning for John Hyde.

In 1909, he prayed that God would give him two souls every single day. Not only did he ask God to double his efforts, but John Hyde also doubled his prayer time. Again, at the end of that year, his figures showed some eight hundred people who had accepted Jesus as their Saviour. By 1910, John Hyde’s commitment to prayer and his reputation earned him his nickname “Praying John Hyde.” His fervent prayer became known throughout the Christian community worldwide.

“Give me souls, O God, or I die! God, give me souls!”

In 1910, he once again asked God for double: four souls a day. Nothing less. God was once again faithful to answer his prayer, and over 1,600 people came to salvation during that year!

A few years later, John Hyde died. The medical examiner discovered something truly amazing. His heart had literally shifted in his chest cavity, moving from the left side of his body to the right. There was no logical medical explanation for this phenomenon. However, many believed this was partially due to the intense burden for prayer that was laid upon his heart.

The life of “Praying John Hyde” is more than just a good story; it is a true-life example of the spiritual effectiveness that is released when prayer is combined with the leading of the Holy Spirit. John Hyde translated his burden for the lost into commitment, time, prayer, and a daily reliance on God’s faithfulness. Each and every morning you and I can adopt his same passionate plea, “God, give me souls!” And watch and see what God will do.

Motivation – Part One

What motivates you in your daily living? What drives you to get out of bed and go forward for another day and then another day and then another? Scores of people are motivated by fame, money, power, and pleasure. In fact, these motivations have become a $10 billion industry with folks eagerly handing over their time and money for self-help books, on-line courses, and motivational seminars. We want to know the secret to becoming a one-minute manager and a millionaire next door. We want to enjoy a shorter work week and the sculpt our bodies in ten days so we can master the art of attraction. We’ll research, pour over countless quotes from historical figures, and analyze the habits of successful people in order to distill the truths of what truly compels us.

Your motivation is the reason why you do what you do. It’s the thing, person, feeling, or goal that drives you to act. It’s whatever you’re living for.

To put it simply, we’re either driven by eternal motivations or by worldly motivations. 

One example of worldly motivation would be money or financial reward. Employees work hard for the promise of raises, incentives, and bonuses. Professional athletes work tirelessly for large contracts and signing bonuses. Sales teams rally together to achieve the best sales in their region and win their all-expenses paid trips to costal destinations. Money is a powerful motivator, albeit a temporary one. After all, as Proverbs 23:5 says, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

For some money means nothing, but success and accomplishment are everything. Parents will make big financial sacrifices in order to prepare their child to become the next president, CEO, or neurosurgeon. A college student will practically live in the library in order to make the dean’s list. Musicians may practice until their fingers are bloody for a standing ovation. Success feels good. Like the other motivations, it can be quite seductive – making us feel important, even ‘better than’ others. Success leads us to believe we have done something worthwhile wth our lives. But again, it is only a temporary motivator. 

Another popular worldly motivation is the desire to affect change and influence. Every year millions of people from around the world give to causes larger than themselves, wanting to make a difference. Church mission outreaches to indigenous people groups, marathons for medical research, disaster relief teams, the Peace Corps, the Red Cross, and many more organizations draw volunteers from all walks of life, all of them hoping to show that their lives mean something. 

The desire to make a positive change on this planet is a good thing, and there are many important causes to rally behind. But if that becomes our main focus, or we seek to obtain meaning and significance in our charitable work, we miss an incomparable opportunity to make a spiritual and an eternal difference in the lives of others. 

Temporary motivations distract mankind from the truth. Even as Christians we may fool ourselves into believing that making money or being liked is more important than preaching or sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom. Success, notoriety, and influence can call to us like sirens, pulling is into their unfulfilling whirlpools. Clever deception masquerades as authenticity, and temptation abounds.

We live in a day and age when sound doctrine is being replaced with self-serving ideas that are devoid of spiritual truth and life. Churches across the world are dying because they no longer accurately preach and teach God’s Word. It is quite possible that we have arrived at the dreadful hour Paul warned his disciple Timothy about. A time “when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Paul also predicted that there would be terrible times in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, he wrote:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”

Does any of this sound familiar to you? To love oneself is humanism. To love money is materialism. To love pleasure is hedonism. All three are major motivators in the world today. 

As believers and disciples of Jesus we must not allow these worldly motivators dictate how we live our lives. So what should be our motivation as Christians?

  • The answer next time…

THE LIGHTHOUSE …

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little lifesaving station.  The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost.  Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous.  Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work.  New boats were bought and new crews trained.  The little lifesaving station grew.

    Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the build­ing was so crude and poorly equipped.  They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.  So they re­placed the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the en­larged building.  Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club.  Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work.  The lifesaving motif still prevailed in this club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.  About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.  They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin.  The beautiful new club was in chaos.  So the property 

committee immediately had a shower at house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

   At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership.  Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club.  Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station.  But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old.  It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded.  History  continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown! 

A Sense Of Direction

Do you have a sense of direction? Any person who wants to grow as a person but doesn’t know himself will fail to accomplish any growth as a person. To grow you must know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and opportunities. You must be able to gauge not only where you’re been, but also where you are now. Otherwise you cannot set a course for where you want to go, And, of course, every time you want to learn something, you must be able to take the new thing you’ve learned today and build upon what you learned yesterday to keep growing. That’s the only way to gain traction and keep improving yourself.

To reach you potential, you must know where you want to go and where you currently are. Without both of those pieces of information, you’re liable to get lost. Knowing yourself is like reading “You Are Here” on a map when you want to find you way to a destination.

I have observed that there’re really only three kinds of people when it comes to having direction and thus purpose in life.

1> People who do not know what they would like to do

These people are often CONFUSED. They lack a strong sense of purpose. They don’t possess a sense of direction for their lives. If they are growing, they are unfocused about it. They dabble. They drift. They can’t reach their potential because they have no idea what to shoot for; what direction to go in.

2> People who know what they would like to do but don’t do it

These people are usually FRUSTRATED. Every day they experience the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Sometimes they aren’t doing what they want because they worry that it will cause them to neglect other responsibilities, such as providing for their family. Sometimes they aren’t willing to pay the price to learn, grow, and move closer to where they want to be. Other times fear prevents them from changing course to pursue their passion. No matter what the reason, they, too, miss their potential.

3> People who know what they would like to do and do it

The third kind of people know themselves, possess a strong sense of passion, are focused on purpose, grow in areas that help them move closer to their purpose, and do what they were created to do. The word that best describes them is FULFILLED.

Most people fall into the first category. They don’t know what they want to do. I believe the main reason is that they don’t know themselves as well as they should, and thus remain unfocused in their growth – if they grow personally at all. 

Knowing yourself isn’t necessarily an easy thing for everyone to do. What makes finding themselves and growing to their potential difficult for some people is that it can be a bit of catch 22. You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are. So what’s the solution? Explore yourself as you explore growth.

The way to start is to pay attention to your passions. In my life my passion is to teach and mentor young men, raising them up into the calling that God has on their lives and releasing them to accomplish their purpose in the Kingdom. This involves four areas represented by the word REAL: relationships, equipping, attitude, and leadership. My passion led to my growth. But then my growth led to my passion as I discovered my love for and ability to mentor the next generation of apostles and prophets. That continues to be a major focus of my life and ministry even today after 40 years. 

So, self-awareness is the key to growing, changing, finding one’s passion and purpose, and then moving from where you are to where you should be and need to be to live fulfilled and on purpose.  

Paying The Price

I have had a number of prophetic words over my life that I need to write books. I like writing. I enjoy working with words. I think deeply and often. I would enjoy the challenge of researching and writing a book or two or three. I wouldn’t do it for money. I would simply post them as ebooks and give them away. And, of course, pay to have them translated into Russian as in most of the countries where I work, Russian is the predominate language. 

So, what is stopping me? Several of those prophetic words are now over a decade old. And, I am getting older. So, what is stopping me? Well, there is a price to pay and I have wrestled with the price that is required to be paid often over the past decade. I will need to spend more time in my study researching, reading, and writing. I enjoy doing all of those. But, that means less time travelling and ministering. This will also mean less income being earned as I travel and minister for a living.

I have never written a book before although I have written 30 different training manuals over the years and a number of conference or seminar manuals. But, writing a book or books is a little different and much more involved. However, I believe I am up to the challenge. So, I have made the decision jump in and dedicate a good portion of each week to the task at hand thus fulfilling the prophetic words and that part of my divine destiny. 

I recently came across a piece called “Dream Big.” It’s full of encouraging words but also captures what it takes to follow your dreams and fulfill your prophetic words.

If there were ever a time to dare

To make a difference, 

To embark on something worth doing,

It is now.

Not for any grand cause, necessarily – 

But for something that tugs at your heart,

Something that’s your aspiration,

Something that’s your dream.

You owe it to yourself to make your days here count.

Have fun.

Dig deep.

Stretch.

Dream big.

Know, though, that things worth doing seldom come easy,

There will be good days.

There will be bad days.

There will be times when you want to turn around,

Pack it up, and call it quits.

Those times tell you that you are pushing yourself,

That you are not afraid to learn by trying.

                                           Author and source unknown

Taking the steps necessary to live your dreams and fulfill the prophetic words spoken over you thus doing what you want to do will cost you. You will have to work hard. You will have to make sacrifices. You will have to keep learning and growing and changing. 

Are you willing to pay the price?

I certainly hope you are. But know this: Most people aren’t. 

Confrontation – Speaking the Truth in Love – Part One

Paul writes to the Ephesian Church and tells them that, as believers, we are to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Most people I relate to see this as “confrontation.” And, worst still, they see confrontation as negative and difficult. So, let’s look briefly at this whole area of speaking the truth in love.

The question we always need to ask: Do I care enough to confront the right way?

When working with relationships we instinctively know the following:

1> Conflict is unavoidable

Perhaps we ought to add conflict to death and taxes as one of the things we can count on in this life. The only way to avoid conflict is to isolate ourselves from all other people on the planet. So, we need to learn to deal with issue that cause conflict because they are inevitable.

2> Conflict is difficult

No one likes confrontation, so almost everyone avoids it. And those who do like it have their own psychological issues! Why is it difficult to confront? We fear being disliked, misunderstood, or rejected. We fear the unknown. We are not use to sharing our feelings. And we worry that we will just make things worse. Let’s face it: few people have been taught healthy confrontational skills.

But this I know: How we handle conflict determines our success in tough relational situations

So, how do you handle conflict in your relationships? Did you know that conflict always compounds when confrontation is not done quickly and correctly? That’s why your approach matters. Here’s a sampling of harmful strategies that we see people using when they deal with conflict:

      • Win at all costs. It’s like a shootout at the OK Corral. It’s quick, brutal, and destructive.
      • Pretend it doesn’t exist. If you hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil, evil will not exist.
      • Whine about it. Winners aren’t whiners and whiners aren’t winners. Playing the victim doesn’t cure conflict. It just irritates everybody.
      • Keep score. People who keep a record of wrongs can’t ever start over fresh. And nobody can ever get ‘even.’
      • Pull rank. Using position never really resolves conflict. It merely postpones it.
      • White flag it. Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

None of these approaches will give the help a person needs to resolve conflict in a healthy way. 

Conflict resolution isn’t complicated. Intellectually it’s simple. But emotionally it can be difficult. It requires honesty, humility, and dedication to the relationship. Let’s look at the first two points of what is a six-step plan to help you tackle the task of confrontation. 

1> Confront a person only if you care for that person

In rare instances people must confront someone they don’t care about, such as in legal trials or when abuse has occurred. But there are not typical relational conflicts. In nearly all relational situations, it is most productive to go into a confrontation keeping the other person’s interests in mind.

In the past when you attempted to resolve conflict with another person, what has been your goal? Sympathy? Quick relief? Victory at all costs? Next time try to go into it with the goal of making it a win for both parties. And if you attempt to ensure that the other person wins first, then you know you have the most beneficial perspective.

2> Meet together as soon as possible

When conflict arises, we are tempted to avoid it, procrastinate dealing with it, or ask someone else to resolve it for us. But the truth is that anytime you let conflict go – for whatever reason –  it only gets worse. If people are put in a position to start speculating about another person’s motives to figure out what might have really happened, they often think their worst. Putting off confrontation only causes the situation to fester.

So, don’t store up issues. It is never a good idea idea to save up a bunch of stuff and then give a person a history lesson during a confrontation. Instead meet together right away, face-to-face. If that’s absolutely impossible, then consider a conversation by phone. But under no circumstances should you confront a person via e-mail.

Conclusion next time…

Treat People Better Than They Treat You

In 1842, thirteen-year-old William Booth’s life changed. His father, Samuel Booth, lost his business. The elder Booth had once been a nail maker, but when his trade became the victim of mass production, he started a business as a small-time builder. Unfortunately, recurring recessions took their toll, and finally Booth went out of business. It put him and his family into difficult circumstances. As a result, William Booth, who had grown up in a household with enough money to have him educated, was sent out to learn a trade. He was apprenticed to a pawnbroker in a seedy part of Nottingham, England.

“Make money,” was the advice of Booth’s father, who died bankrupt the next year. Booth did learn about making money while learning his trade. But his apprenticeship also gave him another kind of education. Working in a pawnbroker’s shop, he was in daily contact with the poor and destitute. One biography noted, “He learned as from a primer what poverty did to people.” It’s no coincidence that during his years as an apprentice, he became a person of faith – a Christian.

In 1849, Booth moved to London and took a position in a pawnshop in a poor area south of the Thames River. But after only three years, he gave up his trade and became a minister. He saw faith as the solution to the problems of those who were struggling to survive. And he embarked on a lifelong mission  that had two objectives: saving lost souls and righting social injustices.

At first he became a Methodist New Connection minister, then a travelling evangelist. But in 1865 when some people from the area heard him preach in front of the Blind Beggar Pub in East London, he was recruited to become part of a tent ministry that came to be called the Christian Mission.

From there, Booth ministered to the poorest people in London. The East End contained half of the paupers, homeless, and starving in London. His early converts were some of the most desperate types of people: thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards. He was trying to make a difference, but his efforts were not met with appreciation, even from the very people he was trying to help.

He and his fellow workers were harassed and brutalized. Local tavern keepers worked especially hard to undermine his efforts. Even street children threw stones and fireworks through the windows of their meeting hall. Booth’s wife, Catherine said that he would “stumble home night after night, haggard with fatigue. Often his clothes were torn and bloody, bandages swathed his head where a stone had struck.” But Booth would not retaliate in kind. He refused to give up.

Booth worked to feed the poor, house the homeless, and share his faith. His organization continued to grow. By 1867, he had ten full-time workers. By 1874, more than one thousand volunteers and forty-two evangelists worked with him. In 1878 when they reorganized, Booth gave the group a new name. From then on, the organization would be called the Salvation Army. 

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the group’s opponents. Booth was labeled “anti-Christ” by the reformer Lord Shaftesbury. An opposition group formed to try and stop Booth and his associates. They came to call themselves the Skeleton Army. An article in the Bethnal Green Eastern Post in November 1882 described them:

“A genuine rabble of ‘roughs’ pure and unadulterated has been infesting the district for several weeks past. These vagabonds style themselves the ‘Skeleton Army’ … The object of the skeleton army was to put down the Salvationists by following them everywhere, by beating a drum and burlesquing their songs, to render the conduct of their processions and services impossible … Amongst the skeleton rabble there is a large percentage of … loafers and unmitigated blackguards … [and] the disreputable class of publicans who hate the London school board, education, and temperance, and who, seeing the beginning of the end of the immoral traffic [sic] and prepared for the most desperate [sic] enterprise.”

Despite the horrible treatment they received, the officers and volunteers in the Salvation Army persevered, and they helped hundreds of thousands of people. Often they converted the very individuals who had persecuted them. 

In 1912, William Booth, then age eighty-three, delivered his last public address. In it he stated his commitment to investing in people:

“While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl on the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end.”

Three months later, he died. As one observer put it, the “general” who had led the Salvation Army for more than thirty years was ‘promoted to glory.’

William Booth spent a lifetime treating people better than they treated him. And as a result, he lived on the highest level, personally and unprofessionally. He travelled the high road. 

There are really only three roads we can travel when it comes to dealing with others. We can take

        • The low road – where we treat others worse than they treat us
        • The middle road – where we treat others the same as they treat us
        • The high road – where we treat others better than they treat us

The low road damages relationships and alienates others from us. The middle road may not drive people away from us, but it won’t attract them to us either; it is reactive rather than proactive and allows others to set the agenda for our lives. The high road helps to create positive relationships and attracts others to us; it sets a positive agenda with others that even negative people find difficult to undermine. 

We, as believers, need to work at taking the high roads with others every day. Treat people better than they treat you!