All praise to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us (Revelation 1:5).
Every Thursday morning, Barbara led a women's Bible study group in her church. Several of the ladies frequently displayed a critical spirit during the discussions, and this attitude was affecting the entire group.
Privately, she mentioned the problem to the women individually, but they continued to be negative.
Barbara was concerned because two of the women in the group had not yet put their faith in Christ, and several others were just new Christians. The situation was not edifying and was detrimental to what the Lord wanted to do in the lives of all those in attendance.
She confided her problem to Agnes, a dear old saint in the group, and together in prayer, they placed the problem in God's hands.
The next Thursday morning, Agnes spoke more often than she usually did. Her words were of praise to the Lord as she sweetly countered the critical remarks made during the discussion.
For the next several weeks, Agnes kept praising the Lord during the meetings, and the tone of the group began to change. All the women began praising the Lord for circumstances they considered difficult. Barbara rejoiced at the power of praise to transform a negative situation into a positive one.
There are four lessons here.
First, a negative, critical voice in a group can work like leaven, and spoil the godly atmosphere and attitude of the whole group. This is also true of secular groups, where a critical spirit can infect an entire organization.
Second, submitting such a situation to prayer can allow God to work positive change in the group.
Third, the positive, loving, and biblically based words of one member of a group can change the tone of a whole group.
Fourth, as Barbara learned, there are no better words to inject into a group than words of praise to our wonderful Lord.
Praise changes things, and God uses our praise to make us more fruitful disciples of the Lord Jesus.
"Praise the name of the LORD! Praise him, you who serve the LORD, you who serve in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good..." (Psalm 135:1-3, NLT).
"All praise to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us" (Revelation 1:5, NLT).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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