Saturday, February 16, 2019

When You Think You Can't Go Any Further, God Will Provide A Second Wind

When I was in the Army, we would do a lot of physical exercise as a unit.  I can remember with one particular unit in the Aviation Squadron of 3rd Armored Cavalry in El Paso, Texas,  I had a squadron commander that trained us for war.  Not just physically, but mentally.  We had a saying “you fight the way you train”.  Well, in one case he used our physical training to help us with mental toughness.  We were used to running a particular route.  Early in the morning – 5:30 early – we called it O-dark thirty. We knew the landmarks for our 3 to 4 mile run.  We knew when we were half way and we knew when we were at the finish.  By then, we were ready to hear “Quick time – march”, which in civilian vernacular means – stop running and start walking or marching. Well, one day we got to the “finish line”, but we kept running.  

We were always exhausted by the time we got to that point. You were mentally prepared to stop, but he kept running.  You are already thinking the run is over, and I am thrilled we are at the finish line – but the squadron commander kept us running right past the point where we thought we could not go on!  We ran for another half mile or so.  What was the commander’s point?  We can do more than we think we can.  War is very demanding on the body and the mind.  You must be able to go beyond yourself. 

God will call you to go beyond yourself ... to do what you thought you could not do … to bear what you thought you could not bear. How? God will not tell you to suck it up through pure determination. He has provided you with a second wind. 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

Such is your life of faith.  When you are facing life head on.  When you have run past the place where you thought that was “as far as you could go” or “as much as you could take.” When your heart was broken.  When your dreams are shattered. Like the Apostle Paul, in the face of his great personal trials, he had gone beyond himself many times, running on the fumes of faith – Spirit power, and not his own determination and wisdom. 

Not falling out of the run requires discipline and faith.  In our runs in the Army, there were always people who would fall out, who could not go on, who lost heart and confidence.  They fell by the wayside.  The same way with Christians.  I am not talking about loss of salvation.  The people I mentioned were still in the Army, they needed more physical training so they could serve in the manner that was expected of them.  And so it is with us as Christians.  There are many who don’t have the faith to keep up with where God wants to take them.  They need more training ... more confidence ... more encouragement ... more faith. 

I remember taking a PT test in the Armor Officer Basic Course.  That test is something you had to pass to be successful in the course.  Well, a friend of mine stopped running during the two mile run.  He had a look of pain and exhaustion on his face.  I stopped too so I could encourage him to finish.  The evaluators called out to me and told me to keep going and leave him behind.  I could not and would not.  He finished ... passed, barely.  But he passed.  So did I, but helping him cost me something, I knew that when I stopped to help him. 

 No greater love has one man than this, to lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13 

I am not bragging, I am making a point.  Not only do you need faith to persevere, but we need each other. We are supposed to encourage one another to love and good works. 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25  

Some need more encouragement than others. Who do you know that needs to be encouraged in their faith .. to continue to run and not fall out .. even when they think they can’t go on?  They need to know that even though they feel like they are alone, they are not.  Come alongside them and help them. You may not need to do something, but you may just need to be something – a friend. Understand that it will cost you something.  Be willing to pay the price and bring glory to God.

Friday, February 15, 2019

It Is God And Not Our Culture Who Decides What’s Right And What’s Wrong

Walk in the light as He is in the light…—1 John 1:7 

Does the fact that you continue to sin concern you?  Even a little bit?  Or are you content with living the life of a marginal Christian? Are you accommodating sin in your life because, well frankly, you like it?  One of the biggest threats to being faithful to God is the love of our culture.  

If you embrace what our culture offers or promotes as truth and right, even though the Word of God says it is a lie and wrong, then that is exactly where you are.  Living a marginal life.  Like Nero, playing your fiddle while Rome is burning. Listen, freedom from sin is not freedom to sin.  It is really not OK.  

It is a mistake to look at other Christians and what they do or don’t do as a measure of right. The problem is, so many “Christians” are so in love with the world and the things of the world, that if you look at other Christians and not Jesus, you can find justification for what you do and don’t do very easily.  

Even churches struggle with the draw to the primacy of culture over worship and practice.  Churches will cancel activities in favor of the Super Bowl.  Seems harmless enough on the surface.  But at its core is the exposure of a heart problem.  Don’t ask them to come to church instead … the preacher may be preaching to empty pews.  

I want you to think about where your heart is and where your priorities are.  Loving God and not loving the world is not an option, it’s a command.  

Do not love the world or the things in the world. Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15

We live in perilous times.  Our culture is growing darker by the day.  People are looking to the government (who is their god) to solve the problem with more laws. But many of the laws they pass only encourage more sin.  Instead, the solution is Jesus.  The Church has becomes so used to following a compromised way of Christian living, like the frog in the pot, that they think “the water (the practices of our culture) is just fine”, when in fact it is coming to a boil. 

You might be thinking, “He is not talking about me! – that is not my church."  If not .. praise the Lord, but be watchful … the temptation is all around you.  The bottom line …… Each of us should examine our heart.  Child of God …. I am encouraging you to let the light of Christ shine  (Matthew 5:16) .. first in your home and then the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Your Testimony Is About Jesus .. Not About You

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 

I was talking with a painter and his son some time back.  Our conversation drifted from what had to be done in the house, to more personal matters … who we are, why we are what we are.  I feel strongly that God has these men helping us for His purpose and not just for the money they will receive.  

As I shared a little about my past and why I was in Texas, the young man smiled and said that what I was doing was a great thing.  When the world gives us credit for our acts of service, we are at a critical point. If all I do is impress those men with my service and fail to communicate for whom it is that I serve and why, I have failed in my mission.  

All the world can see is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in us. Selfless acts extended toward others.  Recognition of what we do is good, but is  hollow and vain without the Gospel at their center.  

You can impress people with the “whats” in your life but fail in your mission if you do not tell people about the “whys”. Why you do what you do.  

We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19 

If you are living by faith and in submission to the Holy Spirit, then people will see Jesus in you. But you must tell them Who it is they see. You must be His witness. Don’t rob God by taking credit for what He has done and is doing. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not to absorb the glory as our own. 

Paul said, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 

If people are not drawn to Jesus, but to you, then you have missed the point of your encounter with them.  Be careful that you don’t neglect the Gospel, your primary mission in your new life, in favor of people being impressed with who you are or what you do.  Every bit of that is for the glory of God, not your personal glory.  Resist the temptation to like these men. Instead glorify God and lift Jesus up.

"Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”   – John 12:42-43

Resist the temptation to like these men. Instead glorify God and lift Jesus up. Fulfill your purpose and your calling.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Do You Want People To Think You Are Perfect?

Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  In general, most people are very aware of what is wrong with them and don’t have any idea of what to do about it.  Moreover, they don’t want others to know that they are flawed. Too late! If you have spiritual understanding, you will know that “all have sinned” …. “There is none righteous” … “all we, like sheep, have gone astray” … “we are jars of clay” … we have no hope, but for Jesus! 

Our tendency is to try to hide our imperfections .. or at minimum make excuses for them … and condemn the imperfections in others.  Jesus spoke of the speck and the log. 

 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”  — Matthew 7:3-5 

Well, if you knew how to do that – you wouldn’t have the struggle you have would you?  The truth that we refuse to embrace is that we can only live our new live if we yield our lives fully  to God and stop trying to become “good” on our own; living in fear that people might find out that we are failing miserably. 

The Apostle John wrote “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  — 1 John 2:16-18 

It’s our pride or the lack of confidence in our faith that drives us to judgement of the imperfections in others, all the while trying to hide or deny our own. “Denial is not a river in Egypt!” – Pastor John Baker, Celebrate Recovery That is not to say that we ignore sin, or the fact that there should be consequences for sins.   You who have spiritual understanding should see the struggle of the soul for what it is .. the need for Jesus .. new life in Him.  You were once lost but now your found .. was blind but now you see.  

How did Jesus respond to sinners?  He told them to repent .. to have faith in Him.  They did not all do that then … and they do not all do that now … Just be careful that you don’t sin in your eagerness to find fault in others or deny your own.  In psychology the term is “projection”.  Where a person projects their shortcomings onto others.  It is easier .. less stressful if you can deal with your problem in someone else’s life. (Speck and Log)  In this case, the speck you see is merely a reflection of the log in your own eye.  The bottom line is that when we do that, our focus is on ourselves and not on Jesus.  So stop looking at others, even stop looking at yourself, and look to Jesus.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Why You Have Problem Living Like A Christian

When it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me… — Galatians 1:15-16

Sin entered in through the first Adam.  Redemption entered in through the second Adam, Jesus Christ.  — 1 Corinthians 15:45  The need for and the reality of redemption through Jesus is pretty simple to understand.  So why is it so hard to live in that redemption? The truth is that it is not, so long as you are willing to lay your life down and live by the faith and the power of the Spirit.  

You — cannot live your new life in Christ through determination and effort.  You can only live that new life through submission and sacrifice.  

We, first, must stop trying to “be good” and, then, allow Him who IS good to live through us.  The word Father means Source.  God is the source of all that is good.  When Jesus was referred to as “good teacher”, Jesus replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” — Mark 10:18 

It is by His grace that we are saved through our faith.  — Ephesians 2:8-9  Do not be content with a mediocre Christian existence.  Merely attending church will not make you a better Christian.  You can sit in a pew with a hard heart just as easily as you can sit on your sofa at home.  Another conference is not the answer.  

Yielding your heart to God is the answer.  Picking up your cross daily and following Jesus is the answer.  Offering yourself as a living sacrifice is the answer.  Living by faith.  Walking by the power of the Spirit.  Not leaning on your own understanding but trusting God is the answer.  

Do you need other Christians to help you to encourage you, most certainly.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken!  But you can hang out with Billy Graham with your hard heart to no avail.  And this culture, this fallen world will certainly harden your heart toward the things of God.  Don’t kid yourself.  Don’t pretend.  We all struggle with the same issues.  

Friend, we all need more Jesus.  He is the way, truth, and life. — John 14:6

Monday, February 11, 2019

When You Go To Church Do You Leave Your Heart At Home?

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4 

That verse can be taken two ways.  First, if you pursue God then He will give you anything your little heart desires.  Second, if you pursue God, He will make His passion, your passion.  He will change your “wants” to those things that reflect His will and purposes.  That is what Jesus was telling Peter through His questions to Peter in John 21.  “If you love Me, then pursue those things that I pursue.  Do what I say to do, even if it makes no earthly sense.” 

What makes missionaries distinctive is that they place less value on earthly comforts and relationships than they do on the call of Jesus on their lives to pick up their cross, abandon the things of this world, and follow Him.  To feed His sheep if you will.  The thing about a shepherd, when everyone else is at home sleeping, he is standing guard over the flock. We just spent 14 months  living in a travel trailer, parked next to a church, listening to the cars zoom up and down the highway and jets fly over at all hours.  My point?  God has called us to this place. When He calls, you must be willing to lay what is comfortable and familiar, down and go and do where He says go and do. 

From time to time when I tell my wife that I love her, she will say “I love you more.” Then I say “No, I love you more.” And we go back and forth several times with that.  But where is the proof of that love? The proof of love is not in our words, as affirming as they might be. These are some expressions of love. They all require sacrifice. 

Husbands toward wives:  

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” –  Ephesians 5:25 

Us toward God: 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2 

Us toward God and Others:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40

Do you love God enough to give yourself up for Him?  – your hopes, your dreams, your comfort, your secure retirement, your family holidays, the list goes on ….. The theme of the Bible is that God is supreme and deserves our total devotion … like David, we must love God with our whole heart. (1 Kings 14:8).  Listen, men, you won’t love your wife that way if you first don’t love God that way.  You won’t love others if you don’t love God first. And you won’t love God that way if you are unwilling to lay your life down.

I listened to a sermon yesterday where the pastor said “Religion without godly living has no value.” Going to church is not enough.  Not if you leave your heart at home.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Living Your Life With A Half-baked Heart

“Trust and obey for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and Obey”  

James wrote “Faith  by itself, without works, is dead” (James 2:17).  The implication is that we are to do something.  Martin Luther – who rested on Romans and Justification by faith – called the Book of James a “right strawy Epistle” meaning it was difficult for him to swallow given his right rejection of the idea that you could get to heaven by doing good things - by works. 

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  – Ephesians 2:10 

Ephesians 2:10 gives a hint that the works we are to do cannot be done without Jesus – they have a spiritual context.  Good works are a product of our faith.  We tend to think of us doing something by ourselves.  Not so.  If you have faith you will show it by being obedient to the Father, that may mean but, does not necessarily mean, giving  a cup of cold water to a thirsty man.  Even the unsaved can do that … and they do.  There are many who are lost that do “good” things for others.  

Think about the story of the rich young ruler.  Faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), is all about trust in the Father and in the work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection.  Listen, God never reveals Himself to us and through us in the absence of our obedience to His will, it is always after.  If you are living your life with a half-baked heart – one foot in heaven and the other planted firmly in the world – you ask God for blessings and then call your new car a blessing which you bought on credit and are indebted to the world?  

John wrote, “love not the world or the things of this world” (1 John 2:15)  Mark my words, when you are laying on your death bed, it will not be the car that is on your mind and heart.  You know what God wants you to do … so do it. You will be blessed beyond measure .. but it won’t be a new car .. and that, frankly, won’t matter to you because your heart will be fixed on the Father.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you [change your desires to His] the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A House Divided Against Itself

That is a quote that is used often, maybe not so much anymore, but once was used frequently. Abraham Lincoln perhaps most notably in a speech in 1858. Sam Houston did as well during a Senate debate in 1850.  It origin is Jesus talking about Satan opposing himself. 

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.’ So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.’”  – Mark 3:22-26 

It is a lesson on the importance of unity. If Satan was divided within, he would defeat himself.  I share that to share this.  I received a message from a Haitian Pastor Friend, Marc Cloveus, in Jacmel this morning. I want to share it with you.  

“Finally, it's too much for the Haitian people. Prices of everything increase day by day. The rate of the starvation is increasing. They preview big manifestation in the coming days, starting tomorrow. Please friends, be praying for our fellow Haitians.”  Pastor Marc 

A manifestation is when the people take to the streets.  They march. They burn tires.  They become violent.  We have been there on several occasions when manifestations erupted.  Sometimes over what, to us, might seem trivial.  But the people have no other voice.  No other way to be heard by the government. On many occasions, people are hired by political parties to stir the manifestations. (sound familiar?).  In December, we cancelled a trip for a group to Jacmel Haiti because of the violent unrest across the country. 

Haiti has struggled since it won its independence from France in 1804. The government is divided and corrupt.  It is the people who pay the price.  So many times I have been asked why Haiti has to be the way it is.  Haiti will ever be like the U.S., but it does not have to be the way it is.  But that would require the hearts of the leaders to change and be united.  There is only one answer – Jesus.  Many, should I say most, people don’t want to accept that.  Instead they prefer to pursue their own ambitions their own way. And if the people suffer, so be it. Please pray for the people of Haiti.  Pray for that government.  Fixing Haiti is impossible for anyone or any country or group of countries.  

So let’s shift our focus further north.  Our country faces the same trouble.  The only difference is that we have more resources and have a stronger economic infrastructure.  But this country is eroding.  It is in trouble.  There is a clear lack of unity. Want to know what the answer is? It’s Jesus.  The principle, a house divided against itself cannot stand, is just that.  If you violate the principle you will suffer the consequences. I understand how our political system works. But I would suggest to you that the people in power are interested in one thing only. That is to have their solution adopted for this country. And they will resist all others. So pray for our county as well.  

I want you to see that what is happening in Haiti and in the United States is a spiritual problem that can only be resolved with a spiritual solution.  Proverbs 29 says it best. God’s Word is Truth.

Where there is no prophetic [without a] vision the people cast off restraint [perish] , but blessed is he who keeps the law – Proverbs 29:18

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Key To Building A Strong Faith

Enter by the narrow gate….Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…. —Matthew 7:13-14

After I was born again, I can remember my stepdad telling me, “Your struggles are not over, they have just begun.” He was talking about the struggle between the old and new nature.  Before, there was no struggle because I only had one nature – the old one.

Our new life in Christ requires that we put God first and that we pursue the disciplines of the faith to become mature in our faith.  It doesn’t just happen.  It requires work .. determination … consistency … accountability.  You will not be successful on your own.  “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” –  Ecclesiastes 4:12.  Dr. Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, said every Christian needs a Paul, a Barnabus, and a Timothy in their lives.  A Paul to teach us, to build to our lives, a Barnabus to encourage us and hold us accountable, and a Timothy into whose life we can build.  You don’t need a seminary degree to do those things … but you do need to be spiritually disciplined. 

You will face difficult times … but you can endure them … you will face temptations to yield to your flesh … but you can resist them … God has given you everything you need.  You only have to put it into practice.  (2 Corinthians 4:8-10) “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  

The apostle Paul put it this way (Philippians 4:8-10) “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” 

That doesn’t happen without determined effort, but when it does your light will shine before all men. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

No Jesus Then No Peace - Know Jesus Then Know Peace

We try, but cannot understand God with our natural minds.  To understand anything of God requires spiritual understanding. Yet we continue to struggle, trying to make sense of something that is impossible to understand by the power of our human intellect.  We read the Word and see that God has told us we need the Spirit for such things, yet it is not the Spirit that questions God.  It is not the Spirit that cries out “Why?”. 

I have heard more than one teacher/preacher say it is OK to be angry with God.  My question is, “Where does that anger come from?”  I believe from disappointment, loss, heartbreak … from all things natural.  All of those things are part of our life here on earth.  I realize that knowing that does not lesson the pain we feel. But, knowing God does give us a source of comfort and spiritual insight. It helps us realize that there is something better, greater, beyond our circumstances that will bring us peace and joy in the midst of a great tragedy. But you must be willing to draw near to God.  Your flesh, your old nature, will say “Run away!”.  Don’t do it. Instead run to Him.

 I have said it before and I will say it again, we must draw near to God in times of trouble. But, you won’t do that if you are not drawing near to Him when times are good.  (John 16:33) “I [Jesus] have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.” (John 14:27)  “Peace I [Jesus] leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  Listen for the Lord in your alone time with Him and hear Him saying, "Be at peace my child, be at peace."

Monday, February 4, 2019

What It Means For A Christian To Be Spiritual

Perhaps one of our greatest challenges in our new life is grasping the significant role the Holy Spirit has in it.  We focus on the day of our salvation as an event – saved from hell. And don’t give much thought about how we are going to live our new life.  Or more correctly how it is even possible.  Read these verses and consider your new life and how you should live because of them. 

To be born again means to be born spiritually

“unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” – John 3:3-6

On the day of your rebirth, God sealed you with His Spirit. He claimed you as His own.

“having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” – Ephesian 1:13-14

The Spirit dwells in our bodies. That means there is not a time when God is not with you – even when you sin in your heart

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

All that said, it is possible for us to quench or inhibit the Spirit’s influence in our lives. 

"Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19

God’s will is that we would live our lives submitted to the leading of the Spirit. That requires intentionality – discipline. 

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

What? You say you already know all of this? My question to you is – are you embracing it?

Friday, February 1, 2019

We Respond To Life With The Nature That Rules Our Hearts

How do you approach life?  I mean .. as you live your life each day, from one event to another .. from one breath to another breath … what is it that determines how you respond to those happenings in your life?  In terms of what you think .. what you do .. what you say .. how you respond to others.  As Christians we have a choice, actually.  Because this new life we live, we live in the flesh or in the natural by faith in the spiritual. We can choose to respond in the natural or in the supernatural.  We can respond as the world does, or we can respond like Jesus did.  How you respond is determined by the  true disposition of your heart.  If you see your new life as a Christians as merely an attribute, like being a citizen of the United States or having red hair, then you are in trouble spiritually.  You can hope to respond to life differently, but it is not going to happen.  A common danger for Christians it that we confuse spiritual response with our natural constraint.  Let me explain by example.

Mary is talking to you when she says something that is very offensive. How do you respond?  Naturally, you may be thinking an unkind thought, but you restrain yourself so as not to give how you really feel away.  You are personally offended.  Responding spiritually, you would not be affected by the words, but would see Mary’s heart, the source of what comes out of her mouth, and pray for her. 

For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”  – Luke 6:44-45

You would hold no grudge against her, but would forgive her for the offense.  You would  show compassion for Mary.  Like Jesus did for those who crucified Him.  The offense will not be logged away in your heart to be pulled up at some time in the future.  Let’s say your children are like whirlwinds in your house.  They won’t listen so you yell at them.  You just can’t take it anymore.  You can’t help yourself.  You are right … your old nature is stronger than your will to not yell at your children … but your old nature is not stronger than your new nature, whose source is the Creator God.  You will respond to life from your true nature .. which nature is that?  It is the one that rules your heart.  Not the one that you want to rule, but the one that sits on the throne.  Living supernaturally does not just happen, it is a deliberate process, yielding your life to God each day, living by faith, meditating on the Word (when was the last time you read the Bible on your own?)  You are a child of God, don’t be satisfied with anything less.