Poisoned Catalysts (by Len Winneroski)

thAbout five years ago I wrote a manna entitled Kinetic Faith. This devotional was about the role of catalysts in chemical reactions and life reactions. Catalysts bring two things together to make something new. The catalysts don’t become part of the new, larger, molecule, they release the new chemically bonded chemicals to go off to join together two other molecules.

Catalysts are “templates” that align molecules and lower the activation barrier required to form new chemical bonds. One of the primary enemies of catalysts are chemicals that have free lone pairs of electrons that can bind to the catalyst and not let go. The chemical poisons don’t change the catalyst, they just inactivate them, which results in failed reactions.

In the last devotional I shared that people can act like catalysts. They can bring two people or groups together that normally would never meet or mix to create something new and beautiful. A catalyst is like a spark that starts a fire. They may be just a spark, but anyone who understands how an engine works understands that a gasoline engine is useless without spark plugs.

This morning I’d like to reflect together on how people can act like catalyst poisons sometimes. We can inactivate “human catalysts” when we hold onto them too tightly and don’t free them to do what God created them to do. I’m certainly guilty as a parent of holding onto my kids sometimes too tightly which prevents them from being the catalysts that God created them to be.

We are all catalysts but we can also all become catalyst poisons. When you introduce two of your friends that formerly didn’t know each other, because you think that they should meet, you are acting as a catalyst. When you pray for someone you are acting as a catalyst to bring your loved one into our Heavenly Father’s mind (kind of). When you encourage someone you are acting as a catalyst. When you share your faith in Christ with someone you are acting as a catalyst for Grace. You don’t have anything to do with someones salvation. That’s between them and God. You are simply acting as a template to introduce your friend or loved one to Truth.

Unfortunately we can also act as catalyst poisons. When we spread gossip about someone we are acting as a catalyst poison. When we discourage someone from pursuing their catalytic function in any way because of envy or competitiveness we are acting as a catalyst poison. When we are needy and hold onto others instead of Christ we are acting as catalyst poisons. When we propagate division instead of peace we are acting as a catalyst poison. When we dilute the Truth of salvation through Christ alone we are acting as a catalyst poison.

Here are some Bible verses to reflect on as we finish our coffee and head out to work, school or ministry this morning. Are we going to be a catalysts for Christ today or are we going to be catalyst poisons? Poison sucks.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (NLT)

1 Corinthians 12:26
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (ESV)

Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)

Ephesians 4:29
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (NLT)

Colossians 3:16
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT)

Romans 15:7
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (NIV)

Proverbs 27:9
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.” (NLT)

1 Thessalonians 5:14
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (NIV)

Provers 27:17
“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 1:4
“Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (NIV)

Romans 15:1
“We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves.” (NCV)

1 Thessalonians 3:2
“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith.” (NIV)

Acts 15:32
“Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren” (NASB)

Isaiah 35:4
“Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.” (NKJV)

Romans 14:19
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (KJV)

Romans 15:4
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (NIV)

Galatians 6:2
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (NLT)

1 Corinthians 12:12
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (NASB)

Ephesians 4:31-32
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (KJV)

Ephesians 4:25-26
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (KJV)

Proverbs 10:11
“The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” (KJV)

James 1:19
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (NLT)

James 4:11
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” (KJV)

James 5:16
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV)

James 5:16
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (AMP)

1 Samuel 12:23-25
“And neither will I walk off and leave you. That would be a sin against God! I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live. But I beg of you, fear God and worship him honestly and heartily. You’ve seen how greatly he has worked among you!” ( The Message)

Romans 15:5
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (KJV)

Psalm 19:14
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)

Hebrews 3:13
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 4:18
“Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (NIV)

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