Forgiveness is a Muscle

Prov 17 9.jpg

Friends and family are priceless gifts. Our enemy would like for us to focus on the faults and perceived slights from our loved ones in order to form a wedge.

Don’t give him the satisfaction. Exercise forgiveness until it’s the strongest muscle in your body. The tongue has the power to destroy, but forgiveness has the only power to heal.

Not one of us is faultless, so we hunger for just as much forgiveness from those we love as we are asked to give.

Is that wedge worth it? What wise counsel would you give a friend or child in the same tough situation you are experiencing?

Forgive-you will be glad you did.

Posted in Being Wise | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How Clean is Your House?

2 Corinthians 6:16King James Version (KJV)

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

I read this verse, and it hit me powerfully.  I read other Bible translations, but the King James Version illuminated the meaning the best.

“I will dwell in them, and walk in them”

Yikes! God is walking in me.  He is walking in you.  What does He see?

I guess on some level I knew this.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and God knows every thought and action even before they occur.  In a way I have been holding on to the idea that I had some control over when and how I let God in, especially the times I was thinking/doing something He wouldn’t approve of.  Even then He is walking inside my temple.

He sees my dirt and grime.  Am I giving Him a place He would want to stay?

Our homes have locked doors.  When people knock, we can choose if or how they will enter our home.  We could keep them standing on the front porch without opening our doors.  We could open the door a crack and make them stand there while we talk.  We could invite them into our entry way or front room that shows a level of cleanliness we  are not embarrassed by and hoping this will provide the illusion that the rest of the house looks the same, or we can have them come inside and wander the house without any fear of what they find.

A locked door won’t stop God from entering.  We can’t keep Him waiting on the front porch or only show Him what we want Him to see.  We can’t create an illusion to make Him believe the rest of our thoughts and actions are just as clean as the ones we are willing to show Him.

When we accept God as our Father and His Son as our Savior, our temples come with no doors or windows.  As Christians, we need to shine a light on our dark corners and sweep out the cobwebs that still lurk inside.  We can’t harbor darkness and accept bits of sin and evil into our lives because we create a space that does not welcome God.

“I will dwell in them, and walk in them”

This was a game changer for me in how I viewed my relationship with God.  There is no more hiding or covering up with sprays and perfumes.  He will see through it all and loves us anyway, so let’s offer up our hurts for His help and sins for His forgiveness.  He doesn’t want us cluttering our temples but rather clearing them out so we can walk with Him along a clear and unobstructed path.  

 

 

Posted in Grace | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Do I Hang a Left or Right?

prov 22 12

It can sometimes be difficult to trust that God’s plans are the right plans. This is especially true when those who are not following God’s plans appear to have an easier path than what is chartered for us.

The smooth and unobstructed pathway for those who don’t seek wisdom presents a blind curve that gives no hint as to what lies ahead.

God promises to be bless those who continue on the path He has laid out for them. When we are struggling, we too don’t know what is behind the curve up ahead. We just know we are asked to be faithful and intentional and God will bless our efforts.

Would you choose to face the unknown bend in the road by following your own path or God’s path? Knowing that God’s promises are true, it is better to travel down a difficult trail with God than sliding on thin ice without Him.

 

Posted in Being Wise | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Wise are the Rich

We should be seeking out God–not things. His ways should be our ways because to live a life after Him means we are seeking wisdom. We tend to migrate towards the light that wise people cast off and their names are always well respected. When we choose God, we are choosing wisdom. Being wise far exceeds any wealth that silver and gold may bring.

memes

Posted in Being Wise | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Sluggard Within

I am sharing an incredible sermon by Rick Hodshire given at my church this past weekend. We are making our way through Proverbs and Proverbs challenges us to live a life of discipline and avoid the consequences of being a sluggard. We should be using our time intentionally and leaving the excuses behind.

I really needed this sermon. I’m trying to be disciplined and consistent in my writing and constantly battling the sluggard within. I have now involved my best friend in prayer and commissioned my early rising husband to literally make sure I’m standing upright and out of bed at 5:00 AM! He’s a brave man who is using his area of strength to help in my desires to be intentional. I prefer the sun to be positioned overhead when I wake up, but the morning is when I am most productive. I’m sleeping through and stealing time away from all that God is asking me to do.

Are you also battling your inner sluggard? This sermon has a lot of tips and truths that will guide you into God’s will for a purposeful life.

#wisewords

http://onecornerstone.org/messages/discipline/

Posted in Being Wise | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Blessed are Those Who are Wise

Proverbs 21 is like a throw down between good and evil, true wealth and true poverty, wicked and wise, righteous and proud, desire and motive, and the lazy and the diligent. It sweeps across the page like a machete cutting tall grass. It doesn’t allow any chance of evil intentions to be misconstrued as good deeds. What we think is right may be wrong in the eyes of our Lord. Proverbs 21 is a good resource to turn to if you are unsure.

Here are just a few versus:

21:4 “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.”

21:6 “Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.”

21:16 “The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead.”

21:17 “Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.”

21:25 “Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.”

21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of the battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”

Sometimes I love to see our God as a sweet, loving Father who gives great big hugs. The truth is as our Father, He also has to give us direction, wisdom and discipline in order for Him to do a great work in us. Our skeletons need to be exposed and our hearts need to be searched. What is done in the dark has to be brought into the light. The pain this will bring is shadowed by the peace we will gain if we open our hearts to the Lord.

Let God search your heart and your desires today. Give it to Him and ask for His wisdom. We can trick ourselves into thinking our desires and intentions are for good, but your Father is the only one who can read your heart.

Give it to Him today, and let Him do a great work in you.

Posted in Being Wise | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Confront a Fool

Proverbs 17:12, “It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.” (NLT)

I loved reading this in Proverbs today. It just struck me funny how an analogy of cubs being taken away from their mama bear stirs the same fearful picture in our hearts today as it did when it was written in the tenth century BC.

This proverb also hit home because of one of my greatest faults–desiring fairness and justice in all situations. I have always viewed my world as black and white. It is either right or wrong. Shades of gray were never my strength.

The biggest problem this poses is during a situation when I am treated unfairly. We bought a used hot tub to help with my Fibromyalgia, and the store clerk touted the model he was showing us as completely refurbished by the company and is in like-new condition. We paid extra for this thorough thumbs-up and all-clear but when it was delivered, there were at least 10 things wrong with it. Some were very obvious things that were not easy to overlook, and some were very expensive fixes like clearing out the bacteria in the pipes until the water was safe to use. I try to treat others as I would like to be treated, but when this rule of thumb is not reciprocated, it drives me crazy.

Have you ever had someone speak poorly of you to someone else, and you can’t fathom why because you don’t even know the person speaking ill of you very well? Has someone spoken untruths about you to a coworker or boss? Has a family member turned their back on you and tried to bring the rest of the family with them? The unfairness examples are too numerous to count, but we have all felt their sting one time or another in our lives.

In the sixth grade my class switched classes for reading with another sixth grade classroom. When reading ended and I was headed back to my classroom, I noticed a boy eating sunflower seeds and sticking the shells inside of the desk that he was borrowing for that hour of reading. He noticed that I noticed him, and he asked me not to say anything.

Soon after I went back into my classroom and sat down at my desk to start a new lesson, a student from the other 6th grade classroom came down and asked me come with him. I was stunned, and I couldn’t think of why I would be summoned back to reading.

The boy who owned the desk that now contained a pile of sunflower seed shells was standing by the desk of his teacher. The boy who committed this offense was also there, and He pointed a finger at me and said, “She did it, I saw her!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! All of the sixth grade students in the class were staring at me with eyes blinking and wondering why I would do such a thing.

Normally being the kid who likes to blend in with the wall paper, I now found myself at the front of the class in the middle of a major controversy. I stammered at first because of the shock, but my sense of injustice kicked in. I pointed my finger back at this boy and told the teacher I saw him eat the seeds and put the shells in the desk, and he had asked me to keep quiet. The boy retorted back that it certainly was me but like a dog with a bone, I wouldn’t let it go. I wouldn’t back down all the while declaring my innocence until the boy relinquished his lie and told the truth that he in fact was the sunflower seed eater. The whole class said, “OOhh!!” It was quite the scandal.

I still have that sense of justice in me and wasn’t surprised when the college career interest test came back 90% law. I didn’t pursue that career choice.  I think if I had it would have made me crazy.

The sunflower seed finger pointing doesn’t end as we grow into adulthood. It only becomes more sophisticated as we grow older. There will be moments we have to defend our truth, but I have found some people won’t admit fault no matter how much we point back. Their personalities are such that if we stick our heals in to defend ourselves, the more they will stick their heels in and rev up their accusations.

Proverbs tells us that in these cases, step away from the situation. We may never be able to convince the person they are wrong, but by living a righteous life and continuing on the path of God, our silence to their slander will speak more about who we are and less about what they say. Trials will come and as Proverbs 17:27 tells us, “A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even tempered.”

When we seek justice with a fool, we’ve essentially given away our peace. They will defend their view like a mama bear defending her cubs. Walk away and give it to God. He sees all truths and knows the hearts of every person. He will defend us and that’s the greatest justice of all.

Posted in Sword of the Spirit | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who Was Your Greatest Influence and Why?

IMG_2142

I had to write on my Goodreads’ profile page who my greatest influence as a writer was and only one person owns that title—my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Topitzes.

My family and I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during that time and we moved away after my 6th grade year which was over thirty years ago.  I just texted my brother to verify the spelling of her last name and I floored him because he was just thinking about her last week!  Apparently she made an everlasting impression on the both of us.

Mrs. Topitzes told me that I was a great writer, and I owned her words throughout my life.  I was a shy, awkward kid, so her words gave me a purpose and direction and writing has been my best companion ever since.  Thank you, Mrs. Topitzes, for giving me my voice.

Our words have the power to change the course of a life.  Was it a teacher or someone else who changed yours and which direction did your compass point?

I would love to hear your comments and examples of how the power of words influenced your direction.

(Proverbs 12:14) “From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.”

Posted in Grace, Shield of Faith | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Unwrap your gifts and use them.

You are given gifts.  When God formed you in His hands, He bestowed upon you a specific set of gifts.  He was sending you into a dark world that breaks his heart every second of every day.  It is temporarily occupied by Satan who is free to do what Satan does best—deceive, disarm, and devour.

God designed for you specific gifts and talents that no one in the world possesses.  They can only be used by you and were created with only you in mind.  God wants you to use your gifts as beacons of light piercing through the darkness so you and others are able find our way back to Him.

Satan sees your gifts and he hates them.  He convinces you that your gifts and talents are small and insignificant.   Seriously, they can’t be that great, right?  He will do whatever it takes to keep you from using your gifts to their full potential because he has experienced the powerful results when we use our gifts for God’s glory.  He aims fiery darts of distractions, fears, and confidence busters to keep your gifts hidden from view.  He wants you to store them in the steam trunk forever and never have any inkling of the way your gifts can truly transform others.  Hold up your shield of faith.  Put your trust in our mighty God who desires for your gifts to shine light and hope.

What are your gifts?  Have they been hidden for so long you don’t remember what they look like?  Do they seem trivial and unworthy of even being dusted off and used?  Have you been criticized before or told your gifts are silly? Your faith shield is given to you to put a halt to these fiery darts of doubt and allows God to use you in a powerful way.  Trust in Him and see what God can do with what He gifted you before you entered into your mother’s womb.  Not sure what your gifts are?  Call upon our Holy God who loves you so very much and ask Him to help you unwrap your gifts and see what is inside.  The creator of the universe gave you a gift.  It must be something pretty special.

Posted in Shield of Faith | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Why do we fear?

Worry and Anxiety. Why do we willingly sit at the alter and watch the marriage of these two? We wrangle our problems out of God’s hands, sling them across our backs, and let them drag in the dirt behind us while we attempt to move forward. For some reason we feel more in control when we take control. Snatching our worries and concerns away from the One who is omniscient, omnipresent, and all powerful is not God’s plan for us. When we feel that we either know better how to handle them or deserve to be miserable because of them, that is not from God. That’s from our enemy. In the armor that God provides and Jesus willingly died for us to have, several pieces provide our defense but only one allows us to fight back. The Word of God is our sword. When we open its pages, we become sword wielding Ninjas with insight to know where and when to point it at our enemy. Let the love and strength of God’s Word pour over you as you release your fingers around the sack you are carrying and grasp the handle of the sword that is now revealed to you. Become aware of the coolness of the blade and trust that it will protect you from what the enemy is trying to take away–your peace.

Posted in Shoes of Peace | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments