Friday, August 18, 2017

Anger Is A Thief

Psalm 37:8 NIV "Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil."

Every time I have been angry to the point of taking action based upon that anger, things have not gone well for me!  You can probably relate with events in your own life.  It's in anger that hurtful words get spoken.  It's in anger that harmful actions are taken, even actions against oneself.  Anger is a fuel, it's like gasoline on a flame, it's destructive.  So where does anger originate?  Some people just declare, "I'm an angry type person" or "I'm just hot headed" or maybe "I was born this way".  All may be true (since we are born with a sinful nature, we all have the capability of allowing negative traits to become our characteristics), the truth is, there is something that is the root cause of anger.  Fear is that root!  The fear of being hurt or treated wrongfully (again) produces anger.  Anger sprouts from roots of bitterness that have dug deep in the ground of our past, from the places that we experienced hurt.  Anger becomes a defense mechanism, to protect ourselves from being hurt again.  And while we may defend that place well, we also construct emotional weapons that hurt others, and build walls that prevent relationships to flourish and grow.  So in the long run, we still lose!

So how do we put aside anger when the root is so deep?  It's through forgiveness!  Forgive the wrongs that's been done and release those debts that have piled up that people owe you.  Accept the forgiveness that has been bought for you through Jesus on the cross - He paid a debt that we owed, one we could not pay.  We have all done wrong, but because of God's love, we can be forgiven and free from those wrongs!  When we forgive others, we can be free from the hurt that their wrong-doing caused.  Forgiveness doesn't negate the fact that we were wronged, in fact, if there was no wrong done, there would be no action to forgive.  Forgiveness acknowledges wrong has been inflicted AND overcomes its grip on our soul (our mind, will and emotions)!

If you struggle with anger, ask God to reveal to you where the root began to grow.  When you see it, take the steps to forgive the person or people who caused the pain.  It can be a process.  You may not desire to forgive in the beginning; if so, ask God to help you want to.  He always meets us at the point where we are willing.  As you desire to forgive and get free from the hurt, God will help you move forward.  It will be an act of your will that will develop into a willing behavior, resulting in freedom from anger that once defined your character!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Make A Resolution That Lasts

A lot of people begin a new year with resolutions, normally all targeting self-improvement, such as, losing weight, eating healthier, exercising, etc., which are all good, definitely not bad things. There are others whose new year's resolutions may be about improving their spirituality, such as, reading through the Bible, praying regularly, fasting more often, attending church faithfully or maybe even finding a place of serving to help others grow in their Christian walk. All of these are definitely good things, both physical and spiritual. The sad thing is that most resolutions wain after January or February and so many find themselves making the same promises to 'do better' each year. Here are some helpful tips to going forward in life...

1) Make your goals realistic, something that is very doable. For instance, let's say you want to lose 30 lbs this year. Set a goal to lose 5 lbs. by March, then when you've lost the 5, set another target date to lose another 5. It is motivating to make progress, so baby steps accomplished are better than a monumental target that's not!

2) Chose a top 3 to shoot for! Select 3 of the most important things you need to improve in your life & target your determination on them instead of having an overwhelming list of 10 or more. When you've gotten those 3 in your 'done!' pile, then go ahead and select 3 more. Once again, accomplishing a little is better than a lot that's not!

3) Make improvement resolutions more than once a year. Don't wait 12 months before addressing things in your life that need to change, do it monthly! There's nothing different about January 1st from February 1st, or March 1st, or August 1st, etc., the point in case is to 'move forward'! The longer amount of time that you don't make a new start the more difficult it is, and the longer time you have to feel down about not accomplishing your goals.

4) Keep a journal concerning your goals and accomplishments. It can act as a personal accountability tool as well as an encouragement to not give up when you read it and see how far you have come. 

Here's to a GOOD Ye
ar ahead!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Those Who Have Been Forgiven Much, Love Much

Luke 7:36-50 Tells of a visit that Jesus made to a very religious man's house (Simon, a Pharisee).  A sinful woman from that town entered the home (obviously uninvited) because she had heard that Jesus was there.
She brought with her a jar of perfume which was very costly & precious.  She lavished Jesus with this perfume and worshiped Him.  Simon scolded Jesus for having anything to do with such a woman & quickly pointed out her sins.  Jesus confronted Simon's judgment with this...

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."

The woman humbled herself at the feet of Jesus, recognizing Him as The Lord & herself as a sinner.  She was so busy lifting up Jesus that she didn't have eyes to see nor mind to care what others thought or said.

Simon, on the other hand, was so busy looking for other's sins and flaunting his own righteousness that he couldn't see nor worship Jesus for Who He really was!

I believe that this is a lesson that we Christians need to keep fresh in our hearts.  'Tis better to be humble at Jesus' feet than full of religiosity!  Repentance = Humbleness

When I am repentant of my wrongs I am not so focused on the wrongs of others, thus, I am able to love others more!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life Is Full Of Questions

I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)  “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we shall see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely.”

Life is filled with so many questions and puzzling situations.  From the time we are born, we are asking questions.  This is how we learn.  We ask, we receive an answer, then we are more knowledgeable than before, however, the older we grow, the more questions that go unanswered.  Now, we can come up with many alternative answers to ease our questioning minds, but we have to admit, many of those don’t settle the uneasiness of our hearts, in that, we know the answer is still beyond our reach. 

Many of us have said on more than one occasion, “One day I’m going to sit down with Jesus and ask Him all of my questions.”  I personally believe that when we arrive in heaven, we won’t need to ask any questions, we will suddenly know the answers.  I John 3:2 (ESV) “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”  We will have a perfect body and a perfect mind.  We will be like him!

Knowing these things helps me deal with life’s questions.  I know that one day, all my questions will have answers and all the puzzling dilemmas of this life will be over.  I can rest as a child, trusting that my Father God will take care of me, knowing that even in death, life is not over; I will be embarking on a new beginning that will have no end.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Strong Tower

Psalm 61:1-3 (NIV) “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”

When I think about a strong tower, I am reminded of a fortress.  One definition of the word 'fortress' found in the dictionary says, “a place or source of refuge or support”.  In Medieval times, regions of land were ruled by a king and that king lived in a castle.  The castle was usually surrounded by something that formed a barrier, like a body of water (moat) or a thick wall.  The castle had towers that were high and strong, built both for the ability to see a far distance and to be high above the battle.  It would provide protection from flying arrows that could not reach that high.  This is the type of structure the Psalmist compares God with.  He calls Him a rock that is higher than he was.

II Samuel 22:4 (NASB) “The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; And exalted be God, the rock of my salvation.”  Psalm 62:1-2 (NIV) “My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

We should be reminded that it’s not only when trouble shakes us that God is that strong tower for us, but also when we fail.  Both are brought on by an enemy.  Sin entered this world through Satan when he led man into disobeying God.  Man hid from God because of his failure.  But he should have run to Him instead, because God was the only one who could remedy what he had done.  It’s kind of like a child that has broken a beautiful vase.  That child hides the vase and tries to repair it, to no avail.  When the parent discovers the deed, the situation is now worse because of the lies and secrecy the child has done.  The parent is the one who can either repair or replace the vase and give the child discipline so that he will take more thought and care in the future, possibly preventing something worse from happening.  When Adam and Eve tried to repair their situation, they wove clothing made from fig leaves to cover them.  Have you ever taken a fig leaf and rubbed it on your skin?  Not very comfortable!  When they finally gave their deed to God, He made clothing for them from animal skins.  Fur must have felt much better than fig leaves!

We so need to run to God and dwell in Him, whether our trouble comes from an attack from the outside or from the enemy leading us to a failure on the inside, God is the rock that is higher.  He is the place where we can find rest for our souls and food for our spirit.  He is a strong tower where we can hide from the flying arrows that are aimed at taking us out of the battle.  Run to the strong tower and find safety, comfort, mercy and grace.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lazy Is NOT Cool

Proverbs 24:30-34 (NIV) “I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”

I grew up with parents who taught me not to be lazy.  In fact, everyone in our household had jobs to do.  When I was just a little girl, my mother had me helping with the laundry, dusting furniture, washing dishes and taking care of our pets.  As I grew older, my tasks expanded, according to my abilities.  When we moved to a small farm, I began helping my dad with outside chores, cutting grass, trimming hedges, caring for the farm animals and working in the vegetable garden.  As most children, I complained at times, but in all honesty, I truly enjoyed staying busy and experiencing the results of my work.  As an adult, I have never been without a job when one was needed and I still enjoy the results of a job well done.

This scripture speaks about the writer seeing someone’s vineyard that had been left untended.  He calls the person a sluggard.  Webster’s Dictionary uses these synonyms to describe a sluggard: couch potato, deadbeat, do-nothing, drone, idler, layabout, loafer, slouch, lazybones.  Because the owner of the vineyard was lazy, it had gone to waste and had become worthless.

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) says it best, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”

Very few things in life come without effort.  Sadly, there’s some people who put a lot of effort into getting things through fraud or crime, but be assured, just as a seed is sown into the ground, it will bring forth a crop.  Galatians 6:7 (NIV) “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.”

It is best to sow diligence and hard work, you will surely reap its rewards and benefits!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Something New

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!”

Everybody likes new things!  At the moment, I am shopping for something new to give my grandchildren for their birthday.  They are triplets and will be two years old.  Needless to say, they will be excited to receive a new toy from their grandmother and I will be excited too!  That’s the way it is with something new… exciting! 

God encourages us with this scripture to look forward to new, exciting things that He is going to do.  When we dwell in the past, especially our failures, shortcomings, losses, misfortunes, disappointments and such, we are robbed of joy, peace and happiness.  There’s nothing more depressing than to spend time thinking on all these types of things.  But Isaiah says to forget these things and to not live in the past.

Micah 7:19 (NIV) “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” 

If God throws our sins into the sea, who are we to drag them up again?  If we’ve asked His forgiveness, He forgives AND forgets!  We actually block the new and exciting things God wants to do in our lives by holding onto our failures. 

Have you ever tried to walk somewhere while you’re looking behind?  You probably stumbled off the path if you did.  We need to keep our eyes looking ahead, not behind.  Whatever we have our focus set upon is exactly where we set our life to go.

Heavenly Father, help us find
Joy in thinking
Of Your love.
Help us lose
Thoughts of our sins,
And leave them in
The sea of forgetfulness.
Heavenly Father, help us rest
On Your promises,
They are best
Suited for life’s every test.
Help us expect something new
Straight from heaven
Straight from You!