Specks and Planks..

We have all had that moment, or several, when we sit there and point our finger at someone or their behavior. Let’s just call it what it is THIS BEHAVIOR IS CALLED JUDGING OTHERS! Judging others is not ok. If we break it down to basics, here it is we are ALL imperfect, we will ALL fall short and we ALL make mistakes. We ALL will continue to make mistakes throughout our life, because we are growing. Change is constantly occurring in ALL of us. We need to make it a point to stop Judging others and start loving and accepting people right where they are. We are not filled with the same life experiences, we are not going through the exact same situations. We cannot continue to look at others and critique their motives, decisions or actions because we do not know what trial they are going through.
We do not know if they recognize things within their own life that they want to change but haven’t been able to yet.

People want to be loved and accepted not ridiculed and made to feel inadequate. Each and every one of us has our own cross to bear. Pray that God would teach you to be loving and accepting of others. Pray that he could help you hold your tongue in moments of conflict. Pray that God will give you grace that you can shower upon others. Read the verse below and pray that God would free you from hypocrisy.

Matthew 7:3-5New International Version (NIV)

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 

*Comments Challenge* Tell me how you can show love and acceptance today.

Fresh Fruit..

I recently posted a picture in each child’s bedroom about the fruit of the spirit and explained that the attributes in this verse is who they should aim to be:

Galatians 5:22-23New International Version (NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Over the last few days, while dealing with some family situations, i started to look at myself and examine my own fruit. I went through the list over and over and started to evaluate whether or not I aim to have these attributes.  The short answer “mostly yes”. The longer answer is I came to the realization that depending on what is going on in my life I seem to forget a couple.  For example, if something is done to me by someone else and I am feeling angry, peace and forbearance are not exactly at the top of my list in that moment. Then it dawned on me.  We have this list of beautiful attributes that God has given us to strive for and in many ways I can follow through but it doesn’t mean that I am exempt from failure.  I am human, plain and simple.  I will fail, I will fall short, I will forget to practice one or all of these at different times in my life.  I do not need to dwell in these failures, I simply need to pray, reevaluate and spring into action.

The end of the verse says “against such things there is no law.” Look at the list, it’s true who does not want each of these attributes? Who doesn’t want to receive these things from someone else?

Let’s look at our behavior and actions today and try to flip it around. For example, if you feel angry remind yourself that you would rather taste the fruit of joy and try to replace the angry thoughts.

*Comments Challenge* Tell me what fruit you would like to taste more of today?

Growing Noses…

We all heard the story about Pinocchio growing up and even though our nose doesn’t grow if we lie, the sin is growing in our heart. Sin growing in our heart is very detrimental to our walk. To keep it simple, the lord hates lying. That means any kind of lying, no matter how big or how small. But God loves a trustworthy person. Just think we have to be trustworthy in order to spread his love and his word. If we were not trustworthy than we could be spreading false information to people who need to hear the truth.

We need to stand up for the truth, we need to be truth tellers! Make it a point today to rid yourself of lies and trust God to give you the right words that need to be spoken in every circumstance.

Proverbs 12:22New International Version (NIV) 22 The Lord detests lying lips,    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

*Comments Challenge* Tell me what steps you will take stop yourself before speaking a lie

Woo hoo….

Hooray! Yay! Yippee! Woo hoo!  Doesn’t that remind you of the sounds you hear at parties, holidays and special occasions? That is the beautiful sound of CHEER! A heart that is smiling, a mind that is joyful without worry or concern. There are several times in life where we may feel less than cheerful but God wants us to experience joy !

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22(NIV)
When I read the verse above, it reminds me that I need to take the good medicine in order to have a cheerful heart.  That medicine is taking in the love of God through his word and prayer! God is good ALL the time, joy and a cheerful heart comes from our relationship through him.  God does not want us to have a crushed spirit, no matter the circumstances he wants us to have a cheerful heart.

Maybe you are asking, what if my life is filled with rain, how can I be cheerful then? When we learn how to rely on God for all things, we find that we have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about and we can be confident in the fact that God has a plan only for our good.

Part of that good is a cheerful heart, filled with confidence in God.  If you are stuck in a pattern of negativity today that is drying up your bones, pray about breaking the cycle so that you can move on to the cheerful heart God created you with.

*Comments Challenge* Tell me how to turn a frown upside down.

Patiently Loving…

It seems like looking around us we can see more and more examples of impatience and hate. God calls us to be gentle, patient and love one another.

Think about this for a second, when we are out in the world, at school, work etc. We try to be polite and patient with strangers. Perhaps, we act this way because we feel like it is the right thing to do. For others it may because the reactions of strangers are completely unknown. But the question is do we behave in the same manner with the people in our home or families? Many times when we are in our “comfort zone” we have have less patience, don’t act gently and may even express love less.  Part of being a child of the most high means that you are supposed to express the attributes in the verse below as often as possible. I encourage you to pray about the verse below and ask God to reveal to you if you need to work on these areas of your life . We need to do what is pleasing to the Lord not following the trend in society. Love one another today, be patient and be gentle just as you would want others to do for you.

Ephesians 4:2New International Version (NIV)2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

*Comments Challenge: Tell me how you expressed love, gentleness and patience with someone in your life today.

Prayers This Way…

Do you know the importance of a good prayer life? Prayer is a direct path to the dialogue between you and the creator of the universe, and prayers only go one way, up! The Lord gives us specific commands with regard to prayer. Let’s take a look at them.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.Thessalonians 5:16-18New International Version (NIV)

The very first command is to Rejoice ALWAYS.  It is easy to rejoice in the good times, when life if going just right but God commands us to rejoice ALWAYS.  No matter how your circumstances appear God is going to work the situation out for your own good therefore you really do not have a reason not to rejoice.

The second command is to Pray Continuously.  Raise your hand if you are guilty at times for only praying when you need something.  I think we have all been there. God calls us to make prayer a priority and do it ALL THE TIME.   If you are not in the habit of praying continuously, start today, the more time you spend in prayer the more you will naturally do it.  But God wants to hear from you, no matter how big or small the request.  Talk to him.

The third command is give thanks in all circumstances.  Let me be clear about something.  I realize that at times bad things happen. Unfair things happen. All circumstances does not mean you are thanking God for the disease you have just been diagnosed with.  What you can give thanks for is the growth, strength and possible miracle that he may perform in your circumstance. God is good and God knows exactly what we need, he knows the life plan he has or us. He will carry out the will he has or our life and nobody can change his mind, be thankful for that!

Make prayer a priority in your life today no matter what you are going through.

*Comments challenge* Tell me if there is something I can pray for you about.

Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter

The colors of fall where I live are simply breathtaking.  As I looked at the colorful trees today, all I could think was how beautiful the change is, even if the leaves are old and passing away.  We are beyond blessed to watch the seasons change.  Our life is constantly changing also, and God tells us that we will go through different seasons.   But that is absolutely ok, because just like Fall leaves and flowers pass away, winter waters the ground and spring brings new life that will be kissed by the warmth and brightness of summer. In our  lives we will also experience season changes. There will be times of pain and loss and times of joy and happiness. We do not remain in the same season forever though, take a look at the verse below:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

We may not understand God’s timing for the season that we are in, but the only thing that we truly need to understand is that God has a plan.  Whether his current plan is that we are in a season of pain to help us grow or a season of joy to teach us to be thankful, he knows right where we need to be, right at this very moment in time.

*Comments Challenge* Tell me what season you are in at this current time.

Boo! Scared You Didn’t I?

Read the following description and choose the emotion. Your stomach tightening, your heart skipping a beat, the lump in your throat that makes you feel like you can’t breath? What am I?

Fear! Fear is a powerful emotion, it can be overwhelming, it can stop us in our tracks, it can paralyze us.  To sum it up, the feeling of fear feels awful. While fear is a natural response when we feel like we are in danger, it is also dangerous to live in the land of fear.

Many times we fear things that we are not in control of.  For example, what if something goes wrong on this plane ride?   What if I can’t find a job? What if I don’t have the money I need to live alone? I encourage you to stop the fear cycle, change your words and you will change your thinking. Try to change your what if’s.

“What if…God’s got me!”

“What if….God has a plan!”

“What if…God is in control!”

God does not want us to live in fear, he wants us to feel confident in him.  God wants us to trust him.  How can we spread the gospel and teach people to trust in God, if we display fear?

The verse below will show you what God has for you. Take note having a a spirit of fear is not listed! We are powerful and we are loved and we have the armor for the battle, give God your fears today!!

“7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

*Comments Challenge* Tell me what fear you are giving God to today?

Put it on…

Conflict.  It’s a part of life, it is unavoidable.  Conflict comes in many different ways throughout every type of relationship.  But who are we fighting?  In the verse below we are called to battle.  It is explained to us that the battle is not against flesh and blood , but that it is a spiritual battle.  It is very hard to keep that in mind in the midst of conflict.  Sometimes in moments of conflict we start to look for escapes and would rather hide in the  shadows but God instructs us to Put on our Armor.  Regardless of the circumstances we need to gear up, prepare for the battle and stand firm on God’s words and promises.  I encourage you and myself, when we  wake up in the morning before we step out of bed let’s go through this verse and physically make the motions like we are putting on the armor of God, step by step.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

*Comments Challenge*  Tell me what your favorite piece of armor is and why.

Designer handbags…

Male or female, young or old, we all like pretty things. To some “pretty things” are designer handbags and shoes to others “pretty things” may be trinkets and flowers.  “Pretty things”  are different for each person, but what is “pretty” to God? In the verse below, the Lord clearly states that “pretty” is a spiritual thing.

“3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”      1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Does this mean you can’t enjoy the new designer handbag you just bought? Absolutely not. Does this mean you can’t put your best dress on? Not even close. The real question is what is your motive? Are you trying to send a message with these things?

For example, if your inner self is trying to brag, feel like you are better than others, gain acceptance of others, attract attention through the clothing you wear etc. This does not look very “pretty” in the eyes of God. What is pretty is a spirit that is kind, loving, caring and quiet. Let me point out a quiet spirit means not being gossipy and quarrelsome not that we are not allowed to have opinions.

Pretty is who you are inside, how you carry yourself and what you are giving to others.  We were created to share God’s love and light through our actions and words. Contrary to some of society’s opinion, you can still dress modestly and carry yourself in a respectable manner and be accepted.  Accepted by who? The one true God who has not only blessed you with “pretty things” but who gave you life to share his love and light in all you do.

*Comments Challenge* Tell me something pretty about you.