Sunday, July 23, 2017

Be encouraged

Why do I think life should be easy? What worthwhile endeavor is easy? Physical fitness? It takes sweat, pain, dedication, HARD work. Marriage? It takes sacrifice, forgiveness, compromise. Godliness? It takes seeking, changing, dying to self. Yet somehow I still get discouraged when the path I'm on gets tough.  When I face defeat.... When I wobble backwards a few steps... When I'm betrayed by those I've supported... When life doesn't look happy and pretty and neat.

Life is TOUGH... ESPECIALLY when you're on the right track.  When you are trying to be Jesus to a fallen world, it's going to HURT.... It's going to cost you.... It is NOT gong to be easy.

So be ENCOURAGED today... If the road in front of you looks daunting.... If you see an uphill climb everywhere you look... The tough paths lead to the good destinations!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2‭-‬4

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Love is a CHOICE

People are irritating, self- centered, rude. We have idiosyncrasies (like the tendency to apologize too much or constantly forgetting things because we have too many irons in the fire). We get wrapped up in our own agenda (what WE want to happen.... how WE want our house to look... how WE think people should behave....) We are ALL sinners, falling short of God's glory every day.

That is why it is VITAL for us to remember that love is a CHOICE. We CHOOSE to love the spouse who left the car window open all night when it rained.  We CHOOSE to love the child who left the lunch meat out all night. We CHOOSE to love the family member who drives us nuts. We CHOOSE.

We don't manipulate that person into behaving the way we want them to. We don't DEMAND they change. We don't blame, make ultimatums, roll our eyes, shame..... If we're doing life the way God wants us to, we CHOOSE to love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4‭ & 7

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Be careful little mouth what you say

Remember that Sunday School song? Here's the part God's working on with me this week, "Be careful little mouth what you say." He's preaching a three-point sermon straight to my heart on this topic. I'm pressed for time this morning so I'll cut straight to the chase.

1. Shut my mouth and pray about it. I find myself in a CONFUSING, heart-breaking, unjust situation. I keep talking about it to process my way through the painful emotions. But no amount of talking will explain or fix this. It's time to hush my lips and PRAY. Honestly, I'm not sure how beneficial it EVER is to rehash situations like this. Some things are not to be understood. They are to be endured.... with our eyes on Heaven.... waiting for God to move.... because He is the only One who CAN move people's hearts. "Be careful little mouth what you say."

2. Slow down and THINK before you speak. Yesterday without thinking, I said something that in retrospect was inappropriate and unkind. If you know me at all,  you know that means I spent the rest of the day dwelling on the comment and beating myself up for saying it. This is a lesson I've been learning for a LONG time. Sometimes I'm very good at it. Other times my filter slips and something I should not have said slips out. "Be careful little mouth what you say."

3. Anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ugh.... I've become such an angry person lately. Yes, I face TOUGH situations. Often one right after the other, each following so closely on the heels of the last that I don't even get a chance to catch my breath between. But anger is never the right answer. It gives the devil a chance to stick his toe in it. And that evil adversary.... once he gets his toe in, he'll squirm his whole foot in... then his leg... and before I know it he's the unwelcome guest at my party, and I'm saying angry things that I really don't even WANT to say! "Be careful little mouth what you say."

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
Proverbs 10:19

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Look for silver linings

I don't believe God ever causes bad things to happen. [...God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. 1 John 1:5] It's not in His nature. But I do believe that He wants to use each and every bad thing that happens to us for our GOOD. [And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28] Sometimes the path we are walking is so dark and demented that it is TOUGH to see the good that God is bringing out of it. Other times the trials we're suffering are less intense, and we can more easily appreciate the good God is working for us.

Right now I'm walking the second kind, the less intense kind. Still a faith workout.... still not what I would have chosen for this summer... but compared to other struggles I've endured,  not that bad. So I'm having an easier time seeing the good that can come out of my suffering.

On May 15th I ruptured my Achilles tendon [leaping over a bench to save a baby]... had surgery May 22nd [my doctor said it was the worst rupture he's ever seen... he took pics with his smartphone to show his doctor buddies]. I have been in a boot, on crutches,  knee walker, sitting on my fat butt elevating this foot, unable to do much of anything for myself for 7 weeks now. It has NOT been fun.  But even though I'm in the midst of it, still I can see many good things coming from it:

1. I'm learning to let others take care of me. That is TOUGH for someone as independent as I am.

2. I'm developing better quiet time habits... more faithfulness in prayer.... delving deeper into the Word.

3. I'm seeing and APPRECIATING what INCREDIBLE servants and hard workers these children of mine are.

4. I'm learning to say "no" to commitments that will hinder my healing (haven't learned how to not feel guilty about saying "no" yet, but baby steps)

5. I'm remembering what a BEAUTIFUL thing the body of Christ is (people bringing meals, cleaning my house,  taking my kids to fireworks...)

And so much more... but the main thing... the real reason I wrote this post....

6. I'm learning [like REAL life, know it cuz you LIVED it learning] that there is ALWAYS good if you look hard enough. And I'm PRAYING that I'll retain that lesson for the next time my path seems too dark to hold any good.

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