Category Archives: Wisdom

Two Words

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There are two words that I’ve really grown to dislike. I might even go as far as to say that I detest and resent them. Used separately they are fine and normal words, but combined they convey restrictions that God never intended to be placed upon man.

POLITICALLY CORRECT

These two words have become such a source of irritation to me that I feel the necessity to expose why we should not strive to be politically correct. When someone you know is suffering, shouldn’t you be able to pray with them or express that you are praying for them? Prayer is my first action when I hear of a loved one or friend in need, however my second thought is to make sure the expression of this action might not offend anyone within hearing distance. When a conversation at work turns to a theoretical hopefulness of eternal life, why are we not allowed to simply speak up and assure our co-workers that eternal life is not only a hope but rather a promise if we only believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ? Why are churches feeling the need to change their charters to reflect the belief that marriage is an act between a man and a woman? Why have schools taken prayer and God out of school? Why do we limit and silence the beliefs of many in order to pacify the few?

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS – that’s why. And I’ll take it a step further and say that EVILNESS is a more appropriate answer. All the good and right that God put in place when He created man has either already been or is in the process of being perverted by Satan. The spiritual battle taking place between God and His heavenly armies and Satan and his demons has moved so near and become so intense that humans can almost hear the battle sounds with our limited hearing. The feeling of immense anticipation is so strong that people across the globe are taking note. The Holy Spirit is directing Christians to speak out loudly to friends and family because it won’t be too much longer before the curtain that conceals the supernatural dimension is raised and all hell will literally break loose on earth. Satan is working overtime to move all humans to a global way of thinking. If everyone on earth were to be like minded then political correctness would be political mandate. How close are we to this? You tell me! Read the morning headlines…..we are nano seconds away from universal chaos on all fronts: political, financial, spiritual and physical. Only God’s great love for mankind is delaying this action. He could easily split the heavens wide open and demand that all acknowledge the truth in His thunderous voice yet He has given each one of us a choice to find Him. He has made His presence known throughout all of creation. Everything, seen and unseen, reflects His presence so that no one can claim ignorance of His existence. He has commanded that Christians go into the world and preach His gospel to every person. There should be absolutely no excuse for anyone not to believe, love and worship Almighty God…but for the pervasiveness of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

The agenda of the current White House administration is directly opposed to everything that is fundamentally right. Our founding fathers established a nation whose pursuits were life, liberty and happiness. Each day brings the uncovering of a new liberty stripped from American citizens. With rapid fire, the Constitutional Amendments are being shot into the abyss. True and genuine happiness has been replaced by temporal enjoyment of possessions. As long as the average citizen’s lifestyle is not affected, they remain lulled into passivity. Life… The lives of countless thousands American soldiers have been altered either for years or permanently and now we are being pushed into another war. When potus said we won’t be going to ground in Syria, you better know that we are already there. In spite of all of these daily occurrences, the art of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has silenced the moral majority of this great nation. It is high time that we stand up and speak boldly for Truth – in more ways than one. Shake the liberty tree with patriotic passion and don’t let anyone prevent you from pointing eyes to Jesus. We should not be policed by POLITICAL MANDATE, which is where we are quickly headed. We answer to a Higher Authority, but it’s your choice as to how you choose to use your voice. Choose wisely, because time is running out!

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Not My Home

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“Home Sweet Home”….”There’s No Place Like Home”….”Home is Where the Heart Is”……”Home Where I Belong”….I could go on and on.  There are so many references to home in our everyday vernacular, idioms and weaved into every fabric of our memories and plans.  Home is where we should feel safe and loved.  Many people across America grew up in the same home that they currently live in today.  Home is  different things to different people.  Home can be a brick ranch with a white picket fence, an apartment in the middle of town or a shack at the beach.  Regardless of where you live, your home is an investment.  Maybe your investment is not financial but rather an investment of time.  My home reflects me:  my personality, my likes, my hobbies and the comfort I want for my family.  I have spent hours painting, cleaning, polishing and decorating in order to create a home that I am proud to live in and show off to friends and family.  I figure that I spend about forty percent of each day at home, so why not make my home a place I feel welcome and happy?  In fact, I have lived with this motto for so long that I have spent more time decorating and loving my earthly home that I have neglected, for the most part, my investment in my heavenly home.  I would even venture to guess that I have spent more time decorating my virtual home on Pinterest than cultivating treasures for eternity.  When I examine this fact, I can view my priorities as seen from God’s perspective and it makes me sad.  I’m sure it breaks His heart.  After all, He told us in Matthew 6:19, “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”  This is not an optional statement.  If you know anything about grammar, then you will recognize that this verse begins with a verb behind a subject that is an “understood you”.  Basically, Jesus said “You, stop!”  If I told my children to stop in that manner, it would be viewed as a command.  Are you following this?  God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament.  The “Thou Shalt Nots” are such a part of society (at least it used to be) that most of us know some or all of the Ten Commandments.  The legal parameters of America were founded on these commands.  IF we know what’s good for us, we will listen when God commands.  Here He is, in Matthew 6:19, commanding us to stop decorating our homes on earth where they will rot and can be robbed.  Instead, in the next verse He says, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

So much of my time, I say my time as I cannot speak for anyone but myself, is spent on useless things that I think are important but when put into the perspective of eternity are actually useless.  What a waste of the precious time and resources that God has given me to use for Him.  Obviously, He wants us to enjoy life or He would not have created an ocean for us to play in or sunsets for our visual delight, but He wants us to live like Jesus who had no prized possessions that eventually become idols because He was “about his Father’s business”.  Ultimately, this is not my home.   My heart is longing for my eternal home where I will live with my Father forever.  I hope I can keep this in mind as I continue on my journey.  I want to continue decorating my home…. my heavenly home.

In Matthew 19:21, Jesus told a wealthy young man who had asked Him what he needed to do in order to inherit the Kingdom of God, “sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.  This life will be over in the blink of an eye and before I am ready, I will be kneeling in front of the Creator of everything.  It will be my greatest honor to be able to place crowns at His feet.  “Lord, please help my focus to be on eternal treasures and to keep my eyes on You!”

Putting Words in My Mouth

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I love May in the South!!  The warm Southern breeze usually sails in sometime in the early afternoon hours, just in time to cool the day off from the noon heat.  As luck would have it, I had a moment of free time to enjoy this airy sensation while going back to work from a late lunch.  As I paused to fully take in the moment, I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone.  I did not have to try too hard to hear what she was saying, and I would not really work hard to eavesdrop – unless it involved a birthday present for me….lol!  It was clearly evident to me, judging by the volume of her retort to whoever was on the receiving end of her conversation, that she was irritated to the point of exasperation.  In one final, breathless gasp, before disconnecting her call, she bellowed, “I wish you would just stop putting words in my mouth!”  Wow!  This sentence pushed my thoughts in a completely different direction than I’m sure she intended.  What if God could put His words into my mouth?  I could certainly save myself a lot of grief and trouble.  I might be more encouraging and less likely to tear down others.  What would it take for this to happen?

How delightful that God has put his words in my mouth.” ~ Psalm 119:3

How blessed we are that God always provides for us long before we ever think or need to ask Him for help.  He has always had a plan for our lives!  These plans for our success have been in place since before the beginning of time.  Not only did He start compiling His words of truth and guidance in written form, in the very language that we speak every day so that we could understand and relate to them, He also gave us His Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions.

I am free to do anything I want to do.  I can listen to anything that I want to hear as well as watch anything that I want to watch.  Although I have the Holy Spirit inside to guide my actions, words and thoughts, I do not have to listen to Him if I choose not to pay attention to what He says.  God gives all people free reign to make their own choices.  If I choose to watch Barney or Sesame Street all day, it won’t take long before I might be caught singing nursery rhymes or skipping.  If I choose to watch karate or kung-foo action shows, I might easily start kicking and chopping.  We are products of our environment.  It does not take much reasoning to follow this line of thinking and connect it to training for successful living.  If I choose to fill my mind with God’s words then I will be more likely to speak and act in the way He wants.

Over 2000 years ago, David wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You.   This is the secret to success, written for my eyes many centuries ago!  If I want God to put His words in my mouth then I might want to know His words.  In the same way that I would practice any other hobby or vocation, I must practice being a Christian in order to become the best that I can be.  In my efforts to make every moment count and to really know Christ, I am going to challenge myself (and you!) to “HIDE GOD’S WORD IN MY HEART”!  Feel free to post ways that you are actively trying to do this.  (I write verses on index cards to keep in my car and pull out while waiting in a parking lot or on errands – repetitive reading helps me remember).

I have put My words in your mouth and hidden you safely in My hand.” ~ Isaiah 51:16
Aside

Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger?  That was a favorite of mine.  The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical!  Everyone sat in a circle.  One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them.  This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game.  The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations.  The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own.  One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear.  Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed.  Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them.  This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I:  Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.

I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear.  She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her.  This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation.  ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’  ‘She must look ugly today.  She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’  ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.”  On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness.  In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend.  The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination.  Has this ever happened to you?  I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  How silly!  We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none.  If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)

I love this verse!  I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination.  Please join me in this effort.  Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Telephone

Laundry Day

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I have two teenage boys.  Combine that with white clothes, and…..yup, you get the picture.  Dirty clothes, all the time!  I am convinced that even if the t-shirts or socks stay clean and white, the wearer feels it necessary to soil the item, just on principle.  Sometimes, I can’t even identify the crud and muck that is attached to their clothes.   I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know what food has been ground in and how long it has been attached to the clothes that I am examining.  I am most certain that I don’t want to inhale the aroma that I refer to as “the stink” as it permeates the house.  A mother’s love truly knows no limits, although my limits frequently come close to being breached.  This morning was no exception.  I had laundry baskets lined up and ready to start sorting this morning.  Before I could even get to my older son’s pile, the overwhelming stench of ripe mildew almost drew tears from my eyes.  Yuck!

I know that I have told my son that wet swimming trunks and clothes need to be hung to dry before placing with other clothes.  He studied the process of mold creation in science.  This is not a new concept to my child.  It is amazing to see the disconnect between cleanliness and my son.  I will most certainly deal with him later, but for the moment I bit my tongue and dug into the dirt.  A little pre-wash, some laundry soap, a generous dousing of Clorox and 45 minutes later……white clothes!  Almost as good as new but a slight dinge still remained.  Sometimes I have been able to get close to the original white, but the creative stains that have found their way into my laundry are just too strong to completely disappear.

This process got me thinking.  I am that dirty shirt.  Maybe I don’t carry the stains on the outside where they are visible to the human eye, but without a doubt, I am a filthy rag.  “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  Isaiah 64:6 (NIV).  Obviously, I am speaking metaphorically, but there is never a day that I have not piled dirt into my life.  Sometimes the dirt may take the form of  impatience with other drivers (this is a definite occurrence on a daily basis), other times I may lose my temper (this one, too).  Regardless of the enormity or smallness of my uncleanliness, dirt is dirt.  In order to become clean, I need to be washed.  Just as my laundry cannot wash itself, neither can I clean myself.  I am not capable.  Only One who is perfectly clean can perform this action.  Psalm 51:7 says, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  (NIV) Even the strongest, industrial strength Clorox cannot make something whiter than snow.

When I believed in the death and resurrection of  Jesus as the penalty for my sins, He washed me perfectly clean.  This is a promise I can claim for all eternity!  I am His and He is mine.  How beautiful and precious is this gift of clean clothes!  I am so thankful that I am washed by His blood and the stains, stink and dirt is forever gone and completely forgotten!

“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me,Jeremiah 33:8 (NIV).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)

Replacement Vehicle

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“But you walked away from your first love – why?  What’s going on with you anyway?…”  Revelations 2:4  (The Message)

 

Routine 30,000 mile vehicle checkup!  This is the calendar greeting that awakened me from my sleep this morning.  I set my calendar notifications to alert me an hour before my actual appointment time as I simply cannot remember things the way I used  to remember them.  (I blame this on child birth, along with gray hair and weight gain.).  Unfortunately, there is no snooze capability on my calendar setting, so up I jumped.

 

When I arrived at the dealership to check my vehicle in for it’s scheduled service, I was told that they were off schedule (at 9am, no less) and that they would not be finished until around 4pm.  Rrgghh!  I really wasn’t trying to work on patience today, but I guess God had a different plan.  Actually, He did better than a lesson in patience.  He allowed the last replacement or “loaner” vehicle on the lot to be available for my use.  I anticipated a not so good car or over-used mini van but was pleasantly surprised to be assigned a new 2012 model.  This car drove like a dream!  It had all the bells and whistles, state of the art everything.  I left the lot with a huge, goofy smile on my face.  In my mind, I looked like Christie Brinkley driving the car next to Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation.  I’m sure I looked more like Wilma Flinstone on a bad hair day but nevertheless, I was wearing a 1000 mega watt smile.  As I was cruising (yes, I said it) down the freeway, I started thinking abut the marketing genius who decided to place new cars of the same make into driver’s hands as they obtained service on their slightly older models.  What better way to entice people to want this newer and better car than to have them drive one when they are completely unprepared for this type of subliminal assault.  Before I was 2 miles down the road, I was convinced that I needed this new car.  My old car didn’t have the radio media screen.  It didn’t have the super quiet air conditioner that this new model did, and it sure didn’t have the keyless ignition.  I had been driving the Model-T version of cars (no wonder I looked like Wilma!), while other people who drove this new car where so much more sophisticated.  It’s amazing how quickly we can become dissatisfied with something that, only minutes before, we loved!

I had left my first love, so to speak.

 

It didn’t take me even a nano second to connect the dots to what I believe God wanted me to take away from this experience:  He is my first love.  How many times do I turn away from Him?  Although I can’t be pulled out of His hand and I am forever sealed into His family, I can still walk away from His side.  He gave me that choice hoping that I would desire to walk next to Him and not turn away.  I thought of the Old Testament story of the golden calf.  Exodus 32:1 tells how the Israelites were so fickle that when Moses had not returned from his trip up Mt. Sinai, they begged Aaron to make them a graven image in gold of a cow so that they could worship it.  I have always thought this to be absurd that anyone with a semblance of intelligence would want to worship a golden cow that they had made with their own hands…..but, yet, here I was  loving this car and allowing it to take my focus off of the One whose hands hold all of creation.  “Things” become idols in our hearts when we desire them more than anything.  It’s easy to let those things that we enjoy become things over which we obsess.

 

What are some things you know have become an obsession in your life?  Once you can identify these areas, whether things or people, then you can re-prioritize and place God back where He belongs – on the throne of your heart!

 

“You shall have no other gods before Me,”Exodus 20:3  (NIV)

Picture Credit: http://www.43things.com

Pages and Chapters

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

I love to read!  I read anything and everything – from books, to magazines, to newspapers and even the TV Guide.  Words are just cool.  I like to see how an author strings them together to create thoughts.  I also enjoy the smell of a new book.  There really is nothing else quite like it.  I have heard it said that smell resonates within our brains to associate with a memory and bring it to the front of our mind’s filing system when we encounter the smell.  For instance, the smell of freshly cut grass instantly places me on the Highschool football field in the middle of cheer leading practice.  The sensory capability of our minds is so amazingly designed that it will capture the smell and then link it to the stored memory which then associates vivid and multi-dimensional objects so as to almost physically transport you back to that place and time when you first encountered the smell.  Amazing! This process is not something that a random migration from a frog could ever create.  No!  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God’s design and created in His image.  (This is a topic for another day.  I just had to throw that aside in as God is truly amazing!)

I was in Barnes and Noble the other day trying to pick out the best SAT study guide for my oldest son as he prepares for this monster of a test.  Who knew there where so many different study guides?  I took a moment to breathe in the scent of new books.  So many memories came rushing in as my mind processed this smell.  My earliest association with the freshly published book binding smell are from childhood trips to the library.  We would go, as a family outing each Saturday, to our local library.  We moved frequently due to my father’s many job transfers, so I was able to encounter a variety of different libraries.  We visited very small and very large libraries but they all carried the same smell.  I could have spent the entire day in the aisles of books, and sometimes I did.  There was always a new adventure waiting for me with each new book that I would pull from the shelf.  It was not easy picking the few that I could actually check out and then get to take home to read but I always knew that new books would be waiting for me to discover when I came back the following weekend.  The constant between each trip to the library and each book was the smell of the books.  The paper, binding, print and cover all combined to produce what I have come to associate with literary magic.  As I sat, soaking in the sight and smell of new books, my mind drifted to the free-word connection of chapters.  Chapters of books and chapters of life.  Pages of books and pages of life.

I am about to begin a new chapter in my life and am very excited to see what God has in store for me.  There is something about a really good book that you just can’t put down.  I just finished a book like this.  I literally could not put it down.  I became so immersed in the plot that I became part of what I was reading and lost all track of time.  As I would reach the conclusion of a chapter, I would tell myself, “just one more chapter”.  That didn’t work so well because before I could blink I would reach another chapter and the cycle would continue.  The opposite can be said about a text book or perhaps the SAT study guide.  “Ugh!  Just one more chapter, I can do it.”  The emotional response is completely different between something we enjoy and something we dread.  This response then carries over into so many other areas from memorization ability to sensory connections to actual quality of life.  Just as in the way that I approach reading a page or chapter of a book, so must I approach each encounter of my life.  Each day is a new opportunity from God for blessing and discovery.  My goal this week:  to approach each part of my life with positivity and eagerness!

From the Inside Out

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Perfectly coiffed hair, matching shoes and handbag, designer clothes, artfully applied makeup, fragrant lotions and perfume……these are all ways to gift wrap the outside to make us look pretty and attractive.  If we appeared on the outside the same as we do on the inside, I bet that the descriptions might be a little different.   More than likely, mine might appear as impatient, unkind, critical of others, hateful, chaotic and harsh.  All of which are the antithesis of the fruits of the Spirit.  I spend a good deal of time hiding these unflattering attributes though so that my presentation only reflects the beauty that I want others to see.  I would be mortified if my inner thoughts were visible to others.  Often I smile while thinking someone is a complete idiot and other times it is impossible to contain all of the unkind thoughts and words that I hold at any given time.  I wish that this were not the case!  I would love to have perfect peace and an infinite amount of patience.  I truly strive to be thoughtful and loving.  My sin nature gets in the way and I allow my self-importance and personal desires to take precedence over those things that count for eternity.

“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”  I Samuel 16:7 (ESV).  

No matter how I try to hide the things that I don’t want anyone else to see or know, there is One who see it all.  “Lord, please guard my mouth, my heart and my thoughts.  Make me a vessel that You can use!”