Tag Archives: Wisdom

On the Surface

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1 Samuel 16:7
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I love that God finds my beauty on the inside and not on the surface. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant experience to look in the mirror because time is not forgiving and gravity takes it’s toll. Some people are blessed to have a good genes and they retain their figure and youthful look but for most of us, it’s a daily struggle to be one of ‘the beautiful people’.

Often, a thought builds in my mind and I feel led to share what ends up becoming a full article. Sometimes, I am fueled by outrage at a current event and have to address it immediately. There are times though, where a subtle conversation or comment shared in passing is repeated over the course of time. When this happens, I know I have received a prompting from God to share what He is revealing to me.

I spend some time, not by choice, at the dermatologist several times a year reversing sun damage in the hopes to prevent skin cancer from surfacing. As a teen, I spent hours soaking in the sun as I tried to obtain a golden tan. Unsuccessful in most attempts, I would end up suffering from burns and the resulting peels that revealed only freckles and no tan. Unfortunately, I never learned and repeated this process so much over the years that now I have to reverse the damage that took years to build. Frequently, the damage to cells in your body take place years before the evidence of the resulting skin cancer can be seen. I’ve been told that typically, the length of time from initial damage to visible results can span ten years. I think there’s a lesson to learn here….(besides the obvious of avoiding sun damage). How long does it take for damage to reach the surface?

In casual conversation, I mentioned to a friend that she has flawless skin and she looked really great. After thanking me for the comment, which was genuine admiration, she clouded for a second before she said that my compliment made up for years of feeling ugly because she couldn’t tan. She was always more pale than her friends and didn’t feel like one of the “beautiful people.” I can relate because I’m so pale that I can literally blind people from the sun’s reflection off my skin. I felt immediately humbled to receive a glimpse into what had been years of suffering that my friend had experienced. In her case, she has emerged as the recipient of flawless and youthful skin because she avoided the sun. The feeling of beauty is only skin deep though because the feeling of inadequacy runs deeper than the surface.

Later, the same week, I was talking to another friend and somehow the conversation turned to her years of feeling invisible. In her youth, she had been heavier and always felt as if she was completely invisible to the world. As she matured, she lost weight and became more comfortable with herself so that people started noticing her. The attention she received could have easily gone to her head but she knew that regardless of what she looked like, the real person could only be known from the inside out. She said it was eye opening to see that people want to associate with those they perceive to be beautiful, so much so, that sometimes it’s hard to know who your real friends might be.

How many other people feel like this? How many neighbors, co-workers or relatives are suffering from what lies below the surface? If it takes ten years for some skin cancers to surface, how long does it take for emotional scars or feelings of inadequacy to become apparent? How many people do you know who are suffering in silence? Are you someone who has a hidden hurt? It’s such a comfort to know that there is One who looks past the surface and not only knows the real you but who can also hold and heal those secret scars. God knows you and He loves you! Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” How awesome is that! Not only does God see you and know you, He is the one who created the inner most you. He formed your soul and knows your secret thoughts and painful past. Turn those hurts that you have held on to for years over to Him and let Him free you from long held feelings of inadequacy.

“For man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart!”

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You Can’t Outrun the Long Arm of the Lord

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The phrase “Long Arm of the Law” dredges up Marshall Matt Dillon from the ‘Gunsmoke’, Cowboys and Indians and gun fights in the streets of the Wild West.  Wherever the bad guys were (always dressed in black), you were sure to see Marshall Dillon show up to save the day.  The good guys always win, right?  Hi Ho Silver, awaaaay!  Even the Lone Ranger rode in on a white horse to make sure that good prevailed and bad was punished.  The cries of the poor, needy and down-trodden were heard three states away and drew the masked man to come save the day.  Unfortunately, all of this only took place on a Hollywood set for the entertainment of television viewers.  Real life is not fair.  The good don’t always prevail.  The cries of the poor and needy are not heard….or are they?

Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” ~NIV

God never sleeps and never tires of reaching out to help those who cry out to Him.  Just like a parent who rushes when they hear their child crying, He is there to help – if only we call on Him.  When my children where little, they sometimes worried that I might not hear them if they cried in the night.  I reassured them that I could sleep through an earthquake, but should they need me, I was awake and alert.  God is better than that because he doesn’t even rest from searching for those who might need Him.

Psalm 139:1-18

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; 
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways. 
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. 
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, 
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; 
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, 
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, 
    they would outnumber the grains of sand —
    when I awake, I am still with you.

This is one of my favorite passages from the Bible!  Where can I possibly go that God can’t find me?  According to these words written by David, there is no where on heaven or earth that He is not already there.  Sometimes I may not want Him to see me because I am ashamed of my actions or I have traveled away from Him, but He will not let me go!  His love for me is so strong that no matter how far I try to run or the dark places that I may try to hide myself in from Him, His eyes are watching.  I am sure you are familiar with the game of Hide and Seek.  Who as a child has not played this favorite game?  I used to have the best hiding places.  One of my favorite things to do was to sneak into the dining room and squeeze myself into one of the side doors in the serving buffet.  I have no idea how I was able to fit into such a small place, but nevertheless I did.  No one could find me in that spot.  I would sit there in silence waiting, but no one would come.  Even in that dark hiding place, I was not alone, for God was there with me.  It is impossible to hide from Him.  In good or bad, He is there.  He rejoices in our happiness and triumphs but he is there to hold us and heal us in our hurts and sorrow.  His presence is not dependent upon our good behavior, thankfully, but is a gift to us because He loves and cares for us.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:7  ~AMP

Are you lonely, tired or hurt?  Are you excited with good news?  Look to your Heavenly Father, for he waits anxiously for you to call Him.  He is always there!

 

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!

Spa Day

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This post makes me a little bit sad and I think you will be sad as well once you have heard this story.  After waiting as long as I could, trust me when I say it was long and overdue, I ventured into my favorite local nail salon this morning. I have been getting manicures and pedicures on occasion for many years and have frequented several different locations, so I feel qualified to say that this salon really ranks with the best.  They are clean, professional, quiet and, based on all of  my experiences, very nice.  That being said, if you have ever visited a nail salon, you know the ethnicity of most of the technicians is Vietnamese.  English is usually not their first language.  Seinfeld had a roaring success of an episode based on the language barrier and the rapid fire conversation that takes place between the workers in their native language followed by the halting English spoken to one of the characters of the show.  That episode is very true to life.  Sometimes, if you close your eyes, you can almost transport yourself to Saigon as the ambience and sounds are so cultural.  I feel fortunate to have grown up in my generation where segregation and racism is not as much of an issue as my parent’s generation faced.  That is not to say that racism  is not something that still needs to be addressed, but from my perspective I don’t see race as a defining trait but rather a part of someone that is unique and interesting.  This will be important in a minute.

Today was busy at the nail salon.  Every nail station and pedicure chair was full and technicians were working with multiple clients.  Next to a dentist, I can’t think of many other jobs that I would not want to perform.  Washing feet for a living just does not sound like fun.  The ladies who work at the salon, though, are always cheerful, joyful and diligent.  These are hard workers!  They typically open at 9am, after driving an hour in traffic, work through lunch and stay until 9pm or later only to drive back home and take care of their families.  The pay is not fantastic and from my observations, tips are not that great either. I like to people watch so having to wait is not a frustrating thing for me to do if my feet are soaking in hot, soapy water and I am sitting in a chair that massages my back.  As a matter of fact, this is one of the main reasons I go to the salon.  There is nothing like this experience and I always hope for a delay to extend my stay.  This morning, I had a coffee in one hand and a magazine in the other while I enjoyed some quiet time, interrupted only by sincere apologies from my manicurist for being too slow.  Despite my reassurances, she persisted in begging forgiveness.  It was not long after this encounter, that one of the owners walked up and thanked me for being so nice to his sister.  I had never talked to him before and really was not sure what he was talking about in the first place.  Then he continued speaking and I am quite certain that I will not soon forget his words.  He said that his family escaped from Vietnam when they were little and children were being taken from their homes during the days of the Vietnam conflict.  He has not seen his parents since that time.  They came to America, where they lived in a community and managed to take care of each other.  They could not attend school as they did not speak English but rather worked to support their “village”.   They are able to learn English now as their children attend school and come home to share their education with the adults.  He said that most people do not have patience and are either mean or rude to them about the language barrier.  He said that often his sister cries because women are so hateful to her.  He then said that she always remembers me because I have been nice to her and take time to ask about her and her family.  Wow!  I was not expecting this type of conversation this morning or really, anytime.  I am ashamed to say that I am not always patient or nice and immediately wondered how many people I might have hurt in the past on account of my frustration or irritation because a conversation did not go the way I anticipated it should.  It’s so easy to have an entitled feeling.  I am not sure why as I am certainly no better than any other person that I may encounter.  This applies to shoppers in the grocery, other patrons at the DMV or even to family members.  God is no respecter of persons.  Matthew 23:11, and subsequently all the other 3 Gospels, states that “if we want to be first, then we must be servants to all.”  This is pretty self-explanatory language.  I have no right to esteem myself higher than any other person and actually am not acting as a Christian if I am not serving others.  This does not translate to literally mopping floors as a slave but rather the motives and actions of my heart toward others.

I felt my heart break a little this morning thinking of how difficult it must be to come to a place where you know no one, speak not the local language and further receive treatment that is hostile and unwarranted when you are literally washing the feet of those who are so mean.  Sound familiar?  Yup, to me also.  Jesus felt this way on my account.  He teaches me lessons all the time in ways that make it ever apparent to my finite mind how much He loves me.  How can I not be a reflection of Him to others I encounter.  This is my daily prayer, “Lord, make me like you!”  Today I also added a prayer for my “nail girl” and asked God to help me continue to share His love with her.

Wicked Words

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My husband has created a visual paradise in our back yard.  He has a green thumb and the ability to execute his vision perfectly.  The result is a scenic and relaxing area that the entire family can enjoy.  I walked outside this morning though and noticed that there was something not quite right about the area that usually greets me.  After a minute of soaking in the total scene, I was able to zero in on the conflict that was disturbing the usual flow.  There was a scattering and an additional lump of white wood shavings on the deck surrounding one of our Adirondack chairs.  This was perplexing and irritating.  Irritating because I not only had to clean the area but the chair would now forever be marred and would bear the reminder of this incident.  Perplexing because I could not imagine what caused this to occur.  We have been dealing with a woodpecker who likes to peck the metal at the opening of our fireplace.  This has been comical because I like to sew in the room that has the fireplace.  When the sewing machine is engaged, the sound emanating from the engine creates a noise that the woodpecker must assimilate and connect to another woodpecker.  This causes some frantic and staccato sounds while the bird tries to communicate.  Meanwhile, my chocolate lab gets excited and starts to whine in her efforts to communicate.  It really is quite humorous.  But this matter of the deck chair was not as funny.  When my husband came home from work, he looked at the markings on the chair and determined it to be a chipmunk’s handiwork.  He cleaned the area and sprayed something that would deter the animal from his effort at remodeling our furniture and hopefully will put an end to this damage.  Preventative but not reversible.

 

This got me thinking.  One of my favorite books in the Bible is James.  The author writes in such a way that is straight forward and easy to understand.  There is no mincing of words.  The message is not easily misunderstood:  Words are not to be used casually and without consideration.  They are like missiles that are aimed at a target.  There is not much that can be done to take them back once you have released them and the damage from contact is immediate and long lasting.  I have a short temper and a quick fuse, inherent to my red hair gene.  At least that is where I comically place the blame.  Internally, I know this is a character defect.  The problem with a quick fuse and an open mouth is that words fly like bullets, hitting their mark and wreaking havoc before rationalization and calmness can overtake the initial onslaught of destruction.   I find myself in this battle zone frequently.  This is an area of correction that I need to work toward perfecting but that I am sure will take a lifetime to accomplish.  These thoughts were running through my mind as I considered the white paint flecks and damaged wood on our deck.  It seemed to be a metaphorical message aimed straight to my heart.  Each swipe of the chipmunk’s teeth into the chair, left a mar that would require some reconstruction by a carpenter.  One bite would have been close to unnoticeable, but the amount of marks left on our chair are very evident and had taken some time for the chipmunk to create.  The parallel life message is that one errant, unkind word said in a moment of unguardedness or anger leaves a mar on the inside of someone’s heart.  The damage on the outside may not be as evident.  If these words continue, however, they will quickly create a downtrodden and hurt person whose wounded spirit becomes evident to all.  It has been said that “you only hurt the ones you love”.  That may be true but it should not happen.  Why are we nicer to those we don’t know?  Why can we filter our mouths around colleagues but not our family?  This is not the behavior that Christians are called to exhibit.  No, completely the opposite, as a matter of fact, should be the actions of someone who has experienced ultimate forgiveness.   We are called to a higher standard for we are the words, actions and representative of Christ on earth.  How will others know Him if we profess to be Christians, yet live worse than someone who has never darkened the door of a church.  The good news for those we have hurt with our unkind or hateful words is that there is a Carpenter who can reconstruct and heal a broken heart or wounded spirit.  The best option is to avoid the need for reconstructive surgery by remaining strong in our walk with the Lord and allowing Him to season the words we speak.

 

My goal:  keep my mouth shut if I have nothing good to say AND think carefully before I release my bullets of words.  There is no friendly fire when words are the weapons.  Please leave feedback or suggestions that have helped you to be cautious when you speak. 

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