Tolerance and Jesus’ Example

My tolerance is rock bottom. I need Jesus’s help to raise the bar. People don’t discipline their children when they do something wrong. They make choices without regard to whether it pleases God or not. They make decisions and life changes that go against the moral grain. Fake praises or condolenscences to make themselves sound good are a waste of time and look ridiculous. Talking about a subject they know nothing about while using big words that make no sense, may sound smart to the person doing the talking but others usually see through it. My patience is wearing thin. It is getting harder to keep my mouth shut. A part of me knows that my telling them the truth will fall on deaf ears but another part of me just wants to get it out.

Jesus knew what this felt like. When the crowd confronted the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus bent over and drew in the sand, more than once. He was giving them time to realize the wrong they themselves were doing. They missed the grace Jesus offeres to everyone.

John 8:6-9 (NKJV) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

So while I rant and rave about the things that are wrong in the world, is Jesus bending over and writing in the sand while I stand and wonder what it is all about? Yea, I’m pretty sure He shakes His head and writes in the sand a lot these days.

Stay safe and God bless.

Change is Good, Week 2

This week was a little harder. You get tired of crunching all the time. And of putting a meal in the blender or bullet. I’m also running out of ideas. So I would recommend more planning than I did. I thought I was ready for this but I didn’t anticipate how quickly I’d bet bored with the crunching.

I’m also not praying it up as much as I hoped I could do. I get discouraged and tired and just eat and crash. It has become laborious now and I can see an early end to this adventure. I’m not giving up yet but it is really hard.

Praying for success…

Stay safe and God bless.

 

Change is Good, Week 1

I didn’t journal as much as I anticipated because this wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. I love all vegetables and fruit so this has been easy. The hardest part though has been my continuing to cook for the rest of the family. Not that I don’t have the will power to not eat what they eat. It is exhausting! I have learned to pace myself throughout my day but to make two suppers is getting old.

I’ve also had to rely on the internet for ideas to change things up. Lemon juice has become my new friend. Since I can’t put dressing on a broccoli slaw, for example, lemon juice works very well. Avocado has also become a good friend since I can spin it in the Nutri Bullet to make a thick dip or a thin dressing.

It takes time to pick out the right vegetables and fruit. It takes discipline not to give up and to also eat it all before it goes bad. Some days I wonder if it is worth it but I can tell you I feel better gut wise and I am sleeping better some nights. So on to week number 2.

Stay safe and God bless…

Do you have the answer?

I need your help! I’m not sure what this means but I can’t seem to figure it out. So here goes.

I prayed and asked God to allow me to see people the way He does. Instead, now I see all of their sin. Their stupid choices, their sinful decisions and behaviors, the willful disregard for God and His love. I find myself picking apart their issues. Being their judge of sorts but I am painfully aware that I have no business judging anyone. We all sin. So what is this? I don’t like it and I can’t seem to make it go away.

I prayed the prayer hoping to see the beauty in people. Instead I see the junk. Not everyone mind you, just the ones that I know for a fact have made or are making horrible choices. I don’t want to see the junk, I want to see the beauty. I know there is beauty there but for some reason the junk flies in my face. I don’t like it. I want it to stop.

I know we all sin and are all equal to one another in God’s eyes so why do I care so much about their junk? Why does their choices to sin bother me so much that it’s all I see when I look at them?  Am I so in love with God that people who toss Him aside make me this angry? Could that be what this is? Could it be that easy? It’s hard for me to even talk to them, it is so bad. I have to suppress the urge to smack them and shove the truth down their throats. Wow, that was harsh.

I have been praying for a few days for this to change. I’m not sure what God is trying to show me or teach me about myself or Him but I’m ready to get it and move on. Seriously, how do I make this stop?

Stay safe and God bless…

Are You Doing It Right?

I am constantly on a quest for self-improvement. I want to get so close to God on this earth that people will think I am already in Heaven. I know that sounds a little silly but I am happiest when I am in the presence of God and to be as close to Him as possible is a moment by moment quest.

It isn’t exhaustive by any means. It is actually easy as long as I don’t let the things of this world interfere. Today, as I was working on my studies, I came across this sentence. “Daily put-off the old self and put-on the new self by biblically responding to life’s irritations and offenses.” I had read and studied the passage in Ephesians 4 for years but here was a solution I had not learned before. Here was the HOW… “by biblically responding to life’s irritations and offenses.” 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Suddenly I felt vindicated or something. I often wonder if I am doing things right or if God is shaking His head at me. But this tells me how I should be responding and that I am mostly getting it right. I’m not sure why this was a surprise or “ah ha” moment. I guess I second guess myself too much. Well, I just wanted to share in case you are like me and needed some clarification. We’re OK after all.

Stay safe and God bless…

 


 

Change is Good

I am embarking on a new journey. One of sight and sound and smell. Hopefully it won’t be the twilight zone but it should prove to be remarkable.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2010 after several years of unexplained symptoms. I have continued to do research because the doctors don’t have any answers. I recently found a book by a doctor who is also a devout Christ follower who breaks down into layman’s English each aspect of the human body and what is probably causing all of the symptoms.

He has designed a system to eliminate the elements that invade our bodies and creates havoc on then. He uses food and supplements to reverse the issues that cause the symptoms.

I will document my journey and share it with you. I plan on involving God in this journey too. After all, it is all about Him.

Old-fashioned Communication

All too often the people we love die before we have time to really get to know them. Most of us never know how we feel about each other because we always think that tomorrow is another day. What’s the hurry? We’ll have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other later.

I knew my Nana’s favorite bird and her favorite color but she had no idea what my favorites were. It isn’t her fault, I was more observant or I never let on what my favorite things were. Maybe she knew all along and I was too young to realize it.

So I got to thinking about my grandchildren. I love them dearly and while I was privileged to spend many years with them when they were younger, now I am 10 hours away and the phone and computer just don’t seem to be good enough. Those things lack the intimacy that spending face-to-face time with them holds. So I decided I would write them a series of letters or cards and express my love and appreciation for them. I personally would keep these and store them away forever but I don’t expect them to do that realistically. I just want them to see and read how I feel about them while I still can. I don’t want them to ever have to wonder about that.

I had to warn my daughter of these impending letters so that she wouldn’t think that something medically horrible was going on with me. At least that I know of. I just don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell them how special they are. Even it if means more to me that it does to them. And while I re-read this, I should probably make mention of how proud I am of my own children. They are amazing too.

I will post the letters as I send them. I know they love getting mail even if there isn’t any money in them…lol.

Stay safe and God bless.

A Picture of Paradise

Luke 23:43 promises we will spend eternity, forever with Jesus. The Scripture reads in part, “today you will be with me in paradise”. There are several key things in this verse that make me very happy to be a Christ follower.

First is the word ” today “. This word has sparked controversy for many years across many denominations. Personally it confirms to me that the people who believe in purgatory have got it wrong. Jesus would not have said ” today ” if He didn’t mean it. So I believe that if I die today, I will be with Jesus today because He says so.

Next is the word “you”. Throughout the bible there are several references to specific people. In Leviticus, God sent word through Moses to the Israelites about how He expected them to behave. Here though, He uses the word ” you”. So, in the absence of a specific people here, this tells me He means everyone.

Next is “with me”. This confirms that we will be with Jesus in eternity. If not, He would have worded this another way.

Last but not least are the words ” in paradise “. Wahoo!!! This is so cool. I can scarcely begin to imagine what paradise will be like. I can see it being the Garden of Eden, the way God intended it to be. A place where there is no darkness, no pain, no tears, no fear (Rev. 21).

I hope you are as excited about this verse as I am. Stay safe and God bless.

And the Winner is…

I was reading my morning devotion and the scripture verse was Exodus 34:14 “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God“. It went on to talk about how Paul explained to the church in Corinth that he was jealous for them with a godly jealously in 2 Corinthians 11:2 (For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.”). And more scripture that tells us we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him”). If jealousy is in His image then how can it be a bad thing? So I started to wonder about this jealously Paul (and others) was speaking of since, in my understanding of the word, ranks up there with envy.

To make matters worse, envy is defined as “the desire to have for oneself something possessed by another, covetousness”. OK, so now, we’ve added yet another word to this issue that is clearly talked about in scripture under the heading of “Thou shalt not”.

But never fear, my trusty dictionary will clear this up. I dug around in the “jealous” department and discovered that it isn’t actually similar to envy although we sometimes use the different words and meanings interchangeably. Way down in the definition of jealous I found that it also means “solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something” and ” intolerant of unfaithfulness or rivalry”. Phew!

Now we’re getting somewhere. But as I pondered my own “jealously” issues for Christ, it brought up questions. Could all those people standing around preaching and yelling (“repent and be saved” or “Jesus is coming, get right with God or die”) and a variety of others, actually be reacting to this world out of Godly jealously? We tend to think they are a little nuts, ignore them and continue on about our day but what if it is real honest Godly jealously? What if they have it right and we are just uncomfortable with their delivery? What if, instead of ignoring them and walking briskly away, we shaked their hand and acknowledged our new understanding of their mission?

I don’t know if this will help me when I get passionately defensive of Christ or if it will fuel my patience and love of those who choose not to follow Him. But at least now I have a new found understanding and tolerance for those who choose to shout it in the streets.

This ending wasn’t anything I had envisioned for this post when I started it. I paused a lot and prayed a lot over it so hopefully it is what God directed me to write.

Stay safe and God bless.

And the Verdict is…

My dad was working a puzzle today and asked me if  g-u-i-l-t-y was the correct spelling for the word “guilty”. For the first time that word hit me like it never has before. I was slightly stunned as I sat there and pondered what it felt like to be pronounced guilty of something. Yes we are all guilty of lying but hopefully grow out of that as maturity sets in. And I’m sure everyone has gone home with a pen from work in their pocket from time to time. So what was it today about this word.

It felt as though I had just been given a moment to physically feel what being guilty really feels like. That shock when you think your life is about to change forever. Just a brief amount of time that couldn’t have been more than several seconds but felt longer. I am guilty, me, I did it. For that moment I felt guilty. I felt condemned. We talk about that and explain it as we spread the Gospel but this was the first time I had ever physically felt my guilt.

But God wasn’t done with me yet…

Before I could feel bad about that guilt, God replaced it with feelings of redemption, forgiveness and grace. I love it when God gives me small glimpses into His heart.

Stay safe and God bless.

A Lie is Still a Lie

I’m not bragging when I talk about myself by any means. I use my experiences as examples of hurdles you can jump over too. I was fired from three jobs during the course of my years as a software consultant because I wouldn’t lie to clients. I know the look on my face the first time was priceless. The deer in the headlights thing comes to mind. But to ask someone to lie…how do you do that and expect them to actually do it? When I said “No” the look on his face was as though I had slapped him, so I’m sure I was the first “No”. When he stuttered the “W, W, W, Well, you’re fired” at me, I calmly stood up and walked out with my head held high.

The second time I said “No”, the man asked me “Why not?”. I was all too happy to tell him. I explained to him that my committment to God was greater than any amount of money and I had no intention of dishonoring God for any man. He sat there with a dumbfounded look on his face only because I’m sure he had no idea what I had just said. I struggled to contain my laughter at his reaction while holding back my anger all at the same time. Again I calmly walked out.

The third time I said “No”, went about the same way as the second only there were several people in the room. After I made my stand they all made snide comments as though I were not in the room at all. It was somewhat comical at first but as I thought about what they were asking me to do, I started to wonder why I was in this situation another time. I left the room watching them out of the corner of my eye as they clamored to figure out what went wrong. I sort of smiled as I left but not because I felt I had gotten something over on them, I was smiling because that is what God wanted me to do. I wanted to get mad and say things I knew I shouldn’t. But it wasn’t my reputation on the line here, it was theirs.

There are tons of liars in scripture. God never said the lies were OK but he still used the people who made them for His purposes. From the serpent who lied to Eve throughout time, liars will be a part of life. Lets look at a few from scripture.

Genesis 31:7 (NKJV) “Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.

1 Kings 21:1-16 NKJV) “She wrote letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, ‘You have blasphemed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.”

Proverbs 11:1 (NKJV) “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.” and Micah 6:11 (NKJV) “Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales,
And with the bag of deceitful weights?

People lie for all sorts of reasons but the ones that have impacted me the most are the ones where people are attempting to profit from their lies. Back to the third time…See, they had invested about two months of 40-60 hour work weeks in me to get me ready for this client project not thinking that my lying would be a show stopper. Needless to say they were livid. One of them came after me crying his eyes out because he knew his failure to convince me to lie would be the lose of his job. Another was mad enough that I was ready to defend myself because his body posture was very aggressive. And from a woman who was fairly sweet the day before, came words I had never heard in my life.

I know it is human nature to lie in order to avoid difficulty we choose not to face, but I also know there are consequences. Whether we face them now, later or seem to get away with our lies, there is One who knows every word and every thought that we have ever had. While it is true that God is a forgiving God, I personally never want to do anything on purpose to disappoint Him.  Romans 3:4 (NKJV) “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”

Stay safe and God bless.

No Pain, No Gain

I use to hear that on the softball field or in the exercise room. Later in life I would hear doctors say that pain equals something bad and that it is a signal to back off. So what changed? Were the coaches wrong or misguided? Or were they just talking about a different kind of pain?

Listening to how everyone complains about how much they hurt is sometimes annoying for me. The other day I observed a woman holding her abdomen clearly in pain and wanting someone to acknowledge her for it. I didn’t because I didn’t want to have that conversation but why was she doing that? Was she looking for sympathy? Was she in real need? I’m not sure. She continued on so it must not have been that dire or did she just push through it?

Pain and suffering are a fact of life just like death and taxes as my dear departed grandmother used to say. But they too have a purpose. So instead of looking at this sometimes grim subject grimly, I decided to look at the positive things that can come from life’s pain and suffering.

Pain and Suffering has the ability reshape us. Isaiah 48:10 (NKJV) “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” God will purify and refine us. He can take our weaknesses and make them into strengths. We have to be willing to see them as weaknesses and be willing to turn them into something useful instead. If we continue to hide our candles (weaknesses) under a basket, our flames (growth) will be snuffed out.

Pain and Suffering has the ability to create spiritual maturity. James 1:2-4 (NKJV) “My  brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The more we rely on God and allow Him to take care of us, the easier it becomes. It should be a natural thing when something goes wrong for us to look up and say to God, “You got this Father” and let Him have it.

Pain and Suffering has the ability to prepare us to comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NKJV) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” Think about it. Can someone who has not suffered offer you hope?

Pain and Suffering has the ability to bring us closer to God. Job 42:5 (NKJV) “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.” Have you noticed that the more you talk to someone the closer you become to them? The relationships we have can truly be measured by the amount of interaction we have with each person. The true friendships are the unique ones. Like my friends in North Carolina I don’t talk to but once every few months or sometimes less. We are old friends and can pick up where we left off no matter how few times we speak to one another. But our regular relationships suffer if we don’t interact on a regular basis. Our relationship with God works the same way.

There have been times in my life when I stop and wonder to myself what could God be doing that He is so busy that we haven’t spoken much lately. Yes, I chuckle a little because I know it is me, then I cry a little because I know it is me. Then I apologize to Him and my prayer life gets back on track, for a while. But this is human nature. It is something we have to work hard at because life is hard.  

Pain and Suffering has the ability to mold us further into the image of God. Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  God did not forsake Jesus, He raised Him three days later. It was His purpose and He knew it.

We will endure pain and suffering of various kinds.  Hopefully we will use our experiences to comfort and encourage others along the way. I know Jesus suffered unbearable pain but looking back I also have to believe he finds it was worth His inheritance. I would never compare my pain to what He felt but I can tell you, it will be worth it no matter how bad it gets.

Stay safe and God bless.