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Romans 2:1,2 – “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.”

Have you ever met someone and immediately made a judgement about them? You see the way that they act and dress and immediately form an opinion about them. I am so very guilty of this. And that is wrong.

I met someone recently that dressed nice, had a bit of a boisterous personality,seemed nice but at the same time a little rough around the edges. This person had told me that they are getting a divorce. I immediately thought that it had to be in part because of her personality. I found out yesterday that this person is getting a divorce because of domestic battery. God has really convicted my heart over this one. My heart is broken for this person. I can’t imagine.

Every day we meet so many people and we really have no clue about what is going on in their life. It’s like that song “Give me your eyes” by Brandon Heath. Every day we see people. We watch people. We make judgements about people. And we have no idea about what people are feeling or going through or dealing with – we need to get involved in people’s lives. We need to make ourselves available to people. We need to open up the door of opportunity to share Christ with the world.

We can’t just live in our own little spiritual bubble and expect the world to come to us when they have a problem. No! Jesus was out there, elbow deep in the problems of the world. He didn’t just sit on some mountain waiting for the lost and dying world to come to Him. He got out there in the nitty gritty and proclaimed the Good News.

Why do we sit back and judge when what the world needs is Jesus? Do we think we are too good to talk to them? Do we think that by involving ourself in their lives that we will somehow become tainted? If we think these things, we are guilty of sin, just like the people we are hesitant about.

It’s coming upon Thanksgiving in a week or so. We have so much to be thankful for and so many blessings to count. Yet, we need to reach out. We need to show someone that yes, I have been blessed immensely but I see your hurt and I want to share a bit of my blessings with you. Do something for somebody without expecting anything in return. Ask God to show you who He has in mind for you to bless and to be blessed by helping.

And choose not to judge until you have heard the whole story. The details are so very important. Life is too short to live high on your mountain away from everything that is important in life.

A walk in the dark

Psalm 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

My daughter had her 5th grade promotion ceremony Friday night. It was very sweet and special. The man who is the youth pastor at the church where her school is at gave a little devotion to encourage the kids. He is amazing. He has such a way with words and Biblical examples.

Anyway, he made this statement to the kids: Remember what you have learned in the Light when you are walking in the darkness. That made me stop, grab my phone and quick punch it into my notes. That was good.

We are all walking in darkness. It is all around us, even at noon. The things that we and our children encounter in this old world is pure darkness. There are so many people out there with malcontent in their hearts. So many people looking for a way to take advantage of someone else. So many people looking for an opportunity to mock or criticize someone else. Darkness.

But princess, we have something special. We have the Light. I once heard the verse above described in a very vivid way. Back in Bible times, they didn’t have flashlights (duh, Melissa!). So they would light tiny lamps and attach them to their sandals. Cute, right? But think about the fire hazard! The point is this – the Word of God is supposed to be the lamps on our feet as we walk through the dark. The Word has been preserved all these years to show us the Way. His Word lights our path. But we have to choose to light the lamps.

I know I have been on a kick lately about choice. But I can’t stress it enough. I think too many times in our society we are too quick to blame someone else for our woes when all along it has been our choices that have led to the problems we have. Well, enough! If you choose to leave your lamp unlit, then man up and walk alone in the dark. It is your choice. I know that sounds harsh but there comes a point in time when you either run with the big dogs or stay on the porch.

Princess, Jesus does not desire for us to walk alone in the dark. He wants to walk with us and hold our hand. He stands today with hand outstretched waiting for you to take hold. Won’t you walk through this dark world with Him?

Work, work, work

Work. It is a necessary evil. One in which we need to survive. We need the ability to take care of ourself and our family. But sometimes work gets in the way. It gets in the way of the family we are trying to protect and serve. It gets in the way of our happiness and joy and peace. It even gets in the way of our health.

How do we balance it? How do we balance what needs to be done in order to pay the bills with what we need to do to keep our sanity?

Solomon was one of the wisest men to ever live. And for all his wisdom, he was a hot mess. He accomplished so many things, solved so many problems and had so many women. Read Ecclesiastes. Many believe that this book was written by him. It almost sound a depressing when you read it. He was searching for true meaning to what he was doing.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 – “And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” This verse stopped me in my tracks. The root of why we do so much of what we do – to keep up with the Jones. Or to keep up with the competition.

Why? Why do we kill ourself and our family for that? You cannot take one single thing with you when you die. It is all gone. Left for someone else who did not work for it to take it over. (Ecclesiastes 2:17-23) Crazy, right?

So how do you work and work with the right attitude? How do you desire to do your best without trying to keep up with someone else?

Colossians 3:23,24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for The Lord, not for men, I since you know that you will receive an inheritance from The Lord as a reward. It is The Lord Christ you are serving.”

Hmm…

It is your heart. Your heart is the key in all of this. Why are you working? Why are you striving? Why are you awake at night thinking about work? Is it for you or for God? I know you want to be successful. I know you want to do your best. But I also know that you want to serve The Lord. I also know that you want to be with your family, awake. It is tough. It is hard to let go and let Him lead. It is hard to trust Him to take care of it all. Does that mean you sit down and do nothing? No, but it does mean that you allow things to not be perfect all the time. God is not a fairy that grants wishes right now. He is a “work-in-progress” kind of being. Things aren’t always pretty as you work to complete it. Look at a house being built. Does that million dollar mansion look that way before the windows are in? Nope. Sometimes it is ugly.

Princess, or prince, stop working for yourself. Stop trying to keep up with someone else. Solomon said it is meaningless. Why do something meaningless? Don’t stop doing your best. Always do your best. But don’t be afraid to let things be ugly now and then. You don’t have to keep things perfect all the time. Life is too short for sleepless nights spent worrying about problems that you can’t take care of at 2 AM. We are not working for man or manna. We are to be working for The Lord. “It is The Lord Christ you are serving.” (Vs. 24b) Remember that. Hold tight to it.

Friends and enemies

James 4:4 – “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Yowza!

Friends and enemies. They are out there. Folk lore and history are full of them. The Bible is filled with them as well. Typically, it is this – friend of God versus enemy of God.

What does it take to be an enemy of God? What does choosing to be a friend of the world look like? Well, you love your friends, right? So being a friend of the world looks like loving the world, right? Well the Bible has this to say about that: 1 John 2:15-17 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Well now, that is a mouth full. Ever had the desire to brag about something you have or have done? Loving the world. Hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? No one wants to think that at that moment they are living in the part of being an enemy of God. Especially as a follower of Christ, we don’t want to admit that we have walked that path. But we have. Every last one of us. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to get us back on the right path. We have Him to encourage us in the way we are supposed to go.

We want to be God’s friend. James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” Abraham followed God. Abraham did what God told him to do when He told him to do it. Abraham didn’t fuss with God. He didn’t question Him or His motives. He may not have always understood, but he never made a big deal out of it. Jesus said this – John 15:14 – “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Plain and simple. No big plan or strict rules to follow. No complicated ordeal. Just do what I tell you to do.

So today, princess, are you a friend of God or an enemy of God? Do you find yourself on the path of friendship or of being an enemy? Sometimes those paths are close together. We look at the sinful path and want to walk on it for just a bit. But that bit never gets us anywhere near where we are supposed to be. It just leads us father from Him. So choose to be a friend of God. Choose to reject the desires to want the things of the world and to brag. It is tough. We are bombarded every day with the opportunity to walk that path. But choose today to be different. Choose to be separate. Choose to walk the good path with Him.

The Lioness

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Courage. The Hebrew word used in this passage means: “fortify, harden, increase, prevail, strengthen (self), make strong”. Courage is something we oftentimes lack in life. We are content to just roll with it. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes you do need to just roll with the punches. But sometimes, you need to punch back. If you don’t, fear takes over – and ain’t nobody got time for that!

The devil likes to keep us down. He has been hammering me lately. You know, I posted on Friday that blog about joy and I had trouble all weekend remembering that joy. I had to keep reminding myself. My husband even had to step in and bring my self pity to a halt.

Why do I let fear step in? Why do I let self pity have its hay day?

When I read this verse this morning, it spoke to me. Know what it said? You are afraid of failing. You are afraid of failing as a mom, as a wife and as a follower of Christ. So, I try to do it all. I drive myself crazy trying to succeed in everything. I volunteer at school. I do everything around the house. I volunteer at church. I want to help out in the community. I want my house to be pristine. I want my kids to be successful in everything – school, dance, soccer, golf. I don’t want to fail.

The problem with all that is pride. I don’t want to fail. What I do fail at doing is allowing God to direct all of it. I try to do it all. I, I, I. See the problem pattern here?

In the verse above, Moses was encouraging Joshua to be courageous as he went into the Promised Land. He was going to face some ugly things as he conquered through. But Moses reminded Joshua that God would never fail him nor forsake him. God wasn’t going to leave Joshua in the dust.

And He won’t leave me either. He won’t let me fail. If I fail, it is because I didn’t do things His way. So, I have decided – it is time to put on my big girl pants and face it like a lioness. I choose from this day forward not to be afraid of failure. I don’t want to be a cowardly lioness. I want to be able to do it all and do it God’s way. I don’t want to be afraid any more. This week is going to be a braver week.

Princess, when I write these blogs, I write them from my heart. I am a real woman, a real princess, that faces demons and dragons every day – just like you. We are in this fight together. We are children of the One True King. We need to live fearlessly every day. Take heart. Be courageous. Don’t ever give up.

Momma Bear

Proverbs 14:29 – “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”

Does momma bear ever come out of the cave at your house? You mommas know what I mean. Someone threatens or is mean to one of your cubs and out she comes, roaring with all her might.

Have you ever wondered sometimes if you jump out of the cave a little too quickly? Well I have and I do. And my cubs are not just my children. I can’t tell you how many times I have offered to “tear someone up” for my husband.

Now, I’m not a violent person. Actually, my bark is worse than my bite. But still, when someone is messing with one of mine, watch out! I don’t like it when someone falsely accuses, lies, steals, talks bad about one of mine or is just generally stinky to them. I try not to be that way to others and I expect the same respect. Too bad it doesn’t always go that way.

This verse in Proverbs is encouraging us to chill. Bite your tongue. Hold your horses. Pick your analogy. It doesn’t matter. They all mean the same thing – wait. Stop and listen to the whole thing before you react. Get all the pieces to the puzzle before you start putting it together. Assumptions can wreak havoc on things.

So today, princess, I want to encourage you to keep momma bear in the cave until absolutely necessary. She can be very ugly and “ain’t no body got time for that!” Wait on The Lord. Let Him show you what is really going on and let Him lead you to the truth. He will also show you how to handle the situation. And smile – momma bear can’t come out if you smile.

Personal Responsibilty

2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Personal responsibility. Where, o where, have you gone? It seems like everywhere you turn some one is blaming some one else for their problems. No one wants to stand up and say, “Yep! I messed up! Now I have to face the consequences.”

My husband and I have tried diligently to teach our children person responsibility. We want them to understand that you have to “cowboy(girl) up” and take it like a man(woman). You can’t go blaming your problems on some one else. O, there may be times when it is warranted, but 9 times out of 10, it’s you who the blame falls squarely on.

All too often in today’s society, people are reaching to lay the blame for their problems on some one else’s shoulders. Why do you think that is? In my opinion, it is a lot easier to blame some one else than to admit that you are wrong. Every one hates to be wrong. And no one wants to take on the consequences. They may hurt or cause me discomfort. And we can’t have that!

But the Bible teaches us that one day we will all stand alone before the judgement seat. We will not have the opportunity or the capability to blame what we have chosen to say or do on any one else but our self. Every word we have spoken or not spoken, every deed we have done or not done will be laid solely at our feet. I don’t know about you, but that makes my heart skip a beat. There are so many things I could and should do differently. I let “stuff” get in the way. And that will one day be laid at my feet to answer for.

Today, princess, let me encourage you to live a day that will have no regrets. That you will take upon you the personal responsibility that every believer has – to spread His love to a lost and dying world. Don’t try to blame some one else for your problems. Stand up and face them. Let God lead you through them and come out on the other side glorifying Him who brought you through.