It Was an Honor Just Being Nominated

I got this.

I got this.

I’ve been a practicing human being for 68 years, a sincere Christian for 62 years, and a devoted wife to Q for 46 years. You’d think with that many years of earnest endeavor, I could master this one pesky, little thing.

It’s like this. I’m breezing along. Q and I are communicating well. I’m being super-wife. There’s a possibility I’ll be nominated for the “Proverbs 31 Woman” award.

As I’m rehearsing my acceptance speech, Q asks for some help with a choice he’s going to make. Since I’ve already mentally checked off “be a good helpmeet” on my life list, I go on auto-pilot. I defer to logic, past experience, and reason. I make quick work of it and announce the only “sensible” thing he can do, then dust my hands after a job well done. Trouble is, I got the question wrong, and Q is not having my brand of help.

What happened? It feels like we are reading from different scripts. In fact, we’re not in the same theatre, and I’ve never even heard of the play he’s the star of. Consternation leaps on me, and I charge headlong into strife. Mrs. Proverbs 31 kicks verse 26 into the corner.
(When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says. Prov. 31:26 TLB)

Once the dust settles, I realize what I brought to that situation was not what was asked for. I had been asked to help, but not in a “lab results” sort of way. It had been in a “come along and be my chum” sort of way. It was a different script. I just hadn’t noticed the transition. I was too busy saying what I thought made perfect sense.

So, I make a decision, that in future, in a situation like “that one”, what Q really needs from me is X not Y. X being based on my logic, and Y being a smile and a nod. I put a mental Post-It note in place.

You guessed it. That note loses its sticky and falls to the floor behind the fridge. And déjà vu “happens all over again”.

This is the loop that I find myself caught in. Your loop may look different. But I’ll bet you do have a loop with someone, something, or maybe even with yourself.

In 1 Peter 3:7 Amp., God speaks of me being an heir of the grace of life. This indicates there is available to me the power, an ability, a nature which will allow me to live with an ease of movement through my life with Q, others, and even myself. The facility to navigate surely and easily. A way that refreshes and that doesn’t deplete.

So I’ve been meditating on that. I know it’s available to me. But how do I access it?

In the midst of my pondering, the Holy Spirit brought this to mind. “You just have to listen to Me. I know exactly what you need to do, how you need to do it, and where and when. I’ll even give you the ability and desire to do it. I’ll change you from the inside so that you’ll have a supernatural bent for living life as it should be lived. You’ll go from glory to glory.”

So it turns out I don’t have to be an expert on human relations. I don’t have to memorize anyone’s quirks and be careful to adjust to subtle vibrations or crazy nuances barely detectable to the human eye or ear. I just have to relax, focus on Jesus, and listen to my Helper. I have to let go of what I think I know and relinquish being in charge of making things work out. I need to rest.

Grace has inherent in its meaning the idea of ease and rest. What wonderful news.

I’m going to continue pondering this. I invite you to do the same. I’d love it if you’d let me know what you hear.

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P.S. My reference to scripts does not in any way mean I think we should “act” or pretend in our relationships with others. It is merely a vehicle for explaining that communication between two people is based on certain inherent shared understandings. (Did I just write a disclaimer?)

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Enjoying the Runner’s High

These shoes have never gone running.

These shoes have never gone running.

I’m not what you would call fit. I certainly couldn’t run a marathon. In fact, I don’t run at all anymore. I’ve tried, but my head feels as if it may come off, my joints collide, and my feet become stupid and trip over each other.

I admire people who say they’d rather be running or hiking, or biking. They can’t think of anything more refreshing to drink than a bottle of cold water. They look forward to a light lunch of asparagus tips and lean turkey breast. Bread? No, thanks. They’ve decided to go gluten-free. Yes, I admire them. When I’m not hating them.

Even so, I wish I was more like them–that I was already in the flow of that lifestyle. It’s the learning curve that I dread.

There’s good news, though. I AM fit in a very important aspect. In Colossians 1:12, Amplified Bible, it says that the Father has qualified and made me fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints in the Light.

Then, it explains what that portion looks like. It says that the Father has delivered and drawn me to Himself out of the control and dominion of darkness and has transferred me into the kingdom of the Son of His love…

He’s drawn me to his side. He has his arm around me. We’re living together in the Light Kingdom–the Love Kingdom. The Dark Kingdom no longer has any more control over me than it does over Him. After all, I’m in a different place. I’m at His side. Did you hear that? He’s drawn me to Himself. That deserves some pondering.

I’ve been moved. The kingdom I live in now has a better King–a loving King. Furthermore, He has made me FIT to live in this kingdom. I’ve got what it takes. I’m good enough to be a part of the kingdom. I don’t have to take a test, jump through hoops, buy a permit, or live up to some checklist. The Father already qualified me. He signed-off on me when he saw the blood His Son bled for me. I’m in, and no one can take me out.

The sacrifice that Jesus made was a “once and for all” deal because that’s all it took. His blood was shed, it was applied to my heart, and the Father judged it as more than good enough. No pesky requirement to take a test every now and then to prove I’m still up to snuff. None of that for me. No re-examinations to see if I’m still A-OK. The power of the blood lasts forever. The only learning curve is learning to believe it.

Qualified and fit. It’s a fact. And I’m glad.

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Smart Mouth

Did you know that your life is determined by the way you talk? If you’ve been doing everything you know to do, and things are still going wrong, it may very well be a problem with your words.

James 1:26 says, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

This simply means that you can read the Bible, go to church, pray, give, help others, and believe until you’re blue in the face, and if your own words are working against you, then you won’t get very far.

James says the problem is that you have been deceiving your heart. You see, your heart is the PRODUCTION CENTER for your life. Jesus explained this concept in Mark 4, when he told about the seed and the sower. He likened the heart of man to soil and word as seed. Mark 4:15: And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Your heart will produce whatever you plant in it. That’s what it was designed to do. Anyone with a lick of sense would not plant pumpkin seeds if he wanted to grow green beans. But we are surprised that we don’t reap blessings when what we’ve planted are curses. Proverbs 13:3: He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. It is evident that it is important what we speak.

I’m not talking about using what would be considered filthy language. If you’re a slave to that, then go to God for deliverance. That’s not my focus here. I’m talking about the seemingly innocuous things we say. These are the words that are sending the wrong message to our hearts. These are the words that are deceiving your heart and causing it to produce results that you don’t REALLY want.

Things like “We don’t seem to ever be able to get ahead” or “I’ll never be able to lose this weight”, or “I never have a minute to myself”, or “These kids are driving me crazy”, or “I’ll never understand”, or “I don’t have clue”, or “No matter what I do, it isn’t good enough.” Take inventory of the things you say and consider it as seed. Is that the harvest you want?

If not, replace it with what God says about you. Replace it with words that form a picture of the present and the future you desire.

Here are some things to ponder. Read Proverbs with a view to noticing anything about words, mouth, tongue, speaking, etc.

If you need replacement words for the stinky seeds you’ve been sowing, go on line to Bible Gateway and use their verse look up feature to find the good things God says about you and start speaking those things. (For instance, if you need more peace in your life, search for verses that have the word peace in them.)

You’ll discover there are definite advantages to being a “Smart Mouth”.

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The Great Impostor

Guilt is an impostor. It impersonates a just judge when, in fact, it is a condemned criminal. Guilt has been nailed to the Cross. Do not take it down and breathe life into its jaws by rehearsing the lie of your unworthiness. If you have spoken harsh words or been unkind and dishonored Love’s demand, move in Love’s direction by making a decision toward a heartfelt “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” If Guilt still accuses, call it what it is. A liar.

Colossians 2:13&14

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Damn Isn’t Just a Dirty Word

I’m so glad the elections are over. Of course, it’s never over. At least, not until the Millennium. But until then, I have a job in our current government. No, I’m not a government employee. I’m not even too jazzed about some of the results of the recent election. But because my main and foremost citizenship is that of Heaven, I have a responsibility to the place I’m living now.

This is what I was told during my devotional reading this morning. “Don’t curse God; and don’t damn your leaders.” Exodus 22:28 MSG

At first, I thought, “Well, I don’t curse God. I never take His name in vain. So, I’ll just have to watch my mouth concerning the public officials–all those people we love to criticize and complain about.” I immediately knew that I needed to be more consistent in praying for our leaders as instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Everybody knows its harder to rag on someone you’ve been praying for.

I imagine some of you are thinking, “I just can’t bring myself to pray for people who believe in things I heartily disapprove of.” Sure you can! Haven’t you ever prayed for a child who was thinking, believing, and doing things you heartily disapproved of? I know, I know. You love your child and that makes it easier. Well, draw on the Love of God to pray for our leaders. It’s in you. He’s in you. So it has to be there. He IS love.

Remember when I said I never cursed God? Up there in the third paragraph. Well, the English teacher in me pointed out that a semi colon was used to join the ideas of cursing God and damning leaders. That means the ideas are closely connected. They lean on each other. Get their strength from one another. So, if I am damning-translate that as criticizing, complaining, not praying for–my leaders, then I am effectively cursing God.

Now here’s the point. Cursing God is bad, but not because it causes God to clutch his royal robes and reply with a shocked, “Oh, what you said!” It’s not even because it could cause you to land on the “Go to Hell. Go straight to Hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200” space on the Monopoly board of life. It’s bad because a curse neutralizes effectiveness and even takes it in a negative direction.

God is your Helper, Savior, Deliverer, he is the One who holds the heart of the king in His hand. Proverbs 21:1 says “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord. Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” He is the one who can turn that heart. He can turn that heart so that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” That IS the way He wishes to turn the king’s heart. But He can only do it if we don’t curse his effectiveness in our lives by damning our leaders.

Turns out cursing and damning are more than a few dirty words.

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Are You Being Served?

And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven. (Colossians 4:1 MSG)
I ran across this in my daily devotions today and as usual, I went past it rather quickly because, well, I don’t have any servants. But, my tutor, the Holy Spirit, spoke up and said, “Yeah you do. They may not be servants in the sense that you have always pictured this scripture, but they are people who are in position to help you in your day to day life. The waiters, bank tellers, cashiers at the check out line, order takers at the fast food restaurant, the nurse, doctor, receptionist, lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, the guy who helped you sign up for Medicare and Social Security,the State Patrolman. Even your husband and children. All of these people help you in some way. They serve you. Don’t think that because you pay them for their service, or because they are family, that it lets you off. Treat them considerately. Whether they seem to deserve it or not. I’m not going to rewrite the scripture to say ’…treat your servants considerately IF THEY DESERVE IT.’ That wouldn’t fit in with the Law of Love.”
It’s a fact. I serve a kind and merciful Master. He is kind even when I don’t deserve it. That’s what mercy is, after all. I suspect that’s what that whole “be fair” idea is about. I don’t think it means I should measure out my kindness in relation to how my servant performs, but rather in relation to how my Master has treated me. And it’s all been mercy.
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