Disputable Things

It were endless to dispute on everything that is disputable. William Penn

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 14:1

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

debating

I have resigned from the debating team!

These days, it makes no sense to me to argue with another about matters that are disputable or decided by opinion and personal preference. I wasn’t always eager to step down from such activities, but these days, I am. I’ve lost interest in going at another believer at length, while trying to convince him or her to see things my way, especially when Scripture is the topic of hot debate. Instead, I’ve learned to depend on two guiding principles to help me stay far away from controversy with others:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

…if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Phil 3:15

Today, if you’re struggling with a friendship or family connection that leads you into arguments about disputable things, my advice is to resign from the debating team.

Step back.

Give yourself a moment to reflect on what’s being said.

Use Holy Spirit discernment to determine if this is about doctrine or opinion.

If this conversation (argument) you’re involved in is about matters of opinion and not related to revealed truth as accepted by the body of Christ, Church tradition, or family rules of behavior, speak your piece calmly, then walk away, praying and trusting fully in God’s ability to guide you and those you love closer to grace and away from conflict.

Prayer and meditation help in determining which battles to fight and when to walk away.

Prayer always makes the choice easier and our goal attainable.

Prayer puts us in the place where we can speak honestly to God.

Meditation allows God to speak honestly with us.  When we listen and act according to His dictates we many not be popular, but we will most likely be guided by a sense that it is well with our souls.  That’s serenity, and its worth a lot!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Fear

000depression-4

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

What is it that you fear most days?

Looking stupid?

Saying the wrong thing?

Making a mistake?

Have any of you ever feared you’d fail to recognize the truth when you heard it; beauty, when we saw it; or hubris, before it destroyed you?

Me too.

I confessed fear of failure to a sister in the Lord once and she said to me: Ships in the harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships were made for.

I have the wisest friends and family.

Today, are you fearlessly fulfilling the divine purpose God has for your life, or are you fearful of failing Him? Are you sharing what God has given you with others, or holding back, afraid you won’t hit the mark with your gift and giving?

Fear is a great motivator sometimes, but it can also be a paralyzing agent. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but when we fear men over God it leads to ruination. Today, let’s make sure we’re on the right side of boldness, especially in our approach to others and our service in God’s kingdom. Let’s begin with prayers that God would guide us.

Fearfully we were made, fearlessly we serve.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Tell the Truth

Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

The first point of courtesy must always be truth. Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we know Truth, truth will set us free. Jesus is credited with saying that in John’s gospel, chapter 8.  I’ve found it’s true, that once we know Christ, we know a myriad of things about ourselves we never knew before, ie:

We are worthy.

We are loved.

We are forgiven.

We are empowered.

We are His Bride, and we are His choice for eternity. How cool is that?

Telling the truth to those we love is the best way to truly love them.

Think about those individuals who have told you the truth throughout your life. Do you love them for it, or do you despise what you see as mean-spirited criticisms?

Depending on how you answer that question your life will either be filled with relevant, valuable insights, or bitter, resentful memories.

Depending on how you answer, you will either be a person who has a teachable spirit, or a not-so-teachable and rebellious side.

Depending on how you answer, you are either living large with the Holy Spirit as your guide, or you are struggling, stumbling, making the same mistakes over and over again, and hiding from those people who love you enough to risk offending you by telling you the truth.

Depending…

A friend of mine recently suggested that one of the more valuable traits he’s found in a Christian brother or sister is the ability to say to another in a loving way: “You have a lil somethin’ somethin’ on your spirit there.”  Of course, we must do the hand gesture that goes along with the comment for the full effect to applypointing to the corner of one’s chin, where food collects unnoticed as we say it.

I laughed when he made the hand gesture that went along with this statement, because it is so true that we love the people who are able to pull off that kind of truth-telling, but have a hard time with those who are not so gifted at telling us what we need, but may not want, to hear.

Today, I’m thankful for those truth tellers in my life, those who have dared to speak a word of direction to me when I was headed in the wrong direction. I may not have liked it at the time, but as time passes I see more and more wisdom in what they said…what they did.

I’m also thankful for spiritual mentors, those who by virtue of their position in my life have been allowed to tell me the truth as they see it.

I’m also thankful for the Holy Spirit, that One who is the best truth teller of all.  He has led me into better thinking and acting more times than I like to admit.  He tells me the truth in love, every time, and suggests a path that leads to more truth, every time. There is no one I trust more than He.

As I close out this post today, I’m hoping you have someone in your life that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, no matter the cost to them. If you do, never let them go.  Often run your decisions by them. If they have proven truthful in the small things, you can rely on them for the big things.  They are a true gift in this world of smoke and  mirrors.  Cherish them.  Lean on them. Remember them in your prayers today.

You will know the truth, and the Truth will set you free. 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grapes Without Wrath

The September 30th devotional in My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, talks about individuals in the body of Christ becoming broken bread and sacramental wine in kingdom service. It’s a comforting concept until you take a moment to think about what it means to be broken bread and crushed grapes.

In order to make wine, succulent fruits at the peak of flavor have to be crushed. The process that brings the wine forth is severe. All the juice has to be forced from the skin so that not one drop is wasted. Jesus went through a similar crushing when he hung on the cross, allowing all his goodness to transform all of the world’s sin, so that all God’s children could experience all of His grace.

Ponder the fullness of that concept.  Killing the natural man in favor of spiritual maturity is a painful process, but worth the effort.

Oswald Chambers goes on to say in his devotional, “God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured out wine in a special way [we think]. But when He uses someone who we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom.”

Chambers continues, “If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.”

I won’t suggest to you how you ought to process this information, today. I will, however, ask you to pray for all those who are going through the crushing process at this time.

Pray for them to willingly be crushed.

Pray for them to understand that this is what is needed for them to mature in the faith.

Pray that they would see this crushing as a means of making them useful to the body, other believers.

Pray that they would be able to praise God in the process, for this we are commanded to do always.

Pray that they might understand how crushing is God’s way, as evidenced by His Son’s own crushing on the cross of Calvary.

Finally, pray that they might find the strength to stand up under the crushing, and give glory to God through the experience, and also that they might find many willing to stand by them as they are crushed into holy service.

The Christian life is not an easy one, but it is the right one, and the only one that keeps one safe after the experiences of this world.

Today, let’s trust God to transform us His way and by His means.  No matter what, you have his promise that He will not crush you beyond what you are able to bear.

Even in the difficult times, Our God is good, so good!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it strength or weakness that equips us?

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:10

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

It seems the opposite of logic, that we should pray to be made weak. Who wants weakness as their mantra for today?

“Lord, make me weak, as weak as I can be and still survive.”

Would you pray that way?

000strength

No one in America applauds weakness. It’s not in our DNA.  We are pull-ourselves-up-by-the-bootstraps kinda people.

We get things done.

We move mountains.

We flex for the camera.

We do not bow to personal weakness. In fact, we sidestep, swerve, avoid and reject any indication that we might not be as strong as we want to be.  But in God’s Word we are told that our weakness makes us strong.

How so?

What strength can be found in weakness?

That’s a good question, and I want to attempt an answer.

I see God’s power present in the lives of parents and partners of addicts who know they are powerless over the problem and unable to craft a solution for that other person, but believe God can.

It may seem like weakness to others when they quit trying to solve the addict’s problem, but in actuality, stepping away takes great courage and strength. God’s strength.

I see strength forged of weakness when I watch a single mom interacting with her newborn son who’s comes early, weighing in at a little over a pound.

I see strength in the eyes of a loved one whose mate has been on the transplant list for months. They both deal with individual fears about what’s next, and yet hold onto hope that they won’t have to do any of that scary stuff, because a life-saving call is coming soon, right?

In times such as these support people are powerless to move the recovery process along, but in their weakness who would dare say they are not strong?

The parents and siblings of down syndrome children–wow, are they ever powerful in their weakness. They may not be able to change their circumstances day by day, but as they lean in to grab a lil more of God’s strength and allow Him to fill them a lil fuller today, we stand amazed!

You may know someone who feels powerless today.

Maybe that someone is you.

Maybe you’re thinking: “I’ll never get this right? I make too many mistakes. I don’t have what it takes to do this. I feel like a weak, lonely, failure.”

If you’ve been feeling powerless for a while now, and its changed who you are so that even you don’t recognize you, there is good news for you in God’s Word and in communicating with him about the truth of the matter.

Prayer Changes Things!

Let me say that again: PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!!

God hears, He cares, and He acts when His people pray. Weakness does not mean a lack of power resides in us.  It means we need Jesus, and that’s a very good thing.

It means the Lord has decided to show another side to weakness through us.

It means success is not always spelled E.A.S.Y.

It means strength, incredible strength, sometimes looks like weakness to the uninitiated, or the ill-informed.

It means when we’re looking for a definition of strength, we need look no further than Jesus.

Today, pray for that one who you know lacks the strength to stand, even if that one is you.  We serve a Savior who is never lacking in power. Reach out to Him today. He’s only a prayer away.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New England? Maybe…I can’t decide.

So, I’m trying to put together an Action Plan, something that will serve as a guideline for positive actions I would like to take this week.

You wouldn’t think that would be a hard thing, right?

I know I want to lose more weight, so I guess I could formulate a plan to do that more effectively, but realistically, right now anyway, I don’t want to think about food restrictions.

I know I would like to write more, so setting aside time for writing could go on that Action Plan.

I know I NEED to plan my vacation, should have planned it weeks ago… but when I’m like this INDECISION is my most glaring fault, so to say I’m overwhelmed with even the thought of planning a vacation would be an understatement.

I’m stuck.

Have you been there?

I’m fried.

I’m over thinking everything.

I feel like I’m wasting energy, but can’t stop.  Typical type-A personality behavior.

I think I may have broken my brain. 

I just feel like I can’t think anymore.

Maybe my Action Plan for today should be to find an Adirondack chair along the edge of some lake, somewhere, put a wide-brimmed hat on, and take my socks off while I bask in the sun of a warm September day.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?! 

Yeah, it’s time I went on vacation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

One of those days…

The following is an email I actually sent this morning: Breakfast done. Now, what?  Not really asking, just asking, ya know? Looking to HP for answers. Breakfast: oatmeal with walnuts, milk, coffee, cream, Splenda Working on Action Plan for this week. Angry today. Not sure why. Praying. Reporting. Trying to court grace. Dreaming about being in bed with the covers over my head. Need to get Complex B today. Hitting the wall without it. Too long. It really effects me. Feeling those affects today. Thanks for listening. L Yeah, I think I need to run to the pharmacy at lunch. Otherwise, I can see this day going south real fast!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments