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Archive for June, 2010

I’ve kind of been avoiding the blog this morning.  I started thinking about it last night but I’m not sure I’m completely qualified to talk about this.   So once again, I’m taking my teacher hat off and learning right along with you as I type out my thoughts.

This truth is important to teach our children.  It is even more important to live by it ourselves.     “Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight.  Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.  Don’t be a bully.” (Proverbs 3, The Message).

I’ve had a few of those chips and they are not fun.   They mess with relationships and keep us from living a full life.  I don’t know if I’ve been a bully, but I certainly have been bullied and that’s no fun either.

So where do chips come from?  Here’s my thought:

Chips come from wounds and fears. When someone/something hurts us or scares us and we internalize that wound/fear we walk around with it on our shoulder.   We are often not even aware of it.   Those chips cause us to fight with ourselves and others.

We have a natural instinct when we are hurt or scared.   It is often referred to as “fight or flight.”  We make a vow that we won’t allow that hurt again(flight), running away or protecting ourselves from the emotion or situations that could wound us again.   Example:  Parents yelled and screamed all the time.   If we are in flight mode, we might avoid conflict at all cost, or find it difficult to say what we need to say.  We might withdraw, stop listening,  and become invisible if the emotions in the room or relationship seem heated.

If we are in fight mode in the same situation, we might believe we have to yell to be heard.

Having a chip can cause us to avoid situations or people or confront and fight for our “cause” in an unhealthy manner.   God designed us to not be afraid of the “giant” in the room and to “speak the truth in love.”  There is tension between the two.

Now about bullying.  Bullying is a big deal these days.  Here are my thoughts about.

Bullying is  a symptom of our wounds. Think about the neighborhood bully.   Usually, they were one who was neglected, hurting, felt insignificant enough at home or in their life. They were angry and tried to assert themselves into a place of power to create a place where they could survive and feel significant.

Think about how that translates as an adult.  Even if we don’t consider ourselves a bully, is it possible we are?   Do we bully someone else when we demand they see things our way?   Do we bully someone when we ignore their cries for help when we have the power to change the situation?   Do we want our own power place more than we want everyone to feel significant and wanted?   Do we view success as being the top of the pile and we have to occupy the top?  Mmmmmmmmmm, I have been a bully.

Questions lead to more questions.  Where have you been wounded or what are you afraid of, causing you to have a chip on your shoulder? What do you need to do to let go of that wound or fear?  Where have you been a bully?  Who do you need to ask forgiveness from?

What could happen in our lives, our families, our relationships, the church, and the world if we knocked the chip off and stopped bullying one another?

What do you think?

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Give or Take

Over the last several days we’ve learned about why getting wisdom should be a priority.  If wisdom is our companion we will have no need to panic over anything.  We will feel safe and secure, knowing God is right there with us.

So now that we know why, let’s dig in to some of the wisdom God has for us.

Have you ever really needed something that someone could have provided and they said no or ignored your need?  Maybe you were in charge of gathering volunteers in church or some organization and found it very difficult to get a few people to give even a few minutes. Or maybe it was you who couldn’t be bothered.

I’m certain we’ve all been on both sides of that issue.   I’ve used and heard all kinds of excuses when it comes to someone in need.   One of my pet peeves is when I was asking for help to serve through a local organization who takes care of homeless families.   The standard answer I got from Christians was, “I’ll pray about it.”

Another friend told me his response to that comment, is “OK.  I’ll wait!”  and then he would stand there with them.   Now don’t get me wrong, prayer is important as we guide our lives.  But we don’t have to pray about something that is God’s command, like taking care of widows and orphans, the poor and the stranger.   That standard answer and many others are just excuses because we don’t want to get involved.

Here’s some wisdom straight from God.  (Proverbs 3)

WISDOM #1: “Never walk away from someone who deserves help.  Your hand is God’s hand for that person.”  There are needy people and then their are people who truly are in need. There is a difference.   When we see someone who is truly in need and it is in our hand to help wisdom says do it!

WISDOM #2: Don’t say no because it’s inconvenient.  Sometimes someone’s need interrupts your day or plan.  That is not an excuse to not help.   Be flexible.   You never know whether you are entertaining an angel.   Would you say no if you knew it was God himself standing in front of you?  God tells us if we have done something for the least of these we have done it unto Him.

We are commanded to give out of what we have.  We are also instructed in this same passage to not take advantage of our neighbor.   Some people seem to look for ways to get, use, borrow, things they want not out of need but for other reasons.    That takes advantage of trusting and unsuspecting people.

Someone once told me of a  college student who was raising funds for a conference or missions trip.  This student would routinely go out to lunch and everyday had a latte or two.   My friend who was on a budget and very frugal told her if she would cut out those frivolous expenses and save for a year, next year she would give to fund her trip.

The student is an example of taking advantage of someone.  If we can do it ourselves we should do it.   Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t take advantage of someone for your own selfish gain.

I want to be a giver, not a taker.   What could you give today?   What are some of the things you have seen happen when you have given?  Share with Moms some of your favorite places to give.

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Live Well!

God’s Top Ten has now turned into His Top Eleven!  Here’s the number one reason to find and embrace Wisdom.

It will help you live a long time and your life will be full and well!

Pretty good reason, huh?  So what would make your life full and well?

Acquiring Wisdom requires action on our part but great rewards.  Proverbs 3  instructs us.

1. Don’t forget His commands. It’s hard sometimes to remember.   I often encourage moms to put reminders on sticky notes and attach them to the fridge, a mirror, or their dashboard.   Try it…..one lesson at a time.

2.  Take His words to heart, hold on to them, tie them around your neck—in other words, make His words a part of you.  Don’t just read them.  Think about them and how they apply to your life.   Memorize them so they are always with you.

3.  Earn a good reputation in God’s eyes and people’s. A good reputation doesn’t just happen.   It is built over time.   Keep doing what is right and you’ll find favor with God and man.

4.  Trust(lean on, rely, depend) God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure or work  it out on your own.

5.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. Life with God can be a great adventure.  He will have you do things that you never even thought of and go places you never imagined.

6. Don’t assume you know it all. Always keep learning.   You can never know everything. You can learn from anyone.

7. Run! Run to God and away from thing that don’t reflect Him!   Sometimes we define sin as just bad things like stealing, killing, etc.  Sin is anything that separates us from God.   Examine your attitudes, habits, etc.  and run away from the things that stop you from living the life God intended.

8.  Honor God with everything you own. This is not just about money.  Honoring Him is an act of worship.  Give Him the first and best of your money, time, attention, relationships, attitudes, hobbies, ……everything!

9.  Don’t resent His discipline. When God shows you something he wants to correct, don’t resent it.  He loves you so much He will show you the things that will hurt you.   He is not demanding you change for His sake.  He is calling out the excellence He put in you.

10.  Guard clear thinking and common sense with your life. Thinking clearly is like peeling an onion.   There are many layers that need to be considered to make a wise decision.   Considering the pros and cons of any action can help us make wiser choices which will bring better results.  Sometimes though, you can think too much!  Sometimes all you need is to apply common sense.

There you have it!  Another top ten.  If you are dissatisfied with something in your life right now, look at these carefully.   What step have you been missing that could change that situation?   What could happen if you set your heart and acted on the wisdom of God? What is God saying to you today?

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God’s Top Ten

David Letterman has nothing over God when it comes to the top ten reasons for something. Today’s top ten from God are sure to give you much of what you need and desire.  So, drumroll, please……………………

TOP 10 REASONS YOU WANT WISDOM

  1. PERSONAL PROTECTION–It’s your personal bodyguard
  2. GOOD CHOICES–You’ll know what’s good and fair, and find the good paths!
  3. GOOD COMPANY–It will be your close friend and pleasant companion in life.
  4. WARNING ABOUT DANGER–It will scout ahead for danger.
  5. SECURITY–You will feel secure and safe because it will always keep an eye out for you.
  6. GOOD DIRECTIONS–It will keep you from making wrong turns or following bad directions from harmful influences.
  7. RESCUE–It will rescue you from the enemy  if you are tempted.
  8. DELIVERANCE–It will keep you from being seduced and deliver you from immorality.
  9. POSSESSION–Because of it you will possess the land, God has given to you. (Your character and Your purpose)
  10. CONSISTENCY–Once you possess it, you will walk in it.

Isn’t that the essence of what we all want?  I am jumping up and down in my spirit right now.  Whoo Hoo!   It’s all in God and His Wisdom!!!!!

So the question is “Got Wisdom?” If not, here are some how to’s for opening  the gift God has given us.

  1. Live Well–Seek healing from God for your wounded soul, counsel for strong character.
  2. Live Open–In order to hear wisdom you have to be seeking it and open to it.
  3. Live Transparent–Be real about where you are at and what you are facing.  Stop hiding behind a mask, afraid to let others, God and even yourself see where you really are.
  4. Live Sincere-Live from the heart.  A heart that has a genuine interest in being all God created you to be and full of love for others.
  5. Live Honestly–Don’t tell yourself or others lies.  Don’t believe and live in the enemies lies about you.
  6. Live Loyal–Loyalty is an attitude of seriousness and earnestness.  You are focused on the thing you are loyal to.  Focus on God with devotion and serious thinking.  Make Him your priority.
  7. Live Committed–Determine in your heart and make a commitment to follow God and what He speaks to you.   Give Him your WHOLE heart, soul, mind, body,and spirit!  Don’t give him just a portion of it.

I hope you are jumping up and down with me.  What could happen if we all determined to get WISDOM?  What do you think?

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Common sense.  Ever hear, “Use a little common sense!”  or said it yourself?  Especially right now in America, the every day ordinary citizen is wondering where it has gone. Maybe we have forgotten where it comes from.

Proverbs 2 (Message) tells us “God gives out Wisdom for free.” It explains He “is plainspoken in knowlege and understanding” and “a rich mine of common sense for those who live well.”

God is a good parent.  A loving parent who longs to see his kids grow into healthy, mature adults believers who will use the inheritance he left us wisely.  He loves family and He is all about healthy family and lots of kids.   After all, it was His idea to create family in the beginning and make sure that they’d keep reproducing.   It was his command to “Go forth and multiply.” 

A good parent has wisdom and common sense. A good parent passes it on to their kids and also teaches their children to seek it out for themselves. 

If God’s gift of Common sense is free why are so many of us not accepting or using it? No Sense, Nonsense or God sense–today’s title is significant.  Let me unpack the meaning  behind the words. as I see it. 

  •      No Sense–We have stopped thinking and asking questions.   We have stopped dreaming.  We just take life as it comes and have become numb and unaware of the possibilities around us.  We’ve stopped connecting with God and as a result have lost identity and sense of purpose.  Some eastern and new age teachers talk about this as living in an unconscious or conscious state.                                                                                      
  • Nonsense–We have stopped living by the Godly values and principles for life.  We have allowed the noise and distraction of the world to drown out the voice of truth.   We become obsessed with what we want, what makes us feel good, and filled our lives in every way with things that are of little value.  We have chosen a life of fun and games instead of the true joy that comes from living with purpose and serving others. 
  • Godsense–We have somewhere lost our way, making either a conscious or subconscious decision to replace or stop looking to God who is the source of all wisdom. We have stopped leaning on His understanding and lean on our own!

Tomorrow we will continue this discussion by talking about why it is important to get back to God and embrace His gift of common sense and understanding.   For today take an inventory of your life.

What steps can you take to increase your awareness of God?  What questions would you ask Him about your life today?

What nonsense or unimportant stuff have you built your life around?  What is crowding out the voice of God?

Where do you need some common sense solution to a problem?  What could happen if you asked God for His sense of the situation?

I want to live a life of common sense–God’s sense!  How about you? 

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Proverbs tells us that Wisdom is crying in the streets for people to seek her.  I read the Bible through the first time at the age of 10.   God reminded me this week of a prayer I prayed when I read about wisdom.  I took it to heart and really asked God to help me find it.  He answered that immediately and my whole life has been one revelation after another that has continually brought  me insight and understanding about a variety of things. What I really love is when I learn to apply it correctly and help others do the same.

If we are going to help our children grow in wisdom, we must learn and practice it in our lives.

Here’s some things to remember as you find wisdom.  (Proverbs 2)

1.  Collect and guard the counsel you receive. When you are intentionally learning or happen to stumble upon truth through some experience, write down the lesson.

The mistake I made is I wrote them all on separate pieces of paper.  Now I have to go through piles to organize them!  I’d suggest you use a journal or series of journals and begin to recall your life lessons.

When you are guarding something, you pay attention to it.   You are very aware of it. It’s your focus because you don’t want it to be stolen or get away.  We must guard the wisdom, so we can access it when we need it. It needs to become part of who we are. We must embrace it and apply it or we will lose it!

2.  Tune your ear to Wisdom. This implies intention!  A musician has to train their ear to listen, so they recognize the proper note or tone.  We have to intentionally train our ear to hear the sound of wisdom.   We can’t hear if we don’t listen.  We can’t listen if we constantly talk or are surrounded by noise and distraction.  We must intentionally quiet our environment and our inner world.

3.  Set your heart on Understanding. This again implies intention! When we are faced with a situation, trying to find a solution or an answer we need insight.   We need to examine whatever we are in.

Life is like a diamond.  It is a rare, precious stone that is brought forth by pressure. A quality diamond is one who has many facets and points where light can pass through.  We need to look at all the facets of a particular relationship, dilemma,  or somewhere we are stuck to find the beauty(wisdom).  Proverbs 2 in the Message compares it to a prospector panning for gold or an adventurer on a treasure hunt.

What insights or lessons have you learned so far in your life? Where do you need wisdom today?   What practical step can you take find it?

If and when you find a nugget of wisdom, I hope you’ll share it with us.  We might be looking for that same truth.

Happy Treasure Hunting!

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As I shared yesterday, I blew it the other day—acted like a fool in some ways.   But here is why I’m not beating myself up over it and know I’m not a fool.  Proverbs 1:7(NKJV) describes a fool as one who despises wisdom and knowledge.  The Message describes one as someone who thumbs their nose at learning.  Though I may act foolish sometimes, I want to and enjoy learning and digging for truth and love when I learn something I can apply to my life.

Verse 8 has instruction for the young telling them to pay attention to what their father tells them and embrace the things taught by their mother.

Sometimes people do stupid things because they were never taught differently.  But, nothing is more irritating than someone thinks they know all they need to know or refuses to apply knowledge or common sense principles to their life.

As moms, it’s important that we teach our children to love wisdom (learning, thinking, applying knowledge).  Here’s some rewards for pursuing Godly Wisdom (seeing things through a God given perspective):

  1. Understanding and ability to act on what they believe, rather than peer pressure
  2. A life based on Godly Values
  3. A teachable spirit and a thirst for learning
  4. An ability to work through questions or problems to find answers or provide solutions.
  5. Good relationships
  6. Understanding of God, His purposes for them, and confidence to pursue their calling.

Here are some ways to encourage our children in the pursuit of wisdom:

a. Encourage their personal relationship with God.  Teach them to talk directly to God and listen for His answers.  Help them get into the habit of a daily devotional or Bible reading.  Talk about God in terms they understand.

b. Encourage them to question. As they get older, help them search out truth, discovering answers for themselves.

c. Encourage curiosity. Take note of what they have an interest in (ie. music, art, rocks, history, etc.) and help them experience and explore as many of them as possible.

d. Encourage conversation. Talk about life, God, school, purpose, world issues, sex…..anything that is on their minds and even some things that they might not be aware of.

e. Encourage reading from an early age.  Read to them and have them read to you.  Read together.

Children learn by example.  It’s important that we keep learning and growing in every aspect of life too.

What are some ideas you have to help children explore, learn and grow?  What do you enjoy doing that helps you grow?  What do you think the wisest thing is you have learned so far in life?

And one final thought.  Many children or young people need mothers and fathers outside their own families for one reason or another.   Maybe your children are grown.  Maybe you never had children of your own.   What could happen if you invested in the life someone else’s child by teaching them to pursue Godly Wisdom?

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Ever put your foot in your mouth and wish you could take back your reaction or something you said?   I did!   Just yesterday!   Even though there was sincerity, authenticity, and some truth in my words, my delivery was not so great!   That can really mess up relationships.

So this morning, as I prayed about this post I was led to the book of Proverbs.   Hope you’ll work through this manual for living with me.   Hope you’ll comment so we can encourage one another to seek wisdom in life and relationships.

Proverbs 1 tells us that this book was written down so we understand what life means and where it’s going.  So that we will learn to live well and right, with justice and fairness.

It’s meant to teach the inexperienced the ropes, give our young people a grasp on reality (now that’s just what an older person like me thinks they need!  Ha!).  Then is says it’s there to bring something to the seasoned men and women because we still have a thing or two to learn—-OUCH!

This is the book of WISDOM.  Wisdom has the ability to probe and penetrate the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Sometimes we think our thoughts are right when they aren’t.   Sometimes we think our ideas are foolish when they aren’t.  Sometimes we think we know it all when we have much to learn.  Sometimes we think we can’t do what is before us because we have too much to learn.

I am realizing that I like things black and white.   I feel secure when I can say this is the way it is.   I have really strong values and want everyone else to live by them.   True wisdom pushes on and pushes back on what we think.  There is tension in this process but it causes us to grow. Godly wisdom brings success in all aspects of life.

I want that wisdom.   And here is where it starts.  The Message tells us it starts with God—learning starts with bowing down to God. My next step for today is to stop playing God and instead bow to God, letting Him be God.   I am choosing today to put myself back in a prostrate position, not demanding it be my way even though my intentions are good.

God, thank you for offering us Godly wisdom.   I accept this gift by faith.  Help me to open it, examine it, and give me the strength to use it WISELY.

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In the parable of the sower in John 8, we are told about different kinds of soil and what happens to the seed sown there.  The description includes soil full of thorns or weeds.  These menaces eventually choke out the plants and prevent them from maturing.  Weeds in our life do the same.

So, let’s talk about what stops us from maturing and displaying the beauty God has put in us.

W–Wounds When we hang on to the wounds of our past we allow them to define us and how we live, rather than displaying God’s healing power through them.

E–Expectations When we live by the unrealistic expectations of ourselves or others, we are trying to look and be good.  They prevent us from loving God with all our hearts, minds, and souls-the secret to transparent, free living.  Eventually, this weed will overcome who we really are.

E–Energy Drainers There are things in life that do not strengthen us.   People, activities, thoughts, etc.  can weaken us so much that we stop operating in  the strengths/gifts  God has put in us.

D–Distractions Anything that takes your focus off of what is really important or living your best life is a distraction.  No matter what is going on around you, bring your focus back to God and His purpose for you.  Know that it is ok to say no and not get involved in things that take you away from what God has put in your heart to do.

S–Sin That word is more than just some action we take.  It is a word that describes both character and belief.  In fact, our behavior is a direct result of what we believe.   When we are believing, thinking, acting contrary to who God is and what He says, we find ourselves stuck inside behaviors that bring death instead of life.

Here’s the good news.  God has provided weed killer.  Jesus came, died, and was resurrected to reunite us God.  Everything we need is in Him:  Healing for wounds, Freedom from expectations, Strength through the Holy Spirit, A Renewed Mind, Forgiveness/Release from sin’s control over us.

We apply this miracle weed killer to our hearts and lives each time we go to Him.  Confession, letting go of unforgiveness, living according to what God says and no one else, being filled with the Spirit, and studying and speaking the word of God over our lives will result in a fruitful, abundant garden full of the fragrance of God!

What weeds are growing in your garden?  What step do you need to take to destroy them?

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Remember the old nursery rhyme:  “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  That’s a good question for all of us to consider.

A garden is worthless if it doesn’t produce fruit.  A garden needs care–watering, fertilizing, pruning, weeding.   So does our life.

There are seasons in life when all we feel is dryness.  The ground feels cracked and desolate.   Our hearts are sick and our bones weak and weary.  When that happens we can get a little contrary ourselves.  We can have our own little pity party.

God has given us an answer for those seasons.  Isaiah 58:10,11(Amp) tells us that if we pour out that which sustains your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted…we will experience the Lord’s guidance continually, have our own drought satisfied, and our bones strengthened.  We are promised we will be like a well watered garden.

That’s the key.  You may not feel like you have much to give right now.  What sustains you?  What keeps you going? If you look deep enough, you’ll find something to share.  A smile, a meal, a prayer…..the possibilities are endless.

Who do you know that is hungry or afflicted?   What could you offer to them? The key to a garden that is productive and beautiful is taking the focus off of us and serving others.

You reap what you sow.  Give and it shall be given to you.

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