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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

I’ve recently fallen in love with the word ethos.  Ethos is the character or set of guiding beliefs of a person, group or institution.  It’s Greek origin means custom and character.

For good or bad, every person and group has an ethos.  Whether you understand it or not, your ethos is directly linked to how you live. What you let guide you will determine your inner being and influence your outward circumstances as well.   Ethos is the spirit behind every action we take.

That spirit sets the tone for our lives.  For example, what is the difference between a home where the family works together for the good of one another, or one that has a culture of each for themselves?   Or a marriage, when one depends and expects the other to meet their need or make them happy, instead of looking for what they can do to bless their spouse?

What happens in a situation where injustice happens and one person has an ethos of an eye for an eye and another has the foundation of love, forgiveness, truth, etc.?

God has set the ethos for the world.  His character is reflected in scripture, the life of Jesus, and His creation.  When we as individuals or groups, emulate His ethos hope, faith, and love will be the guiding force in all we do. The result is a profound peace that passes any understanding of our current situation.

Psalm 119:15 says: “I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect for your ways (the paths of life marked out by Your law).”  If you want a strong ethos, that is the place to start.

He has a precept for every situation you face.  He has a marked path for our life based on these principles.

The question is do we know them?  Do we respect them?  How important are they to us?

Psalm 115:20 says: “My heart is breaking with the longing that it has for Your ordinances and judgments at all times.”

I have to ask myself, as I ask you.  What are my guiding principles or ethos? Is my heart longing for God’s character and precepts for my life?  Am I apathetic and just taking life as it comes?  Am I set on doing things my way because I don’t trust the result of doing it His way?

Your ethos (how you act based on what you believe) will influence every relationship you have.  It will determine how you respond to difficult situations.  It will guide you in every decision you make.

When you embrace God’s ethos, you will understand a life well lived.

 

 

 

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Woke up this morning with the Abba song, Take A Chance On Me in my head for some strange reason.  Then again, maybe it’s not so strange. We are leaving for Vegas tomorrow for a business convention and I guess it seems fitting.

I love how God takes the thoughts I’m thinking and turns them into something about Him.  I could just feel my faith rising as I thought about taking a chance on God. 

The scripture tells us that His words are yes and amen, his promises are true, and God is not a man that He would lie.

So what would it hurt to take a chance on what God says about His power and plans for us and our lives.

What if we took a chance that He could heal our hurts and meet our inner desires ?

What if we took a chance that He could provide financially?

What if we took a chance that He could change us and our spouse, and bless our marriage?

What if we took a chance that He could turn things around in our jobs, homes, relationships?

What if we took a chance to love like He loves?

So many things we can take a chance on!   I’m betting that if we bet it all by surrendering everything in our life to Christ and turning it over to Him, we will win!   We will be rewarded with our innermost desires and conformed to the character of Christ.

What could you do to take a chance on God today?

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We’ve all watched our kids get upset about something.  There are times when they’ve been so disturbed they were inconsolable.

Child or adult, part of the weakness of the human condition is that we let things upset us.  Sometimes they are little things and other times they are big.

Yet we all long for true inner peace.

The good news is that we have already been given that gift.  Jesus tells us in John 14:22, “Peace I leave with you; My own peace I give and bequeath to you.”

The opposite of inner peace is a troubled heart.  There are a lot of reasons one’s heart might be troubled.  Whatever the reason, it’s no fun to feel upset and it does no good to allow the circumstances to control you.

If someone gives you a gift, it’s yours unless you refuse it.  It’s useless as long as it remains unopened. God has given us peace.  It’s not for someday.  It’s ours now. If we want it, we have to open the gift.

So how do we do that.  It’s not easy but it is simple.  The rest of verse 27 holds the key.  “Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid.  Stop allowing yourself to be agitated and disturbed; Do not permit yourself to be fearful or intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.”

If you find yourself with an unopened gift of inner peace, maybe you could ask yourself:  What is causing my heart to be troubled or afraid?  Where or how did I get to a place of allowing myself to be agitated and disturbed?  Why am I living from fear, without courage, and unsettled? Am I focusing on my situation or the gift of peace that God has given me?

Inner peace is a decision away.  It’s not based on circumstance or what someone does or doesn’t do.  It’s based on what we allow or permit to agitate or disturb us.

What if we followed God’s advice and just stopped allowing ourselves to be upset or disturbed?

What could that mean for our marriages, our homes, our parenting, our finances, our church, our community, or the world for that matter?

You don’t have to live without inner peace.  When you do, you have left God’s gift to you and your inheritance unopened.

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Yesterday we lost our 14 year old companion, our dog, Daisy.  Everywhere I go today I think about her and the impact she had on our lives.  I hear the jingle of her collar as she walked through the house.  I see the engraved image of her laying next to my feet just to be near me while I worked in the office.  I see her sitting patiently near the table, begging for one morsel from my dinner plate.  And I remember the unconditional love and companionship she offered to us and our son through those years.

When you think about it, Daisy left a legacy.  Our home was a better place for having her part of our life.  We will never forget her.  She had a spirit that fought to the end and brought such joy to everyone who entered our home.

If dogs leave that kind of legacy behind, what are the possibilities for us as human beings.  I can’t help but think about what we are capable of leaving behind because of our choices.  Will it be a good legacy or a bad one?

So this is a clarion call.   Will we choose wisely so our kids will see people of character in action?  Will we love unconditionally, regardless of what we get out of the relationship?   Will we live with hearts abandoned to a loving heavenly father, so that we can in turn serve the world around us?   Will we be women, men, teens, children of God in deed as well as in word?

It breaks my heart each time I see someone who says no to those questions.  I want to be a catalyst in this world to help people say yes.

What kind of legacy are your choices building?  What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  How can I help or pray for you in your legacy building desires?

 

 

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I think a basic need of a woman is to feel secure.  We want to know that everything is going to turn out ok.  We are nurturers and fixers by nature.  At least I am.  Yet, I remember a time when I struggled with feeling secure.  I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t think my husband was doing a very good job handling our things in our home, and most of all I wasn’t sure God was hearing my prayers.

When we don’t feel safe and secure, we do one of two things.  We run from our problem or we fight against it and everyone else in its path.  For me it was a mixture of both but usually I ended fighting with the everyone else, including God.

Peace and security come from the inside.  God recognizes our need for peace and goes far beyond just peace in the moment.  He promises perfect and constant peace.

How is that possible?  Perfect and constant peace–when my world might be falling apart?  There is only one way and I’ve proven it true.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us it”s where our mind is set that determines the level of our peace.    I love the Amplified version which explains that both our desire and our character must be focused on God to live in that state of perfect peace.

If you find yourself outside the circle of inner peace today, ask yourself:

What do I desire more than anything else?  Is my character lining up with God’s or is there something I need to change?

When the answer in your life is:  I desire and am committed to follow God no matter what my circumstances, you will have true peace.  That step will lead to you developing and setting your heart on character that follows God’s instruction.

The peace the world gives is one that is based on a feel good now mentality.  God’s peace is never based on circumstances but on where your mind and heart is set.  His peace is perfect and constant.

Which peace do you want?

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Don’t know of anyone who isn’t wanting good things for their life, do you?

When it comes to seeking God, I know I usually am asking for something.  Isaiah 45:19 tells us God didn’t call us to serve him for nothing.   He wanted us to bring forth fruit and promised us a just reward.

I don’t know about you but sometimes the idea of “just reward” scares me.   You see, I was raised with a lot of hell fire and brimstone preaching and sometimes I replay the old story and am truly afraid of God and my ability to measure up.  But really, when I break this whole idea down, I come up with a whole new perspective.

There’s a credit card commercial that touts their card as being the one that brings the best rewards.  We have a sure way of gaining a good reward as well. Where are heart is will determine our actions and our actions are what brings forth good fruit.

If our heart is focused on truth as defined in Isaiah(Amplified)–trustworthy, straight forward correspondence between deeds and words) we will bear good fruit that stands the test of time.  In other words, we set our hearts towards the truth and principles of God and speak honestly and clearly with ourselves, determining to have our actions match our words.

A fruitful life is one of character.  When we do the opposite of what we say we are, we are not standing in truth.   When we violate God’s principles willfully, we are living a lie.  It’s all about choice and will and the first step is to set your heart toward Him, surrendering to His principles for life and godliness.

It’s not always easy because sometimes we don’t want to die to our own willfullness.  If we will make that choice, a fruitful, just reward will follow.   If we don’t, an empty life,  but “just reward” will follow.

Which do you choose?   What step can you take to make your deeds match your words and God’s principles today?

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Change is part of life and we make decisions all the time that affect outcome.  Change is difficult and requires some thought in order to determine the right direction for any situation we face.

One of the biggest obstacles in change is our resistance to it.  We don’t like unfamiliar places, uncertain results, or for that matter, the work it requires to change things like character and habit.

So how do we bring ourselves to a place of non-resistance?  When the negative results of staying the way we are outweighs the difficulty of making a change, we will move.

Here’s what God asked Paul (formerly Saul):  “It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the good.”

When we think through change, weighing the outcome is important.  Asking ourselves what the result of making  a change will bring us can move us in the right direction.

There is one other important type of resistance that we must deal with.   Saul, now known as Paul, was resisting the good of the gospel of Christ.  He believed something that was not true and was fighting against the real truth because of it.

God had a plan for Paul…..one of influence in the kingdom of heaven.   He graciously warned Saul, giving him an option to turn to the truth instead of resisting it. Saul had a choice.  Change, turn around, stop resisting God’s truth or experience things turning out badly.

That is the same choice we have.  Sometimes we don’t have a correct belief and we resist change because of it.  We might have been taught something religiously that isn’t true, so we resist the truth of God’s word.   Maybe we believe we can’t be happy in our marriage because our spouse hasn’t met our needs, so we resist changing ourselves or decide to leave our marriage unjustifiably.  We might believe we are weak, so we resist doing the things that use our strengths.

The bottom line is when we resist the good, we can’t expect good things to happen to us.  

What can you choose to change today, bringing good to you and everyone around you?

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I have fond memories of canning peaches with my mom.  There was one way to know if the effort was successful.  We listened for the pop of the seal or felt for the indent in the lid.  If the fruit wasn’t tightly sealed it would have to be refrigerated and eaten more quickly.

This morning as I read John 15:16, one phrase popped out at me.  “I have planted you that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, that your fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting .”

God’s purpose of choosing and appointing us is that we would bear fruit that stands.  That kind of fruit lasts through good and bad, through seasons of joy and adversity.  Here’s a few tips for doing that:

1.  Conform your life and character to God’s. Any fruit that is not based on God’s character will not last.

2. Stay watered(prayer, meditation, study) in your relationship with God.

3.  Live in your purpose.  A tomato seed will not and should not grow an orange.  Be who you are and spread it around.  The world needs your flavor.

Which one is most important?  #1!  Walking in God’s character means we are living like God.  Just think about it.

If you are in a rotten marriage, loving like God loves will always bring good fruit.  If you have difficult finances, having a spirit of generosity will increase your supply.  If you have suffered injustice, forgiveness will bring God’s justice to the situation.  You won’t live in victim mentality and will be vindicated by your victory.

In my life, this has been proven over and over again.  The more I conform to God, the more lasting fruit my life shows.

What can you do today to bear lasting fruit?

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Repost

This repost of a 2010 blog seems appropriate today.  Sometimes I think we forget that we reap what we sow and that it is our choice to sow good seed.  What do you think?

Choose Your Seed

If you want tomatoes you don’t plant lemons.  If you want roses, you plant roses.

So what do you want in your life?

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.   If your life is not producing the fruit you want, you have to start with examination of the seed you are planting.

If you are planting discord, you can’t expect peace and harmony.  If you are planting debt and poor financial stewardship, you can’t expect financial blessing and abundance.  If you are dishonoring or disrespectful in a relationship, you can’t expect honor and respect from others.

On the flip side, if you follow God’s precepts, planting seed that is reflective of His character, you can expect a good harvest.  That kind of planting is mentioned in Galatians 6:8.  It is sowing to the Spirit instead of to the flesh.   That kind of harvest is not only good, but lasts forever.   It produces eternal results.

Take a minute and reflect on the kind of result you want in some situation in your life.  Maybe it’s a situation with your children, spouse, or friend.  Maybe it’s something you desire emotionally, physically, or  spiritually.

What kind of seed(ie.habit, attitude, action,belief) have you been planting?  What could you change in order to reap a good harvest? What step can you take today to begin that process?

If you want a different result, you have to choose good seed.  God has provided what you need and promised to bless it.  It’s up to you to plant it, nurture it, and gather in the harvest.

What seed are you choosing today?

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What mom (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t need rest?

I’m not talking about the kind of rest that comes from taking a break, an afternoon nap, or getting a good night’s sleep.  Although of course we need that too!

I’m talking about internal rest.  That place of peace, letting go, and the sense of internal well-being that we all desire.

Yesterday we talked about Hebrews 3 and how to get out of the wilderness.  As I continued to read this morning, my heart is heavy.  You see, I know what it’s like to have lost perspective and sight of who God is and what He’s done and wants to do.  It’s no fun to be in that place.  Inner peace is replaced by turmoil.

The essence of sin is when we refuse to trust God.  That is when we make bad choices.  We get impatient because we haven’t received an answer and we take matters into our own hands.  That never works.  And yet we think we know best.  We convince ourselves that we have the answer even though it goes against what God says.  Or, we grumble and complain and allow ourselves to slip into a hard, untrusting place that eventually leads to a sick heart or rebellion.

We run around like rebellious teens who refuse to believe that a parent has their best interest at heart.  If you’ve been there as a parent, you understand how God feels.  The Israelites provoked and irritated God according to Hebrews 3.  Sometimes I think we believe that because God loves us nothing we do matters.  But it does!

Just like any good parent, there will be consequences for our choice to trust or not trust.  Trust is not a fairytale feeling that we’ll all live happily ever after.  It’s a conscious choice to act on the confidence that God’s direction and promises are for our good and will be worked out.  It is an open heart that is willing to become all He has designed us to be rather than expecting everyone else to be all we need them to be.  It is relationship…..us and God, compliant child and loving Father.

According to Hebrews 3:18 and 19, those who refuse to be compliant or persuaded will not be able to enter His rest.  It is a message of what unbelief does to our hearts.  When we are unwilling to trust, rely and adhere to God’s ways and words.

Where are you not at rest today– Your marriage, your children, your relationships, your finances, yourself?  Stop and think about what God has already done or has promised you.  What does He say that you have been unwilling to believe?  What can you let go of or embrace to begin to trust Him again?

Whatever is causing your inner turmoil, the answer is to be persuaded that God’s direction and promises are for our good and we can rely on Him.

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