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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Satan and Sundays

1 James 1:26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  NIV

I've always said that Satan does his best work on Sundays.  Your children are so well-behaved all week, but on Sunday morning, it's like they change into little demons that you have to drag out the door.  You buckle the kids in the car only to glance in the mirror and see that your hair, that you actually took the time to fix, is now glued down on one side with kid snot, and your lipstick is smeared up by your eye.  You glance over at your husband, who is checking his watch, and want to throat punch him because he is still looking like a GQ model.  This is probably because he has been sitting in the car for 5 minutes, blowing the horn as a reminder that it's time to leave for church, while you frantically search for a pair of shoes that actually match. Wow!  You are now ready for worship!  Whatever.

It takes a lot of prayer to survive Sunday mornings.  That is just the homefront.  I'm sure we all have days in which we feel that Satan is having a field day in our lives.  In my quest to find balance in my life, I am learning that the struggle is real with the whole "bridle his tongue" thing.  All my life, I have been a very blunt person.  If it comes up (in my head), it comes out (of my mouth).  Sometimes, this is a good thing because there is no grey matter in my conversations.  However, as I grow as a Christian, I am realizing that I don't have to say what I am thinking.  I have the ability to escalate a situation, or the ability to just let it die.  In other words, Satan can use me as a weapon in his work, or I can take away his power.

In our day to day lives, we are going to encounter people who will just, as my sister says, "gritch our grass".  As I get older, I am realizing that time spent angry is time wasted.  Also, time spent angry is not Godly.  I'm sure that there will be many, many, MANY more times in my life in which Satan will try me.  I think my prayer today will be that I do not deceive my heart into thinking I am religious, when my mouth is speaking something else.  "Thank you, Jesus, for teaching me this life lesson.  Thank you for your grace."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks

Romans 12:10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.

Somedays, people just get on my nerves.  With my work, I meet a vast range of personalities.  I am an event photographer.  Many times, I don’t meet my client until I walk into their vacation home to begin my session.  I never know if I’m walking into a hornet’s nest of emotion or if everyone will be embracing a spirit of togetherness.  I must be willing to adapt and make compromises quickly.  When it is my work, I can easily step into the role of problem solver or peacemaker.  In my personal life, not so much.

I don’t know about you, but I am a do it my way kind of woman.  Think my way.  Believe my way.  Do things my way.  I also find myself being very judgmental when others don’t do things my way..  Only recently has God convinced me that as long as I am narrow-minded in my beliefs, I cannot follow His plan for me.  I have learned that compromise in your emotions and in the way you do things in order to uplift others tends to help put out fires more than being rigid, hard-headed, and dogmatic.  I don’t always have to be right.  I don’t always have to have my way.  As a matter of fact, it’s sinful. By being so set in my ways, I build a wall between others and myself.  I become a stumbling block.

You see, Satan can use anybody as a weapon.  It doesn’t matter how Godly we think we are, Satan can find a weakness in our makeup and use it to cause others to stumble.  While I’m over here thinking I’m all right and holy because I love Jesus, Satan sees my unwillingness to give a little and shuts doors on what may have been a great opportunity for me to share my love for our God.  And you know what I’ve learned?  I will not die if I just give a little.

Isn’t it funny when we go through life being all stubborn and declaring that “I would never do such and such” or “I can’t believe they did this or that” and one day we find ourselves doing the same thing we proclaimed we’d never do?  Don’t be so self-righteous that you are a hypocrite.  For me, personally, there is no bigger turnoff as I learn to follow Jesus than a hypocritical Christian.  Jesus loves all of us.  Every one of us.  We should love each other and have tolerance for one another so that we do not cause each other to sin by being a total turn off for them.  Yes ma’am.  I’m preaching to the choir today.

Dear Lord, teach me Your ways.  Teach me humbleness.  Teach me that I don’t have to plow through a mountain, that sometimes it is ok to go over or around it.  Teach me to love like you do, to love everybody, just as they are.  Please give me the right words to reach people without being judgmental.  Give me the ability to bend when I need to bend so that I become a stepping stone and not a stumbling block.  Thank you for Your love, Your grace, and Your mercy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Mangy Dog ~
1 Thessalonians 5:28 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ESV
For a while now, I have had the desire to help other women who are struggling with hurt and anger in their lives.  This past week, I have had to search my heart and ask myself why I want to be an encourager.  Is it something God wants me to do or is it something that will make me popular?  Besides, who am I to be worthy of speaking about God’s mercy and grace?  I am just beginning to truly study the Bible and learn myself.
I may not be a Biblical scholar, but I do know about brokenness.  I do know how it feels to be abandoned. I know what it feels like to sit in a judge’s chamber and see your marriage fall apart.  I remember the devastation of watching my children leave to go live with their dad. I know what it is like to have a troubled child.  I know what it is like to get so far away from God that you think there is NO way He will ever let you come back to him.  I also know what it is like when you have that defining moment of surrender, when everything turns around.
When you have a feeling deep in your heart that just won’t leave you alone, I think that is when God is asking you to work for Him.  He plants a little seed and slowly, if you let it, a great desire to do what He wants you to do will grow and grow until you just have to do something about it.
But at the same time, Satan will plant his little seed, too.  The enemy does not like for us to return to God.  He will make you feel unworthy.  He will bring up your past.  He will use everything in his arsenal to make you feel insecure.  Satan does not want us to encourage each other, especially when we are broken, because that’s when we are the most vulnerable.
I get great joy from helping others.  I love to walk along beside women who are where I have been.  I hope to encourage them to see that they can survive whatever stage that they are facing in their lives.  I hope to show them that they have two choices….they can become MEAN or they can become MIGHTY.  I’ve already done the mean; I want to try the mighty.

When I was little, I heard a someone say,  “Even an ol’ mangy dog likes to be petted.”  I envisioned many times what he meant by that.  I think now I know.  We all like to feel good.  We like praise.  We like to be the hero. I pray that God will use me however He wants, even when I am mangy,  but that He will give me the grace to know that nothing good that I do on this earth is for me, but is for Him.