Friday, April 14, 2017

Dealing with Hurts

““Why do you notice the small piece of dust that is in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood that is in your own? Why do you say to your friend, ‘Let me take that piece of dust out of your eye’? Look at yourself first! You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye. You are a hypocrite! First, take the wood out of your own eye. Then you will see clearly to get the dust out of your friend’s eye.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:3-5‬ ‭ERV‬‬
I love to read. I love to read books involving spiritual growth. I really like to read devotions. About 50% of them deal, in some way, with people that are struggling with forgiveness. Everyone has been hurt by a family member, boss, friend, co-worker, name it. Sometimes the hurt was small. Sometimes it was a gigantic betrayal.
I've noticed that people deal with hurt in many ways. Many turn to addictions to avoid dealing with the hurt. Food is a popular medicine to use when you are hurt. The enemy tells you that if you eat enough, you will feel better. I've never seen food cure the problem.
Alcohol or drugs have been used to ease the pain. That just causes more problems. Another popular way to ease the pain is entertainment. The enemy tells you that if you look at enough social media, enough tv, enough movies, enough travel to fun places- you will feel better. Nothing wrong with entertainment. However, it is not a substitute for a medicine that you need for a lonely, messed up heart.
I noticed that if you don't deal with it in a healthy way, the bitterness just grows and grows and threatens to destroy your life. I'm not a licensed psychologist but I know this to be true. You have to deal with your own heart and not wait on the other person to deal with theirs. There is nothing you can do to change the other person. You can pray for them but your words or actions can't change them.
While you wait on God to change them, your job is to look for logs in your own life and ask God to change you. I see that in my own life. When I get mad at Mark, the temptation is to point the flashlight on Mark. But that never, ever solves anything. It only makes it worse. And if I don't deal with it with wisdom, it just grows and grows. As soon as possible, I need to ask God to point the flashlight at me, do surgery on me and transform me.
If you are struggling with forgiving someone, even with a small thing, pull the weed out before it chokes you to death. If you are only 1% off in your spiritual life and you don't deal with it now, it will become 99% one day. I know some old people that started out with a lack of forgiveness and they thought that it would not hurt to hold on to it. It's not a pretty sight. Be kind to the old person that you will become.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


In case you don't know the story of David and Bathsheba, it is found in 2 Samuel.
“In the spring, when kings go out to war, David sent Joab, his officers, and all the Israelites out to destroy the Ammonites. Joab’s army surrounded their capital city, Rabbah. David stayed in Jerusalem."
David was out of place. He put himself "out of place. Mark used to be a vice-principal when we lived in Vicksburg, MS. When students came to his office for a discipline issue, he always discovered that they were "out of place." When we stay where we need to be, we will be less likely to stray and do the wrong things.
"One evening he got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his house. From there he saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful,”
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭11:1-2‬ ‭ERV‬‬
I would guess that David knew ahead of time that when he stood on the roof of his house he would see women bathing. This was not the first time. He put himself into a situation where he would be tempted. We often put ourselves into a situation where we already know that we will be tempted. It was only a matter of time before he would give in to the temptation.
Look what God said to David....
"When you took Uriah’s wife, you showed that you did not respect me."
"But you did things that made the Lord ’S enemies lose their respect.”
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12:10, 14‬ ‭ERV‬‬
“I let you take his family and his wives, and I made you king of Israel and Judah. As if that had not been enough, I would have given you more and more. So why did you ignore my command? Why did you do what I say is wrong? You let the Ammonites kill Uriah the Hittite, and you took his wife. It is as if you yourself killed Uriah in war.”
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12:8-9‬ ‭ERV‬‬
When we ignore God's command to have purity, we disrespect Him and we cause the world to disrespect Him. He said to David, "I gave you everything but it wasn't enough!" God has given us literally everything we need but we decide, just like Eve, that God did not let us eat out of the one tree and that He is not taking care of us. We decide that God is holding out on us and we take matters into our own hands.
If you are struggling with sexual temptations and giving in to them, get help. Do you need an accountability partner? Do you need to join a group.  You won't be the first one to join. You won't be the last one to join.

This is definitely an area where you cannot "conform to the world." The world says that it is okay to have sex outside of marriage. God says it's not. If pornography is the issue, quit "climbing on the roof of your house."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pray with shameless audacity

I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬
I was reading this verse last week and wondered if I really believed this? If so, do I pray with "shameless audacity?"
I love that this verse says that when I ask God for something, "He will surely get up and give me as much as I need." What I NEED.
Every Monday, I pray for my small group that I love.❤️I was visiting with a member of the class last night and I was telling her how I divide my days into specific prayer needs. For example, Monday is set aside specific for this class. Tuesday is set aside for our Compassion kids that we sponsor and my Mississippi family. Wednesday is for our sons and their families and so on.
She remarked that it sounded like I was not praying for myself. I assured her that me, me, me is at the top of my prayer list most days! However, I want my prayer list to be so much more than me.
Another thought about prayer. If I ask you about your prayer life, I would ask you specifically, "When do you pray?" Like when is it marked on your calendar each day to spend time in prayer? If you struggle to come up with a time, maybe begin to put a specific time for prayer each day. Obviously, pray more than that time but have a specific time carved into your day and pray with "shameless audacity!"
Our prayer life tells us so much about what we believe about God. I am not asking Mark for what I need. He is a great guy but he simply does not have the ability and wisdom and money and generosity to give me "what I need." But God does. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. His wisdom trumps all wisdom. His strength is unsurpassed. Let's pray like we believe that.

Wait for the best

Remember, most temptations are a shortcut that Satan wants you to take. ~Johnny Hunt
I read this quote this morning. Every time we make a lessor choice, it is because we take the easy way out. I often do that with food. I come home from work and I am starving, absolutely starving. But instead of waiting for a healthy dinner, I eat one snack and then another snack and then one more snack. By the time dinner rolls around, the healthy choice does not even look so good because I am filled with the lessor choices.
Think about areas of your life when you took the "shortcut." You did not want to wait for the best. And to top it all off, Satan condemns you and tells you how pitiful you are after you make that choice! Jesus said that "he did not come to condemn but to give us an abundant life." When you are condemned, that is not the voice of the Heavenly Father. Even though you made the wrong choice, he will not condemn but the Holy Spirit will gently convict you that you made the wrong choice. That is the voice of the Father.
Be intentional today to take the path, even though painful, to abundant life. If it's a shortcut, steer clear.

Do you fear the person getting more likes?

“The Lord was with David, so he was successful in everything. Saul saw how successful David was and became even more afraid of him. But all the people in Israel and Judah loved David because he was out among them and led them into battle.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭18:14-16‬ ‭ERV‬‬
Saul was the appointed king of Israel. And yet David was becoming more and more the people's choice. It is the equivalent of David getting a 100 times more "likes" than Saul ever dreamed of. I can see this happening in every walk of life.
In my job, there are always going to be people that are more "highly favored." There are teachers at my school that are more talented and more incredible. I really teach at a school where almost every teacher is pretty amazing. However, I have set my mind against needing the accolades and attention at my school. I know that it is a slippery slope to try to be teacher of the year for my sake and my glory. I only desire the Lord's attention and affirmation. But trust me, you have to set your heart to do this.
In the Facebook and Instagram world, there are countless online businesses that are competing for the limited amount of dollars. A precious friend of mine, Michelle Myers is the owner of a three wildly successful online businesses. I can't count the number of times, I have read her posts and they point every single reader to the Lord. But she has purposed in her mind that she is not trying to gain the love of the people. She is trying to gain the attention of one person and Him alone. A long time ago, she decided that she would not "fear" the person that is getting more likes.
In families and friend groups, we "fear" that person that is doing better and getting more attention. What a dangerous thing that the enemy pulls you into to. If you don't get a grip, look where it leads...
“But Saul threw his spear at Jonathan and tried to kill him. So Jonathan knew that his father wanted very much to kill David.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭20:33‬ ‭ERV‬‬
In whatever area of your life, if you see a tendency to be jealous of another person because they are more well liked and are getting the fame that you so desperately crave, draw a line in the sand today.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-5‬ ‭ERV‬‬

Love your enemy today

““I’m telling you to love your enemies and do good to them. Lend to people without expecting to get anything back. If you do this, you will have a great reward. You will be children of the Most High God. Yes, because God is good even to the people who are full of sin and not thankful. Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:35-36‬ ‭ERV‬‬
If you happen to like rewards, love your enemy really good to them. Lend to someone who cannot pay you back. Yes, this is the opposite of the world's way but "do not conform to the world."
If you wonder how much to love your enemy and bless your enemy, consider what God did for you. God gave his Son for you and for me when we were His enemies.
Intentionally, find someone today that you can't stand and think of a way to bless them. Pray for them. You will start looking a lot more like Christ-which is the whole idea, right?

How to get rest for our weary souls

“God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭ERV‬‬
My dream come true would be for someone to say that I am kind, humble, gentle and patient. I think that many times my qualities are confrontative, know-it-all, impatient(because I'm always in a hurry) and just plain opposite of those qualities. And you know what...I better not say that "this is just the way I am" and wear it like a badge. This is not an option in my life and in your life. It is spoken as a command and not a suggestion.
More than a command, it is wisdom. Listen to what Jesus said about these qualities.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Learn from Him. Jesus is gentle and humble and "You will find rest for your soul." Did you hear that? When we read the verse, we really want the first part about rest for our weary souls. We want to get rid of our yoke. But the second part holds the secret to accomplishing this. Learn from Christ. Allow God to make you more Christ-like. When we are gentle and lowly in our hearts, then and only then will we find rest for our souls.