|My son Matthew said once: “God is very creative.”
The other day one of my sons said “Mom, you know how you say that you accept us no matter what. But then you turn around and say you want me to marry a Christian girl, well that sounds like you are contradicting yourself.” This really made me think. I have reconciled this kind of thinking with the idea no we can’t control people, but that we all have the right to say what we like and what we don’t like, i.e., set boundaries for what behavior we will accept and what behavior we won’t accept. In my classes, I encourage people to set boundaries and tell them that setting a boundary makes the other person to make a choice. Traffic signs do that to us every day….that is they make us choose.
But people fight it when we set boundaries, they accuse us of wanting to control them, when in reality they are (perhaps unknowingly) trying to get us to move our boundary to where they would like it. Inspite of knowing this, my son’s comment made me uncomfortable because unlike some people saying no is not easy for me – I have had to work at it.
Anyway, I loved the content of the seminar “Christian Decision Making” I found on Growing Christians Ministries that I made a power point slide presentation and how it relates it to God’s boundaries and to our decision making.
The heart that receives the word of God is like a stream! Fed by unfailing springs, whose cool sparkling waters leap from rock to rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the and heavy-laden. It is like a river constantly flowing and, as it advances, becoming deeper and wider, until its life-giving waters are spread over all the earth. The spring that goes singing on its way leaves behind its gift of verdure and fruitfulness. The grass on its banks is a fresher green, the trees have a richer verdure, the flowers are more abundant. When the earth lies bare and brown under the summer’s scorching heat, a line of verdure marks the river’s course. Source: Prophets and Kings Pg 234 – I got to see this river in Chiapas in May, it’s BEAUTIFUL!!! It’s 60 miles southeast from San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
My Insights from Psalms 100, 101, 102 and I Corinthians 1
I came across something I wrote a while back. It’s a prayer. It’s basically Psalms 21, so I should say I came across something I paraphrased. When I “wrote” it, I thought…wow…what a beautiful prayer to pray for someone. Today I would like to ask for you to pray for me…with that prayer. Here it is:
May God respond to your cry.
May He keep you safe from all harm.
May He send you help.
May He remember all your offerings and gifts favorably.
May He grant your heart’s desire.
May He fulfill all your plans.
May He answer all your prayers.
May we celebrate together!
Who does the Bible say we are?
|Psalm 100:3 (New Living Translation) 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.||To know who we are, we need to know who God is. God is our Creator!!!AND……we belong to Him!!!|
|Genesis 1:26-27 (New Living Translation)26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[a] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings[b] in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
|God created us in HIS image.What does it mean to have been created in His image? God knows how to accept compliments, i.e., praises.|
|Revelation 4:11 (New Living Translation)11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”||God created ALL things.|
|Acts 17:24-25 (New Living Translation)24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.||In fact, God is the Creator of EVERYTHING on heaven and earth and because of Him there is life.|
|Remember who you are! As Christians we have every reason to celebrate the value God places on us.|
|Matthew 22:39 (New Living Translation)39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.||We are to love ourselves?!!!Yes, in fact, I would say we are to love everyone unconditionally – the way God loves us – AND….I would also venture to say we deserve to be loved unconditionally, by ourselves and by those around us. God loves us unconditionally….he accepts us just as we are….faults and all….and I think we should teach our kids that they deserve to be loved just like they are…(see the story of the Two Pots*).|
Click here to read the rest of my insights on Self-Esteem (it was too long to put the whole thing here)
I had never ever realized that I was actually living in fear.
Mark 5: 23 And begged Him earnestly, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live.
I decided to look for “feelings” today in this chapter and by far, the most common feeling was fear…it made me think about when I realized I was living in fear. I had never ever realized that I was actually living in fear. I grew up with so much fear being expressed around me that I didn’t even recognize it and I was 35 by then! What a draining feeling…and way to live.
Anyway, so in this chapter, the people who lived in that town must have lived in fear of the demon possessed man who ran around naked and shrieking.
The next time I see fear in this chapter is when the demon possessed man sees Jesus coming toward him and says, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” It’s almost like…why are you messing with me? I think it’s interesting that he feared Jesus, because if He didn’t think Jesus had power to do anything, he wouldn’t have feared him. It’s weird that they were specifically afraid of being sent “away out of the region”. They begged Him to send them to the hogs, “that we may go into them”! Again, makes me wonder what their other alternative would have been, why were they so afraid?
I’m not sure if the next group of people (hog feeders) was feeling fear, but it says they ran away. I think it was more shock and amazement and they ran away to tell the town people.
Next, it specifically says the town people were “alarmed and struck with fear” when they saw the previously possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind and they begged Jesus to leave their town.
Ok, enough fear. The next feeling is gratefulness. The previously possessed man was so grateful he wanted to stay with Jesus…but Jesus told him to go and share his story. (Can’t help but think that’s exactly what each of us can do.)
The next story, is the one which caught my attention. Jairus, whose little daughter was “at the point of death” expressed no fear. The feelings I see are humbleness and confident. Smile.
Mark 5: 23 And begged Him earnestly, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live.
I like myself….I like myself…I life myself
According to Wikipedia the Great Commandment is found in the following two places:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39
The incredible thing to me was that my whole life I had only seen the first three words, and one day, I had an “aha!” moment. All of a sudden, the last two words jumped out at me;I now had “permission” to love myself. And I took it a step further, I decided it wasn’t optional, it was, after all, the Great Commandment.
A while back I watched a video called The Foundations of Self Esteem by Brian Tracy which says our goals are directly related to how much we like ourselves. (I included the link because I think it’s worth your 3 or 4 minutes.) I have used the suggestion quite effectively which is to say: “I like myself” over and over again. The first day I tried it I was amazed at the change in my behavior. It was 2 hours before I had to be at an appointment which was 35 minutes away and I found myself thinking: “I like myself when I’m on time, I think I’ll leave now.” I couldn’t even believe I was thinking that! It was expanded to all kinds of things including:
- I like myself when I exercise
- I like myself when I use my time wisely
- I like myself when I check things off my To Do list
- I like myself when I do the right thing
And all this from standing in front of the mirror and looking like a fool repeating “I like myself….I LIKE myself…I like MYSELF….”I” like myself…etc…etc…I figured if we are commanded to love ourselves, I could start with liking myself. 🙂
You should try it! You should also teach it to your kids!
I’d love to hear what came to your mind.
I read Proverbs 6: 12-17 this morning, in my parenting world, this would sound like this:
Ok, these are things that I do not want you to do. They include:
- going around being willful and antagonistic
- being dishonest and misleading people intentionally ( to get your way)
- cheating on things that are not necessarily out in the open
- talking about your friends about your friends to “divide and conquer” – maybe even making up things so they don’t like each other
It’s just that I really hate certain things…like:
- “a proud look” especially when overestimating yourself and underestimating others
- “a lying tongue”
- “hands that shed innocent blood”
- “a heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans”
- “feet that are swift in running to evil”
- “A false witness who breathes out lies even under oath”
- “he who sows discord among his brothers”
Got it? These are things I do not want you to do. And this is so important that we need to set up a consequence* to help you remember not to do these things. So, if you do the above…the consequence is going to be the following: you will get a sudden blow and experience such awful misfortune/calamity that there will be no way to “fix” it.
Laura’s comment: Notice it didn’t say, I hate proud people, or liars, it says I hate the behavior…
*Effective consequence components:
- negotiate if possible on what it’ll be,
- agree on it in advance, i.e., make a deal
- has to be harsh, i.e., something the person does not want, something they want to avoid at all costs
- embarrassing consequences are the ones that work for teenage and older (including adults)Benefits of using consequences: makes people think, forces them to make a choice, give them practice in making decisions.
If God loves you, you must be worth loving.
If God loves you, you must be worth loving. This is what I think God would say: Yes, I want you to love yourself…which also means I want you to like yourself…you are my creation….I designed you just the way I wanted you…I made you! And I don’t make mistakes! You are special…one of a kind! I love you!! I love the way you look….and I love the way you are! I love you………….
That also means I want to give you everything I have…that means I want to give you gifts…I want you to have the best…
That means I want you to love me back…that means I want to be with you…that means I want to hear from you…
That means I don’t want you to suffer…I want to teach you what I know….I want you to learn what I think you need to learn from the lessons I send you…I want you to look up to me…I want you to aspire to be like me…I want you to be like me! I want you to be a giver like me…I want you to love your brothers and sisters…I want you to help me care for them..I want you guys to like each other…to protect each other…
And yes, that means I want you to love yourself too! I want you to take care of yourself…I want you to get enough rest…I want you to exercise your body…it needs it…I want you to have fun! I want you to look great…I want you to be an inspiration to those around you…I want you to be happy!
Ephesians 2:9 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
For you are God’s handiwork – that sounds so nice… He designed you…he gave you all the characteristics he thought would go good with you. I think he said…I think I’ll make her a laugher and I think I’ll give her this laugh…She’ll make those around her happy just with her laugh…I think I’ll also make her a helper…I know that will make her so happy….(this is who I am) Let’s see I’ll also make her smart…very smart…oh and yes, pretty. To match that beautiful smile…I’ll also make her a lover…she’ll love people…and they’ll love her back…I’ll also make her a reader…she’ll love to read. And I’ll make her visual…oh! And an adventurer….nothing will make her more happy than seeing new things…I’ll also make her a cuddler…she’ll love to be hugged by her loved ones…I’ll also make her a little stubborn, but hopefully she learns to use it in a good way and it makes her determined.
Created in Christ Jesus to do good works…which God prepared in advance for me to do – so he has a plan. He made me the way I am so that I can accomplish the work/mission he wants me to accomplish.
“he did not respond to the kindness shown to him”
Not responding to the kindness someone shows you is a sin? Yep…it’s pride. Gosh, this is very deep…we’re not even talking about gratefulness…we’re talking about not responding? Is there a difference? YES. When we are grateful our reaction is profound. This is not saying he was not grateful, he didn’t even respond. And yes, sometimes, we don’t even respond…unfathomable as it may seem….and yes…it’s because of pride. Talk about the ugliness of sin.
“then he repented of the pride of his heart”
2 Chronicles 32
The Wedding Robe – Matthew 22
oh my……the wedding parable…
So first…the king invited all his friends and none of them come…talk about a slap in the face…So all the preparations were made with his friends in mind…that is who he intended to share his joy with, but those people didn’t show up…none of them….the Jews…us….
Such an honor to be chosen and we don’t want to bother to show up…to enjoy the great feast he prepared for us…unreal…
such a slap in the face to him…”nope…we’re busy….”
Actually it was worse….much worse….they “laughed and went on about their business….and others beat up his messengers and treated them shamefully…even killing some of them”!!
That’s crazy…for inviting them…and worse for bring the messengers…
Yep…that’s what we do…we continue to go on about our business….laughing and totally brushing it off.
Instead of doing what people do when they are planning to go to an important wedding…they start shopping for special clothes…they start saving to buy a gift….
And so then…he tells the messengers to go out and bring whoever they can find…anyone and everyone…so he totally opens it up to anyone….so anyone and everyone is welcome…
but since the people he invited were poor and even beggars, he provided a wedding robe for them….can you imagine…he even cared about how they looked! He wanted them to look nice…to feel like they fit in! To feel beautiful….accepted…
Strengthen your resolve to make the right choice…do this and you will never stumble or fall away.
Good will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter.
RE: False Teachers – in their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. – they have wandered off the right road – they love earning by doing wrong – are as useless as dried up springs – promising much and delivering nothing – brag about themselves – they lure people back into sin, promise freedom, but they are slaves to sin
You are a slave to whatever controls you.
Beware of scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire
They forget God created everything
Stand by Me
The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength (2 Tim 4:17, 18). This makes me think of two things. First, I need God by my side because I need strength.
Second, it makes me think how important it is to be by people’s sides, especially by our kids’ side. It makes me think of the time my 17 year old son thanked me for my presence. He sat down at the kitchen table to do his homework. I asked him if he needed any help. He said “no”, so I proceeded to go to my room with my laptop, but stopped in my tracks and made a U-turn when I heard him say, “but you can sit here”. I sat there at the table with him, working on my laptop while he worked on his homework. When he finished, he said, “Thanks mom…for sitting here.” I cannot even tell you how blown away I was by his comment. I had done nothing. I just sat there.
Parents sometimes feel bad because they are not able to help their kids with their homework. Get over it. Believe me, even if you majored in Math, you wouldn’t be able to help your kids with their math homework, because now they do it differently. And if you tried, you would end up getting into an argument with your kid about “how” to do it. Not that I majored in Math or anything, but yes, been there, done that. I couldn’t even help them by “checking” it for them because that too caused problems. I finally got smart and made them check it with a calculator. This avoided me telling them something was wrong, and they could then figure out how to fix it. Plus….this way, they always got 100% on their math homework!
I have a family holiday, do you?
Praise God / Give thanks to the Lord…to Him who:
- alone does great wonders
- by his understanding made the heavens
- spread out the earth upon the waters
- made the great lights – the sun to govern the day and the moon and stars to govern the night
- struck down the firstborn of Egypt
- brought israel out from among them
- divided the Red Sea and brought Israel through it and swept their enemies into the Read Sea
- led his people through the desert
- struck down great kings
- killed mighty kings and then gave their land as an inheritance to his people – Israel
- remembered us in our low estate and freed us from our enemies
- gives food to every creature
- is the God of heaven!
What has God done in your life? What are your milestones? God gave me an incredibly good job and boy did I need it…..I am so grateful, I created our own family holiday…a day to remember and to celebrate what God did for us. 🙂
What is God like?
- He forgives…no matter what
- He doesn’t bring up the past
- He is positive – always hoping for the best in us…sees us as we could be
- He’s hopeful constantly
- He’s doesn’t accuse/blame us
- He’s extra kind when we’re going through problems – he gets closer – he draws near to the broken hearted
- He always answers us
- He listens
- He never misses an opportunity to train us
- He doesn’t get tired of us
- He doesn’t get annoyed with us
- He’s oh so tender and gentle with us
Define ‘look after my sheep’
Jesus did not say to make converts to you’re way of thinking…he said ‘look after my sheep’…but he didn’t stop there. He added ‘to see that they are nourished in the knowledge of Him’
So..does that mean that to help people know Jesus, know about Jesus is considered looking after his sheep?
When I first read this, I thought it said Jesus does not say to make converts…period.
I am perfect….just the way God made me….
You know everything about me….. Ps 139
you have searched me and you know me.
you know everything I do..when I rest, when I get up, where I go you know how I am you even know what I am going to say before I say it…(which means I don’t have to be afraid of you finding something about me and then not liking me) you go before me and behind me…”hemming in”…guarding me from all directions I can’t even fathom you caring so much
there is no where I can go that you don’t also go and are ready there with your hand to guide me.. “your right hand will hold me fast” – you have a firm hold on me / I can trust you to hold me, to sustain me, to not drop me, I can relax….
you know all this because you made me…you formed me in my mother’s womb and for that… I praise you… I praise you because I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” “I know that full well”
you formed me…and You do NOT make mistakes (smile)
“Search me, Oh God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”
What does it mean to “honor” God?
Psalms 50:23 He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me.
Have you ever wondered how we can honor God? What does it even mean to honor someone? When I think of someone getting honored I think of someone getting recognition, like at a graduation.
Well, this verse to me says that when we show our gratefulness to God, we are honoring him. So…the answer to how to honor God is by showing our gratefulness?
I Like This….
DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES GOD GLAD AND NEVER DO ANYTHING TO MAKE HIM SAD
Psalms 46 – Laura’s Version
God is my refuge and strength….
And always ready to help in times of trouble.
Because I know that….I will not fear when earthquakes come and when the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam!
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Bring it on!
A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most high. God dwells in that city…it can’t be destroyed.
From the very break of day, God will protect…..and since I am going to open the door of my heart today and God is going to come in and dwell in my heart….God will protect me too!!!
The nations are in chaos; their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders and the earth melts.
Hello…..The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us..
The God of Israel is our fortress……. (it would take hours to think about how God took care of his people)
Come….let’s take a look at what God has done.
See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear.
He burns the shields of fire..
He can do all that….and more….
“Be still and know that I am God”, he says.
Stop spinning your wheels…stop worrying…calm down…breathe…think instead on what you just read….believe that I can do anything….believe that I love you….believe that all you have to do is let me in….believe that I will protect you from anything and everything…if you still don’t believe….ask me for faith…it’s a gift I can give you J
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us…the God of Israel is our fortress.
|Then comes the promise……Behold I stand at the door and knock..,if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me.||He’s right outside the door….knocking!!!!If we hear him….andIf we open the door….He will come in and sit and have dinner with us…. (eating together is fun….relaxing…laughing…talking….)|
Let Your Light Shine
“Let your light shine….” Matthew 5:16
It does not say, strive to shine, it says let your light shine. Implicit in that is the idea that you already have everything you need to let your light shine. That means…don’t be shy and try to cover it up. That means be who you are. That means there is a source of heat. And because of how light works…it means you also have no idea how far reaching your light will be….which means if you don’t obstruct it, you have no idea what the range of your influence is.
Example of a Prayer – Daniel’s Prayer
I love looking at the great prayers in the Bible and I think Daniel’s prayer is one of those. Here’s what I learned and/or what “jumped” out at me:
First, we are told how he prepared to pray…with fasting and with confession,
It States God is merciful and loving toward those who love him and who show it by keeping his commandments…
He then acknowledges “our: great sins…(interesting that he includes himself). He says we deserve confusion and shame….(but he doesn’t stop there)…
We have dealt perversely…We have done wickedly…We have rebelled…We have not obeyed..All of us…
We have turned aside from his commandments… Didn’t listen to the prophets…God followed through with the consequences for our behavior…And we have not even begged God for forgiveness.
But, today we acknowledge God…the mighty God who delivered the Israelites…we acknowledge that we have sinned…we have been oh so wicked.
And I’m calling out to you now…and am begging you to turn your anger and wrath away from me and my family…
Hear me Oh God…not because of what I ask, and not because we merit anything but because of how you are..loving and merciful…that’s who you are…you can’t help it.
Look At The Trees
I went for a hike yesterday….it had been soo long, too long since I went on a hike and today…I woke up thinking about trees!
3 They (the ones who delight in the law of the Lord) are like trees planted along the riverbank (who have everything they need), bearing fruit each season….(being productive); their leaves never wither (like evergreens…my favorite), and they prosper in all they do.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted (like a tree….which withstands storms better than buildings do) and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
…continue to live your lives in him, 7 rootedand built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (getting your strengths from your roots and being grateful you have everything you need)
Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.
When we are rooted we know we have everything we need and there will be no room for jealousy of what others have. We will be rooted in God’s love and will gladly follow his instructions and guidance. We will know the source of our strength, we will be grateful we have everything we need and everything we do will prosper. That’s what Psalms 1:3 says and I choose to claim it.