person

Honor All People

A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house. [Mark 6:4]

Knowledge to Build On:  The key word in the scripture is honor.  Jesus’ hometown folks didn’t treat Him as valuable.  Instead, they saw one of their own; just an ordinary local man from Nazareth.  Therefore, there was nothing notable that occurred in Nazareth.  Think of it.  Jesus - -the Son of God, is sent to heal the sick and all who were oppressed of the devil; but He cannot fulfill this commission, not because it wasn’t God’s will, but because they restricted Him by withholding honor.

What does  “honor” mean?  The Greek word for honor is time. (tee-mee)  When you speak of the word time to a Greek man, he thinks of something valuable, precious, weighty, such as gold.

Life in the Now:  Has there ever been anyone in your life that you didn’t think deserved to be honored?  Perhaps it was your parents, husband or wife, boss, or a church leader.

1 Peter 2:17 makes a point of saying that we are to “honor all people.”  Surely, Peter can’t mean rude and obnoxious people, not to mention those who are outright wrong in their beliefs and attitudes.  Why, I had a long list of those kind of people on my “do not honor list.”

But, something begin to gnaw on my conscious that told me I needed to make a change in my attitude. After much prayer and studying on the word Honor,” I came to the conclusion that:

  1. I didn’t reach perfectionism before God accepted me unconditionally.
  2. “You can honor the person without honoring the behavior.” Behavior may, indeed, be wrong, but honor and value should be released to each person who Jesus valued so much that He shed His blood for on The Cross.

Think about it:  Do you suppose we must first get a glimpse of Jesus’ finished work on The Cross for all men before we can begin to walk in true honor to those we think are undeserving?

Prayer:  Father God, I ask you in the name of your son Jesus, to forgive me of those times I have withheld honor from anyone.  Help me to honor them as a precious stone of gold that You created and for whom You made the ultimate sacrifice.

Mood Lighting

Recently we were going to have a rather large get together in our home and I was a bit worried about how some of the guests would get along. Since the event was at our home I felt a little bold and resolved that since it was at my home it was up to me to set the mood. I was determined that as much as it was up to me I would include everyone. I wanted a spirit of unity among all of these beautiful people that I love so much. Thankfully that is how the night went. Something shifted in my thinking after that. The lighting of a room can set the mood, but the light in the room can shift the atmosphere. Two scriptures come to mind for me

Romans 8

12Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

Eph 6

12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

None of us has the ability to control another person but we do have the choice of what we will agree with. I want what I bring into every situation to be in agreement with what God is wanting me to do. Without a doubt His heart for me is to show His love, His compassion, His grace and mercy. When I bring that atmosphere with me into any situation it can only brighten things up.

This new way of thinking has allowed me to really take notice of whats going on around me. If the mood is yuck I want to shine the opposite in the room. Bringing hope to the hopeless, comfort to the hurting, peace to the weary. The last thing I want to do is go into a room full of worry and agree with it. No I acknowledge it's there and consciously choose not to agree with it but ask God what He wants shining in the middle of it.  I only want to partner with what He is wanting to do not add to any negative mood that's there.

 

Do you find yourself taking on negative attitudes easily?

Consider asking God about those ideas before adopting them as your own.

 

God,

Thank you for your wisdom in this area.

Amen

 

 

Grocery Store Grumble

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." Colossians 3:13.

The grocery store. The place where we pick up daily necessities like bread and milk.

However, it can also be a place to pick up offenses. What? You've never left the store angry because someone ran their buggy into your heels, or the person in line ahead of you leaves mid-transaction to go get something else?

Supermarkets can be the devil's stomping ground disguised by rollback prices, taste testers, and tabloids.

Recently, I found myself leaving the grocery store incredibly offended and downright angry at the remarks that not one, but two snippy women had made to me.

As I fought the urge to give them a piece of my Un-Christian-like mind, the Lord reminded me of what He once said to the Father...not after someone took the last package of cookies on the shelf, but after being tortured and nailed to a cross. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I left the grocery store and for days wrestled with the dirty looks and remarks the women made. Needless to say, I finally got over it.

If this is how long it can take any one of us to forgive someone for something so petty, would we have the grace to do the same for someone who beat us, whipped us, and then nailed us to a tree?

If we can't even bestow grace amid the aisles of produce and packaged goods, how are we being Christ- like?

Dad, I'm not even going to lie. Some people just frustrate me. To be really honest, some people hurt and offend me. Help me to not be easily offended, but instead bestow grace upon those who I don't feel like bestowing grace to. Grow my love for those I enjoy doing life with and even more for those that make it difficult. Teach me to forgive. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Genesis 4:7 Matthew 18:21-22

Love is a Choice, not a Feeling

Take a stroll with me into the life of a busy woman.

  • It's 6 A.M. The alarm clock goes off. Do you feel like getting out of bed?
  • It's 7:30 A.M. Do you feel like going to work in all that rush hour traffic?
  • It's 5 P.M. You've had a hard day at work. Do you feel like coming home and preparing a meal for your family?
  • It's 9 o'clock P.M. Your child says: "Mommy, I need you to bake 2 dozen cookies for the bake sale at school tomorrow." Do you feel like baking at 9 o'clock at night?

If you're like me, you answered "no" to each of those questions. I think we all agree that we have to do a lot of things we really don't feel like doing. There's one more "feeling" question that I'd like to ask you. It's plagued my mind lately.

Do you feel like loving that person that is so unlovable?

I confess that I find it easier to work from 9-5 and bake cookies late at night than to love someone that just rubs me the wrong way. You know the kind of person I'm talking about. They're loud, they talk too much, and they're sort of rude and down right obnoxious.

Recently, as I was pondering my feelings about how to love those kinds of people, I was brought back to an old hymn of the church that describes that fateful but victorious day in the life of Jesus. As you read these short verses, try to picture the scene in your mind as it's happening.

They bound the hands of Jesus in the Garden where He prayed.

They led Him through the streets in shame.

They spat upon the Savior so pure and free from sin.

They said, "Crucify Him, He's to blame."

Upon his precious head they placed a crown of thorns.

They laughed and said, "Behold the King!"

They struck Him and they cursed Him and mocked His holy name. All alone, He suffered everything.

Whey they nailed Him to the cross, His mother stood nearby as He said, "Woman, behold they son!"

He cried, "I thirst for water," but they gave Him none to drink. Then the sinful work of man was done.

To the howling mob He yielded; He did not for mercy cry. The cross of shame He took alone.

And when He cried, "It's finished," He gave Himself to die. Salvation's wondrous plan was done. He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free. He could have called ten thousand angels, But He died alone, for you and me.

Aren't you glad that He said "NO" to his feelings that day and

didn't call angels to save Him. But He chose to love us just the way we are.

Serious Business

We've become too busy. It's tragic, really. We rush from place to place, make coffee dates in what little spare time we have, and find new ways to fill our time just in case we're not being productive enough. I know I've been guilty of this. When people ask how we're doing, "I'm just so busy."  I feel like one thing I didn't realize well enough while I was in school and running around like a crazy person was that I needed to make time for the things that actually made me happy. Charles Eames once wrote, "Take your pleasures seriously." And Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 says, "I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?"  We have to take our pleasures seriously, because they are actually gifts from God Himself.

My mother is a perfect example of this. When I was a young girl, she was a single parent living in a new city taking care of my sister and I. No matter how hard things were or how tight bills became, she always found a way to get her nails done. Not in an "I-don't-care-if-my-electricity-gets-cut" way, but in an "I-work-hard-and-this-is-one-thing-I-do-for-myself" way. For whatever reason, shiny red nails made her feel strong and happy. Of course, she could have written them off as a waste of money. But I think she understood that all the things she had to do depended on her feeling strong and happy. I think we could all use a little more strong and happy, couldn't we?

No matter how busy you get or how many people ask you out to coffee, make time to do the things that make you happy. One thing that makes me happy is traveling. My husband was raised differently and traveling wasn't really a top priority for him, but as we've been married, he's learned that it's something I need. So, we make it a priority. I've met mothers who make working out a priority because it's their "me" time. Maybe you enjoy a good book or movie but never find time for them.  Whatever those things are that let you breathe deeply and that you take pleasure in, make sure you're doing them! Because while the world does need you, it needs a strong and happy you!

Dinner For One - The Ultimate Guest

Getting ready for a dinner party can be quite exhausting at times even for the hostess with the mostess.  Planning the menu from appetizers to dessert, drinks, entertainment, and of course, the table setting that always acts as your center piece is quite a check lists before your guests arrive.  But sometimes, dinner for just one special person can be even more of a stressor simply because that one is so important they’re the only one on the guest list. As a single girl, there were many time my ‘plus one’ for dinner was just simply My Heavenly Father; lots of times it wasn’t even by choice.  Whether it was dinner or breakfast, I soon realized those one-one-one dates not only became the best dates ever, but were used as a tool to show me how a real man should wine & dine me.  God, who is the ultimate gentlemen in every way, spoke to my heart lovingly showing me how valuable I was and always pulled out the chair for me (in a matter of speaking)!  His conversations were intriguing, he listened intently without having one eye on the television and He never forgot what I had told him.  I quickly learned to look forward to our dinner dates and always gave my best to Him.

During those sweet dinners with that special one, He molded me into a wife that was worth finding, too, as I learned to respect Him, love Him, submit to Him and obey His word.  It wasn’t all about my needs after all; it was about the journey to Him and Him shaping me into the Woman He had and has created me to be.  I can’t imagine where I would be without those special dates with that one very special guest where I learned so much about life and His plan for mine.

Even today, I still have those one-on-ones, but they look more like early morning coffee dates.  And even though they’re still sweet, tender moments, nothing will ever compare to the moments when there were no other distractions that only singleness provides.  No matter what the circumstance though, having Jesus as your own personal ‘plus one’ is ultimately the best date you will ever have!  Simply stated, He is the best Dinner for One you will ever plan for!

 

More Reading:

For more on single living, order Heather’s book, “Now, While You Are Single” by emailing created@createdwoman.net.

Facebook and Text Messages - A New Way of Communicating

In this way aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.[Romans 14:19 TLNT]

Knowledge to Build On In the 14th chapter of Romans, Paul is addressing a group of believers about the division that is apparent among them.  He admonishes them to just be fully persuaded in their own minds what they believe, follow after peace, and build one another up. Life in the Now Facebook and text messages - - - is this the new norm for communicating?  It sometimes appears as though face to face communication has gone by the wayside, which is so vital for relationships.  Ever wonder what God thinks about all of these hi-tech ways of communicating?

Allow me to share a personal experience as food for thought.   I was receiving a face to face critique about my attitude.  This person got straight to the point by saying:  “With your attitude, you should not even be teaching Bible courses!”  Ouch!!  Admittedly, there are times I certainly have need of an attitude adjustment.  But, for this person to declare that I shouldn’t be teaching God’s Word hurt profusely!  Honestly, thoughts were running through my mind that their words would cause a division between us permanently!

As I continued to listen to their analysis as to why I shouldn’t be teaching, my cell phone beeped alerting me to a text message. I quickly opened my mail, and read:  Have a good day, TEACHER GAL!”

OMG!  LOL!  I was being called Teacher Gal right there on my keypad.  “Thaxs, God. U R high tech, too,” as I chuckled to myself with this on-time instant message.  From that moment on, the face to face encounter I was currently receiving did not matter anymore.  God had nudged someone special to send me a word of encouragement, and she had obeyed.

Think About It Has God nudged you to send an encouraging word to someone and you pushed it aside for “lack of time?”  Why not text, rather than waiting to buy a card, or writing a long letter, which are, indeed, very meaningful.  However, it’s sometimes those quick “on-time” moments that are also needed.

Prayer Lord, thank you for the people you have sent into my life to exhort and build me up.   May I, too, always be willing and ready to build up others in their time of trouble, as well as in the things you have called them to do.

More of the Truth Genesis 37:35 11 Corinthians 1:3-4

Paying it Forward

This is Just a Season” was read by over 2,000 viewers on CREATED WOMAN this past year.  It was the story of forty-year-old Jenny Stark from Orange, Texas, and her journey with breast cancer.  Jenny’s courage to embrace breast cancer,  her desire to help others traveling down the same road, and her faith was truly a class act. Knowing that Jenny was going to have reconstructive surgery within a few months after that story, I wanted to do a follow-up article on her.  Discussing this with her, she told me that her surgery, called a TRAM-FLAP, was scheduled for October 10, 2011.  I suggested that we wait until after the surgery to let viewers know how she was doing.

Immediately, she replied:  “No, I don’t want this article to be about me and my surgery.”  “I want it to be about  Paying it Forward.”  “Paying it forward?”  I asked.  “Yes!”  “The knowledge I have learned through my own trials, equipped me in helping someone else through theirs.”  “It’s like passing the baton,” Jenny explained.

And so it was- - - this is where I picked up on Jenny’s story from last year of how Jenny went about Paying it Forward to a friend and former co-worker at the bank where Jenny had once been employed.

Like most women when they first hear the news from their local doctor that they have cancer, Jenny’s friend was shocked and afraid to proceed to the next step.  The next step called for her traveling two hours away from her home in Orange to M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, for more tests.  “I will go with you,” Jenny told her friend.

When she received word from her doctor that she would need Chemotherapy, Jenny went with her on her first treatment.  When she was given a Saturday appointment for a CT scan, Jenny volunteered to drive her.  When it came time to get the results of that test, her friend was too scared to receive the news herself over the phone.  Jenny placed the call with her to get the results one way or the other, so she wouldn’t have to wait the entire weekend with no results.

Jenny went so far as to fill in for her friend at the bank on a part time basis in her absence.  She wanted to relieve her of the worries or concerns that she may have, so she could totally focus on getting better.

Jenny emphasized the importance of making yourself available for the FIRST OF EVERYTHING to the one who has been diagnosed with cancer.”  “It’s not so much that you have to attach yourself permanently to that person,” Jenny explained.  “It’s a matter of being willing to be a servant, to be there for that person, whether it’s driving them to their  appointments, or just answering their questions.”  “In short, make yourself available to do everything that is in your power for them in their time of need.”

Jenny also introduced her friend to the  “Do and Don’t list when faced with cancer, as she had detailed in This is Just a Season. (linked above) Jenny very emphatically reiterates two that she feels strongly about:

1.  Don’t get on the internet when your doctor confirms that you have cancer.  Everyone’s breast cancer is unique; what you find on the internet may not apply to you.  Besides, it only creates anxiety to find information that might not even apply to your situation. Let your doctor explain to you the steps to be followed according to your specific situation. He will also keep you at the point where you need to be in at the present time.

2.  Do ask God for direction in choosing the right hospital, and follow the doctor’s orders in charge“You see, it works like this,” Jenny explained.  “There is a big difference when faced with making crucial decisions based on our emotions rather than on praying and asking God for directions.”  “As we receive directions from God, He will guide us to the right hospital, as well as the right doctors whom he has given wisdom and skill.”  “God, the hospital, and the doctor work as a team in restoring your health.”

As Jenny and I talked on in general about the storms of life that come to all of us at times, I marveled at her insight and wisdom of how to walk through those storms and not become a victim to them.   “Wow, you are so wise!” I exclaimed.  She laughed and then gave me an illustration, using her hands in a lowered position, then in an upward position.

 “You are never down; you are either up or getting up.”  If you are getting up, you are moving in an upward position.  Picture yourself moving in the direction toward God.  If you are down, you are not moving at all, so always be leaning towards Him or on Him.”

We glanced at our watches and two hours had passed since our conversation had begun.  I could have lingered in her presence another two hours gleaning wisdom from her. We  prayed together for her upcoming reconstructive surgery, and as we were saying our goodbyes, Jenny remarked:  “I had no idea what I was going to say when I met with you today.”  “I had no notes; I just knew I wanted to talk about my friend, and my journey with her this past year.”

My thought was:  Jenny didn’t need any notes.  Her heartfelt message poured out from within of her desire and hope that she had helped her friend.

I personally believe that God is smiling down on Jenny saying:

“You have answered The Discipleship Call.  You have BELIEVED, LIVED, LOVED, MINISTERED, and LEAD your friend through her journey with cancer this past year.”

Well Done!”  “I am pleased with my servant, Jenny.”

“You Paid it Forward!”

Smile Pretty

I think 'cheerfulness' is an underrated characteristic. Women want to be beautiful, intelligent, successful, sassy, et cetera, et cetera. But I rarely hear 'cheerful' at the top of the list. And we always seem to have something in our lives to complain about. When people ask how we are, we can often respond with negativity. "I'm not feeling well."

"I lost my job."

"I'm so annoyed with so-and-so."

"I'm so broke."

"I'm just too busy."

There's always something to gripe about and blame our bad moods on. Now, I don't want to trivialize the things we go through in life. I just want to throw it out there that at times, we get too caught up in our own pity parties. We allow our negativity to drain the energy of those around us. Be honest with yourself. Are there days when conversations seem to become all about you and your frustrations? Are there days when you just don't feel like smiling and being cheerful at all?

Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength."

Recently, I spent the night in the ICU with my sister so she wouldn't be alone when she awoke throughout the night. Before I went to the hospital, my husband said, "Be happy in the room so she stays calm." With all the tubes and machines, it wasn't an easy sight to see. I felt the furthest thing from happy. I was frustrated, worried, and sad at what was happening.  But my husband's words stuck in my head. I knew that the best way I could help the environment was to put my sad face aside and be as cheerful as possible. Which meant smiling big every single time she woke up, making jokes about everything I could, and singing "Happy Birthday" to her in my most horrible voice.

The point is, I didn't feel cheerful. We often don't. But one way to make the world a better place is to simply be cheerful in your interactions with others. Cheerfulness is one trait I've been trying to cultivate within the last couple of years. Everyone has their negative stuff going on, but we really can pour into a person's life just by being cheerful. More often than not, let's show off our smiles and be a light. Let's walk into a room and bring positivity!

Prayer: God, help us to walk with Your joy in our hearts. Even when our troubles drain us, let us bring positivity and cheerfulness into the lives around us. Let us be lights! Amen.

Hot - Cold - Lukewarm

Where does your mind immediately take you when you hear the words hot, cold, or lukewarm?  No doubt, five people would have five different answers.  So that we are all on the same page as we think about these three words, may I suggest that we use them as a means of examining our relationship with God. Come with me to The Church at Laodicea where God had sent the Apostle John to address the Christians.  I know you well - -you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit (spew) you out of my mouth!” [Rev. 3:15-16]

Whoa—back up!  Let me read that again!  “I wish you were hot or cold, but if you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.” I don’t know about you, but that word lukewarm grabbed my attention.  Why, that’s the same thing I do to a mouth full of lukewarm coffee!  It is so disgusting to me that I immediately spit it out of my mouth!  Would God really do that to me if I were a lukewarm Christian?

Questions buzzed around in my brain.  What precisely does lukewarm mean?  A quick Goggle search yielded this definition as it pertained to a person’s attitude or action:  UNENTHUSIASTIC.

My next buzz questions was:  What caused The Church of Lacodicea to become unenthusiastic that produced a lukewarm attitude in regards to their relationship with God?  I believe we find the answer in verse 17:  “You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.”

You see, the city of Laodicea was affluent, rich, and prosperous.  It was known for 3 main things:  wealth, black-wool textile industry, and housed a world-renowned medical school which discovered a miracle eye-salve.  The city was so rich that it needed no financial assistance from Rome in rebuilding after a major earthquake.  So, we have Christians living in the richest commercial center of the ancient world, which, no doubt, yielded them much personal wealth.

Next buzz question:  Is Jesus scolding them for being wealthy?  I don’t think so.

It was then that I had my  “Aha moment.” Could it be that The Church of Laodicea had become so secure and self-reliant in their natural habitat and had no need of anything, that the same self-reliant attitude had spilled over into their spiritual life and their relationship with God?

It took me back to my early years of being a Christian where I was totally dependent upon God to supply every piece of clothing I wore, food for my family, and His guidance to solve all my problems. I jumped out of bed in the early mornings hours to talk with the King of Kings before rushing off to work.  Oh yeah, the two of us were engrossed in a very intimate relationship with one another and I relied totally upon Him for everything.

Had I now developed an attitude that seemed to be apparent in The Laodicean Christians?  “You are no longer hot and enthused in your pursuit of me; you are not excited and on fire about the faith.”   “You are not cold either, because you have not left the faith, you still go to church, call me your Savior, but---------

I didn’t like the sound of where this nudge might be leading, so I went quickly into my prayer closet to do some soul searching.

How about you?  Have you become self-reliant and handling things all by yourself lately?

Good news!!   We are God’s children; He really does not want to spit us out of his mouth.  So, He has provided a way out of being lukewarm.“ For whom the Lord loves, I rebuke and chasten.” “Be zealous therefore and repent.” (vs 19)

“I already feel my spiritual temperature warming up.”