Did You Snicker?

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As I think about how I am loved by God, I often ask myself why? Is that wrong? Yes, of course it is. God loves us no matter what. Okay, that’s it. I got my point out in less than 50 words. Cya tomorrow! No you don’t Beth. It’s not that easy. You will dissect this concept with me thus says the Lord.

Today I was taken aback by a couple of things which I’m not at liberty to share but let’s just say that there were some things that came out of mouths that I love. These words were hurtful and not funny. I found myself fighting with my mind because I wanted to spew something back in protest to their behavior. I also wanted to chat with God first.

Maybe ones words were being spoken out of impatience, irritation or just plain ole-having-a-bad day? Maybe they thought they were being funny. Do you remember the show, Kids Say the Darndest Things? The premise of the show was that the host would ask a question to children and the children would answer in a cute and funny way. The children didn’t know any better thus showing their innocence. Well, what if we had a show now that was titled: Adults Say the Darndest Things. What would you think of that? People say whatever they want to say and have neither gentleness nor self-control. Um, that’s part of the Fruit of the Spirit and God’s Word reminds us to live by the Spirit.

As a writer, I listen to what people say because there is usually a story behind their words. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but it’s what I do.  We need to change. We need to stop saying things about others who need help. We need to stop laughing at inappropriate jokes. We need to stop blasting others on social media. I’m preaching to myself as well. Oh yes, I’ve been caught doing the all of the above a time or two in my life and believe me, I’ve not liked it and have had to repent.

How in the world can we get ourselves away from this behavior? We must build ourselves up on our most holy faith by praying in the Spirit (see Jude 20) and continually feed our spirits and renew our minds with the Word of God, because faith comes by hearing the Word and strengthens our inner man. We must also worship God as well.

The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111.10

We are not being faithful, obedient or wise when we behave inappropriate. If you will read the book of Proverbs and look at all of the radical promises that are made to the person who walks in wisdom, and then realize that being in God’s Word is the beginning step to wisdom, I think we will think twice about snickering at someone or laughing at that dirty joke.

Oh God, help me. I am so much of my own flesh. Help me to use wisdom and discernment when I feel I am at liberty to say what I want, laugh at something you would cry at and snicker at someone’s undeniable need for acceptance and love. May we all come to you on our hands and knees and ask for forgiveness.

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Good Morning Again to You James!!!

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Are we discriminators among ourselves and filled with evil thoughts? Believe it or not, they both go hand in hand; discrimination and being one of evil thoughts. Discrimination is so wrong on so many levels. We are all born from the same cloth of Jesus so why do we discriminate?

I have to admit, ugh, sigh, that there was a time in my life when I was so busy with “church” things that I didn’t make time for those that I “thought” were less than I. How in the world could I walk in my faith like that? I was on the Local Mission Committee for goodness sake, so what made me think that I could reach out to others when my mind was discriminating against them. Oh have I been knocked down off of my high horse and sought forgiveness for that. I try very hard not to go down that path anymore because I’ve too become the “lesser” and understand. Isn’t that just like God to put us in a place of chastisement in order to grasp who we are in Him?

In the book of James we are reminded that God chooses the poor in this world to be rich in faith. James 2:5. This is a promise from God to those who love him. How can we say that we love him and then we don’t love our neighbor or we discriminate towards someone?

How can we stop this dangerous cycle in life? We can stop this by putting our FOCUS (there’s that word again) on Jesus. He will keep our thoughts captive towards His thoughts if we look towards Him. The other is to miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, a kind word; and always striving to do the smallest things right out of love for Jesus.

Oh James, you have so much to teach me. I thank you God for inspiring your words through a man named James.  Now go and walk with simplicity on the road to God and don’t allow your spirit to be tormented by Satan. Amen.

James! Where Have You Been?

Holding Glasses over Bible

I was challenged this week to read the book of James. I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve read the entire book. I have visited a verse or two but have not really stayed in the nitty-gritty of this instructive book.

I opened my Bible and was sucked in right away; yup, within the first few verses, James a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ caught my attention.  There is something about him reminding me that I should consider it a great joy when I go through various trials. But I ask myself why? Why do I have to be happy that I can’t meet my bills? Why do I have to consider it a joy that I have a kidney disease? Why do I have to consider it joy when I have precious friends hurting?  I continued to reading and God reminded me that the testing of our faith produces endurance. Do you agree with that? Can your faith grow without being tested?

I gave that some serious thought over the weekend. Knowing my type of personality, if I were to strum along in life, playing my own tune, a happy-skipping-melody, not a worry in my body, I would not do anything but thank God for the “feeling.” I know there is so much more to our walk with God than being thankful for the warm fuzzy feelings that we have. God’s Word tells us that we will have suffering, pain and sorrow. We can’t always be in the joy of life. It’s what we do with the hopelessness of life that really matters. This is simple terminolog folks. Hopelessness is rooted in Hope. I know we’ve heard that over and over again but it’s my job as a follower of Jesus Christ to remind the unhappy that there is Hope in Jesus Christ.

But how Beth, you may ask. How can we remember to endure with hope? Keep your FOCUS on the Master Planner. Go back either to your prayer lists, journals or places in your Bible where God delivered you from something…that’s endurance…Remind yourself of how He has pulled you out of darkness, out of some slipperyslop…that’s endurance…I am about to embark on something that God has called me to for many years. I’m scared, I’m worried and doing a lot of “what-if.” I have to be obedient though…I have to keep my FOCUS on Him and endure all that will hit me along the way.

James! Thanks for allowing me to read your eloquent words inspired by God.  Thank you that I can be reminded through your trials, your sorrow and your own slipperyslop that I can also be a slave to our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you to my very special friend that encouraged me to dig into this book.

 

Where’s the Log?

 

stump missing 1           peek with the stump

 

Oh no, the stump is gone! Do you remember me writing about my experience with my dog with the stump on the corner of the lot and how she was so scared? Well, we just got used to it being there and now it’s gone! Guess what? She was afraid all over again.
Isn’t that just like our faith at times? We get used to God doing things one way and then all of the sudden we have to change the procedure. What can we do to stay in constant faith with His plan when it changes? We stay connected step by step.
God doesn’t give us the blueprints to our lives all at one time. He will reveal mysteries to you as you pray and seek him but everything is given in its proper time. That is why we must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. When we walk by sight our stumps may be set right there in front of us when we least expect them to be. Then when we are used to them being there, all of the sudden they are gone. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow, next month, or next year. But, God does. So we have to fully trust Him and confidently obey His instructions.
When God led the Israelites through the wilderness they had no clue how long this process would take. Talk about a BIG STUMP in the road. On that first occasion, Moses had cried to the Lord and said, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me to death.”
And the Lord said to Moses, Pass on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you smote the river and go. Behold, I will stand before you thereon the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock. And water shall come out of it that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. Exodus 17:5-6
Now when I had to reintroduce my dog to the same spot with the missing log with her apprehension, she looked directly at me as if to say, “Is this safe ma?” Don’t we do that as we follow Jesus? We should be asking Him step by step if what we are doing is okay and safe. Moses had to ask God for direction every step of this long period of time; did he disobey along the way? Yes, he later struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it as God had told him to do but, God still delivered water from the rock. He was confused, no doubt frustrated and somewhat apprehensive of the log in his life. But God delivered Him and the people.
Are you apprehensive about something? Is there a log in the way or has it suddenly been removed when you’ve just gotten used to it being there? Let’s chat about this at

Another Infection? What!!!

What, another sinus infection? Does it ever end? I’m so tired of being diagnosed with something and that something being out of my control. I thought if I dropped the gluten I would feel better, which I do a little bit but AGAIN I have an infection. I had one in February and one around Christmas. Ugh!!! This stuff really gets me down. And…to top it off, it’s a cloudy, rainy day…Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed

I have been on a medication for almost a year now that weakens my immune system. I was really hoping I would be off of it by now, but unfortunately I am not. I catch everything and I don’t like that. Just when I think I’m taking a huge step forward in my life I then fall back again. There is so much YUCK going on in my life that I wonder how it will ever get any better.

Have you ever been there? Do you have those dark days, those continual rainy days where you just don’t get it? What keeps me going is knowing that this experience will draw me closer to Jesus. It’s when I go into darkness and uncertainty that God’s invitation to go deeper with him is so comforting.

I love sinking into the book of Psalms. They cry from the depths of despair and reach way down to the soul always promising a way out.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, hear my voice…I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His Word, I put my hope Psalm 130:1, 2, 5

I love in the Old Testament how Joseph named his first-born son Manasseh, ‘because God has made me forget’ and then he named his second son Ephraim ‘because God has made me fruitful in my land of suffering.’

Until we die or Christ returns, we will face suffering; Therefore, when the Bible says that Christ gave himself “to deliver us from the evil age,” it does not mean that he will take us out of the world, but that he will deliver us from the power of the evil in it. Satan is everywhere and has been given freedom to deceive and destroy and where does he start? He starts in our minds and breaks us down. But “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” The god of this world is Satan.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

I have to remind myself that what feels like freedom is bondage. I will not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of my mind (Romans 12:2). This means freedom. I will have bad days, sick body days, and weary heart days but I really am free in Christ.  Jesus went to the cross for me and for you to set us free from darkness. Follow Christ. It is costly but even if you are an exile in this age you will be free with Him right into eternity.

F-O-C-U-S

 victory in Jesus

 

FOCUS…For such a small word, it packs a powerful punch.  So many of us are needing focus in our lives. That word seems to be the theme word for my prayer group/Bible Study. We all ask for things that are dear to our hearts but I am amazed that we all are asking for focus in one way or another. As I sat this afternoon and really thought about this stage of my life I would have thought that I had a better grasp on my focus. There are days where I have my to-do list and I have no problem getting it done and then there are days where I’m dragging just to get the dishes washed. Those days will come and go throughout our lives at any age and at any given time. It’s during those cloudy times that we really need to ask for help. There are circumstances that can cause us to lose our focus entirely on God. When that happens we feel very lost.

In the last two years I’ve been diagnosed with a kidney disease. I’ve gone from full-time employment to part-time. I gave up my part-time job for something bigger and better and that didn’t work out. I’ve been on all sorts of medications and now I’m unemployed. It has been very hard to keep my focus on track.

What would your definition be of the word F-O-C-U-S ? Really, ask yourself what that small powerful word means to you.  I have broken that word down into something I hope will help you…

F=Faith

O=on

C=Christ

U=Under

S=Stress

No doubt that our faith can waver from time to time. We all have things that happen to us to cause us to lose our faith in Christ. There is a lot of tragic stuff going on in our world around us, in our jobs, in our families in our heart. Life is at such a frantic pace now that no sooner do we finish one task than we have to start the next but we can’t focus because we are exhausted. Sometimes I’m juggling the writing of articles which makes it difficult to appreciate anything I create. I don’t want to live my life that way but I have a hard time putting the brakes on unless I’m forced to through my illness. God knows how to get my attention.

In order to get and keep our focus, we have to remember to take a break. In Genesis God took a break and the first thing Adam and Eve did was to rest and enjoy God’s presence.  “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Gen: 2:2 AMP

Maybe you need to ask yourself if you are running ahead of God or if there is an area in your life that is out of balance? I know there are a couple of areas in mine and trying to keep it all in check is hard, very hard.  I don’t normally try to memorize any scripture in the Amplified version of the Bible because it’s more wordy but lately I’ve been reading and re-reading Isaiah 40 and trying to make it more personal.

But…Beth, if you trust in me, you will find new strength. In fact, you will rise up and soar like an eagle. You will walk and run without getting worn out, But those who wait for the Lord {who expect, look for, and hope in Him} shall renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up {close to God} as eagles {mount up to the sun}: they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not fait or become tired.40:31

 

F-O-C-U-S…We will find our strength, we will wait for the Lord and put our hope in Him…I love the next part; they shall lift their wings and mount up CLOSE TO GOD…We will stay in focus if we keep our focus. If you are angry, get your focus on HIM. If you are sick, get your focus on  HIM. If you have lost your job or are struggling financially, get your focus on Him. HE will allow you to come close to HIM and we will not become fait or tired. Thank you Jesus!!!

Are You Wining Again? It’s Okay!!!

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Do you have words that heal the blues? I have some friends right now that are really struggling with some serious stuff and I don’t know if I have the words to help them heal their blues and, their blues are BIG BLUES. But, God, I have big blues too!!! What about me?

Oh my Beth, get out of your own pity-party because it aint working!!! Have you ever been there? You can help others but you want to just scream out, What about me!!! I don’t in any way try to be Joyce Myer when I say that either; although her robot motions are kinda tempting. I love listening and helping people and I love sipping coffee with friends who just need someone to lean on. I am good at that. What I am NOT good with is sharing my nitty-gritty with others. I want to, but sometimes I feel like a broken record. Been there? You’ve got all of the advice for others but can’t apply it to your own issues?

Well, through the love of Christ and some very loving gals and very supportive mom along my lifetime path, I’ve learned how to share my issues with my most trusted friends and family. I’ve learned that it’s okay to have a bout of the not-wanting-to-be-a burden-to-others but I can’t stay there. That is a dangerous place to camp out. God has gifted so many us to share His love to others that need it just at the right appointed time. There is no need to feel ashamed, shy, or undeserving of help from others. After all, isn’t it just our stinkin pride that gets in the way?MP900385327

My inner self knows when it’s time to reach out and call/text a friend for help or email my prayer group for a prayer request. Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV. I don’t know about you but I want God included in my request.

I am incorporating something new into my time with God in the morning and at night that is really helping me.  I first get my wining out. I cry, stomp, and am cranky for a few and let it all out like a nasty cut discharging infectious puss. Ewe; gross!!! Then I quiet myself with some meditation.

I’ve been dabbling with some meditation; NOT to rid my mind of things, but rather to slow down my mind for God. I have applied a mantra to my quiet time with God. I repeat the word Abba. That word to me says it all; the intimate term for God the Father. Then I thank God out loud for the blessings of my day. Yes, it is hard at times to find them or I’m so tired that I’ve missed them; but I manage to get a few out of my mouth and then there are times I can’t stop thanking God for my overflowing blessings. Most often this is only a ten-minute slow-down trip with God, who deserves so much more, but I always hear Him whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.”letting go

Oh Lord, quiet our troubled hearts and minds so that we may have special meditative time with you. Help us to not be so humble that we can’t ask for help; for prayer; for whatever it is that we need. I love you so much and thank you for the mighty work that you are doing in my life. I thank you that you don’t yell at me when I start to whine. You are so good and loving.

Decisions! Decisions!

Holding Glasses over Bible

What do you do when you’re faced with an important decision to make? Growing up my father would read the Sunday version of the New York Times from cover to cover. He was a journalist for a huge company in New York City and following the current news was important to his job. I remember watching him always making lists of pro’s and con’s before making a decision on how he would respond to an article or for that matter, whatever decision he was facing.

One particular Sunday I asked him, “Dad, why do you make lists like that?” He replied, “Because it helps me decipher how to respond. I don’t want to rush into a decision before weighing the options.” Once my dad had his list in front of him, he would sit and stare and ponder. Was he praying? Probably; my dad didn’t make any quick decisions that I can recall. Did he make wrong decisions? Yes, we all do that. I believe he was bringing his list before the Lord and waiting for His wisdom.

We can go back to the Bible and see how some of God’s chosen waited on HIS word; waited on his prompting and then acted out in faith. I think of Noah, Abraham, Daniel, David and several others. I can just see it; they wrote their pro’s and con’s on a tablet and placed them before the Lord; well, not exactly but they all had their moments of seeking, pondering and then total surrendering to God’s direction.

The book of Proverbs is a fantastic place to camp out when you are trying to seek God’s direction. This melodic book is filled with words of wisdom. One book in particular that stands out to me today is Proverbs 25:8…Don’t take a matter to court hastily; otherwise what will you do afterwards if your opponent humiliates you? I once took a job where I did not think about anything but the money and growth…never prayed about it…never made my list…and it ultimately led to humiliation, compromise and loss of employment. I just jumped before thinking.

What decision do you need to make? The greatest moments in our lives are the moments when God intervenes on our behalf and blesses us way beyond what we expect or deserve and that is from seeking, walking in faith and loving Him. However, the flip side to that is to be careful not to step into something just for the rewards. It doesn’t work that way. God is a humble God and I am continually reminded of his sovereignty.

THERE MAY BE A VISION BEYOND YOUR DECISION!!! TRUST!!!

Dear Father, I pray for wisdom. I want to always put Your will first no matter what. Forgive me when my faith lacks and my actions do not reflect who I am in You. I give all anxieties into Your hands and leave them there. Thy will be done. Amen.

 

Join us as we discuss how to handle decisions. Join us at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-grace.

living by grace

 

 

 

Who Give You the Right?

no tresspassing

What gives people the right to trespass? Many do every single day. Many have no boundary line; they trample, stomp on and push aside others to get what they want. They somehow feel they have the right-of-way. What is the point of a “no-trespassing” sign if we are going to do whatever we want? What does trespass mean? It means to break a moral or social law and to commit a sin. (Bing Dictionary).

Let’s discuss a Biblical character who felt he had the right to trespass on Jesus. His name was Judas Iscariot; the betrayer; thief and yet a disciple. Judas deliberately took money from the chief priests to betray Jesus. He trespassed on Jesus even after he broke bread and sang songs with him. The result; Judas committed suicide because he couldn’t deal with the remorse of such a betrayal. As Christians, we are all called to be Disciples of Christ but we are all tempted to trespass as well.

A few modern-day examples trespassing on others, reminded me of this very person. There was a woman who felt she had the right to trespass on another woman’s life and it not only caused her a job but cause her to sink into a deep depression. Doesn’t the Bible say bring your issue before the person and if that doesn’t work, get the elders involved etc.? Who has the right to trespass like this?

A parking space is open under a car-port. There are assigned car-ports in the neighborhood but even though the sign says, “private-property” a person takes it upon herself to give that space out because the owner never parks in it. Who gives her that right?

A mother gets called into a school because her son has done something wrong. Instead of the mother taking action with the son, she jumps all over the principal in front of the son. Who does the mother think she is? Why does she feel she has the right to do that without any facts?

What gives us the right to encroach on someone or break a social law? We all do it to some degree. Why? Weather we know it or not, at the time, we are thinking evil thoughts. There are scriptures that focus on keeping our eyes on Jesus. Another words; if you focus on the evil; you will be tempted and probably will do evil. If you focus on Jesus; you will do good. The deep root of this is that we should be transformed by filling our minds with the fullness of Christ and thinking at the highest level of our potential in Him.

We don’t have the right to give out parking spaces; rat on co-workers for self-fulfillment; yell at a principal or betray a trust for our own purpose. Think of your words; think of your actions. Don’t be a Judas Iscariot by getting greedy and think only about yourself.

Words matter: you have more power over other people than you may have ever imagined. Your words can cause someone to get fired, someone to sin, and someone to go right down into the dark hole you’re living in. You have the power to either spark enthusiasm or to kill it; to build confidence or to destroy it; to foster peace or to steal it. Your words are not something you have to purchase either. You have the power to say what’s right. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer?” Psalm 19:14.

Think about the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive those who trespass against me.” He has forgiven you. The difference between Judas Iscariot and us is that even though he felt remorse for trespassing on Jesus, he never asked for forgiveness. We don’t have to do that. When we hurt others we can come before the throne of God and simply ask for forgiveness . But the next step is even harder; go to the person you’ve offended and ask for their forgiveness as well. It’s harder to do because they don’t have unconditional love for you like Jesus does.

 

Do you owe someone an apology?

 

Did you do something to someone that you should not have?

 

Are you afraid to ask for forgiveness?

 

You can go to Christ for help. He will forgive and then give you the strength you need to ask others for forgiveness.

 

TRESSPASS: You don’t have the right! Judas did not have the right? He didn’t ask for forgiveness; You can!!!

God today I ask that if someone reads this meditation and feels they need to ask for forgiveness, You will give them the strength. You will show them the way and the truth and the light. Lord, if there is someone that needs to take their actions further by asking another for forgiveness, I pray that they will carry your Spirit with them. God, if there is someone I need to go to please show me and humble me to do so.

Morning Texts

I wanted to post this earlier today but I had to take advantage of the most-needed date day with my husband, Dale.  Now that I am refreshed, our marriage has had a face-lift, here it is.

I quickly responded to the text this morning. “You are going to be okay in the Name of Jesus.” My heart went out to two very special women in my life this morning. I couldn’t get them off of my minds.

Sometimes we just don’t understand what in the world is going on with our lives. We lose jobs, we suffer chest pains, we lose a loved one, house goes on fire and so much more. So many questions for God and so many times we can’t help but get angry or frustrated with Him for not meeting our expectations.

In reality the heart of the problem is that we don’t really know who God is and we don’t understand His ways and His timing. When I text my friend this morning who is going through a most difficult time I honestly meant it. I said, “I wish I knew. Why was I diagnosed with a kidney disease? Why was I fired? Why are their tax issues with my husband? Why were there so many adjustments in my life and the list goes on and on. I have gotten to the point in my life that the “why” doesn’t matter but rather the survival does.” I further went on to explain that there are going to be times in our lives that we just don’t get it.

I’m not saying we should toss in the emotions and give up; just the opposite. God doesn’t want us to give up. I think we need to embrace the emotions but try our hardest to step over them and grasp God’s perspective on our lives. As soon as I remember, it’s HIS way or the highway; I’m in a better emotional state.

I don’t say that to in any way insinuate that God is this abrasive man who is smiting us. No he hasn’t left His sovereign throne and he has not changed the position of his out-stretched arms. You can be overwhelmed with grief, in such anguish, such despair; such confusion that you felt you couldn’t go on. It’s okay. Please dear ones, you can rest in the knowledge that even when bad things happen, God is always there. His is always in charge. Although he may not always deliver in the way you expect, you will find His grace sufficient.

Psalm 34:4-6…I sought the Lord, and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant,

And their faces will never be ashamed.

This poor man (woman, Beth) cried, and the LORD heard him/her/me

And saved him/her/me out of all of his/her/my troubles.

Oh what a comfort to know that he’s saving me every day. Every day I can embrace God in faith. I know He cares and has unconditional love for me and for you.