Category: Growing Up in God


“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.”  Proverbs 21:2  The Amplified Version

Have you ever felt a “ping” in your heart or stomach when you say or do, or even think, something with a motive or intent of heart that might not be quite right?  For example, you might answer back on a Facebook page something that, if you were face to face with that person you’d never say what you just wrote.  At the time you wrote it, you got your point across, shut down the opposition, (so there!!!), said what you felt needed to be said at that moment.  But now you realize, after pressing the Post or Share button, that the cat’s out of the proverbial bag and it’s too late to take it back, it might not have been the wisest thing to say.  Especially since you’re trying to be a better person, or you’re a Christian and you’re wanting to represent Jesus the best way you can, expressing your views might not have even come close to representing Him at all.

Or, maybe someone came to your door or place of business and tried to sell you something or talk about their religion and you blew them off as quickly as possibly, even going so far as lying if necessary, just to get them out of your face?  Maybe someone interrupted you with a phone call you really wished hadn’t bothered you and you were less than kind on the phone to that person. (After all, you were busy, right?  Watching TV–your favorite show for goodness sake, and they have the nerve to call you in the middle of the best part!!)  Is it ok to be rude to others, no matter what the reason?

Do we ever act this way?

Do we ever act this way?

Well, I’m hoping that most all of us would say “No, it’s never ok to be rude, even if they are rude to us.”  But all too often, I’ve been guilty of all of the above, more than once I’m afraid, and I have a sneaky feeling I’m probably not alone.  Are you courageous enough to stand up with me and agree that at least once in your life you have had wrong motives for your behavior? C’mon, I know you’re out there.  I’ll stand with you, does that help?

For those of us who are Christians and consider Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, Soon-coming King, Creator of the Universe, Prince of Peace, and so on,  it is imperative that we pay attention to our behavior, our thoughts and words.  Some serious soul searching would be good here.  We are His representatives in this earth and no one will ever see Him for the awesome and loving God He is, unless we, His children, allow Him to be revealed through our lives every day, through good times and bad.  If we are behaving badly, how does that reflect on Jesus?

For those of us reading this post that have not yet made a decision to follow Christ, may I take this opportunity to sincerely and humbly apologize on behalf of those in the Christian community who have hurt you, offended and caused you to think less of Jesus because of their (my) behavior.  It is not His fault that we acted like Neanderthals or worse!  Our actions, or lack thereof, are attributable to a lack of total commitment to Him and refusal to give up doing things our way in certain areas of our lives.  (Basically, it’s sin, but most of us don’t want to think about that word.)

So, with that said, perhaps it would be good to take stock and seriously review our motives, intentions, and ask ourselves some questions:  “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” “Who benefits the most from the actions I’m taking or about to take–me or others–and is that a right thing to occur?”  “When I finish doing what I’m doing or wanting to do, what are the long term results likely to be?”  “Are those results benefitting more than just myself and/or the futures of my family and friends?”  If the answers you get, providing you were serious when you asked them, are not leaving you peaceful, perhaps you might want to stop… maybe pray about it first, until you do feel peace.

Motives, intentions of the heart, can make or break relationships and futures, let alone “presents”, for good or ill.

If you [profess ignorance and] say, Behold, we did not know this, does not He Who weighs and ponders the heart perceive and consider it? And He Who guards your life, does not He know it? And shall not He render to [you and] every man according to his works?”  Proverbs 24:12  The Amplified Version

The actions you take based on the intentions of your heart may have a profound effect on the lives of many people you didn’t even think about, so check your motives and if they aren’t good ones, the good news is you can change!

Planting Seeds

Every once in awhile I run across a story that touches my heart and I can sense it’s more than just for me but is worthy to be shared.  It’s not necessarily Jesus oriented but certainly contains the character that Christ wishes us to emulate, so for that reason I thought I’d pass this story along for you to enjoy and think about what kinds of seeds we are planting in our lives, and what sort of harvest we will reap.  Hope you like it!

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Planting SeedsGood morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground.   The man slowly looked up.
This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new.. She looked like she had never missed…a meal in her life.
His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.. “Leave me alone,” he growled….
To his amazement, the woman continued standing.   She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”
The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.   “What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.
Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked..

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”
The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”
“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”
“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”
“This is a good deal for you, Jack” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it..”
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived…
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this, is this man in trouble?”
“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.
“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business..”
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled……. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”
“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”
“And do you make a godly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”
“What business is that of yours?”
I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”
“Oh.”
The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”
“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”
“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”
The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.
“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”
She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.. “Jack, do you remember me?”
Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”
“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”
“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”
Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said.. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”
“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble… Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”
“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.
“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.. “When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons…He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet… If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”
There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he said.
“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus…… He led me to you.”
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways….
“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.
“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And.. And thank you for the coffee.”

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We never know what will happen when we “pay it forward”, but if we don’t, nothing will.  Take a chance, do something nice for someone.  Be assured, God will see even if no one else does, and He will make sure your kindnesses will be rewarded when you least expect it.

Please share this story with those you care about….and even those you may not.  You never know what God will do.

Are you covered in His Feathers?

Are you covered in His Feathers?

Many years ago I was told a story about a woman who was walking down a sidewalk in her town, headed for home from her local church after the weekly Bible study she had just attended was over.  Her leisurely walk in the warm summer’s evening was interrupted only by her musings on the subject matter for that evening which had been “God’s Protection” taken from Psalms 91.  As she walked, she became aware of a presence behind her.  An uncomfortable feeling came with it and she decided to walk a little faster.  The “presence” walked a little faster too.  She realized before long that there were at least two older teenage boys, possibly more, following her, intent on some sort of mayhem and she then began to pray…out loud!

It happened that she was from a Pentecostal church and, as was her practice, she prayed in the Holy Spirit…in tongues as the Holy Spirit helped her.  Then, remembering the Bible study from just a short while before, she thought about what the pastor had said, “We are covered with His feathers, and under His wings will we find refuge.”  With a loud voice she shouted, “I’m covered with feathers!  I’m covered with feathers!  I’m covered with feathers!  I’m covered with feathers!”  She probably shouted more than four times, but within minutes she turned around and found no one around her, including those teenaged boys.  They apparently had found out she was off limits and took off running!!!

Are you “covered” with His feathers?  Are you off limits to your spiritual enemies because of God’s Protective Hand on your life?  As Christians we have access to God’s protection through His Son, Jesus.  Check out the 91st Psalm and see what is available to you.  If we are obedient to His Word and trust and have confidence in Him, we can experience this same kind of protection.  Let’s get under His feathers and find refuge!

Sacrifice

On a recent trip to California to visit my Mom, I was privileged to attend New Life Community Church, her church home for many years.  Sunday school was a blessing in itself, but the main service included lively music which I love, and a message, the first of four or five on the subject of sacrifice.  It got me to thinking about how we as human beings, at least in America, do not have a very good attitude towards sacrifice, nor do we understand what sacrifice is all about… letting offenses go, not holding grudges, and so forth. Basically, we want what we want and do not wish to be inconvenienced in any way if we can at all avoid it.

Someone sacrificed time, money, water to make these beautiful for others

Someone sacrificed time, money, water to make these beautiful for others

As Christians, we are actually called to a life of sacrifice. We are called to be like Jesus, who sacrificed His life, ultimately, so that we could live life to the fullest, till it overflows–the abundant life.  And, if you read the Bible at all, you will undoubtedly notice how Jesus sacrificed not only finances, but physical luxuries, necessities, his time, emotions, and probably much sleep to spend time with His Father, most importantly, then the people to whom He was sent to minister, and finally to His disciples to whom He would leave the bulk of His wisdom and instruction during His brief time of ministry on this earth.

Granted, we are not God in the flesh nor are we anywhere close to being perfect as He is perfect, but we can have confidence in Him to empower us to live this sacrificial life every day as we work, play, deal with family and life’s issues that come up on a daily basis.

If you are anything like me, sacrificing my life is not a pleasant thought at all!  And, that morning, listening to a sermon about it was not something I was looking forward to. I’m pretty selfish and self-centered in the grand scheme of things as I’ve discovered over the years and being confronted with that truth was pretty unsettling. But, because I love the Lord so much, it is important for me to occasionally remember how important each one of us is to Him and because He’s given me so much, I can learn to share.  I must not live my life as the only diva in the universe!  Others are just as important to my Creator, Savior and Lord!

So, what is sacrifice and what does it mean anyway?  In what ways are we supposed to sacrifice to satisfy the “calling” to live a sacrificial life.  Well, I suppose ultimately it involves putting others first, denying our own lusts and passions, and giving till it hurts.  For some of us, that will be easier than for others.  But, since God knows each of us intimately, He knows just what is a sacrifice and what is not.  For a rich man, giving $5,000 is nothing.  For a poor man, $5 is a tremendous sacrifice.  May I refer you to the story in the Bible of the widow’s mite.  Her sacrifice of a few pennies was honored far more than the thousands of dollars from a rich man.

Perhaps God is calling you to give up a few of these for your health's sake?

Perhaps God is calling you to give up a few of these for your health’s sake?

Sacrifice does not always mean financial either.  For some, giving a smile or a kind word to another person is very difficult and would be considered a great sacrifice because they are experiencing great anger, sadness or depression themselves.  In fact, a lot of the time, sacrifice might just mean spending time with a friend or a stranger when you’d rather be doing something else, a simple act of kindness.  Quite frankly, I wonder if we think that we’re sacrificing only when it’s something really big like giving up a kidney or sending hundreds or thousands of dollars to a missionary overseas, and, consequently, don’t even consider the little sacrifices we can make every day to enhance the lives of others!  We have to be careful of doing those big things, because they can build up our pride and then not be a true sacrifice, but an event to be bragged about.

Ok, so what’s in it for me?  Well, the fact that I would ask that at all shows my heart isn’t in the right place.  But since I did ask, maybe there is something to be shared from the times I have actually experienced sacrificing for others.  It feels really, really good!!!

When we take the opportunities God gives us to lay something down, share with someone in need, put Jesus first instead of our own desires, He makes us stronger and more alive in Him.  We are moving from being a child to growing up in God.  We are growing from selfishness to selflessness, me-oriented to God-oriented, childish to child-like.  In addition, God often will give back to you in ways that you cannot even imagine.  You know all those long hidden secret desires and ideas you have not even uttered in prayer?  Don’t be surprised if those don’t start to get answered, without your even asking.

God loves a cheerful giver.  That doesn’t just apply to financial things like tithes, offerings, alms, etc.  But when you give or sacrifice in faith, even trembling faith, as God directs you to,  His grace, mercy, and favor are extended to you in marvelous ways!  You know, He wrote the Book on sacrifice.  He can help and direct you in starting to live a life of sacrifice.  It’s not easy, especially for those of us who are divas…but in the end, it’s such a much better life and so much more fulfilling, happy, purposeful.

Check it out!

“Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance.  Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].  Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.  Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus:  [Let Him be your example in humility:]”  Philippians 2:3-5  The Amplified Version

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