Wrath does not belong to you

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty give him a drink; for in doing so you will heap burning coals on his head’  Do not be overcome by evil, but  overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:19-21)

Wow, if only the world would take seriously the words that Paul spoke when quoting Jesus and the way we should address the injustices we feel we sometimes are dealing with.   Do not try and make the other person pay by you hurting them back.  Instead, allow God (and life) to decide how that person will pay for their evil actions or words that may have hurt you and others.

But yet we live in a world that wants revenge for what we feel are injustices.  Those injustices are many times only bruises to our egos.  We feel we’ve been insulted, or slighted, by another’s words or actions.  We are emotionally bruised.  I use the word “bruised” because many times that is all it really is– a slight, a bump– that leaves behind an emotional bruise or scratch.  Yet to us it feels like a strike in the face, a blow to the body, and a punch in our gut.  We can’t possibly live with that.  We must strike out and hurt back, shouldn’t we?  But the Lord said no.  Forgive the slight, the unkind word or act.  If the action was extremely cruel then God will handle it.  Trust me he does handle it in ways you will never see, but we do pay for our evil actions.  But Jesus was very clear when he told us to leave it to God.

Instead, treat your brother, the one who hurt you, in a loving and kind manner.  Wow!  Just the opposite of what we want to do.  We want to strike out, insult back, push back so we can feel justified.

But, imagine what life would be like if you never pushed back, but instead said, “I’m am sorry and I forgive you”.  This takes an immense inner strength, the courage to be the bigger person.  When in Romans 12 verse 20 “..In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head”  it means your kindness, your forgiveness will cause this person to actually see their careless words or actions as small (mean, bitter, unkind).  You act as a mirror when you respond in a direct opposite of what they might expect back from you.

Being a bigger person also leaves you with an inner peace vs anger or rage.  Learn to take the slings and arrows of life as a bigger person.  Leave the vengeance to God to make things right.  Believe in this truth. Your life will be better for it.

 

Avoid Being a Slinger

One of my most favorite spiritual teachers is Joyce Meyer.  In her devotional “Starting Your Day Right” she speaks of avoiding the slingers.  I will quote from her book, “There were people in the Bible called slingers who defeated their enemies by slinging stones and throwing dirt into their wells, contaminating their life source of water (2 Kings 3:25).  We all know people who sling accusation, judgement, criticism, and faultfinding at others.  We certainly don’t want slingers in our life, and we don’t want to become slingers either.

“Don’t be a slinger who contaminates your own faith or the faith of those around you.”

We all know slingers in our life, don’t we.  We may even have held this title in our lives at some point or another.  Gossiping or making judgement statements of what we know nothing really about.  Just wanting to “sling the mud” to give ourselves entertainment or to purposely hurt another’s reputation.  

But, as we all know from personal experience, having our reputations tarnished from mud slinging or malicious gossip is hurtful and evil.  

As we enter into a new year let us resolve to NOT be slingers in our lives.  Make a conscious decision to stop gossiping or eliciting gossip from others so we can make ourselves feel better about our own circumstances.  Gossiping about others, hurting their reputation does not make us better people, it in fact makes us look like fools, small and selfish.

As our mothers may have told us, “if you can’t say anything nice about the person, don’t say anything at all”.  This old wise adage still holds true today.  

May you be a person of good words and a loving heart and leave the mud slinging to those in the media who choose to live in darkness rather then live and operate from love.  

Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the YearStarting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year

 

The Truce of 1914

“It happened in the midst of the fiercest fighting of World War I.  The story most remembered was that a German soldier began singing ‘Stille Nacht’ and his solo soon became a chorus as he was joined by English voices singing ‘Silent Night’.  A British regiment serenaded the Germans with ‘The First Noel’ and the Germans sang back to them, ‘O Tannenbaum.’

“Men from both armies laid down their weapons and crept cautiously and then quickly into No Man’s Land to share food, cigars, drinks–and even play a game of soccer together.

“Funny how a song about the Savior’s birth became a rallying point for peace–right in the middle of a war.  But that’s exactly why the Baby was born: to bring ‘peace on earth.”

This story was taken from the Devotional, A Daybook of Grace.  I loved this story because it reminds me that we all have similarities in wanting peace in our lives even in the midst of the most difficult times.  

Yet, it also brought tears to my eyes when I think of the discord that exists not just in the world but in our own country–among our own leadership.  I do not find anything honorable about hate, discord and words of malice.  Yet, it seems we have an underbelly of such scheming to overtake this country with such unrighteous behavior.  

I pray each day that our leaders, those in power and those individuals who have power over others, including adults who have power over their children, stop to reconsider their words and actions when they feel they are being challenged.  Stop to seek the peace in the situation instead of the inflammation of emotional battle.

 

A Daybook of Grace: A Year of Devotions to Draw You Near to the Heart of God

 

 

 

 

Happiness Factor

It’s been a while since I posted a recent blog posting.  My apologies for this.  I have been spending the last couple of years in more spiritual study and in trying to apply what I learn in real life.  The Lord has put it on my heart to begin to work on posting more blogs on my site.  

I am sure all of you are familiar with the song “Happy” by Pharrel Williams.  It’s a delightful song that brightens anyone who hears it played.  But how many of us are really trying to live our lives in the “happiness zone”?  It seems the outside world would rather we be kept in the “darkness” of “world reality” than to really believe we can be happy. But our Lord, Jesus, came to this earth, (and yes, that celebration of His birth is what Christmas is all about) “that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10.10.

Do you really believe God wants us to be happy?  I believe he wants us to have an inner joy in our lives.  I believe we can experience “Happiness” in sporadic times in our lives.  I also believe that joy can be constant, even when life is doing it’s best to bring us down.  I also believe that if you choose joy, moments of happiness happen a whole lot more often then not.

This leads us to the question of whether we can choose to be joyful or happy or not.  To believe we have the power to choose to be in that state of mind.  I know that a permanent sense of inner peace and joy is possible because I do experience it.  Whether I want to make a day happy or not is still my daily choice to make.  I can choose to be unhappy.  I can choose to be miserable.  Turning on the television or watching the news is a great way to drive away my joy.  

I challenge you to make the choice of inner joy or making the decision to have a happy day.  The choice is really yours.  How to do it?  Start by thanking God for the day and everything about it and asking him to guide you and give you inner joy.  That’s it.  Then watch what happens.

The Good News

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming:  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 9″

Just reading these words and mulling in them in your heart to be true is all you need to know that you will see eternal grace.  This is not only good news – it’s great news.  How many of us are hungry – no, starving for good news.  Everyday we are exposed to the bad in this world.  It’s what sells.  We watch shows, listen to talk radio, hear commentaries of the evil and the atriocities of this world and it makes us feel defeated.  We indulge in listening and believing in all the bad we are exposed to.  Yet, in our hearts we yearn to hear good news.  We delight when some demonstration of kindness affirms what we firmly know in the recesses of our beings — people are basically good.  Yes, we are all capable of doing wrong.  But, we were designed by our creator to be beings of good, desiring good and wanting the best for our lives and the lives of those around us.  It is inherent in our DNA. 

It is also inherent in our DNA that we yearn to believe in an afterlife that we can look forward to.  Heaven.  The concept that all children know in their bones exist.  It is only after we’ve been exposed to the frailities of human nature do we start to doubt.  And it is in our stubborn independence do we lose our natural tendency to depend on God. 

I really don’t care what religious upbringing you may have been exposed to, or whether you are faithful to that affliation or not.  What I do care about, dear reader, is that you have FAITH in your GOD.  That you understand the words of Romans 9.  That if you can speak these words in your heart of hearts you can be assured Heaven will await for you.   This is the Good News. 

If you’ve been a continuous reader of my blog you will know that I have stepped away for the last year in doing any additional writing.  Life has been good and I’ve been very busy.  But, I hope to start adding more blog entries in the future.  Know, dear reader, you are important to me.  Know I want only the very best life for you.  You can have the best— but know it can only be had if you depend on GOD to provide that life to you.  This should be of no great surprise to my readers.  If you are new to this blog — enjoy the past entries.  The messages are applicable to all.  Thank you for being a reader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Mary

February of this year marked the 50th anniversary of the infamous British Invasion that took place when the Beatles came to the United States and played to the American audience on the old classic Ed Sullivan Show.  The world was turned upside down from the introduction of this iconic group.  The 2014 Grammys provided their audience with an opportunity to reminisce down memory lane by going back 50 years and introducing us again to that fateful day.

It was fun to relive that period.  I remember it well.  I too was extremely caught up with the Beatles that came to my radar in the Fall of 1963.  I introduced them to my grade school buddies months before they appeared on the Sullivan show.  One of the most touching moments of the Grammy tribute was the performance of Paul McCartney’s composition: Let It Be. 

I’ve heard this song hundreds of times over the last 50 years, and have it on one of the original albums in my collection. The grammey tribute provided some background on Paul. Having now the context in which this song was written gave it a whole different meaning for me.  Paul’s mother was named Mary.  She died when Paul was still a very young man of 15.  He adored his mother and this song is a tribute to the wisdom she instilled in Paul.  When I truly listened to words of Let It Be with this context of words of wisdom from a mother who was taken away way too early in her child’s life, it brought me to tears.

Let It Be, Let It Be, Let It Be.  These are words that instruct one to release from the heart any pain, anger, vengeful feelings that may result from life’s difficulties.  Paul’s mother instructed her son to release the need for revenge, to release the need to hate.  No matter what life throws your way – just LET IT BE.  What greater gift could a parent give a child then the ability to know that the secret to a joyful loving life is to release — to just LET IT BE. 

By the fact that Paul wrote this memorable, beautiful song many years later honoring the memory of his mother and her wisdom, tells me that he learned the value of releasing anger, vengeance and pain.  He followed his mother’s advise and the end result has been a remarkable incredible magical life. 

)

Chill Out

As I write this most of the nation is experiencing record-breaking snow and severe weather conditions.  They are so bad, in fact, that cities have shut down completely.  We are forced to stop in our tracks and in essence “chill out”.  I have found in my life that God has an incredible way of getting my attention.  Part of this attention getting has been to stop me dead stop in my tracks.  I am by nature a very active and independent woman who has a myriad of commitments and obligations.  Even though I consider myself “retired” I still find I have a schedule that would make most shudder.

About five years ago God made it very clear that I was spending way too much time with distractions that He didn’t deem worthy of all my energy.  So He stopped me dead in my tracks.  I ended up in the hospital for a three week period and with an extremely lengthy recovery period.  I wasn’t even allowed to drive for six months.  Living on the West coast where driving is mandatory to get anywhere you have no idea how much my life was interrupted.  But, I realize now that this is the way God gets our attention.  If we don’t take the time to know Him and acknowledge Him in the manner He deems worthy, He will implement a way to get our attention.

I believe that when we experience things like these severe weather storms that shut down full cities it’s God’s way of saying “slow down, chill out”.  For how do we spend a day or days when we cannot get in our vehicles and get to the busyness of life?  We stay home, enjoy the kids (well maybe enjoy may be too strong a word), find ways to reconnect with loved ones that are now forced to slow down and stay in too.  This is God’s way of saying you have other priorities that may be lacking your attention, and now I am going to force you to pay attention to those priorites:  your family, your need for rest and sleep, your need to connect with ME, your God. 

During my down time five years ago, I found a whole different side to my life that I was way too busy to pay much attention to.  My life changed for the infinite better.  Today I am a different person because of that traumatic period in my life.  Today I know and take advantage of those “chill” periods.  So when life gets interrupted know that God is using this to tell you you have to “chill out” and pay attention to what you are ignoring in your life.

A Pane of Glass

This morning as the eastern sun was streaming into my living room windows I was reflecting on how we often see the world.  Many years ago when I sat in my master bedroom in a different house, in a different state, my window also had panes of glass.  I realized that if we looked at only one small pane of glass, with the exclusion of all the others which offered a full vista of beauty, we would miss so much of what the real world offers.

This concept hit me then as it did again this morning.  We often see only what we see in front of our noses and think this is all there is.  How limiting and blindsided we can become when we look at the world through one little pane.  The pane I was focusing on only viewed a neighbors automobile and the color and glass of the vehicle.  I didn’t see the gorgeous large trees that sat in the background.  I also could not see the beauty of the blue sky and the soft puffy clouds.  I missed the flowers and greenery that sat in the forefront of the vehicle.  I missed all the beauty of nature that I am surrounded with in my home.  All I could see from this one pane of glass was an old red car and only small amounts of the vehicle at that.  It hadn’t been washed because of the rains we’ve had over the last several days so the car wasn’t exactly gleaming its best side.

But I thought, if all I focused on was this old car and saw nothing else of the full window vista (which also has its own limited views), and thought this was the whole world outside my window, I would be missing so much.

And yet, isn’t this how we often view our world?  We are only exposed to a very small pane of life and think the rest of the world is as sad as what we might be seeing just at that point in time, in that location, in those circumstances.  We fail to realize that we are NOT seeing the bigger picture and the bigger picture is awesome!

We sometimes allow the circumstances of the moment to color our vision to narrow our world into a small limited pane of glass.  I challenge you to experiment with this idea of the pane of glass.  Understand that life really is beautiful.  God’s natural world is filled with gorgeous vistas.  Our limited viewing is like looking through a small pane of glass and thinking we see the whole world.

A Man of Integrity

In these times of loud, obnoxious and meaningless blather that fills our world of media, we ocassionally come across of someone who is making a positive difference in this world.  One such man, who I am proud to call a friend, is Bob Votruba.  He is the creator of One Million Acts of Kindness (www.onemillionactsofkindness.org). 

Bob was moved by the senseless acts of violence that took lives at Virginia Tech University in 2007.  His heart broke at the thought that one violent act could devastate the lives of so many.  One could question why such random acts of violence occur.  We have all been touched by knowing someone whose life may have been taken by another who had so little disregard for the santity of life.  Bob was compelled in 2009 to leave behind a thriving business and the comforts of a life well made, to live in a bus and tour all the campuses in the United States over a ten year period, and promote the concept of KINDNESS.  He has devoted himself to urging everyone he meets to vow to make a Million Acts of Kindness in their lifetime.  I have taken this vow and have that pledge hanging on my office wall to daily remind myself that kindness is the ONLY way to approach this life.  Afterall, that was the only reason Jesus walked this earth, to be the embodiment of kindness.  To show all of us that this was what God expects of everyone. 

Our society today seems to relish in the debasement of the human condition by promoting just the opposite.  It is individuals like Bob Votruba that force us to reexamine what we are really meant to be while living this life. 

Bob has reached out to me to share this following message.  I am putting it on my blog so that all of you, my dear readers, can help support Bob’s efforts to continue with his ten-year plan.  I urge you to consider taking the pledge AND to helping Bob in his efforts to meet this worthy goal.

fundly.com/the-kindness-bus-tour

Meaningful Prayer

I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6

The following is taken from the devotional A Daybook of Grace:  “Stop a moment and think.  Is it not often the case, when men stand up to pray in public, or kneel down to pray in private, that they are thinking far more of what they are asking for than they are of the the great God who made heaven and earth, and who has all power?    Is it not often the case that in our prayers our thoughts are wandering off everywhere?  We take the name of God on our lips, but there is no real conscious approach to God in our hearts.

“If there is to be any power in our prayers, if our prayer is to get anything, the first thing to be sure of when we pray is that we really have come into the presence of God, and are really speaking to Him.”

How powerful are these words when you actually stop and think about them.  We often resort to prayer in times of loss, pain or desparation.  We call out to God.  But do we really stop to think about the true majesty of being able to make requests of the Creator of all Life and the implications of that?  Would you be so cavalier if you had the opportunity to meet and talk to the President of our Country?  To the Queen of England?  To a “hero” of a past or current generation?  You would probably be tongue-tied or just a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of that opportunity.  Yet we give so little thought to the way we approach our relationship with God.  There are even some who scoff that God is even there for them.  Yet, if you were about to breath your last few minutes here on this earth would you be so cavalier?  Or would fear or concern of the next transition cause you to have a greater respect for God’s presence?

Do you want to have God’s favor?  Would you love to have a guarantee of God’s grace when you do prayer for a need or desire?  The way to build that guarantee is to humbly approach God and to speak from the heart.  To make a concious decision to build a relationship with God during the course of your life.  To realize He IS the Creator, the Almighty and to respect the bigness of that.  God wants our worship.  God wants our praise.  God wants our gratitude.  God wants that relationship.  The question is –Do you?