“We have the opportunity to learn from yesterday and renew our minds, actions and words today that we may look forward to tomorrow.” Julie Wolfe
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN
Here we are in not only a new year but a new decade. I honestly did not think I would see 2020. I also did not see me still in a state of transition. I get down and feel like I have lost vision because “it has taken too long” to move into the work of love God had fired up in our hearts or painful events have distracted me.
But God…. Has a plan and a purpose for everything that comes. God can use anyone or anything to remind us that He is faithful and has not given up on us no matter how hurt and distracted we become.
As Christians, we hear the question “Why do we have trials or troubles?”. “Why does God allow bad things to happen to me?”
Even as Servants, teachers, leaders and pastors we all experience trials that we don’t understand the why.
Today, God dropped into my Facebook, a video teaching from Joyce Meyer regarding this very topic of trials in our lives and 4 purposes of these trials.
Joyce laid out points of thought for this topic that has given me an attitude adjustment and exposed my own distraction from the faith that God knows what He is doing and what it will take for me to be effective for His purpose and kingdom. We would like to share this with you, may it touch your heart and mind to persevere in the process.
Paraphrasing the list:
1. Keep us humble – When all always goes well, we build the attitude of pride or judgement of others and forget our need of God, our provider, healer, comforter and so much more. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
2. It is not about what God should do for us but who He is.
(2 Corinthians 1:8, 9)
3. To test and strengthen our faith, even remind us that faith is essential.
(1 Peter 1:7)
4. To equip us to help others. (2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4)
As I listened to her words it brought to my mind the story of Joseph in Genesis.
Genesis 50:20, here Joseph’s brothers showed up in great need and found Joseph in charge of that which could save them. The brother they had sold into slavery, they were afraid to face him for what he might do to them.
I recommend reading from verse 15 -21. Joseph had experienced great trials and yet persevered in faith and understanding that God is faithful and will use the trials for good and showed forgiveness and mercy to his brothers.
Satan would rather Joseph sent the brothers away to starve and die. But God used Joseph’s trials to bring him to his destiny, for He knew what was to come and that Joseph would meet their need.
Glory to God that He still uses our trials to perfect us for His glorious purpose that we would not have accomplished any other way.
As for “trials are a punishment”… Even though we may experience consequences by our own decisions or someone else’s, what the enemy determines for evil and destruction, God makes for good.
God can and will use our trials and if we take advantage of those opportunities. Those trials will build within us strength, perseverance and compassion that one day we will help others.
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I grew up in a time where we had very limited TV programing. We had 4 channels, ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS. Each were off the air around midnight and on at 6am. Signing off and on with the national anthem. One station in particular, during the 10pm news would ask “Parents, where are your children?” Now a days, it could be, “Children, where are your parents?”
Anyway, much of the programming was family oriented, where families were loyal, supportive and usually in agreement. Helping each other without grumbling.
I see many friends with their near perfect families, hanging out together, communicating well, always respecting each other.
As I have grown older, my children have also grown now with families of their own, and my parents are aging and need more help. Over the last many years my husband and I would spend a good amount of time making sure things were getting done.
Come to find out I am not an only child, but was acting like it. I felt things were not happening so I did them. When I started making some bigger decisions or encouraging bigger decisions I needed to include the other members of my family. Just because they were silent did not mean they did not have input. Unfortunately I brought a large old wound to the surface that I did not realize existed in my family member.
Wow….They were very angry and as a result I felt excruciating pain that created knots in my heart and stomach.
It took a bit for me to be still and listen to my Father God. He let me know He loves me, that I am special and He has me. He reminded me that things happen to people, even those we love, that effect the way they think and act. Things I had no idea about. Things that may not have been shared, until now. I have to realize that when others lash out at me, it may not have anything to do with me, I may be just a convenient target but that does not mean that I should be a punching bag. Even though I may never know the root of their pain, I am to love them, apologize for my part, set boundaries and may need to keep my distance, out of target range, until things cool off. I need to work through and release the hurt I have felt in the process. All meanwhile, because life goes on, do the things that I need to do.
A precious friend shared with me that all families have some level of dysfunction. Even those who seem to have it all together. It is all in how to get past the situation.
Our current circumstances are just that. They are temporary, and may not be what they seem. Here are a few great passages to refer to when things go sideways.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7, how he and his lived by faith not by sight. This was not just when they felt like they needed it, but as a way of life.
We are also told not to lean unto our own worldly understanding. Read Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Thirdly “we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) We are not fighting our friend or family member but against the evil that is using them, their hurts and or fears or even our own hurts and fears.
I cannot change anyone but myself. So to change the pain I feel I must change how I think. What God says of us is more important than what anyone else thinks or says. I have been the queen of “people pleasing” and when someone was angry with me or did not like me, I was crushed. I have found that to please everyone all the time is an unrealistic expectation of myself or others that will only lead to disappointment and pain.
Most importantly I need to be focused on pleasing God. Be ready, this may not be popular with some people.
Now I look at those family programs I watched as a kid compared to the reality shows we see on TV now-a-days. They tended not show the reality of family dynamics in an attempt to let people feel good, maybe as much as the reality shows now over-exaggerate relationship dynamics for a whole other feeling of anger, aggression, lust and judgement, whatever sells.
When we hurt or have anxiety about a situation, we are to first seek God as our provider and our fortress and give our worries and fears to Him. Also remember we have the Authority, through Christ Jesus, to give notice to satan and his minions, he cannot have our family or friend and to leave them alone in Jesus name. AMEN!
A fitting Prayer could be…. With a little twist….
Grant me the peace to accept the things I cannot change
Patience for the things that need time
To take action to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
The Rest of the Story – No Record of Wrongs
Recently, our family had gotten together for a day on the boat. My daughter-in-love talked about how, at work if a co-worker found your phone they would take some crazy picture with it, unknown to you until a later time. Very fun…
So a couple days later my husband and I were at certain Home improvement store. He had left his phone in the truck. I offered to return to the truck and retrieve the phone.
When I had the phone in my hand, I noticed the semi crazy way he parked and was reminded of the story I had heard a few days earlier. I took the picture with his phone and returned the phone to my husband.
It did not take long that he found the picture.
I was just trying to be funny, but boy, it really back fired. For the next week my husband took a picture every time he parked, crazy or not and text it to me. Eventually, pics of other crazier parkers showed up as well.
I can only image what injury and anti-peace that would have ensued if I would have pursued the original plan weeks before.
I had to raise the white flag and apologize for my actions. I could not be mad, he is not the only wild parker. Lol…. More proof he is normal, he says.
Moral of the story, keep no records of wrongs and keep your phone in a safe place, like your pocket.
No Record of Wrongs
To set up this story, my husband’s driving tends to make me crazy, even his parking.
One morning, on our way to church no less, we stopped at the grocery store for a coffee. I was already stirred up due to his driving habits to get there. He parked, got out and walked into the store. I, of course, noted his crazy crooked parking. Not all the way into the space, across the lines and sticking out into the drive way. Side note, there was almost no one in the parking lot and it did not impact anyone but me. I promptly pulled my phone out and prepared to take pictures for evidence of his “poor driving and parking habits”. I am thinking, I could show him his error, or show people to get sympathy and ammunition to use against him.
But God, quickly put the kabosh on my plans. The Holy Spirit dropped a reminder into me, “Love does not keep records of wrongs”.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, well known love passages, starting at verse 5 “it (love) does not dishonor, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…”
I was preparing to keep a lot of records of his wrongs. Wow, where was my heart? Would I be showing God’s love? Not just no, but …. NO!! I put my phone back into my purse.
His driving and parking referred to in this story was not unsafe. It was that he does not do it the way I would, his motivations for how he drives are different than mine, as a man and a woman we think differently. Me being irritated is ultimately my issue. I was judging him not loving him.
Now understand there are times it is necessary to document when there are true safety issues or abuse. We must be very aware of our hearts motivations in these circumstances.
Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.”
Sometimes we feel we have been wronged by our spouse and maybe they sought forgiveness or maybe they did not but we granted forgiveness. But did we really if are we keeping the records to add up or to pull out and throw at them when we are angry.
Try this fun exercise. Read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. I recommend New International Version, The Amplified Bible or the The Passion Translation or the like. Put your name in the place of love or it. For example; Julie is patient, Julie is kind, Julie does not boast and so on. Because we strive to be more like Christ, to exhibit the Love of God, This is helpful to periodically evaluate where we are and remind us what love should be like in our life. It is about our heart.
Reminder, we are all human and have failings, we are not to condemn ourselves but to recognize, confess, allow God to make the changes and move forward.
“Today is a new day, we can learn from yesterday, change our thoughts, words and actions today that we may look forward to tomorrow.” Julie Wolfe
Let Them See You
It is really easy to go along in our day not thinking about how our attitude, words and actions effect those around us.
What do they see when they look at us and see us in action?
I hear music frequently throughout my day at work and today I walked into another department playing a popular national Christian music station. Mind you I work in a secular health care facility. On the radio a song by JJ Weeks was playing…. Let Them See You.
Please make the opportunity to find it and listen.
I stopped and sang along quietly. As I sang and listened to the words my heart broke. I asked myself, in my actions and words today, are people able to see God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in me? Was I walking in the Love of God or was I grumbling? Was I blessing or was I cursing? Was I seeing the good or only the bad? I cried in the elevator on my way back to my own department.
We need to stop and evaluate ourselves, our thoughts, words and actions. At work or at home is God visible in our lives or are we walking by the world’s standards. Are we pointing people toward God or away from Him, especially those who are closest to us, our families?
My prayer: “Let them see You in me…”
Daddy’s Little Girl
All children need a daddy or solid father figure. Daddies with daughters have a special responsibility.
I was talking with a friend at work recently about the importance of both parents in a family. She made a statement to the young dad in the room, how she said it, was so profound I asked her if I could post her comment.
She said, “As a Daddy you need to dance with your daughter, tell her she is beautiful, treat her like a princess because she will one day drag home a boy just like you.” Wow…. This is a truth that too often dads don’t understand in their own youth and ignorance regarding their daughters.
Because girls, as they grow up, need to know what qualities to look for in a man and in turn what to avoid. Be the example that they see and experience, so they can recognize the good and right for themselves as adults. This not only applies to girls but to our young men. They need to know how to treat a woman, how to be a gentleman, and find a woman that will allow them to be a gentleman.
Manners, etiquette and respectfulness is something that our culture is convincing our young people is outdated, passé and unnecessary. Wow is all I can say to that.
We want our children to have strong and safe relationships. They need to know what that looks like. The example we set in their childhood will make a deeper impact than anything we tell them later. Now we also need to understand that we can only do what we can do. As adults, it is up to our children to make good decisions using the training and wisdom they got as a child.
LET’S BE INTENTIONAL
Good afternoon friends,
Being intentional is key to any relationship, especially marriage.
I had a friend come into town after she had moved away 20+ years ago. Even though we were great friends in the day, we both really neglected to stay in touch for what ever our reasons were at the time. We each had thought about each other but did not act. Time passed by so quickly with all the life altering things that we had missed.
All too easily, this type of thing happens with our spouse. It seems silly to say when we live in the same house, but without being intentional our spouses can become distant, feel like we have “grown apart” when in reality our priorities got out of order or we got lazy and neglected our relationship, for what ever the reason or excuse.
We often are very busy in our daily lives, jobs, kids, extra activities that under normal circumstances are fine and dandy. But when we lose track of the hours, days, years, our relationships suffer.
To think about loving our spouse is great, but it is the action that matters. They need to know they matter to us. They need us to pour into their “love tank”. Warning! If we don’t, someone else will and that is a whole other conversation for another time.
If you have never taken the “Love Language test” by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend it. The just of it is that we each feel loved or receive love differently, and it takes being intentional to help your spouse feel loved. This can be a tool for all your important relationships, for he has written a book on this topic for each relationship type.
What about your relationship with God, have you neglected Him? With God as our source He has an even higher priority. This relationship, will pour out onto all other relationships including and most importantly our marriage. We must be intentional to make time for and to invest time with God, seeking Him, in prayer, conversation, thoughts, reading the Word (the bible) etc.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
You may need to pull the weeds in your life. Some things may look pretty or are just plain opportunistic, having watered them they are overgrowing your life garden. Evaluate your priorities God, spouse, children, job and then extended family, ministry, etc. and limit or remove the things or relationships that are stealing your time and energy. It is important!
Take and make the time to be intentional and invest in God, for He will not leave or forsake you (see verse Deuteronomy 31:6, and Hebrews 13:5 in the bible no matter the version), and He has better for you than you could ever want for yourself ( read Jeremiah 29:11).
Invest time and energy and being intentional in your marriage, that it will last a life time.
Are You Busy?
Good Morning our Friends,
Whew! This has been a busy week. Here it is Friday already and I have a list of things unfinished.
“Busy”… I used to think that was a good thing, but now I am not so sure. My understanding of busy was that it was the opposite of bored and that bored was bad, idle hands and all.
I think it’s wrong in my case. Being busy can be a distraction from what important.
I can’t do this, that or the other thing because I’m too busy doing something else that isn’t as important as but easier than something else. It may be only an excuse to delay something more important that I may consider to be unpleasant or more difficult.
Mmmmm, wow, ouch… is that true in your life too. I will save “right order” and “wasting vs investing time” for another post.
Some of these distractions are delaying the blessings of God, keeping us from doing the things God prepares us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
I feel like a kid that my dad gives me a direction and I respond.. “Yeah, okay, after I get these other things done” that I think are more important. Meanwhile, after I get my “more important” things done, I missed the trip to the treat shop for ice cream with my dad. Now I think to myself, “my response should’ve been, Yes and get it done.”
Distractions can be used by the enemy to keep us from God’s best because satan will use any foothold, whether a crack or cavernous void, that we make available to him. Much of the time we don’t realize that we are doing it until we miss the bus.
Ephesians 5:15-17 “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (NIV)
But God, loves us so much. He knows our heart and is actively pursuing us. His will and timing are perfect. If God says “now”, now is the best time for the best result.
He will give us more opportunities but will also allow the consequences of our decisions to put it off.
I recommend that when God gives us a job to do, no matter how small or large, we trust his direction and respond yes, and act on it without hesitation. As we act swiftly, God will hold the bus for us because He knows the benefit at the end. Let’s get on that bus together!
Don’t Get Distracted
Good Morning Friends,
We hope all had a magnificent Independence Day, enjoying good company and stayed safe.
We also want to take a moment to thank ALL who have given of themselves that we all may enjoy the freedoms we have today. Also honor to those who fight and have fought to restore and or maintain our Christian heritage in this country.
The enemy, would have us be distracted. Anger, bitterness and apathy makes it easier that as the thief, to kill, steal, destroy and divide to conquer families, communities and country. After all, by the Spirit, the family is where we should learn and practice love, joy, peace, patience and perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
I was listening to a song on the radio this morning, “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns. The truth in the words are like a knife to those who dare to listen. “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, be careful little feet where you go”… How do we protect our children, ourselves and our communities and country from the evil that deceives us and slowly steals our innocence, peace and joy?
Too often our families suffer with generations of dysfunction to the point we don’t know what we don’t know. When will we put our foot down and scream out “WE MUST STOP THIS INSANITY”, and call out to God? We must make a conscience decision to stop the dysfunction and remove ourselves if others insist on continuing. The lies and deceptions of the enemy have us convinced that life will cease if we stand up for right. “It might hurt someone’s feelings” or “we don’t have any other place to go” and so forth.
I will speak for myself, Juliah, I grew up a people pleaser. It would paralyze me to think that I hurt someone’s feelings and that they would not like me anymore. Even way into my adulthood, I was more worried about what people thought about me or even more my husband, than what God thought of us. I thought I was peacekeeping, but it was and is pathologic passivity. I still occasionally experience the terror of what someone else will think… It takes faith, that God has our back, prayer that we acknowledge our weaknesses and need God, and practice taking action to get beyond ourselves.
Now don’t get me wrong, doing or saying something with the intention of offending or injuring is wrong. What are your motivations for the things you think or do? Faith or fear, love or bitterness, selflessness or selfishness or, God forbid, revenge? Something we need to evaluate constantly.
1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)
All things are to be truth in love. It is ultimately up to the other person to decide to be offended or not. We cannot control what others think… We always do our part in love with right motivation and God will honor it. Starting with our families and working our way out… Our families deserve our best…