IT’S A BOLD FACED LIE!

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Illustrated by my beautiful niece, Kasandra Ford

We have a dog…his name is Sparky.  My husband and I never thought we’d have a dog or any pet for that matter.  However, someone found this cute little ball of fur on the side of the road and posted a picture of him and we all just fell in love.  We did research the best we knew how…GOOGLED IT…and it looked as though this type of dog wouldn’t get too big or shed too much.

Soooo now we have a massive Border Collie/Pyrenees mix that sheds ALL OVER the place AND thinks our 8 year old son is in his pack!  He’s really a pretty good dog except for the fact that when he wants to play, he plays like a pack dog would, so he’s nipping and growling at our son.  Not cool!

Well the other day (just like any other day) he’s trying to “play” with my son and I get really angry and yell “STOP!” then I tap him on the nose and throw him outside.  (He weighs at least 100 pounds now so it was more like I pushed or scooted him outside).  However, at that moment (unlike all the other times), I heard God say to me, “How are you going to love people who KNOW they are doing wrong, when you get so mad at your dog who doesn’t EVEN KNOW that what he is doing is wrong?”  I know that sounds crazy….but it was a huge heart check for me.  Yes, I was trying to protect my child, but there was no compassion, no gentle correction, no training, just wrath and that’s how I was treating people too!

I’ve always known that God has called us to love everyone.  I’ve even “preached” it.  Hate the sin, but love the sinner.  However, I wasn’t really DOING it.  I believe there was a huge lack of compassion there…especially for those who KNEW they were doing wrong.  Before this “revelation”, my conversation with God could have been something like this:

Me: “Really God?  It’s a bold faced lie and I’m just supposed to show them love?”
God: “YES!”
Me: “Okay, but I hope something bad happens so they learn their lesson”.
God:  “Well, I’d like them to learn their lesson WITHOUT something bad happening.”
Me: “But then they would just get away with lying to me”.
God: “You? What do they owe to YOU?”

Yeah….ouch!  If there is a lack of loving others, it stems from pride. I mean, think about it…the fall of man began with pride.  Besides, I’d be fooling myself if I said I had never lied to God or willingly sinned and guess what…He STILL loves me.  He still shows me compassion and favor.  He is humble, gentle and caring.

Oh Father, show me how to love like you do!  Show me how to display love like Jesus did when He walked this earth.   Let my heart overflow with compassion for those being attacked by evil…EVEN THOSE who surround themselves with it intentionally.  Let me look upon each of YOUR created masterpieces with admiration and love, seeing them for who YOU created them to be.  When someone is about to trap themselves in a lie, give me the desire to FREE them instead of catching them.  You never desire for us to fail so that we may learn.  Your plan for us is to succeed WITHOUT disaster.  Thank you Father!  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” –  1 John 4:7-8

WHAT AM I GOING TO BENEFIT FROM THIS?

benefits-career-life-management-consultingEver find it hard to work for something if you aren’t receiving any of the benefits?  When we go looking for a job, what is the first question we ask?  “What benefits does it come with?”  I believe it’s something we learn as children.  Honestly, I’m even teaching my own children that.  “Do your chores and you will get allowance.” “Finish your dinner and you will get desert.”  Our minds are being trained that if we do something good, we get something for it.

What happened to just doing something good JUST BECAUSE we are supposed to?  Obeying JUST BECAUSE God says we should.

Or….how about this?  Doing what God tells us to so that SOMEONE ELSE can reap the benefits?  Why are we not instilling that concept into our children?   I wonder how it would work if I said, “Eat your dinner and your sister gets to eat desert.” Or “Do you chores and your brother will get paid.”  Doesn’t this seem like a better way to teach our children how to love and serve others unconditionally?

King David understood that.  He had a heart that wanted to please God (at least most of the time).  David honored his word and honored God JUST BECAUSE he loved God.  “One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive—anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” David didn’t HAVE to do this.  He chose to and Mephibosheth received the benefits from it.

“I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.  You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table.”2 Samuel 9:9-10

David fought for God and it didn’t matter if he received the benefits or if someone else did.  In 2 Samuel 23:10 it says, “Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled.  He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!”  His army left him and Eleazar ALONE to fight this battle and yet David still allowed them to benefit from the victory.

As followers of Christ…this HAS to be our mentality.  We HAVE to grasp this concept.  Do good for the benefits of others NOT for self. That’s what Jesus did.  He laid down his life for US.   Our reason for being here is to fellowship with God and when we grasp the importance of that relationship, we will want to share it with others for THEIR benefit, not ours.

Galatians 2:20 says that we are to die to self.  To me I believe that means we shouldn’t go into this new life we’ve been given asking, “What am I going to benefit from this?” but instead…”Use me God for the benefit of others!”

MY DAD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR DAD!

c41e0cfbdb77b1f38ed84b1cdfa488bdHave you ever experienced that playground bully that was just too big and bad for you to take on yourself, so your only response could be, “Well, my dad is bigger than your dad!” As a child, we are confident that we have someone bigger on our side, so all is good. We can walk away from a battle and even intimidate the one trying to fight us.

As adults, we seem to take on the battles our self.  Why do we do that?  Why don’t we trust that there is someone bigger on our side who can take care of the situation for us?

What was really happening on that playground?  Was it really just about a kid who wanted to punk on you because he was getting punked on by his older brother?  Maybe so…but why?  Because there was a seed planted in him and the bad fruit that was coming forth from that seed…was trying to be planted in you.  A seed of fear, rejection, inferiority, lack of self confidence, etc., which would ultimately remain with you through adulthood.  However, when you stood up to that bully with authority…they had to walk away.

Those same seeds are trying to be planted in you everyday.  The enemy’s little minions are trying to bully you into believing you are fearful, inferior, rejected, lonely, depressed, worthless, etc.  The list goes on. Guess what though….your Father is bigger than their father, Satan, the father of lies.  You have to recognize this, stand up to them and say, “My Dad is bigger than your dad!”

Recognize this in your children’s lives too. The enemy’s plan is to attack while they’re young because there is less of a chance of them believing and living out the plans God has for them.  Pray that God will show you when those attacks come.   Pray about what movies they watch, music they listen to, shows they’re into, friends they’re talking with.  Seeds are being planted ALL THE TIME.  What kind of fruit will you be seeing?

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”Galatians 3:26

A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”Matthew 7:17-20

WHAT’S CHAPPIN’ YOUR HIDE?

A guy too angry with green shirts

I heard an epic message this week from my pastor on ANGER.  The best point I took from it was this.  “Anger is a choice.”  So I just had to share it because already, it has made me think before getting angry…especially with my kids.

I’ve had to ask myself…”Do I really want to CHOOSE to be angry over something that spilled?  How many times have I spilled something (and their hands are smaller than mine)?  What good is getting angry going to do anyway?”

With my husband, if he forgets one item on the list of 20 things I give him, do I REALLY want to CHOOSE to be angry with him over that?

Maybe you’re saying, “Well sometimes I have a RIGHT to be angry.” Okay…well think about ALL the things you have done wrong in your lifetime!  Okay…let’s not go back that far.  Just think about things you have done wrong this week! Have you lied, lost your temper, spoken badly about someone?  Used God’s name in vain?  Have you done anything that could cause God to be unhappy with you or even angry?  If we really thought about it, we probably have.  HOWEVER….guess what!?  He’s NOT!  God has already forgiven us for everything we would ever do wrong in our entire lifetime!

Soooo if God isn’t getting angry with US….what RIGHT do we have   to be angry with anyone else?

Anger is a choice….so my advice….choose not to be!  Then forgive and see what a difference that makes in you and everyone around you.

An angry person starts fights, a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sins.” –  Proverbs 29:22 

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

THAT’S NOT WHAT I ASKED FOR!

Young female trying to give a gift to her sister who is rejecting it. Studio isolated shot.

Have you ever been embarrassed by your child receiving a birthday gift and replying with, “That’s not what I asked for!”  Can you imagine?? How bad would you feel for the person who gave the gift?  What if it was you?

As a parent, I usually try to give my kids more than what they ask for or better than what they ask.  However, they may not always recognize it for what it is.

The Israelites, for example, asked for a King and they received one, King Saul.  However, I guess they were expecting him to be from the greatest tribe of all of them and because he wasn’t, they complained “How can this man save us?” and refused to bring him gifts.

When the people wanted our Messiah to come and He came born to a virgin, son of a carpenter, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger…it wasn’t what they were expecting and they rejected Him.

What might you have asked God for and He gave it to you….but it wasn’t in the package you were expecting?  Did you receive it or have you rejected it?

Maybe you asked God for a promotion and instead you lost that job and had to start at the bottom somewhere else?  Maybe in less time there you would be in a higher, more influential position than you ever could have been before.  Did you receive it or reject it?

Maybe you asked God for a tall, dark, and handsome man to sweep you off your feet and instead He sent you a short, chubby, pale man of God who would treat you with respect and admiration, and would love you unconditionally.  Did you reject him or receive him?

Or maybe you asked for God to make you a mommy and you were totally expecting to become pregnant and instead, He sent you a child who needed you as their mommy.  Did you receive that child?  Or reject them?

God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect Him to …but He always answers our prayers….we just have to decide if we will reject it or receive it.

But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts” – 1 Samuel 10:27

Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.” – Mark 6:3

YOU GOTTA TASTE THIS!

cookieI was sitting across from a 2 year old little boy and his grandpa the other day.  They were eating and his grandpa said, “Wow, he’s really good…he’s eating all the other stuff and hasn’t even touched his cookie!”  His mom looks over at him and grins.  She says, “That’s only because he hasn’t tasted it yet.”

As soon as she said it, immediately something dropped in my Spirit.  I saw that cookie as the Word of God.  It’s there…it’s RIGHT THERE for any of us to grab a hold of and enjoy.  Yet so many people aren’t experiencing how delightful it is because they just haven’t tasted it yet. They just don’t know.   So his grandpa put it in front of his grandson’s mouth and said, “Here try this, it’s really good!”

As believers, that’s what we need to be doing…we need to be putting the Word of God in front of people and telling them how great it is.  Show them God’s promises and provisions.  Don’t just sling around “Thou shalt not this, thou shalt not that”.    People need to know how GOOD God’s word is or they won’t have any desire to taste it.

I’m pretty sure once he got a hold of that cookie, nothing else on that plate was going to taste quite as good!

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” – Psalms 34:8