Since the tornado of 2005, the Evansville area has had a lot of weather warnings. It isn’t always easy to distinguish between the thunderstorm siren and the tornado warning siren but since we are generally home, I don’t stress about it. I can check the tv, radio, or weather tweets on my Twitter account.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
My guess is that when God inspired these words in Philippians, He knew that whatever one dwells on, one ends up expressing. You know how it is–whatever you ponder in your heart and mind eventually makes it to your lips.
And so it is incredibly important to consider what you ponder. Do you marinate a certain frustrating encounter that ends up creating or feeding an anger and intolerance for that other person in your heart? Do you find yourself ruminating over someone’s words or actions to the point of getting really fired up about getting even or at least getting a good dig in?
I hate it when I fall into that trap!
If dwelling on false, lowly, wrong, impure, ugly, repulsive, imperfect, or unworthy things is tripping you up, make a conscientious choice to focus your thoughts on other things. Having a hard time doing this on your own? Ask God to help you and He certainly will!
And as you express yourself, consider your words and the example they set. Encouraging words in this day and age are like a precious bloom amidst some weeds–so refreshing!
Lord, Teach me to measure my words and to consider dwelling, truly dwelling, on Your Word alone!
The other day I was walking to the Post Office to check the mail for our business. It was a sunny day so I had worn my sun glasses. I was alone and so my mind wasn’t being directed, which is always refreshing because it is rare with our busy house to be alone without conversation or music.
My thoughts usually flit around quite a bit when I am in a place of quiet and that day I was thinking about the bright sun and then The Son which brought me to remember this song I love–“Give me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath– which led me to ponder how our sunglasses can filter out rays that make it challenging to see and even harmful sun rays. And can’t God do the very same thing with what we see?
Most of the time I just see life and people through my eyes and experiences. I think it is fair to say we all do this most of the time. It takes an intentional effort to see someone the way God sees them. It also takes an effort to see ourselves the way God sees us.
Forgiven. Redeemed. Renewed.
Lost. Struggling. Confused.
Spend some time this week thinking about how you look at others and how you look at yourself. Are you full of grace for others but condemn yourself regularly? Do you grant yourself loads of forgiveness but hold back with others?
How would God’s perspective help your vision? Ask God to help you see others the way He sees them. It will take practice because it certainly isn’t our natural way of doing things, but letting God transform what you see will transform your life!
The other day I had some soup bones I needed to use up and so I decided to make Hungarian soup. The Hungarians make many different soups so to call this one item ‘Hungarian soup’ is kind of crazy but that is what it affectionately came to be known as in my family when I was growing up.
Naturally, I was thinking about all the tips and tricks my mom would mention as she was cooking the soup and I tried to execute it in a similar fashion. I felt pretty good about it but my kids like heartier, thicker soups so they were questioning how they were supposed to eat it (the carrots and potatoes were whole) and it wasn’t as satisfying to them.
There are times when something that is meaningful to you isn’t as meaningful to someone else. I don’t think it diminishes the value, but it does make it harder to create or enjoy something when others don’t really appreciate the effort. And yet, it doesn’t mean one shouldn’t make the effort.
Maybe you find yourself trying to share meaningful events during the church year with your children and they seem or state they are uninterested. Don’t lose heart. Some things are worth the effort. You likely have a connection to children in your life so take advantage of the opportunity you have to share with them. There are many ways they will catch on to the things of God without you delivering a 20 minute sermon. Let them see how you live and walk in faith. And while they may not adopt every practice you introduce to them, it is worth the effort to share with them. Their faith walk may look a little different from yours but that is ok.
When I have grandchildren, I will start them on this soup when they are young so they are used to it and grow to love it as much as I do!
Ever been in a situation where you have been betrayed, abused, violated, deceived, taken advantage of or hung out to dry? Has life thrown you some curves or tossed manure your way? Your response to those situations is incredibly important. If you allow seeds of unforgiveness, bitterness, or anger to germinate and be cultivated, pretty soon you will have quite a harvest of life-killing weeds.
The most inspiring stories you read are the ones of people who have overcome extremely difficult circumstances and gone on to forgive, share, love, sacrifice, etc. I would guess the most incredible stories somehow have God involved as He truly is the only One capable of transforming an ugly situation into something that could be a blessing to others and communicate the freedom that is found with life in Him.
What is it that you want to be growing in your life garden? If you are looking for a harvest of love, joy, or peace you need to be nurturing, watering, feeding and practicing those concepts. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and takes daily effort and weeding. Ask God for His perspective on your circumstances then ask Him to help you see things as He sees them. Allow God to shed His light on your situation.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV
Have you had to do a hard thing? Maybe it was initiate a conversation about an awkward situation or apologize for something said or maybe you needed to stand up for an unpopular idea or address a wrong. Life is full of hard things and hard conversations. Sometimes I try to avoid them for as long as I can because I am anxious about the outcome.
Are in the middle of thinking you need to do a hard thing?
- Pray and ask God for His guidance. Sometimes this will be the only action taken.
- Consider your motives.
- Seek out a discerning and trusted individual~one who will not just blindly agree to anything you say~share your thoughts and request their insight.
- Allow time for your ideas to marinate. Sometimes I create my own ‘hard thing’ moments by jumping the gun and not processing long enough. You may find this ‘hard thing’ does not require your action at this time.
- Ask for prayer support from trusted individuals. You do not need to divulge private information as God knows the details.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!” Ephesians 3:19-21 NIV
When I was younger, I loved to push the limit and see how close to the line I could come. I used to resent boundaries and consider them a challenge to overtake. Can you relate? Amazingly enough, I have kids who do the very same thing. It must be a part of that sinful, human nature.
I have learned many difficult lessons in life because I overstepped boundaries, didn’t enforce boundaries, and ignored boundaries. I am still learning, often the hard way. Boundaries are important in marriage, parenting, friendships, work relationships and are more than just a benefit.
Boundaries are a blessing.
Consider that God has placed boundaries around you for your protection–He tells you to stay away from certain things so you will be pure. God wants you to be safe from sin and danger and He helps you to do that by telling you things to avoid. He wants you to heed His words, for your blessing and benefit.
And wouldn’t it be great if we had no boundaries for God?
Allowed Him access to every dark corner of our lives?
Recognized that He supersedes physical boundaries by being omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent?
1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
God’s boundaries are good!