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Last Words

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Last words

 

Spoken as she breathed her last,

Her words would always haunt me.

As the death rattle gripped her,

“Thank God, at last I’m free.”

 

Words spoken in the heat of ire,

‘Ere he walked beyond the door.

“I hate you!” flung from anger.

Now he’s gone to hear no more

 

Last words, yes we may never know,

When words spoke will be our last.

So make them soft and well thought out.

For our time goes by so fast.

 

Last words entombed forever there,

In our minds for joy or regret;

For these words can be a heritage,

Or these words can be a debt.

 

Copyright 2/7/2010 Angela Masters Young

 

This poem was created in response to a Poetry Challenge by ClownRhymes on his(?) blog.  There is still time to join in if you wish.

This challenge, different to each person entering a poem, started the cogs moving.

 

Last Words as a Heritage

When we talk about last words, we often think of words spoken by a dying person to someone at his or her bedside.   We listen carefully to these last words, spoken by one we love.  We know we will hold on to them as long as we hold on to the memory of all this person means to us.  It is the cap on the heritage of a life.   Not all of us will have the opportunity to speak, or hear, the last words of our loved ones.  We never know when the words we speak will be our last, the last ones we leave with the hearer in this lifetime.

Last Words as a Horror

In the second stanza of the poem, a person screams words he or she cannot recall.  These turn out to be last words because the other person is gone (death in this case) and can no longer hear the words of regret pouring out of the screamer’s heart.  We never know when will be the last time we see someone, what will be the last words spoken.  This should urge us to always make sure the words we leave someone with will not leave us with a heart full of regret.

 

Do you keep in mind that your words may be “last words” to someone or for someone?  

What other kinds of last words do you think we can have? 

What do you want your last words to be?

As life has taught me this lesson the hard way, I want to always say, “I love you!” because they may be the last words that person hears or that person hears from me.

Communication Busters: He said, she said

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If you have a significant other, I’m absolutely sure you’ve experienced this.  He thinks she said and she thinks he said and neither one has a clue.  It reminds me of a Friends episode in which Chandler and Monica were discussing their plans.  Phoebe was writing their conversation down in a book.  Later when they realized that he thought they were to meet at one time and she thought another, Phoebe whipped out the book and said she knew it all the time, reading their former conversation to them.

If only we had a replay button (or a Phoebe)!

As my husband and I grow older, this happens more frequently.  I think it has something to do with his hearing loss.  Of course my daughter is only 24 and she only hears the first thing I say and nothing more (discussed in a previous post).  In other words, I could be wrong about the reason, but it still seems to happen to us — a LOT!

A night out starts at Best Buy

Tonight, Brian and I found ourselves alone and so decided to go out and do something.  Dates with my husband do and always have included shopping.  I’m not that big a fan, but tonight he was shopping for me, so I was down with it.  We went by Sam’s Club to grab a price check on an IPad (my promised Christmas gift from, you know – last month).  Armed with comparison information, my ever bargain-hunting husband and I headed to BestBuy to check out IPads.  That went well; questions were answered;  my husband is now thinking it over to make a decision at some later date (hopefully soon) as to which one is the best deal.  After 29 years, I would expect nothing less and have learned patience.

 

Getting our grub on

We then head to O’Charley’s and have a nice dinner.  We both had fish, he talapia and I fried something white.  It was good and we had a nice time, discussing various things that did not include our grown children or our grandchildren.  A fun time was had by all.  Even the server left happy.

 

Wally World is waiting

The next leg of our trip was to WalMart.  I needed to get some things, and we were in that area.  I am getting to the point; hang in there.  I had left my phone at home (that’s never good), so my husband said, “If we lose one another, lets meet at the front.”  I agree and we go our separate ways with our separate lists.  I pick up my items, cruise the clearance racks (my kind of shopping) and head to the food section for a couple things.  We meet at the vegetables, and he puts his stuff in my cart and asks if I’m done.  I tell him almost and say, (I swear I said this) “I’m almost done so if you want to go on out to the car, I’ll be out in a minute.”  I turn to go find my cinnamon and cereal, and he disappears.

 

 

 

He said, she said

Here it comes:  He was still  on “meet at the front”; I was on “go on out”.  He disappeared and was nowhere to be found, so I checked out and went to the car (well, it’s a van).  Anyway, no Brian!  I go back in (no keys or we’d have been there all night with me sitting in the van and him looking for me) and sit waiting, talking to my favorite WalMart greeter, Joyce.  She even peeks around looking for him.  I finally see him and holler his name.  He gives me “the look”, takes his stuff through the register and we get to the van.

The first words after the van doors close

He starts with, “I told you to meet at the front.  I was waiting and waiting and starting to get upset.”

I come back with:  “I told YOU that I was almost done and would meet you at the van.”

He:  “You did not!”

Me: “Yes I did!”

He:  “Well I didn’t hear you.”

We agreed thereafter not to argue about what I did or did not say.  The point was that he did not hear me, and so misunderstanding ensued.

 

 

 

What’s a gal to do?

So what do you do in a world where these kind of misunderstandings happen?  Do I question him after every statement to make sure he heard and understood exactly what I said?  Hearing and understanding are two entirely different things by the way.  Does he need to question me and make sure I understood everything he says?  Well, that’s one way, but somehow, misunderstandings still happen.

 

 

How about this

“This” is the stuff of sitcoms and comedy.  It happens to all of us.  The problem (well most of the time) is not that these things happen, it’s what we tell ourselves when it happens.  In this particular scenario, I didn’t get overheated, but I’ve had my moments.  But, my husband, exhausted after a day of work and an evening with me (yes, I’m exhausting), was filling his head with all kinds of lovely things about me as he stood waiting for me to show.  By the time we found each other, laughing about it was not a possibility.

What happens then

At this point, he was not very happy with me.  He was even more tired than before and not in the mood to listen to my excuses. {Admit it; you’ve been there.}  What happens is an argument about who said what, who did what, who was wrong, etc.  One or both may wind up feeling insulted or angry that they are impuned.  Does this change what happened?  Nada.  Does this help keep it from happening the next time?  Maybe, but I’m going to say Nada.  Does it help he and she to have warm fuzzy feelings for each other?  Nada.  I’m not saying the issue should not be discussed, especially if it is a chronic problem, but getting hot under the collar and blowing it out of proportion does nothing to facilitate communication between two people.

 

 

 

It is best to:

►Beware of what you’re telling yourself during the misunderstanding.

►Beware what you say to the the other person after the misunderstanding.

►Count to 10 or whatever you do to calm down, then rethink what you want to say.

►Be nice!

►Failing all that, write a blog post about it.  Oh, no, that’s just me.

Has this ever happened to you?  What happened?  How did you resolve it?  Do you lean more toward having a good laugh or strangling your mate in these situations?  What advice would you give to others (like maybe newlyweds) about these inevitable misery misunderstandings mishearings?  How do you make sure you are really heard?  Is that even possible?  Got any great stories you want to share?  The comment box is yours :)

It’s all about the heart, Part III

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In case you missed them:   All about the heart, Part 1    All about the heart, Part II

Often my “Christian” posts are a part of my study for teaching my 7th, 8th and 9th graders in Sunday School at my Church.  The same is true with Part I of this series, and follows the posts about feeding the flesh and purity.  Today I used this blog loosely as my lesson.  You see last week we learned about Purity – what it is, why it’s good for us, etc..   After class, the students were all in the hall listening to a joke that was questionable.  I’m not sure they even understood why it was questionable or why doing this right after a lesson on purity would bother their SS teacher.

The trial of “Joke Teller”   

Our first activity of the day was to put “Joke Teller”, a former student who can handle being an object lesson, on trial.  We talked about what would make the joke “wrong”.  They immediately understood that it’s off color nature was not good.  It took a while to pull out of them, however, that the joke uses the Lord’s name in vain twice.  (See the 10 Commandments)  Once they understood what that meant, it was easy to lead them to a guilty verdict, not just for “Joke Teller” but for themselves too for listening (and retelling).  The joke may not seem such a big deal to many, but it was an object lesson opportunity this teacher could not pass up!

Line? What line?

Where’s the line?

For our next activity, we divided into three teams.  Each team had yellow electrical tape on the end of a table as close to the end as possible.  The goal was for each team to compete to be the one to get their car closest to on the tape without going over.  The three winners then faced off for an over-all winner.  We then discussed part of the ways we push disobedience (as per Part I) where we try to go as close to ‘the line’ as possible or even push our toe over it.  One point I wanted them to understand was that when we walk on the line all the time, it’s very easy to fall over the line.

If you can’t see me, I’m not guilty

Our next activity involved a game where a student was blindfolded and placed in a chair.  One at a time, other students were given a chance to try to steal a treasure from under the chair without

undercover

getting caught.  The seated person could use hands and feet and movement to try to tag anyone sneaking around them.  If a ‘thief’ was tagged, he or she became the owner of the treasure.  Then we broke down the next items on the list of ways we disobey (per Part I) by sneaking and thinking that “not caught” is the same thing as “not guilty”.   We used driving as an example (even though none of my students are drivers yet).  I asked them, “What happens when a person is driving along (over the speed limit or not) and they spot a police car?”  Answer:  “Slow down!”  Question 2:  “What does the person do after they get over the hill and away from the police?”  Answer:  “Speed back up!”  {Come on, you know you’re all guilty ;) }

 

Integrity is what we do when no one is looking

Too many of us fall into the mentality that our ‘hidden’ faults aren’t that bad.  One danger here, aside from believing we can cross the line if no one sees us, is that we often tend to judge others for their failings without considering the extent of our own, especially the ones no one else knows about.

Did it ‘stick’?       

I get it already!

I sure like to think it did this time.  Games are a great way to get across to young people as object lessons.  At the end, as I was winding down and bringing them to the conclusion of the lesson, the students each had two coins in front of them they were not allowed to touch (fake ones).  The idea was for others to try to take the other’s coins without getting caught.  That didn’t happen, but as we talked, a couple students started to do/say something not right, and I saw them thought-check themselves.  For me – that’s a win!

I wanted to share the purpose of some of my recent posts for those who care to know.  You each get to make your own choices and suffer your own consequences.  I hope we’ve all learned something as we’ve walked through this together.

How important is integrity to you?

What are some other ways to show these concepts?

Do you think “not caught” is the same thing as “not guilty”?

What do you think of this series and is there anything you would like to see here?

Are there other questions or concepts you feel I could explore with my class?

It’s all about the heart

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When it comes to the things we want to do or do not want to do, we want what we want.  Anyone who has spent any time at all with a 2 year old knows the truth in this statement – we do not like it when others put boundaries on us.  Hopefully, as we grow, we learn to accept boundaries from authority figures (including God).  This is true when it comes to living pure/holy/moral lives as well.   There are several ways to respond when God/Parents/Authority figures say “No!” (or do/go/stop/etc.).

You can’t make me!     It wasn't me!

I have a grandson, Roland, who has just turned 4.  This child is and was rebelious from the get go.  He simply does not want to do something if others tell him to do it and wants to do it if they tell him not to.  In teaching him to say “I’m sorry” after accidentally hurting someone (which happens quite often), we came to a head-to-head crisis.  At the crisis point, I had him on my lap, holding him there until he said “I’m sorry”.  It was a 45 minute struggle, and I was certainly tempted to let it go.  However, I understood that this was an important thing for him to learn.  Fortunately, I am stronger than he is.  Finally, after 45 minutes, he said, “I’m sorry.”   Game over, Grandma wins.  What Roland didn’t realize is that he won too.  He had learned a lesson about boundaries and doing what’s right.

Where’s the line?

Another incident that sticks in my mind with Roland happened early on.  The molding between the family room and kitchen is the “no cross zone” at our house (at the time).  I remember well the day Roland walked up to the line.  Grandma said, “No!” firmly.  He turned, looked at me full in the eyes, and stuck his toe over the line.  His eyes said, “This is a challenge.  Do you mean what you say or not?”  Grandma took the challenge, and Roland discovered that even a toe over the line is disobedience.

There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forhead; When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid! unknown

The distraction technique

The next disobedience technique comes from my not-quite-two granddaughter.  She learned early, that if she could distract the adult telling her no, she could reach up with the other hand, swipe the item, and run like a bunny rabbit.  She thought she could get away with it if she wasn’t seen.  Of course, this didn’t work very often.  Sometimes it does work because parents can’t always see what their children are doing.  We sometimes think we can pull one over on God too, but He is never distracted.  In fact, He knew  you were going to do it before you did!

Sneaky fingers

Look over there, Gramma!

The next techinique, same granddaughter and similar in style, involves what I call sneaky fingers.  Marilyn is not allowed to touch the keys on my computer.  Of course she wants to do so– really bad.  So her techinque is to stand and watch as if she has no interest in the keys.  Soon a little hand slowly starts moving up toward the keys, slowly creeping upward with a final rush toward a key or two if she makes it close enough.  This is a form of distraction and attempt to hide her intent as well.

What??????

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The next technique I’ve seen in every child I’ve ever had in my care, but right now we’re discussing my two preschool grandchildren as my examples.  My 4 yo grandson was just potty trained.  Yes, it’s true.  He did not want to do it, and he fought every attempt.  His habit was to sneak off in a corner, an attempt to fly under the radar, and poop his pants.  As soon as he finished, he’d go right back to playing until the stench told on him.  Anytime kids are quiet . . . .   Marilyn is really good at this.  If she wants to do something, play with something, taste something, and has been told no, she will get very quiet, fall off the adult radar, and do whatever it was she wanted to do.  This falls into the category of deciet and an attempt to hide the ‘sin’ as well.

Obedience with a but…

The final category involves obedience, but with a heart attitude.  Outwardly, the obedience happens.  Inwardly, not so much.  Marilyn, when told no, stops what she’s doing and gets this hooded, gear-churning look on her face.  She will stand there like that for a minute or more.  She obeys, but Grandma knows she’s doing it out of duress and not because she wants to do it.  This is the category many Christians fall into:  I will obey you God, but in my heart, I’m really doing what I want.  This is the most insidious of the categories as well, because the attitude of disobedience is still there.

How's your heart?It’s all about the heart

Our determination to follow the rules, whether society’s, parents, or God’s, often begins and ends in the heart.  We see a police car and obey the speed limit while in view.  The minute we’re past, how many step on the gas and go right back to disobedience?  Do we think it’s OK to do something if no one is looking?  Do we step our toe over the line to see if we will get away with it?

Actions (or inactions) have consequences

Every thing we do or don’t do, every choice we make, every time we do something we know is not good for us or we’ve been told not to do, has a consquence.  The consequences can be mild or major, they may happen now or later, but they will happen.  Some of us decide experiencing the consquences is worth the momentary pleasures of the disobedience.  Some of us obey — with a but.  Some things have consequences for others.   We think we’re not hurting anyone else by our choices, but that’s not true.  Nothing we choose to do (or not do) happens in a vacuum.  Your choices effect (and affect) others.

So, what’s the point?  Ah, let’s go there.  There is a reason parents give rules.  There is a reason society gives rules.  There is a reason God gives rules.  Are they for our hurt?  Absolutely not! {Disclaimer:  I am aware some human beings may do things for our hurt – we’re talking about the rest of them.}  Do children understand all the rules their parents give them?  If only!  We may not always understand why we need to do or not do something.  Our obedience is not dependent on our understanding.  A right heart obeys because it is the right thing to do.  Understanding comes later.

Do you have a story about one of these techniques or others I have not included?

Have you ever used one of the above techniques or others to try to get your way?

Do you justify breaking rules or laws because you don’t agree with it or because it won’t hurt anyone?

What is your heart attitude?  Are you chronically disobedient?  Do you obey with a but…? 

Feel free to add your stories, questions or comments to this post.  You may be included in a future post :)

The following is for fun.  Having the granddaughter here…..

Stand Up – Veggie Tales

Communication Busters: Civility in politics?

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In a read-worthy article in Christianity today called “The Cure for Election Madness [How to be political without losing your soul]“ , Amy E. Black brings up some very good points about the political situation today.  Having recently been cursed out and called a few names by those who disagree with me politically and having them point out I’m a highly unintelligent ignoramous for my beliefs, I know exactly what she means when she discusses the lack of civility in politics.  This is nothing new, but it seems to have escalated to a great degree.

Distractors

When a person stoops to name-calling, all real debate, all communication has ceased to exist.  Both sides of the US political scene have been guilty of the incivility, especially as they approach the 2012 election cycle.  Lacking the ability to debate one’s own beliefs or substantiate one’s own claims leads to an attempt to take the voter’s eyes off the real issues.  Mud-slinging is nothing but a distractor from the real issues.  It does what the name implies and covers all the issues with mud, so that you, the voter, can only see mud – everything gets ‘muddied’, muddled, and mutilated.  It also distracts from the fact that the mud-slinger cannot express him/herself in any other way.

What about you?

Most of us have come to accept, even though we dislike it, the idea that politicians are going to dig up the other candidates, great-great-great-great-grandfather’s sordid affair with the midwife and other such superfluous issues.  However, if you discuss politics at all, you must realize that the candidates are not the only one’s slinging mud.  What happened to civility?  Why do we have to put others down for not believing as we do?  They do have the right to be wrong!  So do you!

Amy Black writes:

“If we are to seek peaceful solutions and honor God in politics, we Christians of all people must avoid such hateful talk. James 4:11 commands us to “not slander one another,” an exhortation that should extend beyond how we treat other believers. Whether talking with friends or campaigning for our favorite candidate or cause, we should engage our political opponents and their ideas with respect, welcome the opportunity to learn from other perspectives, and find ways to disagree charitably as a natural part of the political process.”

►Engage other’s ideas with respect

All people deserve respect, even if they are wrong.  Since God is very clear that none of us really understand or get it right all the time, how arrogant are we to think that our beliefs (those not specifically spelled out in the Bible) are the correct ones and that means we can disrespect who we want for whatever reason we want?  ["There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." Romans 3:11]  To be blunt:  this too is sin.  This does not mean we have to be politically correct and bow down before the forces of evil.  It does mean we disagree in a respectful, Christ-honoring manner.  Jesus was known to call a few people names, such as ‘whited-sepulchers’, but we are not Jesus.  Jesus was speaking of their spiritual condition, and pointing out the hypocrisy of their religious trappings without a relationship with their creator.

►Welcome the opportunity to learn from others

“Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  Proverbs 27:17   I frequently find, in civil discourse, that I discover some new aspect of something.  It may even lead to a change of mind, change of focus, or at least a shared understanding.  It is the lack of civil discourse which leads folks to start thinking of themselves more highly than they ought, believing they are the true founts of knowledge from which all others must drink.  Once again:  how arrogant!  At the bottom of this tendency is pride:  bow to my wishes, ideas, political beliefs, etc., or I’ll make you wish you had!  I don’t know about you, but when people go on the attack, I don’t want to discuss with them any more.  Some people seem to like arguing, but I don’t like arguing just for the sake of arguing.  That is drama.  I do enjoy a good debate, however, where each side presents their ideas in civility, actually listening to the other person instead of eating them alive for daring to disagree.  It is when we isolate ourselves from the ideas of others (not accepting, but treating the person with respect) that we become narrow-minded hypocrites, full of self, seeking to make others into a carbon copy of us.

►Find ways to disagree charitably

Agreeing to disagree (in the political arena and elsewhere) allows us to share with one another, sharpen one another, and change society as a whole.  Regardless of what you think about my beliefs, ideas and ideals, feel free to agree or disagree, but please don’t scream at me, curse at me or call me names.  People are always in the teaching process.  When someone does the above, he or she has taught me something.  When a person is disrepectful, he or she has taught something.  People constantly teach others about something through their words and deeds:  they give a glimpse into their character, that inner person.  Civil discourse teaches others that while you uphold your own beliefs, you are willing to listen respectfully to others, and maybe, just maybe, learn something in the process.

God cares about the way we argue

“We shouldn’t retreat from the public square and we should work to build a better society. But I’m convinced that God cares about the way we argue as much as He cares about  the issues we espouse.”  This quote from Daniel Darlings blog post “Some great advice for the election season,” [where I discovered the Amy E. Black article].  As we dive into the debates, caucases and general election melee, God is watching and listening.  He cares about how you present yourself to the world.  He calls all of us to love, even when we disagree with one another!

 

Have you been guilty of mistreating another who disagrees with you?

Have you ever been on the recieving end of such?

How do you respond when others disrespect your beliefs or your right to have and express your beliefs, especially in the political arena?

How do you respond when others disagree with you?   Have you ever evaluated or prayed about your response?

You may be the only Jesus some people see.  Evaluate your ideals, beliefs and actions in light of the Scripture, and then go out as a light in the darkness and as salt to savor a bland world, debating with civility and the keeping the real enemy in mind.

Make no provision

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In continuing our discussion on ‘making no provision for the flesh’, I want to share a cartoon I created for my Sunday School Class about not feeding the flesh.   The first page shows you.

The second page shows ‘the flesh’, our sin nature, our temptations to do wrong…

Page 3 shows our condition.  We are bound by our fleshly desires.

Page 4 shows what happens when we ask Christ into our life.

Page 5 lets us know that that carnal nature is still very present.

Page 6 shows us that we need to fight against that nature.  Paul said “the things I want to do, I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do, I do” (Paraphrase by Angie).  It’s the same with us.  We will fight this our entire lives.

Page 7 shows how we feed these fleshly desires by giving in to them, putting ourselves in a position to give in to them, and by ‘making provision’ for them.

Page 8 shows what happens when we ‘feed’ the flesh.

Page 9 shows what happens when we starve the flesh instead.

Apologies if you have to increase your screen size (Ctrl +) to read the cartoons.

All pictures drawn/created by Angela Masters Young C 2011  [with the exception of clipart on page 7 - food]

Make no provision

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I have recently been putting a Bible verse into practice – seeking to understand it and make it so real in my life that it would pop into my head every time I slip away from my resolution to make it real.  For Christians, this information is vital.  For non-Christians, I hope you won’t go away just because I mentioned the Bible.  The concept is still helpful — i.e. garbage in, garbage out.

The verse is Romans 13:14:  “But put ye on  the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Part one we will deal with in a future post; today I want to look at “make not provision for the flesh.”

The small decisions.

It is often the small decisions, the one’s that don’t really seem to matter that lead us down that road to full out surrender to sin.  If Satan were not subtle, we would run in the other direction.  He is very subtle and likes to masquerade as an ‘angel of light’.  In other words, he knows how to make the counterfit seem like the best thing.

A testimony

I hope this won’t run anyone off, but I want to share with you the story of a time when I went down a road I would have sworn I would never go down.  I won’t give all the details, so relax.  As a 17/18 yo, I had lost my grandmother and moved away from where I grew up.  I had always loved the Lord and sought to serve Him.  During this time, however, I struggled.  One night, I was supposed to go to a youth event at my church.  A boy I’d recently met asked me to go out with him that night.  Bad decision.  I continued to see this boy, even though I knew it wasn’t the right guy.  Bad decision.  One night he convinced me to go to a dance with him (I did not want to go) and told me he would not drink if I went, so I went.  Bad decision.  He drank.  In anger, I had a few drinks too.  Bad decision.  That night, my bad decisions came to fruition and I gave myself to this boy resulting in pregnancy.  Bad decision.

It may not seem that missing that one night could have led to this, and in such a short time, but it did.  The good news is that it woke me up.  I did, however, make another choice that probably wasn’t a good one.  I decided to marry the boy and try to cover up my sin.  Did I mention my dad was a pastor, and I had no idea how I was going to tell them what I’d done?  I made a few more bad decisions before it was over, but God had been there all the time and He used that bad to bring good into my life:  my son!  This is not something I am proud of, but it actually brought me to a point where I got real with God.  I understood finally what it meant to be forgiven because I knew what a sinner I was.

So what?

Since that time, I have certainly made more bad choices, but I have made every attempt to never stray so far from God again.  I ask Him to take ahold of my hand (like a toddler) and yank me back if I ever step one foot off the path.  So far, He has held on to me.  But, there have been sins that have beset me.  You know the small, Christian, overlooked sins.  All sins are sin and, while I have had a lot of victory, I still have areas where I am not fully free.

You too?

I also see this struggle in everyone around me.  I was taught that I should run from sin, but no one ever really taught me how to do that.  How do we do that?  By making no provision.

Making no what?

Making no provision (no plans to satisfy) for the flesh starts with those small decisions.  Suppose I am an alcoholic.  I become clean, repent, go to a 12 step group, etc., but I keep a cabinet full of liquor in my home “just in case”.  If we make the decisions to get rid of the stuff and stop going to places, hanging with people, or doing things that lead us to drink, we will be much more likely to abstain from the sin.

Suppose you are a teenager and you spend a lot of time alone with your girlfriend.  When you don’t make the decision to guard yourselves by not being alone, not putting yourself in a position to sin, you are much more likely to give in to the temptations.

Do you mean what I know?

I hope that is making sense, because it is a simple concept and yet it is a complex concept.  When I want to avoid a sin, especially the ones that are my particular achilles heel, I need to not only ‘make no provision’, I need to make provision for NOT doing it.  I change what I have to change to make sure I don’t put myself in a position where giving in is possible.

It starts where?

Making no provison starts in your mind.  Thoughts of the sin/temptation will flit into your head.  Yell STOP! and distract yourself by reading scripture, praying or just doing something else you enjoy or calling an accountability partner.  It is not sin to have thoughts flit through your head.  It is when you hang on to those thoughts, chew on them, meditate on them, that you convince yourself that you cannot resist the temptation and eventually, make provision to satisfy that desire.

What’s garbage in/garbage out got to do with it?

Do you have something you do that you would rather not do?  If we put things in our minds that feed this desire, we are more likely to give in.  We have to make a plan about what we will and will not allow into our minds.  Sin, or wrongs begin in our mind long before our body acts on it.

In what ways do you make provision for the flesh?

What things can you change so you do not make provision for the flesh?

As a New Year’s Resolution, what is one thing you can do to stop putting the garbage in?

Do you have an example of how making one change led to freedom?

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