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The Power of a Smile

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There is something you own that you can give away and still keep:  your smile.

Smile 2

Smile 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Have you ever had a down day and someone’s smile lightened your load?  I have, and I try to remember there are others out there who need a smile too.  A smile is like a ray of sunshine bursting forth through the clouds.  It uplifts both the giver and the receiver.  Today I’d like to share some quotes with you about smiling.  I hope these will put a smile on YOUR face!

http://www.coolnsmart.com/smile_quotes/

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One smile can’t change the world, but your smile changes mine. –Laurie

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Keep a smile on your face and let your personality be your autograph. — Unknown

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So many languages in the world, and a smile speaks them all. –Unknown

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Today, if a smile comes to you, a happy smile that perhaps you can’t explain, it’s because in that moment I am thinking of you and smiling too. –Unknown

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If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no checkbook.
– Les Giblin

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What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure, but scattered along the life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
– Joseph Addison

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Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.  –Unknown

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A smile of encouragement at the right moment may act like sunlight on a closed-up flower; it may be the turning point for a struggling life.

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A smile is a light in the window of the soul, indicating that the heart is at home. –Unknown

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All these quotes and many more can be found here:  http://www.coolnsmart.com/smile_quotes/

♫You can smile

♫When you can’t say a word

♫You can smile

♫When you cannot be heard

♫You can smile

♫Whether cloudy or gray!

♫You can smile any time of the day!

(Anyone remember this little ditty?

above or below 🙂

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♫♪ It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E!

♫♪It isn’t any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E!

♫♪If you’re ever in trouble,

♫♪it will vanish like a bubble

♫♪If you only take the trouble

♫♪just to S-M-I-L-E   ☺

The Power of Words

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What if what I wished for was not what I wanted?  — Me

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This post could turn into a liturgy of unanswered prayers to thank God for, followed by a country song to that effect.  However, that’s not what I meant when I thought this thought.  My focus here is on the words we speak.  For example, I used to wish my husband would change an aspect about himself that I didn’t like.  Well, he has changed, but that’s not what I meant.  I wanted him to keep doing things, but I wanted the attitude to change.  I guess I should have been more specific when I prayed about it?

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Just fix it please!

Sometimes we don’t totally think through the things we think we want.  We don’t look at the aftermath, the unintended consequences, or God’s wisdom and timing in His plans for our life.  We don’t even know what we really want, we just throw out a generic “help, change it” because we’re stressed or worried about something in our life.  As we have discovered in the last few years, you can’t just wish for “change”, because it might not be the kind of change you want to have.  In a way, this is a very shallow form of thinking where we look for a way out of the pain of today.

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And fix it now!

Have you ever wanted something, even asked God for it, and then set about making it happen yourself?  I think we all have.  We want it and we want it now.  When we go ahead of God things just don’t turn out like we envisioned them.  God may have wanted that for us too, but the timing was not right.  So we move ahead of God and wind up losing that thing we wanted or realize it’s not what we really wanted at all.  Sometimes we miss the best God has for us because we won’t wait.  We go ahead and finagle answers for ourself.  God says, “Ok, if that’s how you want it…”.  He gave us free will and won’t force us to wait.  But how many more blessings would we receive, how much less pain, if we would only wait on His timing?

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Communication

When we talk to God, to others, or even our selves, it’s important to think through what we say.  We’ve discussed many ways communication can go wrong in this blog, and this is another.  Someone I know (who does this a lot) brought a project over to the house and said, “This is what I’d like to do.”  What she meant is “This is what I’d like YOU to do.”  I make it a policy not to jump in when people don’t specify what they really want (most of the time) because I’ve learned that it enables that other person to make assumptions he or she should not make.  {If you want something from me, come out and ask me.}  Sometimes speaking in generalities works fine, but when we really think we want something, it pays to get specific with yourself, with others, and with God.  This is not for God’s sake; He already knows what we really want.   Awareness of what we really ask for and what that means helps us not to get what we wished (prayed) for when that’s not what we really wanted at all.

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Take It

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When a yearning rises up inside

And pulls your heart toward

Just put it in the Master’s hands

And be in one accord.

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Those things we want and think we need

Must haves and ‘rescue me’s

Come from a desperately sinful heart

We must seek Him on our knees

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And surrender every want and need

to His amazing, well-mapped plan

For He’s the one who knows us best

And has since before time began

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We speak our thoughts and wait

For His blessings in His time

Hands clasped in supplication

as He works His plan sublime

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For we know not the future

nor what will cause us pain

So we trust Him to know us better

Our trust won’t be in vain

~*~

Angela Masters Young c 2012

Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly!

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This morning I witnessed a disgusting horific amazing sight.  I often have to make trips to the little girls room in the middle of the night.  My procedure, in order to keep from waking the hubs and make sure I don’t run into any unwanted centipedes surprises, is to put on shoes, go into the bathroom, shut the door and flip the light and tap on the floor a couple of times with my cane so the buggers know I’m coming and scat (hopefully).  This time, the lights flipped on and I saw a bug coming.  It wasn’t a centipede, so Brian wasn’t woke up with a scream; it was a little thing about a 1/2″ long.  I tapped my cane so it would go back into the bowels of where ever and leave me alone.

English: spider web with fog droplets, San Fra...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned tail to run and started doing this little spinny thing as another even tinier bug came running toward it.  The tiny bug was maybe an 1/8th of an inch, so I couldn’t tell what it was and thought it was a baby of the other.  I was wrong!  Before I knew what was happening the tiny spider came up and bit the other insect that had tripped on his web.  I then had to got to watch him work.  The other bug struggled briefly, but soon succumbed to the poison.  The spider then wrapped the bug up and anchored it better.  It was a bitter sweet moment.  My attempt to save the bigger bugs life by keeping it from coming close enough to the bottom of my shoe went horribly wrong.  While fascinated by the action unfolding before me, I had to feel sad for the bug who became dinner (or more likely breakfast) for the spider.  I didn’t even know that spider or its web were in that corner.  They were not visible (whether to my old eyes or just well camouflaged.)

The whole ordeal reminded me of two things: the movie “The Fly” and how we get entangled in sin.

I have an article I keep in my Bible called, “Sin Wants to be Your Friend” by Tim Challies.  He says it so well:

“Sin makes so many promises.  Sin promises joy.  It promises fulfilment. Sin promises to be your

Spider web

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

friend.  When you first meet a new friend you reveal only little bits of who you are, what you believe, what is important to you.  But over time, if the friendship is to grow, you need to reveal more and more of yourself, you need to open yourself up.  Friendship grows out of the vulnerability of allowing another person to see who you really are beneath the polite exterior.  Sin asks you to give just a little bit more of yourself to it every time.  Just a bit more.  Just a bit more after that.  But over time sin comes to own you.  It comes to know everything there is to know about you.  And then it stabs you in the back and laughs with glee as you are left sputtering and humiliated and destroyed.  It laughs as your marriage is destroyed, as your church is shamed, as your friends are betrayed.  That’s the kind of friend it is.”

Just as the spider laid its invisible trap, sin lays a trap for it.  We seldom see it coming because it draws us in gradually, but once we are entangled in its web, it’s too late.  Sin swoops in and takes another victim.  Sadly, with sin, the sinner is never the only victim.  Sin hurts. It hurts the sinner.  It hurts those who love the sinner.  It hurts society as well on some level.  Sin promises all those things we think we want, but delivers death.  Only God is our true friend, a Promise Keeper, a Need Meeter, a Disciplinarian, and so much more.  Any and all needs we have can be met in God, but we have to choose Him over the false trappings of sin

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.    —James 1:13-15

As James tells us, sin happens when we are lured and enticed by our own desire.  We look (and do not look away).  We want.  We place our foot on that web, thinking we can always get away or that it won’t hurt us.  We are wrong.  Sin, when followed to it’s conclusion “brings for death”.   Sin may appear fun for a while, but that is an illusion.   That’s why we should “guard our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Step into my parlor . . .

English: Centiped

Loving perfectly

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People come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”  — anonymous

You know, sometimes people can be difficult?  What?  That’s not a shock to you?  Well, how about this:  sometimes YOU can be difficult.  I bet that one was more of a surprise, but not really.  We all have human failings that cause difficulties in our communications with others and with God.  Sometimes, the struggle to deal with difficult people (or people who are difficult in a specific situation) can bring up a few difficulties in one’s self.  It often brings out the ick in us as we struggle with the issue.

Ick # 1:  Depression.

Depression, or the pity party, hits some of us when we face difficulties, and especially difficult people.  Some of you do not struggle with this, but some of you, like me, do.  I don’t like confrontation.  I use it when necessary, but I don’t like it.  This struggle often brings me to a mood dip.  My mood dip can be a shallow dip or a great big gorge, depending on the situation.  I have learned over the years that the depth of the dip depends on me and my attitude.  If I deal with it, the moment passes quickly.  If I dwell on it, I can find myself in over my head.

Ick # 2:  Anger

The Bible says to ‘be angry and sin not’ (Ephesians 4:26), implying that anger is not the main issue.  Anger is a feeling.  Feeding anger leads to sin.  Anger has to be dealt with quickly.  The definition of quickly depends on the person and the situation, but un-dealt-with anger is a raging fire that burns the angry person and anyone in his or her path.  In the case of sinful anger, the root is often pride.  How dare that person say that to me/do that to me/treat me that way!  I don’t deserve this!  We tend to magnify the other person’s offense and minimize our own actions (like how we often do the same to others).  The only solution is to recognize the truth about the situation and then forgive.

Ick # 3:  Pay Back

Have you ever wanted to do to someone what they did to you?  You think they should feel the pain you feel, often with the thought that they would then apologize profusely and not do it again.   This is revenge, and revenge is not sweet!  This tendency to want to hurt when we are hurt.  This tendency just perpetuates the cycle and does not open up the doors of communication; it slams them shut!

I’m sure there’s more ick, but we’ll settle on these three for now.  I have been dealing with all of these issues – internally – and figuring out how to deal with it in a healthy way.  My human nature’s instincts are not of God, and they cannot bring reconciliation and open communication to the situation(s).  It’s funny how we can walk around with this festering sore inside us, while the other people have no clue there’s even a problem.

Are you self-aware?  Have you ever had the ‘ick’ies? Have ow do you deal with difficult people?  How do you respond when you realize you are being difficult to others?

 

God loves  us perfectly, imperfections and all!  How far along are you on the journey to do likewise?   I have a ways to go, but understanding God’s view helps.

 

It starts with words, but it doesn’t end there

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“Well done is better than well said.”

 “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“Talk is cheap.”

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However you say it,

words without action mean nothing;

intentions without follow through mean nothing;

promises without promise keepers mean nothing.

Words are easy; actions are hard.

Say it — Do it — Be it!

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Communication begins with words.

It does not end there.

Communication with only words seldom communicates anything,

especially if the words do not match the actions.

At least, it seldom communicates what the speaker hoped.

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When we stand behind our words:

Others hear that we mean what we say.

Others hear that we have integrity.

Others hear that this person is trustworthy.

Others hear the intent of the heart,

because it has not been divorced from right action.

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God wants us to stand behind our words to Him.

He always stands beside His to us.

Don’t say, “I love You.” when you don’t obey.

Don’t say, “I love Your Word.” when you don’t read it.

Don’t say, “I love Your people.”  when you don’t show compassion.

Don’t say, “I trust You.” when you continue to doubt.

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Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The words you speak my reflect what is in your heart,   But the actions you take prove what is in your heart.

That sounds like a you problem

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“Sounds like a you problem.”  –Tim Young

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I borrowed this phrase from my middle son.  Did I mention I used to be an enabler?  Hmmmm, well, I was.   People just had to look like they needed something (especially in an emotional/psychological way) and Angie was right there.  They didn’t even have to ask.  I have since reformed after a major crash of a symbiotic relationship with a friend went horribly wrong.  I learned something.  People need to take responsibility for their own problems.  That doesn’t mean I can’t help them.  It means I choose when, where, and how I do so.  I don’t put myself and others at risk to jump to the rescue when the person needs to learn how to rescue him/herself.  Painfully, I realized that taking on other people’s problems wasn’t good for either of us.  Quitting was difficult as well, especially for those used to having me say yes all the time.  But, they got over it and so did I.

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Feel free to use the phrase, because it works very well at deflecting those who want to make  their problem yours.  My grandchildren hear this phrase a lot.  One granddaughter likes to hang off me and say, “I’m bored!”  I say, “Sounds like a you problem.”   I may suggest some things she can do, but my point is to teach her how to entertain herself.  “I’m not the entertainment committee.” works here too.  It’s amazing how life changes when you allow other people to have their ‘you problem’ without making it a ‘me problem’.

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Have you ever taken on someone else’s problem either by helping them too much or by worrying about them?  Do you try to get others to take on your problems?  Do you get angry when they don’t?  Do you recognize the dangers of enabling?

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Then, a week or so ago, I was in prayer mode.   Thinking about someone else and praying for their issues, thinking about something they do that bothers me.  Then, I hear this (inaudible) voice saying, “Sounds like a you problem.”  Hmmmmmmmm.   OK, God, I get it.   The other person didn’t have a problem, I did.  I wanted to make it that person’s problem because that would put all the ‘happy place’ back into my life.  However, just because something bothers me does not make it a problem for others.   I hate it when God uses my own words to smack me up side the head and make me take a hard look at myself.  I’m so glad He does it though.

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Do you try to make your issues into other people’s problems?  “I would never….” “If only they’d….”  “They need to keep their child in check….”  That’s not how you do it…..”  Have these or other similar words ever crossed your mind or your lips?  Can you recognize the difference between a YOU problem and a ME problem?   How do you set boundaries between you and me problems?  Do you allow yourself to be guilted into saying yes?

Accessing the power of the Holy Spirit

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My Sunday School Class has been studying the Holy Spirit recently, and it has been a wake up call for me.  I didn’t realize I had drifted.  I used to be the first to tell others to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work, and yet, I found myself not doing that myself at times.  The Holy Spirit, an often neglected part of the Trinity, is vitally important to our life here on earth.  He is in believers.   But, just like I must turn a switch to access power for my computer, I must tune in and turn on that power I’m already plugged in to.  The Spirit is our Need-Meeter in every way as we walk this earth.  How often do we forget we have the power if we would only access it?

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is the Holy Spirit?

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  John 3:6    The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  He was sent to us when Jesus ascended to the Father to be our helper and much more.  He is the presence of Christ in our lives and teaches us all things we need to know, if we will but listen.

Why was His coming so important?

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7    Jesus told his disciples, sad that He was leaving, the importance of His departure.  Jesus had to go so God could send the Comforter to them, the person of God they would need to do the work He had called them to do.

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.   Acts 1:4-5     The Holy Spirit was (is) the promise of the Father.  In other words, He is the guarantee of God’s promises.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14    I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited!
Three Important Tasks of the Holy Spirit

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:8-11

>He will reprove the world of sin.   He is that one who convicts of sin.  He shows us that we are in the wrong and need a Savior.  He doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, although that is a part of conviction.  He convicts us so we will trust Christ and be set free from our sin.

>and of righteousness.  One way He does this is to show that Jesus was and is righteous.  Another way it convicts us is in showing us the righteousness we have in Christ.  When we give Him our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  No longer do we stand before God or man in our own righteousness (inadequate at best).  We stand in Jesus righteousness!   The Spirit reminds us of this when we hear that whisper in our ear that says “you are not worthy”.  Of course we’re not worthy, but He is, and it is He that is judged for our sin, not us.  So we can stand boldly before God and man clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.   The Spirit points us to righteousness and away from unrighteousness as well.   Even though we are righteous before God, we can still slip into unrighteous living.  The Holy Spirit convicts us about what Jesus expects of us to bring us back to righteous living.

The spirit works in the lives of unbelievers to point out their need for Christ.  He continues that work in believers to cultivate a life of righteousness.

>and of judgment.  The Spirit also reminds of the final end for those who do not trust in Christ.  Satan and his band have been judged.  Hell was made for them.  God does not want people to go to hell, so He made a way for us to escape the judgment.  The Spirit shows us that we must forsake unbelief and unrighteousness in order to avoid the coming judgment.

 

Are you aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?  Do you access the power, ignore it, or refuse it?   The Holy Spirit does much more than this, but that’s for another post.  Ask the Spirit to show His power in your life today.

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