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I am, I am not!

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I AM a sinner.  Iam a saved, forgiven sinner, But a sinner none-the-less.

 

 

I AM NOT:

A savior.

Perfect.

Sufficient on my own.

A judge of people’s hearts.

Good.

Strong.

. . .

 

Sometimes, when I talk about trying to live better, I give the wrong impression.  I cannot make myself better.  If I could, I would not need a Savior.

 

Does this mean I should give up?  Heaven forbid!

 

What should I do then?

I should accept myself as I am, while letting God make me better.

I should make sure any attempt to do anything is powered by the holy Spirit (lest I swell with pride).

IOW -I should stop trying to make myself better and just get closer to Jesus, so He can make me more like Him.

I should stop ‘trying’ to be holy and be holy.  Jesus took my sin and gave me His righteousness.  I am holy because He is holy, not due to any of my pitiful efforts.

I should let Jesus meet others where they are, just like He did me.

I should love as He loves. . .

I should see as He sees. . .

I should cling to Him so closely He can’t turn around without running into me. . .

 

Guess what?

 

Its not about me. It’s not about you.  It’s about Jesus!

 

God forgive me for getting caught up in phariseeism, pride and selfrighteousness.

 

The solution to everything = time spent with Christ!

Forgive me, dear readers, if I ever imply anything else!

 

 

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CB: Why me mentality

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All of us know people who struggle with this.  Some of us may be one of these people.  All of us struggle with it at times.  This mentality looks around and sees what is going on with others.  The person then looks at his or her own life and makes comparisons.  In the comparing, his or her own life usually comes up lacking in some way.  We could also call this the “grass is greener” effect.

Valentines day was a good example of how this mentality can pervade one’s thinking.   No honey bun for Valentine’s Day?  Poor you, sitting there all alone with no one to say ‘I love you’ and give you sappy presents.  Your loneliness must be harder to bear than that of anyone else’s.  {Sorry if this hits anyone in the solar plexis, but I had to pick something for my examples.  We’ll get to the others later.}

 

Lies believed by the alone at Valentine’s Day:

►No one cares about me.

►Valentine’s Day is for lovers; if you don’t have a love, I am a loser.

►This day was created just to point out how alone I am.

►Other people’s joy somehow effects me by comparison.

►If no one reminded me that I am alone, I wouldn’t feel this pain and loneliness.

 

Truths to counter the lies:

►It is definately not true that no one cares for you.  [God and probably at least a few people care deeply about you.]

►It’s also not true that others don’t care that you hurt.  They may be looking at the outer package and your inner hurt may not be as evident as you think.

►Valentine’s Day is for love, true, but not just a lover type of love.  {Regardless of the reason it was created, it has become a time to spend lots of money so the stores can make a profit.}

►Just because it is a special day that brings joy to some, their joy has nothing to do with you.  Comparing to others, especially when you don’t know their circumstances (only seeing the surface), brings two things:  envy or pride.  Which one depends on which side you are on.

►Should others go around with mopey faces all day just because you are lonely on this day?  Would that really make you feel better?   (add bible verse about sharing joy sorow********)

►If Valentine’s Day makes you sad, it’s not because of what happens to other people on this day; it’s because of what you’re telling yourself/dwelling on on this day.

 

 

 

Seeing beyond the surface:

There are others hurting just as bad or worse out there.

► Consider the one whose Valentine has left to give valentines to another.

►Consider the one who finds out that her Valentine is giving valentines to another while giving Valentines to him/her as well.

►Consider the one who lies beside his/her Valentine, but is just as lonely if not more, because the love has died or they’ve grown apart.

►Consider the person who has never had a Valentine to remember.

►Consider the one who has just lost his/her Valentine to a senseless death.

 

As always, I could continue, but I hope this is enough to make the point:

We cannot compare our insides to someone else’s outsides. ~unknown

~*~

What to do

When we catch ourselves looking at the grass over the fence or thinking “why me?” or “why not me?”, what can we do?

1.  Stop comparing our insides with other’s outsides.  We have no idea what’s really going on in that house.

2.  Look at what we’re telling ourselves.

3.  Change what we’re telling ourselves.

4.  Do something for someone else.

 

I bet there are other hurting people out there, even in your world.  The best way to turn a “why me” into a “why not me” (who am I not to have problems) is to do something for someone else.   Do you know people in a nursing home who have lost their Valentine to death (if they ever had one) and have no one to brighten their day?  Go visit and take some time to give them joy for a while.  Do you know a recently divorced person or someone who is going through marital issues?  Send them a card to say you’re thinking of them/praying for them.  Do it anonymously.  There are so many people out there who would love to have love shown to them on this day and every day.  If you want to cut your own pain, give the love you so desperately want away.  I guarantee you it will return to you a hundred-fold.

When you find yourself falling into the world’s biggest pity party, go look deeply into the insides beyond other’s outsides.  You will feel better about yourself and your life.  Life is hard for everyone, and we should not feel that we get all the pain while others don’t or that we deserve better.  From a Christian standpoint – we all deserve Hell.  Anything we have above that is a gift and a blessing.

 

How to get love:  give it away!

                                       As always, I appreciate your feedback.  This was not meant to hurt anyone, it was just an example and not about anyone specific. 

The challenge:  Have you ever shared love and found out you felt differently about your own hurts?  If you have share the story.  You may either share in the comment box or on your own blog and leave a link back in the comment box.

If you have not done this, or would like to do it again, feel free to try it and share with us in the same way as above.

Sharing love is a great perspective changer – agree?  -disagree?

If you post a link in the comments, I will multiply the love by sharing 🙂

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.

How Firm a Foundation

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This week I have hit the boxes – the boxes in the bat cave my garage that have been there since we moved here, awaiting a fire my attention.  No, these aren’t the first boxes I’ve gone through, but when you move from a two-story home with full attic and full basement to a one-floor ranch with a crawl, you have to figure out what to do with all that crap treasure.  So? you say?  I found a real treasure a box I have been looking for for awhile (we’ve been here 5 years now).  It contains things from my childhood and other treasures I have collected (like my youngest two children’s first hair cut hair.)  I found some things that belonged to my mother, who passed away the week before we moved here.  AND, I found a poem I had written to my father – who knows when.

This would be special at any time, but last Tuesday my dad slipped, fell and broke his hip.  In fact, he broke the ball off and had to have the leg stretched back into position to prepare for surgery on Monday.  This is not the first time my father has been in the hospital with serious issues.  In fact, it’s par for the course in my life.  He has genetic pancreatitis, and nearly died several times during my childhood.  He was burnt pretty bad once and has been in major accidents.  And that’s just the beginning.   It’s not been easy to face his mortality, and yet he outlived my mother.

No matter what life threw us, my dad, a Baptist Minister, taught me some valuable lessons in how he handled it.  He taught me:  Life is not about circumstances, it’s about how you deal with the circumstances;  Put God first and all else will follow;  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE; and so many more things.  He taught me about God and how to have a relationship with Him.  He taught me about faith through example (stories to come in future posts?)  He was not perfect, but he is my dad and I love him.

As I pack and prepare to head down next week for his surgery and recovery, I wanted to share something I found in that treasure trove from the bat cave.  This may be a post you pass over, and that’s ok, it’s really for my daddy.  This is a poem (didn’t say it was great) that I wrote for him who knows how long ago.  I’m guessing it was in my teens.  I want to share it with him and with anyone who wants to read it.   There’s nothing like the influence of a daddy – whether through his presence or his absence, the things he teaches by doing or the things he teaches by not doing.  He is one of the most powerful influences in a person’s life and often shows us our first picture of God (good or bad).   I love you daddy.  We’ll get through this one too.

Thank You Dad

I thank you Dad for all the times

you’ve been there just for me.

The times when I was hurt or tired

or longing to be free.

I thank you for the walks we took,

the times you stopped to play,

For all those times you let things go

to be with me each day.

Thanks for coming through for me

when I thought all was lost.

I always knew I could count on you

no matter what the cost.

But most of all I thank you Dad

for bringing me up right.

For teaching me of Jesus who’s

the way, the truth, the light.

I know it’s your example then

of what a dad should be

That brought me to my heavenly Dad

who’s waiting now for me.

So thank you Dad you’ve always been

a shining knight to me

And I think you’re the greatest Dad

that ever there could be.

I love you Daddy!   Angie

copyright 2012

(Grams forgive the punctuation/grammar issues – I left it as I found it.)

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 II

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If you missed the previous post, you can see it here:  It’s all about the heart.

Derek Mansker of http://nothrowaways.wordpress.com/  made a great comment on the previous post and brought up a good point about a concept that confuses even the most knowledgeable of Biblical Scholars.  Here is his comment:

“Well think about it like this: What does it mean to be free? We are not free in the sense we can do whatever we want. We are free to operate within a certain boundary- God’s. This is a great place to be, but there is that pesky me first attitude that gets in the way.”

Two questions that comes to mind:  Free from what? or Free to what?   We will expand on this in further posts.

In Christ, we are free.  Our sins have been paid for.  Does that mean we should continue to sin?  Paul asks this question in Romans 6:1-8 [v1].  How do we explain this in an understandable way?

1.  We who have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, are free from the eternal consquences of our sin.  Our sin has been paid in full, and we no longer need to fear eternal separation from God and paying for our own sin.

2.  We are free of the law of sin.  We live in grace, not the law.  Does that mean we toss the law out the window?  Absolutely not!

a) Our physical bodies are still subject to the physical consquences of sin.  God’s law gives us guiderails to keep us safe and help us live the best life possible here on earth.  If we continue in habitual sin, our bodies will pay the consequences and we may not live as long on the earth as we could have.  We will also have a lot of misery in our lives because the consequences of sin, in the physical body, will still visit us.  If we cheat on our spouse, we will face consequences.  If we stuff our faces with junk food:  we will face consquences.  You get the picture.

b) We are dead to sin and are no longer chained to it to do its bidding.  I use the phrase “dead men don’t eat donuts” to remind me that I am dead in Christ and do not need the things I used to crave.  This takes us back full circle to the posts:  “Getting our feed on” and “Starvin Marvin”.  We feed what we treasure.

c) We have lost our desire to sin.  If we have truly understood what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, we will want to follow Him, thank Him, and become just like Him.  We will also want to please Him.  “Sin” or whatever you want to call it goes against our very nature as His children.  We are free, but we make the choice every day to do what is pleasing and right (or not) based on our love of the Savior and whether we have been feeding the spirit or the flesh.

d) We have Scripture – God’s love letter to us – and the Holy Spirit within to show us what we need to do and why.  It goes back to those guardrails we discussed previously.  The Bible lays out the things that will harm us and the things that will bless us.  The Holy Spirit whispers to us to go to the right or the left.  We are not on our own.

Imagine you bought a new flat screen television.  No, you didn’t buy it completely put together, you bought the parts and plan to put it together yourself.  Even with a guidebook, this would be a difficult if not impossible for the average Joe or Jane to do.  But, in this case, your best friend puts televisions together for a living.  He knows exactly what each piece is, where it goes, and why it goes there.  I’m guessing that even the most technologically impaired among us could get the job done with this helper.

So, is this concept understandable as I explained it here? 

How would you explain it? 

Are there other reasons for following ‘the rules’ even if you’re free to choose not to? 

Do you have other questions I (or other readers) might tackle? 

What do you think?

“Does He Ever Write Back?

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“Watching my little buddy today and he found my Prayer Journal, and as all three year olds do asked, “What is was?”  Told Him it is where I write letters to God.  Very seriously flipping through the pages he asked, “Does He ever write back?”

A friend of mine posted the above on facebook a few days ago.  Her “little buddy” is a 3 year old named Logan.  He is an adorable little cutie that thinks of my friend as a grandma.  Isn’t it funny what kids say?  Little Logan hit the nail on the head.

He sent us the first love letter 

Thinking about this, I have to say how blessed we are – we already have His letter!  He wrote it long before we were born and left it for us to read while He’s ‘away’.  Imagine treating a love letter from your significant other like you treat the Bible.  Some of you will be able to bow out here, but most of us struggle to keep in the Word, reading it, studying it, learning it, and especially applying it.  We often have the urge to do so, but we let life get in the way.  If we really valued this love letter, sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ, we would have a passion that cannot be denied to be in it with every second we could.  Instead, how many can raise their hand to say, “I often have to make myself read the Bible.”  (Or, my Bible is seldom cracked open, much less read.)                                                                                                       But God commendeth His love toward us….(Rom. 5:8)

Intentions    

We often have good intentions, especially after a particularly good sermon, after a revival, or after some other thing lights our fire for the Lord.  But it doesn’t take long for the flame to burn out.  We go back to not doing anything because we’re too ‘busy’, or we trudge along, dragging one foot after the other to do our ‘duty’.   We even want to do it sometimes, but habit takes over and relegates the love letter to the bottom of our ‘to do’ list.

The Helper – NOT!

One issue is lack of commitment.  Another is lack of discipline.  I’m sure there are many more, but there’s also the fact that the enemy, Satan, does NOT want you to read it.  He does not want you to stay close to the love of your life (yes, I mean God).  He is a deciever, but he’s a clever deceiver who makes the counterfit look really good.  One thing my dad always used to tell us when we couldn’t sleep:  “Pray, read the Bible, or witness to the Devil, you’ll be asleep before you know it.”  Sadly, that is true.

Passive Christianity  

Christianity is not passive.  It is a vital relationship with God, and it requires sacrifice and work to maintain.  Just like marriage relationships, one must work at it.  In a passive marriage, the couple will drift slowly apart and wake up one day wondering what happened to the marriage.  It’s the same with our relationship with God.  He gave us a passionate, detailed love letter for us to read while He’s “away”.   What would you think if you gave your sweetie a love letter and he/she just said, “Oh, that’s nice,” and tossed it in a drawer unread?  Passive Christianity is not Christianity at all.

Passionate Christianity

Instead of passive Christianity, it is imperitive that we move to passionate Christianity.  Treat the Scripture like the valuable love-letter it is.  Seek to get as close to God as you possibly can and then put things in place that will help you get there.   It will require discipline; it will require sacrifice; it will require an intentional life, given over to your Love.   Remember back to the first time you fell in love?  You wanted to be with the person all the time.  If you couldn’t be with them, you were together on the phone.  Love letters were cherished and read and reread and put in a special place.  The pulse skyrocketed when he/she came in sight.  You get the picture.  If this is not your relationship with God, it’s time to get that love letter out, caress it, read it, study it, reread it, memorize it, treat it like the priceless treasure it is.

Are you passionate about God and the things of God?

Are you passionate about your Scripture reading/study/etc., giving it top priority instead of letting it collect dust all week?

Do you want to please Him or do you just do the minimum requirements to call yourself a Christian? 

What are some steps you can take to go from passive Christian to passionate soul-mate of almighty God?

Was there a time when you had more passion for the things of God than you do now?  What happened?

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