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Taking Offense

Fools show their annoyance at once,
    but the prudent overlook an insult. Proverbs 12:16

This is the second rendition of today’s post.  When I started this blog over two years ago, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak through me.  If writing a particular post felt like I was pulling teeth I knew it wasn’t coming from the right source.  As a result, the post I wrote earlier went into the “delete” pile.  Each sentence I wrote was interrupted either by texts, my husband, timers going off, etc.  I now realize every time my mind wandered to one of those interruptions it was a tap on my shoulder to re-focus and re-write.

You see what was happening in the background of my original text was this very proverb.  I was getting annoyed and offended by problems surrounding an event I am hosting.  It only took me about a half a day to finally figure it out.  The Holy Spirit giving me a real life example of practicing what I preach!  


Being offended has risen to an artform these days. We are offended by other drivers, cashiers, politicians, neighbors, strangers, businesses, faceless people in our social media threads, our friends, our family, our spouses and on and on.  If “they” don’t conform to our wants and needs, it might ruin our day.  If “they” don’t act how we think they should we are hurt and insulted.  No grace and definitely no mercy.  

We take for granted that God won’t do the same to us.  Thank goodness because we all probably offend Him multiple times a day.  While He may allow our sinful actions to suffer the corresponding consequences, He isn’t sending down bolts of lightning to smote us each time we mess up.  He hasn’t washed His hands of us because He’s had it for the last time.

Friends, it’s time to step back and control our emotions.  We have in Jesus the perfect example for us today.  He was whipped, beaten, stabbed, spit on, forsaken by friends, and hung on a cross yet He still loved.  He still asked God to grant mercy.  Today, can’t we do the same with the brothers and sisters around us who are probably doing their best to make it through this day just like you?  I, for one, got this message loud and clear today.

Gracious God, thank you for your mercy.  Help me to deliver that same mercy and grace to those around me who might insult me or cause offense.  I thank you for teaching me how to seek peace throughout my days.  Amen

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Less Babbling, Please 

"Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
    but the prudent hold their tongues." Proverbs 10:19

I was tempted to not write anything for this verse.  It surely speaks for itself.  It’s a lesson I should have tattooed on my wrist so I never forget it!  When I am nervous, angry, excited, or joyful, I talk.  I babble.  I had to apologize recently to a fairly new friend about my babbling.  She introduced me to her friends and I found myself a brook overflowing with silly words.  I walked away praying, “I did it again!  Why can’t I just be normal and stop talking??”  

The Holy Spirit, boy does He deserve a medal in trying to help me with this.  I think He sees progress.  I am being more discerning about keeping my mouth shut when others share their difficulties.  I’m not always jumping in and giving my personal or political opinion.  I’m also refraining from feeling the need to lash out when offended.  I’m seeing the fruit of zipping my lips.  Shocking, isn’t it, when we take God’s Word to heart how it seems to actually work?

So today my friend, here’s a challenge, unless asked for your opinion, don’t give it.  If someone is sharing a story, don’t add your own.  If you are confronted by a stranger, as Dr. Laura used to say, “smile and wave.”  Zip your lips for a day.  You just might find a bit more peace.

Holy God, although I know you enjoy a joyful noise on occasion, I also know you appreciate the beauty of silence.  Help me today to be silent when needed.  Amen.

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Patience In The Waiting

Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34

Have you ever met one of those people that seem to calmly wait in long lines?  Like they’ve got nothing better to do?  That attitude has always seemed strange and foreign to me.  I mean, I’ve got stuff to accomplish. People to see, errands to run!  Patience has definitely not been one of my well-honed attributes.  But if I learned anything during the Covid years it was to slow down, way down.  In fact, when everything started opening up I could feel my body reacting to getting back in the busy flow of life, speeding up to meet the traffic.  The Holy Spirit whispered to me again to slow down, to wait, to watch and to listen.

While the verse today specifically speaks to waiting for wisdom and insight, I think we can all agree that patience really is a virtue in every aspect of our lives.  Oh, how many times in my baby Christian days did I jump into situations without first asking a few questions or even praying about them!  Those were the days of making decisions first then asking God afterwards to make those decisions work out for the best.

As I’ve worked on developing a more patient frame of mind it’s caused me to evaluate why I am impatient.  I mean think about it.  As you’re tapping your foot in line at the coffee shop what are you really contemplating?  Your time is so much more valuable than anyone else’s?  If you were in charge, things would be running a lot smoother?  The cashier obviously isn’t smart enough or cares enough about his job?  The root of all these is pride, lack of grace and humility.

Or maybe you tend to jump at opportunities like a new job, an investment, a free giveaway or a deal on a purchase.  If you don’t act now you might just miss out!  Is it that you’ve placed money as an idol, either saving it or spending it?  Or status and recognition before wise choices?

Friend, unless you are faced with an immediate life or death decision, wisdom asks us just for a few moments of time.  A chance to gain insight into the choice or attitude you are about to take.  So let’s all take a collective breath say a prayer.

Lord, I get so caught up in the daily comings and goings of my life and need your help to slow down and be patient.  Remind me today to give grace to those who need it and seek insight for my decisions.  Amen

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Peace-Creating Discipline

For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:23

Charles Spurgeon, one of the most prolific pastors of all time said just a few weeks before his death, “I look back, and remember what I might have done and have not done; what opportunities of usefulness I have not seized; what sins I have allowed to pass unrebuked; what struggling beginners in grace I have failed to help.”  A man who had spoken to millions.  Who brought the good news of Jesus’ healing lights to so many, this man in all humility felt he could have done more.  

How many of us can say we have used our time as wisely for the Lord?  How many of us have instead placed so many other activities ahead of helping others out of their darkness?  Of allowing the Holy Spirit to help us out of our own darkness?

When we hear the words “Christian discipline” it may cause us to cringe or to worry about what will be required of us or what we will have to give up.  It sounds harsh and monk-like.  Our thoughts on it may be borrowed from what the world may think of Christians – joyless, rule followers.  However, we are told throughout Proverbs that God’s idea of discipline is actually a lifesaver, peace creator, and joy maker.  

Because God loves all of us – believer and non – He yearns for us to live on the disciplined path.  One that seeks to keep us from the darkness of sexual immorality, greed, self-importance, violence, and more.  

Christian discipline includes these aspects: spiritual, social, physical and mental.  Each, when practiced close in hand with Jesus, is intended to live the full, beautiful, peaceful and joy-filled life God wants for us.  When we stay in His Word and prayer, when we are careful and loving with our relationships with others, when we are good stewards of our bodies, and when we keep our thoughts free of lust, greed and self, we will find our paths simpler.  Our decisions about life get easier.  That’s not to say we won’t encounter push back from the world or even trials.  But in the midst of all that life will throw at us, our Christian discipline will keep the path forward clear.  

Heavenly Father, help me to develop a disciplined life that aligns with your Word so that I may become more like Jesus and experience the life you intend for me.  Amen

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Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

I’ll admit to you right here for the world to read that I have a serious problem with cursing.  Once upon a time I was innocent with my expletives.  I’d say, “Jimminy Crickets!” and “gosh darn.”  And then I started working in a restaurant.  By the time I’d graduated high school my responses to things that went awry or to not nice people weren’t so innocent any more.  Up until recently I figured I just needed to work harder at stopping.  But I was reminded that overcoming sin requires more than just “working harder.”

I read a devotional that convicted me of the root of my sin – the status of my heart.  It shone a light on what was flowing from my heart — anger, pride, unforgiveness, lack of compassion, lack of self-control.  Although James was spot on with his imagery of the tongue being like a fire, I realized that that fire is sparked by my heart.  

My “ah ha” moment that day was how much anger I allow to swirl around in my head and in my heart when someone doesn’t act how I expect or when the world doesn’t stick to My Plan.  Instead of compassion, kindness, love there’s *@%!   A truly ugly use of my God-given heart and tongue.  And a heart change can only take place with the help of the Holy Spirit.  My gal pals know I’ve joined forces with the Holy Spirit to remind me of the fruits of the spirit whenever I leave my house (because I never seem to have a cussing problem in the quiet confines of my She Shed!).  I cannot produce this fruit; I can only bear it because I am closely attached to the vine of Jesus. 

Friend, the world doesn’t think cussing is any big deal these days.  In the past, you’d never hear cuss words on tv or on the radio.  If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes at an elementary school – yes, elementary school – you’ll find our lax attitudes toward this sin have affected our children.  But we are called as Christians to be different.  To be transformed.  We are to guard our hearts from taking in and spewing darkness.   I, for one, take the pledge.  How about you?

Holy Spirit, guide my choices today in what I take into my mind and heart and help me to return to the world the fruits of your Spirit – kindness, compassion, patience and most of all love.  Amen

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Saved From Wickedness

“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men…” Proverb 2:12

When I was younger I don’t think as many people were as wary as they are today of being scammed.  There wasn’t the internet and email – telling us about our cousin trapped over in Africa and needing $50 sent to him. Calling long distance and even making calls across town used to cost money.  So bulk calling 1,000s of old ladies each day and frightening them into giving up their entire savings just wasn’t as prevalent.  Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of snake oil salesmen.  It just took more effort.  

For as long ago as Adam and Eve decided to forego God’s admonishment not to listen to the first slippery, silver-tongued creature, we humans have been subjected to all manner of men and women who want to lighten our wallets, steal our vote, abuse us in some way, gain power and authority over us. 

According to psychology researcher Roy Baumeister, the majority of “evil doers” are really just people who tend to minimize the harmful impact of what they are doing or rationalize their reasons.  They often see their action as much less of a big deal than the impact experienced from the victim’s point of view.  Many of these folks may even see themselves as the victims – of society, their upbringing, their financial situation, etc.  They “deserve” what they are bilking out of you.

God shows us through His wisdom, using patience, prudence, discernment, how to avoid the ways of those who want to take advantage of us.  You know the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”  I have a friend who once lost money to a phone scammer who wanted to help her save on her phone bill.  All sorts of bells and whistles were going off in her head during the conversation – the Holy Spirit warning her with God’s wisdom!  But her desire for a “deal” was stronger.  

Large churches have imploded once enough people in the congregation finally started to heed God’s warning to be wise.  Realizing their shepherd was more concerned about their ego or their pocketbook than their job of caring for their flock.

Friends, if it sounds too good, it probably is.  If it’s not aligned with scripture you need to be wary.  If it whispers to your more sinful side you need to turn to God.  His Words will keep you from the ways of the wicked.

Father, the wicked ways of this world attack me each day.  Help me have a wise and discerning mind so that I can remain safe with you.  Amen 

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He Is Perfect

"Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory." Psalms 24:10

My Lord, my God, perfect in every way.  Awesome in power and in majesty.  I come before you your imperfect adopted daughter, grateful for the cleansing you completed in me through your Son, Jesus.  Grateful for the work your Holy Spirit continues in me so that I can bow before you blameless and faithful.  Amen

One of my daughters suffered for a while with perfectionism.  She once told me that she got that need to be perfect from me.  I had to admit I played a strong part through my own need to always do things just right.  And that need stemmed from a hole in my heart.  A hole that needed filling with love and grace.  I worried if I “messed up” then I would lose respect, lose friends, lose love.  I’m sure my daughter felt the same.  And it grieved me I had passed that along to her.  I’m so grateful she had the courage to share her struggle with me so that I could remind her how much I love her – no matter what.  Thankfully, she sought out God and the healing power of Jesus sooner in her life than I did.

I have finally realized the truth behind the flippant remark, “nobody’s perfect.”  Well, there is one “body” who is perfect and that’s the Triune God.  Other than that, we all fall woefully short.  Can I get an “amen?”

" When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless (“perfect” KJV)." Genesis 17:1

When God had this conversation with Abraham, He wasn’t expecting this man to be sinless – an impossible goal for us to reach.  In fact, the word “perfect” is translated as “single-hearted, without blame, sincere, wholly devoted to the Lord.”  It’s not to say we aren’t to strive to mirror God’s perfect will but as our Creator He knows our weaknesses.

"I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he."  Deuteronomy 32:3-4

In the history of our human existence there has never been another worshipped god that can claim this state of perfection.  The Greek gods fought amongst themselves and were jealous.  They required constant preening and begging to intervene in human lives.  And when they did, you didn’t know for whose benefit they would act.  The god of the ancients, Baal, also needed constant pleasing through child sacrifice and sexually immoral acts.  Fast forward to today and the gods we modern humans have created look a lot like ourselves.  We place our minds in the center of the universe and need to feed the god of humans through wealth and fame and accumulation.   All the while not being able to accomplish a tiny portion of what the One True God has done and will do.  

Yes, God wants our attention.  He wants our worship.  He wants our obedience.  But He doesn’t need any of it.  He is perfect without us.  That, my friends, is what makes His devotion to us and His love for us and His sacrifice of His Son for us all the more glorious!  What I say to that is thank you, Lord!  Thank you for your Holy Word, your promises to us, for justice and mercy and grace.  I give you all the glory you rightfully deserve!

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His Mercy

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25:2

Heavenly Father, King above all kings, you know my sinful heart and yet you love me.  You know my sinful ways yet you love me.  You know my idolatries that I struggle to get out from under yet somehow you forgive me and love me.  I reach out to you Lord in all your mystery and glory and thank you for the mercy only you can give.  Amen

I was asked in a study to write down all the reasons why I pray.  I listed thankfulness, requests, intercession, praise and repentance.  I was then asked to circle the reason that comes up most in my prayer life.  I have to admit “repentance” wasn’t one of them.  Thankfulness is probably the most frequent expression I find in my prayer life.  And it’s usually related to blessings – not for keeping me from the fires of my sinful ways.

A few years ago, I finally grasped the concept of God’s mercy with this helpful saying, “Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve and grace is when you get something you don’t deserve.”  Boy, should I be constantly thanking God for His mercy!  

"Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions." Psalms 51:1

The problem is we sometimes lack of awareness of our destructive swaths we create through sin.  Realizing that, we should find it even more amazing that God gives us believers His mercy.  He doesn’t always save us from earthly consequences but we know that when Jesus returns to judge the earth we won’t be thrown into the fire.  What a glorious and loving God!

God has not asked us to wander bewildered by our transgressions and consequences.  From beginning to end He has set the stage for our success.  Through first giving us the Law, therefore defining sin, then sending Christ to teach us about God, how to live the Christian life and best of all, cleansing us of eternal punishment, He has taught us how to align ourselves with His ways.  The Holy Spirit, which He left to dwell in us, provides us a daily conduit to keep us on track.  

Friend, He thought of everything because He is our Glorious God!  His mercy is our safety net.  He knew we would struggle, and boy do we ever!  Maybe you, like me need to tune in better to the Holy Spirit before we pray today.  Ask Him to search our hearts and minds, like only the King of Kings can do.  Have Him show us those corners of our life that seem blind to us.  Let His glorious light shine to cleanse you.

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Open Communication

“Then Moses said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do, so that that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Leviticus 9:6

Holy God, it amazes me that you, in your infinite and powerful ways wants to talk to me.  That the God of the universe wants me to come to you each and every day with my needs and my fears.  Today I come to you with praise and thanksgiving that you love me so much.  Amen

I heard a description of an early  “church service” the other day.  The first half was open to anyone and featured scripture reading and the teaching of the gospel.  Then the pastor would call out, “the doors, the doors” and it was the message to those who were not baptized or confessed believers to leave.  The doors would then be closed and the second half of the service commenced.  This is when the holy gift of communicating with God began.  The church membership would have an “upper room” type meeting with breaking of bread and prayer to the Most Holy One.

What I like about this is that shows reverence to the second greatest blessing God bestowed on us (the first being Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins) – a loving, two-way path communicating with God.  A gift given to believers by Jesus and spurred on by the Holy Spirit that lives in the children of God.  I’m not suggesting only believers should pray, it’s just an acknowledgement of the seriousness of this gift we’ve been given.

In the Bible verse today, we see the seeds of God’s desire to communicate with us in the priestly ministry of the ancients.  God spoke through Moses on how to address Him through sacrifices and other holy activities.  He tells the priests in training that when they take these steps, they will see God’s glory revealed to them.  The same is true with the gift of prayer.  

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

The disciples, just as in Moses’ day, desired to learn how to communicate with God.  How to open up the heavens so they could see the glory of the One Almighty.  And so Jesus taught them the prayer I mentioned yesterday, what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”  It starts with reverence, placing God in our hearts and minds rightly where He belongs.  It moves on to acknowledging God as the provider of all our needs and our submission to Him.  We then ask for forgiveness and to forgive others.  And finally for daily guidance.

The gift of prayer is God’s message to us that we are not believers of a god who is unable to do all things, or a god who can’t be trusted, or a god to whom we need to beg to hear us.  Before we pray we need to be fully informed of how we view Him.  If we don’t believe He is merciful then we might believe He will punish us if we bring our sins to Him.  Our prayers should always include a request for wisdom about Him so that when He answers our prayer – which He always does – we will understand the answer and see the glory in His ways.

Today, I want to leave you with this beautiful prayer from King David showing us how to glorify and praise God in all His magnificent ways.

Psalm 63

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
    they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
    and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
    all who swear by God will glory in him,
    while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
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A Time of Rest

“To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”  Romans 16:27

Thank you, Lord for a good night sleep.  As I wake today I recognize the wisdom of the gift you gave us of sleep.  So that I may be re-charged each day to serve you, to spread your message of love and to give you all glory. Amen

When I woke up this morning my first thought was of God’s perfection and wisdom.  His perfect plan for us and all the animals that roam the earth.  It wasn’t an accident that there was night and day.  There first was the darkness and then God created our alarm clock – the light.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." Genesis 1:2-3

God’s plan for us has always included a time for re-charging.  Haven’t you ever contemplated on the fact that we have a world-wide understanding that at night the majority of the world sleeps?  If there’s anything that we have all mostly agreed to do as part of His plan is to tuck ourselves in and give it a rest. 

The restless nights, worried-filled staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning are not, however, part of His plan.  He tells us over and over in His Holy Word to turn it over to Him so we can be at peace.  So we can rest.  So we can sleep.  

Friend, we can be so thankful to God for giving us the night.  For weaving into His plan a time of rest.  When you lay your head down think on what He has given you as the light turns to dark.  And when His alarm clock rises, give Him glory for another day to serve Him well.