Spirit food: Eat this; not that

 

Proverbs 27:7
A person who is full refuses honey, 
but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.

Did you ever look at a friend who wasn’t being treated well in a relationship – and knew it – and wonder why that friend kept taking the kind of treatment she was receiving? Maybe her boyfriend was a cheater. Maybe he was cruel in some way. Maybe he ignored her. Whatever the hurtful behavior…it was bad; and, she stayed in it. You just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t break it off and move on.

How about a friend who had some sort of life-damaging issue, addiction or behavior? An eating disorder, promiscuity, hoarding, self-harm, drug use, isolation?

I remember seeing a news clip probably 20+ years ago when Robert Downey, Jr. was being sentenced AGAIN for drug issues. This brilliant, talented, valuable man said the most heart-breaking, tortured thing. “It’s like I have a gun in my mouth and my finger’s on the trigger and I like the taste of metal.”

We’ve all done the same in one way or another. Because of some need or deficit. – some hunger in our lives, we learned to eat the bitter until it tasted normal or sweet to us. The danger is two-fold. We establish an appetite for the bitter and unfullfilling. And because it cannot satisfy, our appetite for it increases and we eat more and more while remaining forever hungry in that area.

I will occasionally see articles on the internet aimed at helping us make better food choices. They’re called, “Eat This, Not That.” The premise of the articles and website is to do “swaps.” Instead of “that” choice at the grocery store, restaurant, salad bar, etc., choose “this” better thing that will be good for you and taste wonderful.

Maybe we’re eating self-pity, loneliness, judgmental and critical thoughts and conversations, feelings of inferiority and unworthiness, offense and hurt, envy, jealousy, strife and arguing, shame and guilt, resentment, condemnation…the list goes on. Let’s get our fingers off the trigger and the metal out of our mouths. We need to belly-up-to-the-bar and have a heaping helping of the crazy sweet love of God. We need to get so full of “this” we cannot imagine eating another bite of “that.”

Here are some tasty morsels to chew on:

*Your love, Lord, is priceless and unfailing and isn’t withheld from anyone (Psalm 36:7)
*
I am the temple of God and I meditate on His unfailing love (2 Corinthians 6:16, Psalm 48:9)
*
His love for me reaches from earth to the heavens and His faithfulness to the skies (Psalm 36:5)
*
I flourish in God and trust in His unfailing love forever and ever (Psalm 52:8)

*You, Lord, are compassionate and gracious, not angry with me and Your love and faithfulness for me is HUGE! (Psalm 86:15, Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17)

*Nothing can stop Your love for me. (Romans 8:35-39)

*Your love for me will never end. (Psalm 136:26)
*
You love me and You are delighted with me. (Zephaniah 3:17)

*Knowing You love me so much brings peace and quiet inside me (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
You love me so much, You sing over me – with joy and celebration (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
You are with me and because You love me, You bring your strength and power to save me. (Zephaniah 3:17)
*
Your great loving-kindness compels me into closeness and intimacy with you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

*You don’t love me because of anything I’ve done to earn or deserve it – You love me just because You love me. Just because You are Love. (Titus 3:4-5)

*Because You love me, Father, You sent Jesus for me. Through Him, who I am is completely different than who I was or could ever be without Him. (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Feeling a little spiritually and emotionally hungry? Starting to reach for a bitter bite? Reach for “this” and not “that” as quickly as you realize what is happening. Make the “swap.” Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8) Purpose to change your spiritual and emotional appetite and it will change every aspect of your life. It really will. He promised. We have His Word on it! Take a big bite out of His love!

God is good and He adores us!

Be led…

Be still…

be still church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the toughest things to do in tough times is to be still. To be still and know that He is God. No matter how we feel. No matter how it looks. No matter what. He is God. He is good. He adores us.

Don’t quit fishing…

don't quit fishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God is good & He adores you!

Go for wisdom…

acquire wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 19:8 (NLT)
To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; 
people who cherish understanding will prosper.

ACQUIRE: to get as one’s own: to come into possession or control of: to come to have as a new or added characteristic, trait, or ability: to locate and hold a desired object: develop, cultivate (according to various dictionaries)

CHERISH: to hold dear: feel or show affection for: to keep or cultivate with care and affection: nurture: to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely (according to Merriam-Webster)

PROSPER: to succeed in an enterprise or activity; especially: to achieve economic success: to become strong and flourishing: to burgeon (according to various dictionaries)

FLOURISH: to grow luxuriantly: thrive: to achieve success: prosper: to be in a state of activity or production: to reach a height of development or influence (according to Merriam-Webster)

BURGEON: to send forth new growth: bloom: to grow and expand rapidly: accelerate, accumulate, build up, increase, multiply, proliferate, rise, expand, gain, escalate, mount (according to Merriam-Webster)

Burgeoning sounds good to me! Flourishing is pretty spiffy, too!

I want to – acquire – get as my own, come into possession of, and have as a new and added characteristic, trait and ability…wisdom. I want to hold wisdom dear and precious, nurture it, cultivate it, entertain and keep wisdom in my thoughts purposely, and to have wisdom make its home in me.

When wisdom’s home is in me, I will succeed in a special and unique way and will become strong and will flourish. I will grow and thrive and flourish and be productive, fruitful and succeed richly (don’t just think money and things) at what I do. I will develop and grow and become large and strong in my purpose and calling and God will multiply the results of my efforts. This will influence others and point them to Him because my life will represent His goodness and His grace and is a witness and demonstration of Who He is and how He loves and blesses.

Wisdom prospers.

James 1:5 (NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

I need wisdom. Every day. In everything. More and more. I can so see where not accessing guidance and wisdom from God and leaning to my own strengths and ideas led to failures and less than His best in my life.

So, I am asking…

“Father God, You ARE generous. You ARE good. Your Word is true. I am asking for wisdom and according to James 1:5, You promise to give it to me. I will take it as my own and receive it from You as an added God-like and God given characteristic. I hold it dear and will nurture it and listen and take it deep…purposely and actively. I will put Your wisdom first and deep in my mind as I make choices and face each situation.”

“Father, I love how You love me. Your wisdom is for me and You are generous with it. You will never, ever keep it from me. Your Word says so. And, with it comes success and growth and strength and wholeness – prosperity – in every aspect of my life. You said so. With Your wisdom alive in me, others will see Your goodness working in my life and want You, too. What a gift, honor and privilege. I have You.”

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We Have His Word On It!

God keeps His promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God proves true,
 He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.

 

It seems like politicians make a long list of promises before we elect them and then have a longer list (generally blaming someone or something else) later about why they couldn’t fulfill their promises.

Divorce court is the place to finalize the brokenness of “forever” promises between husbands and wives.

In a world of cheap promises and meaningless words, the solidity and veracity of God’s Word and how clearly it reveals His character continues to breathe fresh life into this new life in Christ. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and He made me new. As a “new creature” because I am now “in Christ,” the Word says that old things are passed away (dead) and all things have been made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is through the Word that I hear the wisdom and instruction of the Lord on how to live this new life. The new person I am cannot function in the deadness of the person that I was. The Word gives us the history of our new family, the way our new family and each of its members should operate as representatives and ambassadors of this new life, and clear instruction and correction to get there – and most of all reveals the love and heart of God towards us…His children.

2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.

When we come to know Him – through His Word and through His Spirit bringing His Word to life in us, the new life in Christ becomes HD…High Definition. It is clear and it is beautiful and limitless in the ways God’s love can be expressed in our lives. Jesus said that if we are alive in Him and His Word is alive in us, we can ask God for anything and receive it. (John 15:7) Pretty bold stuff! Jesus said it…so it’s true. But, how? Especially when it doesn’t seem to be showing up that way…

We became alive in Him when we received Him and became believers or Christ followers. That didn’t take any effort on our part other than believing and acceptance. Done. For the word to become alive in us, we have to hear it, read it, study it, seek Him in it. Receive its truth.

1 John 5:14-15 tells us that the confidence we have in Him is that if we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He hears us. And, when He hears us, we HAVE whatever we have petitioned Him for. Anything? Really??? ANYTHING????????? [Read more…]

Money, Money, Money

 money, money, money

 

Proverbs 23:4-5 (NLT)
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
 Be wise enough to know when to quit.
 In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, 
for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

There’s nothing wrong with being rich. Nothing at all. There’s something quite wrong with wearing yourself out to get rich. It sounds good and noble to push and push that direction. It’s not. Why? We cannot count on money to make everything alright. To fix things. Or, to last forever. It is vitally important to put it in proper perspective. If our security or our trust is based on money, we will never be safe or satisfied.

Be wise. Be diligent. Plan ahead. Be well informed and smart about purchases and investments. Be the kind of employee or entrepreneur that is noticed and blessed for how you conduct your business affairs. All of that is good and admirable. BUT DON’T OBSESS AND GET ANXIOUS AND MAKE THE FINANCIAL REWARDS YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS.

In Matthew 13 and Mark 4, when Jesus is explaining the meaning of the parable of the sower, He talks about the third example of good seed bringing no harvest. The seed is the Word. In this case, the Word brings no harvest or benefit or blessing because of the thorns that “choke” the Word and it becomes “unfruitful.” The Truth of the Word – the message God has for His beloved children – is crowded out and doesn’t thrive or survive.

Why?

Cares. Anxieties. Distractions. Worry. The lure of wealth. The deceitfulness of riches
 (the lie that money and material things solve our problems and will make us happy). Desiring and focusing on other things more.

A scripture that is misquoted more often than it is quoted correctly is 1 Timothy 6:10.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT)
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

LOVE of money. Money isn’t the root of all kinds of evil. Loving it is. Some people, craving money, pierced themselves with many sorrows. Money isn’t evil and it isn’t the having it or not having it that is the problem. It is the craving of it. We bring sorrow on ourselves when it is our focus and obsession. Ever had any sorrows because of chasing or craving money? You’re not alone!

Having money doesn’t equal craving it or loving it. Not having money doesn’t equal NOT craving it or NOT loving it. In fact, the percentage of people without much money who crave and obsess about it is probably just as large or larger than those who have lots of money. IT ISN’T ABOUT THE MONEY. It’s all about the role it plays in our motivations, actions, focus and priorities. [Read more…]

The Wisdom Walk

Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)
Those who trust in themselves are fools, 
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26 (AMP)
He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a (self-confident) fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered.

I have yet to meet someone who feels strongly about something and yet is quite sure that they are wrong.

Including me…

We just do not quickly or easily admit we are wrong – even when we get pretty ample evidence. Often, as evidence begins to mount that we might have been wrong, we scurry to defend or justify our position. We blame it on wrong or inadequate information. Someone else’s action, manipulation, or influence.
 
Too many times in the past, I let my emotional response or what I thought I knew guide my decisions – and it didn’t work out well. Emotions and perceptions are not the basis for sound, wise decisions with predictably solid outcomes. Perceptions are so easily skewed. Emotions are so easily manipulated and quite fickle. FOR ALL OF US.

Remember the bad boy you thought you couldn’t live without? The trip you couldn’t miss that you couldn’t afford? The relationship that was ruined because of misunderstanding and both parties are still sure the other is totally wrong? The job that looked fabulous and turned out to be a nightmare? The house that was just perfect and turned out to be a money pit? That word bomb you had to detonate because you had to have the last word and the biggest word?

Think about the folks from different races, religions, tribes, nations, or political leanings that have allowed those different ways of being and seeing to lead them down horrific paths of destruction, hate, murder and even genocide. Have you ever talked to a racist? As astounding as it is, they really believe their stuff and believe it is right.

You know what we have in common with the obvious crazies? We really believe our stuff, too. Even when it isn’t working and we actually have ample evidence. It is hard to let go of what we FEEL and THINK. Even when it’s wrong. That’s why it’s called “foolish” to make our own emotions and perceptions the basis for our choices.

Thank God we don’t have to live that way if we don’t want to. Because He loves us so much, God didn’t leave us vulnerable to the shifting winds of our emotions. You have probably heard this, but we are not souls. We are spirits. Our spirit is who and what we are. We have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and we live in a body. But, our spirit is who we are. By and large, we are used to operating almost strictly by the dictates of our souls and not our spirits.

That’s where godly and skillful Wisdom comes in. As believers, we have free access to the wisdom of God and the mind of Christ. Given to us. (1 Corinthians 2:16, Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:24, Colossians 1:9) But, it doesn’t just automatically take over. We have to choose it. How?

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE NEED IT AND HE’S GOT IT

Lord, your thoughts and ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Lord, anything that seems wise in this world is foolish compared to Your wisdom. (I Corinthians 3:19)

All true wisdom and understanding comes from You, Lord. (Job 12:12-13)

ASK FOR WISDOM

Your Word says that if I lack wisdom, all I have to do is ask You for it and You give it generously. (James 1:5)

RECEIVE WISDOM

I am called by God and Jesus has been made the wisdom of God to me. (1 Corinthians 1:24)

In You, Lord, is all of the wealth of wisdom and understanding – insight into Your ways and purposes. When I seek You, I find that wisdom. (Colossians 2:3)

Sounds good, right? Now what?

Here are some practical ways to access and walk in the wisdom of God. I’m certainly not saying I am an expert at this – but, I am pressing in and pressing toward it!

Put significant importance on knowing more and more about God’s ways and thoughts by putting your thoughts and attention and appropriate time and focus in that direction. If you wanted to become really skilled at any other thing, you wouldn’t think it was unusual or a real burden to spend time learning what you needed to learn and practicing what you needed to be able to do. No different here.

One teacher gave the assignment to go through the book of Proverbs and make two lists. One of everything it says a fool or the foolish do and another of what it says the wise do. That gave me a whole lot to think about.

Here’s a little quick checklist of God-wisdom qualities to consider when you are wondering what to do…

According to James 3:17, the wisdom that comes from heaven is:

PURE – So, check my motives and my emotions
…see what is driving the decision.

PEACE-LOVING – Will this choice bring greater peace?


GENTLE AT ALL TIMES – Is this kind, amiable, caring?

WILLING TO YIELD TO OTHERS – What is in the best interest of others here?


FULL OF MERCY – Am I being compassionate even when someone has done wrong to me?


FULL OF GOOD DEEDS – What is the opportunity for me to do good for someone here?


SHOWING NO FAVORITISM – Is this impartial and not from a place of emotional preference
?

SINCERE – Is this genuine and without a personal agenda?

When I think of checklists, one of the things that comes to mind is how pilots have a checklist that they have to go through before they take off. Even if they’ve been flying for decades, they go through the checklist. Every trip. Every time. It is to insure that the plane is ready for a safe journey to the desired destination. Got a desired outcome? Want to get there safely? Well, before we take off, let’s go through the checklist!

Look at that list. It will tell you a lot about our Heavenly Father and His great love for us. It describes His thoughts and ways. How blessed are we that we belong to Him????

God is good and He adores us!

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It’s Time To Know

time to know

Shhhhhhhh.

Get really quiet. If not right now, sometime before you go to bed tonight. Again tomorrow.

What is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart? What is stirring in you? Not the 20 things that go zooming through several times a day. Not the 10 things. The 1, 2 or 3 things that just kind of hang out 24/7 at different levels of consciousness. Sometimes, it/they are LOUD and CLEAR. Sometimes they are just whispering and on the periphery of your daily activities. But they are there. Always there.

Maybe you swat it away. Dismiss it. Or, override it every time it surfaces for your consideration. You don’t have time. You don’t have the energy. You don’t have the support. You don’t have the money. You’ve made too many mistakes. You don’t know how. All the usual reasons we have for why we don’t do what is in our hearts and live The Plan and our Destiny. [Read more…]

Wisdom – the Checklist

Imagine how differently areas of our lives would have played out had we operated in the wisdom of God rather than our own understanding.

Good News, Proverbs 1:2 tells us that understanding and insight are available – that we can KNOW and comprehend wisdom. We can perceive wisdom and have insight.

Proverbs 1:2 (AMP)
That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight.

Proverbs 1:2 (NKJ)
To know wisdom and instruction, 
To perceive the words of understanding.

One of our greatest spiritual desires and commitments to the Lord should be that we may know skillful and godly wisdom and have great spiritual understanding and insight – AND employ and apply it in all areas of our lives. We know that God wants us to be led by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our lives every day.

Proverbs 1 also tells us that wisdom cries out to us…it isn’t elusive or hidden. It isn’t playing hard to get.

Sounds good, right? So, how do we get more wisdom?

[Read more…]