Mystery Solved!

cone in handI was sitting at my desk when Veronica, a fourth grader in my school choir, walked into my room after school. She said in a worried voice, “Look at my chin. I woke up this morning with this on my face.” My eyes followed her voice up to her chin where I saw strange, tiny, purple blotches that started underneath her bottom lip and continued under her chin. I asked her what happened. “I woke up like this,” she responded. “I don’t know what happened, but my mama says if it doesn’t go away soon, she’s gonna take me to the doctor.”

I had never seen anything like it. “Do you need to see the nurse?” I asked. “No, I saw her this morning. She had me to put ice on it all day.” That made me feel better. “I wanted to stay home today,” she continued, “but my mom said that I should come to school. It didn’t matter if the kids made fun of me, I had to realize that I’m still beautiful and I shouldn’t worry.” I nodded my head in agreement. I had a Halloween flashback. (See  my post – The Scar (Compassion & Life’s Adversities – Part 2).

Choir rehearsal started. We continued where we left off the day before. Towards the end of rehearsal, Shelly, another 4th grader, grabbed a stack of miniature rubber construction cones that had encouraging remarks printed on them. I usually allowed the students to pass them out whenever someone sang especially well.  “Put those cones away,” I said. “Remember yesterday, don’t you?”

The day before, one of the singers discovered that by squeezing in on a cone she could attach it to her face. That’s all it took. Immediately, I saw children with 4-inch blue cones sticking out of their foreheads, or purple cones protruding out of cheeks and hanging off chins. They laughed so hard and were even trying to sing with them on their faces. They were being so silly that I had them to put the cones away and took away the privilege of using them for the next day.

“I told you yesterday, no cones today.” Looking disappointed, Shelly was in the midst of collecting the cones when all of a sudden Veronica yells out, “The cones!” We all turned. Revelation was written across her smiling face. “Yesterday,” she continued, “I wore a cone on my chin while I was walking around the room at the end of class.

A small smile slowly spread across my face as it dawned on me what had happened. I said, “I think you gave yourself a cone hickey!” “I don’t understand,” she said. Why did the cone do that to my face?”  I explained what I thought had taken place. We all laughed in relief that she didn’t have to go to the doctor after all. I assured her that the spots would go away soon and she’d be back to normal.

I think that in life, we all have ‘cone moments’. Something in our lives may be going very wrong and we can’t figure out why. You can bet that it’s the other person’s fault. It usually is, isn’t it? If only they would…     If only they had…

But wait! Cone moment!

Softly, the Holy Spirit reminds us of things we said or actions we’ve taken that were a major contributing factor to the present trouble. We weren’t so innocent after all. Now, what do we do? We can’t go back and erase our words or cancel our actions. Wouldn’t that be especially cool if we could?

I was discussing this with some friends. One said to another, “When you do your  ‘do  over’, can you do my life over too while you’re at it?”

While God does not allow us to go back and relive our lives, erasing the consequences of our past ignorance with our present wisdom, He does allow us to repent. We can choose to regret our wrong choices so much that we stop living by what we think is right and allow God’s Holy Spirit to teach us the right way to think, speak, and behave. We get to toss out our wrong beliefs and exchange them for God-centered truths. Wherever I am led astray by my own selfish desires, wrong opinions and philosophies, I get to turn and go in the opposite direction towards my Heavenly Father, who has wisdom stored up for me.

It’s not enough for me to know what God would have me to do, but I actually have to do it. We don’t get ‘do overs,’ but we do get the chance to ask for forgiveness from God, hopefully the chance to ask forgiveness from the person we wronged, or have the chance to forgive the one who injured us.

So if you have a ‘cone hickey’ today, know that the Holy Spirit is waiting to reveal to you why the bruise is actually there. He’s there to not only solve your mystery, but heal the injury that may have been caused by the choices you’ve made.

Until next time, I hope that you will enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question to consider:

1. Is there a chance that you’ve given yourself a cone hickey?

2. Have you spoken to your Heavenly Father about it?

3. What has the Holy Spirit revealed to you?

4. What will your response to this revelation be?

Scriptures to take with you on your journey courtesy of Biblegateway.com:

Humble Service in the Body of Christ ] For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Psalm 51 ] [ For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. ] Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
James 1:5 [Full Chapter]

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

 

 

 

 

 

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R. is for Remembering and Reflecting on Failure (Damaging Behavior and God’s love Part 3)

Have you ever been ‘stuck’?

R is for: Remembering only the negative things that people say about us and reflecting on (meditating on) the wrong thoughts that enter our minds.

I used to have a very, very hard time with this one, because I would get stuck on the negative words and actions of others. When I was little, I wanted to get revenge. As I grew older, I spent too much time reviewing negative incidences; trying to figure out what I could have said or done differently. Then God’s Word taught me the importance of putting the past behind me and pressing on towards the mark and purpose God had for my life.

Okay, I hate to admit it to you… but … I’m not perfect.

(Whew!! That took a lot out of me, but you know what they say, “Confession is good for the soul!” You won’t believe it, but it took me over forty years before I could look myself in the mirror and admit this horrible truth!   LOL!   I can laugh out loud now, but not back then.)

I used to beat myself up constantly when I made mistakes. This certainly did not allow the best in me to shine. In fact, one day I was giving myself a good ‘talkin to’ in my head (you know what I mean). I had pulled out the emotional whip and was in the midst of a good old-fashioned beat-down, buying into what the enemy was telling me about my failures and imperfections when my son telephoned me. After talking with me for a little while, he interrupted my ‘oh, woe-is-me’ session with great disappointment in his voice. “Mom, he said. “Why didn’t you invite me?” Of course, I was totally confused. “What are you talking about son? Invite you to what?” was my response. “The party,” he said. “I could have at least brought the chips and salsa.” Exasperated, I replied, “ What party.”  “The pity party,”  he replied. All you could hear was silence on the phone.

Suddenly I hooped! He fell out laughing. We both laughed until I cried. And then he gave me a different perspective about my situation and I felt so much better.

“Come cry with me!”

     Let’s face it.  No one wants to be around a pitiful, complaining, negative person for very long. That kind of attitude can bring everyone around you down. It’s like a contagious spirit that can leave everyone you talk to feeling like they have been beaten up. Without a doubt, learning how to forgive yourself is a wonderful gift that God, and those who love you, would definitely approve of.  “I’m so dumb.” “You’d think I’d have better sense than that.” “No wonder nobody loves me.” “I wouldn’t love me either.” On and on we can go, until we are swimming in a pool of misery and depression. I mean, if we overheard someone talking about us the way we talk about ourselves, we wouldn’t like it at all.

I am so glad that these days, it’s my desire to forgive myself right away, so I won’t be tempted to live in condemnation. God’s Word assures us that if we are walking daily with God and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us, there is no condemnation on God’s part towards us. He doesn’t beat us up when we blow it. He doesn’t put us down. Rather, Almighty God says in His word that when we make the wrong decision, come to Him, and ask for wisdom, and He will give it to us in abundance.

We don’t have to walk around with a dark cloud of pity circling over our heads. God knows that we are still in the process of being transformed. He knows that He is going to finish changing us. He sees us through the cleansing blood of His Son. Christ’s righteousness puts us in right standing with our Heavenly Father, because we trust in Christ. In fact, because we love His Son, God the Father justifies us, treating us just as if we had never sinned in the first place.

So what do I do these days? I do my best to ask God and others for their forgiveness when I sin. I thank God for forgiving me (He says that He is faithful to forgive us of all our sin). Then, I ask Him to help me to listen better in the future and to be more obedient. If I make a mistake, I try to relax my heart, love myself in the midst of my imperfection, and remember that God loves me, mistakes and all. I chalk it up as regrettable moment and try to learn from it. This is much better that beating myself up for days.

I’ve learned that dwelling on the negative prevents me from hearing God’s voice. If I meditate on problems, the problems appear bigger than God and insurmountable. However, if I find scriptures that pertain to my problem, meditate on God’s Word, and trust Him, I can have peace in the midst of the storm, while God is working. I can hear His instructions, as He tells me what to do or not to do in life’s circumstances.

What should I think on instead of my mistakes or negative things that have happened in my past? I can think on the bright future that God assures me He has written in His book of life for me. I can choose to think about God’s character and how much He cares for me. I can think about the favor He wants to extend to me. I can think about all of his many promises. I can see obstacles as opportunities for God to move and work a miracle with His grace.

And so can you.

Getting stuck in the bad experiences of my life can cloud my vision of the future. Even dwelling on my past successes can swell my head like a balloon in the Thanksgiving Day parade. Therefore, it’s extremely important that I ask God to help me to see my past and present soberly and realistically, then get excited about what He is going to do, in spite of my past and present. This is the one way I have found of getting rid of a little more dirt, as I continue this journey.

I want to think about, meditate on whatever things are lovely, excellent, and of good report. I want to live expecting His promises to overtake me at any moment. I want to keep the past where it belongs, in the past. Yep, I want to enjoy the journey. How about you?

Okay, that’s enough for today!

T. of D.I.R.T. is on the way! Until then, instead of getting stuck on remembering the negative, I encourage you to choose to allow your mind to be a reflection of God’s love. It’s another way to etj3.

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – How many times today have you chosen to meditate on thoughts that were lovely and of good report?

Scriptures to consider today:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19a [NIV]

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 [KJV]

Colossians 3:3 – For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. [AMP]

Philippians 2:14-15 – Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], 15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world [AMP]

Hebrews 8:12 – For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more. [AMP]

See also: Psalm 98:1-3

                                                 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back soon! You don’t want to miss the ‘t’ in d.i.r.t.!

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The ‘I’ in D. I. R. T. (Damaging Behavior and God’s Love – Part 2)

The ‘I’ in today’s post on D. I. R. T.  is about changing irresponsible behavior.

We know that when we behave irresponsibly, we prevent others from seeing the true image of God which resides in us. This type of negative behavior can draw an invisible line in the sand that others won’t cross in order to get to know us better, because they’ve decided that we can’t be trusted. Irresponsible behavior can lead others to believe that we are not people of honor and integrity. In order to remove d.i.r.t. from my life, God began to teach me how to accept responsibility for my choices.

I am responsible for my words. If only you’d do what you’re suppose to do,” I’d tell my kids,  “then I wouldn’t have to fuss so much.” I’d tell my husband, “If you wouldn’t ‘push my button’ then I wouldn’t have to go there.” I was great at blaming someone else for my responses to  life’s situations until one day, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that no one made me go off. I freely decided that ALL by myself! Eyes opened, I acknowledged that could no longer blame someone else for my choices. I had to accept responsibility for the words I chose to say and for the actions I chose to take.

I once heard a minister tell a congregation that the next time someone walks up and says to us, “I’m gonna give her a piece of my mind,” we should respond with, “No! Don’t give a piece away! You need all you can hold on to!” Seriously, I know I can’t say every thought that comes to my mind and still speak responsibly. Words have power. I am to be a steward over them by allowing the Holy Spirit to have charge over my tongue. I must choose my words carefully.

I am responsible to keep my word. Let me give you an example. My word, my pledge to you, represents who I am.  My decision to keep or not to keep my promises or my commitments, and to honor or not honor my relationships is extremely important. Every time I don’t do what I say I am going to do, then I am being irresponsible and I am telling others not to trust me. It’s so easy to be driven by my emotions at the moment and to say ‘yes’. Unfortunately later, when I’m tired, so very tired, I want to renege on my commitment. But I can’t go back on my word. I must be faithful.

I know what it feels like when people don’t keep their word. Therefore, when I give my word and I can’t keep it, it really bothers me. My word is my bond. I try to do my best to do what I say that I’m going to do. This means that I have to pray daily and ask God to give me more wisdom and balance. I don’t want to over schedule myself and end up falling through on my commitments. Nor do I want to make promises ‘willy-nilly’, without thinking about whether or not they are possible to keep. And I certainly don’t want to burn myself out trying to be everything to everyone. That’s God’s job. He is the only great I AM.

I am responsible for being a good steward. When it comes to finances, I try very hard to be responsible.  I  know that my family is counting on me. I wouldn’t want them to worry or lose sleep because I’m reckless with my paycheck and making poor financial decisions. It is my desire to be a good steward or overseer over all that God has entrusted to me. I do not want to be irresponsible with what belongs to Him. Rather, I choose to be… that’s right, faithful.

For everything belongs to Him.

I am responsible for my role in my relationships. I have a responsibility to the relationships in which I am involved; whether it’s a relationship with a member of my family, a friend, co-worker, student, or church family member. I am responsible to my children to be the best mom I can be, to my husband to be the best wife I can be, and my folks to be the best family member I can be. I have made a commitment to keep confidences, even if it means that someone else will be upset because I don’t tell them what I know. (I’ve had a few people to get hopping mad with me because I couldn’t share information that was told to me in confidence.)

I have a responsibility to treat others like I hope they will treat me. And really, I want to treat others how Christ treats me. He loves me unconditionally. Faithfully.

I also have a responsibility to myself.

I only have one body, so I’d better take care of it. As a dear friend tells me all the time, “Nobody is going to take of you like you can take care of you.” In other words, I am responsible for eating right, exercising (which I do not do, but am determined to do), and getting enough rest. I am responsible for protecting myself by not filling my mind with junk, negative messages, fears, the wrong kind of music, etc.

I am responsible to God. I am responsible for keeping God’s joy and peace in my life so I will be strong enough to make the journey. And finally, I have a responsibility to listen to Him in all the ways that He speaks to me, and to obey Him so that my life is balanced; and I can achieve the plan He has for me each day. For me, it’s so easy to get out of balance! For instance, I’m writing to you right now, and it’s 1:30 AM and I know that this is my rest time not my blog time. (Out of balance again!)

Boy, just reading this blog, about how I want to be a responsible person in so many areas of my life, is making me feel anxious! LOL  I mean, I only get 24 hours in a day to stay on task and get everything done. I could use another week in my day. How about you?

Then the Holy Spirit reminds me that if I keep my mind on Jesus, he will keep me in perfect peace. He will do the work in me and through me. (I feel myself taking a deep sigh of relief.) He will help me to be responsible. Step by step. Moment by moment. All God requires is for me to love Him and trust Him. The rest will fall in place.

I don’t have to make excuses when I’m irresponsible. Rather, I simply have to go to God, ask for His help, and ask for forgiveness for not listening to the Holy Spirit who wants to lead me. I repent, and accept responsibility for my actions. Then He washes me with His Word and cleanses me. I take a step closer to Him. He takes a step closer to me. We walk a little farther down the road of this journey… together.

He will do the same thing for you.

Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – How many times have you made excuses for not being the responsible person God has empowered you to be?

Scriptures to consider:

Deuteronomy 7:9 – God’s faithfulness – Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations,

1 Samuel 12:24 – Serving God with faithfulness – 24 Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; for consider how great are the things He has done for you.

Luke 11:34 – Be careful what you watch – 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye ([a]your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness.

Romans 6:12 12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.

1 Corinthians 6:18 18 Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

9:27 – Take care of your body – 27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].

Proverbs 13:11 – Money – 11 Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches].

Genesis 3 – Blaming others

 © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back soon! You don’t want to miss the ‘r’ in d.i.r.t.!

Posted in Behavior, Family, Love, Relationships, Respect, Responsibility, Self, Self-Control | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Got D. I. R. T.? (Human Value – Part 1)

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. Daniel 1:8 KJV

You’re waiting in line at the market when you look to your left. There it is. The latest in the lives of the f & f (fashionable and famous). You reach to pick it up. Yum! Yum! Nothing like a good slice of juicy gossip! If it wasn’t for other people’s dirt, how boring our lives would be!

Wait a minute! It’s your face and your story on the cover! The shock on your face makes the person waiting behind you wonder, “What in the world?” She looks at the magazine rack, glances back over at you, looks back at the magazine, then quickly grabs a ‘tell all’ of your worst laps in judgment.

You are officially on blast, dirt and all, for all the world to see.

Then you awaken. Whew! It was only a nightmare. Or was it???

So let’s talk dirt. No, not your dirt, but mine.

I’ve got to be kidding, right?  No, I actually want to talk to you about dirt, and how it can cover up your true value. You see, I have had to deal with d.i.r.t. my entire life. That’s why I am so glad that God is patient and loving. Over the years, He has slowly revealed one layer of my dirt after another. Cleansing gently as He works, He continues to remove strongholds in my life that keep me from me from being like His Son.

D. I. R. T.

 While your value will never change, it can be hidden by poor character, low self-esteem, and negative emotions which we’re going to call ‘dirt’.  Today, let’s start with the D’ in D. I. R. T.

D – Damaging behavior – God showed me that even though we are made for His honor and glory, when we live life without thinking about the consequences of our words and actions, we often injure others. When we think that we are better than those around us, we may end up demonstrating damaging behavior. Relationships are fragile. We may damage our relationships, or kill our chances of even having one, by treating others as though they don’t deserve basic respect and love.

Unfortunately, because I didn’t know how loved and valuable to God I really am, I made decisions that damaged my soul (my mind, my will, and my emotions). I found out that when you don’t know and trust God’s Word, you can find yourself living or speaking in a shameful manner that may damage your reputation and witness. In a moment, one thoughtless statement, or one self-absorbed action, may end up injuring those we love or even strangers.  And what’s worse, foolish decisions that we make, when we don’t think about or care about consequences, may damage our ability to share God’s love effectively.

I remember when I was in elementary school, I enjoyed ‘socking’ boys on the arm in my class, because in those days boys were taught not to hit girls back. I loved rough-housing with my cousins who were also boys, although they let me get away with more than I should have. Had I been a boy, they probably would have laid me out!

I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but actually I didn’t know that if you hit a boy it would hurt him. When I was little and hit a boy in my class he’d say, “That didn’t hurt!” It became sort of an experiment. So I’d hit him harder and he’d say, “That didn’t hurt!” He convinced me. I was impressed!! So I thought that boys were tougher than girls. In fact, I thought that boys were so tough that they were like an entirely different kind of species. It never dawned on me that they actually felt physical pain like girls. As you can tell, I had no brother at that point in my life! In fact, it wasn’t until I was married, that my thinking changed.

One day, we were walking into the house. My husband teased me, and I responded by punching him hard on the arm. He stopped, turned to me, and simply said, “ I don’t punch on you, don’t punch on me.” That broke me of that habit. It was right then and there that it dawned on me, for the first time in my life, that my rough housing was causing physical pain to someone. It made me sad. That was the last thing I wanted to do.

God really taught me about boys, though, by giving me a son. He changed my heart and tore down those strongholds, wrong beliefs I had, by opening my eyes to just how caring, loving, and fabulous little boys can be. I learned how loyal and forgiving they can be, and what wonderful young men they can grow up to be, if God is in their lives. They can aspire to greatness. And least, that’s what I’ve seen.

What am I saying? I’m saying that God gave me a personal lesson on how to get rid of some damaging behavior in my life, by showing me that my thinking was wrong. He taught me that because I believed incorrectly, I behaved incorrectly. He also transformed my thinking by teaching me, through my own family, that everyone deserved to be treated with respect.

Really, it doesn’t matter how much older or younger I am than those I encounter. God is teaching me that everyone needs to be treated with respect. God considers them precious in His sight. Consequently, how I treat those with whom I live, and those I encounter daily, matters. How I talk to them matters.

Speaking of damaging words, I have to be sooooooo careful about the information I ‘share’ with others. Have you found that it’s tempting to tell some juicy info or to talk about someone who gets on your nerves. Me too. But what if you’re only discussing it with your best friend? Your family? It still counts. But what if you’re talking about politicians or people in the public eye? Does that count? Only if they are people too.

Does spreading a spirit of complaining, grumbling, and being negative about someone count? God is going to hold me accountable for what I choose to say or not say. It’s hard for me to encourage you and complain about you at the same time. If I say whatever I want, about whomever I want, whenever I want, I ruin my chance of shining brightly for Christ. I must use discretion and think before I speak.

Why?

A damaging tongue can do much harm. It can cause someone to give up. It can cause a person to exchange their entire lifestyle for something degrading. It can ruin lives. A tongue, unchecked, unguarded, can spew bitterness and hatred and much more. Therefore, even though it may make us feel better to spout off, God tells us to resist and to show mercy.

In other words, He wants me to treat the person about whom I would like to gossip with the same compassion I’d like him or her to show to me. If that means walking away from a conversation, then I must walk away. If that means changing the conversation, then I should try to change it. If it means praying quietly and refusing to take the bait, then our Heavenly Father encourages me to pray and pray again.

It’s easy to see how damaging behavior can heap dirt on your character, so that people don’t see your true worth. But there’s more than the letter ‘D.’  Stay tuned for I. R. and T.

I believe that God wants to share a way to get rid of our dirt.

By the way, I just finished helping my daughter give my 2 month-old grandson a bath. Oh how he hates baths! He takes screaming to another level! And yet he really needed a bath. He was sitting in my daughter’s lap when she called out, “Help!” I ran in to discover that he had ‘decorated’ her pants, and his little body and clothes down to his socks, with bright, sunny-colored yellow ‘goo’ that had her calling out for help. He and his mom needed to be cleaned up!

Okay, so I’m way beyond the diaper stage, but like my little gem in his crib upstairs, I need to call on God to continuously clean the ‘goo’ out of my life by transforming my thinking with his Word. And like my daughter, sometimes ‘d.i.r.t.’ may invade my life, because of who is close to me at the moment. Even when it doesn’t feel great to get a gentle but thorough scrubbing, I know that it’s necessary.

Here are some scriptures that I found to be enlightening:

1 Corinthians 15:33 – 33 Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. AMP

James 3:3-5If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about.Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines.Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze!

Philippians 2:14-15 14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], 15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world

Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

Mark 11:25 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and [a]let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop.

Below are additional passages to help you on the journey:

James 1:19-26            Galatians 5:16-25     Philippians 2:14-15     Romans 3:23

Ephesians 4:29, 32       1 Thessalonians 5:11      Psalm 119:9

Leviticus 19:11               Zechariah 8:16             2 Timothy 2:16

1 Corinthians 10:13        1 Peter 2:17                  1 Peter 3:10

Until next time, remember that the best place for dirt is under your feet! Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – What damaging behavior do you have that God wants to transform with His Word?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back soon! You don’t want to miss the ‘i’ in d.i.r.t.!

 

Posted in Behavior, Frustration, Love, Relationships, Respect, Self | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Ever Been Tagless?

Have you ever spent the afternoon tag-less? Exactly what does that mean? Let me tell you what happened to me and you’ll get the idea. I went to a seminar recently. After finding my assigned room and signing in, I quickly wrote my name on my name tag and proceeded into the conference room.

I sat on the front row, of course, because I’m a ‘first row’, Type A, kind of person. I was extremely excited about being there and didn’t want to miss a thing. I wanted to make eye-contact with the presenter… you know, smile and show that I was attentive.

I pushed back my chair to go get a muffin and tea. It was then that I noticed that seemingly everyone else had only their FIRST name written in bright red on their name tags. I had written my first and last name. And it was in blue not red. WELL!! That nervous feeling came over me. I retrieved my muffin and tea and took my place at the front table.

I then looked up on the screen where various slides were being shown prior to the speaker’s arrival. There it was. The slide said as clear as day, “Write only your first name on your tag.” That was all it took. I was out of compliance! Oh no!! Then my mind began to race, “Was there something special about these name tags that I didn’t know? Were the name tags going to be used in some sort of activity later on? OH MY!! Here I was sitting with both names on my tag instead of only one.

The conference began. The presenter had everyone to stand up. We had to sit when she called out the area of education we were in. I told her, “Music,” and sat down. The longer I sat, the more anxious I became. I sat there thinking about my ‘tag situation.’  I thought, “Okay, now what am I supposed to d0?” I discreetly took off my tag and using a red pen, I first tried to scribble out my last name. Oops. That didn’t work. They could still see my last name through the red. “Okay. I’ve got it, ” I thought. I grabbed my black ink pen and re-scribbled over my name. Then I looked at the name tag. “There, that got it.”  I put it back on. I was in compliance now. Whew!

Then I slowly looked down at my tag. It looked so stupid with my last name scribbled out. “What could I do now?” I thought, “I know.” I took it off again, placing it on the table so I could fix it. The back of the tag started to stick to a napkin I had accidentally placed it on. Whew! I was able to unstick it just in the nick of time. I pulled off the little piece of napkin that hung on to one side, and tore the name tag down the middle. Breathing a sigh of relief, I placed the side with my first name on it back on my jacket. Yes!! I finally had it right. That was much better!

I sat there for a minute. Then I looked down again at my tag and thought, “Now you REALLY look stupid with half of a tag sitting on your chest!” So, I tore it off, folded it into a ball to be tossed out later. I would get a new tag when we had our first break of the morning. Break time finally came. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there were NO name tags when I went out to the sign-in table at break time. No one was around to help. So now I was in a real pickle.

There I was, sitting on the first row, in front of the lady, for the remainder of the day…. tagless. The presenter didn’t know my name so she couldn’t call on me. She was walking around the room calling on participants who had on name tags. “Jerry, what do you think about …”  ” Kim, what did your group come up with?” Well, she couldn’t call on me because I was… tagless.

I was beginning to grow desperate. I really wanted to participate. I wanted her to call on me too. I looked down at my white cocktail napkin which was next to my water glass. Maybe I could scribble my name on the napkin and tape it to my chest. Yes, that was what I was actually thinking! Then suddenly a tickle began to rise up inside me. I thought about all of the insane things I had done all because I wrote my last name on my tag and I wanted to holler. (LOL)

Okay, so I had to endure the rest of the afternoon being invisible, but I made it. At the end of the conference, I walked up to the presenter’s product table to take a closer look at one of her books. She said, “Hi, I didn’t get your name. I noticed you didn’t have your name tag on today.” I fell out laughing.

I said, “Yes, I figured you probably looked at me and said, “There has to be one rebellious person in every group.” Then I told her all of the things that I had done and about my desperate napkin idea. She laughed with me and said, “Oh, I remember you. You are the music teacher.” “Yes, I replied, “that was before I took my tag off.” She laughed again.

I bought her book.

It was the least I could do after being tagless all day.

Seriously, I think that the book is going to be great for me. It was on how to help students with low self-esteem, by giving them hope. (Right up my alley, right? LOL)

Seriously, God does not want us to live our lives filled with anxiety over the mundane, trivial, or even serious events in our lives. Our self-esteem cannot be hinged to a name tag, a friend’s or family member’s opinion of us, what we have or do not have, or anything else other than God’s love for us. For truly we are valuable people… not because of anything that has to do with us, but all because of Him. He loves us unconditionally… whether we have a name tag or no tag.

Oh how He loves you and me. It is this great love God has for us that provides the hope we need to make it, regardless of any situation. We can make it. We are going to make it, for Jesus Christ is our peace, our joy, our strength, and our hope. Because of Him, we can make the journey!

Questions to consider:

1. Have you ever had an insane ‘tagless’ moment? What did you learn from it?

2. How does God renew your hope in times of low self-esteem and hopelessness?

Scriptures to consider:

Job 17:15 where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me?

Psalm 25:3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:21  May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 33:18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalm 33:20 Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield.

Psalm 33:22 22 Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.

Psalm 42:5  Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. 

Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.

 

‘Until next time, remember there is hope in Christ and enjoy the journey!

 

Love,

T’Alice

2013 © God’s Perspective Publishing

 

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. This summer, I am moving posts around and republishing some of the earlier lessons that you may not have read. I hope that something I’ve learned will help you along your journey.

Thank you for visiting with me. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!


Posted in acceptance, Fear, Frustration, God's Love, Laughter, Problems, Self, Self-Esteem, self-Talk, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Whatcha’ Lookin’ At? Seeing the Unseen (Prudence – Good Judgment – Part 2)

    We don’t just see with our eyes, we see with our minds. Your eyes are only the lenses of the camera that captures the images in your path. It’s your mind that actually processes the information, much faster than any digital camera, and tells you what your eyes have taken in. We call it seeing, but we all see a little differently. One person may see a color as off-white, while another may see it as white, while another may see the same color as cream. I guess it depends on each person’s point of reference.      

    Let me give you another example. Let’s say that your co-worker Juanita Moore  was getting ready for work. She was known for wearing more make-up than most people at your job wore. When she finished putting her face on, she saw beauty reflected in the mirror. Not only did she see herself, but her mind also showed her a brief reminder of her favorite actress. She smiled as she remembered the icy blue eye shadow and pouting, shining, red lips of her gorgeous idol, who had been surrounded by her screaming, adoring fans. Juanita, of course, applied her makeup in a way that would allow her to be true to her vision of beauty.

       Your other co-worker, Janice Little, saw her at work later on, took one look at Juanita’s face and wonder why in the world would Juanita do that to herself. Janice was wearing very little make-up, because she was taught by her mom that a more ‘natural’ look is beautiful. So while Janice is looking at Juanita, Juanita is looking at her, wondering why Janice would not take better care of her appearance. She thought, “Janice could be such a lovely girl with just a little more effort.” You see, beauty really is all in the eye or mind of the beholder.

    We are living at a time when exciting history is being made daily. Our focus is being corralled by the political arena. Our eyes are glued to the television where we scan the channels for the latest in fashions, the latest rumor about our favorite celebrities, the most recent leader’s demise or fall from grace, or the latest death toll in the wars we wage. The world has grabbed our attention like never before. We have been deluged, yes flooded, by images of flesh, immoral sex, violence, and increasingly greater degrees of wickedness to the point that our brains are on overload. We’ve become desensitized by all that we see.

    What do we see? We see the television cameras zoom in on scantily clad women and men who are there to entertain us. We feel the mounting pressure to reveal more and cover less; to define our value by how easily we can turn heads. As a result, some of us are beginning to accept the world’s view as our own.

    What do we see? We see some of our Christian friends reading porn books unashamedly. Why? They say they read it for the excellent plot! We surf the Web and fight the temptations that come privately to us through emails and websites.

     What do we see? We see that we can’t make it without the latest gadget. Every man, woman, and child has to have a cell phone. If it doesn’t flip, touch, video, text, surf, navigate, and play more songs than we can listen to in a lifetime, then we don’t want it. We are on the hunt, searching for the next new thing.

     And while our sights are on the concerns of this world, what has the world done to us? By capturing our sight, it has touched our souls. In doing so, it has scarred our emotions, damaged our hearts, muddled, yes confused our thinking, and influenced how we want and don’t want our lives to be. Remember Jesus says in Matthew 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” The enemy has used our sight against us, but today is the day that God has chosen to remind us in Isaiah 42 that Jesus came to open eyes that are blind and to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

     Okay, you say to me, “Listen, it’s hard to live in this world and not let it influence what I see and what I say.” However, God says to you, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burdens light. Hooked up with me, it’s not impossible to do.” What we see and what we say makes a world of difference in how we live our lives, enjoy success, or endure failure. Our focus affects whether we abide in peace or waver in doubt and worry; if we are secure and satisfied or daily discontented; if we are hopeful or miserable.

 So ask yourself, “What do you see?” (I’m waiting!)

     When you look in the mirror every day, what do you see? We spend so much time trying to present our best image; what we believe we want others to see. I believe that our minds are working hard to show our uniqueness; our ability to blend in or our ability to disappear; our desire to be appreciated; to be wanted; loved; sometimes to be sexy, because the world says sexy is good; or our desire to be holy because God says holiness is good.

     If you take a closer look, what do you see? Do you see sadness when you look in  the mirror? Do you see joy? insecurities? anger? What do you see? Do you see hopelessness? Fear? Courage? Confidence? Do you see a confused person staring back at you or a person who has wisdom operating in his or her life? For whatever you see, you will demonstrate or act out for the world to see, sooner or later.

    It is my prayer that you will see the person that God has created you to be. May this be the day when you see all of the possibilities that come with being a child of God.

    And if you aren’t one of His children, today is a wonderful day to change that and join His family. He is standing with arms open wide to accept you. He has offered you the gift of salvation, saving you from every sin and saving you to live a life with Him forever. To receive this gift of eternal life, you must simply make up in your mind that you accept God’s Word as truth and take the gift He is extending to you. Next, talk to God about it. Below is a prayer that you may use to confess (say) that you want to be saved or simply say what’s in your heart. God hears and knows. “Father,  Thank you for making me and loving me. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ, your Only Begotten Son, to earth for me. I believe that He died on the cross for my sins; all the wrong things I’ve thought, said, and have done. I believe that His blood washed away all of my sins, wiping the slate clean. He voluntarily paid the price for me, because I couldn’t. I thank you that He died and set me free so I may definitely live with you in heaven and not go to hell. I thank you, God, for adopting me as your child. I thank you that nothing can ever separate me from your love. Forgive me for my sins. I’m putting my past behind me. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I give you my life and ask you to be in charge of it instead of me.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”

    If you’ve just prayed this prayer, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY! Please ask God to direct you to a loving church that believes and teaches God’s Word with accuracy. Ask him to send you someone who will mentor you, pray with you, hold you accountable, and help you in your journey to know God, love, trust, and obey Him.

May you enjoy the journey!

 Love,

 T’Alice

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

Thank you for allowing me to share with you this republished series on Prudence, from the archives, in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

 

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Tell Me What You See (Prudence – Good Judgment – Part 1)

Ephesians 1:18, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a problem with the over-exposure of body parts, which seems to be everywhere I look these days. When I was growing up, I was taught that I was not suppose to display cleavage and any part that is normally found under a one-piece swimsuit. Those areas should remain covered and protected so that I didn’t encourage public ogling (eyeballing; staring) or cause someone to stumble by tempting them to lust.

More recently, God even taught me how to take the ‘mirror’ test. When I put on a top that may be too revealing, I check it in the mirror by bending forward. What I see in the mirror is what others will see every time I bend forward, or what taller people may see when they stand next to me. I was so glad that God revealed this to me, because I don’t want to unwittingly wear something that will permit others to ‘check out my groceries’ whenever they glance my way.

I only have one body and it is important to me. I don’t take the preciousness of this gift lightly. In fact, it doesn’t even belong to me, it belongs to Christ. He paid for it with His blood on Calvary. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want to honor God with everything, including my body. His delight is more important to me than my dressing in a way that would turn heads. With this viewpoint burned into my brain, I’ve had some unsettling thoughts recently.

About a month ago, I was shown a picture of a young lady wearing a prom dress with a non-existent back and a front that had a wide open trail down to her navel, scattered every so often with a thin line of tiny rhinestones where clothing should have been. I would have been cold wearing it to bed on a spring night, yet here she was wearing it in public with great pride.

I asked a young woman in her twenties, who was looking at the photo, if she would have also worn a dress like that to prom back when she was in high school. I was sure that she would have said she wouldn’t, seeing that she is someone that I think has her head on straight. She looked at the photo and said, “Sure I’d wear it. Things have changed.” I was floored! Then I took a look at what she was wearing. Lo and behold, she was wearing one of those cute little dresses with the low cleavage. You know the kind that’s so low that the V shows all the space between without actually displaying the objects on either side. Some people would have considered it tastefully sexy, but my mind began to immediately race. I was trying to look calm and composed, but inwardly I was screaming, “No! No! Not you too!” I felt like I was a part of that old sci-fi movie where in the middle of the night, someone would place a giant pea pod next to a sleeping loved one and the next morning the pod would have replaced the real person with an alien clone.

Am I from a generation so far removed that I am being unrealistic about how we should carry ourselves? I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve seen teen and young adult males trying to run across the street, but they couldn’t because they had to hold on to their pants so they wouldn’t fall down. And I confess that I am a member of the mystified old folks who wonder what the significance is in wearing pants so low that the seat of them hugs the wearer’s knees. I know that it’s just a trend, and trends come and go.

Stop! A memory is crystallizing. No!! It’s all coming back now! The fog is clearing. It’s about me! I was a part of the crazy hot pants and mini skirt generation in high school!  I thought it was such fun to cross my legs and maneuver how to bend over and pick up a pencil without showing all the way up to Canada. I was just as clueless as my young friends today, who walk around with their underwear showing and clothing that looks like it’s been sprayed on.

Today, some members of my gender have a very special way of dressing as well. It seems to be a trend where I live to wear pajamas and fuzzy house slippers (what we called ‘slides’  when I was growing up) when you go shopping. I don’t understand this fad either. Is the confusion all just inside my head? I just wonder what message are we trying to communicate and with whom are we trying to identify by the way we dress?

I know that we are expressing our individuality in all kinds of ways these days. And believe it or not, I like being comfortable enough with who I am that I can feel free to dress in a way that expresses me, even if my fashion sense leans toward the practical. In fact, I like the fact that we live in a country where some people dress conservatively while others are more colorful and artistic. You might be one of those who has blue, green, purple, or hot pink hair, which covers your head like a halo. Or like one of my older friends who is retired, you may wear a toe ring, ankle bracelet, and still love your short skirts. Unlike me, you may believe that there’s nothing wrong with revealing the artwork in your cleavage, or even a little ‘groceries’.

On my way home, recently, I decided to stop at the gas station. A well-proportioned woman exited her car dressed very scantily clad in black. It took me a moment to figure out what she was wearing. At first, it looked as though she had gotten out of bed wearing just her panties and a camisole and decided to go fill up her tank. Upon closer inspection, (I’m sorry, but I unconsciously went into ‘automatic inspection’ mode! You know… the double-take) I discovered that she was wearing mini hot pants and a tank top. I was relieved to know that my first impression was wrong.  I was so relieved that she at least had on outer wear, I dismissed what I had seen and went inside the gas station. (Can we all say, “Desensitized!” That’s what I was. It’s a shame that I’ve seen so much in recent years that something ‘over the top’ was dismissed with an “Oh well.”)

Anyway, while waiting for my turn to prepay, a man came in the station, looked at me, motioned to where the lady in black was pumping gas and said, “I don’t know what made her put that on!” I looked at him, and he started laughing so hard, he had to lean over a display to keep from falling down. He kept saying, “I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand.” I wasn’t sure if he was ‘under the influence’ or just really tickled, the way he kept falling out laughing, but I took a chance (hoping that he wouldn’t explode and go off on me) and told him softly, “Be nice.” This only made him laugh harder.

Later, when I was pumping gas, this same stranger drove up to my pump, rolled down his window, and tried to explain his previous reaction. He said, “ I don’t usually say anything, but some people ought to know better. I can’t understand why she would wear that!” Then shaking his head, he drove off laughing again.” Well, I thought I understood. I figured she wore it because she thought that she looked acceptable, if not down right sexy. I’m sure she didn’t wear it thinking, “If I put this on, people are going to stare and laugh at me.”

Then this week, I saw the news footage about the male performer, wearing an angel costume and thong, who flew on wire over an audience and landed on the head of someone who was sitting in the large auditorium. It was reported that the incident was staged and perhaps the ‘victim’ knew what was going to take place. Still, I wouldn’t want someone’s thong in my face. Staged or accidental, it was simply one more thing I’ve seen recently that makes my heart sad.

I guess that the question that’s been rolling around in my head is, “How far is too far?” I mean, think about it… where are the boundary lines? Have I become desensitized by all that I see?  Have my own boundaries been moved? And if so, who or what has persuaded me to move them? In which direction have they moved; towards holiness or away?”

I think that we are all so busy trying to express our individuality that it’s easy to reflect the values we see all around us and forget that we are supposed to be a reflection of the One who lives within us. If, however, Christ does not live inside us and direct our lives, then it’s easy for our boundary lines to become blurred or even disappear.

I had so much to say about this topic, that I’m breaking it up into several blogs. I hope that you will read what I have to say and comment. Please know that I’m trying not to be judgmental. I just think that we are living beneath our privilege and falling short of the excellence to which God has called us. In order to rise to the occasion, we need His wisdom (the ability to know and do the Godly thing; making right choices; choosing the best attitude, ethics, morals, communication, and action in every situation).

Therefore, I’m praying that God will open my eyes, so that I may see others and myself the way that He sees us. I realize that we are all doing the best we can with the amount of wisdom and understanding we have. The great thing is that whatever wisdom or prudence (good judgment) we have, God has promised to give us even more, if we ask Him for it! I’m asking Him daily for more wisdom.

Until the next time, I encourage you to re-examine the world around you and discover what has changed for the better and for the worse. Look at your own boundaries, see which have moved, and in which direction. Most of all, continue to love passionately those you don’t understand, and ask God to pour His wisdom into their lives and yours.

Questions to consider: Do you have boundaries? Are you true to them?

Scriptures to take with you on the journey:

1 Timothy 2:9 Also [I desire] that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing,

Genesis 24;16 And the girl was very beautiful and attractive, chaste and modest, and unmarried. And she went down to the well, filled her water jar, and came up.

Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those [parts] of the body which we consider rather ignoble are [the very parts] which we invest with additional honor, and our unseemly parts and those unsuitable for exposure are treated with seemliness (modesty and decorum),

James 1:21 So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.

May you hunger after wisdom and holiness. They are both important if you want to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the second part of Prudence – Good Judgment!

Posted in boundaries, Holiness, Respect, Self-Control, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

There Was a Treasure in My Mom’s Womb (You’re Priceless to God – Part 3)

God opened my mother’s womb and placed in it a treasure… me. And He did the same thing for your mom, when He created you. We are living in a world filled with walking, talking treasures whose value is beyond measure. Yes, even those who perform acts that are too horrid or too monstrous to think about are still gems. How can I say that?

This is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me one summer. He taught me that a diamond is a diamond, regardless of how it is presented. I can wear a diamond in a wedding band or use it in a pair of earrings. I can throw it in a drawer and forget about it, bake it in a pie, or even dig a hole and bury it.

It’s still valuable, even when it’s hidden and treated as though it has no value. So even during those times when I felt discarded or thrown away by others, and even those instances when I didn’t value myself, I was valuable to our Heavenly Father. Pain, disappointment, or sin had clouded my vision, so I couldn’t see what God saw when He looked at me. Still, I was the apple of His eye. Still, He wrote my name in the palm of his hand. It’s the same with you.

 Always remember, my friend, that you were bought with a price… Jesus Christ’s blood. He shed His blood for you, therefore if you are connected to Him, you can never be worthless. Even in the times when you don’t live up to the glory, the divine excellence, that God intended for your life, He loves you anyway. And if you give Him a chance, He will clean off the dust and the dirt and shine you up from the inside out.

I forgot to mention that over twenty-five years ago, God gave me two treasures; one boy and one girl. Then He added an additional son to the family, when my daughter grew up and married the love of her life. Recently, my daughter and son-in-law had a little boy. Today, my grandson is officially 2 months old. I pray that I will live long enough to one day sit him on my knee and tell him how God wanted someone else to love, so He made him. And I hope that I will also have a chance to tell Him some of the things that I have written to you. For truly my beautiful little one, with the dimples like his mom, is a treasure created by Love and designed for good works…

 

just    like    you.

 I really enjoyed reading these scriptures today. May they encourage your heart as well.

Psalm 8:3-5 When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established,What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?Yet You have made him but a little lower than God [or heavenly beings], and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Jeremiah 1:5  Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

1 Peter 1:18-19 18 You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold, 19 But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.

Psalm 127:3-5  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city’s] gate.

Two addition scriptures for thought are:

Proverbs 17:6  Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their fathers.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine.

Until we talk again, remember to allow God to polish you with His love. It’s the best way I know of enjoying the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – As God’s priceless treasure, what are you doing that may cover up your true value?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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A God-Designed Original (You’re Priceless to God Part 2)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

One of my favorite Sunday afternoon past times, when I was small, was going to the local zoo. I lived in a small town with an even smaller zoo. We basically had one lion, some wild dogs called dingos, a couple of peacocks, a poor gorilla, a few monkeys, deer, and a few smaller critters.  You could view the entire zoo from a central spot, so to make the experience last longer, I would walk as slowly as I could around the square, lingering long in front of each container, and saving the lion’s cage for the big finale.

No matter how many times we went there, I never grew tired of going back to watch the deer lick the salt, see the peacocks strut across the yard with their tail feathers spread into a mesmerizing blend of blues and greens, or hear the lion’s great roar.

Imagine what it would have been like had I returned to roaring peacocks, dingos swinging from bars, and monkeys licking blocks of salt! Fortunately, each animal glorified God by being exactly how God created them to be.

And that’s how we should be. Why?

God did not want a duplicate of someone else. He wanted you to be you, and nobody else but you, His priceless treasure. Think about it. The most valuable items in this world are those for which there are no substitutes.  There is no substitute for you. YOU MATTER! No one before you and no one after you will able to be you.  And to be quite frank, they shouldn’t waste their time trying. Instead, they should spend their lives being the best “God-designed original” they can be.

Imagine for a moment that everyone read the 139th Psalm, the 13th through 16th verses, and finally realized that it was okay to be themselves, because they were fearfully and wonderfully made. Our world would never be the same! This Psalm reveals that God delicately formed you and planned for your existence. So since He made you for His glory, why not be the best you, you can be?

How?

Let the Creator who formed you in your mother’s womb continue the process of shaping your life, now that you are outside of the womb. There is no better person to transform you that the One who created you. He’s the only one who knows what the finished version of you should look like.

All along the way, I’ve met those who thought because I wasn’t like them that I wasn’t good enough. I’ve also met a few who thought that I was great, even when I knew I wasn’t living up to my absolute best. They had nothing but the highest praise when they spoke of me. The opinions of both groups were just that… opinions.

I am neither someone who should be dismissed or treated as though I have no value. Nor am I someone who is special. I am just me, but that’s enough. I am one of God’s creations. More than that, I am His adopted daughter. I am the little sister and servant of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, because He gave his life for me, and in turn I gave my life to Him.  And all of these reasons make me priceless… invaluable… just like you.

Tomorrow, please return so I may finish telling you what God is teaching me about our value. Until then, remember that you are worth more than gold. For, you are God’s creation. He considers your value to be a little bit lower than the angels. Walk and live this day with assurance that you are worth much in God’s eyes.  You matter.

Love,

T’Alice

Today’s question – Who are you trying most to be like? Why?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the next post on You’re Priceless to God!

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There’s a Treasure in Your House! (You are Priceless to God – Part 1)

 

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

 

It’s unbelievable! There are people who have priceless gems right under their noses and they don’t even know it!  Perhaps there is a gem in your house that you haven’t discovered yet. If so, this is your blessed day!

Welcome back! Thanks for visiting today. I’ve been thinking about you during my busy week. I’ve been looking forward to writing to you and reminding you that you are loved by me, but most of all you are loved by God.

Did you know that you are wonderfully made? Every so often, God reminds me of this truth. Really, now that I think about it, God tries His best to get my attention daily to let me know that I am uniquely created. In fact, no one is exactly like me or like you. He took great care in designing you… all for His pleasure.

Before the beginning of time, your Heavenly Father decided exactly the DNA you would need to be successful. He poured into you the personality, passions, and experiences that would inspire others to trust you and love you. This is so that when you placed your life in His Almighty hands and allowed Him to shape your character, your heart, and transform (elevate) your thinking, you would shine and shine and shine!

Psalm 24 begins with, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who are in it.” (NIV) That includes you. You belong to Him. Of course you do! He made you and He would never give you away. How do I know? He says that nothing will ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:35-39).

Tomorrow, I would like to share with you more that God has taught me about how priceless each one of us is. Until then, I’d like to share with you a passage of scripture written by Paul, an early follower and apostle of Jesus Christ, who went through many difficulties. He wrote his own “blog” telling us what his experiences taught him about God’s love. I hope that this passage of his letter will be a blessing to you on your journey today.

35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36. As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – What did you think would keep God from loving you?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

This post is the first in a series on You Are Priceless to God, republished from the archives, in case you missed it You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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A Three-Stranded Cord (God in Marriage – Part 2)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

 

Braiding was one of my favorite past times when I was young. It didn’t matter if I was braiding hair, twine, or plastic.  I didn’t know that God was into braiding too until I read this passage from Ecclesiastes. The Holy Spirit used it to teach me about the strength God infuses in marriages when both partners are walking together, headed in the same direction, being led by the Holy Spirit.

My husband and I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we stood in front of the altar and pledged our love on that Saturday afternoon in 1978, but our Heavenly Father knew. More than that, He knew that because He would be the third person in our  intertwined spirits, we would be able to make it. His word says, “ Have you not heard? There is nothing too hard for God.” (See Jeremiah 32:17)

It’s true.

He has taken the moments of despair in my marriage and shown me how to trust Him and continue to hope. He has taken my sickness and taught me about His grace and determination. He has taken our poorest days and proven that He is the great Provider. He has used the darkest hours of our lives to teach us how to cling to each other and to Him. And through it all, we have arrived at this present place stronger than when we first began. We now have memories that make us bowl over with laughter, and yes, memories that can make our hearts ache with regret. God has filled our lives with richness beyond measure. More than that, He has taught us how fragile life can be and how very precious our marriage is.

Yes, in more than thirty years of marriage, my husband and I have been through a lot, but we are still here. He calls me ‘sweetie’, and I call him ‘my darling’.  We are not at the end of our journey yet. How do I know? We are still here. And though the economy, health issues, family concerns, and other pressing issues are a part of our lives, so is God. And if there is one thing that God has taught me, it’s that He is enough.

He’s the strongest part of our cord and He is more than enough to make up for anything we may have lost along the way. It is because of the love, hope, and power of God, that I look forward to hours, days, weeks, months, and years with my husband. More than that, I still wake each morning with visions of ‘better’ in my heart. I truly believe that our marriage is going to continue to get better and better as we grow closer to God and each other. We can relax a bit, knowing that as God transforms us individually, it’s going to have a positive impact on the quality of our marital relationship.

Yes, I am glad that God created marriage. He knew that it wasn’t good for me to be alone. He created marriage because He’s all about family. In fact, the Father wants us to be a part of His eternal family; the more, the merrier. Two people, loving each other, producing little ones who will grow to know and love God , then one day meet and marry someone who knows and loves God, well that’s what life’s all about. God is creating through humanity an eternal family with you and I as members.

Today, I pray that God will bless you to know Jesus Christ more and more, and that you will daily experience His great love for you. And I pray that if marriage is a part of your Heavenly Father’s wonderful, unique plan for your life, you may find someone who loves God with all of his or her heart. It is my prayer that God will send you someone who will respect, honor, and love you second only to God, Himself. Yes, may it be someone with whom you may stand before the altar and take your sacred vow to love and to cherish each other until death do you part. And let no man ever put it asunder.

Until next time… here’s to the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions for today if you are considering marriage – If you could have your heart’s desire, what kind of mate would you want?  What kind of mate would you need in order to have someone who would walk with you on your journey with God? What kind of spouse do you believe God would want you to have?

Scriptures that may go along with this post:
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

1 Corinthians 13:4-84 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

 

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Visions of Better? (God in Marriage – Part 1)

A man and woman stand at the altar, surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses or maybe just a chosen few. Nevertheless, they’re ready to begin their new life as one. Turning, they look into each other’s eyes and say those timeless words, “I take you to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.” They exchange rings symbolizing endless love. The minister prays and pronounces that they are husband and wife. Then he says, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

The starry-eyed couple leaves the sanctuary with visions of ‘the better, the richer, healthy good times’ in their minds, while well-wishers congratulate them on their wonderful decision to cling to God and each other.

Then the journey begins. 

My husband and I began that journey one sunny July afternoon, over thirty years ago. We honeymooned in St. Thomas and cruised until our legs felt bouncy when we stood on dry land. And then we returned home and ‘real’ life began.

We didn’t know then, just how poor ‘poorer’ could be, how long or devastating ‘sickness’ could be, how bleak the ‘bad times’ would be, or how life could get a lot worse before it got better.

 But God knew.

He knew on that summer afternoon in July, when we stood before Him at the altar. He knew before the beginning of time, when He chose to create each of our fore-parents, who God then blessed with children and children’s children, so that one day my husband and I would be born, meet, and marry. He knew the plan and purposes He had in mind when He created the two of us… plans to bless us and prosper us; that we would do good works and glorify Him.

He also knew something else.

He knew the strength of a three-stranded cord.

Tomorrow, let’s talk more about this special kind of cord and how it can benefit marriage. Until then, please remember that marriage was created by God. He has a way of making relationships bloom and grow, when both partners love Him and place their lives and marriage in His hands.

Enjoy your journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures that pertain to this blog:

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (God is the Great I AM. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. See Ephesians 3:20)

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Hebrews 13:4-5 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

1 Corinthians 7th chapter

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

Please don’t miss the three-stranded cord!

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Love Overflow – Part 7 Conclusion

                                        We can reach out to one person at a time.

Sow the seeds of the Spirit. God doesn’t want to fill your life with a little love, a little peace, a little joy, or tiny bit of self-control. Rather, Jesus Christ came that you might have abundant life to the overflowing. He wants your life to be filled with so much joy that it overflows into the lives of your family members. He wants you to rest in Him and rely on Him so that His peace will mount guard over your heart. Once your spirit is quiet, you can then speak His words of life to your family, to your Christian brothers and sisters, and on your job. Your peace can spill over into stressful situations, calming hearts, and restoring hope.

Sow seeds of unconditional love. Jesus offers to you and me unconditional love. He never said to us, “I will die for you if you stop lying… You may have salvation after you stop sinning….. I will love you on your good days, but I don’t want you on your bad days.” He chooses to love us regardless, and we must choose to love others the same way. We can’t afford to be passive. People are dying every day. People are getting up hurting and going to bed at the end of the day still hurting, wondering why they should even go on living. Your smile, your kind word, your small deeds of love, and a message to someone that God loves them could make the difference in whether that person continues to live or they die.

Jesus said, “I didn’t come to condemn the world, but that the world through me might be saved.” Overflow into your church. Overflow into the community. Drops of mercy and love are needed on a daily basis.

Sow seeds of compassion into our communities. God really wants me to daily allow His love to overflow into someone’s life by taking personal responsibility for my community. He wants me to take my eyes off of myself and my comfort zone, get out of my boat of complacency, and move out into the deep. I believe that He wants congregations to come together to do city-wide projects that will demonstrate God’s love, for we are not many churches, but THE CHURCH.

People are crying out to be loved, to be respected, to be cared about. They want to be listened to, to be treated as though they matter. What can we do?

We often think that we have to do something big for our love to count. But it’s the small things we do, day in and day out to show God’s love, that make the biggest impact. We can take a love walk. Walk through the city. While we are walking, we can pray, observe, listen for God’s leading, and look for ways to meet needs.

Satan, the Father of Lies, wants to keep us so focused on ourselves and our concerns, that we hurry through life. We can fill our lives with meaningless activities that drain our hope and our energy, so that we are just too tired to notice that someone needs the love that God has placed in us.

What can we do?

S –  L – O – W     D – O – W- N !

Pump the brakes, I say pump the brakes. We can slow down our busy lives so we don’t miss the opportunities to love.

Have you ever been going somewhere, but your mind was in ‘witnessing, loving, God-use-me’ mode? You’re passionately, yes fervently, scanning the landscape for potential benefactors, but seeing none, you give up and continue on your way. Then when you least expect it, you spy in front of you, 45 degrees to your right, over near the gray light post, someone who may be in need of your help, your encouragement. Yes! Alas, you’ve returned to your normal rate of speed. NO!! You’re moving much too fast. You’d have to pop a wheelie, spin around in a 180 degree turn, and stop with tire treads smoking to meet that need. You sigh, “Oh well. I don’t want to be late to my appointment. Maybe another opportunity will come along.” Let’s hope so.

Alright, that might not ever be your scenario, but here’s a little suggestion.

Slow down!

Breathe deeply.

Listen carefully…

to the Holy Spirit’s   still      small      voice.

Our Heavenly Father is working in the earth. He wants us to join Him in His work of loving others. We can choose to love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, and all that we have. We can slow down our pace in life, listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and join Him in His work.

In closing, when we look at our world with all of its problems, it can be overwhelming. You and I know that the enemy is roaming around, trying to snatch the seeds of love that we spread. He tries to fill our minds with worry, doubt, and fear so that we either give up before we begin, or we shrink God’s magnificent plans into smaller ones which are easy to achieve without our having to exercise faith. What’s ironic is that we have the nerve to get excited about what we’ve accomplished based on our limited human intellect and meager resources, never realizing that God wanted to use us to do more, much more.

Let’s let His love overflow!

‘Til we meet again,

T’Alice

  © 2009 God’s Perspective

These series of posts on Love Overflow were updated and republished from the archives in case you missed them. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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What’s In Your Pocket? (Love Overflow – Part 6)

Casper Reynolds loved wildflowers. So much so, that he was known for carrying around seeds in his pocket. While walking along his large property, he would often toss out a handful or two here, scatter a handful or two there. It didn’t matter that sometimes the birds ate them up, or they landed in overgrown, weedy areas. He didn’t even mind that the birds swooped down to peck them up, or that some seeds landed in shallow soil. He kept on broadcasting his seeds.

Finally, one day one of his neighbors drove by and asked him, “What in the world are you doing? For months now, I’ve seen you scattering seeds somewhere on your property. Where are you getting all those seeds from? Casper smiled and said ” You wanna see? I’ll show you.” Hopping  out of his truck, he followed Casper into a barn, where he discovered gigantic bags of seeds that reached to the ceiling. “There’s plenty more where that came from,” Casper informed him, “so I don’t have to be stingy with my seeds. I’m planning to sow wildflowers over this entire property.” And that’s precisely what he did. In fact, he had enough to share with his neighbors and anyone else who came alone. Some of his seeds even ended up in other lands. Wildflowers were springing up in the most unlikeliest places, because of one man’s passionate love for beauty.

Okay, so I made up the story, but you follow where I’m going, right? God is teaching me that I can sow the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, faithfulness, self-control, meekness, gentleness, and patience – into the lives of others. I don’t have to be stingy with my love. There’s an unending supply available. I can’t worry about when I sow it, where I sow it, or the results of my scattering. That’s not in my job description. I am to keep sowing.

We must spread our seeds of love across the sea. In the book, When Children Pray by Cheri Fuller 1, there is an account of an eight-year-old girl, named Hope, who was researching a report on Mongolia for her class when she discovered that there were very few Bibles or Christians there. After two years of praying for the people of Mongolia, she read in the same magazine another article, entitled “Hope for Mongolia.” There had been a revival in that area with 500 people accepting Christ as their Savior. The number of believers doubled to 1,000 within a year, and they started a church called “Hope Assembly”, with more than 2,000 attending their first Christmas service.

That story impacted my life.

It reminded me that we can do much more than we realize. We can make a difference by supporting those who will take God’s love to other areas of our world by sharing with our finances, our presence through love outreach/mission projects, and most of all, our prayers. God reminds me to remember that the work of Christ was to redeem mankind, restoring us into fellowship and relationship with His Father.

Jesus accomplished this by demonstrating love everywhere He went. He spread seeds of love when He made children feel wanted, when He made lepers feel approachable, when He went home with tax collectors, and when he died for all of humanity. What does He want us to do? Keep showering the world, one person at a time with His seeds of love. You may plant, I may water, but He will certainly give the increase. Remember, we will reap if we faint not.

I really believe that one person can change the world. How? Reach out to love one person at a time. Then it’s really easy. You and I can love one person at a time. We can smile at someone sitting at a bus stop. You and I can genuinely listen to someone’s problems and pray for them. We can tell someone that Jesus loves them. We can pay a little of the person’s dry-cleaning bill that standing in front of us. We can rake one yard, or pay the person’s toll in the car behind us. We can say, “Lord, show me how to love three people today.” (Imagine if everyone decided to put God’s love into action and actively loved three people each day, how many men, women, boys, and girls would have experienced God’s touch in just one week!) And if we could get each member of our congregation to do this for one month, can you see how that genuine show of love might influence someone to give God a second glance, or even decide to come into His sanctuary?

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 says, “For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.”

My friend, it’s through caring and serving that we experience the joy of Christ and grow closer to God. It is through loving others that we point them to Christ and God gets the glory. For friendliness and loving actions go a very long way towards helping others to see God.

Remember that without faith it is impossible to please God and we show our faith by our actions. I’m filling my pockets with seeds right now. How about you? The final post for this series will be the next time we get together. Until then, let’s get out there and sow some seeds along the journey!

 

With love,

T’Alice

  © 2009 God’s Perspective
1 When Children Pray by Cheri Fuller, pg 32 (Multnomah Publishers, Inc.) from an interview with Pete Holman and his account in The Great Commissionary Kids Intensive Care Unit  (Mechanicsville, VA:Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade, 1997) 9-10.
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Love Overflow Part 5 (Take Love the Challenge!)

Let God’s love overflow into my workplace. Steve Sjogren and Dave Ping say in their book, Outflow, that my job is more than a way to pay my bills; it provides the resources for overflow and the opportunity for overflow to take place.

One way that I can allow God’s love to overflow on my job and in my home is to learn to listen.  Most people want to talk, but few want to listen. There are so many lonely people in our homes and on our jobs. These are people who are hungry for someone to genuinely give of their time to sit and listen without judging, condemning, criticizing, or giving their opinion. Jesus listened to those who needed him, even though His disciples tried to turn certain people away. I want to be like Him.

Listening is a powerful way to show respect and to show Christ’s love. Our family members would love to be heard. Now, I’m not talking about that kind of listening where I am quiet on the outside but planning my rebuttal on the inside. My co-workers crave for someone to value their ideas and to treat them with dignity, respect, and love. I want to be that person.

Let His love overflow into my community by learning to observe. Jesus was very observant. He watched people to see what their real needs were and met those needs. A man came to Jesus for healing, but Jesus forgave his sins, knowing that the man needed to be made all the way whole. We must learn to focus more on others than we do on ourselves.

Jesus did not care about His reputation with the Jewish leaders; he cared about people in need. God wants us to remember that everyone has divine needs that only He can meet. Every person, without Christ, has a huge hole in his or her heart that only God can fill. He placed it there when He created them. I don’t want to be afraid to let His love flow through me into the lives of my neighbors and community. I want them to get a chance to wade in the overflow of God’s love.

Let God’s love overflow into my world. Some Christians have branded us by their ungodly behavior. Evangelist Joyce Meyers said that she was told that the worst day at Disneyland is ‘Christian Day’, because many who enter the park on that day are so rude. They trash the park and make it hard for the workers. She says that some restaurants that are close to churches say that Christians are the worst tippers and the most demanding customers.

Unfortunately, some of us get away from home and think that our behavior doesn’t matter, because there will be no one there who knows us. But, God has charged us to be his ambassadors of hope and love. We must lift Him up wherever we go. Picking up a piece of discarded paper, allowing someone to get in front of you in the check-out line, being honest although lying would give you an immediate advantage, and being kind to someone who is not being kind to you, are examples of love that demonstrate our true character.

Question for today – Will you take the overflow challenge and choose to demonstrate love to three people every day this week?                

My favorite love passage to help you on your journey is the one we’ve being talking about in this series: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.

Take love with you on your journey. Let it overflow!

Until next time,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!


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Mission ‘Love-Overflow’ … Is it Impossible? (Love Overflow Part 4)

Remember the television show, Mission Impossible? I used to love that show! In the late 60’s and even in the 70’s, I couldn’t wait to sit in front of the tube and wait for the opening theme music. I wanted to see how the secret tape, with the instructions on it, was going to be delivered. It came with an envelope containing pictures of people the team was to target. If you were a fan too, you know the classic line even before I say it. That’s right! “Your mission, should you decide to accept it,…”  was always right before the tape self-destructed within 5 seconds.

God has a mission also, should you decide to accept it.

Mission: Love Overflow

Over the years, God has taught me the importance of allowing His love to overflow into my church. I’ve spent my life in church. I know from personal experience that church is a place where love needs to overflow.

In the church there are seekers, those who have not yet accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, but are there seeking the truth and looking for answers and help. They operate, have relationships, and make choices based on their own understanding, what they feel is right. That makes sense, since they aren’t Christians yet, but are seeking to know the way to a better life. God loves seekers and so must we. Seekers need our love.

Sometimes you might meet what are called carnal Christians. At first glance, they may look like a mature Christian, but upon closer observation,  you will discover that they are led by their emotions and their flesh. Whatever their body tells them to think and to do, they follow. They have great difficulty submitting to Godly authority. While they have accepted His gift of salvation, they are spiritual babies. They have not grown to the place where they know, love, and trust God enough to obey Him. They are still  at a place where they are led by their emotions and often the dictates of their flesh, their senses, making them hard to distinguish from non-believers. They have just begun the process of sanctification. They have not begun to consistently study to understand God’s Word and obey it by applying to their lives. They have not fully submitted their lives to God. Christian babies, like natural babies require a lot of love and nurturing.

Then, there are growing Christians, those who are listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads them. They are walking daily, by faith, with God. They have made a commitment to trust Him. They have decided to worship Him, and to love Him with all of their minds, their hearts, and their souls. These growing Christians are determined to demonstrate their love for God and others by the choices they make, the words they say, and the deeds or actions they take. Their desire is to lead others to the safe place that’s found in Christ.

The victories you see in their lives are often the direct results of having to overcome their own set of struggles and strongholds, resist their share of temptations, and suffer their personal trials and tribulations. Their goal is maturity, where they are no longer swayed to and fro by winds of doctrine. Growing Christians want to get to the place where they have allowed trials and tribulations to complete it’s work in them so they can have hope, joy, peace, love, and strength, no matter the circumstance. They, too, need encouragement and love.

No one is exempt. Everyone is in need of God’s love, demonstrated in a practical way, one believer to another.That’s why we have to accept the mission to let God’s love to us overflow into the lives of our church family. The world will know that we are Christians by our love; in other words, how we treat each other. I’m learning everyday that opportunities to love exist even when we don’t realize it. We must remember our mission.

Why?

Those who really want to find out if Christ’s love is really true are watching from the sidelines to see how genuinely we love.

We fail in our mission when:

  • People at the next table, at our favorite restaurant, overhear us speaking negatively about another believer, especially those in leadership.
  • Our unsaved family members hear us complain about having to participate in a church project or criticize someone in our church family when we don’t get our way.
  • Our friends hear us huff and puff when we have to return for another afternoon service.
  • We sit around and talk about the mean-spirited actions that took place among some of the church members, then give our judgmental response to it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if sanctification, the process of becoming more and  more like Christ, would be instantaneous? That would be like instantaneously losing 300 lbs. It’s not happening! Learning how to love is a process. It really does require the aid of the Holy Spirit. I’ve discovered that the more I love, the easier it is for me to love. God calls us to allow our lights to shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

So tell me, if you were the leader of the Mission Impossible team, and had been handed an envelope containing pictures and information about the members of your church, then played that all important tape, would you have accepted the challenge before the tape destructed?

It’s really not mission impossible, you know. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above anything that you and I ask or think. There is nothing to hard for God… so I’ve decided to accept the challenge, the mission, the assignment.

Love overflow… It’s the best way to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider: What love-overflow mission for your church has God given to you recently? Who are the people He has targeted for you to pour out an overflow of your love? Have you accepted the challenge?

Scriptures that may help you on your journey:

Romans 7:14
We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.

Romans 8:7,8
[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.

Romans 8:12
So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? unable to talk yet!]

Additional scriptures are:

1 Corinthians 5

Jude 1:18-25

(If you’ve forgotten the Mission Impossible Theme song or are too young to know it, you may clink on the link below.) Before you go, though, remember to come back next time to finish the series on Love Overflow.

Theme song to Mission Impossible

© 2009 God’s Perspective

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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You Can’t Force Someone to Love (Love Overflow – Part 3)

Have you ever tried to force someone to love? See if you recognize any of these tactics:

  • You say or do something nice so they will say or do something nice in return.
  • You give them the silent treatment so they will treat you differently.
  • You whine.
  • You dress in a way to get their attention.
  • You talk about what they are doing wrong.
  • You tell them what they should do.
  • You complain.
  • You compare.
  • You manipulate.
  • You pray that God will change them so they will be nicer and life will be more pleasant for you and others. (Wrong motive)
  • Okay, you can mentally list your own tactic right here!

I finally think I’ve got it! (English accent needed here.) You can’t force people to love God. Nor, can you force them to love themselves or you. God didn’t force you. Nor does He force you to love yourself or others. He respects you much more than that. He simply loves you completely and then lets you make the decision to love or not to love. He lets you know the consequences for making either choice.

I’ve discovered that God is the only one who can take the blinders off someone’s eyes so they may see Him. One way that He does that is when He uses believers to genuinely care about and love someone the way He states in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. This is called agape love. (See Love Overflow – Part 2)

You know what I’ve observed? When those who are closest to me see the positive changes in my choices, they sit up and take notice. I believe that my loving kindness softens their hearts. (I know my heart is softened when people are kind to me.)

It’s my hope that someone will ask me how I was able to change. This way, I can tell them about Christ. It’s better to talk about Jesus when someone is open to listening because they want to know, rather than to try to force them to listen to what you have to say. That never works.

I’ve found that nagging may change behavior temporarily, but it never changes a heart. If a loved one is living a lifestyle that goes against God commands, they know whether you approve or not already. (I’m sure you’ve told them, one way or another!) You don’t have to tell them about it over and over again. Be kind. Be loving. Accepting them for who they are, just as they are, doesn’t mean that you are endorsing their lifestyle. It means that you are showing that your love is real, not conditional.

God says that nothing will separate us from His love. So, we should ask God to help us to genuinely love others unconditionally. We must trust that God is faithful from generation to generation and is capable of transforming our family in due season, just as He is continuing to transform us.

Today is a wonderful opportunity to allow God’s love to overflow into your family. Place a call, tweet, text, chat, email a note, send an e-card, send up a prayer, share a hug, a smile, and a kiss, and see if your loved one’s day doesn’t brighten a little. Shine today! Love passionately. Love extravagantly.

Today is your day to allow your love to overflow and then watch God move to draw your loved one a little closer to Him. For He promised that if He was lifted from the earth, all men would be drawn unto Him. While that statement referred to the literal cross on which our Saviour hung and died, I believe that we may apply it to every single act of love that we genuinely display. I want to point the way to Jesus through my compassion, generosity, empathy, and genuine love. How about you?

Unconditional Love can melt a glacier heart. Once it’s pliable, God’s love can change it.

My friend, enjoy your journey. You only get one. Use it to let your family, your friends, your co-workers, feel the power of your agape love. Overflow!

Until next time.

Love,

T’Alice

Questions for today – Which of your family members are in need of God’s loving care? How does He want to use you to demonstrate that loving care?

Scriptures to consider:

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Romans 12:8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Come back again. You don’t want to miss the next post in this series on Love Overflow.

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What’s Circling Over Your Head? Love Overflow Part 2 (Loving Your Family)

Have you ever had the feeling that instead of your words entering your listener’s ears, they were making a detour somewhere in outer space? Family conversations can be like that sometimes. In my house, when everyone gets excited, it’s common to hear several people talking loudly at once. I don’t know where we get it. It’s not that we are purposely trying to be rude. Still, sometimes when more than one person is trying to get their point across, it can be both deafening and entertaining.

Families are meant to be a blessing from God. I think that families provide our most precious opportunities to practice genuine love.

God is teaching me to allow His love to overflow into my family members’ lives by listening and actually being kind. I’m practicing talking to them using the same respectful, loving tone of voice that I try to use when I am talking to people outside of my home.

You know what’s difficult to do? Consistently not nagging, criticizing, complaining inwardly, and judging. Is it a challenge for you too? I’ll move over so you can get in the boat with me! LOL

One day, I put paper clips in one pocket. And every time I whined, complained in my mind, or felt like having a pity party, I took a clip out and transferred it to another pocket. After the third clip, I had a conscious attitude adjustment and began to choose to think more positively. Perhaps I ought to pull out the clips a little more often!

Why?

There’s nothing that can fill up a heart more quickly than nagging, criticizing, complaining and judging. That kind of rhetoric spoken to me usually makes me feel wounded or overwhelmed. It certainly doesn’t make me feel cooperative, loved, appreciated, or respected. If the speaker keeps going on and on and on, soon there’s no more room left inside my mind for all the negativity.  The extra words take flight and begin to circle over my head like buzzards, before disappearing into the heavens.

Having said all of that, I have a confession to make.

I’ve been guilty of causing buzzards to circle.

My defense is that I was trying to get my point across because I cared. The glazed look on my listener’s face should have been warning enough. However, I misinterpreted their expression or their defense to mean that they didn’t get it. My point, that is. Have you ever been there, done that?  Well… I hate to tell you this, but you and I have to…

STOP!

They get it! They may or may not believe it, accept it, or agree to what we’ve said, but they heard us. I’m learning that fewer words, chosen with care and in love, can work wonders. This is important, since we can’t climb a step ladder, grab all those extra nagging, complaining, criticizing, finger-pointing words that are circling over our loved ones’ heads, and take them back.

I want to speak words of hope and faith to my spouse; share hope and faith with my children; speak words of kindness and life to those I meet. I can’t do that without the aid of the Holy Spirit and an open, loving heart.

I want God’s love to overflow into my relationships. Let me give you an example.

One way is for me to choose not to bring up a family member’s weakness in front of other family members and close friends. Boy, is that difficult!

I’m thinking specifically about how hard it is to resist talking about my husband’s sugar cravings in front of my parents and friends. He’ll bring it up and I’ll chime in, uninvited of course, to put my two cents, okay ten cents, uh fifty cents in. Alright, it’s difficult, VERY difficult, but not impossible… to keep my mouth closed. I just have to remember to think about his feelings. If he wants to mention his food antics, that’s one thing. I don’t have to join in and mention all the incidences he fails to mention. I am going to do better, yes I am!

I want Jesus’ love to shine brightly in my life. How?

According to 2 Corinthians, the fourth chapter, love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It does not behave rudely. It is not proud. It does not demand its own way. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. It always hopes. It encourages. It does not delight in sin, but rejoices with the truth. It does not hold grudges or even notice when it’s been wronged. It always protects, always trusts, it always perseveres. It forgives and forgives and forgives, showing mercy, compassion, and empathy.

How many of your family members would respond to a 2 Corinthians kind of love?

Let’s talk more about this next time.

Until then,

Let your love overflow and enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been updated and republished from the archives. I hope you won’t miss Part 3 of Love Overflow!

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Love Overflow Part 1 – Continued

Come exercise with me. Place your hands together in front of your chest, palms inward. Now slowly move them forward, open, and away from your body. Now say, “OVERFLOW.” Let’s do it again. Great job! Thanks for helping me.

That might be my only physical exercise for today. LOL

I’ve found that the amount of my overflow is directly related to the quality of the relationship that I have with our Heavenly Father. It is proportionate to the amount of time that I spend in His presence, studying and meditating on His Word, and becoming aware of Him working in my own life. It’s the same for you.

I’ve learned that in order for me to be a vessel of love, I need to get to know God, who is love. Just as it has taken time to develop a close relationship with my best friends, getting to know Christ has also taken time. For me, it’s been well worth the investment. Whenever I spend time in his presence, I fall more in love with Him and find myself loving me… then loving others more.

Time for our exercise. Ready?  Big breath this time…

~~~~~~~ Overflow ~~~~~~~

How can I be so sure this will happen for you as well?

How can you not love kindness, patience, gentleness, meekness, joy, peace, and self-control?

How can you not be positively affected by God’s justice, faithfulness, security, His power, His holiness, and all that He is?

Like writers, Blackaby and King, taught me in their book, “Knowing and Experiencing the Will of God,” the great thing about having a relationship with Almighty God is that the more you love Him, the more you will trust Him.

You will trust that God’s Love is always right, that He always knows what is best, and that He wants only His best for you.

Once you understand just how much He really does love you, not only will you want to obey Him, but you will get excited about joining Him in His work of loving others.  And this is what?

You’ve got it!

~~~~~~~ Overflow ~~~~~~~

Today is a fabulous day to fall deeper in love with Jesus. Romans 12:1 tells us an important way to display our love is to use our lives daily to worship Him. In other words, I focus on Christ and all that He has done for me. Then I try to use everything that  I do, think, and say as opportunities to please our Heavenly Father.

How?

If I am studying, I try to do my best, because this delights Him. When I’m straightening up around the house, I want to do it with an attitude of gratitude. I also want to let Him know that I realize that all I have is actually His and He placed me in charge, as caretaker. I want to let every thought I think and every conversation I hold be loving and kind. That’s right!

~~~~~~~ Overflow ~~~~~~~

For me it is a practical, simple, and effective way to demonstrate my love for Christ.

In the final analysis, it’s a heart matter, really. What’s in my heart will overflow into my life. If I want peace and joy to overflow into my relationships on my job, in my home, and wherever I go, I need God’s love and Word to spread throughout my heart. It has living power to impact my thinking, my beliefs, and my emotions.

Let His love overflow into your heart and your love overflow into all that you do today.

This is one way to etj3!

Until next time,

May God continue to bless you.

Love,

T’Alice

I’ve packed a lunch to take with you on the journey. Here you go!

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 13:9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13 It begins like this: “If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Galatians 5:22, 23   22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Ephesians 3:17-19 “…17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Question for today – What have you done to to fall deeper in love with Jesus Christ this week?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been updated and republished from the archives. Please come back to visit. You don’t want to miss Love Overflow – Part 2!

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Love Overflow Part I (Loving God)

What does coffee and love have in common?

When I was very small, I visited my grandparents often. When my Pawpaw (My Dad’s father) would come home from work in  the evenings, my Bigmama would have his coffee ready. He liked it black with a lot of sugar. What’s more, he had a ritual that I adored.

He would first load his cup up with sugar. Then, he would pour the coffee slowly in. I would wait with eager anticipation to see if he would stop pouring once it reached the top. Like he’d done as long as I could remember, Pawpaw would allow the dark liquid to pour over the rim of his cup until it almost filled the saucer beneath. Next, he would blow and drink the coffee in the saucer first, then he would drink the remainder left in the cup.

Often, I would always watch in fascination and beg (that’s right, I’m not ashamed to say it), beg him for the saucer. “Oh, PawPaw” I’d plead in my most pitiful voice, “ please can I have some!” (Can’t you hear my Southern accent coming through, loud and clear?)  He would tease me and say, “Alright, it’s gonna make you black.” “I don’t care!” I’d respond. (My grandfather always said black coffee makes you black, that’s why his skin was so dark.) He’d chuckle a little and very carefully pass the saucer to me and tell me to blow it.

That was my signal that I’d get to drink a little coffee with him. And oh how it was ‘mmm mmm  good’! Now here I am, all of these years later, still thinking about my grandfather’s quiet spirit and his small but meaningful demonstration of love.

What does my ‘black coffee’ story and God’s love have in common? Like the overflow of the sweet hot liquid onto the saucer,  God wants you to remember that His love overflowed into your life. God demonstrated His love in that He loved us first. God wanted someone else to love so He created me. My birth was not an accident. What I do or don’t do does matter. I was born, for such a time as this, to love. I are greatly needed. The world needs more love and I was created to love. More than that, I was created to be loved by God and to love Him in return.

It is God’s desire that as you take a step towards Him, and He takes a step towards you and reveals  Himself to you, that you will experience the depth, height, width, and breadth of his love for you as well. It’s His desire that you will come to know Him and the power of His resurrection. God wants His love to reside in you, settle down deep inside of you, and flood your life with living water, overflowing out of your life into the lives of those who know and those who will come to know you.

He has written marvelous plans in the Book of Life just for you and me. Jesus Christ came and died that we might have an abundant life, not just brimming, but overflowing.

However, there is one catch.

You know it, we’ll talk about it next time! LOL

Until then, may His love overflow into your heart.  It’s the best way  to etj3!

May God continue to bless you.                     

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to take with you on the journey:

1 John 3:18 – Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 4:7-21 It begins like this: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

Philippians 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Question for today – What have you done to to fall deeper in love with Jesus Christ this week?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

Please come back to visit. You don’t want to miss Love Overflow – Part 1 Continued!

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Balance? Yes Balance! (Balance – Part 3)

In order to have a balanced life, you will have to give up something. But what you gain is worth more than the temporary relief that you feel when you barely catch the next ball before it hits the ground.

Let me give you an example. In obedience to what I believe God told me to do, this year I’m teaching school only Tuesdays through Thursdays; so I can have time to write to you and work on the music that God has given me. It’s really been an awesome school year. I’ve actually had time to sleep until 8 or 9 AM a few mornings. And although I spend way too much prep time at school on Mondays and Fridays, and after school on Tuesdays through Thursdays, I at least have the freedom to breathe and work at my own pace. (Okay, so I’m still struggling with balancing my work schedule. [smiles])

Believe it or not, I’m a lot better than I used to be. These days, I spend time with my grandson. Sometimes I just sit and rest my mind. And yet, I still have many balls in the air. Really what I did was I exchanged one set of balls for another. I know that doesn’t sound wise, but there is something else I’ve done. I’ve placed my responsibilities in God’s amazing hands for Him to juggle. He knows what’s due when. He knows how to do what I need to do and how to reveal to me the steps I must take.

To be honest, this ‘trust God’ faith principal is tough on people like me who feel safe only when we are ‘in control’ of everything. It reminds me of the fear I felt, standing at the edge of the diving board for the first time, knowing that I had to jump. The instructor was waiting with the pole to catch me, but I barely knew how to swim and tread water. (By the way, if you replace the delight on this little girl’s face with terror, you will have a more accurate picture of what I looked like! [LOL]

I figure that if I could place my life in the hands of a lady with a pole, surely I can place it in the hands of the one who made me, loves me, and will take care of me. I like choosing to trust my Heavenly Father. I love Him so dearly. And when I trust Him, like a little child trusting her father, He showers me with His favor. Even in the tough times, I will center my mind on God’s Word and not worry. I will choose to ask for wisdom, trust that His direction is right, then prioritize and obey.

What priorities have I set? I want God’s instructions to be first. I want my relationship with Him to be first. Then He helps me to decide what specific steps I need to take during the day. Sometimes family is top on my list, sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s ministry, sometimes it’s others and sometimes it’s work; depending on what’s needed at the time.

I know you saw that I included myself in the priority list. You see, God is teaching me that in order to love others effectively, I need to LOVE ME and treat myself with respect. I need to eat right, exercise, and get some rest, which includes resting my mind. A minister reminded me recently that God wants me to take care of His creation, and I am a part of His creation. That will help to bring balance in my life.

To prove the point, I think that now is a great time to stop this post. This is going to be a very challenging week and I need a little vacation time (smiles).

Please come back and visit again.

Below are scriptures that may assist you in your journey:

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

John 14:27  27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  

1 Thessalonians 4:11 ” …11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,”

 If you want more wisdom for the journey, join me in reading from Proverbs each day. There happens to be 31 chapters, so we can read a different chapter for each day of the month. If I miss a day, I don’t stress. I open the Word, read, and enjoy.

So, until we meet next time, breathe deeply, relax, and choose not to worry. Trust that God’s grace (His divine power to help you do what you can not do on your own) is sufficient to see you through. God can balance your life, one moment at a time, one step at a time. It’s the way to etj3 (enjoying the journey with the Trinity)!

Love you,

T’Alice

Questions for today – Do you have areas of your life that are out of balance? What are you doing about it?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You don’t want to miss what God is teaching me about Balance!

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Rest in Him! (Balance – Part 2)

I had just exited the expressway one day, exhausted as usual, when I thought for the upteenth time, “There has to be more to life than this. I know God wants me to live my life without all of this stress.” But for the life of me, I could not figure out how to get to where I believed He wanted me to be. I certainly did not know how to rest in Him.

That’s why I thank God for His Holy Spirit, who is our teacher! It has been the Holy Spirit who has revealed to me a better way of living life, as I studied His Word and listened to the wisdom of other believers. Here are some tidbits He is in the midst of teaching me:

I can’t be a driven, frantic, type A person, and remain balanced.  Everything does not have the same importance, so prioritize. Everything and everyone does not have to be perfect, in order to be useable, serviceable, or acceptable.

It’s OKAY to rest. Jesus rested. He is my divine example.

Go on ‘vacation’ everyday. In other words, MAKE time to spend in His presence. Take the time to appreciate what He has given to me.

Grab it, catch it, set it aside, or run it down and overtake it, but FIND TIME, moments during the day, to spend in His presence. My vacation can be ‘just be still and quiet’ time. It can be loud, ‘pump the praise music up’ time, or ‘close your eyes and breathe deeply’ time. Yes every day, I need restful, restorative, sabbath time with God. The busier I am, the more of this special time I need with Him.

The next thing the Holy Spirit is teaching me is to trust Him and be obedient. Stop trying to lean on my own understanding, but actually acknowledge Him. He does want to direct my path. How does He direct my path? Sometimes through prayer; sometimes through the written Word or Bible, sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to me inwardly in impressions.

I believe that He’s also teaching me not to be pulled by other people’s emotions into doing more than I should. I’m learning how to say, “no” without feeling guilty. Pastor Rick Warren says that we only have enough time in each day to do what God has called us to do. We don’t have time for extra. We get stressed out when we try to do extra. I get stressed out when I try to meet everyone’s expectations; whether they are real or just expectations I think that others have of me. I believe that God is patiently teaching me to focus on Him and not others. He says that He will keep me in perfect peace, if I keep my mind on Christ. I am finding that it’s much easier to try to please God than to please God AND everyone else I know!

What am I learning about balance? Come back soon and I’ll share what God is teaching me. Until then, I pray that you will allow the Holy Spirit to order your steps. It’s the only way to make it through the journey with peace and balance!

 

Below are scriptures that may assist you in your journey:

Psalm 23            1 Peter 3:3-5        Psalm 34:14   John 16:33

 

Love,

T’Alice

 

Today’s question – Which of the ‘tidbits’ of wisdom listed above is God telling you that you need to apply to your life?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You don’t want to miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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What Are You Juggling? (Balance)

You say there’s never enough time? Does it feel as though some secret agency has hired you to be a Master juggler? Do you feel the pressure that comes with trying to keep every ball in the air? Does it feel like time is passing you by, while you spend your time putting out fires? Have you ever said, “There’s got to be more to life than this?”

Are you certain that God wants your life to be more peaceful and stress-free? If this sounds like you or someone you know, there is good news! God is a great teacher of how to balance time and juggle priorities. He’s teaching me. Perhaps what I’m learning may also be beneficial to you.

      I grew up in a household with two very busy parents who were always ‘doing’. As a pastor, my father’s obligations to the membership were great. He had counseling sessions, funerals, hospital visits, nursing home visits, weddings, community meetings, church meetings, ministerial meetings, district meetings, and more meetings, just to mention a few. Consequently, he would often miss my extracurricular events.

Looking back, I realize that it was not that my father didn’t love me; because truly he did. He was so busy because that was the best way that he knew to handle all of the responsibilities that came with pastoral ministry. My dad loved the people that God has assigned him to shepherd so much that he didn’t want to disappoint them or God, so he felt compelled to go. He took and still takes his responsibilities as an under-shepherd very seriously. Back in those days, my mother would make sure that she was there to give parental support and represent them both. I can’t remember any activity that I was in, (and I was in a lot), that she wasn’t cheering me (or my sister or brother) on from the audience. She did this while being a pastor’s wife, which had its own list of  responsibilities. These duties did not include her roles of Public School teacher, Sunday School teacher, and choir member, etc.

Yep, I came from a loving, ‘doing’ family.

      What was one thing that I learned from watching them? I learned to be a doer as well. Cram every possible moment with  ‘doing’. That was my motto. Find a space of time that was empty and fill it. I mean you never knew when Jesus was coming back. You never knew if this day would be your last, so you’d better use every minute to accomplish something. That was my thinking. If you sat down too long, you were being lazy; missing the moment; throwing away time you couldn’t get back.

I worked two very demanding jobs for more than twenty years. What’s even worse, at one point in my life, I was working those jobs, going to grad school full-time, rehearsing in a trio, trying to take care of two children, and still have a marriage. I lived in the city and commuted sometimes twice a day to the suburbs. I carried overnight bags in the trunk of my car, in case I was too exhausted to drive home.

Usually, I tried to make it home, regardless of how tired I was or how late the evening was. I tried to use the  ‘extra time’ I had while driving on the expressway as homework drill time for my children and it was our devotion time. Needless to say, I was always anxious that I was going to forget something important or not have enough energy to keep the balls in the air much longer. Back in those days, I went to bed regularly around midnight or later and tried to get up each morning to do a little housework before I went to work. I did not know how to say the word “no” to other people, so my body would say it for me. I would go until I dropped.

Now is the perfect time for you to ask me,

“ How was that working for you?”

Well, let me put it this way…

It wasn’t.

 I’ll tell you what God revealed to me next time. Have a blessed day and enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider: Matthew 11:28, 29 [NIV] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Proverbs 3:5, 6 [NIV] Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Today’s questions – Are you juggling too much? If the answer is ‘yes’ then the next question is why?

 

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You won’t want to miss Balance – Part 2 of Enjoying the Journey3!

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The Plan (Excellence in Living – Part 3)

“THE PLAN”

(Can’t you hear the beautiful voices singing “AH” when you look at this graphic?  LOL)

I know from the previous blog that it sounds like I need to work on my love walk once I arrive home. I really do love the people who live in my house.  I’m determined to  treat them consistently with the kind of the respect that I show others. So I’ve come up with a plan. Yes! I’m so excited!

I think I’ll start right away and shock them with some intensive loving care. First, I won’t interrupt anyone all night. Yeah! I’ll let them actually finish their sentence! And then, I won’t tell one of my usual, spur of the moment dry jokes without thinking it through to make sure it sounds sane (I’m laughing loudly here).

Next, I won’t make my usual running commentary about the negative things I see on the television shows we’re watching, (and here’s the big finish) or try to correct everyone’s ‘mistakes’. If I have something to say, I’ll talk to God about it privately (smiles). I tell you, this is going to be a good spiritual work-out! This should keep me busy for quite a while.

I don’t know if you take your family for granted sometimes, too. I hope that you don’t assume that because they love you, it’s all right for you to speak to them any kind of way, or treat them as though their feelings don’t matter. Feelings are connected to hearts, and hearts are connected to minds.

Every time I cut a person off in mid-sentence, or  change the subject as though their conversation is not important, I give the impression that I believe that what I have to say is more important. I give the impression I believe that my loved one’s worth, as a human being, is not as great as mine. I am saying, through my actions, that they are not worth my patience and kindness. I don’t want to continue to say something so cruel as this through my actions, or the tone of my voice, or the words I choose to say. I want to live a life of kindness, discretion, and love; especially at home.

God’s Word has a lot to say about freedom, discretion, wisdom, and how family members should treat each other. If you would like to read more, please take a closer look at the following scriptures:

James 2:1                  James 3:2-12           1 John 3:18              Romans 8:2               

Ephesians 4:30-32    Ephesians 5:4         Ephesians 6:1-4      Proverbs 18:20

Galatians 5:1           Galatians 5:13-15   Galatians 5:22-26   Proverbs 24:3-4  

Ephesians 5:1, 2      Proverbs 17:27        Proverbs 10:19; 13:1; 14:1; 15:24

I know that I am not walking through this journey of life alone. There are always people inside and outside of my home who deserve my best love. God gives me His best all of the time. I don’t want to give anything less. He has set you and me free to live our lives by loving others with excellence. What a way to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions for today – When are you most likely to take your family or close friends for granted? What is your plan to love your family the way that Christ loves you?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You don’t want to miss the next post!

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The ‘Other Me’ (Excellence in Living – Part 2)

When I walk through my front door, I’m free!!! Yes, I’m FREEEEE!!!!!!! I get to be myself, say what I want, and in the tone I want. By the time I walk in the door at the end of the day, I feel like I have used up my last smile. I walk in the door and mutter a “hi,” with almost nonexistent energy. I plop down on the couch and sit comatose for a little while. Yes! I get to be the other me, the ‘inside the house’ me. God has been revealing to me that when someone asks me a question, sometimes I don’t think about the tone of my voice. My tone can be sweet and thoughtful one minute, and like a freshly cut piece of wood the next. Sometimes I can be short; dismissive even. Ooo that hurts. I didn’t know I was like that!

At home, I can express my opinion whenever I want to. (Unfortunately, I exercise this ‘right’ to the max!) Horrible, isn’t it??? Or even better, I feel that it’s my duty as a mother to correct everything people in our home do that isn’t to my liking. I consider it ‘sharing wisdom.’ I know you may rightfully call it meddling or being a ‘know-it-all’! (LOL)

I’ve driven my family to the limits of their patience by insisting that they try some new recipe that I’ve conjured up, even though they repeatedly say they’d rather not eat it. And if you live with me, you will certainly suffer through my brand of humor, when inside you will probably be thinking, “Okay, that was a little over the top.”

Still, I’m at home, so isn’t this the one place where I can finally ‘be myself’?

Not really.

 As long as I continue to believe that home is the place where I get to give an ongoing, ‘spur of the moment’ commentary on everything that I see on t.v. or voice my opinion about whatever comes to mind, then I am holding my family hostage with my lack of discretion, my choice to not use self-control over my mouth.

Secondly, if I care about how I treat strangers, acquaintances, and friends, surely I should care more about how I treat my own family. They deserve my best behavior, not my ‘left-over’ goodness. They could do with a few more sweet responses and less sentences bullet-holed with interruptions. And I am certain that they would appreciate one or two evenings without my brand of humor (okay, I’ll finally admit that sometimes when I’m tired, my jokes are really not well thought out.)

Between you and me, I’m sure that my grown children would breathe a sigh of relief if I no longer gave them unsolicited advice about how to live their lives, and instead trusted that God would give them wisdom. In other words, I think that my family would love living with me a little more, if I treated them the way that I treat those who are not as dear.

Yes, God gave me freedom. When Jesus died to set me free, by paying the price for my sins on Calvary, He opened the door for me to be myself. No, not the old rusty, dusty me, but the new and improved me. Yes, Christ set me free to be the best that I can be.

Years ago, when my son was a teenager, I was getting ready to holler at him about something he had done. God said quietly to me, “Do I yell and fuss at you? Then, don’t yell and fuss at him.” That stopped my yelling and fussing.

Period.

I understood right then and there that God wanted me to act more like Him.    Case closed.

And so, I am determined.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you my plan for surprising my family. I can’t wait! But until then, I’ll be working on how to be a kinder, gentler me. I hope that you can find ways to speak life into your family’s and friends’ lives as well.  May you live your life with excellence. It’s one way to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – How can you improve the way you treat those closest to you; your family, friends, and co-workers, as well as brothers and sisters in Christ, etc.?

Scriptures that apply to today’s post are:

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

You don’t want to miss Part 3 of Excellence in Living!

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How ‘Free’ is Free? (Excellence in Living – Part 1)

“We have freedom now, because Christ made us free.” Galatians 5:1

If there’s any place where you should be free to be yourself, it’s at home, right? Well, this is what I’ve always thought. But I think that God, through His Holy Spirit, is opening my eyes to a more excellent way of expressing my freedom. I don’t understand it all just yet, but let me tell you what I’ve gathered so far.

First, let me tell you about the ‘outside of the house’ me. When I’m in public, I do my very best to be kind. I speak positively, practice patience, and smile a lot. The smiling part is pretty easy for me. Some people, I think, are natural smilers, and I’m one of ‘em. It doesn’t take much to bring out my smile… a small child heading my way or someone with a sad or lonely looking face, and before I know it, I’m smiling to try to cheer them up. You’ve probably seen me. I was the lady smiling at you as you crossed the intersection. You probably spent a couple seconds wondering if I was someone you knew. Nope. I was just smiling at you.

Even when I don’t feel very well, I do my best not to take out the pain I’m experiencing on those I meet. When I get frustrated or angry with one of my students, I make a conscious effort to calm down, speak softly, slowly, and deliberately. I try very hard to choose my words with care.  I’m even working hard on exchanging the sarcasm that I used for years, for more honest, open, thoughtful communication.

The ‘public’ me wasn’t always this positive, but a great deal of construction has been going on. God has been working on my thinking, and my thinking has changed my perception. He’s breaking down my strongholds, (philosophies, ideas, theories, and opinions that go against His Word) little by little. I tell you though, being transformed by God’s Word is a lot of work!! (Whew! I need to wipe my brow, just thinking about it!) It’s a good thing that it’s God doing the work and not me.

God is changing the way that I see people and myself. I am reminded daily how valuable and precious we all are. Still, I have a daily battle going on inside. Everyday, I have to fight my old nature, my old way of doing things; my old way of reacting, and my old way of speaking. It’s true that Jesus can take the heart of someone who was known for being mean and change them into a forgiving, caring individual. However, for me, the only way I can consistently be that caring person is to choose to daily surrender my attitude, my heart, and my mind to my Heavenly Father, and allow Him to help me to think better.

It’s the Holy Spirit living inside me who has changed my will, so that I want to  interact in a way that demonstrates God’s love. I want to be encouraging. I want to be cooperative, (all of that good stuff) because I don’t want to hurt my Savior by being rude or unkind. I don’t want to hurt someone else because I didn’t use caution.

However, since I’m a very opinionated person, there are many times when I am keeping my opinions to myself that my old nature’s screaming inside my head to express itself. All the while, the Holy Spirit is speaking to me inwardly, “SHHhhhhh, it’s okay, calm down, breathe deeply.” More often than I would like to admit, He still has to tell me, “Be quiet. Don’t dip. it’s not your business.”  Believe it or not, I’m actually learning to listen to Him, sit quietly, and keep my ‘big mouth’ closed.

At home, though, it’s a different story entirely. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow! Until then, may you remember the construction zone signs that God has placed around you. You may be striving for perfection and falling short. God isn’t finished with you yet. Be encouraged!! He is more than able to complete the work He has begun in you.

So relax and…

Enjoy the journey!

 

Question for today: “What are you battling?”

Scriptures that pertain to today’s post:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

James 1:4-5 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

John 5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Philippians 1:16 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it the first time around.

You don’t want to miss the next part of this post. It may remind you of someone you know.

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What Love Looks Like (God is Love – Part 3)

Imagine that God, who holds us in His hands, allowed Himself to become so small that humans could hold him in their hands, all for the sake of love! That’s right, God, the Father, sent God, the Son, Jesus Christ, to earth and He lived among us to show us in person what real love looks like, sounds like, and acts like.

After growing up in the midst of us, a time came when He had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” He demonstrated perfect love by willingly doing what only He could do. He accepted the punishment for all of humanity’s sins. By sin, I mean all the times that we, as humans, have not trusted God and turned away from Him to do, think, and say what was right in our own eyes, but against God’s character and Word.

Because Jesus is love, He allowed men to torture him, hang him on the cross, and shed His blood to wash away our sins. With His stripes we were healed. He laid down His life, knowing that in doing so, He would suffer the most agonizing punishment of all, being separated from His Father as payment for our sins, so that we would never have to be separated from Love. Then, with all power in His hands, He rose again so we could actually be with God (that’s right, to be with Love) throughout eternity.

Remember that there is no dividing line between what true love is and who God is. God is love and He loves you. He will not give up on you. No, there is no dividing line between God and real love. They are one and the same. If you would like to know more about true love, open your Bible to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This scripture really means a lot to me, because there was a time in my life when I really, I mean really thought that I was great at loving others. (I wonder if God was looking down at me thinking, “My poor child. She’s in for a rude awakening!”)  Then one day, I opened the Bible and read the above passage. As they used to say back in the day, it “blew my mind.”

I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t tap on the checkout counter and look at my watch while the clerk changed the tape?  You mean to tell me that I couldn’t get giddy with delight when someone was punished for their wrong?  I had to stop trying to get my own way? I had to stop singing my, “You Done Me Wrong”song? I couldn’t brag about all that I had done? God actually wanted me to burn my little black book of grudges? (Okay, so I didn’t have a little black book. I didn’t need one. I had stored all that unforgiveness and revenge in a place that was easily accessible… my heart.)

My, My, My, My, My!!

You’d better believe I had a lot to think about. It would take me a lifetime of trusting and believing and obeying my Heavenly Father in order to transform that kind of thinking. Yet, here I am over twenty plus years later, a ‘kinder, gentler’ person. And while I have not arrived yet, I am definitely pressing towards the mark. I see God’s favor all through my life and you know what I think?

God is wonderful!

He loved me so much that He rescued me from myself. Christ patiently taught me what love really looks like. Now, hopefully I can show others what He has shown me.

… so you too may enjoy the journey!

T’Alice

A question to consider – What do you think about all that Jesus willingly went through  because of His love for you?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

Please rejoice us and read the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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True Love (God is Love Part 2)

    It’s true, it’s true! I still shake my head in amazement that Love really is the greatest power in existence. I don’t even want to imagine a world that had no love in it. Fortunately, I don’t have to ever worry about that. Why? Remember, God is love and He is omnipotent. This means that love is all-powerful. Since He is omniscient (all-knowing), He will always produce wisdom, providing the best answer to any problem.

Remember that God does not change (is immutable). I have found Him to be a rock, a sure, strong tower in whom I can depend when situations and people in my life are unstable. And given that God is omnipresent, there is no place I can go where He, Love, is not present. My dad loves to say that God is the only one who can go with you where you are going and be there to greet you when you get there.

More than that, He is the beginning and the ending. Therefore Love is not limited by space or time. In fact, Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever.”

It was Love who by speaking, “Let there be…” created the universe. And then Love spoke again and created the earth with all of its complexities and beauty, in order to prepare a place for you and me. God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created Adam, the first man, in the image of Love; excellent, intelligent and powerful, and breathed into him Life. It’s this excellence, intelligence, power, and life that He pours into you. And He pours it into me.

Think about it… all it took was one breath breathed from God into Adam to establish all of humanity including you. To think that Love created me because He (God) wanted to have a relationship with me, to surround me with His goodness, and to fill me with His excellence, well,  that’s awesome in my book!

He wants the same thing for you.  May all that God is, fill your life too! I really hope that you enjoy the journey!

With all my heart,

T’Alice

 

Today’s question – How does it make you feel to know that God loves you this much?

If you want to read more scriptures about his love for you see:

Psalm 52:8 – But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. …

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

It won’t fail you on your way. Enjoy the journey!

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it originally.

Please don’t miss the next post of Enjoying the Journey3!

 

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No Dividing Line (God is Love – Part 1)

Have you ever had a ‘light bulb moment’ when something you had read many times finally clicked? I had one of those moments last year. For me, it was definitely an ‘ah hah!’ moment when the Holy Spirit revealed to me more about the meaning of the scripture,  “God is love.”

One day, as I was studying God’s Word, the meaning of the scripture just ‘clicked.’ I finally got it. God is love. Love is not an action or a choice or an emotion. Love is more than a topic to be sung about and a message to be written about in poems and stories. Love is God. And since God has always existed, Love has always existed. Since God will always exist, Love will always exist.

God taught me that true love is a Spirit being, like you and I are Human beings. (God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth – John 4:24.) This Eternal being, who is love in its purest form, we call God. It is God’s nature, a part of his make up, to demonstrate love and to protect all that is holy and good. He does see what’s going on in my world. Knowing all things, He moves at the correct time (not necessarily on my time schedule). His character pulls back the darkness and reveals truth, inserting power, justice, peace, joy, self-control, faithfulness, patience, kindness, life, and light into my life. Almighty God is making my life better… step by step … day by day.

I am hoping that as you spend time in God’s presence all through each day, you will slowly see His character flooding your life with His love.  May He transform your days until you see positive changes taking place wherever you look!

Until next time, I hope that you enjoy the journey!

T’Alice

A question to consider – What part of your character would you like to see God change?

If you would like to read more about God’s character see:

God is infinite – Without an ending – 1 Kings 8:27; Acts 17:28

God is eternal – Not limited by time, He can see past, present, and future  – Genesis 21:33; Psalm 90:2

God is immutable – His character does not change – James 1:17

God is Omnipresent – Everywhere at the same time Psalm 139:7-12

God is Sovereign – He rules over everything – Matthew 11:21

God is Omnipotent – He has all power – Revelation 19:6

God is Just – He holds everyone accountable for what they think, say, and do.  Acts 17:31

God is Free – Not dependent on any of His creation to be all that He is – Isaiah 40:13-14

God is Holy – Right with no error – 1 John 1:5

God is Love – Ephesians 2:4-5

God is Truth – John 14:6

 © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it.

Please don’t miss the next post – God is Love Part 2!

 

 

 

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Love – 101 Get to Know God

-101: Get to Know God

Why should anyone take the time to get to know the Creator of the Universe?

Okay, I couldn’t resist saying it one more time!

God is Love.

It’s just that simple. True love is faithful.

God is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful to Him.

God builds, restores, encourages, and saves!

He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing),

omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time), and

immutable (never changing so I can rely on Him).

He is the great I AM (the final authority, the very present help that I need).

Imagine this for a moment:

LOVE CREATED THE UNIVERSE FOR YOU AND ME.

LOVE is faithful.

LOVE builds, restores, encourages, and saves!

LOVE is all powerful, all knowing,

present everywhere at the same time.

I can rely on LOVE, for LOVE is never changing.

LOVE is the final authority, the very present help that I need).

The Bible, my manual of love for the journey, says that

There is NOTHING that can separate us from God’s love,

His character, His presence.

How do I know that God’s Word is true?

His love rescued me.

Just as He loves me,

He has you on His mind this very moment

and cares about you watchfully.

He wants you to get to know Him better

and experience all the many facets of His love…

for yourself.

It makes my heart do a dance when I think about all He’s done for me

and what He has in store for you!

Yes God, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Three united as One,

has designed a unique plan for your life.

Why?

That you may do good works and glorify Him.

How?

For one thing, God designed the tapestry that’s you

(your DNA, your unique talents, gifts, personality, passions, experiences, and intellect).

He strategically arranged for you to be born during this time in history

to display His excellence and love, as you get to know, love, trust, and obey Him.

“Will there be problems on this love journey,” you say?

Sure, you will have problems. I do.

They come with living.

But in spite of them, I’m learning that with LOVE’s help,

I can enjoy the journey!

And so can you.

Until next time,

T’Alice

Question – What are you doing to get to know Jesus Christ?

I’ve placed below some of my favorite scriptures in the [New International Version of the Bible] about today’s blog. I hope they bless you!

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Psalm 36:6-7   6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. 7How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

1 John 4:7-9 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Psalm 119:72-74 73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. 74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.

Psalm 139:13-14 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Romans 8:31-38 If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Class dismissed! Now go with God and enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. Don’t miss the next post on Enjoying the Journey3!

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The Wall (The Power of Forgiveness – Part 2)

Every day of unforgiveness can put another brick in the wall.

The last time I wrote, I was sharing with you a lesson God was teaching me about forgiveness. (See The Power of Forgiveness – Part 1)

The lesson wasn’t over.

I was still battling with my emotions. This week, I’d like to remind you how easy it is to build a wall and how Jesus taught me that I could tear it down.

Yep, I really tried to forgive. I worked hard at it. I thought about the fact that the Lord says that vengeance is His and that He will repay whatever is due. I even tried reciting that if I forgive others God would forgive me, but if I didn’t forgive, then I wouldn’t be forgiven. After a while, I thought that I was doing pretty well with allowing God to heal my heart. I thought I was well on my way to forgiving my husband. Then I noticed that I was slowly withdrawing from the relationship. My wall of indifference was going up.

Before I knew it, I was being chained to this incidence from two weeks past. The Holy Spirit reminded me of my marriage vows; you know that part that says, “In good times and in bad”?  Then I had to ask myself a question, “How did I want all of this to end?” Did I want our relationship to dissolve? Did I want a divorce? Did I want to live with my spouse, but just go through the motions; not really being emotionally involved in the relationship; not actually enjoying being married?

You may be thinking, “T’Alice, that’s a little drastic, isn’t it? You know… overkill?” Not really. I’ve found that unforgiveness can be like a silent cancer, eating away at a relationship until the wall of pain and bitterness between two people can become so thick and so high that it seems to be no way to get around it, over it, or through it. And just like cancer, unforgiveness may spread through your heart until you find yourself justifying why you don’t have to forgive not only the person that injured you, but the next person and the next.

Not forgiving someone actually chains you to them, the painful incident, and to your past. It prevents you from moving forward. It hinders your ability to become more and more like Christ, since He was all about forgiveness. (Remember when He was on the cross, He asked His Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do?”)

Back to my story. You see, I would have been through with the matter the same day of the incident if my husband had apologized for being so ‘rude’ to me, but the closest thing to an apology came after three days of ‘coolness’ on my part. He looked at me and said,  “Truce.” I couldn’t believe it! Truce! Like this was a game!! I wasn’t being cool to get back at him, I was struggling to remain calm and allow my emotional wounds to heal! (Have you ever been in a similar place?)

That did it! I was mad all over again!

Over the next few days, I prayed and kept the conversational topics general. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing while I was trying to figure everything out. Unfortunately, the weight of trying to reason and reason and figure it all out was wearing me out.

I finally came to the conclusion that I could hold on to the pain and stress, or cast my care on Christ and let Him handle it. Well, I decided to do the latter. It was at that moment that I believe that Jesus taught me one amazing truth.

He revealed to me that while I can’t change my husband’s method of communicating with me, I can still have peace. He reminded me that He has given me the gift of His Holy Spirit, who enables me to control my response and my attitude. I released my hurt and grudge into His hands, breathed a sigh of relief, and instantly felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Immediately, the wall disappeared, and I cracked up laughing inside, realizing that God had given me the power to choose my reaction…

and I chose to forgive and love.

He taught me that no one can keep me from loving.

And that, my dear friends, means you too have POWER over your enemy, Satan, who wants to steal your joy, your peace, your strength, and your ability to love.

What did I learn? That I can choose to love…even when I don’t understand everything that’s going on. The Word says that love covers a multitude of faults. I walked over to my dearest friend, my husband, who was sitting in the recliner, kissed him on the forehead and came downstairs to talk to you…

The battle was won. Whew!

Praise the Lord, I am free.

 If you want to discover more of the truths that God’s Word shares on forgiveness, read:

Matthew 6:14-15 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Luke 11: 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.And lead us not into temptation.’”

Acts 10:43 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Matthew 18:21-35 begins with, “ 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Mark 11:25 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Luke 11: 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of a woman who had sinned much. She showed her gratitude and love to Jesus.  “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Colossians 3:12-16 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

While these scriptures are not all that God has to say about how we must care for each other, they help you to understand that God is love and part of loving someone is choosing to forgive. Until next time, I’m going to do my best to stay free by choosing to forgive. I hope that you will choose to do the same. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Today’s questions – How has forgiveness lightened your heart? How has not forgiving kept you from moving forward in your journey?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. I hope you’ll return. You don’t want to miss what God is teaching me!

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Forgive Or Don’t Forgive… I Had to Choose. (The Power of Forgiveness – Part 1)

Forgive or don’t forgive… I had to choose. 

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

(The Power of Forgiveness – Part 1)

 

When I was a little girl, I took great pride in holding a grudge and hating those who wronged me. In fact, it was my ‘policy’ to never forgive. I made it my business to get you back, even if it took years. It’s a good thing that God chased me down with His love. He has taught me some priceless lessons on forgiveness, and I’m sure I have a lot more of them to learn. Like you, I get plenty of opportunities everyday to practice extending mercy; you know, giving someone another chance. I began the New Year with a brand new lesson…

I started my New Year being mad at my dearest friend, my husband, on New Year’s evening. After being married for more than thirty years, you would think that I would have grown accustomed to my husband’s frankness. Apparently I haven’t, because he said one little sentence and my feelings were torn to pieces. Of course, it wasn’t just the sentence, but the sentence was the ‘icing on the cake.’ I’m sure if you asked my husband, he would agree that it’s those who are closest to us that give us the most chances to practice walking in love. (smiles)

Anyway, I talked to God about the incident and asked Him to show me how to forgive one more time, because, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out! I did not want the sun to go down on my anger. I did not want to open the door of my heart to the enemy (Ephesians 4:26-27). So I tried to concentrate on what the Word says about forgiveness. I remembered all the times that I let God down and yet He continues to love and forgive me. That helped a little bit. It enabled me to speak to my hubby without being sarcastic. I could hold a conversation, although I’m sure he heard the reserve in my voice. I was trying my best to watch whatever I said. I didn’t want my pain and confusion to cause me to explode and say something that would hurt his feelings or damage our relationship.

The Holy Spirit even reminded me that just as Jesus had died for my sins, He died for my husband’s as well. So who was I to continue being mad at him? If I didn’t forgive my spouse, then I would be saying that Jesus’ blood wasn’t powerful enough to handle what I considered to be wrong on my husband’s part. Well, that revelation helped me to keep working on forgiveness.

I’ll tell you more on tomorrow. Until then, I pray that you will choose to forgive the people in your life. There will always be opportunities to forgive and be free, since no one is perfect, including you and me. I hope that you will use each instance to demonstrate the power of love through forgiveness.

Until tomorrow… etj3!

Love,

T’Alice

Question: Who pushes your button and challenges you to forgive?

Scriptures that pertain to today’s post are:

Matthew 6:11-12 1 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 9:6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”

Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

Matthew 18:21-35 The parable of the unmerciful servant

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

This post has been republished from the archives in case you missed it. You don’t want to miss part 2 of this post.

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The Quiz (The Journey – Part 3)

Have you ever been handed a quiz,  looked down at the questions, and smiled because you knew the answers?

Life is nothing if not an on-going quiz. Every where I turn, there’s a quiz about something. How am I suppose to treat others? How should I manage my time and my finances? How should I take care of my mind, my body, and my soul? Should I eat this piece of cake? Should I keep my mouth closed when I want to say more? Should I turn this television show off or continue to watch?  So many questions. So many tests. Sometimes I pass them, sometimes I don’t. When I stand before God, and He holds me accountable for the thoughts I’ve thought, the words I’ve said, and the choices I’ve made, I hope that I will have passed the most important tests; you know, the ones that impacted my character and determined where I spend eternity.

Oh, I forgot.

Every choice I make sets me up for the next decision to be made. Choice by choice, I am either strengthened or I am weakened for the journey.

I passed an important one-question quiz recently. I calmly thought, “I KNOW this answer!

The question was, “Is the Bible true and can I trust it?”

The answer was and is a resounding, ” YES!!”

I’m SO sure that God’s Word is true, because of the impact that my relationship with Christ has had on my life. Loving God, myself, and others has revolutionized my life. Trusting His Word has transformed my thinking and has made me a much better person. And I do mean much better.

Over and over again, I experience first-hand the power that forgiveness has to continuously set my heart free. Because of the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit residing in my heart, I have walked through the ‘fires’ of life and come out on the other side; not destroyed, but stronger. More than that, I have experienced and continue to experience the ongoing, abiding love of God in my life on a daily basis.

Every where I turn, there He is…

loving me,

caring for me,

lifting me up,

saving me,

helping me,

and teaching me through His vast love,

how to enjoy the journey He has planned for me.

And when it’s all over down here,

I am sure that I will spend the rest of eternity in the presence of Love,

for

God is love.

Yes I KNOW, through personal experience, that God’s Word is true.

One day, I had to finally make up my mind, for myself, what I was going to based my life on, and who was going to be on the throne of my heart. I had to take a multiple choice test.

A or B

life or death

blessings or curses

God or Satan

heaven or hell

be alone without God’s direction, or cling to God, who had all the answers

I chose God.

I chose Love.

It’s because of His love that lives in me, that I have learned how to accept and love myself, and believe it or not, how to love you. You are constantly in the back of my mind. I long for moments when I can steal away and encourage you. Like someone who can’t resist telling friends about a good deal, I can’t wait to share with you truths that the Holy Spirit is teaching me.

So here is one truth I have learned…

Love exists.

I can’t imagine what life would be like if there was no love anywhere. More than that, God (True Love) never ends. It’s God’s desire to flood my life with His love. As I connect myself to Him, I experience an abundant life. The same great love and concern He has for me, He has for you.

So smile!

Why?

I gave you the answer to the quiz! Now go tell someone else!

It’s time to enjoy the journey!

Love ya,

T’Alice

Questions – How are you doing at passing life’s tests? In which area(s) do you need God’s help?

Below are scriptures about the importance of making correct choices. [NIV].

Deuteronomy 13:2-4 2 and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Joshua 24:14-16 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!

Proverbs 3:31 Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.

Proverbs 8:10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

 © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]
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The Big Question (The Journey – Part 2)

I know, some people dismiss the idea of eternity, and say that when you’re dead, you’re done. And if you’re like me, somewhere along the journey, you’ve probably struggled with the truth about God’s existence too. Perhaps you’ve also battled the BIG  ‘what if’ question. You know the one… “What if I believe the Bible and it’s not really true?”

Recently, I heard that age-old question being discussed. When I first started on my journey with God, that question used to throw me for a loop. I didn’t know how to answer it. It made me so uneasy. Was I making a mistake to trust what I had been taught about God and the Bible?

It was the seventies, and I heard other college students rattle off philosophies about Black pride and how Jesus was the ‘white man’s God.’ Other ‘intriguing’ view points were floating around. True love, I heard, didn’t need old-fashioned ideas like marriage and a license. They said that as long as two people loved each other, that’s all that mattered. I was told that God was whatever you believed Him to be and there were many ways to get to Him. I heard that once I died, I could come back and do everything over again until I got it right. But then, some also said that there was nothing after you died, so you’d better live it up while you had the chance. I heard that heaven was a state of mind, and hell was here on earth. ‘Heard some of that too, did you?

Thinking back, it’s unbelievable how college campuses, barber shops, beauty salons, television shows, lunch with well-meaning friends, etc. can be breeding grounds for a mixture of truth and doubt; arrogance and soul searching; knowledge and ignorance. It was quite confusing for me. Which ideas of the day were true? Which should I base my life on?

That was quite a long time ago. I’ve seen hot pants come and go…. several times. We’ve had the mini-skirt, the maxi-skirt, and everything in-between. Mohawks have had a revival again, and the battle of old school versus new school is still going strong. I’ve seen my children mature into young adults, my daughter marry, and have had the pleasure of holding conversations with my grandson. And yet the question is still floating around out there, “What if I believe the Bible and it’s not really true?”

This time, when my son told me that he heard the question being discussed on a recent radio show, I had an interesting reaction. I didn’t become anxious at all. An assurance seemed to rise up from way down inside me and I smiled.

I’ll tell you why tomorrow.

Until then,

Take care.

Love,

T’Alice

 

Question – How do you feel when people ask if you believe that the Word of God is true?

Here are scriptures about today’s post.

Proverbs 30:4-6 5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Isaiah 50:10-11 10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on their God.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]
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My GPS! (The Journey – Part 1)

Welcome Back!

I look forward to spending this time with you! I’m learning how to walk this walk of faith day by day; step by step. It’s my prayer that you can use something that God is teaching me to make your path brighter and easier to travel.

If you are reading this post, then I believe that you are open to hearing about the power of love. For that’s who God is. God is love.  He surrounds me with His presence, with His love. He’s always at work on my behalf. It is this unending love that draws me to Him.

What’s one thing I’m learning? I’m learning every day just how much God demonstrates His love. He’s always working on my behalf, because He wants me to end up in the best place possible, with Him forever.

There is only one road that can take me there and one complete road map. I’ve learned that the Bible is a wonderful God-given Positioning System for avoiding the pitfalls and traps I will encounter while making the journey. From experience, I know that without the Word, it’s easy to become distracted and pulled in the wrong direction… especially when I’m clueless, in the dark. I have looked for guidance wherever I could get it, and sometimes it was not the best source. Unsure of my next steps, I tried to reason my way out. Before I knew it, I was walking in fear and worry, instead of faith.

It’s sort of like when I’m traveling on a trip at night and it’s pitch dark. It’s difficult to see, even when I use my high beams. (You know what I mean if you’ve ever traveled when the darkness is so thick that you can feel it.) I can get turned around and headed down the wrong road if I don’t have the right directions.

Fortunately, whenever I get confused and misdirected, I go to Jesus Christ and He puts me back on the right road. His Word cuts through the confusion and shines wisdom and truth into the situation. My Heavenly Father has taught me that I don’t have to try to figure out life on my own, or lean to my own understanding. I don’t have to have every answer, know the whole story, or see the complete picture in order to make the journey successfully. All I have to do is place every area of my life in His capable, all-powerful hands.

No, I don’t have the answer to every facet of my life or to the lives of those around me, but God does. I can’t see around the bend, but God can. Because He made me, He knows my divine purpose on earth. Because He is all-wise, He knows the directions I should and should not take. Because He has all power and the Master plan, He is the only one who is capable of helping me to accomplish His plan for my life.

I don’t know all of the events that will take place before I reach my destination, or how much time I have to get there, but ultimately, I do know that all journeys have a beginning and an end. In the meantime, while I am traveling in that space of time between my ‘beginning’ and ‘ending’, there are two truths I have learned…

  • I can’t fill my life, from sun up to sun down, with so many activities that I barely have time to breathe.
  • I have to choose to slow down and look where I’m going.

Why?

I am headed somewhere. At the ‘end of the day’, I will be closer to God or farther away. Either way, a final destination has been prepared for me. Fortunately, I get to choose where I will spend eternity. I choose heaven.

How about you?

I want to talk a little more about this choice I’ve made next time.

Until then,

Slow down!

Breathe!

Check your GPS, then have a wonderful day!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider – What’s driving you? Who or what is leading your decisions? Where are you headed?

Here are scriptures [NIV] that tell you more about God’s ‘GPS’!
2 Samuel 22:29 You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 119:104-106 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Proverbs 3:20-22 21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; 22 they will be life for you,  an ornament to grace your neck.

Proverbs 3:12-14 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.

Psalm 23:3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Luke 1:78-80 Because of the tender mercy of our God,  by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

 

 © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]
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4 Simple Ways to Get God’s Favor (Part 4 of 4)

I am so tickled as I begin this post. What started out as a simple story about how God took care of me during the recent concert season has blossomed into a four part mini-series, complete with commercial interruptions! Thank you for staying with me. Today, we are going to take a look at the remaining two ways  to get God’s favor.

One of the best ways to gain God’s favor is to actually choose to love Him for who He is.

Loving Him.

How do you begin to love God? Two wonderful Christian writers, Blackaby and King once wrote, “If you don’t obey God then it’s because you don’t trust Him. And if you don’t trust Him, it’s because you don’t love Him; and if you don’t love Him, it’s because you don’t know Him. But, the writers go on to declare, “If you take the time to get to know Him, you will love Him; and if you love Him, you will trust Him; and if you trust Him, you will obey Him and experience God.”

I read that statement and decided that I wanted to know, love, trust, and obey God. I was reminded that loving God is not really based on feeling. It’s a decision. Before I could love him, I had to get to know Him. Fortunately, I had heard so much about Him from my parents and other adults at my church that I wanted to have the kind of relationships that they had with Him. It’s sort of like when my son-in-law’s sister met and fell in love with a Texan named Harry. I heard through my daughter and son-in-law so much about Harry’s wonderful family that I could not wait to meet them. I told them so when they came to town this weekend for the bridal shower.  I let them know that I was so excited to be invited to attend a dinner in their honor and that my daughter had told me what kind people they were. We sat around and talked as though we were old friends. A new relationship has begun to grow in my life as a result of my hearing about this loving family and wanting to make their acquaintance.

Just like I wanted to meet Harry’s parents, I wanted to know God for myself because of what my family told me about Him. I never really thought about loving Him. I think I was satisfied knowing that He loved me. Finally, a day came when my thinking and desires expanded and I wanted to know this God who loved me. His faithfulness to me peeked my interest and pulled on my heart strings.

I decided that if I truly wanted to know God well enough to love Him, I had to start somewhere. Daily, I have to set aside time for Him. I have to recognize Him and respect Him. I have to listen to Him if I want to know His character, His purpose, plans, and ways. That is, if I want to love Him. And I do want to know and love Him more and more intimately each day.

I think also that when it comes to loving God, it is important for me to often slow down and take stock of my life. Reflection produces gratitude and kindles my love. For instance, when I think about time after time God has come through for me, my heart fills with gratitude and I love Him more. Knowing that He loves me so much causes me to love Him. In fact, once I realized that God loves me, I actually began to look for Him to be at work in my life, creating a love-gratitude-love cycle.

I was thinking about it all. I’m at work in my kids’ lives all of the time; praying for them, trying to encourage them, choosing to be a tangible blessing to them. So why wouldn’t my Heavenly Father be at work in my life as well? Why wouldn’t Jesus Christ, my Savior, be at work interceding on my behalf? Why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit be on His job in my life, teaching, empowering, and comforting?  Yes, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constantly show me I am loved. I am so grateful. And I love them in return. Great favor can be found in loving God.


Asking Him.
Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? … Matthew 7:7-12 [NIV] If you are seeking for the Holy Spirit to be an integral part of your life, ask. For the presence of the Holy Spirit in us is a wonderful gift that the Father gives to us when we are saved. The Holy Spirit brings such favor into our lives … comfort, strength, wisdom, instruction, guidance, love, peace, joy, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and much more. All of this favor is for the asking.

1 John 5:14 [NIV] says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”Ask God. He is listening. If He does not give you what you want, exactly when you want it, do not worry. Keep asking. Perhaps He has something better in mind. Ask that His will be done in your life. 

It is true that you already have God’s favor. He lets his sun shine and His rain fall on the just and the unjust. But special favor is stored up for those who lean on, hold tight to, and depend on Him. If you want more of His favor, remember four ways that are guaranteed to work:

  1. Trusting Him.
  2. Obeying Him.
  3. Loving Him.
  4. Asking Him.

Until next time. Remember God gives favor for the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question to consider: What have you heard about God that kindles your desire to know Him more?

Scriptures for the journey:

Psalm 90:17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands  for us — Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

 

© 2014 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]

 

 

 

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4 Simple Ways to Get God’s Favor (Part 3 of 4)

We all like favor. “Uh, could you do me a favor?” “Could you do me a little favor?” “I hate to bother you, but could you… ?” God’s favor has another name. It’s called Grace. It’s not based on our goodness or our record. We don’t do anything so great that we deserve it. Rather, it’s based on His magnanimous love for us. What have I learned from this past concert season about His favor? It was a refresher course, through experience, on how God is always faithful, always watching over me, always providing what I need, yes showing me His favor. I mentioned in the previous post four ways to receive the Creator’s favor. Let’s take a closer look at the first two.

Trusting Him.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart; and lean not to our own understanding. God instructs us to acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He will direct our paths. I can’t begin to tell you how comforting, and how reassuring it is to be certain, in times of trouble, that I AM going to be alright. I don’t have to leap over buildings in a single bound or climb Mt. Everest. I don’t have to try to figure out every angle and have 5 contingency plans (Plans B, C, D, E and F.)  All I have to do is relax, rest on God’s promises, and listen for directions.

Faith (believing that God is who His Word says He is and that He will do what He says He will do) comes by repeatedly hearing, meditating, and understanding the Word of God. I really need to understand it in order to use it. I remember taking some difficult Math courses in high school. Sure, I understood parts of Calculus, but not enough to apply it easily. I struggled to get a decent grade. Now, forty plus years later, all I remember about Calculus is how to spell the word! I don’t want that degree of understanding about God’s Word. That would be tragic. I wouldn’t know what to trust as truth; what to believe or stand on. No, I want to know and understand God’s Word so well that my adversary, my arch-enemy, Satan, can’t snatch it from my memory and heart. I really need it to help me navigate the journey.

I choose to trust God’s Word that He’s going to keep me despite life’s circumstances. Trusting God helps me to pray better prayers.

How?

When I focus on a passage of scripture, I think about it often during my day. I talk to God about it, asking the Holy Spirit to help me to really understand what God is saying. He honors my request. As my understanding grows about the subject, it affects my view of the world and my life. It affects my prayers.

When I trust God’s Word, my prayers are less fueled by fear and worry. They come more from a place of calmness and assurance. The Holy Spirit reminds me of what the Bible says and I feel God’s peace calm the storm before it rages in my heart. Trusting God brings favor into my life because when I trust Him, He gives me wisdom, so I don’t make so many mistakes. I have less regrets about the decisions I make. Yes, trusting Him brings peace into my life and I call that favor.

Obeying Him.

Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father. I Kings  6:12

In the book of 1 King, God promises Solomon favor if he will walk in God’s ways, keeping His statutes and commandments. Solomon, in turn, instructs his own son in the book of Proverbs of God’s truth and tells him that obedience is paramount if you want to have wisdom. God says that he will lengthen our days and perform His Word in our lives when we are obedient. Everyday, there is a Word that I want God to perform in my life. It may be a Word of forgiveness, a Word of  healing, a Word of restoration, a Word of power, or a Word of love. Whatever He has spoken concerning me, I want Him to perform in my life.

I know it’s hard to not lean to your own understanding. Yet, I’m learning that obedience opens the door to blessings. When God tells me to do something and I obey, He often reveals something else important I needed to do, that I would not have seen, had I not been obedient. And the result is that something good happens. Favor!

Please come back next time so I may share with you what I’m learning about obedience and asking. Until then, may God’s favor rest in your life as you trust and obey Him with all your heart, mind, and soul. Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider: Is there anything keeping you from trusting Him and obeying Him?

If there is, how long with you allow an incident, something, or someone to be a barrier to your relationship with God?

 

© 2013 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]

 


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4 Simple Ways to Get God’s Favor (Part 2 of 4)

To recap, I was taking my school choir to perform at the Museum of Science and Industry. A little late but finally in route, we had settled back to relax when my assistant turned to me and said that she had left her purse and the lunches back at school. We immediately turned around and headed back. Now we were definitely going to be late.

While waiting on her to retrieve everything, the bus driver and I struck up a conversation that proved to be very confusing. I discovered that our bus driver had one set of instructions and I another. In the middle of our trying to figure out which one was correct, a second chartered bus driver came to our bus and said that he thought I was on the wrong bus. He was scheduled to take me to the Museum of Science and Industry. The other driver was scheduled to go to the Field Museum. What!

Shocked, everyone quickly grabbed their things and we boarded the correct bus. Once we were settled, my assistant and I turned and looked at each other. She said, “God protects children and fools.” I responded, “No, I had people praying for me. That’s what you call, FAVOR!!”

I’ll bet you’re wondering how in the world could this have happened. You see, there were two chartered buses parked in front of the school before we left. Apparently, someone else was also going on a field trip and we had booked the same bus company for both. My assistant asked our driver if she was going to the museum and she assured her that she was. Neither thought to ask the other, “Which museum?” so they assumed they were going to the same place. By the time that I boarded, everyone else was already on the bus. Even when I confirmed the route with the driver as we were traveling, there was no hint that we were actually talking about taking the same street, but to two different destinations.

So how did everything turn out? We made it to the museum and with some adjustments, were still able to sing all nine songs before our allotted time ran out. The kids gave a marvelous concert and everything worked out fine. Just thinking about it makes me want to put my hands on my hips, lean back, and shout at the top of my lungs, “FAVOR!!”

Believe it or not, the other two engagements this year were just as mind-boggling this one, but God worked each out. For example, our last concert was a week later, at 7 PM, in the school’s auditorium with the District bands. During the concert, the electricity went out three times. Still, it never went out in the middle of a song, when we had a soloist in front of the mike, or when we really needed the CD track. In fact, we had to sing our last song a cappella to the soft glow of cell phone screens and the audience clapping along. Even though we couldn’t play the accompaniment track, the audience didn’t rush, but kept the tempo steady throughout the entire song. It was as though they were meant to be the band for our final song. The choir sang like never before. The audience cheered madly!  You know what I had to say, “FAVOR!!”

We needed more than emergency lights to get from the auditorium to my basement classroom after our performance. The lights came back on in time for the choir to change out of their uniforms, get to their parents with no mishaps, and for the last band to perform all of their selections. You know it! “FAVOR!!”

So how do you get this favor?

  1. Trust Him.
  2. Obey Him.
  3. Love Him.
  4. Ask.

Come back next time and we’ll talk about it.

Until next time. Remember God gives favor for the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider: Do you have God’s favor? How has God’s favor in your life impacted the lives of others?

Scriptures that may help you along the journey:

Psalm 90:17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

James 4:2b You have not because you ask not. [KJV]

Matthew 7:7, 13  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you… If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.    [KJV]

Philippians 4:6  Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. [AMP] 

John 14:12-13 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. 13 And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I Am], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.  [AMP]

© 2013 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]

 

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4 Simple Ways to Get God’s Favor (The Beginning of the Story – Part 1 of 4)

 

What does God’s favor have to do with the holiday concert season? Oh, simply…

EVERYTHING!!!!!!

It was the morning of our annual pilgrimage to sing at the Museum of Science and Industry. I had my list. I checked it thrice: buses – check, lunches – check, dress bags – check, chaperones – check, introductions, accompaniment CD, back-up CD – check, check, and check. The list went on and on. Still, I was ready. I was prepared. I had my ‘remind me’ students, my ‘pick up the food from the cafeteria’ students, and the ‘help the others with their ties’ students. Yes, we were a well-oiled machine. God was working everything out.

Okay, so it was 8:45 A. M. and we should have been in route by 8:30 in order to arrive before time. You know how last minute delays can be. We would make it, though, if we left right away. I told the students to line up at the door.

It was then that I looked around the room. In every direction, there was chaos. A shirt was thrown here, shoes were over there, and everywhere were book bags and odds and ends. I couldn’t leave my room that way. A sub was standing by to teach my regular classes.  I had to clean up the room before we could leave, and we were late.

My wonderful assistant director corralled the group of singers up the stairs and out to the waiting bus. Everyone else climbed on board while I, along with two helpful students, were in my room running around like we were maniacs, grabbing personal items left behind and tossing them into my storage closet. I dared not look at the clock again. The students and I scurried to the bus. We took our final student count, then breathing a sigh of relief, my assistant and I settled back in our seats. We were on our way.

As we traveled down the road a bit, the bus driver asked if it was alright if we took Stony Island once we arrived in Chicago, because she hadn’t been to the museum in about three years. “Sure,” I said, “That’s the way we’ve always taken.” About a minute later, my assistant turned and looked at me and said, “We’ve got to go back. I left the food and my purse.” The food was still sitting on the bench next the front door of the building. The driver headed us back to school.

While my assistant was hurriedly getting the food and her purse, the bus driver turned to me and said, “While we’re waiting on her to get back, we might as well talk about what time you want me back at the museum. You are supposed to be back here at 1:15, so how about we leave the museum around 12:15? That should work fine.”

I was confused. I didn’t know what in the world she was talking about. “I’m sorry,” I replied. “That won’t work for us. We are scheduled to be back here at 2:15 not 1:15. I need you to pick us up at 1:00.” She said, “That won’t work according to my paperwork.” She picked up the phone and called her boss. I pulled out my paperwork, which said we were contracted to be back at 2:15 PM.

Right in the middle of this confusion, my assistant returns with a man following her. He boards the bus and says, “Mrs. Dixon, I think that you all are on the wrong bus.” WRONG BUS???  He continues, “I’m going to the Museum of Science and Industry and this bus is going to the Field Museum.” WHAT!!

I know! I know! I couldn’t believe it either! We thought having to go back for the food was the last thing we needed to have happened, but it turned out to be our blessing in disguise. I hope you will return to hear the end of this story and to find out more about God’s favor.

Until next time. Remember God gives favor for the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Question to consider: Looking back over your life, when were there instances that God showed you favor?

Scriptures that may help you along the journey:

Leviticus 26:1-12      Isaiah 61:1-11

1 Samuel 2:26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.

Psalm 5:12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psalm 30:4-6 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name  For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

 

© 2013 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

For God expressed His great love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. God sent Christ that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. [See John 3:16-17 Amplified & Voice versions]
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My “When I Grow Up, I Want To…” List

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Recently I’ve noticed a new television commercial where adults over the age of 50 are telling viewers what they want to do when they grow up. I’ve thought about it. Here’s my ‘When I grow up’ list:

When I grow up, I want to see others living my dream (you know, the one I’m not living yet, the one I’m waiting to live myself), and not be even a tiny bit envious of their success. I want to be able to immediately get excited and overjoyed for them when I see doors I want to walk through opening for them and opportunities flowing into their lives. ( Even as I whined out that sentence, I remembered all of the opportunities that Almighty God has already afforded me.) I want to immediately put my foot on the enemy’s head and squash any envious suggestion he tries to place in my mind by throwing up my shield of faith in God’s Word and His promises. I want to relax, knowing that He is a promise-keeper, working everything out for my good.

When I grow up, I want to walk daily in the security that comes through knowing that God has not forgotten me. I want to be worry-free, knowing that His favor has no limits and He’s watching over me (for He is watching over me ALWAYS!). Therefore, at the right time, in the correct season, my door will open, yes, my chance will come. More than that, I want to keep in mind that the Creator gets to use HIS creation however He sees fit. We are all vessels of love, instruments in the Creator’s hands. He knows what He created me to do and has it laid out in the Book of Life.

In other words, God is teaching me that growing up is all about getting my thinking in order.

That’s right, when I grow up, I will remember that it’s not about me anyway, but all about Jesus Christ. My mind will be clear. My heart will be calm. My understanding will be greater, and I will walk in the Spirit; knowing that I am on the same team with every Christian brother and sister God elevates. Yes, when I am a little more mature, I will not forget so easily that every Christian’s success is my success, because we are linked together, through Christ’s blood and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Yes, I will finally realize that whatever God has purposed in His will for my life is all I can handle for that season of my life. Further, if I just concentrate on doing my best with the portion He has assigned to me, then He will count me among the faithful. He said that if I am faithful over a few things, He will make me ruler over many. In other words, He will expand my territory, elevate me, give me more responsibility in the Kingdom and use me to accomplish more for HIS glory.

In my spirit, I still feel like a youngster, although I know I am in my fifties. I look around me and see all of the young people. It makes me happy to see another generation so passionate about loving God. Then I’m reminded of my age, and it seems as though time is moving so steadily that perhaps I won’t be able to accomplish all of my heart’s desires.

For a moment, fear sets in.

I know this is a trick of the enemy. I calm down my heart and tell myself that if my plans are God’s plans, there is enough time to accomplish what He wants me to do. He has written in His Book of Life all of my days, and He will bring each to pass.

I just want to accomplish everything that He wants me to do.

And so I have to continue to, you know, grow up…

every day.

       This, of course, is a good thing; really a great thing. It just doesn’t feel like it sometimes. But that’s alright too. Sometimes when I think that I have one battle licked and I’ve grown up in that area, God reveals to me that I still have a little more growing up to do or that there is another part of my life He wants to wash with His love and cleansing power.  That’s right. I have more growing to do.

You know something? It’s very difficult to admit one’s shortcomings. However, I’m learning that when I do so, then I am admitting that I recognize that there is an area of my life that’s in need of God’s divine touch. This is as it should be.

Why? Because God wants me to be like Christ. Yes, He wants me to grow up, to mature in Him, so that I am not easily swayed by the enemy or the world, or anything that goes against the standards He has set forth in His Word.

I’m confessing to you my friend that I am not perfect, and God has much to still work on. The fabulous consequence of all of this is that I am learning to humble myself before God, so that He may change my heart, change my thinking, and change my behavior. Growing up is tough, but doable. More than that, it’s necessary if I want to please my Heavenly Father. And I do want to please Him.

I hope that you do too!

I know that my struggles may not be your struggles. Perhaps the monsters of  ‘fear’, ‘jealousy,’ and ‘envy’ never rear their ugly heads in your heart. If one does, though, remember that Jesus died on the cross even for that. Further, if you confess your sins, He is faithful to forgive you of them and cleanse you, removing them as far away from you as the east is from the west.

I’m growing up. I know that you are too… one step at a time, one day at a time, one circumstance at a time, and one test at a time. May you have a victorious day!  Enjoy your journey!

 

Until next time…

Much love,

T’Alice

 

                                                                                  © 2010 God’s Perspective Publishing 
Posted in Determination, Dreams, Peace, self-Talk, Spiritual Vision, Time, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Put a Lid on It!

1 Peter 3:10-12 “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Have you ever had someone to call you on the phone, or pull you to the side, then use you as their personal dumping ground? I have. They dumped all of their negative opinions, complaints, and gossip right into my soul. I wonder what they would have said had I responded, “ Where’s the lid for the garbage can? Cause you sure are dumping a lot of junk in my trunk!” Maybe they would have hung up the phone with a huff, or walked away, laughing my comment off by saying, “Honey, you know what I’m saying is the truth!”

Okay, so I didn’t tell them that, but I am learning that I don’t have to allow others to use me as their personal dumping ground. If I don’t stop them, by the time they finish, I’m frustrated, depressed, and my soul feels down right ‘icky’, as my youngest students would say. Not only do I have to sort through spiritual garbage, and forcefully eject it from my mind, but I must be proactive and prepared for the next encounter.

What has God been trying to teach me to do? Find something positive to say to counteract the negative flow from their mouths. Why? They need to hear it. More than that, I need to hear it. I need some balance in the conversation. I don’t need the enemy to pour trash into my soul. Enough is enough! I have a hard enough time on my own trying not to complain. I’m constantly wrestling with my old nature. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, my aim is to think and say those things that are lovely, kind, excellent, and of a good report.

Why?

I don’t need strife, slander, negativity, gossip, whining, bitterness, and complaints flooding my soul. I need some peace. I crave it. I’m chasing after it; pursuing it with all my might. I need to hear life-producing words. I need someone to call me up and say, “I love you.” “Let me tell you a praise report.” “Let me tell you what God is doing in my life.” “You can make it.” I need someone to call and ask, “How was your day?” “I hope that you will have a great day tomorrow.” Simple words. That’s what I need. I need someone to call me up and before we finish our conversation ask, “May I pray for you?,” or say “Let’s pray.”

The journey I’m on is a long one. Just as I hate driving through a neighborhood that’s blanketed with trash, I don’t want someone’s trash infecting my mind, will, and emotions. I don’t want to turn on the television and listen to actors cursing up a blue streak. It’s like inviting people into my home to curse me out. By the way, can you please tell me why some television writers think that I need to have extremely graphic violence and explicit sexual images pop out at me in order for me to enjoy or relate to their story line? No, I would much rather that they keep the lid on.

My senses are the windows to my soul. I need to protect my soul from the world’s way of thinking and believing. I want to feed my heart and mind those ideas and truths that will make my life more excellent, more joyful, more energetic, and more loving.

The best way that I have found to do that is to focus on God’s Word. It is the living power that can change my life for the better. As a man thinketh in His heart, so is he. I want to be a woman of morals, standards, with a kind spirit. I want to be faithful, patient, loving, gentle, forgiving, joyful, and peaceful. I want the fruit of the Spirit to operate in my life. So I do my best to ‘take out the trash,’ and when necessary say, “Put a lid on it’ in the nicest way I can.

I’ve got enough garbage in my head already. I’m trying to take it out on a regular basis and fill my head with the Word of God. I’m trying to bring under subjection every idea, opinion, philosophy, and stronghold I encounter, by comparing it with the Word of God. If it doesn’t jive, line up with the Word, then out it’s going to go.

Trash day is Wednesday at my house. Everyday, we take out a plastic bag filled with something that needs to be thrown away. Then early Wednesday morning, my husband takes it all down to the curb. Trash day is going to be every day in my spiritual life from now on. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to reveal to me the changes which need to take place in my life. Once I know it, then I am determined to submit to God, and say, “Yes Lord. Now please get rid of it.” I’m depending on the Holy Spirit to strengthen me so I may be able to ‘put the lid on the garbage’ (those things that are not pleasing in God’s eyesight) and ‘take the can to the curb.’

Gotta go. It’s very late and tomorrow’s trash day. Until you visit again, have a wonderful journey. And don’t forget to take out the trash!

Love,

T’Alice                                   

Questions to consider:

1. “What has the Holy Spirit been entreating you to get rid of?

2. Why are you procrastinating?

3. How long will you put off being disobedient to His leading?

Scriptures to Consider:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Psalm 34:14       2 Timothy 2:22

 

© 2013 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Spoiled Rotten

What my Bigmama lacked in things and money, she more than made up for in love. She had a heart as big as Texas and boy how she poured out her love on me. I was spoiled rotten, although you couldn’t have forced me to admit it for anything!

       I was the first grandchild, and she treated me like I was the love of her life. And how that aggravated my aunt, her daughter, who was only five years my senior. When it was my turn to do the dishes, Bigmama would sometimes wash them for me. It was like being involved in a conspiracy. I had what I thought was a secret; just between my grandmother and me. I know it might not seem like this was a big deal, but it made me feel special… like I was a little bit better than my sister and my aunt. In fact, my aunt called me, “Princess Anne.”

Although my maternal grandparents divorced when I was very young, my grandfather was just as bad as my grandmother when it came to the ‘spoiling’ department. When I would go to visit him, he’d let me sneak into his dresser drawer and take change from his special place. I’d fill my little hands with as much loot as I could possibly carry; not worrying a bit about whether my sister had any money or not. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, he probably did the same with all three of us. We’re all spoiled in some sort of way.

Now my parents were a whole different story. When they entered the door, spoiling went out of the window. They more than balanced out all of that favoritism. LOL My sister and I were treated the same, with the exception that since I was the oldest, I was given more responsibility than I desired. You know the old rule, “You’re the oldest, you should have stopped her. You should have been watching her better.” Yep, my folks put the R back in reality ‘with a quickness’. They didn’t believe in spoiling you. Loving you, yes. Spoiling you? It was not happening on their watch.

And that was good for me. Still, it was too late. The idea that I was a little better than others had been fashioned by my grandparents; the stronghold in my mind had been formed. It took my learning how to love God, and the Holy Spirit’s teaching me about the value of every person, to begin to break the hold.

I still have to watch my attitude and my thought-life. It feels as though the enemy is always testing me to if I’m keeping my foot on the neck of pride. For really, it is a pride issue. It’s easy to get to the place where you don’t even realize that everyone is unique and special.

By the way, after I had my own children and looked back at my life, I discovered that I had it ‘pretty good’ as they say. My parents, my sister, and I traveled across the United States. They provided the things we needed and many of the things we wanted; even when times were tough financially. I never had to worry about whether my mom or dad were going to be there for me. I knew that they were there.  They spoiled us in their own way by simply loving us the only way they knew how. They treated each of us a little differently as we grew older, but that was in order to meet our individual needs and personalities. Through their journeys with the Lord, they learned how to relax and we have grown to be the best of friends. They certainly have showered our children with love and yes, spoiled them like my Bigmama spoiled me.   OH well!!

You know something? It’s easy to compare yourself with others, which is what pride will make you do. It’s easy to size the man up sitting across from you in the doctor’s office, or the girl who lives next door, and make a judgment. However, it was that kind of mentality that kept me from appreciating those around me and kept me from seeing myself from God’s perspective. I’ve discovered that God doesn’t want me to see myself as lower than or better than others. Rather, He wants me to take a sober look at myself, identify my strengths and my weaknesses, and understand that His grace under girds them all.

Wherever I am strong, it is because of Him. Wherever I am weak, His mercy and grace have helped me to make it through. Consequently, whatever and whoever I am is still because of Him. There is never a reason to ‘get the big head’ (as my folks used to say), for any success I have achieved is due directly to his favor. There is no reason to beat myself up because I’m not where I should be, because Jesus’ dying on the cross paid the price for my indiscretions, my sin, and my weakness… just as He has done for you, my friend.

I guess the only way to see myself is through God’s eyes… someone still on the potter’s wheel. The great thing about this is that God is not finished with me yet by a long shot. And He is most capable of transforming me into the woman He designed me to be.

Naaaa, I don’t want to be spoiled, I just want God’s favor. I’m satisfied to receive the same loving treatment that He gives all of his children; those who place their faith in Him. That’s more than enough for me.

I hope that you are enjoying your relationship with Him as well. It’s what makes the journey!

 

Until next time.

 

Love,

 

T’Alice

 

                                                                                   © 2010 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

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Baby Steps (Determination)

 

I promised myself that I would write a blog as often as possible this year, even if it’s only a few lines, because I want to say one encouraging word to someone who might need it.

So here’s my thought for today. Be encouraged! Don’t give up. Baby steps are better than no steps. You are not in this life alone. God is here and He will help you. He will strengthen you, and help you to make it.

I’ve learned that tomorrow really does have its own set of problems and its own built-in mercies. It’s a waste of my energy and time to worry. The only thing that I can do is do my best for this moment, for this day, and leave tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow.

God only gives me grace (His divine power that enables me to do what I could not do on my own) for today’s challenges, problems, and trials. That’s really all the grace I need. By the time that I finish doing what I must do today, complete what I must complete for today, and take the steps He has ordered for my day, the day will be over. Pastor Rick Warren said that we only have time to do what God has planned for our lives each day. I guess that he was saying that all the other things are extra worries, concerns, and burdens that we have needlessly added to our load. They will distract us and keep us from accomplishing our true purpose for that day. We don’t have time for extra. We must stay focused.

There is no need for me to try to handle future problems that are beyond my control today. I only have strength for the twenty-four hours that have been placed in my hands. However, if I trust God and listen carefully while He reveals to me today’s leg of the journey, the tasks that I complete today will actually line up my life for the next day. In fact, I will be headed in the correct direction to accomplish what needs to be done in the future, by the time that it should be done.

 

Baby steps.

Baby steps, headed in the right direction, will end up taking me where God wants me to go. I’ve got a few mountains in front of me that are in need of moving, and some barriers that need removing. I have some dreams that must be fulfilled, and some relationships that will be rebuilt. But this year, I refuse to become overwhelmed by the complexity of it all. Instead, I will do what I can do and leave everything in God’s hands. He said that I will never regret that I have placed my trust in Him.

You can take baby steps too. Allow God to lead you and trust that He will complete whatever needs to be done in your life. Believe that He will fill the gap between where you are now and where you need to be. If you don’t give up, all your baby steps will all add up to big steps. And those steps will open the doors you need to expand your horizon and reach the dreams and goals God has placed within you. Enjoy the journey!

Until next time, take care.

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider:

Matthew 6:25-34
[ Do Not Worry ] “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? …

Exodus 33:19              Psalm 25:6                  Psalm 119:132

Matthew 5:7           Romans 9:15            Jude 1:2

Psalm 37:23           Proverbs 4:11-13

Questions to consider: What are the plans that God has placed in your heart?  What are the challenges that God will meet in order to bring His plans to pass?

 

© 2010 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

 

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Laugh!

When was the last time that you laughed so hard that you could barely breathe? Hanging out with my family is like that. Get my brother, dad, and brother-in-law together on a road trip, and you are guaranteed belly laughs. Let my husband or my son start a light-hearted conversation, and before you know it, you’re laughing until tears roll down your face. Have my daughter describe what she went through before delivering my grandson, and you can’t laugh hard enough to get the tickle out. Have my son-in-law walk into the room, and without warning, break out with one of his many accents, and it’s Saturday night at the Apollo all over again.

You probably know people like my family. I call them the ‘laugh doctors.’  They make serotonin flow from your brain. Before you know it, the physical pain you may be experiencing goes out the window, and your heart feels a lot lighter. You might be thinking, “What if I don’t have someone around to bring a smile to my eyes and laughter to my lips?”

I say, “Entertain yourself.”

Encourage yourself.

Find something about which to smile and laugh.

Don’t take yourself seriously all of the time.

Laugh at yourself.

Let me give you a couple of examples. One morning, I awoke and decided that I would curl my hair in tight curls all over. By the time that I had finished, I had curly waves falling down my back. I was extremely pleased with the look. I hadn’t worn my hair that curly in years, and my hair was out of the usual ‘ponytail do’ that I sport most days.

Well, I arrived at work, and was standing in the school’s front office when a first grader walked in. She looked up at me, and with a very sympathetic look on her face, patted my arm and said, “Bad hair day, huh? My mom has those too.” I cracked up inside! I tried not to laugh aloud, because she looked so concerned, but inside I was hollering! I told the next teacher that walked into the building what little Jessica had said. It brightened my entire day! In fact, whenever I think about it, I still laugh.

More recently, I was preparing for work, when I decided to wear a pair of lovely dangling earrings, with brown translucent stones, that my daughter had given me. I was in a hurry to get to work, so I threw on the earrings and ran out the door.

In the last class period of the day, a little fourth grader sweetly looked up at me and said, “Did you know that you have a pin hanging from your earring?” “A pin?” I responded, “Oh, it must be the back of the earring.” She smiled as she reached up to fix my earring, “No, a pin,” she said, as she handed me a huge safety pin that was more than an inch and a half long. Apparently, it had been dangling from my earring the entire day, class after class.

I took one look at it, burst into laughter, and said,  “Well now, you didn’t know that I was into punk rock, did you?” The class laughed and we went on with the lesson. Later, I kept remembering the second glances I had received from various teachers all day. Every time I thought of a puzzled face I had seen, I would howl in laughter all over again!

Okay, so if you think that you can’t find anything to laugh about, how about a smile? Surely you can smile every time you think about how the enemy thought he had you defeated, but God came through time and time again. Look in the mirror and remember that He loves you ALWAYS. That should bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart. For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Really, joy then is a powerful weapon against the enemy. I can’t afford to neglect brightening the corner where I am. Neither can you! When was the last time that you called someone on the phone and  cheered them up?

Even God laughs, you know. He laughs at His enemies who think they can defeat him.  If God has a sense of humor, then why not you and me?

Don’t wait until the weekend, but every day, take a laugh break. Purposely find something wholesome to do or say that will bring a smile to your heart. Remember, laughing is a wonderful way to enjoy your journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider:

1.When the last time that you had a good belly laugh?

2. When was the last time God made you laugh?

Scriptures to consider:

Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Psalm 126:2

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Ecclesiastes 3:4

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
Luke 6:21

Blessed (happy—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and to be envied) are you who hunger and seek with eager desire now, for you shall be filled and completely satisfied! Blessed (happy—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition—and to be envied) are you who weep and sob now, for you shall laugh!

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                             © 2010 God’s Perspective Publishing

                                              

 

 

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Missed Opportunities (Ministry)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it it written: “It is mine to avenge: I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12: 1, 11-19

If there’s one thing I’ve always hated, it was missing out! I didn’t want to go to bed on time, because I might miss out on something juicy that might be said or something exciting that might take place. And yet, as I’ve grown older, I have discovered that many of the things I focused on most, were meaningless anyway. What I should have been concerned about missing out on was allowing God to use my life for His honor and glory.

What did I miss out on today? What was my conversation like? How did I spend my day? Did I spend it criticizing, complaining, whining, or gossiping? Did I spend it cutting someone to shreds with my tongue? Did I use the day to uplift someone, help someone, befriend someone, or make someone’s day a little brighter?

This is what God is teaching me:

Every day presents new opportunities…

to forgive,

to smile,

to welcome a stranger,

to listen,

to befriend someone new,

to be courageous and share a part of yourself with someone,

to care,

to demonstrate patience,

to be faithful,

to enjoy life,

to pray, to talk to God, and listen to what He has to say,

to spend time with God, enjoying his presence,

to read God’s Holy Word,

to trust Him,

to obey Him,

to love Jesus Christ,

to love yourself, and

to love others.

If you are breathing and reading this blog,

you have been given another opportunity.

Don’t miss out!

Until next time…

Enjoy the journey!

Much love to you, my friend,

T’Alice

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Let Your Disappointment Go and Keep Working God’s Plan!

       What do you do when you are disappointed? Have you ever made plans based on the words of someone whom you believed to be trustworthy, only to have that person make excuses for not keeping his or her word? Everyone gets disappointed sometimes; that is if you have ever dreamed, or had goals, desires, and promises that have yet to be fulfilled.

Even when you do your best to keep a stiff upper lip, and to be mature about the situation, deep inside you may still be disappointed. The Word talks about the affect of dreams on the heart when those dreams seem to be constantly delayed.

So what do I do when I am disappointed? I do what Joyce Meyers suggests, I do my best to get reappointed. She says if an appointment is cancelled, then make a new appointment.

I get new plans.

I conclude that whatever did not take place must not have been the best thing, since God always gives His best. I do my best to shake off the sadness, submit to God’s will, and remind myself that the enemy is not about to steal my joy.

I choose to be happy anyway.

I make a conscious decision to trust God  and believe that whatever He has for me, in due season, at the right time in my life, He will deliver.

I take a look at my time-line and analyze it to see if it is really my time-line

or God’s time-line.

I speak to myself (sometimes aloud and sometimes within) that

no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

I read God’s Word and renew my hope.

I try to remember what God’s Word says about my particular situation.

I try to see my circumstances from His perspective.

I pray.

I take a look at the person in whom I placed my trust,

to figure out whether out the disappointing behavior is a pattern or not,

so I can decide whether this person has earned my trust.

God is teaching me that I must protect my heart through Godly wisdom.

One way I get more wisdom is by reading the book of Proverbs in the Bible.

I am beginning to reevaluate my decisions, in order to make sure that

my dreams and hopes are realistic and God-directed.

God reminds me that people make mistakes, they aren’t perfect.

This includes me when I disappoint myself and others.

I allow my heart time to heal.

I choose to forgive. Why? We often have the best of intentions,

but fail in the follow-through. The best thing for me to do is to forgive and move on.

I try to learn from the situation,

so I won’t put myself in a position of being disappointed the next time.

Whatever it is… I do my very best to…

LET IT GO!!

       Leave the past in the past, and press towards the mark.

Use failures as a  learning experience and move on.

       I tell you, I have had a dream of being a successful songwriter and artist for more than thirty years. Every time it seems that the wheels are turning and I’m moving in the right direction, something has happened to stop the progress. Now that’s what I call a ‘dream deferred’! Still, I will not give up. I will keep plugging along.

I am determined to do all that God has called me to do. There is no need for me to waste my time wallowing in what might have been or what still isn’t. I have the plan that I believe that He has given me, and I am working the plan.

Don’t you give up either!  I tell you what. Let’s make a pact. Even when you and I are disappointed with what comes our way, let’s make a conscious decision to count our blessings and move forward. I think it is one great way that we may enjoy the journey!

 Until next time.

 Love,

 T’Alice

 Scriptures to consider:

Philippians 3:12
[ Pressing on Toward the Goal ] Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:5
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Question to consider: What can you do to get re-appointed when you are disappointed?

                                                                        © 2010 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

 

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What Does Obedience Have to Do with Love? (Sabotage Part 5)

Do you remember the R&B song, “What’s Love Gotta Do With it?” Well, my song about love is “What’s Obedience Got to Do with It?”  The Answer: EVERYTHING!!

Everyday, I am painfully aware of times when I am not obedient and times when I am. My conscious puts my heart in a choke hold. And only asking God for forgiveness loosens its grip. Many years ago, I heard a lovely lady named Betty say that we should teach our  children to obey ‘right away, all the way, and in a happy way’. I thought about that. I think that since we are God’s children, that’s also the way we should obey Him. When we don’t, we hurt ourselves. We sabatage our own lives. The things God asks us to do are for our good, to protect us, to glorify Him, and to make us a blessing.

Remember that the Word says, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” How can we obey right away, all the way, and with a good attitude without love? And how can we say that we love Christ if we disregard His instructions, commands, and precepts? Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.  That’s right. However, not only does He want us to obey Him, but to do so with a good attitude. He sees the intentions of our hearts.

I remember having to wash dishes when I was a child. If I thought that I was being treated unfairly, I’d wash them alright, but I’d take out my frustration by banging some pots and rattling some dishes until I calmed down. I’m sure that my parents would have preferred that I had cleaned up with a better attitude. It’s too bad that I didn’t understand then that my parents worked extremely hard and needed my help around the house. I should have remembered that I had a place to stay and food to put in those dishes, when some children did not. I wished I would have known that everything that we do, we do it as unto God. We are his servants. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so self-absorbed.

As an adult, I really want to be obedient. It’s one of my greatest desires. I work on my attitude. Instead of thinking, “How can I get out of doing this?”, I try to remember what Christ has done for me and that we are all a part of a much bigger picture. We don’t own ourselves. Jesus bought us with His blood. We were created for this time in history to produce much fruit. Every time I obey Christ, a little bit more fruit appears. You know, a little more love, a little more patience, and endurance.

God says in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that would last. That’s what I’m hoping for; lasting fruit. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”

Remember in Eph. 1:4 it says that He actually picked us out for Himself as His own, before the creation of the world. He set us apart to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, He predestined (planned in advance) for me to be adopted as his child through Jesus Christ, for His pleasure and will [in other words, because it pleased Him] – that I might be the praise of his glorious grace, His favor and mercy, which he has freely given me in Jesus. He did the same thing for you too.

Why should we obey Him? It’s in Jesus Christ that we have redemption. In other words, we are set free from sin through his blood. Because of Christ’s blood, God, the Father, forgives you and me all of our shortcomings and sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he poured out on us, with all wisdom and understanding.

Finally, we should obey because obedience demonstrates love. Jesus says if you keep His commandments then you love Him.  In the 12th chapter of Genesis, God told Abram to leave his country, people, and father’s household and go to a land that God would show him. It wasn’t about Abram. There was a bigger picture. God had more in mind that Abraham could ever imagine. It’s the same thing with you and me. There is always a bigger picture. God is looking down the line a thousand generations.

In closing, I believe that God is tired of the decisions we make that lead us away from Him, and away from a life of love. Today is the day when He wants us to make a commitment to trust Him and not lean to our own understanding. He expects us to grow up and be people of honor by keeping our commitments. He wants us to make up our minds. If we don’t have the information we need to make a wise decision, are we going to turn to Him for truth? Are we going to study His Word and obey it or not? And are we going to love Him with all of our hearts and love others the way we want them to love us?

Please open one of your hands and look at your palm. Now touch your thumb and say, “I”. Touch your index finger and say, “Won’t”. Touch your middle finger and say, “Sabotage.” Touch your ring finger and say “My.”  Touch your pinkie and say, “Life.” Now let’s do it again, “I won’t sabotage my life.” When you are tempted to do something you shouldn’t, what are you going to say?    When we dread doing something we know we should do, we are going to do it anyway and say what?  If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, instead of sitting there and putting off giving your life to Him today, what will you say? “I won’t sabotage my life.”

God says, “I place before you life and death, choose life. Since Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life, when you choose Jesus you are choosing life. Don’t throw it away. Don’t purposely do things that will destroy your future and keep you from enjoying the great plans God has chosen for you. Say with me, “I won’t Sabotage My Life!”

Great!  I pray that you will enjoy the journey in the new year!

T’Alice

Deuteronomy 5:10            Matthew 19:17    Matthew 5:19        Philippians 2:4-7

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Shaky and Flaky (Sabotage Part 4)

Am I unable to make a decision and stick with it? Should my nickname be Shaky ‘cause I’m flaky? Do I waver back and forth on what I should do like a pendulum on a clock? Do you? Do you give your word then take it back?

We sabotage our lives when we give our word and then take it back. It erodes our relationships to the point that those who know us can’t depend on us. They consider us to be flaky, untrustworthy liars, not capable of making a commitment. All we have is our word. When we go back on it by not following through with what we have promised, then our relationships with our families, friends, co-workers, and church family suffer. When you and I don’t keep our word, we are really disrespecting others and there is a boomerang effect. People stop respecting us. And in their hearts, they stop honoring us as people of integrity. You know, someone who is honest, trustworthy, and reliable.

I know that often we waver and sabotage our lives out of fear of making the wrong decision. We may think, “What would Jesus do?” “What will people think?” “What does the Word say?” “what if it doesn’t work out?” We go back and forth, confused, and filled with doubt. I’ve been there. Done that. That’s why I’m encouraging you. If God has given you a Word concerning your situation, trust Him. If you follow what you believe that God told you to do and you are in error, I believe that as you keep listening to Him and obeying, He will correct you and lead you back to where you should be. The good thing is that your trust and faithfulness will please Him.

If you waiver because you don’t know the Word of God or you don’t understand a scripture (and no one understands it all) then get an understanding. God says that His people perish, die, for the lack of knowledge. In Matthew 13th, Jesus talks about a farmer who went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. He goes on to explain what the parable means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. If you hear a sermon or teaching and don’t understand it, you can’t apply it to your life. The enemy makes you forget you even heard it. He steals it from you so you won’t have it to use as a weapon against him later. Nor will you have it to build your faith. If you don’t want to sabotage your life, ask God to give you a hunger to know God’s Word, to study, understand, and apply it. Then MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO BELIEVE IT! Our actions are based on what we believe.

I once went to my children’s high school to pick up scholarship information. Across the doorway of the counselor’s office was a large banner that said, ” You Can Tell What You Believe By What You Do.”  It made a profound difference on me. I took a look at my life and my actions to see what I really believed about my relationships and choices.

Don’t be afraid to make decisions. God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a SOUND mind. He has stored up wisdom for his children. He says that if you need wisdom, ask. He will give it to you.  Please say along with me: “Help me to study your Word, Lord, so I can increase my faith. Then I won’t have a wavering mind and sabotage my life.”

The last part of this blog on Sabotage is coming up. I hope that you will return, so we can talk about it. Until then, I pray that God’s peace, which passes all understanding will guard your mind as you keep your mind on Christ. Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider on your journey:

Proverbs 9:4-5 Whoever is simple (easily led astray and wavering), let him turn in here! As for him who lacks understanding, [God’s] Wisdom says to him,Come, eat of my bread and drink of the [spiritual] wine which I have mixed.

Ephesians 4:12-15  His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). [AMP]

Questions to consider: What makes you indecisive? Are you led by your emotions or God’s Word and doing what is right to do?

                                                                                         © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Committed to the End (Sabotage Part 3)

I’m in! You can count on me! I’ll be there! Sounds like fun! Let’s do it! I mean well. Really, I do. I make plans, thinking that it won’t take much time to complete them. Unfortunately, it usually takes more time than I estimated. If I agree to go shopping with someone in three weeks, I often wake up on that day and think, “Why in the world did I say I was going? I don’t feel like going anywhere. My body is saying, “Don’t move.” I was excited when I made the commitment, but I didn’t know at the time that I would also have unscheduled projects, babysitting duties, and 10 additional things not even on my list for that week. So what should I do?

 

Do I keep my commitment? Do I keep my word? Let’s take a look at a story about a prophet in the book of 1 King 18:41-46. There had been a famine for three years because of the lack of rain. God told Elijah to tell Ahab that he was sending rain. After the contest on Mt. Carmel (see previous 2 blogs), Elijah told Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees and prayed. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.  “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” The sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, and the heavy rains came. Imagine what would have happened had Elijah stopped praying after the sixth time. Maybe he would not have seen the miracle God was about to perform. But when God instructed him to keep praying, he kept praying. He was committed to God’s plan and He did not give up.

We all make commitments. Do those who know you see you as a person who can keep your commitments? Well, I think that you are a person who can keep a commitment. Why? You kept a commitment to someone. Maybe it was to God, a friend, a loved one, or maybe it was to yourself, to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and make it through another day. Okay, you say, “I didn’t have a choice,” but you did and you chose life. And since you are committed to living life, why not place your life in God’s very capable hands, so that you may experience His abundant life. Why not keep your commitment to exercise, to eat right, to get regular checkups, to rest, to finish what you started, to go to class if you are in school and not ditch, to be true to yourself and to God.

Instead of harming my life by giving up, God wants me to say, “I won’t give up. I will not be lead by my emotions. I will not be distracted by negative circumstances. I will not be influenced to give up because of what I don’t have. I am committed to you, Lord. I am committed to this relationship you and I have. I am committed to my marriage. I am committed to my children. I am committed to my family. I am committed to love others the way that you love me. I will remember my vows to you and to others; and in love I will follow through. Give me the strength I need to keep my commitments. Give me the wisdom I need, so I will know how to keep my word. Help me not to make commitments lightly, but to pray and seek your guidance before I give my word, my pledge. Then, once I give my word, I will not sabotage my life by giving up. Let me stand until I see your promises come to pass.”

My friend, I am determined to stand firm and hold to the teachings the Holy Spirit has revealed to me every time I opened His Word for study. I am committed to learning more about God’s Word every time I listened to a teaching tape, every time I come out on Wednesday night for Bible Study or Sunday morning in Sunday School. I am committed to the ministries where I have been assigned to work. I am determined to be a person that someone can depend on. I want to be reliable and worthy of others’ trust.

If you feel the same way, then say with me: “Lord, help me to keep my commitments, so I won’t sabotage my life.”

When you return, I’d like to discuss something that melts my chocolate… a wavering mind! Until then, may God bless you on this journey.

Love,

T’Alice

                                                                                                                        © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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To Trust or to Lean… That is the Question! (Sabotage Part 2)

I’m discovering that there are so many ways to be your own stumbling block. I’d like to share with you five questions I’ve been thinking about lately. They may be questions you might want to consider as well.

Question number one: Do I trust God or do I lean to my own understanding?

Question number two: Do I keep my commitments?

Question number three: Do I waver back and forth?

Question number four: Am I obedient?

Question number five: Do I love God and others extravagantly?

Today, Let’s take a closer look at question number one: Do I trust God or do I lean to my own understanding? In 2nd Corinthians the 11th chapter, the Apostle Paul tells us there are those who are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, he says, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, though in reality he is the prince of darkness. That’s why I have to make sure that I remain grounded in God’s Word. I can’t read everybody’s book on religion. I can’t listen to every person’s philosophy about life and truth. I can’t even lean to my own understanding because I have limited knowledge apart from God. I don’t see the entire picture. I see in part. Therefore, I know in part.

It’s too easy to get all lifted up in pride because of our intellect and think that we know when we don’t know. And if you and I aren’t careful, Satan’s beguiling, sneaky, tricky ways will deceive us into not trusting God. The enemy wants us to believe that there is no God. And for those of us who know that God exists, the devil tries to convince us that perhaps what we read in God’s Word is not completely true, it does not pertain to us, or that God doesn’t have our best interest at heart. We must choose to believe that God does have all power, is all knowing, is everywhere at the same time, and will uphold his Word to perform it.

We must trust that God loves us more than we love ourselves. We must believe that God did send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us and set us free from the power of the enemy, so we could have an abundant life here, and live an eternal life of love. We must not sabotage our lives by listening to others who are well meaning but lean to their own understanding, doing what’s right according to what they think is right in their own minds.  Why is this important?

Well, most people think that their way is the right way of doing things. However, if we lean to our own understanding, we will most assuredly make a mistake, since we are missing key information. We only see one side of the situation… our side; our view point.

Well, let me tell you what happened back on Mt. Carmel with Elijah and the false prophets. Remember, the contest was to see whether Baal or Almighty God was the true God. The agreement was that the true God would rain fire from heaven. Baal’s prophets set up their altar with their bull on it and cried out to Baal from morning to noon, begging him to answer. When of course there was no response, they began slashing themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. After keeping that up until evening, Elijah then said to all the people, “Come here to me.” He built a 12 stone altar in the name of the Lord and dug a ditch around it. Then he arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. He told the people, fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood. “Do it again,” he said. “Do it a third time.” They did so, until the water ran down the altar and filled the trench. Then Elijah prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am our servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. And the people shouted that God was the true God. At Elijah’s directions, they grabbed the false prophets that had been leading them astray, took them out and killed them.

Just as Israel’s execution of the 850 false prophets was a demonstration of what they believed, What we actually believe or do not believe is revealed on a daily basis by the decisions we make. Do you do what you do because you believe it’s honorable and necessary?  That it’s right? Based on truth?  Do you demonstrate that you really want a better life? What are you doing to prove it? Are you satisfied with life just the way it is or do you want more, much more? Now here’s the million-dollar question. Do you actually believe that God’s Word can make situations in your life better or are you sitting back like the Israelites, saying nothing and waiting for a show of God’s power before you will be energized to move out on his Word?

Well, let’s see if we can find some modern examples of God’s show of love and power. Remember when the plane went down in the Hudson River and not one soul was lost?  Okay, here’s another one. My cousin was driving home recently, fell asleep behind the wheel and lost control of the car. The car turned over three times. She walked away without an injury. So you say that that’s not a Mt. Carmel moment? Well, how about this past fall, when the mother from London forgot to put the brakes on her baby’s stroller, and the stroller rolled off the train platform onto the tracks a couple of seconds before the train came barreling down the tracks? The train ran over the baby and the baby only ended up with a little bump. If you don’t think that those incidences are enough to convince you that God is the true and living God and he is a God of love, how about all of the times He has rescued you, kept you, provided for you, watched over you, and healed you? And if you stop sabotaging your life and let him have every area of your life, He will show you the biggest miracle of all. I believe that He will change you just like He has changed me!

He will make you a kinder, gentler, giving, and more peaceful person. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself not just happy, which is temporary anyway, depending on your circumstance; but he will give you an abiding joy and hope. He will make your life exciting. He will make ‘forgiving the unforgiveable’ possible. There are many people who can testify that God has changed them from being fearful, negative, and unable to make up their minds, to being faithful, honest, trustworthy people with integrity. They will testify that the Holy Spirit came to live inside of them and did what others thought was impossible to do.  I can tell you from personal experience that Almighty God has changed my thinking, repeatedly healed my heart, and transformed my decisions, lining them up with His Word and His plans for my life. It’s the great changes that I’ve seen in my character that has convinced me that God is real and He is a God of love. I am not the same person that I was before I gave Christ my life.

Please repeat: Lord, help me to trust you and not lean to my own understanding. I don’t want to sabotage my life.

The next time we get together, we will talk about how God is teaching me the importance of being committed. Until then,  I’ve decided to trust God. How about you? It’s  the best way to enjoy the journey.

 

Love,

T’Alice

Until then, please don’t sabotage your life!

 

Love,

 

T’Alice

 

 

 

                                                                                         © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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9 Enemies of Life – (Sabotage Part 1)

Do you keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Do you continue in the same toxic relationships from year to year? Have you ever wondered if there is something that you are doing to keep you from reaching your dreams and accomplishing your goals?

I’ve found that it is too easy to get up each morning, struggle through the day, and fall wearily exhausted into bed at the end of the day, only to get up the next morning to do it all over again. Yes, it’s easy to live your life day in and day out this way without really enjoying the life that Christ came to earth to give you. I’ve decided that I don’t want to live life this way anymore. The quality of my life is very important to me. I want all that God has set aside for me. How about you?

Remember Joshua and the Israelites, the people God had called Moses to lead? Well, Joshua puts forth a challenge to them in Deuteronomy 30:19 that applies to you and me today. “See,” he says, “I set before you today life or death, blessings or curses.”  In other words, we must choose the type of future we want.  Do we want life and prosperity or death and destruction? If we say that we want life and prosperity, but are constantly making the same poor choices over and over again, then we are sabotaging our lives.

Please repeat after me, “I won’t sabotage my life.” Let’s say it again. “I won’t sabotage my life.”  Sabotage takes place when a person deliberately tries to weaken another person, organization, or thing through being rebellious, a stumbling block, difficult, troublesome, out of order, or destructive. You may be wondering, “How in the world can I be sabotaging my own life?” I know it’s tempting to think about people you know who may be out of order, destructive, a stumbling block and difficult to live with. But God wants you and me to take a look at our personal lives to see if there is something we are doing, or not doing, that’s keeping us from possessing the blessings that God has put aside for us.

I have to periodically analyze what’s going on in my life. Do I allow these negative attitudes to take up residence in my home? If I do, then I am my own saboteur, my own enemy.

1. Procrastination – Putting off what I should do today until tomorrow (Romans 12: 11) Some say that they work best under pressure. I think that living with unnecessary stress in your life is not wise. I truly believe that God, our Heavenly Father, speaks to his children and tells them, even reminds them, of important tasks they need to do. When we do not follow through, we are actually being disobedient and grieve the Holy Spirit, who’s job it is to lead us.

2. Dread – A negative attitude about doing something I know I have to do (Hebrews 12:1) Dread goes hand in hand with procrastination. I’ve discovered that having an attitude of hope and gratitude helps dread to disappear. Putting the hard things at the top of my “To Do” list helps. Then I break the difficult tasks into more manageable smaller steps. Sometimes I blow tasks up until they are the size of Mt. Everest in my mind.  I have to focus on God’s ability more and remember that He is a very present help in the time of trouble and He promises never to forsake me.

3. Worry – Negative meditation and feeling of anxiety and lack of control over a circumstance. (Psalm 55:22) Either I can worry or I can trust God. I choose to trust. I choose to have faith that His Word is true. His character and love are perfect. His promises are for me.

4. Fear – Unsettling, anxious emotions resulting from real or imagined threat or danger or future pain. (2 Timothy 1:7) One of my favorite scriptures is “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. ”

5. Self-Centeredness – Being absorbed in getting my wants and needs met, with general disregard for others. (Ephesians 4:32; 1 Timothy 6:11) Life doesn’t always have to go my way. Everyone has needs and wants. Looking out for someone else enhances my life. Sacrificing to help others softens my heart and keeps my priorities in order. When I’m tempted to panic about my needs, I’m learning to remember that God will supply all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19). It’s challenging not to get caught up in the great ‘world versus God’ debate. I know the world offers bling. But haven’t you heard? Everything that glitters is not gold. I don’t want to gain the world and lose my soul. (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25;) I need to treat others like I want to be treated.

6. A Poor Self-Image –  Not seeing myself accurately by magnifying my weaknesses and minimizing my strengths. (Isaiah 43:4; Philippians 1:6; Jeremiah 31:3) The only thing that improved my self-image was when I realized that I was truly loved unconditionally and accepted by God. Because Almighty God loves me, it frees me to love myself.

7. Doubt– A lack of faith (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Let’s take a look at 1Kings, the 18th chapter, where we find one of the greatest debates you will ever read about. The prophet Elijah summons the people from all over Israel to meet him on Mount Carmel for a showdown. He told King Ahab, who tried to worship idol gods, to bring his 450 false prophets and his wife’s 400 false prophets, and they were going to have a throw down on the mountaintop. This is the question Elijah then put to Israel: “ How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.”

I think that that’s how it is today. God is saying to us, “ How long will you waver between two opinions? If I am Lord of your life, follow me; but if the world is your God, follow the world.” And then we do what the Israelites do; we say nothing. We try to straddle the fence with one foot in the kingdom and the other in the world. We sit back and wait for a showdown. We say through our actions, “God show me something I want to see so I’ll know that you’re real and then I’ll follow. And then we look at the world to see what it has to offer to tantalize us, and make us feel happy for the moment. And we bounce back and forth between trusting God and trusting the prince of darkness who rules the world. We don’t realize that when we are doing that, we are not walking by faith, but by sight. We are proving that we don’t believe that God is who He says that He is and can do what His Word says He is able to do. When we wait to see God move before we trust Him, we are sabotaging our lives. Really, we are saying that we don’t believe that God is trustworthy. We are saying that God might be a liar and His Word may not be true. We doubt. (By the way, I’ll tell you more about Elijah and the Big Showdown next time.)

8. Lukewarm Love – Having a non-committed or partially committed attitude in a relationship.  (John 13:35; Romans 12:9, 10) Have you ever been on the receiving end of lukewarm love? I have.  I didn’t like it. I’ve dished out that kind of love myself. I found it was a waste of time and emotionally draining to the relationship. God hates lukewarm love. He wants us to love Him with all of our hearts, minds, strength, and souls and our neighbors as ourselves.

9. Lack of Self-Control – Being undisciplined and unduly permissive; living without boundaries. A consequence of not having the wisdom to fully treating myself or others in a loving way. (John 15:26;    1 Corinthians 10:13) I’m learning that self-control is for my benefit. It honors God and blesses others. It’s a result of setting and maintaining honorable boundaries in my life, and is one of the character traits God brought when He came to live in me. I’m continuing to develop my self-control with God’s help.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 says that “It is God’s will that you and I be set apart as someone sacred; that we should avoid sexual immorality; that each of us should learn to control our own body in a way that is holy and honorable; that we should not wrong or take advantage of others. God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” Which view, God’s or the world’s should we trust to make our lives better, and help us to live a moral life with excellent character? Which viewpoint will sabotage our lives; the world’s or the Word’s?

I can’t stress enough the negative impact that each of these 9 factors can have. They drain your life of the power that Jesus wants you to have. That’s why I’m encouraging you to talk to God about them. I encourage you to no longer put up with any of these attitudes or negative thinking patterns that are keeping you from enjoying the life that Jesus died for you to have. Don’t let them sabotage your life.

Remember Joshua’s challenge: “For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God; listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20.)

Next time, we will continue to examine some of these stumbling blocks or ways that we can destroy our potential, our relationships, and future. Until then, think about the challenge. What do you really want: life and prosperity or death and destruction? I pray that you have chosen life. Let’s begin by saying, “ Starting today, I won’t sabotage my life.”

Love,

T’Alice

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Influence of a Woman of Prayer

Today, I want to tell you about someone who made a difference in my life; my Aunt Julia. My maternal grandmother came from a large family, among which, three of her sisters were preachers. One of them, my Aunt Julia, was a minister for over 50 years and a pastor for most of that time.

I remember being around seven years old when she came to see us. My mom was almost killed in a serious car accident. After she came home from the hospital, my Aunt Julia drove two days to come and check on her. I sat at Aunt Julia’s feet in the middle of the kitchen floor, spellbound, as she talked to my mom about God. They always had a lot of discussions about God when she came to see us. She made Him seem so wonderful. Everyone would listen intently as she spoke. She was known as a powerful woman of prayer. She prayed and people were healed, blessed, and delivered. Sometimes she would even tell us things that God had revealed to her about us. My folks love to tell how she had described the house they were to build, many years before they even thought about building a house. They tell about how many years before she had said that my parents were going to have a son. They did; sixteen years after my only sister was born and I was a senior in high school.

I remember how my aunt would turn and look at me and say that God had something special in store for me, a special work for me to do. As a little one, born at a time in history when children were considered to be invisible in the presence of adults, my Aunt Julia’s words made me feel that I mattered to God. I remember going to my room as a seven year old, falling on my knees, and asking God to come into my heart, to give me wisdom, and use me. I wanted to be just like Aunt Julia.

So you can imagine my amazement when God allowed my daughter, Michelle, and her husband to go to L. A. to stay with my Aunt’s only daughter for almost a year. By this time, my Aunt was also living with her. It was a blessing that my children were able to get to know my Aunt Julia in her twilight years and to help her daughter care for her. At the time, Aunt Julia was 96 years old. Although by this time she suffers from dementia, when it comes to talking about God, Aunt Julia can still sing a stirring hymn with power. She will readily tell you the importance of living for Christ, loving each other, and living right. And just when you think that she may be about to ramble, she will say something profound that will touch your spirit and you can see the old Aunt Julia coming through.

My daughter has grown to know my aunt and to love her. My Aunt is my daughter’s ‘sweet baby.’ Sometimes, my daughter would call me and then say to my aunt who’d be sitting at their kitchen table, “Okay Sweet Baby, sing me a song.” Although it usually took a few minutes to convince her, my daughter would start singing first, and then I’d hear Aunt Julia chime in, singing an old favorite like, “Jesus is on the Main Line.” I couldn’t believe that my aunt, even in her nineties, still has a very strong, beautiful, alto voice.

My daughter said that she believed that God sent them there because she needed to hear the words that Aunt Julia spoke to her when she climbed into my aunt’s bed for their evening chats. Aunt Julia looked forward to every evening when Michelle would come home from work and they would play together, sing together, and Michelle would shower her with kisses. My cousin said that Michelle spoiled her mom.

Then one day, Aunt Julia’s daughter had to go out of town. She asked Michelle and one of my mom’s first cousins to take care of her Aunt Julia until she returned. It was during one of Aunt Julia’s times when she was talking about God that she had Michelle and my cousin to join her in prayer. As she was praying, they were agreeing with the things she said. My daughter called me later and said that everything was going just fine. Aunt Julia was making perfect sense. That’s why what she said next took her by such a surprise. Aunt Julia said, “And Lord, bless us and keep us….

in the foot.

My daughter said, in the foot, Aunt Julia?”  My cousin and daughter immediately began saying other words and asking her if these words were what she had meant to say instead. Aunt Julia insisted… in the foot. That did it! My daughter said that all of a sudden she became so tickled that she burst out laughing. (Have you ever had one of those moments when a tickle fit comes over you at the most inopportune time?) Of course my cousin, who is in her fifties and was raised up around my auntie, and had seen her when she was strong and well, told my daughter not to laugh. That only made it worse. She said she tried, but she couldn’t stop laughing.

As she recounted the story later to me over the phone, I could hear my aunt’s serious voice in my head saying, “in the foot.” Michelle and I finally decided that somewhere in her mind, Aunt Julia knew what she was talking about. More importantly, God knew.

I know the story has both humor and sadness in it. Nevertheless, I hope that I will never forget it. In fact, I was driving to work one morning this past week and talking to God about some challenges I’m facing right now, when all of a sudden I was at a loss for words. Then I remembered my aunt. I said, “Lord, please keep me. I couldn’t resist it. Yep, I said it, “in the foot!” The phrase just seemed to fit perfectly. It fit better than silence and it fit better than anxiety. I started to chuckle and I felt better. I asked my Heavenly Father to let “keep me in the foot” stand for all of the unspoken requests that I had in my heart. You know, all those times when I just don’t know what to say, but I have issues in my heart and concerns on my mind.

Okay, I know that I can’t say that when I’m praying in public, nor will I make it a habit. But when I’m alone and I remember my Aunt Julia and her love for God, I know that my using her unusual prayer to reflect my own inadequacies and my trust that God can do the impossible is alright with God. He is not hampered by my inability to find the appropriate words to say. He knows and answers prayer; even prayers like ‘keep me in the foot.’ The Words says that the Holy Spirit takes our prayers and interprets them, aligning them with God’s will for our lives.

When you have your own ‘in the foot’ moments, I am not suggesting that you pray ‘keep me in the foot.’ Rather, remember that God sees your heart and knows even your silent requests. He cares watchfully over you in every season of your life; just like He’s taking care of my Aunt Julia. It’s wonderful to know that even when our minds are so diseased or injured or foggy that we can’t even pray coherently, God hears and understands. He sees our hearts.

By the way, last week my parents went to an annual celebration they had for my Aunt. She’s now ninety-seven and more frail. Her great-granddaughter sang a solo at the luncheon, then someone came up to have remarks. Afterwards, there was silence. My parents said it was so quiet in the room that you could have heard a pin drop. Then, from across the room, everyone heard a beautiful alto voice singing a hymn. My Aunt Julia was singing! Later, they discovered that after her great granddaughter finished singing, she had told someone that she thought she’d like to sing a song too. They brought her a mike and everything else was history. When she concluded, Dad said that applause broke out all over the room. Everyone was ecstatic and amazed at how beautifully she still sang and how God continued to use her to move hearts!

My friend, you may never get to meet my Aunt Julia before she goes to her heavenly home, but you can meet her Creator. He is faithful. He’s taken care of her all these years, and He will take care of you too.

Until next time, be blessed! Appreciate your mind and the ability to remember and think. The ability to pray is not a gift to be taken lightly.  Pray often. Jesus says, “pray without ceasing.”  It’s a powerful way to enjoy the journey!

Love, T’Alice

A scripture to help you on your journey:

Romans 8:26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.

 

 

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                               

                                                                       © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

 

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It’s My Birthday and I’m Celebrating 5 Things!

That’s right, I’m celebrating! I was in the middle of work today when I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I stood there thinking about the fabulous truth that God wanted me. Fifty plus years ago today, He allowed me to be born and begin this journey. Perhaps one reason He made me is because He had you in mind. He certainly knew that one day I would be brave enough to step out of my comfort zone, confront my fears, then embrace technology in order to reach out to you in love.

So today is MY day! I celebrate God’s creation of me. I can do that you know, because I am wonderfully made. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have dared to celebrate me. I would have been too afraid. But life has changed. I have changed. God has set me free. Because He loved me first, I can love myself… just the way I am today. (Even before He completes my transformation!) Therefore, with great joy today, I celebrate loving me.

With excitement and humility, I celebrate my unique talents; my creativity, the music He has allowed me to sing, play, and write, and the visual artistry He has allowed me to fashion. God has placed in my hands such beautiful gifts to watch over and use. They are all His, and yet He, in His kindness, decided to entrust me with their stewardship to use according to His purpose and will.

On this day, I marvel at the ability He has given me to smile and persevere through challenging season after season. I am amazed that I can encourage children’s faces to light up with enthusiasm as they learn something new. I shake my head in wonderment as I lovingly put a restless baby to sleep with my peaceful spirit, a slow rocking bounce, and a quiet song.

I celebrate the truth that God made me for His honor and glory. He knew that one day I would surrender my life to Him. He knew that I would receive, accept, the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ offered me, and that He would place in me His Holy Spirit, who gives me the power to do God’s will. He knew that I would decide one day to settle down, throw all caution to the wind and give my heart, my mind, and my will to Him in love. I celebrate the results of that decision, as someone who is growing more loving everyday.

And so on this very special day, I lay at His feet all of my successes, all of my compliments, yes any praise I’ve received. For everything good that I have done is all because of Him and through Him. All of the glory belongs to my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

At the same time, I freely acknowledge that all that I have done wrong is because of me. I’m talking about all of the decisions I’ve made as a results of my selfishness, ignorance, holding on to my pride, leaning to my own understanding, and being led by my emotions instead of His Spirit.  Yes, all of these sins I lay at His feet as well; to be washed away with His cleansing blood. I am so glad that He promised me that every time I repented, turned away from sin, and back to trusting and obeying Him, He would be faithful to forgive me and give me another chance. Therefore, I celebrate another year of new beginnings, thanks to my Heavenly Father.

On my special day, I am so very grateful to Him for all that He has done for me. I thank Him for my family. I thank Him for friends. I thank Him for Christian brothers and sisters who are kind to me and those who are not; for both help me to grow closer to Him.

On this, my birthday, I thank Him for the priceless gift of time. I thank Him for His Word. I thank Him for His favor, His blessings, His grace, and His mercy.

 

 

 

 I thank Him for you!

 I know that some people are taught that celebrating birthdays is wrong. But God is a God of celebrations. So I know that He doesn’t mind my celebrating His love for me. I think that that’s what a birthday really is… the day to celebrate God’s love. It’s a day to remember that one day you were born… not accidentally, but on purpose. God wanted you. And He still does. And like me, you are wonderfully made; unique in design, from your DNA to your personality and gifts. No one is like you.

See past the scars. See past any disfigurement. See past disappointments and negative circumstances to the seed of hope that He has placed in you and me. Since you and I were created in His image, we have been designed for greatness. Everyday is another opportunity for God to use us to make a positive difference in someone’s life. This is greatness!

It is my prayer that you will celebrate God’s love for you on your special day; or even better, every day. I know that His love for you is indeed very personal. Your birthday is the day that God set aside for your entrance into a world that needs all that He has placed in you, in order to be more complete. May you receive His love, and in return learn to love Him, yourself, and share this love with others. What a reason to celebrate!

In case I don’t see you on your special day, Happy Birthday!

I hope that you will enjoy the journey.

With all of my love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider on your journey:

Psalm 139:14 I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.

Genesis 2:7                  Isaiah 44:24                       Psalm 139:15                   Jeremiah 1:5

 

Question to consider:  How are you going to celebrate God’s love on your birthday? Think of something good!

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‘Three-Toes’ Love versus Genuine Love

I know you must be wondering ‘what in the world’ I am talking about. I was thinking about the time when I wanted to wear my open-toed sandals, but had not polished my nails. I didn’t even have time to paint all ten toes, so I only painted the first three that would be seen on each foot! Once I finished, it looked as though all ten nails had been polished instead of only six. Of course, when I returned home and took my shoes off later that evening, those other four toes really did look sad.

What made me think about my sandal secret? Believe it or not, I was sitting with a group of people recently, when one gentleman began spouting poetry with great eloquence. The lady to my right laughed and replied, “It’s amazing to me that you’re the same guy who was fighting with his wife, and when she ran in the bathroom and locked the door, you shut off the lights and water.”

I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that he would take such drastic measures with his wife, yet sit with us and perform sonnets with great flare. He reminded me of my three-toe polishing technique. Sometimes we can fool those around us into thinking that we have it all together. From the outside looking in, everything looks great. But when they look closer, they see gaping cracks and flaws in our character. What is going on behind our closed doors may not be very pretty.

God does not want us to love each other the way I paint my toes; doing just enough to fool outsiders into thinking that what they see is the way we truly are. When in fact, we may be impatient, mean, self-centered, opinionated, and down-right ornery in our private lives. No, God wants more, much more.

Lukewarm coffee is not very appetizing. Neither is lukewarm love very satisfying. May I please tell you what I read in Revelation 3:14-18? This very sobering word from God says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm– neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. [NIV]

I’ve found that it is too easy to become lukewarm and simply go through the motions of loving. Disappointment, disrespect, frustrations, listening to the wrong counsel, pride, pain, and focusing on getting your needs met are all knobs that can turn down the flame of your passion. Before you know it, you  are distracted, and the relationships that should be the most important in your life are moved to the back burner or are even taken off the stove. One thing that God is teaching me about passion is just as you can choose to turn your passion down, you can also choose to turn it up!

Often my days are filled with so many responsibilities that I forget to make a connection with those I love. Rather than beat myself up about it, though, I ask God for forgiveness, and renew my resolve to do better. You know He is a God of second chances! Then, I get excited as I think that if I should see tomorrow, I will have another chance to do better. I wake up in the morning and thank God for a brand new day, filled with new mercies and favor. I ask Him to help me to love others more that day than I did the day before. I ask Him to show me how to forgive one more time, encourage one more time, have patience one more time, see the other person in the best light, one more time, and love them eagerly and compassionately.

I’ve been studying how Jesus justified us. Because He loved us so much, Jesus allowed the Heavenly Father to pour into Him all the sins of every person, and in exchange, He poured into us Jesus’ love. When Christ died for our sins, his blood washed away our past, present, and future sins.  Now, all we have to do is admit we sinned when we turned from God. Then we can choose to turn back to Him and allow Him to lead our lives. When God sees us repent, turn to Him, and ask for forgiveness, and place our faith in Him, He justifies us. In other words, He removes our sin so far away from us that God sees us ‘just as if’ we had never sinned. He sees us as righteous, in right standing with Him, because we trust in Jesus Christ. Now that’s powerful love!

What does being justified have to do with not having lukewarm love? Well, I just figure that if God can love me just as if I have never sinned, then I should love others just as if they have never sinned. I’ve decided that I am determined to love passionately and let God handle the rest.

Gotta go. I just wanted to encourage you not to give up. Keep loving. Even if circumstances knock you down, get up, clear your head, dust yourself off,  talk to God about it, and keep loving.

Nobody can take your love from you.

No one can make you stop loving.

You are in charge of your mind and your heart.

You have the power to turn the flame down and be mediocre,

or give love away.

I heard a minister once say that being mediocre is to be the best of the worst or the worst of the best. Neither description is very appealing, is it? God does not want us to half-step. He wants us to redeem the time, spending it wisely. We won’t get it back, so we might as well use it to love God and lift Him high for the world to see, through our decision to love.

Let’s make a deal. Until next time, ‘no 3-toes’ loving, alright? Enjoy the journey!

 Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider on the journey:

1 Peter 1:22   Isaiah 53:11   Romans 4:25    Romans 3:28

John 13:34-35 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

Question to consider: What can you do to improve your ability to love?

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Don’t Give Up! (Determination)

When I was a child, I remember one of the favorite past times of my Texan classmates was to grab an unfortunate victim by the thumb and twist it until the person would fall to their knees and cry “UNCLE!!”  Fun, huh?

Life can twist you into knots. Supportive friends and family will immediately tell you to hang in there and not to give up. Don’t give up? It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? I mean, every day, there is a new challenge, another struggle, another chance to either renew your resolve to make it, or to throw up both hands and cry, “Uncle! I give!” Still, don’t give up! God has not forgotten you! The very thing that the enemy means for your destruction, God will take and use for your good, if you don’t give up.

But what if the situation appears to be hopeless? What if it feels as though you are barely treading water and you’re not a good swimmer? You are not going to drown. Your Heavenly Father will keep you afloat.

Broaden your focus. Stop looking at your situation through lenses of pain, disappointment, lack, or adversity. Step back and see it through the filter of grace that God is providing. Grace is God’s ability to help us to do what we could not ordinarily do on our own. It is a part of His favor. He provides it day by day, one day at a time, one step at a time. You have made it so far, and you will continue to move forward if you don’t give up. God will provide the grace that you need for this day. (Remember Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread?)

What if the diagnosis is devastating? God has the last word. You can deal with the pain one more moment, the excruciating affliction a little longer. God’s promises are true. He does honor His Word, watching over it to perform it. He has promised to heal, in due season, in His way. Until then, He is our strength in our weakness. Rest in His strength.

Remember the promise of peace.I know that Jesus promised to keep us in perfect peace if we will keep our minds stayed on Him. I have trouble with that some days, when life’s situations appear to be overwhelming. Oh, but when I remind myself that He is right here with me… in the room with me… it’s not so difficult. When I remember that with His stripes I am healed, and I take my mind off my pain, it lessens. When I concentrate on being a blessing to someone else, sometimes, I even forget that the pain is there.

Yes, I am determined not to give up. Regardless.

Rather than tell you all that I’m going through at the moment, I’d rather tell you the most important truth; I’m not going through it alone. Neither are you! We have an advocate. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, interceding on our behalf. That’s right, He’s representing us. He knows what we are going through. He feels what we are feeling, and He asks for grace, mercy (another chance), and favor for us. God dispatches angels, ministering spirits, to help us to make it. He touches the hearts of others, sometimes even strangers, to come to our rescue. That’s favor! His Word goes out with power to achieve that for which we send it, as we mix it with consistent, unwavering faith.

We must not give up! We must continue to strive to do our best; especially in the extreme moments of our lives. We must choose to honor and worship God with our lives, by the way that we choose to think, choose to speak, and choose to behave. In times of distress and chaos, we must choose to be the peacemakers, the ones who will walk in wisdom and love. God is counting on us. The Word says that there is a great crowd of witnesses who are cheering us on.

Don’t give up!

I love you. I care about you. I am praying for you and I am asking God to meet your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. It is my prayer today, that the Holy Spirit will stir up excitement in your spirit as He restores and builds your hope and the desire to move forward in Him.

Be like the first grader who loved to sing the songs he had learned in church. One day, he sat softly singing as he worked in class. After being told to be quiet by his classmates and the teacher, there was once again silence in the room. The teacher looked over at him.  He looked up at her, smiled a beautiful smile, and continued to do his work; his little head gently swaying rhythmically from side to side. She could not help but smile in disbelief. Though he had to be quiet on the outside, he was still singing on the inside! Though life may be tough, I’m still smiling and I’m still worshiping; believing and trusting in God’s character and His Word. I will not give up!

Here are some scriptures that I pray will bless you on your journey!

Psalm 57:2                      Psalm 138:7-8                    Ephesians 2:8-10  

Colossians 1:9-12            Jeremiah 29:11-13             Philippians 3:12-15

Psalm 30:1-3;41:1-3       Galatians 6:9-10               Psalm 103:1-5       

Psalm 107:19-21             Psalm 147:3-5                    Jeremiah 17:14  

 Jeremiah 30:17              Malachi 4:2                        Matthew 4:23-24; 8:5-13

Until next time, enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

 

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7 Reasons Why You Shoudn’t Demand Your Way at Any Price

Have you ever heard the saying ‘my way or the highway’? What about the saying, ‘ we try to keep mama happy, ‘cause when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy’? Do you know anyone who lives by the ‘it’s all about me’ philosophy? Do you know someone who doesn’t listen to you and makes you feel as though you and your feelings don’t even enter into the equation? Are you in a relationship with someone who is controlling and uses various methods to get their way? How does being around them for a long time make you feel? Does what they say or do make you feel respected or does it make you feel discounted, as though you are not important?

If you are the one who keeps everyone ‘walking on eggshells, lest they upset your apple cart, remember there is always a price for demanding that everything goes your way. Here are some ideas to consider the next time you are tempted to force others to go along with your plans at any cost.

1. You may get what you want but lose the respect of those around you. Have you noticed that habitual disrespect breeds contempt. Check out the body language and eyes of others when you regularly demand your way. Unfortunately, if you are a steamroller, there is a good chance that you have tunnel vision and all you can see is your objective. You may even justify your behavior by saying that ‘the end justifies the means’, in other words, whatever you are trying to accomplish is more important that the discomfort or disrespect that you are dishing out to others. You may comfort yourself with, “Oh, they’ll get over it. They understand.”  They understand alright! They understand more about you than you are aware.

2. Steamrolling shows others your true feelings about them; it gives them the impression that you believe that you have more value, are better, smarter, and wiser. God may have given you creativity, great ideas, and many talents. You may have experience on your side. He may have even topped it all off with a generous portion of intelligence. All it takes is a few pats on the back, a few accolades, and before you know it, you can have an exaggerated opinion of yourself. God’s grace and His favor, mixed with human pride, is a dangerous combination which can lead one to believe that he or she always knows what’s best. Making sure that you get your way, at any cost, lets others know that you are struggling with a pride issue and at the moment, pride is winning the battle. God hates pride. God has had to teach me the hard way that wisdom does not stop at my door; I don’t know it all. God gives wisdom liberally to anyone who asks for it. In fact, He sets it aside for His children. These days, I try to remember that He gives others wonderful ideas and talents too, all for His honor and glory.

3. When you disregard the opinions, feelings, concerns, and efforts of others in order to get your way, it says something about you and your decision to love. God is teaching me that steamrolling others is definitely a deal breaker if you are trying to build and maintain a relationship. For those of you who really don’t care about the relationship, why don’t you? Have you given up on God and his ability to make your relationship one that you can cherish? Have you thrown away your hope? Have you allowed disappointment, hurt, or disillusionment to keep you from starting over and building a trusting relationship?

Are you under the misguided impression that you are the one making everything positive happen in your life? Have you allowed unforgiveness to seep into your soul and harden your heart? If life’s experiences have shifted your vision, you are able to refocus. I am learning that just as I have a choice to hold on to negative experiences of my past, I also have a choice to forgive and move forward with hope and expectancy. I don’t have to ram my dreams down anyone’s throat in order to be happy. If my dream is God-given, He will bring it to pass as I continue to love, trust, and obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

4. As a ‘recovering steamroller’, may I say that I don’t think that people who steamroll recognize the devastation their negative behavior reeks on relationships. They have tunnel vision. All they can see is their way, their goals, their belief system being validated. I don’t think they really understand that they are devaluing those around them and if they don’t nip it in the bud, their attitude will destroy relationships.

But what if you are right? What if your idea is the best one? Is that what you were thinking? I believe that the Holy Spirit is helping me to understand that even if I am right, if I try to force my belief on someone else, they will not accept what I have to say. In fact, rather than embrace my idea and me, they will resist, become defensive, and withdraw. God is teaching me that I get one life to live. So does everyone else. Let me allow them the chance to be all they can be. I’ve learned that many times, there is more than one way to solve a problem. It may not even be a matter of right or wrong, but one approach over another. Nevertheless, one thing I can do is treat others with honor and respect.

When there is a concern, I share what I think should be done. I make suggestions. When I see resistance, I ask for alternative suggestions for a possible solution. If what is suggested is counter to what I believe God would have us to do, I state what I believe God would have us to do, pray inwardly, back off, and leave the results in God’s hands. Boy is this hard to do, especially when it comes to someone else’s life. I am so tempted to insist that they do it my way or in the case of right and wrong, God’s way. Running roughshod over others, though, is not the solution. (Please note, I am not talking about times when I had to make tough decisions when raising my children. Some things were negotiable; others weren’t. Still, as they grew older, I learned that it was important to listen and try to understand their point of view, even if we did not agree.)

5. Another result of being pushy is that you may end up alone. People tend to withdraw from steamrollers. They get tired of being flattened. No one wants their wishes and desires to be ignored or disregarded repeatedly. If you’ve put on your hard hat and have already begun to do a little rolling, look for signs of your family members becoming distant or putting up their guard. Look for co-workers and friends to treat you with less than genuine warmth. In the case of my cousin, I’m ashamed to say I was relieved that she was going home and I didn’t have to deal with her on a daily basis. It made me feel sorry for her immediate family, friends, and co-workers. I don’t want those who know me to use terms like ‘deal with her’ when referring to me. I don’t want to be a difficult person to be around. That doesn’t sound very loving or very Christ-like. Sure, I still have times when the old bossy me surfaces. Still, it amazes me how these days I can more easily put the situation in the proper perspective and not make my way the only way to solve the problem.

6. We can’t afford to be self-centered. There are too many people who are in need of God’s love. One of the best ways to demonstrate Christ’s love is to show compassion and concern for, interest in, and favor to others.

7. When we trample over others to achieve our goal, it injures God’s heart.  God wants to be in control of our daily activities. He knows what needs to be done, by whom, and when. He does not like it when we hurt others to get what we want. He is a God of holiness, love, and order. I think that the times when I was pushy were times when I leaned to my own understanding and tried to work out situations by depending on my resources, my intellect, and my talents. I regret that I’ve trampled over people when I was certain I knew what was best. I broke my Heavenly Father’s heart.

Fortunately, God is teaching me to slow down, calm down, listen to Him, and let Him solve problems. I cannot control everything nor should I try to. That’s His job. Everything will work out for my good if I simply love Him and love others the way He loves me.

If you’ve been steamrolled, please forgive them for being unkind to you. They don’t know any better. If they knew better they would do better. Remember Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Please do not allow past hurts to rob you of present and future blessings. Please do not give bitterness a foothold in your life. God can change anyone, even the biggest bully. Don’t focus on them. Rather, let Him change you. Allow His Spirit to comfort, heal, and free you. May each day be better than the day before. May your heart be flooded with God’s light and love. May His peace surround you and mount guard over your heart. You are not alone. It’s my prayer that you will enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures to consider:

1 Corinthians 13:2, 5 And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Love is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Questions to consider:  Do you have a steamroller in your life? Have you allowed God to heal your heart and set you free from the disrespect shown to you?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
Posted in Behavior, boundaries, Compassion, Family, Forgiveness, Frustration, God's Love, Love, Pushy, Relationships, Respect, Self-Control | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steamroller or Steamrolled? (Demanding Your Way at Any Price – Part 1)

Have you ever been steamrolled? Or rather, were you the one seated behind the steering wheel, foot on the pedal, with a look of glazed determination in your eyes? Well, I was steamrolled this past weekend by a distant cousin and I’m still recovering. I felt as though I had been flattened into the earth, and all I could do was crawl out of the ground, limp away, and hope that I was still in one piece. I really wanted to tell you exactly what she did, but I don’t know what good that would have done, so I changed my mind. I can tell you, though, how her actions affected my thinking.

If nothing else, the experience made me think about how fragile relationships are and the impact that one person’s self-centeredness can have on those around them. I had to talk to God about the experience. While I was still figuring out how to deal with my injured heart and my rage, God reminded me of those times in the past when I also wore a hard hat and revved up an engine or two.  I remembered people who encountered my stubbornness and had to dust themselves off as I rolled through. I know it sounds ugly, but it’s nevertheless the truth.

I can tell you this… I regret my meanness. I repented and asked God for forgiveness. Over the years, I’ve even contacted some of those I’ve offended and asked for their forgiveness as well. Why? I wanted them to know that I recognized that I injured them and I was sorry for the pain, disrespect, and or frustration I caused. I’ve found that when someone has been injured, he/she can carry around a wounded heart for years and not even know that the wound is still there. Hopefully, my honesty helped a little part of a heart to heal.

So let’s think for a moment. Have you ever steamrolled over anyone trying to get your needs met, your point across, or your idea accepted? I have. Has anyone called you ‘bossy’? My immediate family used to say that I was bossy. Bossy was just another way of saying I was inconsiderate, pushy, and a ‘know-it-all’. I didn’t want my children to be that way; I am their role model. So, when God revealed to me that I needed to change, I agreed with Him. I asked Him to teach me how to be more loving and less opinionated. I thank God that a day came when I didn’t need to be in charge all of the time. The Holy Spirit is teaching me how to resist the impulse to be overly assertive or manipulative. He is changing my heart so that I don’t want to be overbearing. I believe that He led me to reread 1 Corinthians, the 13th chapter in order to help me understand the importance of building relationships instead of walls of disrespect. Here are the first eight verses:

 I may speak in different languages of people or even angels.

But if I do not have love,

I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal.

I may have the gift of prophecy.

I may understand all the secret things of God

 and have all knowledge,

 and I may have faith so great I can move mountains.

But even with all these things, if I do not have love,

then I am nothing.

I may give away everything I have,

and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned.

But I gain nothing if I do not have love.

Love is patient and kind.

Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.

Love is not rude, is not selfish,

and does not get upset with others.

Love does not count up wrongs that have been done.

Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth.

Love patiently accepts all things.

It always trusts, always hopes,

and always remains strong.

Love never ends.

[New Century Version]

 It’s growing late, so I will have to finish next time. I hope that you will return. You see, I’d like to share with you what God is teaching me about getting your way at any price.

Until next time, choose to love passionately and enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

 

 

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What Does God See When He Looks at You?

Do you feel like you’re walking through a desert of indecision? Is there someone special in your life who’s approval you are constantly trying to gain? Do you allow the  opinions of others to weigh heavily on your heart? Do you value their view of you more than your own? Is there a prerecorded loop of your shortcomings playing repeatedly in your mind?  Well, what our Heavenly Father sees when He looks at you is the most important viewpoint you can ever have. In the final analysis, His perspective is the only one that really counts!

What does He see when He looks at you?

It’s probably not what you see when you look in the mirror, but it should be!

  • He sees your life overflowing with abundance.
  • He sees you as his servant… His friend.
  • He sees you as a light in the world.
  • His light… shining brightly to lead those in darkness to Jesus Christ.

You may say, “What are you talking about? That’s not me at all! The thing about God is He sees your beginning and your end, the finish line. He knows the end of the story, and considers it already done. The second half of the 17th verse of Romans 4: says that God is “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” God sees what He is doing and going to do in your life. He sees His Word, which He carefully watches over to perform… in His timing, not ours.

He sees you as healthy and whole.

He sees you as forgiven.

He sees you as highly favored.

He sees you as protected by His angels.

He sees you as anointed, empowered to accomplish His will.

He sees you as a prisoner of hope, incapable of staying depressed and living defeated.

Believe me, God sees you always abounding, being successful, in the work of the Lord!

God sees you confident, sure-footed, able to walk into a room and impart or share wisdom that will solve problems. He sees you as someone who doesn’t complain, grumble, nag, criticize, or judge. The Almighty sees you filled with patience, kindness, self-control, faith, joy, peace, gentleness, mercy, forgiveness, and love. If you are married, He sees your marriage as being strong, healthy, and vibrant. Why? Because He sees the results of two people placing their relationship in His hands.

 What does God see?

God sees you as someone who speaks life and encouragement. He sees you as a great listener, someone who is respectful, respected, and honored. Your Heavenly Father sees your children as obedient, saved, mighty warriors of love. He sees His Son and the blood that He shed for your sins on Calvary that you may have a new beginning, and become a new creation, with all of the old failures, mistakes, and sins passing away.

  • He sees you as saved, victorious, capable of doing all things through Christ who strengthens you.
  • He sees you as an ambassador of peace.
  • He sees you as righteous (in right standing before Him) because if you are saved, you are connected to Christ and His righteousness becomes your righteousness.
  • He sees you as His child, precious in His sight.

 For this reason, since we are His children, whatever He sees in us, we want to see.

Whatever He says I am, I choose to say. 

I will choose to look at my past through lenses of gratitude, seeing His goodness and mercy following me. I’ve decided that I’m going to wake up every morning with God’s mercy, His chance to do better, think better, and love deeper in my sight. I will look for, even expect His favor in my home and on my job because I trust in Him.  I will see opportunities to join Him in loving others unconditionally.

Today is the perfect day to speak God’s Word, for it heals, saves, restores, builds, creates, and it delivers. Therefore, I am making a conscious effort to forget what the world says I need to do, what I need to have, what I need to say, and how I need to think in order to enjoy this journey. Instead, I am focusing my eyes on God’s Word. Everyday, I get up reminding myself that I am expecting God’s power to overflow into my life, changing my vision and perspective, and producing love and good works everywhere I look.

I’ve already seen His Word overshadow, outshine, outclass, outdo, surpass the meaningless, materialistic, sex-driven, manipulative lifestyle that the world says that I must have. I’ve discovered that God’s Word will overhaul relationships. It will overtake, go beyond, anything that you can think or dream.

 It will take you by surprise!

Why?

God’s Word will outperform anything, because He watches over His Word to perform it. Keep your eyes on God’s Word. Write it on the tablet of your heart with your mouth.

See the invisible; see the possibilities. Stand firm, see what He sees, and say what He says. Your life will never be the same.

My friend, what do you see? What do you say?

Until next time, may your heart be a reflection of God’s Word.

Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Scriptures for you to consider on the journey:

Jude 1:2                   John 3:16                     John 15:13                   Romans 8:37

Isaiah 53: 1-5                     Philippians 4:13                 John 14:27              Matthew 5:9

1 Peter 3:4                       James 1:19

 

 

 

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Take Another Look in the Mirror

When you get home today, take another look in the mirror and ask God to let you see  yourself the way that He sees you. Don’t be afraid. Hebrews 4:12 -16 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing  soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

God will let you see, little by little, the areas of your life where you are still conforming to the world’s standards for love, the world’s standards for success, and the world’s standard for how to get others to desire you. His Word will begin to correct your spiritual vision, your mind’s eyes, so you can accurately see yourself and the world around you.

No longer will you see like the ten scouts of the Israelites in Numbers 13:33b when they declared, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” For Ps. 119 says that Word of God contains everything man needs to know: Law – (instruction or revelation); statute (orders), precepts (teachings & guidelines), ways, decrees (ruling or judgment), commands, ordinances, a refreshing word for what you are going through, and God’s promises.

Psalm 119:18 says “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

Prov 4:20-26 admonishes us to pay attention to God’s Word. “Listen closely, don’t let them out of your sight. Keep them within your hearts; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”

There was a time, many years ago, when I proudly thought that I was really quite a loving wife. That was until I read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which describes what true love looks like. It was like taking a closer look in a full-length mirror. Once I re-examined my attitude, my forgiveness, and my actions, based on what I read, I knew I was really falling short in the love department and asked Jesus Christ to help me.

What I have I learned over the years? I’ve learned that I can’t neglect reading, studying, and applying the Bible to my life, because God has a better ‘eye.’ What does He see in my heart today? What does He think of my intentions? He knows how I should think, behave, and speak. If I want to enjoy the journey, I’m learning that I must continue to place a guard over my mouth, and align my thinking with what the Word of God says.  Every time I do so, my faith increases, my hope is renewed, because I stand on His Word with expectancy in my heart. I expect my life to get better. I expect my attitude to change. I expect my viewpoint to be more reasonable and loving. I expect God to help me to forgive and move forward. I expect to have peace. I expect to have joy.

I pray that today will bring with it another chance for you to see yourself and your life from God’s perspective. For God’s Word has the power to help us to see ourselves as we really are, and then transform our minds, hearts, and lives.

Until next time, etj3!

Love,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

 

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The Eye and Heart Connection

 

God is teaching me that I see not only with my physical eyes, but with my heart and mind. Whatever I see and believe to be truth, will be reflected in my heart. More importantly, sooner or later I will say, through my actions and my words, what’s in my heart. Don’t forget that Prov.27:19 says, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

Proverb 3 reminds me not to be wise in my own eyes. I must fix my eyes on God. Why? The eyes truly are the windows to the soul. Matthew 6:22-23 says that the eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you, your conscience, is darkened, how dense is that darkness! [AMP] And as a man thinks in his heart, in his soul, so is he.

Have you wished you could say to a friend or family member, “If only you could see yourself the way I see you?”  You see their potential. You see the gifts God has placed in them. You see the wonderful possibilities within their grasp if they would only allow God to direct their path. Well, in the Bible, the apostle Paul says in the book of Ephesians 1:18,  “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” In other words, Paul prayed that God would open our eyes so we could see that through Christ we will a better life, a stable hope, a glorious, fabulous inheritance, and great power available to us, because we believe in Him as our Savior. That’s what I want to focus on. I want to keep my eyes on the great possibilities and promises that God extends to me and you.

So what do you see? What is the vision you have for your life?

If your ‘vision’ for your life is not what you would like it to be, there is good news! God wants to improve your sight, your outlook, today. God wants your life to be different, to be better, to be holier, more peaceful, more joyous, more prosperous, and more loving. He wants His message to you today to be a catalyst or instrument for change. He wants to change your focus so that you no longer focus your sight on the ways, opinions, and philosophies of the world, but on Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

I have to remember Proverbs says that a wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. The reverse of that is also true. A foolish man’s heart guides his mouth and his lips promote confusion and destruction.

We must see differently before we can speak differently. Since the power of life and death is in the tongue, and what we say is effected by what we see, we must see differently before we can speak differently. Further, we must speak differently, if we want to join God in His work of making our lives better. My friend, we must do what Paul told the people of Corinth to do in 2nd Corinthians 4:18, “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For, what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” There is no other way in which we may enlighten the eyes of our hearts but with the Word of God. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will for your life.”

Let’s take up this topic again next time.

Until then, etj3!

Love,

T’Alice

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

 

 

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What Do You Really Want?

 

What is your image saying to others? Ask yourself aloud, “What have I been saying by the way that I present myself to others?”  We may do and say some foolish things, some harmful and often dangerous things, when we are communicating that we don’t feel loved; when we are craving to be loved and accepted. What are you trying hard to say, and what are you unconsciously saying, by associating with the people with whom you choose to associate?

What are you saying:

Prov. 14:13 says that “Even in laughter, the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.”

In all the ways you communicate, are you saying what you really want to say? I believe that if I could sit down and tell someone what I really want out of a relationship, I would say that I want to be respected. What about you? When I am confused or moving slowly, I want to be treated with patience and kindness. Is that how you feel too?

Are you like me? I want to be accepted for the unique person that God created me to be. I want to be celebrated; treated with kindness and honor. I love it when someone sees me and they smile! I want my needs to be met. I want to be heard. I want to live without being afraid that, at any moment, anger is going to be directed at me. I want someone to cover my mistakes with love and my failings with their mercy, giving me another chance. I want others to not to keep a running record of my sins and condemn me for being less than perfect. Why? Because I want to be holy; live a pure, sin-free life, where I don’t keep missing the mark by leaning to my own understanding and not obeying God. When I fall short of God’s glory, His excellence, I want others to forgive me and choose not to recall my faults over and over again.

I’m blessed. I no longer have people in my life who throw my mistakes back in my face. God changed me and he changed them. I really needed them to forgive me, let it go, and move on. God worked it out. God can work it out for you too.

What do you really want?

If you are anything like me, I think that you want someone to say that they know you can do it. They know you are victorious. You are precious. You are likeable. You are loveable. I believe that you would say that you want someone in your life who will encourage you not to give up. You want someone to encourage you to be courageous; to stand. They are certain that if you don’t give up in due season, you will achieve your goals and have your dreams. You want someone who will stand by you and support you. You want someone who will not delight in sin, but will rejoice in the truth. You want someone who will always speak well about you to others. You want someone who will be willing to give you another chance and trust you again, after you have let them down. You want someone who will never give up on you, even when you feel like giving up. You want someone who will show you compassion, sympathy, concern, and kindness.

In other words, I believe that you are trying to say, in the best way you know how, that you want to be loved. And if you are a child of God, it is your greatest desire to love. After all, you and I were created to love. It’s just that often we can’t see how to love… how to love ourselves, how to love God, how to love others around us.

There is good news! God wants to teach you how to love! He is Love, you know. He wants to teach you how to enjoy the journey by hooking up with Him. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ( relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:29, 30 [AMP]

I was reading one day about oxen and how farmers sometimes yoke together an experienced ox with a younger one. The older ox takes the lead and steers the team in the right direction. Together, they carry the load, making the work manageable. I decided to hook up with, connect myself to God through His Son. I want to let Jesus Christ take the lead. Let Him carry my load. His guidelines and commandments aren’t meant to be a burden around my neck, but to free me to be all that I was created to be. And all the while, I can bask in His love. I’m learning every day that His yoke is easy and His burdens are light. In other words, I’m learning what true love is really all about.

Until next time, know that God is aware of your heart’s desires. He cares lovingly about you. No matter what circumstances are going on in your life today, He is there with you. Call on Him. He has built into this day the grace you need to make it. Place your confidence in Him to enjoy today’s journey.

Love,

T’Alice

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What a Fellowship (Building a Relationship with God) by Guest Blogger Pastor James R. Flint Jr.

God, who has called you into fellowship

with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

1 Corinthians 1:9 [NIV]

I love little children! They know how to crawl into your lap, look up at you with clear, trusting eyes, and cling to your every word. They know how to make you feel as though you are one of the most important people in their world. And when they have to go home, they beg and plead to stay a little longer, so they can hang out with you. Why? They love the fellowship.     

I hope you enjoy the following blog by guest blogger, Pastor James R. Flint Sr. of Calvary Baptist Church, Chicago IL

T’Alice

As we fellowship with one another, we are to fellowship with Christ. One key component of Fellowship is conversation, and not just any conversation, but genuine and intimate conversation. God already knows all about us, but its our goal to learn of Him, and as we share with Him all of the intimate desires and thoughts of our hearts, we reveal the confidence and the faith that we have in the Father. Not only does Fellowship constitute conversation, but I believe it also must consist of dwelling.

This is to say that genuine Fellowship dictates that we be willing to settle down andmake our home in, center our focus on, the presence of God in our lives. We must get comfortable with having God be the head of our lives by opening up our hearts and allowing Jesus Christ to come and live in us.

Fellowship dictates that we be willing to rest in the Father. We can’t get in a hurry in the development of our relationship with God. We have to rest in Him.

We can do this by choosing to place our confidence in Him

and keep our minds stayed on Him.

We can choose to fill our hearts with peace by leaning, relying, and depending on Him to watch over His Word to perform it.

When we can learn to do this,

it transforms the way we handle the chaos

that we are faced with day to day.

For when we learn to rest in Him and Fellowship with the Father, the more we learn of Him; and the more we understand the truth that He is in control of all things. This reality is the reality that we need in times like these. This privilege for us to be able to Fellowship with the Father is established through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Oh, What a Fellowship.”

 May each day draw you a step closer to the Father. For He has promised that if you take a step towards Him, He will take a step towards you and reveal Himself to you. Below are scriptures you may find helpful in your journey.

 

Fellowshipping with God

Deuteronomy 6:4-5    Matthew 22:37    Job 22:21    John 17:3

 Jeremiah 29:11-13    1 Corinthians 1:9     2 Corinthians 13:14    1 John 1:3-7 Psalm 16:11     Psalm 21:6     Psalm 31:20     Psalm 89:15

Fellowshipping with Believers

Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 5:43-48; John 15:9-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:13b-15 Romans 12:5, 9-21; Acts 2:46; Hebrews 10:25

 

It is my prayer that every day of your journey will be filled with Divine Fellowship!

Until we meet again,

Pastor James R. Flint Jr.

 

Question for today – What results usually take place when you spend time fellowshipping with God?

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Got Faith? (The Importance of Faith) (Guest Blogger – Pastor James Flint Jr.)

Hebrews 11:1, Romans 10:14-17, Philippians 1:27

Our Faith has been dulled by a society and culture that promotes

selfishness, self-security, and self-sufficiency.

To many, God is seen as an abstract being.

Even we as Christians have demonstrated day by day that our dependence on God

is predicated on our own understanding of what the solutions might be.

Faith reaches beyond solutions.

Faith reaches beyond human resolve, determination, and understanding.

Faith is the ability to see the unseen, hear the unheard, & believe the unbelievable.

How do you have Faith in a God that you cannot see?

Well, sight is surface, and Faith far deeper than just the surface.

Faith goes beyond what is temporal, temporary, and taps into the eternal.

Many Christians have lost their dependence on God.

As Christians, Faith is not only the substance of things hoped for,

but its the substance of who we are.

Our whole existence is hinged upon our Faith.

Today, fear has evolved as the dominant force in our society.

A lot of what we see happening in our world today is perpetuated by fear.

We as Christians are to be a people of Faith and not fear.

God understood how fear would manifest itself against the kingdom,

and this is why we see a vast number of “fear-nots” in the Bible.

Our genuine Faith is tied to the eternal.

It is tied into what we cannot see.

The strength or level of our faith is birthed and developed

as we begin to know, trust, and obey God,

and build a foundation of experiences with Him.

As we maintain our Faith in the midst of trials and tribulations, and overcome, our strength grows because we are made witness to what God can do.

We need Faith.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Faith is our Spiritual Oxygen.

Without it, we are clamoring and weak,

but with it, we are able to maximize our existence.

The world needs demonstrations of Faith

in order to communicate the Glory of God to a confused world.

As we stay in the Word and in constant communication with the Father,

not only do we maintain our Faith, but it is strengthened.

The world has challenged the Kingdom and continues to do so.

I believe that all along the journey,

the world is challenging you and me and asking us,

“Got Faith?”

 

Enjoy your journey by obeying God and walking in faith!

Until we meet again,

Pastor James R. Flint Jr.

(excerpt taken from pastorjrflintjr.org)

 

Question for today – What have you done this week to increase your faith?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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Don’t Worry, Trust! (Hope – Part 2)

There were times when I was tempted to be envious of those who had what I wanted. I could have become comfortable with holding on to anger and hopelessness. Instead, it was the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to those who decide who accept Jesus Christ as Savior, who enabled me to cut the party short. He opened my eyes, so I could realize that while my ‘life’ plan was not the plan God had for me, that didn’t mean that His plan for me was less important. In fact, it wasn’t about me at all! It was about Him and His marvelous plan for me… the reason He created me in the first place. It was God who taught me that I couldn’t hang on to my past and embrace my future. So what did God’s Word inspire me to do? Hope!

In the second chapter of 3rd John, it is written, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul (mind, will, and emotions) prosper.”  I decided that I would completely trust God, but I didn’t know how. Then He showed me that in order to trust Him I had to get to know Him like I knew and loved my grandma. (Oh, how I loved her!) How could I learn to trust Him? The same way I learned to trust her. I confided in her and kept no secrets. I spent time with her. I talked to her, but I listened more than I talked.  (She always had such interesting things to say!) I observed her as she went about her day and received the love that she so freely gave to me. God revealed that He wanted me to get to know Him the same way I knew my ‘Bigmama’. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

This is what I’m discovering.

If God tells me something, I can ‘take it to the bank.’ His Bible has so many promises that I can rely on, just reading them gives me hope. They help me to focus on His love, power, and faithfulness to me. Consequently, I’m learning that I don’t have to focus on the circumstances, but on the One who rules and reigns over circumstances.

Still, sometimes it is sooooooooooo hard not to worry, and yet I am determined not to. I refuse to worry! Why? Worrying is a waste of time! Statistics state that 40% will never happen! 30% is in the past and cannot be changed! 12% is petty and insignificant! 10% is related to health! 8% is based on reality! That means that ninety-two percent of the things I would normally worry about are not worth the time, sleepless nights, anxiety, reasoning, and stress that I allow them to exert over my life!

Instead, every day God challenges me to channel my thought life into a more productive direction. Philippians 4:6-9: “Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Jesus Christ… fix your mind on whatever is true and honorable and just and pure and lovely and praiseworthy…and you will find that the God of peace will be with you.” (Paraphrased)

I have to tell myself that worrying in no longer permitted!

  NO EXCEPTIONS!

Worry is not an alternative to confidence in God. What it does is declare that I believe that God cannot handle my situation. That’s why worrying is a sin. Either I can worry or I can trust God but I can’t do both. I must choose to hope!

How can I hope in the midst of rough times?

I must choose to pray about everything.

(1Timothy 6:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

What can I do to increase my faith, which produces hope? The Bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Next, I remind myself of God’s faithfulness, his grace (divine power to enable me to do what I cannot do on my own) and his mercy (forgiving me when I didn’t deserve it.)

Now here’s where I really struggle. I have to choose to fix my mind upon the Good! I have to remind myself that God is still in control. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He has not changed. I know that I am accountable for the thoughts I think and accept as truth.  So I give myself a pep talk. I ask, “Who’s report am I going to believe? I know that God does not want me to be an emotional puppet, led along by circumstances. Remember that Philippians 4:8 reminds me to choose to concentrate on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report? (See also Psalm 139:23-24.) Well, that’s what I am determined to do.

I want hope to override any adversity. I want positive expectancy to overshadow any dread. I want to enjoy the journey that God has laid out for me in the Book of life. And what’s more, I want you to enjoy your journey too! In fact, I’m filled with excitement that perhaps you will come back and visit again. I look forward to spending time with you.”

Until then, I hope that you will trust and not worry. Enjoy this day of your journey!

Love,

T’Alice

 

Okay, that was my first blog. May it encourage you to keep going, trusting, and expecting God to make a difference in your life.

Below are a few of the scriptures in God’s Word about hope:

Romans 5:3-5; 8:24-25; 12:12; & 15:4     1 John 3:1-3

Hebrews 6:16-20       1 Timothy 6:17

 

Until next time, remember this small word ‘hope.’ Take it with you on the journey. Remember that hope, founded on God’s promises and love, will expand your horizon!

 

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – In what areas of your life would you like God’s hope to overflow most?

 

 

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The Little Word ‘hope’ (Hope)

Have you ever been so frustrated that you were tempted to give up? My software was malfunctioning last night and this morning I thought that I might have to start the website all over again. Then I found a blog that I wrote on another site in the fall of 2008.  It was right on time, because I needed a bit of hope. So I’ve copied it onto this website. May it encourage you as well. This is what I wrote to you back then:

“Since this was supposed to be my first blog, I wanted it to be spectacular. I wanted the design to be eye-catching and riveting. I know this blog has no design, but after two months of trying in vain to create a blog you would like, I decided that talking to you was much more important than the format I was using. At the rate I was going, I figured that I might not have the blog up and running for 5 more months, and I just couldn’t allow that to happen.

What’s so urgent? I wanted to tell you about hope. I know it’s such a small word, but it keeps my future bright. It nurtures my dreams. Hope fill my days with ‘maybe’s’ and eventually even ‘yes it can, yes I can, and ‘yes they can.’ For example, I’ve been hoping for a long time that I would have an opportunity to encourage you. I know we’ve never met, but you’ve been on my mind. I even took a class on website design. As you can tell, though, we didn’t have a session on blogging (smiles). Yet here I am, excited about being able to finally write to you!

I wanted to tell you that even when you go through difficult circumstances, and there certainly will be many of those, don’t give up. Every since I discovered that there really is a God and how specific and detailed He is, and that He loves you and me, well, I have had hope.

This is a good thing, because there have been many moments when I’ve had to choose to focus on His Word and not my circumstances in order to make it through. Yet, in every situation, He has not let me down. He has not left me alone. In fact, I’ve walked through some fiery times in my life, and every time, He walked through the fire with me.

I realize that horrible situations happen to us, and we can’t run away from the tough challenges of life. I know we have to deal with the painful memories and thoughts, but we must resist meditating on them. Whenever I have thought constantly about painful or unpleasant thoughts and situations, those painful or unpleasant emotions kept my wounds open and prevented them from healing. Before I knew it, if I wasn’t careful, I found myself accepting a substandard quality of life.

Back in the day, my goal was simply to make it through the day. I mean, it was easy to get into the habit of just going through the motions, but not really enjoying the life that Jesus Christ died that you and I might have. Then, once I was alone, negative thoughts crept in, filling my heart with sadness, worry, and frustration.

I could have pulled out the salsa and dip, and hired a few more violinists to back up the band for my pity party. I am so glad that I had God’s Word to give me hope and send the violinists packing. I’d like to share with you next time the rest of my first blog and what God has taught me about what used to be my ‘favorite’ past time; worrying.  Until then, may you have a day filled with hope as you keep your eyes on Christ and His Word.

ETJ3!

Love,

T’Alice

Today’s questions – When was the last time that you had a serious pity party? What would have been a better use of your time?                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                          © 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

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Are You Ready for Christ’s Return?

I was driving along, a few weeks ago, when I glanced in my right side mirror at the warning written on it, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Immediately, my mind went back to when I was seven or eight, standing on my Aunt Elema’s porch. Back in those days, a lot of the houses had raised porches. My aunt had a large house with a wrap-around porch that was on the high side, especially for an eight year old. You had to walk up five or six steps to reach the porch’s landing.

It was Texas in the summer time. Everything was dry. There wasn’t any grass next to the porch, not even any top soil, just hard-as-cement ground. My aunt had a big family. Her house was the happening place to hang out. Jumping off the front porch was one of the fun things we did.

On this particular day, I had borrowed someone’s glasses just to see what wearing glasses was like. I begged and begged until they let me put them on. Everything seemed so different through those lenses. You know that dizzy sensation you get when your eyes are trying to adjust. WOW!!

I was so impressed with the difference in my vision that this wonderful idea popped into my head. How about if I were to get a long pole and jump off the front porch with the glasses on? Now that would be fun! It certainly would be different! Usually when I jumped off the porch, I would sit on the edge of the porch and jump down. Even from that vantage point, the remaining distance to the ground was kind of scarey. But that’s what made it exciting!

My older cousins were there and they kept telling me not to jump, but what did they know? I was Determined. I picked up this long stick that reached all the way from the porch down to the ground. I planned it out in my mind. I mean I could feel the hardness of the clay ground under the stick. How difficult could this be? All I had to do was jump carefully. Through the glasses, the ground looked very far away. I’d have plenty of time to catch my fall. It was a good thing I had that stick!

I squatted holding the stick in my left hand.

One… two… three.   I jumped.

All of a sudden, my knees hit the ground. My hands hit the ground. But especially my knees. I hit that ground so hard, it seemed like the ground had reached up and slapped me. You’d better believe I took those glasses off!

I had to, in order to check out my hands and my knees! I had torn up my knees. I went limping into my Aunt Elema’s house, knees bloody and palms all scratched up. My Aunt patched me up and told me to stop jumping off the porch. She didn’t have to tell me that again. You’d better believe there were many lessons I learned from that experience. LOL  One lesson was that objects can be a lot closer than they appear.

Why am I telling you this story? When I was driving through the forest preserve and saw those words on my side mirror, I thought about Jesus Christ. God used my side mirror to remind me that Jesus’s return is a lot closer than it appears. I can’t get caught up in what I think is right and miss the truth, that only He is the Truth, the Light, and the Way to His Father, Almighty God. Jesus is Love in the flesh and He’s coming back. No man knows the hour of his return, so we have to get ready.

I want to be ready so I made myself a ‘will’ list.

1. I will give Christ my life. [check]

2. Now that I am God’s daughter, I will choose to daily work on getting to know Him better by recognizing Him and acknowledging Him as He walks with me.  [working on this!]

3. I will listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to me directly through His Word, and indirectly through other believers, circumstances, prayer, and inward impressions.  [working on this!]

4. Every day, I will awake with renewed determination to enjoy the day, love God, others, and myself passionately. [working on this!]

5. Every day, I will trust and obey God completely and with the right attitude in my heart. As Betty Robinson, wife of Evangelist James Robinson, once told her children, “Obey all the way, right away, and in a happy way.” [working on this!]

Every time I remember and work on my “will” list, everything else falls into place. I’m excited!! My Savior is coming back soon and I’m going to be ready!

Please return soon and I’ll share more with you. Until then, don’t go jumping off any porches with a stick!

I love you!

T’Alice

Scriptures that may help you on your journey:

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [NIV]

John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). [NIV]

Matt 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [NIV]

Matthew 24th chapter

Question to consider: Are you ready for Christ’s return?

© 2012 God’s Perspective Publishing

 

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‘Ow-ie’ Testimonials (Learning from Life’s Adversities – Final Part)

I’ve observed that some people wear their scars like badges of honor. Others do their best to cover theirs up. Still, there are some physical scars that can’t be hidden, which force us to deal with them, and move on in the journey. On the other hand, I’ve seen emotional scars and insecurity wrap around individuals like a cocoon. Unable to break free, they allow their hurt and self-doubt to negatively affect how they interact with almost everyone they encounter.

The funny thing about a heart injury is that often it’s difficult to see how your private pain affects how you treat others.  What happens if I don’t address my injuries? If I don’t acknowledge the traumas I’ve experienced, at least to myself and to God, then how can I admit that I need healing? Perhaps my emotional or spiritual wounds will remain open and raw. Without attention from the Master Healer, the Holy Spirit, my injuries might even fester and become infected with bitterness. Then I’ll walk around spurting poison on everyone I meet. Everywhere I go will become ‘Egg-Shell Central’ as everyone walks around on tiptoe, trying to keep ‘the volcano’ in me from erupting.

What have I learned?

There is no shame in my being imperfect.

There is no shame in having suffered through a few of life’s challenges.

Life is a test.

If I hold fast, cling to, yes trust in Jesus Christ, I’ll make it across the turbulent sea.

 If I learn something from the tribulations I’ve gone through,

or even the mistakes I’ve made,

and I am a better person as a result,

then all is not lost.

If my trials have shaped my character for the better,

then perhaps I can pass the next test that is sure to come along.

What have I learned about life’s adversities? I’ve learned that:

God has deposited into

every injury, every terrible moment, and dark valley of my life

the exact measure that I need of His Grace,

His divine power, to help me to make it through

what I would not have been able to make it through on my own.

Every ‘ow-ie’ provides an opportunity

to testify that with God I can make it successfully through this journey.

When I see the scars of others, I see individuals who have also gone through pain and are still alive to tell the story. When I meet those who have gone through separation, divorce, or the death of a loved one, I know that there is a good chance that they may have emotional, mental, or spiritual wounds. I pray for them, and God places a love in my heart for them. As I look into the faces of people I meet, He reminds me of my own children and causes me to see each individual as someone’s child, someone’s son or someone’s daughter, who is a ripe candidate for God’s awesome comforting, healing, and restorative power.

God is also teaching me that I don’t always have to be ‘strong’. He shows Himself strongest in my weakest moments. It’s okay  for me to want someone to hold me and tell me that they are sorry that something difficult, traumatic, terrible, or painful has happened to me. I don’t have to walk through life with a stiff upper lip. It’s okay to want someone to show me that they actually care. It helps the healing process to take place when I reach out, and I am willing to receive the love that God sends my way through others.

Sure, it is our Heavenly Father’s desire that I grow up and mature to the point that I am no longer focused on my pain, my needs, and my wants. He wants me trust Him, not worry, and place my cares in His lap.  More than that, He wants me to reach out to care for someone else who is also hurting.

Most of all, I believe that He wants me to look past my scars to see His face. For in His presence is the fullness of joy. Whenever I am in His presence, the pain of life’s changes melts away. The great truth is this. I can be in His presence at any moment, just by recognizing that He is here. You know He promised to never leave or forsake me…

or you.

What have I learned about ow-ies?

 

Scars are often permanent, but so is God’s love.

That’s right. His love is permanent.

I belong to Him. You belong to Him. And that’s permanent.

Every morning, never forget that you and I have made it one more day; scars and all. I’m going to enjoy the gifts of time and life that He’s given to me this day. How about you?

Let’s give Him all our praise and glory by sharing with others  what He has done for us and in us. With God’s leading, we can talk about the wisdom we have gained from experiencing the tough times of our lives, and God’s grace that brought us through it all.

If you would like to read what the Word says, please turn to:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4        John 14:1                            John 8:32, 26

Psalm 55:22                    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17    Zephaniah 3:17

Psalm 147:3                    Isaiah 41:10                        Psalm 121:1-2

Isaiah 43:4                      Psalm 100:3                        Matthew 11:28

2 Timothy 1:7                Nahum 1:7

Dont’ let the ‘ow-ies’ of life defeat you.

Never give up! 

 May His goodness and mercy follow you every day of your life. Enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Today’s questions –

1. What adversities have you experienced that looking back, you can see God’s goodness and mercy?

2. How can you turn your ‘ow-ies’ into testimonies?

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The Day of the Cane (Learning from Life’s Adversities – Part 3)

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a very proud person most of my life. God’s working on me though! You wouldn’t think it by looking at me, with my ‘no-frills,’ uh ‘conservative’ (yeah, that’s it), way of dressing and the way I can whip that pony-tail holder out and pull my hair to the back of my head as quick as lightning. If I can’t find a tissue for my nose, I have no qualms about pulling a few sheets of toilet paper off the roll. You’d probably say, “T’Alice, you’d be a great candidate for a make-over!” LOL

Okay, even though a nail salon would go out of business waiting on me to enter its doors, I really do care about my appearance. Consequently, for years I held off using a walking cane, because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. For more than thirty years, I have dealt with fibromyalgia; a painful and frustrating disorder that affects, among many things, my ability to move. Between you and me, when I was in my thirties, there were days when I would mosey slowly down the hall at work, pretending that I was engrossed in what was going on in every classroom along the way to my rooom, which was located at the end of the hall. Actually, I could barely walk, but didn’t want others to know it. Looking back, the only one I was probably fooling was myself (smiles). Finally though, I got tired of holding on to walls and any stable object in my path, so I broke down (i.e. finally came to my senses) a few years ago and purchased a cane.

Before it was ‘the DREADED cane’.

Now it’s YAY for the cane! Wooo Hooo!!!

Every so often now, I have an attack of pride for a moment, when I meet people from my past and I am walking with a cane. I don’t want them to pity me. But I can also tell you that the feeling of embarrassment is fleeting. I figure either they will accept me or they won’t. Sometimes they’ll say, “Girl, you don’t need that cane. Throw that thang away.” (I figure, they need to have something to say in order to feel more comfortable about my using a cane.) I smile in response to their suggestion and go right on… me with my cane.

In fact, I think I’m almost used to the ‘cane’ me.

I smile as I write this, because at this point in my life, while it still matters what others think about me, it matters MORE what God thinks about me, and that I am true to myself. I have to do what’s best for me and not worry about how I might appear to others who don’t ‘walk in my shoes’. In other words, while appearance may be important in some circumstances, I do not want to focus on it to the point that I have to sacrifice good judgment and wisdom, in order to feel accepted. After fifty plus years of living, I have physical scars, emotional scars, and mental scars… BUT …. Hey, I’m still here!

The only time that I feel embarrassed by the ‘fifties’ me is when I project in my mind what other people might be thinking about me. In other words, when I become self-absorbed. However, if I keep my mind on Christ, He keeps me in perfect peace. Regardless of the difficulties that life has brought, He has surrounded me and is continuously filling me with His love. It’s because of Christ that I’m still loving others, I’m still giving, I’m still smiling, and determined to enjoy the gift of life that God has given to me. I choose to appreciate the gift of each day God gives me.

What have I learned about the ‘ow-ies’ of life?

Our Heavenly Father has taught me that although it’s true that our lives are short and full of trouble, He wants us to win! He want us to be victorious! He cares watchfully over us. There is no temptation for which he has not already made a way of escape. Troubles and scars will come. They are a part of life; but so is His favor, His protection, His power, His faithfulness, His forgiveness, and His love.

Next time, I’d like to finish telling what I’ve learned from the adversities I have encountered. I hope that you will come back and visit for a while. Until then, may the greatness of God’s love heal each of your wounds, day by day, as you pour out your concerns to Him and spend time in His presence. I have found Him to be faithful and His Word true.  ETJ3!

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – If you’ve had a painful experience that’s holding a part of your life in its grip, what are you doing to allow the Holy Spirit to heal the pain and strengthen you so you can move forward?

Scriptures ([NIV] that may help you along the journey:

John 1:16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Job 14:1 “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.

1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Luke 1:25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Psalm 103:3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Psalm 57:18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Scar (Compassion & Life’s Adversities – Part 2)

One of my lessons on compassion came with THE SCAR.  I was in my early thirties when thyroid surgery left me with a scar that went all the way across the base of the front of my neck (the metal clips they used to hold my neck together reminded me of Frankenstein!) The good news was that after removing a golfball-sized lump from my thyroid, I could breathe deeply again. Yes!!

Well, for a while anyway.

Anyway, after the surgery, my mom bought me blouses with collars that I could button up to hide my scar so it wasn’t noticeable. The blouses helped me to get through the ‘honeymoon period’ of getting used to the ‘new’ me. Little did we know that years later, I would have to have thyroid surgery again. The first time, I was terrified. It was my first major surgery. Ten years later, I had walked with God long enough to trust that what ever the results were going to be, something good was going to come out of it.

The results were not quite like the first time around. There were more complications with the second surgery. One of the consequences was that for a while my neck really looked horrible and I could only swallow by tilting my head down. This made eating quite difficult. Holding my head up for long periods of time was challenging. Still, it could have been much worse.

After the second surgery, Mom gave me a beautiful choker to help camouflage my neckline. While the necklace was lovely, what helped me most after the second surgery was actually the scar itself. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was grateful. I called it my, “I don’t have cancer” scar. I grew used to a ‘new’ me again and focused on trying to recover from the results of the second surgery, which had affected my ability to sing.

Anyway, through the surgeries God gave me many opportunities to learn a few more lessons on thoughtfulness. He reminded me about the importance of showing acceptance for and kindness to people who may be disfigured. He began to teach me how to appreciate the differences in others, to focus on their character, pay attention to what’s going on between their ears, and the rest of the unique package that makes them loveable. He also helped me to see a little more clearly why I must encourage those who are insecure about using their talents; since there are times when singing can still be a struggle for me. Most importantly, I think that he also began to teach me that it’s okay not to be perfect.

I struggle so much with my imperfections. Yet God speaks to my heart that He still loves me even though I’m not perfect. I have found that God’s love takes the pressure off trying to dot every i and cross every t. I never have been perfect and I never will be on this side of heaven. And it’s alright. No one else is perfect either, even though they may sometimes pretend to be (smiles). We’ll make it together. If we place our lives in God’s most capable hands, He will reshape us into His image, so we are more like Christ, who is perfect. We will see each other more clearly through lens of love and with hearts of compassion.

That’s enough for today, but I hope that you will return soon. There’s another part of the story that I have yet to tell you. Just when I thought I was getting the knack of accepting myself and others, there came the day of the CANE!

 

 

NOT THE DREADED CANE!!!

NO!!

Okay, I’m calm… I’m calm.

Whew!!

Until next time, may God bless you with a heart of compassion. It will certainly may your journey more joyful.

Love,

T’Alice

Questions to consider: What imperfections in your life have weighed you down? What are you doing about them?

Scriptures that may help you on your journey:

Psalm 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

Matthew 20:34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

1 Peter 3:8 AMP   8 Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

 

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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The ‘Ow-ies’ of Life (Compassion and Life’s Adversities – Part 1)

If you’ve ever been around a three or four year-old long enough, sooner or later you will find yourself smack dab in the middle of a ‘show and tell.’ Confiding in you about her ‘ow-ies’ is one way that she lets you know that she trusts you. And if you genuinely ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ and look concerned, she may show you every scar that she can find, as though all of her injuries just took place moments before.

When we were children, we wanted others to notice when we’d been hurt. We wanted their attention. We wanted them to comfort us… give us an extra hug or two. We wanted them to feel appropriately saddened by our discomfort and pain, because that made us feel loved and cared about. And usually, we had one family member who showed us the kind of attention we needed. However, there may have been times when others may have told us to ‘grow up,’ ‘suck it up,’ ‘don’t be a baby,’ and ‘get over it.’ That advice may work for some. But what if you don’t know how to get over it? How do you handle the scars that are sometimes left behind?

I once taught a very bright sixth grade student who’s face had been scarred by an accident. On top of that, he was smaller than many of his peers. The desire to be accepted and understood was written in his eyes and across his face. As a result, he spent much of his year acting out, trying to gain the attention and support of his classmates. Every time I conferenced with him, I saw such marvelous potential in him. I always thought that if he ever caught a glimpse of himself as God sees him, he will shake up the world with greatness. It’s my prayer that one day he will begin to see that he is greater than the body or ‘tent’  that houses his spirit.

I know that there are times when it may be difficult to accept and love yourself, just as you are. I vividly remember my eighth grade year, when I moved here from Texas. I missed home, my family, and my friends more than I can say. Then, in the fall of the year ‘it’ happened. My mom woke me up one Saturday morning, four months after moving here, with “Alice, what’s wrong with your face?” “Yeah, right,” I thought. My parents were known for kidding around when I least expected it. I wondered what she was up to this time. After all, this particular Saturday also happened to be Halloween; just the right time for a joke. My mind was on all the fun they said we were going to have at our church’s party that evening. I told her to stop joking. After about three minutes of asking me about my face, she brought back a hand mirror, put it in front of me, and my breath stopped.

My face and neck were covered with irregularly-shaped dark-brown patches. Being a very light-complexioned African American, you can just imagine what I looked like. Dark-brown spots of varying sizes were on my ears, in my eyebrows, around my mouth, and even in the corners of my eyes.  I had patches from my forehead to the bottom of my neck. And what was worse, I still had to go to the Halloween party! Our closest relatives lived 12 hours away and my folks weren’t about to leave me at home alone. So I went. I wore a paper bag over my head as a costume, with holes cut out of it for my eyes and mouth. I was a sight to see!

Of course, the next day was Sunday. I couldn’t wear that paper sack to worship and I certainly couldn’t stay home. You see, my father was also the pastor. I had to bite the bullet and go… ‘ dark patches’ and all.

It’s amazing the moments you remember! I know, I know! It may seem a little hilarious now, but it wasn’t then. The skin on my face was dying right before my eyes. In fact, my face kept shedding and shedding for weeks. Every time I would get nervous, red burning blotches would appear, then gradually darken over several days as my skin died. I could pull strips of skin off at a time. I had to ‘suck it up’ and go to school and go on with my life.  As a teenager at a new school, I didn’t want to go, but guess what, I did go, and with God’s help, I made it! Looking back, I didn’t enjoy the experience, but God used the ‘patches’ experience to begin to teach me  a few things. First, He revealed the importance of being a compassionate person. Secondly, He taught me how to be courageous, and to handle the difficult moments by praying and asking Him for help when life seemed to be out of my control. Lastly, he taught me how to move on and focus on the task at hand.

I hope that you will come back, so I may tell you about my next lesson on compassion. Until then, may God bless you to see opportunities to love people who don’t look like you. Remember, everyone should be loved! It’s a powerful way to enjoy the journey!

Love,

T’Alice

Today’s question – Who do you have the most trouble loving, someone you think is physically unattractive or someone you consider to be one of the ‘beautiful people’? In other words, does someone’s physical appearance affect whether or not you want to have a relationship with them?

Scriptures to consider:

Psalm 73:26 – My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. [NIV]

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

 

 

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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T – A Little Terror Goes a L-O-N-G Way! (Damaging Behavior and God’s Love – Part 4)

What comes in all kinds of packages? That’s right! Fear. And a little goes a long way! The last letter “t” of d.i.r.t. stands for the terrors of life that prevent us from being our best. Let me share with you a little of the truths that God is teaching me on this subject.

 TTerror – Being extremely afraid of life – “I can’t help it!” Yes you can. Fear of letting others see what you are really like, fear of being rejected, fear of trying, fear of failing, fear of expectations, fear of trusting, etc, can lead to terror being the driving force in your life.

I lived most of my life extremely afraid. I was very afraid of disappointing my family, disappointing church members, students, co-workers, disappointing friends, and disappointing God. Fear robbed me of my peace and my joy.

I was afraid of being rejected by those I loved most. I was afraid to be myself. I was afraid of failing, so I was a perfectionist. I had been hurt badly in relationships, so I was afraid of trusting anyone. Then God came along and picked me up like a father picking up a small child and placing the child on his lap. God dusted a layer of ‘fear’ dirt off, all the while loving me passionately. It was His love for me that gave me the security I needed to trust someone… Him.

Now, I don’t worry nearly as much about disappointing others. When I get stressed, I ask God for His favor. I ask Him to touch the hearts of those that I may let down, that they will forgive me, have patience with me, give me another chance, etc.

Yet, there have been times when I have been rejected by those I love most. It was God’s love for me that made the rejection much easier to take. I was able to go through my days and smile and enjoy the day, even though sometimes with a broken heart. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s nevertheless the truth.

 

In fact, God tells us in His word to think on whatever is love, kind, just, of good report, excellent; think about these things.

Here are some truths that I say when fear attacks my mind:

o I am not alone.

o With God’s help, I can do everything that I am supposed to do.

o I am wonderfully made inside and out.

o I have not been given the spirit of fear, but of power and of a sound mind.

o I can gain control over my imagination. I will not imagine the worst thing always happening. Imagining the worst promotes fear.

o I do have power over many areas of my life. Mistakes are a part of living. Learn from them, make the necessary changes and move on.

While I know that d.i.r.t. keeps my potential hidden from view, and retards my spiritual development, I sometimes still have trouble placing my fears in God’s hands for him to remove. But the good thing is this. He is more than able to remove all weaknesses, wash away all sin, and all of my wrong thinking. How?

The Word of God teaches how to shake damaging, irresponsible behavior, fears, and negative thinking out of our lives by choosing to change what we believe with God’s Word. Remember, sooner or later, what we actually think or believe will be demonstrated in our actions. These actions will affect the quality of our relationships with others and how they respect and value us. (Remember, our actions affect our reputations, and after continuing to consistently make wrong choices, it will affect our character… the standards or morals we stand on as a foundation for making daily decisions.)

Like me, you may fight daily to remain positive, trusting, and transformed. You may be determined to shake all of the dirt out of your life, and the going make be rough right now. Nevertheless, you are more than a conqueror. Don’t give up! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

 

Until next time, enjoy the journey!

 

Love,

T’Alice

Question for today – What are some Biblical truths that you are speaking over your life?

 

© 2009 God’s Perspective Publishing
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