Words have such power! By simply uttering words, God created the universe, as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. By words, Jesus healed, calmed storms, cast out demons, and fed thousands of people. Words have the power to encourage and give hope to someone who’s about to give up; words extend forgiveness and mercy; words express kindness, grace, patience, love, and truth.
Am I speaking those kinds of words?
Some Scriptures: Genesis 1 and 2, Matthew 8:3, Matthew 8:13, Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 1:23-25, Luke 9:14-16, Luke 23:40-43, John 8: 11, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 14:5a, Proverbs 15:4a
When I was in school, most learning took place via memorization and what’s now known as the visual learning style. If you were blessed with a good memory (as I was), had a mostly visual learning style (as I did), and liked to learn new facts (as I did), you generally got good grades. Note that I can’t take credit for any of these. They were part of my “package” when I arrived in the world.
A problem developed when I did start taking credit for these. Since I wasn’t popular socially, wasn’t pretty, and lacked self-confidence, I bolstered my self-esteem by tying it to the only thing I had–my academic achievements. I thought I was better than other people because I got good grades and they didn’t. (I cringe as I type that now; it is so way off-base, so foolish and arrogant.)
I didn’t understand that a person is born with certain aptitudes and skills not to lord it over people, not to think she is better than others but to develop and use those aptitudes and skills in the service of other people. A person highly-motivated to learn could become a teacher, for instance, putting his enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of others.
I apologize to people I looked down on. I was wrong and I know people were hurt by my attitude.
A few Scriptures: “…knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” I Corinthians 8:1 (NIV), “…(God’s) love does not boast, it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…” I Corinthians 13:4, 5
Last Sunday morning I stayed in bed too long and got up late to go to church. I was beating myself up for it, and I thought, “God must be angry with me for getting up late again, when I know that makes me late for church.” Then another thought came to mind, “No, but He is saddened that you are making it harder for yourself than it needs to be.”
It occurred to me that God, like any caring father, does not want to see His child make life any harder than it already is.
Some Scripture suggestions: Psalm 103:13, I John 4:14-16, I Corinthians 13:4-7, Matthew 6:26, Matthew 7:9-11, James 1:17
Years ago I was facing a health problem. My pastor visited me at the hospital. He prayed for me, and after he left, I sensed God’s Presence in the room. In my mind, the Lord asked, “Do you want Me to heal you?” There was no doubt in my mind that He could. However, in the next instant the thought came that, “Oh, I can take care of this myself. I’m helping God because then He will have more power for other needs.” So I told the Lord, “No, I can do it myself”.
I still have the problem, and I regret not letting God take care of it there and then. If I had told Him “Yes”, I believe it would have resulted in a much bigger blessing than just a physical healing.
I’m not sure how I got the thought that if God helped me, He would have less power at His disposal. That was a lie. Consider this: God is BIG. He created the heavens and the earth. I thought that by healing me, His power would be diminished??? REALLY???
God has no limits, except those He puts on Himself.
Moral of the story? When God offers you a blessing, take it!
Some Scriptures for you (and me) to consider: Genesis 1, Job 38, 39, 40, Ps.8:3, Isaiah 40:12-29.
One night I was writing a post for this blog. I wanted to get it done, so I could post it that night, and meet my self-imposed deadline. The piece took longer to write than I figured it would. To add to that, I thought of some reference material to add. Weariness was settling in my bones and my eyes were feeling the effects of time on the computer, despite the blue-light filters in place. Finally I did the only sane thing to do—shut down the computer and go to bed.
It occurred to me that I honor God when I take care of my body, even in details like calling it quits for the night, instead of pushing through to completion. I honor God when I respect the body He gave me and use wisdom in how I do my activities.
I dishonor God with my body when I take foolish chances—like the day I crossed the road to retrieve a garbage can lid which blew half-way down the road. Coming back, instead of walking up the road farther to see oncoming traffic better before I crossed, I stepped out at a point where I had trouble seeing traffic—and faced a car coming up the hill. Thankfully, God chose to keep me from the consequences of my behavior. When I got into my yard, the Lord spoke in my mind, “I love you. You are worthy to Me. Don’t do that again.”
Every day, I have a choice whether to honor or dishonor God in the way I treat my body. Will I use wisdom, or will I act in foolish ways??
A few Scriptures to consider: Psalm 139:13, Psalm 103:13, I Corinthians 6:18-20
One day my mother was fussing as she struggled to fasten her seat belt. Hearing her sigh of frustration as I sat in the driver’s seat, I said, “Let me take care of it”. I slipped the latch for the belt into its place and she relaxed.
Afterwards I thought of how often God must want to say to us as we fuss and fret over a situation, “Let Me take care of it”. While we figuratively bang our heads against the wall, trying this way or that to solve the problem, God waits for us to ask Him for help. He wants to say, “Let Me take care of it”.
Scriptures to Consider: Ps. 103:13, Luke 11:9, 10, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6,7
I usually think of blessings as the kind I can see—the kind that happened. Recently I experienced the kind of blessings which are in the “what could have happened, but didn’t” category. This was during a stretch of time in which my mother went to the emergency room twice in a week, and my car went to the garage.
One day while driving up a long hill, the car started to jerk underneath. I thought, Is that the transmission or the gas feed? The only way it didn’t jerk was if I really gave it the gas or if it shifted. I didn’t drive it often until I could get the vehicle looked at, but one time I did drive it was to take my mother to the ER—then drive it home at night when the hospital kept my mother for observation, a round trip of about thirty miles, which included many hills. After taking it to a mechanic, I found out the car needed the transmission flushed.
The blessings contained in my “car drama” include:
the car didn’t break down on the road (very important, especially when taking my mother of advanced age to the hospital, and when driving at night)
no prolonged damage to the transmission
no damage to the engine (what affects the transmission can easily affect the engine)
people—a neighbor and then a relative—who when needed, were willing to help me out by taking me to the hospital to pick my mother up and by taking me to the service shop to pick up the car
at first, the service shop couldn’t get the transmission lines to hold the fluid. Believe it or not, I emailed friends and requested prayer for that specific situation. Later on, believe it or not, the shop called and said the pressure was holding; the car was ready for pick up. I choose to believe prayer made the difference—why else would the situation change??
Other blessings were that my mother did not have any strokes. Instead, she had what is called “vasovagal episodes”, which were scary enough to me, but were not strokes. Another blessing is the caring and thoughtfulness shown by the nurses and staff at the hospital to both my mother and me. A visiting nurse came the other day and gave me tips on how to help my mother. She told me that if my mother has another episode like that, I can call any time and a visiting nurse will come, check my mother, do blood work, take it to the lab, and contact my mother’s doctor. We wouldn’t have to go to the ER. Finally, while sitting at home waiting for the call to pick up my car, I started counting the number of family and friends who would be willing to help me out with a ride. The number was higher than I thought; I have more support than first realized. When I told that to my pastor’s wife, she remarked that was evidence God was standing by me in my troubles. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
While I didn’t want these troubles to happen, I found out when they do, blessings show up right there in the midst of them. It isn’t all bad news. That’s important for me to remember.
It occurred to me that any time I act in a way I’m supposed to in order to please God (choosing humility over envy, for instance) and I don’t act in a way I am used to acting, I am taking a step forward in faith. To me it’s in faith because it’s choosing a different attitude than I’ve done before. I’m “walking on different ground”, so to speak. For me, it takes a bit of courage because attitudes and thought patterns can become so engrained in your heart and mind that it seems those old patterns are what you are to do. But those old patterns don’t lead to happiness, joy, and peace. The new patterns do, and that’s refreshing and calming.
Scriptures to consider: Romans 12:1,2,9-21, Romans 15:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, James 1:19, 20, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 37:1,2,7
Years ago I attended a church whose minister didn’t think people should read novels and short stories because they weren’t true. Since I loved reading short stories and novels, I was surprised; I saw nothing wrong with them!
While there are particular genres of novels I’m not interested in reading, I don’t see anything wrong in reading fictional pieces. I believe God can use fiction to reveal truth. For me, it’s often easier to accept a truth when it’s presented in fiction; I discover it for myself. I experienced this afresh not long ago after I finished reading a mystery.
One of the characters in the mystery, a model wanting to get rid of competition, reaped what she sowed. She made lipstick and poisoned a tube, intending it to be used by another model. Instead, in an ironic twist, the makeup artist inadvertently used the poisoned tube on her, and she collapsed and died on the runway.
After I finished the book I realized that particular part of the plot illustrated verses in the Bible which speak of wicked people falling on their swords. “The wicked draw the sword…to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts,…” Psalm 37:14, 15 (NIV) Since the novel was not sold as a Christian novel, I’m guessing (although I have no way of knowing for sure) the author didn’t realize the Biblical lesson underlying it, but it was there.
Yes, the novel was the result of the author’s imagination, and was not true. It didn’t happen in real life. But it did reveal a portion of God’s truth. The people who plot to do harm to others end up paying for it, one way or another.
To me this shows God can use anything He wants to, whether it is “Christian” or not, to broadcast truth He wants people to know. He is not limited by labels.
The world loves “somebodies”. People aspire to be “somebody”. Somebodies have money, good looks, power, influence. Somebodies are looked up to, sought after, recognized. If you are a somebody, you’re important. You are worth knowing. If you are not a somebody–well, you’re not important. So says the world.
Guess Who says differently? God does, that’s Who.
The world and God look at things in two different ways. One arena where this is evident is in the importance of the individual. The world thinks individuals are important if they have money, if they perform well and have a lot of achievements. If they have good looks, so much the better. God thinks individuals are important because He loves them. They are made in His image.
God loves not just the strong, the healthy, the athletic, the president of a company. God loves the 40-year-old woman or man with the mind of an 18-month-old who requires 24/7 care. God loves the baby aborted. God loves the once productive person who is now in the tangled web of drug addiction. God loves the elderly woman or man who can’t hear well, can’t get the right words out, and whose days of being productive on a job are only memories. God loves the woman or man putting in long hours on a production line, serving food in a restaurant, or stocking shelves in a store. The person works hard, but still struggles to make ends meet.
I am thankful a person doesn’t have to do anything to be important and valuable in God’s eyes. The things which make a person important in the world’s eyes can change quickly. Those things—money, performance, achievements, and looks—are only temporary, anyway. But what makes a person important to God will never change.
Consider some Scriptures: Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:7, 21, Psalm 139:13-18, Matthew 3:17 (Note: God said this about Jesus before Jesus began His ministry.)
I'm Joanna, a busy married mum of two beautiful boys aged four and three. I'm sharing my experiences as I navigate the wonderful world of motherhood! Mistakes, routines, mum / life hacks, cleaning, beauty...little bit of everything!