Thursday, December 15, 2011

Women Glorifying God, part 2

How do we, as women living in 2011 (almost 2012), glorify God?

Let’s consider these 2 verses:

Colossians 3:17 – Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. 

I Corinthians 10:31 – “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Let's consider 4 ways in which we can glorify God.  Today, the first of our "4 C's".

The first way we can glorify God is in our corporate worship.  This is when all of us assemble together for that specific purpose of worshipping God.

The acts of worship –

§  Singing – Ephesians 5:19

§  Praying – I Corinthians 14:15

§  Giving – I Corinthians 16:1-2

§  Teaching – 2 Timothy 4:2

§  Partaking of the Lord’s Supper – Matthew 26:26

These acts are all giving glory to God.  We are paying acts of reverence.  We can’t just assume because we have gotten dressed for church services and driven to the building and are sitting in our regular pew that we are worshipping and giving glory to God.  I know for me, and I’m sure for you sometimes too, we can go through an entire worship service, and not really be giving glory to God!   Those actions are being done, but without a reverent mind.  We must get control of that space between our ears – we must engage the brain and be an active participant in order for that corporate worship to become glory to God– not just singing the words, but thinking on them as we sing.  Not just hearing a prayer, but listening and being able to add our own amen at the end.  Centering our minds upon the cross during communion, being cheerful as we give and being an active listener as we hear the gospel preached.  Our worship is not a passive activity – but one we must fully participate in to give God the glory He is due! 

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2  “Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.  Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.  For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few.”

As Christian women looking to glorify God, we need to be specifically seeking to offer acceptable worship to God.  Consider what you offer God when you come to worship Him. 

I will insert here that for those of you with young children, don’t let this discourage you!  Sometimes being there is all you can manage!  Remembering that training your children to behave in worship will have life-long benefits!  First you will train them how to behave, by having reasonable expectations for them and reasonable consequences and then you can teach them how to worship, by helping them find the song in the book, pointing to the words in the Bible as scriptures are read, teaching them to take notes.  These are necessary things to do, but is a wonderful job as a mom.  God is being glorified when we are training our children to worship Him.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Women Glorifying God part 1

I'd like to spend a few posts talking about Women Glorifying God.  It’s usually a wise thing, to define the words you’re using, so we all know that we’re thinking about the same thing.  When we define glory, according to Webster’s on-line dictionary, it’s to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise or admiration, to elevate to celestial glory.  These are the words I am referring to when I say glorifying God.  We are giving honor, praise and admiration. Another definition is to give glory to, as in worship.  Giving glory is also done in worship and we’ll discuss that a little later on, but for the majority of our discussion I will be referring to the first definition.

WHY are we as women to glorify God?

        We are to glorify God because it is Commanded

I Chronicles 16:28 – Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength. 

Psalm 22:23 – You who fear the LORD, praise Him!  All you descendants of Jacob glorify Him.

Isaiah 42:12 – Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands.


        We are to glorify God because it is Due Him –

I Chronicles 16:29 – Give to the LORD the glory due His name

       We are to glorify God because of His Holiness

Psalm 99:9 – Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.

Revelation 15:4 – Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy.

       We are to glorify God because of His mercy & truth

Psalm 115:1 – Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.

Romans 15:9 – and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy

  We are to glorify God because of His faithfulness

Isaiah 25:1 – O Lord, You are my God.  I will exalt You, I will praise Your name.  For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

       We are to glorify God because of His works

Matthew 15:31 – So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.

        We are to glorify God because of His judgments

Ezekiel 28:22 – Behold I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her.

Revelation 14:7 – saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come;”

        We are to glorify God because of His deliverance

Psalm 50:15 – Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me
        We are to glorify God because of His grace

Acts 11:18 – When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

2 Corinthians 9:13 – while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men

   We are to glorify God because it is our obligation

I Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Busy December

Life is busy, but that can be good.  It just depends what we're being busy doing! 

As we go about our day, at home, work, shopping, volunteering, whatever we are doing, are we spreading sunshine and living by the golden rule?  Do we smile and speak to others?  Do we treat the sales clerk with kindness? 

December is one of those months where we typically see the best of people, and the worst of people.  Sounds like a Dicken's novel.  Be one of the best.  "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."  Galatians 6:10.  This doesn't mean when it is convenient to do good, but all the time.  Let's show love to each other, even when we don't feel like it. 

Be a ray of sunshine to others today, but especially to your family and church family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the concept and reason for thanksgiving, but  mainly because it has been a consistent thing in my life.  We always enjoy Thanksgiving with my parents.  Sometimes it has been at my home, sometimes at theirs, but always with them.  Our meal is always the same, and when it's not ... well, it's back to the same the next year.  Of course we have the usual foods like everyone else, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes.  We also have green beans that my mom canned from the summer.  She typically saves back a jar or 2 of the smaller beans, because those are my favorite.  We also have frosted cranberry salad, which is a jello full of stuff!  Makes me hungry just thinking about it!  We use the good dishes and glasses.  We set around the table, some at a card table, some on the couch, but we're all together and that is something worth being thankful for.  After the meal has been cleared away and the dishwasher loaded, we pull out the dominoes for a lively (seriously) game of Mexican Train. 

Well, this year is different.  Our daughter is a freshman in college, 12 hours from our home.  She came home by plane, and only has a few days with us until she flies out again leaving us no real time to make the trip to my parents.  They're also unable to make the trip this year, so it leaves us with being in different places.  We knew this was coming, but the reality makes it a little hard to swallow, much like cold, lumpy mashed potatoes. 

Well, this year may be different, but I am thankful just the same, perhaps even more so.  I am especially thankful for my family.  Of course the ones far away that I'm related to by blood, but also the ones I assemble with each week to worship God who I am related to by the blood of Christ.  I'm thankful for the hospitality and friendship as we, along with others, are welcomed into a loving home to share a meal together.  I'm thankful for the fellowship we enjoy every time we get together to worship, but also the periods of fellowship that occur via texts, email, Facebook, or in homes.  What a wonderful blessing it is to have a loving family!

I actually started this blog post to include some of my favorite Bible verses on thanksgiving, and to mention how many times it's in the Bible, etc.  but once I started thinking about the holiday of Thanksgiving, my thoughts turned of family.  I'm blessed in so many ways.  I am thankful for my Christian walk - Colossians 2:6-7 "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."  I'm also thankful for the opportunities past, present and future to serve Him.  I'm thankful for my heritage in the faith as I've been taught. 

Psalm 100
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Great Mixing Bowl

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of baking.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook and to bake, but my mixer has been working overtime.  I’ve been making cakes and cookies and pies, in fact one day I had to stop my mixer because it was making that “hot” smell they might make before it bursts into flames!  Luckily, the mixer cooled down and I was able to continue. 

While I’m using my mixer, I often think back to a passage in Judy Miller’s book Seasons of the Heart.  I’m not going to quote it verbatim, but want us to think about an analogy she made.  When I am mixing up a cake, I can’t just run my mixer in the middle.  If I do, some ingredients get tossed up on the sides of the mixing bowl and not incorporated into the cake.  If I would just pour this mixture into my pan and bake it, perhaps it would not rise properly or taste good.  There would definitely be pieces of dry mix or other ingredients and it wouldn’t be the cake I had intended to make.  When I use my mixer, I often have to stop or slow it down and scrape the sides of my bowl, getting all of the ingredients into the path of the beaters.  Judy Miller makes the point that it is the same in the church, the family of God.  She states that:  “it is needed for all of us to work together with God, so that the unity of faith and the bond of peace may be seen by all men in the one body of Christ”.   

Have you ever done a study of the “one another” passages in the New Testament?  In preparing this article, I did a quick search on a computer program and found 113 references!  Let me list just a few that I found.  Romans 12:16 says to “Be of the same mind toward one another.”  Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”    I Corinthians 12:25 “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”  Galatians 5:13 “through love serve one another.”  And finally, Hebrews 10:25 “but exhorting one another.” 

 Can we be the one body of Christ if we stay away from the mixture of Christians who are down in the mixing bowl?  How else can we be of the same mind, edify, care, serve and exhort if we’re not together? 

We need the “mixing together” of each member’s faith and love, strengths and abilities, experiences and sufferings to fortify the whole.   Don’t allow yourself to be stuck to the side of the mixing bowl.  Get involved in the work of the church.  Get involved in the lives of other members.  We are here to make the body of Christ strong, and when we allow ourselves to be mixed with each other and work together using our different talents and different seasons of life, we will be the church Christ wants. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Practicing Hospitality

Hebrews 13:1-2  “Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

Picture this.  Your congregation is getting ready to host a gospel meeting with a visiting preacher.  Someone posts a “meal sign-up” list.  You mean to go by and sign up, but you haven’t had much time to clean the house, and you really don’t have time to plan and to cook an elaborate dinner, so you let it slide.  Or, you remember you haven’t even looked at the list since it was posted, and it’s the first day of the meeting.  When you do look at it, you realize only one slot has been filled.

 Is hospitality a dying art?  Sometimes I wonder.  God wants us to show hospitality (Romans 12:13).  I think that many women in today’s society need to remember that hospitality is not only a Biblical commandment, but is a necessity to build a stronger, more unified church.  Why don’t Christians serve each other this way?  Maybe it’s just the way society has evolved over time.  We do things that the world has to offer.  Things like football games, soccer practice, piano or swimming lessons, or band practice.  There is nothing wrong with those things, but our focus and time is spent more on things instead of God.   Have we become a selfish people?  Perhaps we don’t want to spend the time or effort to do what God would have us to do.  I John 3:17 says “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?   If we are spending our time and efforts on attaining worldly things and not opening our homes and hearts to our Christian family, can God’s love abide in us?

 Opening up your home is a wonderful way to show hospitality.  So many of us are concerned over the condition of our carpet and upholstery, and we allow that to stand in our way of showing hospitality.  It doesn’t matter if your silverware matches, or if you’re not a talented chef.  You can eat pizza on paper plates.  What matters are the relationships being formed.  Sure, we want our home to be at its best when we have company, but trivial things should not stand in our way of being hospitable. 

 Here are a few ideas for showing hospitality in our homes.  Host a game night with popcorn and sodas.  If your finances are low, fix a spaghetti dinner.  Host a potluck.  Invite 2 or 3 families in for dinner and have them bring a dish to share.  Fix a dessert to serve after evening worship services.  Invite new members or visitors over to share and discuss the sermons or Bible class lessons from the day.  Open your Bibles as visit.  Open your home at the holidays.  There are often members who are unable to return home for the holidays due to work or distance, and would enjoy spending the day with a family instead of alone.  Invite the visiting or located preacher for a meal.  Set a goal for yourself.  Plan to have one family a month for an entire year.  Maybe you can only schedule four to six times a year, or maybe you can entertain more frequently.  Pinpoint some members of your congregation that could benefit from your hospitality.  Young people, teenagers, college students, singles, widows, young parents, empty nesters, retirees, any of these groups would benefit by your hospitality. 

 Hospitality demonstrates our faithfulness to God.  There are many examples of hospitality sprinkled throughout the Bible.  Abraham, Lot, Job, Lydia, Mary and Martha, even Jesus showed hospitality.  If these individuals were able to provide hospitality, how much easier it should be for us with our modern conveniences.  Let’s all make a resolve to be more hospitable, and put it into practice!  You never know, you may be entertaining some angels?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dealing with a Betrayal

Have you ever been betrayed?  Has someone you trusted, believed in, loved, just turn around and behave in a way totally opposite of anything you had ever expected?  Stab you in the back?  Say things to others about you that were untrue?  Lied?  Showed their true colors and show no remorse?

I've had that happen.  Have you? 

How did you react?

I went to my bed and cried.   I talked to my husband, who was ready and willing to jump in and fix things.  I mourned the loss of a friendship, and grew a little thicker skin.  How about you? 

Do we turn the other cheek?  Do we pray for the individual, not just to heap coals of fire upon their heads (Romans 12:20), but to turn their soul back from hell?  (James 5:19-20)

Do we think of Jesus?  Do we remember how Jesus with his 12 closest friends, who traveled for 3 years together must have felt over the betrayal by Judas?  Do we remember how Jesus reacted during the garden scene, His trial, and His crucifixion?  Can we see the love in His eyes towards His friend, who became His betrayer? 

Did you forgive your betrayer? 

Jesus did.

I've had a comment that perhaps Jesus did not forgive Judas, and I will have to do some more study on this before I can comment any further.  The point I was trying to make is that we need to have a forgiving attitude towards someone even if they betray us.  Perhaps we don't have to forgive them unless they ask us, I'm not sure.
However, I know if we keep anger, disappointment and that betrayal close in our hearts & minds, then we will suffer.  Sometimes that person who betrayed us doesn't even care and isn't suffering at all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Take a Chance or Have Confidence In a Promise?

If I were to ask you the question - would you like to take a chance?  Most likely, you would say no thank you.  Taking a chance indicates a gamble, an accident or a slim possibility of something happening.  So many times I have heard people thank God for the "chance of eternal life".  It's one of those things that just makes me cringe and wish that I could take the person aside, like Priscilla & Aquilla did with Apollo in Acts 18:26 to more accurately explain the way of God.  We do not have a chance of eternal life.  The joys of heaven are not to be experienced by only the few chosen ones from a lottery, but are there for the taking of anyone who is willing to submit to the will of God and obey His commandments.  Heaven is not an accident, it is being prepared for us.  John 14:1-4.  There is not a possibility of it happening, it is a sure thing - Jesus said "if it were not so, I would have told you."  There is no "chance" at all.

A better word to use would be hope, or promise.  Hope is an expectation, trust or promise, to have confidence of a strong & confident expectation.  We can be confident in so many things regarding our salvation - God promised it before time began (Titus 1:2)  Hope is a confident expression.  The knowing that something great is real and obtainable. 

We can know that there is a heaven, and we can know that we have eternal life (I John 5:13) We have the hope of heaven.  A promise made by God.  Not a chance, not an opportunity, not a random destiny or the luck of the draw.  Hope.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots."  Frank A. Clark

How true, this statement is.  There are times, when we must point out things that are wrong, or even suggest a better way.  Winston Churchill said "Cristicism may not be agreeable, but is necessary.  It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.  It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."  Many times we are focusing on those things, verses the person.  I know that I am not the expert in this, but having been the receiver of some negative criticism, it makes me more aware of my words to others. 

Remembering the golden rule is so important in instances like this.  We never know "where" the person we're talking to is in their life.  We don't know what they have going on at that moment, and sometimes in the heat of a discussion, we forget that they are a sweet, tender person with problems just like us. 

Think before we speak - so many times we've heard this, and so many times we all forget to do it.  Let's remember to keep that criticism gentle and loving and then be willing to help. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Faith like Moses

I had an opportunity to teach about one of our Heroes of the Faith this past summer, and several things just jumped out at me. 

In Hebrews 11:23-29, we can read a recap of Moses' life and why he is listed in the "faith hall of fame" in Hebrews 11.  Ultimately when you read these verses, we can see that Moses chose God no matter what the circumstance.  Are we choosing God daily?

Moses first chose God over Pharoah.  Moses refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter.  Do we understand what that means?  It took a lot of strength to walk away from a life of riches and power, being part of the ruling class of a strong national power.  Moses chose to live differently than his adoptive family. 

What does our walk show about us, our strength and our faith?  Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Paul is reminding us here that our daily walk is to be presenting our lives to God as a sacrifice.  I John 2:15 "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Can the world see our faith?  If the world looks at our behavior, can it see our faith?  If the world listens to our language, can it hear our faith?  If the world views our dress, can it see our faith?  If the world views our Facebook page, can it see our faith?  Everyday when I'm on Facebook, I see comments made by Christians that make me shake my head.  I see pictures posted by "proud" parents of their daughters wearing low-cut, super short fancy dresses as they had out the door to an immoral dance and see their comments about how beautiful they are.  I hear Christians tell off-color jokes, hear them use euphemisms or down-right curse words and wonder.  It makes me sad because I want everyone to be living the life that God wants for us with the reward God has promised for us.

Moses chose persecution over pleasure.  Hebrews 11:25 "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin".  What passing pleasure of sin do we avoid?  Are we saying no to the "fun" of a girl's night involving alcohol?  As we saying no to the school dances where lewd behavior is happening?  Are we saying no to the popular way of dressing?  Are we avoiding the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 10:19-21 and working towards the fruits of the Spirit?  Daniel is another faithful person of the Bible and when faced with some tough choices at a young age, he "purposed in his heart" not to defile himself.  (Daniel 1:8) 

Are we suffering because of these choices?  Are we being persecuted?  If we're not, what does that really say about us?  Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for My name's sake."  2 Timothy 2:12 "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."  Do we count it as joy to be ridiculed, excluded and hated?  Luke 6:22-23.  Christ suffered for us, and endured hostility from sinners.  We cannot allow our difficulties to discourage us (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Finally, Moses had his eye on the eternal prize.  Hebrews 11:26 "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward."  Are we looking towards the reward of heaven?  Our reward in heaven is great (Luke 6:23).  We need to be working daily to perfect our faith and keep our faith alive, choosing God daily despite the difficulties and be a living example to others. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Loving Fervently

I Peter 1:22 "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart."

I really like this verse.  It speaks of that brotherly love (phileo) we have for each other as Christians, however it goes deeper too.  It speaks of the agape love we are supposed to have for each other, and as this verse says, fervently. 

We can like people, we can have brotherly affection for them ... but do we agape?  Are we really willing to lay down our lives for them, fervently?  Peter says here that SINCE we have purified our souls, we have agape towards our brethren.  Because we are a Christian, because we have put on Christ in baptism, because we are who we say we are we have such a fervent love for our fellow Christians. 

I'm not a Greek scholar, and clearly need to learn more about the words and meanings of love ... but to me, this goes beyond just a golden rule, do unto others type of love ... it's fervent.  Having or displaying a passionate intensity.  Not a sexual passion, but an intense, ardent love with a pure heart. 

I John 4:12 "If we love one another, God abides in  us, and His love has been perfected in us." 
I John 4:20-21 "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  And this commandment we have from Him:  that he who loves God must love his brother also." 

I'm going to work harder at this, and hope you do too.  Loving our Christian family fervently. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten Ways to Love

Someone sent me this, so I cannot take credit ... and I really don't know who to give credit to, but it was really too good not to share!

This is one of those great things we should print out and put on our refrigerators!

1.  Listen without interrupting.  Proverbs 18
2.  Speak without accusing.  James 1:19
3.  Give without sparing.  Proverbs 21:26
4.  Pray without ceasing.  Colossians 1:9
5.  Answer without arguing.  Proverbs 17:1
6.  Share without pretending.  Ephesians 4:15
7.  Enjoy without complaint.  Philippians 2:14
8.  Trust without wavering.  I Corinthians 13:7
9.  Forgive without punishing.  Colossians 3:13
10.  Promise without forgetting.  Proverbs 13:12

Listen, speak, give, pray, answer, share, enjoy, trust, forgive and promise.   Good things to think on, right?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You deserve it!

My thoughts aren't completely together on this one yet, however I'd love to hear other's views too. 

So often in today's world we hear people say to each other - go ahead and do that "whatever" ... you deserve it!  Go ahead, take that trip away from your husband and children to hang out with your girlfriends;  you deserve it.  Go ahead, and spend that extra money you really don't have on that dress that isn't really decent; you deserve it. 

Everytime I hear those words, I think of "me, me, me, me, me" and that is just not how I am supposed to be.  To me, this phrase just reaks of selfishness. 

These statements don't mean that I am against a mother or wife having some time alone, but I guess what I'm thinking of is at the heart of the matter.  If we are seeking something extra in our lives that just isn't there, we need to consider what we fill it with. 

When Jesus went away alone, He was communicating with His Father.  Jesus took time for rest for His body and soul and for prayer and meditation.  Perhaps, instead of craving a worldly solution to our emptiness, we seek the holy.  It will make us a much better wife, mother, sister, friend anyway.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Live on purpose!

The 9 previous posts have all been actions for us to live by the golden rule.  If you haven't read them, go back and take a few minutes to do so.  As you can see, these are things we have to be on purpose with.  Kids will often say "she did that on purpose" or "he hit me on purpose."  As we go about our lives, we can say - "YES!  I did that on purpose!"  I'm living an on-purpose, golden-rule lead life.

Colossians 3:12-17 is one of my favorite passages.  The apostle Paul says here for us to "put on" certain things.  He's telling us that we have to do things on purpose! 

"Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grade in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  (Col. 3:12-17)

Each of these items are things that we do to others.  When we put on kindness, we are being kind to someone else, when we put on love, we behave in a loving way towards others.  These things don't just happen like a light coming from above and a chorus singing behind us, but we have to do them on purpose

Choose today to be on purpose with your behavior, and choose to live by the golden rule. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Golden Rules for Living

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it up.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can't fix it, call in someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission.
If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it's none of your business, don't ask questions.
If it isn’t broke, don't fix it.
If it will brighten someone's day, say it.
If it will tarnish someone's reputation, keep it to yourself.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Be Happy

When my husband and I were dating, the song on the radio was "Don't Worry, Be Happy".  I can never hear that song without thinking back to such a happy time in our lives and it always makes me smile!

I heard football coach Lou Holtz say that happiness was just having a bad memory, when you can’t remember what happened yesterday, you‘re happy today!  Maybe that’s right!  I can forget those things that can make me sad and just be happy!

Matthew 5:3-10 is the Beatitudes.  Let's replace the word blessed with the word happy. 

Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Happy are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Are these beatitudes talking about you? 

Happiness is a path, not a destination.  We’re not going to just wake up one day and all of a sudden be happy …  but we need to be happy on our journey.  Spreading happiness to others will make that journey sweeter.  Smile at others; let them see joy in your face!  We want to be happy so others around us will be happy as well – be happy because it’s contagious!

Be careful with what we surround ourselves with – what we listen to can affect our happiness, and sometimes we allow ourselves to be persuaded by the media.  I wonder if we hadn’t listened to what “they say” if we would be in the circumstances we are in now?  A friend of mine goes on and on about the economy.  I know things are tough, but if I choose to focus on that, then the negativity is going to drain my joy.  I can choose who I listen to and who I do not listen to - in person, on television, on the radio.  People may say I live in a bubble, but at least I'm happy there.

Here’s a verse I just found the other day – Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!  How can we not be happy when we remember that daily, God is loading us with benefits?  God tells us that His yoke is easy, His burden is light - He is loading us daily with benefits and that makes me happy.  I hope it does you too.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Forgiveness - the really hard one

Moments will occur in our lives when we struggle with forgiveness, whether it is forgiving someone who has wronged us or allowing us to forgive ourselves for things we've done in our past.

Matthew 6:14, 15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

That is a scary verse - if I hold a grudge, and am unwilling to forgive someone for years or for one day ... God is unwilling to forgive me as well.

I read one time that when we are forgiven, God forgets it.  In Philippians 3:13, Paul said "but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead."  We have so much to look forward to, and to press onward towards ... it would be (dare I say silly?) unwise to let forgiveness towards others trip us up.

When someone hurts us, the sting will still be there, but when we are practicing golden rule Christianity, forgiving will for the most part be quick and easy.  Remember that we are to treat others, as you want them to treat you.  (Matthew 7:12)  We may be more cautious in the future, but we will be willing to offer the forgiveness and show effort to be more Christ-like. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Longsuffering, and the Golden Rule

I cannot think of any other Biblical character with as much longsuffering as Job.  Job lost his health, his wealth, his family but still maintained his faith in God and did so in a admirable way.

Job 27:3-6 As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.  Far be it from me that I should say you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.  My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live. 

Longsuffering is love on trial. It enables you to forbear and forgive others.   I don’t mean to become a doormat, but there are times in all of our lives when our friendships and other relationships, even our marriages are on trial and we must be longsuffering.  It’s being patient, mild, gentle and constant in all circumstances.  Being longsuffering is not just being patient in waiting, but how we act while we are waiting.

I do not like to wait – I don’t like to wait on people, or in doctor’s offices, but I know that as a Christian I need to be careful in how I behave while I am waiting.  You can be assertive if needed, but remember to do so in a Christ-like manner.

James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Being truthful with integrity shows the golden rule!

Just a short note today ... thinking more about showing others the golden rule in our lives.  Treating others as we would like to be treated. 

In Acts 5 we read the account of Ananias & Sapphira.  This couple was being generous, but not truthful and they paid for it with their lives.

Col. 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.

Being truthful is a direct reflection of your inner character, your integrity.  I like to say that integrity is who you are when no one is watching.  My words and my deeds match up.  My actions are a direct reflection of my faith.  When we are faithful and honest, it shows. 

We are going to treat others fairly and honestly, we will give our word and keep it. 

This includes when talking to our husbands!  How often do we gloss over the truth in regards to our bank accounts, how much that new dress cost, or what we spent on the children while out shopping? 

Titus 2:7 In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works in doctrine showing integrity. 

Take a minute and think about if you're being truthful, and what it says about not only your integrity, but also about you. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Being Affectionate - showing that golden rule living through brotherly love

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.

Well, this one is a hard one, isn’t it?  We need to be affectionate with others and give preference to others as well!  Being affectionate doesn’t just mean being a huggy person, although I am one to never turn down a hug!  However, it’s being free with the expression of your love of others – it’s a tender love as the love of a parent to a child, not forced.  It’s common courtesy, a loving smile, a touch on the shoulder.  What is sweeter on this side of heaven than to love and to be loved? 

In order to understand the kind of love Jesus had for us and the kind of love we should have for other people, we need to look closely at John 21:14-17.  Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him.  The first two times Jesus was actually asking Peter if he “agape” loved him.  By using the word “agape”, Jesus was literally asking Peter if he would sacrifice or die for him.  The first two times, however, Peter answers that he “phileo” loved Christ.  Using this word “phileo” Peter was telling Jesus that he loved him like a brother.  Whether Peter does not understand what Christ is asking of him when Christ uses the word for agape love, or whether Peter is not willing to go so far as to say he will die for Christ, we do not know.  We do know that the third time, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him like a brother using the word phileo and Peter affirms that he does. 

Agape love is love that requires willful sacrifice.  In the New Testament, agape love is more in motion than emotion.  It says “I will do what is best for you, even if it costs me something.”  It means sharing your home, your time, your talents, and your money with others even though it may mean more work for you.

There is a popular song that has this line -

And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love they will know we are Christians by our love

This song is a challenge to Christians to really live with love towards each other and to share our love with others.  

Can the world really see Christ living in us as we walk past our sisters and don’t speak to them?  Or hold grudges for years over petty differences? 

I'll toss in a comment or two about modesty.  If we truly have agape love towards our brethren, we will be more aware of our clothing choices, and our behaviors.  I want to write more on this in the future ...  but this is just a nugget to think about.

We could talk quite a bit here about being hospitable as well.  I wrote an article a few years ago about hospitality, the lack of it in the church, the need for it in the church and some simple ways to be hospitable.  This is an area in which I love, and so much desire for us to invest more time in.  Ladies, we need to be hospitable, we need to train our children in hospitality and those of us who are older, need to train those who are younger.  (~more on this in the future~)

 Without Christians in the world to show Christ's love, a big part of that through hospitality, how are we ever going to turn people to Christ? Also, how do we get along with other Christians when we lack that hospitality in our lives?  Our hospitality as Christians should come from deep within us because of our love for Christ. Hospitality is a wonderful gift to others. We don't need a grand palace, or a dream home—few of us have those. To make others feel truly welcome, we only need an open heart.

 Consider this poem based on I Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind
Never boasts, not full of pride
Always hopes, always trusts
the evidence of Christ in us

Be affectionate and loving.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Being Tenderhearted ... ways to live the golden rule!

Ephesians 4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 
2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 

This verse in 2 Corinthians means a lot to me.  In our lives, we have all experienced different trials and God has comforted us.  Because we have been through those tribulations, we are able to better comfort someone else who is going through a similar circumstance.  I know what it’s like to be a preacher’s kid.  It wasn’t always easy!  I am always willing to love on and empathize with preacher’s children and treat them the way I wish that I had been treated.  My husband has lost a parent, and when someone has lost a parent, especially someone young, he can offer such empathy and comfort to them that I can’t.  A good friend lost her first baby just a few weeks before he was to be born.  God has blessed her with 6 children, but yet she can offer such love and support to those who have lost a child.  That comfort came from God; He gave it to us and expects us to share it with others.  Remember we are not a storage system, but an irrigation system!

SO LONG as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain," wrote Helen Keller.

How can we show empathy? 

Listen. By listening carefully we learn what problems others face. And the better we listen, the more likely they are to open up their hearts and reveal their feelings.
Observe. Not everyone will openly tell us how they feel or what they are going through. A keen observer, however, will notice when a fellow Christian seems depressed, when a teenager becomes withdrawn, or when a zealous minister loses his enthusiasm.
Use your imagination.  Sometimes we just need to think – how would I feel if I were in that situation, or what might I need if that was happening to me?

The story is told of a little girl getting off the school bus with her good friend.  Her mother saw her through the window as she was standing at the kitchen sink, and expected her daughter to come running up the walk in just a few minutes.  However, after several minutes her child did not come up the walkway and the mother began to worry.  As she was going out the front door, her small daughter came running up the walkway.
What took you so long, Emma?  Her mother asked, I was beginning to worry about you.
Well, said the daughter, Samantha was having a problem and I really had to help her with it.
How did you help her? Her mother asked.
I just sat down and helped her cry, said the precious little girl.
Have you ever just sat down and helped someone cry? 

Be tenderhearted. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Being Kind - sounds simple!

Being kind seems like such a simple thing.  It is really, and is such a key to Golden Rule Living.  However, do we always practice kindness? 

Kindness comes first from God – Ps. 33:5 – God loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; Psalm 119:64 The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy.  God daily gives us kindness!  We need to share them with others!

Remember the story of Joseph?  His brothers put him in a pit, told his father he was dead and sold him into Egypt.  However, when the years had passed and they came to him for food, Joseph treated brothers kindly even after what they had done!  Would we do the same?

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

We are hopefully showing kindness to everyone throughout our lives: co-workers, neighbors, teachers, sales clerks, waitresses, and other Christians.  There are times where we must be firm, but it can be done with loving-kindness.  We can speak softly, touch gently, smile, look at someone, write a note, make a phone call; share a cookie – all ways to be kind. 

If Jesus came to my house for a day would I talk to Him the same way I talk to my husband?  Or would I treat Him with more kindness?

The story is told of a woman who was having trouble getting her family to church services on time.  By the time everyone had found their shoes, belts, had their hair combed and was loaded into the car for the drive to the building, everyone was fussing and being angry at each other.  One week, the mother decided she would just show the family how they were acting and she would secretly tape record them on their Sunday routines. 

When Sunday arrived, the mother secretly placed the tape recorder where no one could find it and went about their morning.  Later in the day she decided to play it back.  What she heard was a little shocking– "let me help you find your shoes Johnny", "Mary may I help you comb your hair?"  "Honey, can I pour you a second cup of coffee?" 

You see, only the mother knew about the tape recorder, and only the mother changed her words and was kind!  What an effect it had on the members of her family.

We must remember to be kind, treating others as we would wish to be treated.  I need to remember this too. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

9 ways in which we can make the Golden Rule visible in our lives - 2

We must behave in WORD and in DEED

I John 3:18 – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 

I heard it said recently that when you let your light shine, you give others the encouragement and opportunity to let their lights shine!   How we project ourselves represents Christ.  We may not always want to behave in the correct way, hold our tongues, do good works, but we should always desire to represent Christ, to project Christ to others.
James 1:26 –If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 

How will our lives look if we are behaving in word and deed?  Are we performing good deeds towards others?  Perhaps random acts of kindness or just good manners?  What about our driving behavior?  Are we doing things that our family likes?  Are we picking up our husband’s socks and not fussing at him for it?

I was listening to a CD one day and the speaker was talking about having an at home business with children.  She talked about how she would be sugar sweet to the customer on the phone, but would snap at her children until one day her son asked her why she did that.  What a wakeup call!  Who we are, needs to be who we are in all areas of our life. 

My own family reminds me from time to time that I just don’t have to wait for company to make a pie – that they like my pie too! 

We are going to choose to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.  Not because it’s easy or more enjoyable, but because it’s right. 

When we behave in word and in deed, our speech will be in check – sometimes we speak and we shouldn’t, sometimes we don’t speak and we should!  Do good deeds, speak kindly – remember God is watching and so are others around us!

We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our character; we sow our character, and we reap our destiny.
Remember to behave in our WORDS and our DEEDS.