Consider the Lilies..: February 2013   

Feb 27, 2013

What's on my mind this morning

My nephew is obsessed with Harry Potter.

I don't have to be compassionate to show compassion to others.

It is possible to be truthful and still be kind.

If you can't be kind, shut up.

If you want to be right all the time, you're gonna be pretty lonely.

Jealously makes you ugly.

No matter how hard you try to mask it, insecurity is easy to see.

I really want a grilled cheese sandwich.

Yesterday was the best day at Hearts ever.

If you haven't let it go, moved on, stopped talking about it, and stopped dwelling on it, then you haven't forgiven. Period.

If God wanted conformity He would have made everyone the same.

Jeeps are cool.

No one can make me think or feel anything unless I let them.

Hurt people, hurt people..

I have decide that no one gets to be my enemy. Seriously, life has been sooo much easier since!

There comes a time when you just gotta say "I really don't care what you say or think about me", and seriously mean it.

When you really, really know who you are and how God sees you, everything changes; you experience absolute freedom. It's incredible.

Things. that I thought were important before are so not important to me now. When did that happen?

It takes a lot of energy to be offended. I'm too busy for that..

Have you ever noticed how angry people get when they realize they can't make you angry?

I really love my life.





Feb 26, 2013

Pretending..


“That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretense. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.” 

Feb 24, 2013

Thoughts..

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” 
~ Marilyn Monroe


“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”

~ Ayn Rand

“How would your life be different if…You stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions? Let today be the day…You stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others” 
~Steve Maraboli

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are - what others say is irrelevant.” 
~ Nic Sheff


“Love me or hate me, I swear it won't make or break me.” 
~ Lil Wayne


“I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be, but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.” 
~ Douglas Pagels


“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” 
~Robert Hand



True freedom comes when you realize
that nothing anyone thinks or says about you or to you
has the power to change who you are, how you see yourself,
or how God sees you..
~ Me

Feb 23, 2013

You don't get to be my enemy..

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Matthew 5:44

Easier said than done right?  Usually when we 'love our enemies' what we really do is just say that we love them..  If we truly loved our enemies we would be happy for them when good things happened..  In fact, we would want good things to happen to them..  We wouldn't say negative or hurtful things about them, we wouldn't be envious or impatient with them.. We would be kind to them to their face, and behind their back..
But instead, we say stupid things like "I love them with the love of the Lord" or "I love them because God loves them"..  But we don't..  We don't love them..  We don't even like them..  Even worse, often we don't even try to pretend that we love them..
The point of Matthew 5:44 is very simple..  If we were truly obedient to God, if we really did love our enemies, and prayed for them like the Bible tells us to, they wouldn't even be our enemies..

One of my goals for 2013 is to make a real effort to love others..  Everyone, not just people I already like..  
But how to do that?  Well,it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be once I realized that loving our enemies isn't for the benefit of our enemies, but for ourselves..    

Let me tell you about Dan (not his real name)..
Dan is unable to let go of the past..  He dwells on his negative feelings for me because he refuses to just let go and move on, his negativity festers and spreads to those closest to him..  After all this time it has become obvious to the people around him that despite the bravado that he displays, he is a very insecure person with wounds that go pretty deep..  Wounds that he is unwilling to bring to the surface, deal with, forgive, and eventually get over.. 

So I had a choice to make..  I could be angry and lash out or I could feel sorry for him..  Neither of those were very good choices, but for a while I chose anger..  My anger was not helping me in any way, in fact I was allowing myself to remain in bondage to it..  I was not free..  I wasn't free and I wasn't happy..

But a few months ago my friend Tina presented me with another choice..  One I hadn't considered even though I had read it in the Bible about a bazillion times..
Tina told me about a coworker of hers that really rubbed her the wrong way..  She told me that she had decided to pray good things for this coworker every time her coworker did or said anything that annoyed her..  And after a while Tina began to notice a difference, both in the coworker and how she felt about her..  

Wow!  What a concept!  I could pray good things for Dan! I mean really good things.. Not just empty prayers like "Lord please bless them"  blah blah blah..  
So I did that..  Every time I heard Dan's name, every time I thought about him, every time someone would call me and tell me about his latest rant toward me or a member of my family; I would pray the 20th Psalm for him..  I changed the words a little but it's still the same concept:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;

    may the name of the Lord protect you.

May He send you help from the sanctuary

    and grant you support from Zion.


May He give you the desire of your heart

    and make all your plans succeed.

May you shout for joy over your victory.

May the Lord grant all your requests.
(Psalm 20)

And then I pray:
I pray for freedom for you;
 rest, provision, inspiration,
and revelation.
I pray blessings for you, for your happiness;
for wealth, healing, peace, clarity, and joy.

I didn't mean it at first, but I prayed it..  After a while I realized that I kind of did mean it..  Then I really meant it..  Now I absolutely mean it..  I honestly have no ill will toward him at all now..  In fact, I genuinely want good things for him..  Truly!

I don't know if my prayers have done him any good, but they have done amazing things for me..  You see, I have decided that I am only going to have one enemy..  The enemy..  No one else gets to be my enemy..  Not even if they want to be..  I simply won't let them..  No one can make me angry, no one can make me unhappy..  Those are decisions I make myself..  I can chose to fight back, or I can chose to be the bigger person, turn the other cheek and be obedient..  I can chose anger, or I can chose love..

Sometimes love is harder at first but believe me, it's soo worth it!  Once you get over needing to have the last word, or having to be right, or caring what others think about you, or if they believe the rumors or not..  Once you realize that none of that matters, it will make you happier..  Honest!

Feb 21, 2013

Your children; God's children.

Does it make you angry when someone speaks badly of your child? Does it make you sad? Do you hurt for your child?

How do you think God feels when someone speaks negatively about one of His children?

Every time you say something negative about another person, no matter who you are saying it to; you are talking about God's child. It doesn't matter if its true. It doesn't matter how angry you are.
It doesn't matter if YOU feel justified in doing so.
God doesn't see it that way.

I didn't make that up. It's in the Bible. Really.

Writing to God..

My friend over at Beneath The Surface has started a book study.. I'm totally excited about it.. The book is called 'Writing to God' by Rachel Hackenberg..  We just started yesterday so you have time to join in..  You can get the book on Kindle through Amazon.com right now if you like (just click on the picture)..

~If you love to write, or if you need to spark your creativity, this book is for you.
Writing to God offers forty insightful days of prayer and personal reflection. With poems and thoughts to prompt your own prayers, Writing to God will inspire you when you feel dry, help you voice your deepest complaints and greatest joys, and surprise you with fresh perspectives on God. 

When verbal prayers feel stale, or you simply want to try something fresh, open this inviting guide and pray wherever the pen leads!

• Includes a special section of prayers and prompts for Holy Week and Easter.
• Includes some surprising prayers: Caffeine, A Lover's Psalm, Recycling: A Prayer for Salvation, Feeling a Prayer, Traveling, On "Good Friday" Kind of Days, and many more!

"Praying by writing takes a prayer out of my head and makes praying a whole-body exercise: my creativity is sparked, my spirit fully focused, my muscles employed, my sense of touch and awareness of breath heightened. I felt more connected to prayer than I had ever experienced before." –Rachel Hackenberg~

We would love for you to join us, like I said, we just started :)

Feb 17, 2013

Serving..

Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad
- Genesis 40:6

Have you ever noticed how odd it was that Joseph would notice the sadness of his cellmates? He had plenty of problems himself, without taking on anyone else's.. His brothers had sold him into slavery and then his boss had fired and imprisoned him on false charges.. Yet, Joseph noticed and cared about others..

The surest way out of a personal pit of discouragement is to think of and serve others.. The surest way to deepen your dark times is to draw into, and think more about, yourself.. Joseph is perhaps the best example in the Old Testament of a selfless, servant-spirited saint and it is no coincidence that, in every situation in which he found himself, he continually rose above his trial and glorified God..

Are you going through difficult times? Have others wronged you? What has been your response? Do you think of others and how to help them, or only about yourself and your own problems?

If you put your focus on others and how you could serve them, it may make your own issues look small by comparison..
It's worth a shot right?

Do you wanna be free or not?



It is impossible that no offenses should come.” 
Luke 17:1

OFFENSE WILL COME~
Offense is the number one trap of the enemy, it imprisons and severs relationships, and it hinders us from fulfilling our God given potential.  Most often it’s those closest to us that offend us..


“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me 
who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man of my 
equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet council together, and walked to 
the house of God in the throng.” (Psalm 55:12-14)

Offense comes to us by those closest to us..  The closer the relationship the more severe the offense..  Our expectations of those closest to us are higher than strangers.. So the hurt is greater than those we don’t know..  Many people walk around wounded, hurt and bitter..
These people do not enjoy freedom.. They are in bondage..  Bondage they could easily break free from if they chose to..

OFFENSE IS A TRAP OF THE ENEMY~
The Greek word for offend is ‘skandalon’, which refers to a trap. The word offense signifies “laying a trap for someone”.  Offense is a trap used by the enemy to bring people into captivity and most are unaware that they are even in captivity..  
Offended people can be drawn into two categories:  Those who have been treated unjustly and those who believe with all their hearts that they have been wronged..  
Often the conclusions are drawn from inaccurate information, or their information is accurate but their conclusion is distorted..  Either way, they hurt and their understanding is darkened..  They judge by assumption, appearance, and hearsay.


“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then 
many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the 
love of many will grow cold. But who endures to the end shall be saved.” 
Matthew 24:10-13

Offense is a sign of the end times.. We are living in the end times and we have to be aware that this is going on right now..  Offense is a powerful weapon of the enemy..  The sad part is that we humans arm this weapon for him by refusing to just let it go..  To get over it, stop talking about it, stop thinking about it, and stop dwelling on it..  It's like the red lizard in the story 'The Great Divorce' by C.S Lewis..  The man could not get into Heaven as long as he allowed the lizard to perch on his shoulder and whisper lies into his ear..  He could get rid of it at any time and live an eternity of blessed freedom, but it had to be his choice..  He had to chose to kill it..  No one could make that decision for him..  


“A brother offended is harder to win that a strong city, and contentions are like the bards of 
castle.” 
Proverbs 18:19

Strong cities have walls around them. They keep unwelcome inhabitants and invaders out.. Walls are placed as a means of protection..   We construct walls when we are hurt to safeguard our hearts and prevent from any future wounds..  BUT, the focus of an offended Christian is inward and introspective;  self-absorbed, victim, insecure.. 
Hurt people become more and more self-seeking and self-contained..  An offended person is one who takes in life, but because of fear, cannot release life..  As a result, even the life that does come in becomes stagnant..  
Offended people will find Scripture to back their positions, but it is not the correct division of God’s Word.. This usually will cause us to justify ourselves rather than repent of the unforgiveness..  God wants to develop character in us through opposition, but because of self preservation it is often abandoned..

“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Matthew 24:10

Offense has a progression.. It starts at offense and moves into betrayal and than ultimately hate..  Walls are built for protection..  Self-preservation at all costs. This makes us capable of betrayal..  It is the ultimate abandonment of covenant..  But maintaining an offense keeps us from seeing our own character flaws because blame is deferred to another..  It's the "I'm the victim" mentality..
It leads to hatred with serious consequences..  The Bible states clearly that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him 1 John 3:15

PRIDE~ 
The enemy keeps an offended person in an offended place by keeping the offense hidden and cloaked in pride..  Pride keeps us from looking at our true condition of our hearts..   Pride causes us to view ourselves as victims..  Blameless..  And because an offended person believes they were treated unjustly, they hold back forgiveness..  Which we all know hurts us more than them anyway..  
Being mistreated does not give us permission to hold an offense!

OFFENSE LEADS TO GOSSIP~
“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse 
speech.” 
Proverbs 8:13
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all 
malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in 
Christ forgave you.” 
Ephesians 4:31-32

Gossip is the watering cistern for bitterness to take root..  Gossip tries to gather people on our side, instead of releasing and forgiving..  God HATES perverse speech..  He HATES gossip..  Through Gossip we come into agreement with the enemy who is the accuser of the brother. (Job 1:8, Rev. 12)
God’s posture is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8-9)  
“Its His kindness that leads us to repentance.”
(Romans 2:4)

CHOOSE TO FORGIVE!
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive 
them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against 
anyone, forgive him that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespass. But if 
you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. 
Mark 11:24-26

A person who cannot forgive has forgotten how great a debt God has forgiven them..  If we do not forgive, our prayers are hindered..  If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven..  If you are still angry, if you still talk about it, if you still feel uncomfortable around those who have offended you; you have not forgiven..
If you carry an offense or bitterness toward another person, you do not know the Holy Spirit as a comforter..  You are grieving the Spirit, and hurting yourself..

MOST OFFENSES ARE PETTY & PERCEIVED~
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of 
sins.” 
1 Peter 4:8
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all 
discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and 
without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are 
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise 
of God.” 
Philippians 1:9-11

Most offenses are perceived, they are not real.. The enemy can bring thoughts to us that are false or exaggerated, we perceive them to be real and if we believe the lie, we can carry the offense..

TAKE ACTION~
It is time to pray..  Release others from what you feel they have done to you..  Cancel the debt you feel they owe you..   Jesus did that for you..  Are you so much better than He?  


Who are you really hurting any way?  Them or yourself?  
You can be free of it, or captive to it..
Your choice.
.

Feb 16, 2013

A thought.

The goal is to get
so close to God
that the devil is too
afraid to come near you ..

Having healthy relationships..

Lisa Whelchel was on Joyce Meyer recently talking about maintaining healthy friendships..  I thought it was really informative..
Have a look..



Feb 6, 2013

Promise, Problem, Provision..

     The other day I was listening to a sermon by John Hagee..  He was talking about how to go from God's promises, through the problem and on to the provision..  For example..  

God promised to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt..  The wilderness was the problem that they had to go through to get to promised land which of course was the provision  With me?  Awesome..
      Now the wilderness was only supposed to be an 11 day problem, but because of the stubbornness and disobedience of the people, the problem lasted them 40 years..  Only then could they move on to the provision..  
Sadly, many of them (including Moses) had to keel off before even reaching the provision..

John Hagee gave a list of '10 ways to shorten your stay in a problem" so you can go straight to the provision..  I found it helpful, so I took notes:


10 ways to shorten your stay in a problem

1) Take responsibility for your actions. - Don't play the blame game..  No one can make you react or behave in a certain way..  That's all on you..  You are responsible for what you do, say, and think..

2) Be willing to work for what you want. - Wealth without work will not prosper you.  God worked, so should you.

3) Don't waste time fighting what you can not change. - Has someone lied about you?  Have you lost friends?  Has someone judged you unfairly?  Did someone lie to you?  Steal from you?  Cheat on you?
Well, it's in the past..  You can't change it..  Stop talking about it, grumbling about it, and thinking about it..  It happened, it's over..  Get over it and move on.. 

4) When you are wrong, admit it. - Absolutely no one but God is always right..  People who feel that they must be right all the time become lonely people without lasting friendships and relationships..  

5) Don't nurse grudges or refuse forgiveness. - Forgiveness is not optional.  Whomever you do not forgive hold you in bondage..

6) Be generous to those who need your help. - How you help others in their time of need will determine how  God will help you in yours.  
**I am proof of that!**

7) Let your mouth be ruled by the law of kindness. - Say please, thank you, excuse me..  Not only outside your house but in it as well..  Be kind to your spouse and your children..  Apologize when you should (even if you don't feel like it)..  Speak life to everyone.  As the saying goes "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".

8)  Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal - Doing so removes God and puts 'self' on the throne..  You are the child of a King..  The Almighty God is your Father..  There is nothing about you to pity..  Ever.

9) Listen. Really listen. - Don't just wait to talk..  Don't jump in to give your advice..  Put yourself in their shoes and just listen..  To your spouse and your children as well as others..  Be slow to speak and quick to listen..  Most of all listen to God..  When you pray, be quiet once in a while and listen..  Nothing you have to say can be more important than what God has to say to you..
"Be still and know that I am God"  Psalm 46:10

10) Be a peacemaker. - Be the one to make peace.  Right or wrong..  Swallow your pride and make amends .  Have the courage to face the problem and make peace.