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Feeling Overlooked and Undervalued?

July25As I read through Proverbs, chapter 25 this morning, Friend, the verses that stand out are verses 6-7, which say, “Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.  It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace.”  Isn’t this so like us?  Perhaps not necessarily that we all push to the front of the line or to the front of an audience, etc., just to get noticed, but isn’t there an inner impatience often times within us in which we would like to have our perceived strengths and/or potential to be noticed?

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Stepping Up To The Plate

July19Good Morning, Friend! This morning I was reading about the life of Michal, whose story is found in 1 Samuel 18 & 19 and 2 Samuel 6.  As I read of how she went from a happy wife to King David and even saved his life when her father (who was his predecessor as king) sought to kill him, to a only few years later when she is seen as ridiculing and mocking her husband, it brought to mind how easily we can drift and change over time.  Change in attitude or thought processes can come so slowly that we are barely aware of it.  Yet when we pause and take the time to reflect about where we were five or even ten years ago spiritually, mentally, emotionally, in the ways of character and integrity and heart-intent, and then compare that to where we are now, what will we find?  Author John Maxwell says it well when he writes about this in his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, “The first law is the Law of Intentionality: Growth Doesn’t Just Happen. We don’t improve by simply living. We have to be intentional about it.”  Are you being intentional about growth today, Friend?  I know that this is a question which I am asking myself as well when thinking through the alternative of slipping slowly, unknowingly, backward if one is not careful.

Proverbs, chapter 19 is our chapter to peruse this morning in search of the wisdom that will bring growth when implemented.

Discipline your children while there is hope.  Otherwise you will ruin their lives.” (verse 18)

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The Right Words Bring Satisfaction

July18Hello, Friend!  Have you ever found yourself desperately wanting a certain thing or maybe a certain situation to come in to being, hoping and wishing for it and even praying for it and then at long last, you are able to own the thing you had wanted or be in the situation desired and you suddenly realize that it’s not all that you anticipated it to be?  I think that most of us have experienced this at one time or another.  Perhaps you’ve been a parent of small children and find yourself waiting for the day that they are grown and then when they are grown, their sweet hugs and childish voices are now desperately missed!  Perhaps you’ve been the one who couldn’t wait to get out of school and on your own, yet when that time came, you had to come to grips with the realities of work life and school now seems to have been relatively care-free.  The habit of thankfulness for each and every thing we are experiencing today and the art of truly living in the present are the sought-after antidotes to this very real possibility.  At times, I have even heard people wish for the days when they were not so financially well off as they are perceived as having been simpler and less complicated, yet if the truth were to come out, those same people probably were wishing for more during that time!

Proverbs, chapter 18 is our chapter to read through today.  As I prayerfully read through this chapter today, praying the words from Psalms 119:18, “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.”, this is the verse that caught my attention:

Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.” (verse 20)

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The Foolishness Of A Short Temper

July14Good Morning Friend and Fellow Life Warrior!  “Striving for excellence motivates you.  Striving for perfection is demoralizing” is a quote recently seen and one which can definitely be identified with by this reader!  Not only can striving for perfection within oneself be demoralizing, but feeling like those around you constantly expect perfection of you can be so as well.  The problem is that for many, the difference between “excellence” and “perfection” can be a small and even negligible difference.  What one person may call “excellence”, another person will recognize as nit-picky perfectionism.  Having been on the receiving end of this expectation of perfectionism at times and then reading this quote and recognizing the truth of it this morning has caused me to examine my expectations of those I come into contact with today.  Will I treat others with a gratefulness for the things that they add to my life or will I look at the negatives and only see those things that “could be better”?  As in so many areas of life, it seems that the means to battle perfectionism and its negative effects are to continue to cultivate a perspective that focuses on the positive side of everything and everyone and also to cultivate the attitude of thankfulness for the good things seen in both myself and in others.

Chapter 14 of the book of Proverbs is our chapter to read through today.

Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated.”  (verse 17)

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Worthy Strength

July12Hello, Friend!  I must say that I am still thinking about the story of Nathanael and the prejudice he exhibited when his friend, Philip, invited him to come and meet the Christ.  His response to Philip was “Can anything thing good come from Nazareth?”  Yet in spite of his obvious prejudice against the town of Nazareth, he did go to meet Jesus, and his life was forever changed.  Yesterday, we talked about the prejudice that one can encounter which is aimed at Christianity in our culture, but can we not encounter prejudice within Christianity as well?  We find that those of one denomination do not agree with all of the teachings of another denomination, so they avoid one another.  We find that we can be suspicious of one another and can assume a prideful attitude if not careful.  We may even have these attitudes toward non-profit organizations, depending on who they are associated with and whether it is with someone whose teachings we completely agree with.  If a good friend came to us and invited us to come to one of their services or an organizational event with them where they said that they had “found” Christ to be present, would we go?  Would we be open to our lives forever being changed for the better, as Nathanael was, or would we miss out on what God was doing in our day and age?  Interesting to think about this morning…

Proverbs, chapter 12 is where we are reading today, searching for the wisdom with which we can live our lives as we put the wisdom learned each day into practice.

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.” (verse 4)

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Stop Fighting!

June17 | Stop Fighting!Good Morning Friend!  There’s nothing like spending time with your family, is there?  Even if conflict arises or differences in opinion come up, when one has learned to navigate those things even they can become a piece of the experience that we enjoy.  We can always know that Uncle ________ is going to go off on a rant about the current political situation or that one sibling or another is going to be vocal about their choice of lifestyle, daring anyone to challenge their choice or there may be a variety of other possible tense situations that may come up.  Knowing to give oneself mental and emotional distance ahead of time from those things that are likely to occur can definitely bring perspective and also bring laughter if handled correctly.  We have one relative who is a continual worrier and at one family gathering, one of our sons started inserting into the conversation after each statement of worry, his opinion that “…and we’re all going to die!”  After a couple of those comments, we all began to laugh instead of tense up whenever the worrying relative began to fret aloud.  It makes me wonder sometimes how God sees us when we come to “visit” Him through our prayer times.  Does he get tired of us trying to make him see things our way?  Does he get irritated with us when we insist upon worrying?  Does he care about only those who are in our political party or does he care about all people, regardless of their persuasion?  These thoughts bring to mind the verse found in Matthew 28:11, where Jesus says, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  He doesn’t qualify who he is saying to come to him, does he?  He only lets us know that IF we will come to him, he will give us rest.

Today, we are reading through Proverbs, chapter 17, in search of the wisdom needed for today:

Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.”  (verse 14)

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A Good Reflection

May27Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” (-John F. Kennedy)  Hello, Friend!  Now, just a little honesty between friends, but have you not done what this quote is expressing as have I, in fact many times, if we are not careful?  Have you, like me, found that it is easy to find yourself giving your opinion of what should or shouldn’t be happening as we find ourselves hearing of events or of decisions being made or even of what our boss, school, or company is doing?  In fact, isn’t it often the leader or the one in charge who is often the object of our opinionated speech?  And yet… so often we do not have the knowledge of everything that they have had to think over in making their decisions, which when coupled with the responsibilities that the one making the decisions carries cause them to make the decisions that they make.  We are safe in our position of non-responsibility, so we feel free to verbalize what we think we would do if in their position… but would we really?

Proverbs, chapter 27, is the chapter we are reading today and verse 11 says,

Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad.  Then I will be able to answer my critics.”

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Discernment For Today

May21Hello Friend!  I recently watched a marketing webinar in which the viewer was instructed to always write or “speak” through whatever (social media) format they were using as if the hearer was a close friend.  While the aim of the instructor was to get across that people connect better to someone who is personable and relatable for the sake of making a sale, I want you to know that you are much more than a “sale” to me and that you should always be able to differentiate those who would share the love of Christ with you through their genuine care.  John 13:34-35 tells of Jesus saying, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

Today, we are reading through Proverbs, chapter 21 in search of the wisdom with which we can live our lives well, without regret, and which we can meditate on and implement today.

Verse 4 says, “Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.

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Refreshing As An Artesian Spring

May18 | Refreshing As An Artesian SpringGood Morning, Friend!  I saw a quote the other day which said “In the beginning, there was darkness, then God made a good strong pot of coffee and got to work.”  The person who posted this made the comment then that they always knew that they had liked God…  Seriously though, doesn’t having something in common with someone create an avenue for relationship?  I think that is why I so “like” the author of the book of Proverbs– he knew very well his own inadequacies and recognized his need for wisdom.  I also am so thankful that he chose to share the wisdom that God gave him through writing it down for those of us reading it today!

Today, as we read through Proverbs, chapter 18, looking for that piece of wise advice which will be applicable for our day, I noticed verse 4:

Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.

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Bringing Joy to the Heart

May15Good Morning Friend and Fellow Life Warrior!  “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” (-Winston Churchill)  This quote caught my eye today and while I have read it before, it always makes me stop and think about what I am “giving” in life.  Who am I blessing, helping in some way, encouraging, or contributing to making their life better somehow?  It’s interesting that no matter how selfish we can be, or how much our society actually promotes selfishness, there is an inherent need within us to “give” somehow.  I recently watched the movie “The Book Thief” which chronicles the life of a fictional young girl who was orphaned in Nazi Germany right before WWII and all of the loss and trauma that she endured through that time.  At one point, someone asks her why she is helping them, and she simply replies “Because we are human.”  We can either cater to our selfish side, focusing solely on ourselves, or to the side which was created to live in community with others and in communion with God and which desires to “give”.  As we seek the wisdom needed to live our lives well, I am keeping in mind the thought that a “life” is made by giving.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.”  (verse 30)

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