I got plans!

Life is a puzzle

I’m not sure about you, however, I have plans for my life, my kids lives and ideas for a world of peace. The problem is in my zest for being in control I can shut down the better plans. Over the years, I have heard, “you are not in charge, you may not have the right solution.”

When I get in the way of my Creator God and His plans things can become a tornado and swirl to effect not only me but those I love. I have had to step back and let God/ Jesus/ Holy Spirit be the teacher. I need instruction and direction or I wander like a lost sheep. Can you relate?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. [12] In those days when you pray, I will listen. [13] If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Pausing from my want of control makes me take a step back and breathe. Take a breath right now! Ponder that circumstance or person that you want to control. Take another breath, deeper this time. Blow out the hurried anxious mindset, breathe in the Breathe of life that comes from the One who created you.

Now consider this scripture verse set and push a reset in your mind:

Psalm 20:1-6 MSG
GOD answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach, Send reinforcements from Holy Hill, Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies, Exclaim over your offerings, Celebrate your sacrifices, Give you what your heart desires, Accomplish your plans. [5] When you win, we plan to raise the roof and lead the parade with our banners. May all your wishes come true! [6] That clinches it-help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.

Did you slow down that busy brain of yours? I know I had to reread this scripture from the Message version, it’s more similar to contemporary speech. So if you have time, reread Psalm 20. It will be worth it.

This morning, I was amazed to hear a song by Rend Collective, “Plans”. The words were a great reminder that our God has plans for us. He can be trusted. Our problem is our need to control. Enjoy the pause as you listen.

Here’s the reality, in our fast paced world, we have gotten used to an immediate solution. God doesn’t work that way, He sees our lives and those we love as a finished masterpiece. Visualize a puzzle that needs to be completed. The multiple shades of color bright and dark require intricate position of the pieces. It takes time for the Masterpiece to be completed.

Sometimes our response from God can be immediate, or perhaps soon or the harder response to wait. But our God is working on each of our life stories, He needs our cooperation and submission to His plan. So let Him lead your day and be in His control it’s a more peaceful place to rest.

This thanksgiving week, choose thankfulness for the little things and gratitude to our God, the Puzzler Master, who made you. He will finish the work He starts if you allow Him.

Philippians 1:6 NLT
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Break the cycle, Armor Up!

Has anyone else witnessed increased rage behavior? Lately, I have been feeling more oppression, conflicts, unrest, and lack of understanding in community and personally, it is not just politically. Yes, it feels like spiritual warfare is ramping up.

The enemy of our soul wants us to live in fear and take our eyes off the Creator of the universe and everything good in it. The pressure cooker of relationship challenges or watching from the sidelines conflicts between children to young adults can exhaust. The devil is the leader of destruction, he wants to steal, kill and destroy each person created in the Image of God. If he can cause us to hate each other because of rejection, he brings on darkness.

I can almost hear the gnashing of teeth and furious temper tantrum of a two year old that didn’t get its’ toy. The raging person may be child, teen, young adult or seasoned one. This mindset of control comes from the enemy. No one should demand a relationship and rule in fear. This is unhealthy and those patterns must be broken. It can be the beginning of emotional abuse leading to domestic violence. Using force or coercion encourages the predator to get more controlling.

It is at these times when I feel this upside down world of war, I must stand firm in my faith in Jesus! Our youth, teens and young adults have had a marred few years in Covid lockdown. It hasn’t only been isolation for supposed community health sake but a mental health nightmare. We have all been effected in someway, even the most stable in our peer groups.

I believe our children need our input even more today. When we show healthy responses in disappointment, we are reminded we don’t do life alone but have each other to lift up the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to fight with His mighty army against the enemies schemes.

Psalm 103:19-22 NLT [19] The LORD has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. [20] Praise the LORD, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. [21] Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! [22] Praise the LORD, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the LORD.

Teaching our children to stand firm in their faith, listen without talking, asking questions to clarify if they want help can be a great start. We want our kids to feel comfortable seeking parents or friends for help. Our kids need to know we are a safe place. We have to reflect self control like Jesus. Together, We can bring our concerns before God and He will provide His army along with wisdom. Silence allows violence. Sharing challenges can break the isolation predators use to trap another person and the unhealthy patterns can be broken in community.

I have on my battle armor. It comes from the Lord. This battle gear must be put on daily and at times I must speak aloud each part. Ephesians 6 describes the Armor of God, every morning I pray this over my family. There have been days I prayed this scripture over my kids at night as they slept or holding their hands while the battle raged. You can place your child’s name wherever appropriate in the scripture below.

Ephesians 6:11-18 NLT
[11] Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. [12] For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. [13] Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. [14] Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. [15] For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. [16] In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. [17] Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [18] Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Jesus is the only hope for each of us. Get on the Armor of God. Just like in an airplane, put on your armor first, then show your kids how to put on theirs. Take a deep breath that comes from God. Our continued prayers and communication with the Holy Spirit are power beyond our human understanding. There is a battle going on in the supernatural but in the end Jesus wins.

Romans 5:3-5 NLT [3] We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. [4] And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. [5] And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Communication in this Age

As I sit at the coffee shop, I see a class of teens being treated to an end of the year coffee / fruit drink. This teacher apparently comes every year and treats the students for a job well done. Now that’s a teacher who knows how to reach their students. She is being a reflection of love and God is love.

The whole class is polite, respectful and shows gratitude. This is the next generation of leaders. They are shown compassion and direction by this amazing teacher. It is refreshing, we can all reflect hope and love like this relationship.

Yes, they take out their cellphones for a bit of additional communication, however, they are in person carrying on conversation. There is laughter, smiles, and companionship.

There is hope!

They are valuing the most important thing, relationships in respect, love, common interests and they will likely succeed in the future as a result. This is the future!

Psalm 145:12-17 MSG
[12] Letting the world know of your power for good, the lavish splendor of your kingdom. [13] Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal; you never get voted out of office. GOD always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does. [14] GOD gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. [15] All eyes are on you, expectant; you give them their meals on time. [16] Generous to a fault, you lavish your favor on all creatures. [17] Everything GOD does is right- the trademark on all his works is love.

Where is your sphere of influence? Make a difference to encourage and love others it’s a trademark of God who loves and can impact generations.

Wind

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The wind has been blowing at hurricane forces with red flag warnings covering my state for over a week. Wind escalades consuming fires; causes dust storms, and blows the tumbling weed you may have seen in Wild West movies. Those weeds can grow into the size of house doors. I have a friend who shared seeing an entire front of a house covered by them, with a senior citizen needing help.

I have been meditating on the wind, the Hebrew word for wind is Ruach. Strongs Concordance definition: Ruach means breath, wind, spirit with its’ phonetic spelling is (roo’-akh). Johnathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish author shares his interpretation in his “Book of Mysteries”. The Holy Spirit, the breath of life along the wind are synonymous with the power of the Lord. Have you ever thought of this concept?

The Bible supports this premise, as I did research I found the wind described in Genesis through Revelations. It was an amazing read I will share some scriptures.

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, describes God’s action to blow across the earth and dry land after the flood.

Genesis 8:1    But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede.

The Lord used the wind to bring a holy fear to enemies in war just by its sound in Leviticus, wind cleared locusts and brought quail to the hungry Israelites in Numbers 11.

2 Samuel 22 describes how the Lord heard the cries of David and David saw Him in the storm clouds. What a visual? I choose to believe the same is true today. We may have other noises or busy lists drowning out this revelation.

2 Samuel 22:11
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew,
  soaring on the wings of the wind.

Elijah described being worn out and feeling alone as He continued to serve the Lord even though many peers thought he was crazy and stupid. In 1 Kings 19, we are reminded that despite the noise around us the Lord speaks in whispers. Are we spending time with our Lord? It is hard to hear His whispers when we aren’t listening for them. I am guilty as charged at times.

1 Kings 19: 11-12   11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

At one point, Job was rebuked by the Lord for his rantings. The Lord reminded Job where all things began, with Him. Job 38:24 Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind?

In Psalm 28, the Lord is increasingly frustrated as His children are not walking with Him, the Lord says in verse 26: He released the east wind in the heavens, and guided the south wind by his mighty power.

My time hearing the winds, seeing the trees sway, watching the tumbleweeds, not being able to walk a straight line outside, eating dust, and sneezing from the wind, made me consider the Lord made the wind and it holds the majesty of His power.

Matthew 8:26-27 is one of my favorite stories of Jesus calming the storm at sea while his buddies freaked out. Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” The winds were out of control and Jesus rebuked the winds. It was a defining moment because they were in awe that even the winds obeyed Jesus. Sadly, I can be like the disciples! But I don’t have to stay in that place.

Psalm 104 describes the majesty of the Lord and his creation of sky, heavens, clouds, and wind.

Psalm 104: 1- 4   
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord. O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed 
with honor and majesty. 
2 You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; 
3  you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your 
chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. 
4  The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.

Ah, another windy day, red flag warning in case of fires, the earth is so dry, just a spark of flame will light up the pastures. Isn’t that a metaphor for life, my friends?

Action steps: Meditate on these: Am I walking with the wind, in a sense my Holy Spirit, my Lord? Or am I walking against His instructions with worry, defiance, pride, grumbling, basically, in sin? If I choose the fleshy sin ways, I am dried up, worn out, depressed, anxious and lonely. If I walk with the Lord I allow Him to carry me or at the very least, I let my burdens be directed by His wisdom and the negative mindset to be blown away as I trust Him.

James 1: 5-7       5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I want to be in control, do you? However, with each passing year, I am learning my need to control is not helpful. I can’t control the future and world events any more than I can control the wind. I am choosing loyalty and a walk with Him.

Walk with the wind not against it! Hold onto your hat, life will be more interesting and less parched.

Help me be more

We are so capable of transformation in our walk with Jesus! Did you know He wants to move in your life? We have to submit to His authority not as a judge snd jury but as the One who wants to use us in a mighty way.

Zach William’s lyrics, Less of Me, were so right on for me lately. I want to be more full of grace, mercy, kindness, and less like me.

We all have failures, warts, so to speak in our lives. But we can be healed of the past and be used for the Kingdom of God.

We don’t have to settle for less than God’s best plan. Today’s the day, be willing to be more like Jesus and less of you. First, you must submit to His authority, bend your knee to Him, believe He can transform, say it aloud as Romans 10:8 – 15 reminds.

Romans 10:8-15 NLT
[8] In fact, it says, "The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart." And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 
[9] If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
 [10] For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 
[11] As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced." 
[12] Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. [13] For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." 
[14] But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? [15] And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"

May you feel the love of Jesus direct your life. It is amazing;)! If you have made this declaration of faith, let me know, I rejoice with you as does the family of Jesus!

Love Like This

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Do you know Jesus loves you? I mean really Loves you. He wants to know you in a relationship. Do you want to know a love like this? It is a step of faith with Him. It is a life-changing experience. He wants to know You!!

In John 4, there’s a story of a woman who had a hard life, had many lovers, Jesus met her at a well. She was seen as less than, yet Jesus loved her. Jesus wanted her to know He came to save her from her sins of the past and He would be water for her thirst. Unquenchable thirst refreshed by the amazing Jesus, the Water of Life.

John 4: 10 – 15

10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

These are not just words, they are life-giving. It does not matter where you have been women or men. Jesus waits for you to call out to Him, He loves you!!!

Love Like this, a beautiful song by Lauren Daigle came onto my playlist yesterday. It has been a while since I heard this song, powerful lyrics bring hope and a reminder that the love of Jesus! He is the living water in a wasteland. Jesus is a warm morning sunrise after a dark, lonely night.

We may not feel we deserve a love like this but Jesus says we are His! Seek to know Him! Let the whisper of His voice fill your mind with hope. Enjoy basking in Him.

We cannot earn a love like Jesus gives, it is a free gift. Isn’t that amazing?

In the Bible, Chapter 14 of John tells us about a conversation between Jesus and doubting Thomas along with the disciples. I share this chapter to show you Jesus understands our human doubt. He loves us anyway!

John 14: 1 – 14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Jesus told his disciples after he briefly returned from death on the cross, He would send an advocate (the Holy Spirit) to guide them.

Matthew 14: 15 – 21 shares what Jesus said to his best friends, the disciples. We are not alone after we accept Jesus as our Savior, we also have an Advocate (the Holy Spirit) along with Jesus who intercedes for us before God the Father.

Jesus said 15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

The Living Water of Jesus is for everyone. We are all sinners who fall short of perfection. Yet Jesus died a sinner’s death on the cross. He rose from the dead and shared the news of the Holy Spirit with his disciples. who in turn shared the story in the Bible.

Did you know Bible Gateway ( BibleGateway.com ) has a website that you can access online for the Bible? I use the New Living translation or the Message versions because I feel they are easier to understand.

The Bible is the most read book of all time according to Business insider, and the best selling book of all time according to Guiness Book of World records. Consider a new year as an opportunity to access the Bible for yourselves.

We can start a new year with a new life in Jesus. We can accept this free gift of love. He gives us a beautiful love like this, reach for it today!

John 3:16-17 NLT
[16] “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. [17] God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Footprints and Music

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Our footprints are a metaphor for a step of faith, life, and grief as we journey. We are born for a purpose. As the new year comes, step into the footprints of a God who is merciful and kind. It will transform your life.

Grief and loss can bring our steps in line with our Creator.

Ephesians 2: 4-10    4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2: 8 – 10 tells us we are God’s workmanship, created to do amazing things.

We are called to share what we learn as we walk on this planet. Jesus believes in our impact as we walk the path He leads.

You may have lost someone this year: a sudden death, a prolonged illness, a trauma, whatever the cause. We have all lost at least one person we loved. We may have had grief as a result of lost dreams for ourselves or family. Grief is tough, every journey is different, but we can’t sit too long.

We have to be “The Commission”, as the band Cain shares in this song. We must tell others about the hope of eternity found in Jesus. Death, the goodbye is not the end.

May this song, “The Commission” and the coming 2022, be a journey of stepping into faith with Jesus or renewing your walk. You are a Masterpiece.

As you grieve, Jesus grieves with you. Did you know the shortest scripture, John 11:35, in the Bible is, Jesus wept? He grieved for a friend lost too soon. He came to this world to gain knowledge of being human. He knows all our emotions.

Your life story has a purpose and can help others. Go tell someone about Him.

Bright Morning Star

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Where are you fixing your eyes? Is it in anticipation of the Bright Morning Star and the remembrance of Jesus at Christmas? Scripture tells us Jesus is the Bright Morning Star.

My fascination with astronomy, NOT astrology has been increased this year. I have been blessed to hear a few sermons on astronomy from our pastor.  He has opened my mind to the word of God and the many places scripture supports the specific placement of stars in the sky. However, we are not to worship the stars but the One who made them.

Deuteronomy 4:19 

19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

When I ponder on the true meaning of Christmas, I am amazed to think that God placed the stars in the sky and He named each one of them They worship Him. My small human mind can’t compute this truth. This is another opportunity to dig into the Bible and ask Him to show me and you.

 Genesis 14: 14 – 19   And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Psalm 147: 4   He (God) determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Psalm 19: 1 – 8

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[
b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.

The angel spoke to John, the apostle, and showed him things to come. This is a prophecy of Jesus coming to earth.

Revelation 22:16   Jesus said, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

When we consider baby Jesus coming to the world as a baby in a manager, we always remember the Star of Bethlehem that shined. It was a revelation of lighting the way for Jesus coming and drew shepherds, wise men, townspeople, and even Kings to see what was revealed in the darkness.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Light. He is the Bright Morning Star!

His statutes are trustworthy, right and give joy to the heart. Joy to the World.

Websites for Astronomy and Biblical wisdom: Click the links below. The Home button will get you to Bethlehemstar.com and the second link is to The Gospel in the Stars message by Pastor Matthew. Be amazed at our amazing Creator!

bethlehemstar.com

Under construction

Become a Tent of Light

Men and women, you are under construction. The architect of your existence made you to be a solid example of the character of Jesus. But, it takes effort and a carpenters tools to break through the character defects. Hammers, nails, drills, whatever is needed.

My hammer occurred this morning as I read Proverbs 14, the words of truth practically bounced off the page. I was given a personal lesson in the life of a women. It is hard work in the building up of faith and tearing down of my character flaws.

The choices I make can bring foolish or rewarding results.
The impulse of my heart ( by the way the heart can be deceitful) can lean to the fool at times especially when hangry, insomniac, or misunderstood. Brain fog, stomach grumbling I can take the bait in communication and bark sometimes. Can you relate?

Words and impulsive reactions matter to God and they should matter to me. Foolish responses effect all relationships. It starts at home in our inner circle of influence. It can be your friend, coworker, family group, or even the places where you find joy such as the gym, with music or sipping coffee with a friend.

Proverbs 14:1
1. The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
2
Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,
but those who despise him are devious in their ways.
3
A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them.
4
Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.
5
An honest witness does not deceive,
but a false witness pours out lies.
6
The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
7
Stay away from a fool,
for you will not find knowledge on their lips.
8
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
9
Fools mock at making amends for sin,
but goodwill is found among the upright.
10
Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy.
11
The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.

Reading this chapter in Proverbs, I pondered the scriptures as if I was looking at the face of Jesus, His image reflecting love and a need for some hammer and nails with a little mortar for my cracks.

I am under construction, we all are under construction. He wants to build in us a solid foundation. The rocks and bricks need to be in His wisdom and we must let Him put the pieces together. Yes, there may be cracks in the dry places but He wants me/us to trust He will patch the breaks and provide living water when we get parched in this dry weary land. Progress not perfection my fellow women and men!

Consider these questions for yourself ( women and men):
Do I build my house with wisdom or tear down those in my home?
Do I understand fear of the Lord is reverence to His instruction and refusal to live otherwise?
Do I lash out in pride using my words without thinking?
Am I an honest example even if it is hard, or do I find ways to speak little white lies to keep peace?
Do I think carefully before I speak or assume everyone must hear my opinion?
Do I make amends when I sin or hurt others ask forgiveness?

We all can think bitter, nasty thoughts, pessimistic attitudes pollute our minds and cause our joy to be snuffed out like the Light of our witness.

Matthew 5: 14 – 16
14
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We want to have a tent of Light, His Light, filled to abundance. We want to help others to see daily life is hard but not impossible when We choose to walk with wisdom. When I seek to choose the better path, the life of those whose paths We cross can be effected for the Kingdom in more hope, love, mercy and grace.

Christmas Paradox

Jesus came for all of us in the most humble way, as a baby in the manger. A gift from God to restore our relationship with our Creator.

We are all worthy of saving broken pieces and all.

Christmas can bring nostalgic feelings of joy or pain, family connections perhaps this time of year brings the opposite isolation with depression. It depends on past experiences. Not all people have been blessed into the traditions depicted in the Hallmark movie reels; continuous smiles, finding love, and family commitment.

For some people poverty, addiction, mental health, and dysfunctional family have brought increased stress and PTSD as the season unfolds. There can be a struggle of comparison traps and (FOMO) Fear of Missing Out leading to more depression, anxiety, isolation with increased substance abuse.

According to the Merriam-Webster definition paradox means something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible. Christmas is relatable to a paradox. We may come from two opposite life experiences and yet what is true and possible is we can find transformation to future generations. We can discover Jesus loves all of His children.

Being an Emergency Department / Trauma Nurse for multiple decades, our patient loads would show the diverse Christmas experiences. It was a challenging time to be a nurse, yet, I tried to treat each patient with compassion, mercy with grace.

Even if patients were in crisis, swearing at me, swinging their fists, suicidal, I had to still believe in Jesus and my ability to care for my patients with Jesus’ love. There were untimely deaths, traumatic accidents with innocent victims, gunshot/stabbing patients, family disturbances. Increased domestic violence occurred, I would love on the patients including kids while they were in my care.

The potential for a tarnished view of life was strong at times, however, I had to dig deep into my relationship with Jesus and lay down, in prayer, my thoughts for the moment. I prayed for patients and families alike. I hoped I reflected Jesus to those who needed Him.

This song by Anne Wilson was released recently, I Still Believe in Christmas really brings a great message of hope and the amazing gift of Jesus. In our lives, we must hold onto hope and grow our faith in the One true King Jesus.

Isaiah 9 :6   For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

No matter what your past experience has been regarding Christmas, there is a wonderful message from Jesus’ birth that can change your life. This baby came to save you from your sin and bring new life. Maybe this year it is time to discover Him.

I still believe in Christmas! May you find Him.