Spiritual Fixed Mindset

People trapped in a fixed mindset believe God gifted some people and not others. www.liftupyourday.com

“Guess what?! I just got an email! The book I submitted is going to be published!”

“Hey! I have great news! I’ve just been asked to speak on a Christian women’s cruise to the Bahamas! I sail January 15th!”

 

Have you ever been jealous of a brother or sister in Christ?

I have too. When I’ve seen all the fabulous things others have accomplished, I have felt less. I used to think God wouldn’t use a person like me; He’d only use super Christians. You know, those people who got saved at three, baptized at four and went on their first mission trip at five. I was too messed up. Too broken. Too unlovely. I believed in Jesus, but I thought I could never change. Wrong.

What about you?

Do you think you’re too messed up, trapped in your addiction/codependent relationship/shopping habit/food problem/embarrassing sin to ever be transformed?  Do you think you will always be stuck right where you are, battling the same old stuff? Then you are suffering from a Spiritual Fixed Mindset.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset: a belief that basic qualities like intelligence, flaws, sin and talent are fixed traits, therefore a person can never change, grow or overcome challenges or sins. This is the way I was born, This is the way I am, are the mantras of people trapped in a spiritual fixed mindset.

People trapped in a fixed mindset believe God gifted some people and not others.

They spend their time documenting their failures and sins. They believe talent alone creates success—without effort. They believe there is something wrong with them that can never be fixed. They are stuck. People with a fixed spiritual mindset constantly try to prove their worth. They are very sensitive to criticism, always anxious and prone to self-doubt.

Spiritual Fixed Mindset is marked by:

  • negative self-talk
  • second guessing decisions (and third and fourth guessing)
  • focusing on self
  • seeing only failures and replaying them in living color over and over
  • condemning self
  • hiding gifts
  • keeping head down and playing it safe
  • walking by sight

The poster child for the fixed spiritual-mindset is the man with one talent.

A man was going on a journey and he left three servants money to invest while he was gone. Two servants used their master’s money wisely and the master entrusted them with more. When called to account for how he used his master’s money, the man who had received one talent answered,

“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 25: 14-21, 24-29

What did the One-Talent Servant do?

He was afraid, and he hid his gifts. He did not use them for the benefit of his master or anyone else. The One-Talent Servant was not punished because he tried and failed—but because he did not try. I believe pride was at the bottom of his failure to launch. He didn’t want to look bad in the eyes of the world. He was walking by sight and not by faith.

How about you (and me)? We’ve got gifts. We’ve got talent. We’ve got treasure. We’ve also got calling. Go forth. Make disciples. Tell everyone.

Whatever your gifts, serving, loving, mercy, cooking, cleaning, fixing, babysitting, acting, blogging, gaming, sewing, doing hair and make-up, fishing, hunting, turning a wrench, there is a need for it in your church/community/housing project/town. Get going!

You won’t find the will of God apart from the word of God. When I got serious about following Jesus, new giftings and interests seemed to pop up from nowhere, so did new opportunities.

Action Steps:

  1. Think: What do you love to do? Where is your passion? If it isn’t against God’s word, there is a way to use it for His kingdom.
  2. Pray: Ask God to show you how He wants you to use your gifts and to open doors for you.
  3. Start: Do something today to start using your gifts. Make a call, share your vision, take a class, or join a group.

Let me know your thoughts about Spiritual Fixed Mindset, how you plan to use your gifts and how I can pray for you, by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.

God is good!

Mary Kane

Read more from Mary at: onlybyprayer.com

Daughter of the King

That they are precious, priceless jewels…treasures - made by a God who loves them beyond measure.

In today’s world, young women can find themselves tying their self-worth to a number. It might be the number of total favorites, followers, or retweets that their smartphone notifies them of each day. It might the number of likes or comments that their selfies generate. Whether it is social media-induced or not, many preteen and teenage girls measure their self-worth and identity in ways that they were never intended to.

One of my most earnest prayers is that young girls would come to the realization that their identity is only found in God. That prayer led me to write a song a few years ago, entitled, “Daughter of the King,” The lyrics are as follows:

The cruel phrases echo in her mind – the battle rages within. She struggles to ignore the words, but they laugh and win again. They say, “Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough to be,” what she had dreamed she would be when she was just a little girl, like you and like me. Oh, how I long for her to see that she’s a daughter of the King. A precious, priceless jewel; a treasure – made by a God who loves her beyond measure.

It seems now she’s convinced herself that she’s a failure, so what’s the use?When a challenge rises to meet her, she is ready with an excuse. When there are hills to climb, she hurries to hide, and those harsh words win again. They drown out the voice of Jesus Christ and the words He wants her to hear and to believe instead. Oh, how she has been misled. ‘Cause she’s a daughter of the King. A precious, priceless jewel; a treasure – made by a God who loves her beyond measure. Lord, hold her closely. How I long for her to see that she’s a daughter of the King. A precious, priceless jewel; a treasure – made by a God who loves her beyond measure.

‘Beyond measure’  – There really is no number that can accurately represent the identity and value of young women!

My husband and I are blessed with three sons who are 22, 21, and 19 and a daughter who is almost 17. Of course, we think they are all flat-out incredible human beings! But since the title of this is Daughter of the King, allow me to tell you just a little bit about our last-born. She’s beautiful, talented, intelligent, compassionate, witty, and kind-hearted. (I’m trying hard to be unbiased here…)

Her dad and I strive to help her realize all this about herself and that she knows that glorifying God through the unique set of gifts that He designed for her is one of the most important things she can do as His child,  Although we strive to put forth parenting efforts that are sincere, sensitive, and somewhat skillful, we are human. So unfortunately, there are times that our best efforts end up being screwed-up, sloppy, and just plain sad! I think we can all agree that parenting is not for the weak.

Fortunately, we have access to the ultimate Source of Strength. He also happens to be the supreme example of parenting! We can pray to Him at anytime and be confident that our prayers are heard. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12. We can know that He will give us the wisdom we ask for. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5. If we ask God, He will show us ways to express to our daughters the truth about who they are and Whose they are.

That they are precious, priceless jewels…treasures – made by a God who loves them beyond measure.

 Gwen Thielges

Visit Gwen @writewhereheleads.wordpress.com

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Finding Romance… in the Little Things

Finding Romance in the Little Things

He left flowers on her windshield.

My oldest daughter had a long and arduous day. She told her boyfriend (now husband) that night that all she wanted was a good night’s sleep so she would be refreshed in the morning and ready for whatever God needed from her the next day. She awoke to a text, which led her out to her car, and there she found the lovely pink flowers. Romantic? Absolutely! It was one of those wonderful, sweet, blatantly romantic acts of young love.

I can almost hear my female readers saying “Awwwwww!” And the male readers saying either “nice move man” or “way to make the rest of us look bad!”. In our marriages, we women place a lot of emphasis on ‘romance’. We sometimes measure how much he loves us, or how content we are by the level of ‘romance’ in the relationship.

But what is romantic? Who decides what it means?  Google defines romance as “A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love” Too often we interpret that to mean fine dining by candlelight, soft music, exquisite jewelry, exotic vacations, flowers – definitely flowers, love notes and more. The entertainment industry reinforces this interpretation as do our own selective memories. We ‘girls’ remember the butterflies we felt when we were first in love and how he worked to woo us. And we disapprovingly define men as “not very romantic” if they do not find ways to directly express their love.

Many marriages experience a definite shift in the area of romance as years pass.  Husbands often forget how important it is to still pursue their wives, to reassure them of their love for them. For some reason, over time, most men become less direct and less verbal in expressing their love. And their women make the mistake of thinking the romance is gone. But is it? If you look closely you will see that men are still purposeful in ‘displaying’ their love. It just doesn’t look the same any more. I learned a long time ago that

romance is in the eye of the beholder.

 Think about it. What is the point of romance? To demonstrate love, right? So if you look for the ways love is demonstrated in a relationship, you will discover the romance! The man in your life may be more romantic than you think.

Every day I look for romance in the little things.

My husband knows I hate the hot weather, so my butterflies start fluttering when my precious husband picks up the floor fan and turns it so it blows on me. Or when, without comment, he puts another blanket on his side of the bed so I can have the fan on high. He loves me.

I melt when he gets in from work and comes to give me a kiss, then leans in to get one more. Or when we are walking and he tenderly takes my hand in his. He loves me.

He makes me smile when he treats a bowl of cereal as equally appealing as Sunday roast on nights when I am too weary to tackle cooking supper. Or when he happily joins me in watching a TV show when I know very well there is ‘game’ on. He loves me.

Do I still want to be surprised by an invitation to go out for a ‘romantic’ evening? Sure. Do I want to be wooed and pursued?  Absolutely! But in the meantime –

I am seeing romance all around me…in the little things!

Shellynne Wucher

Read more from Shellynne at: light4mysteps.wordpress.com

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The Undoing and Regluing

Today I undo the lie that approval is evidence of my equipping and reglue the truths of Scripture to my mind.

“It’s worth stating that Christians don’t worship the Bible by any means, but we believe there is tremendous power in it. We believe it is the revelation of God. We read the Bible because we need an encounter with God; we need to hear His words. These days we are always reading words-scrolling Twitter, reading emails, text messages, and the pretty Instagram quotes. We want quick inspiration. Reading Scripture, however, is slower, quieter work. It takes time, patience, and attention, but if we’re looking to nourish our souls, nothing can compete with it.” (Melissa Moore, Entrusted Bible Study by Beth Moore)

I love to write. I always have words swirling around in my head. In fact, I have a “notes” section on my iPhone dedicated to writing ideas along with a writing notebook I keep with me at all times. The words swirl and my bones burn until I release them. I love how God has granted me a love for words but even more so…His Words.

Last month, I wrote a piece for Lift Up Your Day titled; A Mother’s Dose of Humility. You see, somewhere along the line of enjoying a gift the Lord has given me, I hoarded it up for myself instead of pouring it out, out of a love for God. My desire to honor God with the gifts (He’s given) began to disappear and was becoming replaced with things like being the best writer, having a large following, writing the most moving piece, getting more likes and comments and shares. I became self-focused when the whole reason I started all of this was out of a love for Him, but I lost it – a pure focus, that is.

I’m so glad He didn’t let me wander too far or too long this time. Don’t get me wrong, the only reason I “got a grip” so quickly is because I’m finally doing something that has become a habit, (something I never used to do habitually) spend time in His Word. In doing so, I became captivated by Him, by His words, His life, His purpose. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He was used, abused, misunderstood, hurt, and wounded but he was also praised, magnified, glorified, justified and it’s in these times of His life that I was captivated by Him, His response to it all the glory.

In fact, let’s explore Scripture together for a moment. Go, get your Bible and open to the book of John. Now, locate and read the miracle Jesus performed where he fed the five thousand in John 6. After you have read verses 1-15, go back and read verse 15. What did Jesus do after the people were ready to make Him their king?

This Scripture was the undoing of me. Jesus was being exalted, praised, and even about to be (as scripture says) forced to be their king and yet he went “away into the hills by himself”. Not only did he go away, Scripture says He slipped away meaning he didn’t linger around to try and be talked out of only to hear how much he was wanted and desired. No, Jesus left, unbeknownst to others, to be alone.

Here is my undoing: I write, I love to write, God has gifted me to speak, write, and teach about Him and I linger in the praise of it all. You see, what if you wanted to make me “king”? Would I slip away and go be with my Father? This is where the ungluing and regluing happens: when the very words of Scripture come off the page and transform lives, specifically mine today.

Today I undo the lie that approval is evidence of my equipping and reglue the truths of Scripture to my mind and create something that sounds like: working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23-24), pouring out my gifts, not shying away from them … that’s not humility but a lack of thankfulness for what He can and is doing in me, and in all things may everything be a result of our love for my Savior and His words.

Let’s end the same way we started, with Melissa Moore. “We’re part of the Bible’s grand narrative…When we engage this book we begin to lift up our eyes and gaze at something cosmic God is doing that surpasses our own generation. His work of redemption and renewal spans centuries and civilizations. When we read this text, we are called to play our part in the drama of redemption.” (Melissa Moore, Entrusted Bible Study by Beth Moore)

Starting today and lasting for always, may we grasp and use the gift we were entrusted with (Scripture) by the ever present, ever glorified God.

Maria Bowersock

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You can read more from Maria at: www.awomannamedfree.com

Why Is Confession Important?

Why Is Confession Important?

Elijah was human, just like us. He ate food. He worked. He bathed. He did chores. He had responsibilities, and emotional highs and lows. He sinned. He wasn’t perfect. He was made of skin and bones, having a nature like us. Yet, he was a man who sought after God.

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” James 5:17-18

The reason James mentions the name of Elijah is not so we can elevate Elijah to some supreme, super hip, ultra status. Elijah is mentioned to remind us that he was human too. And he prayed fervently. And God heard and answered his prayers.

How would you describe you current prayer life? Any chance the word fervent comes to mind?

Mr. Webster defines the word fervent as “having or displaying a passionate intensity.” In other words, it is something that I am serious about. It is something that in my heartest of hearts, I deeply desire.

That is much easier said than done.

I may want to be a girl who prays fervent prayers,

But there is a wrestling match going on in my head.

Even though I want my focus to be on Jesus, there are thoughts racing through my mind. Chores to be done. Errands to run. Kids to be fed and hurried out the door. And anxious thoughts twirling all about. If I’m going to be a girl who is serious about prayer, then I need to be radically changed.

What if we start here…admitting that we need God’s help? Telling God that we are desperate for Him.

In Jesus’ very first sermon, he reminds us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). It is actually a blessing to be dependent on God. When we change our perspective and see God as our source, we suddenly realize the necessity of prayer. When we see that we are nothing without Him, our eyes are opened to our great need.

We all fall short. We all sin. Unbelief comes knocking at our door. At its core, every sin reveals something that we do not wholeheartedly believe about God. And despite our shortcomings, we serve a gracious God with a bold promise. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16a).

Confess your sins.

Pray for one another.

You will be healed.

We are ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God. May He be the focal point of our prayers. May we see confession as a priority in order to get over our ultra ego…and to realign our focus on God. More often than not, the problem is not that we think too little of ourselves, the problem is that we think too much.

“The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
― Timothy J. KellerThe Freedom of Self Forgetfulness

Confession is a necessity because it helps us see our great need for God. Without needs in our lives, we would become self-sufficient, ignoring our need for a Savior. God has provided needs in our lives as entry points into our lives. Go ahead…admit that you need help.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

How has confession been good for you? What sin has it revealed? How has it drawn you closer to God?

Sue Allen

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And read more from Sue at: https://sueaallen.com/

The Problem with Proverbs 31

Have you ever been frustrated by Scripture? Have you let it become a stumbling block for you? Blogger Ashley L. Jones felt this way about Proverbs 31—until the Lord showed her the real meaning behind this amazing chapter. Here’s a hint: it’s not about being a Super Hero!

The Woman

If you’ve been a believer for a while, you’ve probably heard about Proverbs 31. Depending on your Bible translation, you may know this as the chapter describing the “virtuous woman” or the “excellent wife.” (See verse 10.) I used to think of this fictitious person as the Perfect Woman—Mother Theresa, Martha Stewart, and Ivanka Trump rolled into one modern day Super Hero.

Sounds cool, right? Sure, until you read the details.

This woman:

  • does good things for her husband every day of her life (with no exception);
  • makes beautiful clothes and linen for her family using exotic raw materials she’s sourced in the marketplace;
  • finds time to make additional items, which she sells through her own clothing line;
  • is also a successful farmer and vine dresser;
  • never sleeps, rests, or is idle (and probably doesn’t blink for that matter);
  • still has the energy to mentor others;
  • is strong, wise, and dignified; and
  • apparently doesn’t have a negative bone in her body. (God bless her heart!)

 

The Frustration

Is it just me, or does this woman give us over-worked, over-stressed, under-paid girls a bad name? Don’t you just hate her? Can we agree to ignore this chapter all together?

Okay, so I was a little mad at the Proverbs 31 woman for a while. I was also frustrated at the preachers and teachers who lifted her up as the standard against which all women are measured. I was doing good to get out of bed on Sunday morning, so this comparison to the Proverbs 31 woman was becoming a stumbling block for me. I began to feel guilt and self-condemnation because I couldn’t measure up. My solution was to ignore that entire chapter as best I could.

 The Truth

Fortunately, the Lord didn’t let me off that easy. Over a period of years, He kept bringing me back to Proverbs 31. Eventually, I discovered something amazing: this isn’t a to-do list of all the things we have to accomplish daily for God to love us and use us. Instead, this chapter is like a map of our spiritual journey as seen from a 20,000-foot vantage point.

For example, the woman buys a field, plants a garden, sells the produce, and then buys a vineyard with the earnings. Later, she helps the poor and needy. (See Proverbs 31:16-20.) We all recognize that we can’t reap what we don’t sow, and we can’t bless others if we have nothing to give. Even from a spiritual standpoint, we can’t offer the gifts of knowledge and wisdom until we’ve received them ourselves. Proverbs 31 contains many such natural laws, which helps us understand our spiritual journeys and track our progress.

I also realized that Proverbs 31 applies to both men and women. There are numerous Scriptures depicting God as a bridegroom courting His bride, which is the Church. (See Matthew 9:15 and Revelation 21:9-10.) So, when we read figurative Scriptures referring to the marriage relationship, we can usually put ourselves in the wife’s role and Jesus in the husband’s role. Applying this to Proverbs 31 has given me a new outlook on how we, the Church, interact with Jesus.

The Encouragement

Over time, I came to see that the problem with Proverbs 31 wasn’t with the Scripture at all—it was with my own misunderstanding of the Word. I encourage you to read this important chapter again with fresh eyes. Notice how the woman grows over time, from faithful servant to wise teacher. Then read the verses again as if the woman is the Church body and the husband is Jesus.

Instead of running from this chapter—like I wanted to—lean into it. Seek God’s guidance and understanding. Let go of the guilt of not being a Super Hero and pursue the greater role of an obedient child of God. May this bless you and encourage you on your journey.

“A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NAS).

 

Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Is the reflection staring back at you someone you recognize or does the person looking back at you seem different? Not quite like you remember?

When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Is the reflection staring back at you someone you recognize or does the person looking back at you seem different? Not quite like you remember?

When God looks at you, do you think He sees what you try to portray to the world or does He really “see” you; with all the good, the bad and the really ugly?  We work so hard to put out this Pinterest perfect, flawless life on our social media accounts.  We throw layer upon layer, filter upon filter until the image staring back at us is “post-perfect.” However, it couldn’t be farther from reality.

Sadly, the world around us may be fooled, but God is never blinded by our sinful stains and He certainly does not buy into our Pinterest-pretty facades.  We think we have everyone duped…we even have ourselves convinced…but God, He truly SEES us for exactly who we are and who we are NOT.  We can go on pretending but after a while the façade becomes burdensome and exhausting.

Trying to keep up appearances is draining life from our souls. With every false attempt to make ourselves look or feel “right,” on the exterior, our insides begin to harden, our spark grows dim and our souls begin to morph into something we do not recognize.

God detests sin.  Sin is a pollutant to our souls and severs our connection to our Holy God and Father.  In God’s economy, ALL sins are created equally.  Unfortunately, in our fallen world today, even Believers tend to excuse “small sins.” We glaze over them, sweep them to the side, or even worse…we attempt to justify them.  We seem to give more attention to what we consider “bigger sins” based on what consequences they yield in the world’s “economy.”  Sin is sin! Like it or not. God views them all as a severance in connection between Himself and the individual.

Many of us are more than familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

“…She took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves…I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3: 6-8,10, NIV).

How many of us shake our fists at Adam and Eve in judgement for their disobedience and poor judgement that caused the fall of the entire creation? They were given everything their hearts desired and with that, a simple instruction from the Lord of what they must not do…and they screwed it up! As a result of one act of disobedience; shame, blame, deceit and ultimately death were woven into the fabric of our existence.

Last week we began the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday.  Growing up in the church, Lent was marked by getting an ashy cross on our foreheads and our conversations centered on what we could give up for 40 days (that wouldn’t hurt too much).  I’ll be very transparent with you. I was really good at “religion” and checking off all the right boxes when it came to the religious obligations and offerings.  It wasn’t until this Ash Wednesday, that the Holy Spirit convicted me that Lent was about so much more. It was not a time that was supposed to begin and end with giving up ice cream and getting ashes.  Those things are not “bad” in themselves but that does not even begin to scratch the surface of what these 40 days leading up to Easter are all about.

Lent is a time of introspection; searching the deep caverns of our soul.  These 40 days should be a painful process of dying to self; asking for less of ourselves and for more of Jesus.  Easter preparation should be an ongoing conversation with the Lord, confessing our sinful nature and our desperate need for a Savior.  But, as we die to ourselves and this world, beauty arises from the brokenness of the ashes.  After the sin reflection, painful confession, and repentance, new life and resurrection are ushered in.  As Christians we believe in the HOPE of resurrection and new life eternally.  Jesus is the hope that we so desperately long for.

This Lenten season, I have committed to take a brutally honest look into the mirror of my soul. Unfortunately, the reflection staring back at me resembles that of Eve more than it is does Jesus.

What image is being reflected back in the mirror of your soul?

Heavenly Father,

You are a good and loving Father but you are also a jealous God.  You are jealous for our affection, our attention and our worship.  You hate sin and will not tolerate playing second fiddle to anyone or anything in our lives.  Search our hearts, O God.  Make us uncomfortable and probe our hearts and minds and dive deep into the hidden caverns of our soul and leave no stone unturned.  Lord Jesus take every tainted place and stain ridden sin from our hearts and make us pure and acceptable in your sight.  Father, purge us and cleanse us of ourselves and make us white as snow.  Please make our reflection crystal clear and allow us to die to ourselves and see only you in the mirror of our souls.  Father God, refine us, restore our brokenness, slay our idols and remove them from the throne of our hearts and take your rightful seat on the throne of our lives.  Jesus, resurrect these dry bones and make us a new creation. We love you Father, we plead for your forgiveness for all of the ways that we have fallen short in our thoughts, our words and our actions and we ask that you will put feet to our faith and set our hearts ablaze for you and you alone.  It is in your most holy and precious name Jesus we pray, Amen.

LeRyiah Arant

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What’s the Best Advice?

What’s the Best Advice?

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise”—Proverbs 19:20 (NIV).

“You’ll shoot your eye out.” If you’ve ever watched the classic movie “A Christmas Story,” you might be able to relate to Ralphie who was trying to convince his parents to buy him a Red Ryder BB gun as a gift. In the 1940s, the Red Ryder was a popular boy toy.

We can all remember similar advice from our parents like “wash behind your ears,” “do unto others,” “bundle up or you’ll catch a cold,” and the list could go on. Our elders love giving advice. However, it doesn’t stop there. We are bombarded daily with advice on talk shows, like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, to the evening news bytes, giving us health warnings. Those warnings aren’t necessarily bad either.

When was the last time you found yourself offering what you considered helpful advice to someone else but he or she did not take it that way? If you care about others and hate to see them troubled, it is hard to refrain from giving what we feel is “friendly” advice.

If you’re a parent, you’re probably also prone to giving advice, especially when you see your grown children making mistakes. I can still recall advice I received from my parents when they were still alive. I can look back at the poor choices I have made and the advice I did not heed because I thought I knew better, and I have come to the conclusion that those who are older are, for the most part, wiser. That is because they have lived what younger people are experiencing.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Although we live in a rapidly changing world often defined by the latest technology gadget, people have not changed. Study scripture and you will find story after story of those who did not heed the advice given by prophets in the Old Testament and the New Testament offers a wealth of admonitions and exhortations for those who would follow it. The parables of Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount offer the best advice to those as He says in Mark 4:9 have “ears to hear, let him hear.”

Much of the time, we brush off well-meant advice because, as an old saying goes, “Advice would always be more acceptable if it didn’t conflict with our plans.”

Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Two centenarians, both female, were recently interviewed for a newspaper article. The two women were receiving a free hair-and-makeup session at a local upscale salon. At the end of the interview, the reporter asked one of the women if she had any advice to offer for living to 100. She replied, “Just leave it to God. He paves the way.”

I think she has it right. Don’t you?

Carol Round

Check out the author’s website at www.carolaround.com.

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How Strong is Your Faith!

How Strong is Your Faith!

I found this quote from, C.H. Spurgeon: To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust Him in the dark that is faith.

When you feel good, your relationship is going well with your husband and kids, the grandkids are cute and adorable it’s easy to have faith in God. You wake up, have breakfast, and then go do your workout, it’s a great start to the day. Then you begin with the chores and meal planning. You can have days, weeks, even months go by and everything goes smoothly. God is Good, and your faith is strong.

Then life hits you smack in the face. One of those moments for me was in the late 1970’s. I had been having a lot of abdomen pain and irregular periods. This had gone on for a couple of years. I had seen the doctor about it, and we were also trying to have a second child, that wasn’t working either. My doctor told me he would have to do exploratory surgery to see if he could help relieve the pain and help me to be able to get pregnant.

At first I was okay with this. Then fear started to encroach on my thoughts and feelings. I was becoming more and more nervous as the surgery date got closer. I talked with my husband, family and friends, but no one was able to ease my frazzled nerves.

Then one day I saw that our pastor was at the backyard neighbors home. I called her and asked her to see if he could come over and talk with me when he was done visiting with her. A while later he was at my front door. I welcomed him in, we sat in the living room and began to talk. I told him about my upcoming surgery and that I was afraid.

He asked me what was making me so nervous. I told him that I was afraid that the doctor would find cancer. My mother had died from cancer only three years earlier when I was pregnant with our first daughter. I was afraid of dying and not be able to raise our beautiful daughter, April.

His response was that that was silly. Just because my mom had cancer, didn’t mean that I would also have it. He took down my surgery date and said he’d pray for me. I still didn’t feel at ease with my upcoming surgery and struggled regularly with my nerves.

The day before I was to go to the hospital I called the church to ask if the pastor could come to the hospital. I was told that he was away on vacation and wouldn’t be able to come. That night unable to concentrate on TV I went up to take a hot bath. That didn’t help either. They laying on my bed I opened my heart to God and cried in agony. Please help me, I can’t do this alone. Instantly I felt a literal heavy weight being lifted off of me. I felt the peace that passes all understanding. I knew that God was with me and would help me through whatever was ahead.

The next morning, I went to the hospital and was happy and joking around with all of the staff. They told me I would have a Band-Aid if all was well. If there was a problem I would have a lot of gauze and tape on my stomach. Then they gave me a shot and I immediately went to sleep. It seemed like only moments later that I was trying to wake up. Everything was fuzzy. I remember asking several times how big my bandage was. Finally, I was awake enough to know that I just had a Band-Aid.

Praise God. I found out that I didn’t have cancer, but endometriosis. It’s scar tissue near and around the ovaries. This was what was causing my pain and inability to become pregnant. I was very relieved with this news. My prayer was then to thank God for being able to have one child. I was able to relax and enjoy the life we had. Then God surprised us with our daughter, Nickie, when April was seven years old.

When I was struggling the most, I forgot to pray and ask God what I should do. My faith was weak; I was trying to do it on my own. When I finally laid down on my bed and cried out to Him, He lifted my anxiety and fear, and gave me His peace. We all need to remember that no matter what our situation He is there to help and guide us.

I found this website with quotes that can help you in your daily walk. http://www.dailyinspirationalquotes.in/

How can I pray for you? What are you struggling with? You can email me at jannwmartin@gmail.com or add a comment to the post. God bless you.

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A Well-Instructed Tongue

Do you give advice to others? Sure you do. We all do. Whether it is to, our children, our family, or our friends, we make comments on what others should do. Sometimes, the advice was asked for and sometimes not. | www.liftupyourday.com

Do you give advice to others? Sure you do. We all do. Whether it is to, our children, our family, or our friends, we make comments on what others should do. Sometimes, the advice was asked for and sometimes not.

Often our advice is so subtle we may not even realize that we have said it. We think we are just having a conversation but the other person hears us telling them how to handle their situation. Our words hold a power, so we have to be careful what comes out of our mouths.

One of the best ways that we can do that is to never say anything to someone else that Jesus wouldn’t say to them. If your friend is complaining about her husband would Jesus tell her that she should leave him? If your child has a conflict with a friend would Jesus tell her to tell them off? Are you tempted to tell your co-worker that it will be ok if they fudge on the report this time because they have to meet the deadline? Is that really what Jesus would say in that situation?

When we truly care about others, we want to ease their pain, so it’s tempting to comfort them by saying what they want to hear. The right thing to do may be the hard thing, but we find ourselves, skirting the issue or finding a less confrontational piece of advice to hand out.

Not every situation is black and white. We may truly not know what to tell someone when they come to us for advice. We don’t want to say the wrong thing to make the situation worse, and we don’t want to ignore this person who needs our counsel. So, how do we learn to give wise advice? Isaiah 50:4 tells us, “The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”

A well-instructed tongue comes from the Lord. This verse says that the Lord wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. So the key to a well-instructed tongue is a well-instructed ear. We should listen to Lord before we speak. We have all shot up those, “Help me, Lord” prayers at the moment that we need wisdom, but this verse is telling us that more is required.

It says that we are to listen to the Lord, morning by morning. The more time that we spend with the Lord, the more that we are going to understand his instructions. The more that we understand his instructions; the more we are going to act and speak like him. The more that we speak like him, the more words we will have that sustains the weary.

Our words are often faulty, self-serving or inadequate. Only words that come from the wisdom of God will make a difference. To be wise advisors, we must first be good listeners. We can get up the morning by morning as this scripture says and call ourselves spending time with the Lord but are we listening as well as telling God our needs? He wants to equip us with what we need to be his voice to a hurting world. He wants to give us a well-instructed tongue, but first, he wants to give us well-instructed ears.

Sue Potts

Read more from Sue @www.suedavispotts.com

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