Saturday, April 16, 2016

No Offense

“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” 
(Proverbs 19:11)

“And this I pray that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense til the day of Christ.”  (Philippians 1:9-10)

“Offense has the ball!  They’ve passed the 20 yard line!  Now 10….TOUCHDOWN!  UNBELIEVABLE!”

 “Defense steals the ball and scores!!  History in the making, boys!”

To any avid sports fan, they could envision the above captions with the illustration of sweaty football players, (or whatever sport relates), running the field to make a score, (provided that the captions were depicted accurately since I am NOT an avid sports fan.)  However, this isn’t what I’m talking/writing about today.

The “offense” in mind is that feeling one gets whey they have ben insulted, verbally attacked, or even when their morals, (or character), have been trespassed upon by ones with immoral character or behavior.  (For example:  Someone using obscene language or lewd gestures in the presence of one who doesn’t use the same.)

Through different issues, I’ve realized just how UNintentional offenses can be.  First scenario:  A person gives unasked for advice regarding a situation that they know virtually nothing about.  The person receiving could take it offensively.  Was the giver trying to offend?  Very doubtful.  Chances are, they don’t even realize that it’s something they do.  Second scenario:   A person is heard criticizing something that was done to help with an event, and unbeknownst to them, the person responsible is close by and heard the remarks.  Intentional offense?  Probably not. They, like everyone, was just guilty of giving their opinion, be it negative.  (Lesson to be learned here, for all, though, is to WATCH…WHAT…YOU…SAY because you NEVER know who is listening.)  Third scenario:  Someone is selling a natural product that has been proven to help with weight loss.  They suggest that you try the product.  Meaning to call you overweight? J  99.9% sure they were not, (and deep down, you KNOW that you need to lose the weight). 

Although these are considered by some, (or most), to be small offenses, intentional or not, when an emotion is negatively effected, the damage is done.  So, being a Christian and TRYING to maintain that Christ-like behavior, how does one deal with offense without coming off as being defensive?  (Face it, there are some people who stay on the defense BECAUSE they are easily offended – even Christians.)  Well, let’s ask this question:  how did Jesus – the One and Only Christ whom is our Prime Example for all Christians – handle offense after He was chastised, spat on, scourged, and marched up to Calvary carrying a heavy cross on His beaten back?  How DID He handle it?

“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’  And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
(Luke 23:33-34)

He prayed for them!!!!  Those who INTENTIONALLY hurt Him, He asked God to forgive.  WOW!

So, again I ask, how do we treat those who may or may not have meant to cause offense and who may or may not ever apologize for the offense?  FORGIVE THEM!!

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
(Matthew 6:14-15)

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ fogave you, so you also must do.”  (Colossians 3:12-13)

Better yet, we need to pray for ourselves to NOT be offended in the first place.  “Lord, I want to love like You love.  Please, help me to not be offended over this!”  I can personally attest that this prayer, alone, WILL work.  I have prayed it SEVERAL times. 

Why wouldn’t God answer that prayer?  Offense is a seed to division, (anywhere), and that seed DOES NOT need to be and SHOULD NOT be planted in the church. 

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  (Mark 3:25)

God WILL take that feeling of offense from us when we fully and sincerely give it to Him.  I KNOW! 

I want fresh and hungry souls to enter in to the doors of my church, but God won’t allow them to come and sit in a diseased body.  He wants them saved, and He wants me, (He wants ALL of us), saved, too.  It’s time to forget the offenses, change our attitudes, and decide, WITH A MADE-UP MIND, that we are going to love and forgive – NO MATTER WHAT.  After all, “to forgive” and “to love” is a choice, right?

 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”  (Proverbs 23:7)

 I am only one.  I can only change me, and that change MUST start somewhere.  Why not now? 


No offense.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Just Today

Last weekend, I attended the annual ladies’ conference at The Anchor in Beaumont, Texas.  The theme was “Anchored in Joy”.  Like the last couple of years, they had enhancement classes.  Shara McKee was a speaker for one of them, and being the Shara McKee fan that I am, AND because I SO needed to know how to maintain and keep my joy, I took her class.  One of the things she said was that I should guard and protect my joy and peace like I would my kids or anything else of important value to me.  I shouldn’t just “give them away”.  I never had thought of it that way before, and she was absolutely right.  It is way easier said than done, though.

I’m usually not a fearful person.  I mean, yeah, confrontations, deep water, frogs, snakes, confrontations with the 3 – you know, the normal stuff – PETRIFIES me.  However, the future, finances, and the economic state of this country do not usually cause me to panic.  Until recently…

By watching the gas prices grow lower, we know that the oil and energy industry has made an extreme downfall.  I’m not super intellectual about the why’s, (hated Economics in high school), concerning all of it because honestly, it has benefited our bank account to not pay almost $4.00 for a gallon of gas.  However, those employed in this line of work have been effected greatly by it.  There are a few families in our church whom I know of personally that have.  I can recall one couple, in particular, who have been unemployed for several months and are in an unfortunate spot of having to sell their home to get out of debt.  Not only have they been struggling financially, they have, also, faced the death of his father, and now, their youngest child is having some major medical issues.  I have no doubt that they have wondered just how much more is going to be dumped in their laps.  What human wouldn’t?  I have, actually, wondered it myself for them. 

So when my hubby’s job starts looking, let’s say, fuzzy, (even though he’s in plumbing and not the oil and energy industry), I’ve started worrying simply from looking and knowing what these people-of-God have endured.  The “what if’s” have started creeping up.  Let me stop and reiterate something:


God has ALWAYS taken care of us.  He has made ways where there seemed to be absolutely NO way!  For me to start getting worrisome and fearful and letting my faith waiver is, really, out of character for me.  As God is no respecter of persons, neither is life.  Some things are…just…life. 

Last Wednesday, the spirit of fear and heaviness made a visit with NO announcement, or invitation, for that matter.  (I know, why would I invite them to visit, but when we think on negative situations, isn’t that, more or less, having a sign in our window saying “WELCOME FEAR AND HEAVINESS!  I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YA’LL TODAY!!”?)  To make it worse, what did I do when they came knocking?  I let them in.  And what did I give them?  My joy and peace.  Like taking candy from a baby.  I, almost, sent a text to 2 of my friends to ask them to pray for me, but something inside told me that this was something that I really needed to handle, WITH GOD, on my own.  Honestly, my flesh just wanted to crawl on the couch and do nothing until time to pick my daughter up from school, but THANK YOU, JESUS, my spirit knew better and ruled over my flesh, (this time).  After I had done my Wednesday errand-running and paying bills, I went on to the church to get my daily exercise, (walking, and I don’t care WHAT my hubby says, walking IS exercise), and to pray.
I didn’t have a lot of words.  Actually, I didn’t even really know what to specifically pray about.  I did remember that we are to replace the spirit of heaviness with a garment of praise so I started praising God.  I talked to Him about the fear that I had and the things that were worrying me.  At this moment, He gently rebuked me by reminding me that I was only promised TODAY – not tomorrow, next week, year, or 30 years – just TODAY.  He, also, reminded me that our daily needs were being met and that’s what my focus needed to be on instead of the future.  (You know, that span of time I NEVER worry about.)
I gladly retrieved my joy and peace from those party-crashers, heaviness and fear, and started my day over.  (Thank the Lord for do-overs!)  Besides, I have the Holy Ghost in me, and there’s NO room for Him AND those 2 in this temple!!!!
“…the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  Isaiah 61:3
“For God had not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
 2 Timothy 1:7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philipp. 4:6-7
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? ...
Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:25 & 27

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Officially Winter had Arrived

Here in Southeast Texas, we seldom see snow.  Not even in February or March do we snow.  So, how strange it was to actually be in, what was considered, an “icestorm” on March 3, 2014.

I remember seeing all the limbs on the roads on my way to taking my son to school.  As soon as I returned home, the electricity had gone off.  I called Dad to let him know that if he needed me, to call me on my cell phone.  While on the phone with him, I heard a loud noise outside, only to experience the neighbor’s tree landing on my house.  Immediately, I got off of the phone with Dad and took care of all of the necessary precautions, (turning the propane and the main breaker to the house off, etc).  I loaded my daughter up, and we went to my Mom’s house.  This was on a Tuesday.

We had to stay at Mom’s until my husband could repair the roof.  Not only did he, my brother, and a close friend have to work on getting the tree off of the house, but then 12 roof rafters had to be repaired.  In the meantime, as I stated earlier, we stayed at Mom’s.  (She and Dad didn’t live together.)  While at Mom’s, I was able to check on Dad more and make sure he was taking medicine that the doctor had prescribed for, what was thought to have been possibly, pneumonia. 

Two days after the tree fell, I went to Dad’s, only to have to call an ambulance for him.  He was taken to the nearest ER, which was about 25 – 30 minutes away.  His blood pressure had almost bottomed-out.  Luckily, they were able to stabilize it, and then transferred him to ICU.  After several days of extensive testing on his kidneys, heart, and lungs, the doctors informed my brother and me, Sunday afternoon, that Dad was in Stage 4 cancer.  The prognosis was, approximately, 4 days.  The cancer had spread from his lungs, to his trachea, and then to his liver.  Once cancer has spread to the liver, it is fatal and any treatment is useless.  Due to Dad’s physical heart condition, any treatment would not have been recommended as his body would not have been able to endure any radiation or chemo.

I stayed at the hospital that night instead of going back home for the evening service at church.  At some time, while my brother had gone home for a while and I was able to spend time with Daddy alone, I was reading my Bible in the book of Isaiah.  There it was…my “hug” from God:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)  Amazing peace swept over me that I will never forget. 

Dad passed the next day.  I had JUST returned to the hospital from going home to clean up when his breathing started to become labored.  Mom thinks that he waited for me to get back.  That’s a comforting thought that I stick with!!  I was able to hold his hand, kiss his forehead, and hug his neck as he took his last breath.

He was a constant, every-day part of my life.  I miss him TERRIBLY, but I’m forever thankful for the time that the Lord gave me with him.





Goal Digger

They say that one of the main things needed in losing weight and exercising is getting a buddy to do it with you.  A friend and I started using the MyFitnessPal app again this week.  It has helped us keep each other encouraged, and it makes us hold ourselves accountable for the amount of calories we take in a day.   I have another friend with whom I walk with daily, (or TRY to).  She is the one who got me motivated, about 2 years ago, in taking better care of myself – making some lifestyle changes.  For me, that’s a lot of what it was about when I turned 40.  Not so much losing weight, (although I DEFINITELY needed to), but making some lifestyle changes that would make me a healthier me.  Where I haven’t been 100% faithful to the “new lifestyle”, I have purposed in my heart to change that in 2016 – to devote myself into getting fit in EVERY way.

It’s not just about the physical part of it, although that, in itself, has plenty of benefits.  In my venture of taking better care of myself, I’ve learned quite a few things.  (1) I have more energy when I eat right and exercise.  My life is somewhat busy, and I have a 7 year old – I NEED ENERGY!!  (2) I’ve learned that I feel better physically and mentally.  I mean, I ACTUALLY feel good about myself and my appearance.  For me, that’s a HUGE statement and accomplishment because I have fought low self-esteem for nearly 30 years.  It’s not about wanting everyone to think I look good, either.  In reality, it’s not what others think.  I strongly feel that God wants us to feel good about ourselves.  That boost of confidence, with the RIGHT SPIRIT, helps us to walk with a little spring in our steps, a smile on our face, and a boldness to defeat intimidation. 

Intimidated by what?  EVERYTHING and EVERYONE – even ones we love and admire.  When there’s a lack of confidence or none at all, we never feel good enough.  We compare our inadequacies and weaknesses to others’ accomplishments and strengths – big or small.  The Word tells us that it’s unwise to compare ourselves to others, though.


“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves.  But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  2 Corinthians 10:12

So, I think it’s fair to say that how we feel about ourselves on the physical level spills over to our mental being.  God is a loving Father, and as any parent, He doesn’t want us thinking or feeling negative about ourselves, (as stated earlier).  He created us so WHY would I not love and admire what He created?  I’m not talking being conceited and vain.  I’m talking about LOV-ING myself and wanting to take care of what God made.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14

I am the ONLY one who can or will take care of what God created in me – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  It all starts with my mind – my thoughts.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7

And my MOST fave:


“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble . . . . just . . . .pure . . .

lovely . . .of good report . . . if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

And then, if not careful, it AALLLLL spills over into our spiritual wellness.  How we feel and what we are thinking-on effects our prayer life?  Or, at least, it does mine.  It effects our time in the Word – studying it and digesting it – or even reading an inspirational book.  Or, at least, it does me.  It effects our witness to those around us.  Or, at least, it…does…mine.

So, maybe it’s just ME, and no one else, who needs to work and devote self to being physically/mentally/spiritually fit.  I might be the ONLY one who needs these 3 to be working as God designed them to lest one of them fall weak, or sick, and the other 2 follow suit.  My whole system would more/less shut down.  Maybe it is JUST me.

But I doubt it.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost who is in you, who you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20


Fully Relying On God - A good friend of mine shared this with me a few months ago when she shared some bookmarkers with my class to color that had a picture of a frog on them with “F.R.O.G.” written at the top. 

This sounds so easy to do when life is going smooth….everyone’s healthy, bank account is full, and life, as we know it in those times, are just GOOD.  But what about when there’s an upset in your world?  When your day-to-day has taken a complete turn for, what seems to be, the worse?  Can you F.R.O.G. then?

 In August of 2015, my, (then), 15 year old son decided that he wanted to live with his dad and stepmom for his last 3 years of high school.  There was NO notice, and there were NO warnings with this announcement.  Just BAM!  Without saying anything degrading about this household he decided to live in, let me just say that it is SO night-and-day different from what my son has lived in for the last 12 years. 

 I’ve gone through every emotion I can possibly think of.  In all honesty, it has felt like, somewhat, a death.  Now, I CAN give glory to God that in spite of his living arrangements, my son IS still, for the most part, faithful to church.  In fact, he has us pick him up, even, on the weekends that are not my weekends.  Yes, I know…it is GREAT that he’s still faithful to the house of God.  However, as his mother, (1) it’s so hard to not have ANY control over what he watches, listens to, and does on a day-to-day-basis, and (2) I just miss him being HERE, at HOME with us.  There was even a time when I could just feel depression trying to completely overtake my being.  I HAD to snap out of it!!  I’ve got a wonderful husband and sweet 7-year-old daughter who didn’t, (and still don’t), deserve my neglect because of a “premature” decision. 

 F.R.O.G. or TRUST Him…that’s what I’ve learned to do more in these last 5 months than in my whole 42 years of life.  Has it been easy?  NOOOOOO!!!!  However, I was reminded, in a sermon last night, that when we don’t trust God, or when we are fearful, or when we WOO-RRRRY, that we are really sinning against Him.  We think that the situation is too big for Him to handle.  Or that He won’t handle it.  OR that He won’t handle it in a way that WE want. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Isn’t that the truth???  I needed to learn to F.R.O.G. or trust Him more with COMPLETELY UNCONTROLLABLE situations in my life, and what better way to do that than by putting me in a COMPLETELY UNCONTROLLABLE situation? 

 As Lauren Daigle says:

“When You don’t move the mountains I needed You to move, when You don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through, when You don’t give the answer as I cry out to You, I WILL TRUST, I WILL TRUST, I WILL TRUST IN YOU!”



Critical Words

In yesterday morning’s  devotional, Joy Haney used the following as a Scripture text:

 Keep thy tongue from evil”  Psalm 34:13

 She continued with:

 “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.”  Psalm 34:12-13

 and to reiterate the truth:

 “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”  1 Peter 3:10

 As an illustration, she used a story by Walter B. Knight about a father and son who had attended a church service together.  The father found fault with EVERYTHING about it.  He had put $.10 in the offering, which unbeknownst to the father, the son noticed.  In turn, the boy asked his dad, “What do you expect for a dime?”  She, then, stated that despite the amount of the offering, there’s nothing in God’s Word that gives permission or the right to criticize and pull others down.

OUCH!!! This really jumped out and sucker-punched me!!  Not that I have EVER thought that my offering excused me to sin, (because that’s exactly what criticizing and pulling others down
is- SIN ), but how many times have I, maybe, “justified” it because I, either, THOUGHT the criticism was deserved or, even, that it was “OK” because it was expressed in secret?  How would I REALLY feel if the person being critiqued ever found out about how ugly I was speaking about them?  I know EXACTLY how I would feel…REMORSEFULY ashamed, THOROUGHLY embarrassed, and REPULSED with myself!!!  Better yet, let’s turn the tables on this.  How would I feel to know the critical remarks that have been made about me because, without ONE doubt, those remarks HAVE been spoken.  COMPLETELY and UTTERLY devastated…that’s how I would feel!

 So, in knowing this, why not start OBEYING the Word?

 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:13

 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another…” 1 Thess. 5:11

 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”  Romans 15:2

 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  Eph. 4:29

Words are SO incredibly powerful!!!  Regardless of the mood or feelings, one must be extremely careful regarding what is spoken.  They can never be taken back, and sometimes, the damage done could be irreparable.

My prayer:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14