There are many areas in life that I could apply this verse to. Many areas where I need to apply this verse. Here is what I’ve learned and finding this verse is a result of looking for an answer in His Word.
In life there are seasons and not just seasons of people. There are people that come and go and seasons that are high and low. There are people who stay. There are those who hurt us and who we hurt. Some accidentally, some on purpose. You learn that you can only fix you and you can only change your heart.
There are those who are like sandpaper and those who we mesh with. But we don’t get to choose who we should be kind hearted to… even when they hurt us. Then there are those who are oblivious to the fact that they pour salt in our wounds over and over. But we can’t live in a bitter state and rise above at the same time.
Bitter or Better. I remember Granny Shiver saying: “You can let it make you bitter or better.” when sharing about life issues. It’s always stuck with me. In the back of my mind. And praise God that His Word is always available to me. When I want to wallow and try to figure out why… I can just turn to the Word and find “why not” or why to not wallow in my feelings. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes it’s my last resort instead of first instinct. That’s real life.
There’s more to this thought of mine that I’ll be sharing here on my blog. Until then, maybe you needed this reminder, too.
People will let us down, but God NEVER will. Grace. He gives it to us abundantly.
The seasons and people in our life can grow us, if we choose to let them make us better and not bitter. I’m working on becoming better. It’s only possible with God.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:23-24 NIV)
My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.
Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.
Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.
What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.
Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.
Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.
Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!
Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love
You get the point.
Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though.
I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.
I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.
My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.
And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.
Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.
We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.
If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.
No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.
I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.
Maybe it’s time for a heart check.
Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.
We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV)
Women need to stop wearing masks and stop assuming that everyone else has it all together. We need to be real and transparent and share the good the bad and the ugly. (No, I don’t mean to rant or tell all.. Face it, nobody wants to hear it all) I’m saying share the real you, not just the “highlight reel” or the “photoshopped version”. And we also need to quit comparing what we assume others are to how we think of ourselves.
None of us are perfect. None of us have it all together. Just because we have a great photo that looks like we do..doesn’t mean it’s real. Or maybe it is at that moment. What about after? Is it always picture perfect?
And I’m not saying that a great photoshopped photo is bad! Trust me.. I love them. I’m just saying that if we want to reach other women for Christ, then we might need to let them see that we don’t have it all together all of the time either.
How can one relate to someone that pretends to be perfect? Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. Why do women,especially, believe the lies that we tell ourselves? Why do we compare our wrong thoughts about ourselves to what we assume to be real about another woman?
What if instead of assuming, and comparing, and being prideful, that we were real?
It is a pride issue ladies.
Call it what it is.
You can’t pull a weed from the top and expect it not to grow back. You have to dig deep and pull the weed out at the root.
And I’m not saying that we should vomit negativity. I’m saying that we need to deal with ourselves. Deep digging. Get real with the root. Take off the masks. Stop assuming. Quit comparing. Walk in faith.
Walk in belief.
The belief that God is enough and that he doesn’t make junk.
The belief that not every other woman has it all together.
Yet, if they do have it more together, then what is their secret?
I’ll tell you the secret. It’s found in Philippians. The secret to contentment is belief and faith in Jesus.
Paul found the secret to being content.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)
The truth is that we are all dealing with our own insecurities. Yet, we don’t have to be in bondage to those insecurities. God doesn’t talk to us the way we talk to ourselves. Why do we?!
Faith is the secret.
Faith that Jesus is enough. That Jesus provides all that we need and at just the right time.
And honestly, we as women, need each other.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT)
Maybe, just maybe, if we would stop assuming and take off the masks, we would see that we are not all that different.
To me picture perfect is showing the real you.
The real you (or ME) that messes up. Fails daily. That Desperately needs Jesus every single second of every day.
To begin this second part of the message, I need to ask you again, if you know HIM and if HE knows you. As I said in yesterday’s post, there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.
Here is another really simple and you may think “crazy” way to look at it…….
Are you a SHEEP or a GOAT?
Jesus is often referred to as The Shepherd in scripture, and if you are saved, you would be referred to as SHEEP. Sheep needed the shepherd to guide them and show them where to eat and drink. Sheep needed protection from wolves, and the shepherd often slept in the pen with the sheep and stretched across the entrance to keep them safe from wolves while the sheep slept. Every sheep mattered, and the shepherd went to great lengths to find even just ONE lost sheep.
Seeing any parallels yet?
Sheep and goats often “hung out” and grazed together. Yet when it was time for the sheep to have the wool sheared off, the shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats.
God will separate the sheep from the goats as well.
The true follower from the great pretender.
The real from the fake.
Matthew 25:31-34 ~ When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
Here’s some good news though, If you are a GOAT you can still become a SHEEP!
God’s love is unfailing, unchangeable, immeasurable, and AMAZING! His grace is enough! Our small minds cannot comprehend how deep HIS love is for us!
1 John 1:9 ~ If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 7:24,25 ~ But Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
God loves you as you are. He loves you too much to leave you that way though. He sees you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you.
If you do know Jesus, and heaven is your home, then I ask this : ARE YOU SHINING JESUS?
Or is there some junk that you need to clear out of the way so that others can see HIM in you again?
Shine Jesus or shine the world…and the world doesn’t shine.
Make a difference for GOD or make a difference for the devil.
You are always making an impact on others around you. Are you making a positive impact or a negative impact? I am asking myself these same questions.
NO, you won’t be a perfect little shining star all of the time. You will mess up. I do. We all do. What we do when we mess up matters. Do you make it right? It matters.
What we fill the voids in our lives with MATTERS. Our actions (words, walk, talk, text, tweet, post,etc..) reflect what is in our heart. What we FILL UP with will show.
Luke 6:45 ~ The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.
In life we have TWO choices in relation to eternity.
Heaven or Hell. Both places are real and both last for ever and ever.
SHEEP or GOAT
If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, what are you waiting for?
If you are saved, Are you shining Jesus? Do others see Jesus in you? Or do they just see all the junk that you have filled the voids in your life with?
True freedom. True peace. True love. They are found in JESUS.
To know Jesus you have to spend time with him. He doesn’t force his way in, because a forced love isn’t love. He wants to know you. He wants you to know him. He wants you to want him.
I know I have written a lot of questions in this post, but questions make you think. They make me think.
I leave you with these questions and yes they may already be in this post :
~ Do I shine Jesus or the world ?
~ Do I really know HIM and does HE know me?
~ Do I just know about him and “think” that I might be saved..but not 100% ?
~ Is there anything in my life that I am using as a substitute for Jesus?
God loves you.
Blessings to you all, and I pray that this message, both parts, touches your soul. Share it with someone if you think it will touch their soul. All Glory to God, because this message is HIS..not mine.
Labels are for cans of food. Labels are for items of clothing. Labels are NOT for people.
They shouldn’t be…that is.
Romans 2:3 ~ Do you suppose, O man —- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself —- that you will escape the judgement of God?
So…. we are all guilty? Maybe? Definitely?
Psalm 9:7,8 ~ But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the people with uprightness.
See, GOD…HE judges out of LOVE. He is not capable of using labels on people…judging people from outside appearances. Unlike most of the human population. Myself included.
Our Lord looks at our heart. So why don’t we look at the heart first?
1 Samuel 16:7 ~ But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Maybe you aren’t a judgmental person…..anymore. Maybe you never have been.
Maybe you have been the object of judgement. And it hurt. Deeply.
I wish that one blog post could change us all. It can’t. Real change only happens when we truly want to change.
If the heart isn’t right, then the behavior won’t be right. Upright. Like God. Christ-like.
Who wants to be labeled like a can of soup?
Who are we to label others anyway?
Being labeled as a snob because you aren’t as outgoing as the person labeling you hurts. To assign a label to someone before you’ve even talked to them is wrong.
Being labeled as stuck-up because you are just not confident or comfortable making small talk… hurts.
I truly believe that to judge someone before we’ve even talked to them is dead wrong. How can we do that?
How can we truly say that someone is “preppy”. “gothic”, “redneck”, “rich”, “poor”, “saved”, “not saved”, “shy”, “scary”, without even giving that person a chance to show us their heart?
We have to give others the chance to show us who they are. We have to teach our kids this. Labels hurt…especially when we are labeled wrong.
We have all been guilty of this behavior at some point in our lives. Hopefully we chose to STOP being this way. To give people a chance to show us who they are on the inside before assuming they are some other way by the outside.
It’s so heartbreaking to hear story after story of how teens and kids will even approach other teens and kids, BOLDLY telling them what they think the other teen is like…and they have never ever spoken to this person before. All based on appearance or heresy.
I wish I could say that it gets better with time. It doesn’t. Adults judge unfairly as well.
When is it going to stop?
Good news is this: One person CAN make a difference. One person can change. One can stand up for another. One can share of the hurt judging causes. One person CAN make a difference.
Will you be that person? Will you teach your children to be THAT PERSON? Will you choose to make a difference?
The only person in the room who doesn’t know anybody?
Ever felt like everyone was staring at you? Judging you?
Ever judged anyone?
Ever been judged?
Fairly or Unfairly?
I think it’s safe to say YES to all the above.
There’s a difference in judging and being wise and making wise choices. We MUST judge situations that we are in and weigh them against THE WORD. We must be wise…But we CAN’T play GOD!
To judge another person based on our opinions is wrong. To judge someone based on our feelings is wrong. To judge someone based on the opinions of others is wrong. To judge someone and label them before we have even given them a chance to show us who they are is wrong.
Matthew 7:2 (NLT) ~ For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
When are we going to stop? Stop judging whether someone is CAPABLE or WORTHY, in our opinion. How will it ever stop?
It starts with you. It starts with me. One person can make a difference.
The difference between a weed and a flower is what? Perspective and JUDGEMENT.