Your Daily Proverb ~ 10:7 (Are you a blessing??)

I have at least three things I really need to be doing right now…

  • Clean this pig-sty house for my mom-in-law is coming to town…tomorrow!
  • Laundry…because sometimes we need clean underwear!
  • Fix dinner…because my man usually needs to eat…maybe…

But…here I sit…writing. I had a brainstorm. **Sigh**

I picked a Daily Proverb this morning for my Facebook that had not been posted in the past, 10:1. A couple of hours ago, I received word from a good friend that a former co-worker just passed away. After hearing of her death, the 7th verse, one I have used often, is all that runs through my mind.

“…but the name of the wicked will rot.”

Oh yes…I remember my old co-worker. All I can say is I hope & pray after they found the cancer that she took the time to make amends with whomever she was continually infuriated with. Even more so, I pray she made amends with Jesus. I pray she found forgiveness, for herself and others. The sad thing is, even though I have no right to judge her or where she is now, my memories of her character are so negative, my hope for a positive afterlife is not very…hopeful. Then again, do we really know? I can imagine the office atmosphere now is, how shall we say tactfully, lighter? I myself have been accused at times of being a grump at work. We all have bad days now and then. Usually, we get over ourselves and bounce right back to our usual cheerfulness. And then there’s that one…

That grump. Day in and day out. Always irritated at nearly everything. The one co-worker, friend, or relative who ravishes peace…thrives on hate.

How will the future hold our memory?

  • Will they remember our laughter?
  • Will they remember our rage?
  • Will our Love be known?

The only thing that will matter a hundred years from now, the only thing is the character we leave behind. Not a physical thing. Only character.

Will our memory be a blessing??

Will all this drama really matter a hundred years from now?

Will all this drama really matter a hundred years from now?

 

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People Pleasers and Brownie Points

Are you a people pleaser or a people lover? Are you a God pleaser or a God lover?

I may get some flak for saying this, but people pleasers are very self-centered individuals. When you run across those who simply cannot say no to anyone, do you think to yourself, “My, what a nice person.”? Unfortunately, most do. Or, what do you think of the person who can’t stand anyone to be mad at them? Do you automatically think, “Oh, they are such peace-loving people.”? Unfortunately, again, most do.

If we cannot say no to people, we are in essence saying no to God. What if God did not want that for that person, or for us? We cannot please both man and God, can we?

In our devotions this morning, the question was posed, “Is it better to please God or to trust God?” Now, obviously, by the way it is worded, anyone can figure out the correct answer is to trust. Yet, without the comparison of trust, most people with a works-based mentality will typically fall under the belief (of which I have had thrown at me way too many times) that as Christians we are to live to please God. We need to be good little boys and girls. On the surface, it sounds good. But God cares more about our hearts than our actions.

Why do we please? Why do we behave properly? When we teach our toddler not to touch that hot stove, they will obey for fear of pain. Very rarely will you find a toddler who will leave hot appliances alone without instruction, especially boys! How many mothers can attest to the continual question, “But why??” Because I said so. 😉 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Oh, to come to the place where we long to do good out of love…not fear.

We are carnal people. We are selfish people. Do we want God to be pleased with us for our own benefit? Or for His? Do we please (or go around doing “good” to others) out of fear of reprisals?

We want our world to be soft. We want our “Brownie Points” as I used to tease my kids. We want to please others because it feels good…to us. We want to please God because we are under the impression He will love us more. We want to please God because we are under the impression we will have greater reward in heaven one day. We want to please Mommy so we can have an extra helping of ice cream on top of those brownies!

Are you following what I am saying yet? I believe it all boils down to the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:35-40 that we are to love God and Man. To Love. All the commandments are inconsequential after the command to love, for the rest will naturally fall into place.

We love because God first loved us: 1 John 4:18-20. That means we did not love first. He did. He set the example. We are to follow suit. Do we love others, even when we are not loved in return? No, that’s too hard. Sometimes, I just really want to smack people. And I guess maybe God really just wants to smack me…

No, he loves…without expecting anything in return. He loves without expecting us to please him. He just loves. We are to love (do for) others as He loved us, without expectation.

He says wait. He says yes. He says no. Although God wants good things for his children, he never tries to please us. He gives us that which is in our best interest. Giving us that which is not in our best interest is not love. Pleasing us for our happiness is not love. Giving us that which is in our best interest, even that with which we are not pleased is love.

What is our motive behind pleasing others? Do we think God doesn’t know our motives behind our wanting to please Him?

Contributing to the happiness of others in order to fluff our own happiness is not love. Contributing to the best interest of others for their sake, without expecting them to even so much as like us…is love.

What does trusting God look like? Do we trust God for our best interest? Do we really believe he loves us? If we trust in His love, we won’t expect anything in return. We will know He has our back. We will not feel the need to please Him to be accepted. We will want to be the person he created. Typically, we want to be like those we love. We want to be like Jesus.

Pleasure, pure pleasure, only comes when we fully trust in His love.

We cant do anything to make God love us less. So stop trying.

Your Daily Proverb ~ 20:14 (Inadvertent theft?)

“’It is worthless, it is worthless!’ says the buyer; but when he goes his way, then he boasts about his bargain.” ~Proverbs 20:14 

My husband hates to negotiate. Some of it is sheer personality, but mostly, negotiating is an indication that one of the parties is attempting to get something for nothing. Either the seller has inflated the price to portray something more than it is worth, or the buyer (as in the Proverb) is casting doubt on the quality in order to pay less than the actual worth. Inadvertent theft.

Does God do that with us? He could have. He had every right to cast full light on our sin and expose our worthlessness. Jesus could have called down all the Angels in heaven to keep from paying the price asked for our sins.

But he didn’t.

He paid a price we were unable to pay. He willingly sacrificed an inflated price for our worthlessness. And yet, as he walked away, arose to heaven, instead of proclaiming our worthlessness…he proclaimed nothing but love.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 

Grandma's Relics

Grandma’s Relics

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Your Daily Proverb ~ 18:17 (Did you hear the other side?)

“Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.” ~Proverbs 18:17 

~A wise one is never gullible. As the saying goes…don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see…no matter who it’s from.

When you hear a sob story, are you listening to an opinion or an account of actual events? How many relationships have been destroyed by gullible good people not verifying statements from trusted sources? We hear the hurt in their voices as they recount events that describe injustices done and we want to defend our loved ones & friends against the evil that has been inflicted on them. Why would we question their side of the issues? After all, they are our best friend, our teacher, our pastor, our mentor, our parent. Why would we question?

We question because we live in a fallible world. We are all one-sided human beings. We react and feel based on OUR own experiences. And just maybe, just maybe, they themselves do not know the other side.

We woke up to a bang outside our bedroom window a few weeks back. Big bangs are never a peaceful way to start the morning. It always means my coffee will be delayed. Not good. 😦 My husband went out to see if everyone was safe. The teenage boy who crossed the middle line on his way to school was a fairly new driver. I felt sorry and glad for him at the same time. While it’s never good to be in any accident, sometimes, especially for boys, having a non-injury accident early on teaches hard lessons in humility.

The first-hand account from the second vehicle following the youth claimed the youth was trying to pass another vehicle and he did not have enough room to return to his lane before hitting the oncoming truck, spinning both the youth’s car and the truck off into the cornfield. Of this, he was certain of what he witnessed.

The problem is…there was no vehicle in front of the youth for him to pass…in all actuality, he was reaching in the passenger’s seat for his brush. I guess he forgot to look in the mirror before leaving home. When mom arrived, taking pictures on her cell phone, he was definitely red-faced!

This is why law enforcement are trained to take all statements before writing up a report. They look at all angles before making any conclusions.

Basically…they unknowingly adhere to the **gasp** Bible… “He who states his case first seems right, until his rival comes and cross-examines him.” ~Proverbs 18:17 .

Why can’t we do that with our relationships? Do we really…really…know what it is we think we know??

Maybe…just maybe…we should at least ask??

Maybe…just maybe…that is what you would want others to do for you??

cornfield crash

The Vertical Proverbs…

A proverb a day. Does it really work? I believe so. Sometimes those short daily “reminders” keep us jolted into the right direction. I once read an interview with Billy Graham who said he reads a Psalm a day to improve his vertical relationships, and a Proverb a day to improve his horizontal relationships. (Vertical meaning with God, horizontal meaning with Man) I’ve found his words to be true. While simply reading the bible won’t fix all our problems (it has to be applied), it sure does give us tools to cope.

A while back, I started posting “Your Daily Proverb” on my Facebook page…which has been a humorous hit. Mostly because I find a ton of humor, along with a lot of good old fashioned common sense, in the Proverbs. Plus, I tend to see things others might miss. Today though, I posted one that is a little more on the serious side…because it hit home. (And maybe because today I am fighting the proverbial sinusitis and my head makes me just want to slap people!) Maybe I might just start a page on my blog with all my Daily Proverbs…we’ll see. I hope you find today’s pick insightful:

 

Your Daily Proverb:
“The simpleton believes every word he hears, but the prudent man looks and considers well where he is going.” v14:15
~Simpleton. Such a cool word for a simple person! I like that word. Simpleton. How many relationships do you know have been destroyed because someone believed the negative, even from a trusted source, without even verifying if the negative words spoken (your basic gossip) were even close to the truth? Simpletons have no desire to seek truth. That which is right is found in the prudent.

 

Maybe tomorrow…when the fog clears…I’ll post my normal humor…  :/

Praying Mantis in the Mums

(I’m not sure what this picture of a Praying Mantis hiding in my Mums have to do with this post…but there you go…)

 

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Can we just like each other?

Why do you find it so hard to like me?” That seems to be a common question in our society. Bookstore shelves are full of self-help books trying to answer this question. We seem to think that happiness in our horizontal relationships, not our vertical relationship, is the key to inner satisfaction. But we don’t stop to consider that we are fallible beings. Why do we always have our expectations too high? We tend to walk through relationship after relationship automatically setting ourselves up for failure.

So, why? Why do some people like me…and others don’t?

Do you not like me because of something I did…or who I am?

Do you not like me because…

*of my gender or ethnicity? (Like I can help that!)
*of differing religions? (Tolerance anyone??)
*of my accent, level of education, or social status? (We all put on our pants one leg at a time!)
*you feel threatened by my position or that I have a position you wanted? (work/church/etc.)
*I have physical/mental deformities? (But for the Grace of God there go I…)
*I am single…married…divorced? (This is a big one!)
*I am married to your dad/mom (the step syndrome!)…or your ex (the jealous syndrome)?
*I am married/related to someone you don’t like? (soooo Jr. High!)
*I am married/related to someone you do like? (again…soooo Jr. High!)
*I may have been mean or ignored you in Junior High? (People do change you know!)
*you had me on your own pedestal, and in my humaneness, I let you down? (Unrealistic expectations)

Do I not like you for the same reasons??

Isn’t it about time we all get over ourselves???

Everyone is consumed with their own little world. Most people go through life worried about the thoughts others have toward them, when in reality, others are only consumed with themselves and don’t even give a thought to anyone else.

One of my favorite sayings…

At 20 we’re only concerned with what others think of us.
At 40 we really don’t care what others think of us.
At 60 we realize nobody really thinks of us.
And at 80 we finally just live happy!

Have you known people who were not concerned with how anyone was hurt by what they did, yet their concern was wrapped around the thought that someone may not like them? People pleasers always hurt someone. Think about it. If everyone has their own agenda, whose agenda do you fill? These people are also called peace keepers instead of peace makers. Peace keepers will please the dominate people to keep the drama at a minimum, all the while hurting the meek. But peace makers will stand by the truth and only please God. Yes, someone will always be upset, mad, and out-right disgruntled, because we are selfish human beings who only want our own agenda. Someone will always make everyone feel bad for not following their agenda. Yet, so will the next person. And the next…

Some people seem to be plagued by mean people, while I seem to be plagued by people pleasers! Then again…maybe I am the mean people who plague others! I don’t see it. Frankly, my intentions are usually, always, most of the time, meant for the good. But then again, they say the addict is the last to admit to any indiscretion. Even though I have studied psychology and all the personality/temperament types…maybe, just maybe “myself” is the last I see?? But when you only strive to stand on truth, no matter who is offended or upset, God always makes sure everything works for the good of all involved. (Romans 8:28)

In God’s amazing design, everyone is different. We all have varying personalities, backgrounds, belief systems, and social economic status. I’ve read that 10% of people in your life will not like you no matter what you do. Some personalities will naturally clash. The trick is to overcome our individual preferences and develop an attitude of acceptance. But then, we can’t be offended over every little thing. Attitudes of acceptance requires self-acceptance. We need to be secure in who we are as well. Do we even like ourselves? Knowing that God loves us and accepts our person-hood should alleviate any angst for the opinions of others. Then we are free to accept others as they are…as God accepts us…the way Jesus accepted the woman at the well, the centurion, and the ragamuffin disciples.

So…can we just like each other? But just maybe…with God’s Spirit flowing through us…maybe we can learn to actually love each other? Maybe??

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” ~1 Peter 4:8

80-60-40-20

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Just a Box of Chocolates

With four kids, funds were tight back in December of ‘91. But, isn’t that the way it goes every Christmas? Quite often, my ex would complain about the money I spent…yet he was the one who… No, I’m not going to get into all that. This is a particular story that happened one Christmas that shows so many elements of human nature. And yet, do we learn from the past? Or do we ignore and continually hit the repeat button?

Trying to be thrifty, I had a list of each person to buy gifts and the amount to spend. Most of the kid’s gifts were purchased throughout the year as I stumbled on a sale somewhere. But, occasionally (well, I admit, more than occasionally. I am such the procrastinator!), I ended up with a few misplaced gifts and had to make that proverbial rush to the stores before they closed for the holidays!

That year was no different. The week before Christmas, I was naturally rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done. My in-laws were coming to visit for the holidays so the white gloves had to come out, plus adding that last minute run to the mall. When everything was done and complete an hour before they arrived, you can’t imagine the relief I felt! Maybe just this once, there wouldn’t be the typical drama created by snide remarks and nit-picking. (I’m such a dreamer… 😉 )

My kind-hearted aunt on my dad’s side was also coming to visit for the holidays, staying with my parents who lived about a half hour away at that time. I was looking forward to seeing her, even though I had a hard time trying to decide what to get her for her Christmas gift. Since I didn’t see her that often, I didn’t know what she would like and I wanted it to be special. The week before (no, she was not one on that last minute gifts list!), I had a brainy idea to have my in-laws bring down a box of specialty chocolates from our favorite sweet shop and I would pay them when they arrived. It was the perfect plan…

But alas…nothing is perfect…and all plans are never full-proof…

Christmas Eve, and the stores are already closed. My in-laws arrived with the box of chocolates. As I started to head back to wrap it up for my aunt, I heard my mother-in-law say, “Oh, when we stopped by the candy store, this was the only box they had left in chocolates, so we brought it for you for Christmas! I’m sorry about your aunt; you can give her something else.”

I stopped…silent…

Oh well, no big deal. I thought to myself, I’ll just hide the box in my room and give it to my aunt anyway, since I wouldn’t be seeing her until after the in-laws left. And…still the perfect plan! But…

(Don’t you just hate the “But” word??)

Christmas Day, after the gifts were opened and as we are cleaning up the paper thrown all over by the overly excited kids, I hear my ex exclaim, “Where’s that box of chocolates? Get it out; aren’t you going to share with us?”

And so…not wanting to be the “bad guy” on Christmas Day, I brought out that last box of chocolates. My mind was racing to figure out what to gift to give my aunt now that the stores were all closed. At least my ex would be happy to satisfy his sweet tooth. As I passed my chocolates around, I thought it would be perfectly acceptable to at least grab a few pieces for myself as they were quickly disappearing. In the assorted boxes of chocolates, most of the pieces have fruit or cream in the center. I have never liked anything in my chocolates except nuts or occasionally caramel. If they would have asked me for my preference, I would have told them to avoid the assortment boxes, but those were the kind my in-laws liked, so that is what they bought…for me…for my Christmas gift. When the box came back around to my ex, he angrily exclaimed, “You took all the good pieces!” Hmmm… And yet…he always liked the cherry filled chocolates which everyone left for him.  **Sigh**

And…just whose gift was it anyway?

Next year…buy me some socks!

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~Philippians 2:1-4