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“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.” Proverbs 3:7

Yesterday I was working on a project that has taken me nearly nine months to do.  I purchased an antique teaching pulpit for my birthday in January.  It was really rough around the edges because someone had covered up the wood with some tacky green paint.  I knew I would need to strip the paint, sand it, clean it and then varnish it before I could move it upstairs to my bedroom but seeing is how I am extremely busy it would be a project that would be done a little at a time.

I first began, at the beginning of summer because the winter is too cold to do these type of projects, stripping the paint.  Little did I know that it would take several attempts to actually get the job done but I was finally able to see the natural wood.  Yesterday I sanded all the roughness out of it, cleaned off the dirt and grit and then put my first coat of varnish on it.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?  The entire time I was doing this project I wore protective gloves to make sure my hands did not get harmed.  However, when I started cleaning up the brushes I took off my gloves to rinse them.  Not sure where my brain was at the time but it seemed logical that the running water would protect me from any chemical reaction.  I discovered just how wrong I was when my fingers started sticking together and no matter what I used nothing was working.  I tried soap and water and even nail polish remover.  I knew I couldn’t use the obvious paint removers because that would burn my skin so my lovebug looked up a solution on Google for me; Vegetable oil rubbed in and then washed off with soap and water.  Ta-da!  It worked like magic.

This morning while getting ready, I was thinking about what happened yesterday and it reminded me of what the Lord does for us.  We are rough around the edges when we finally give our life over to Him so He does some stripping, cleaning, polishing and varnishing to rid us of our old selves.  We are renovated for a new purpose but we are still sinners of our own free will.  We will make mistakes that might leave us sticky but the good news is He can cleanse us of that too, He is our Vegetable oil.

So for future reference, I am going to try to remember to use His gloves of protection all the time but I am grateful that even when I do make a mistake His vegetable oil is available.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.  Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” Psalm 141:3-4

It is no secret that most women’s weaknesses are that of gossiping.  The Bible is extremely clear about gossip but still we women chose to partake in the extra curricular activity of spreading information we have no business speaking of.  We even get as crafty as saying things like, “can I pray for so and so, she is dealing with _____________” (fill in the blank).  Yes, most of us have fallen into this form of gossip, even though we are trying to, with a genuine heart, pray for the person that we feel sorry for, it is still gossip.  If you feel the need to pray for someone who is on your heart either ask their permission a head of time or tell the prayer warriors you have an unspoken prayer, meaning they can just simply pray “Lord we lift up whatever is on our sister’s heart” and leave it at that.

I know I have been really guilty of this at times, I feel justified in that I am “venting” about my frustrations about people to my “godly council of women.”  It is still wrong and not justified in the least.  He does not want us to gossip at all, positive gossip is still gossip.  You could be so excited for a friend’s pregnancy and want to share your joy for them by telling others but it is not your joy to share and therefore you are gossiping!

Please understand, I do believe God gave us godly people to be our godly council in times of crisis but you can seek advice without divulging personal information about someone else.  If that person happens to know the person you are referring to, when you are seeking their advice, then you need to seek someone else’s counsel so that they are unable to guess who you are referring to.

We are to “set a guard over our mouth” in the form of Christ.  Before speaking about something, ask yourself if it is information that glorifies the Lord and does not show any form of gossiping.  If you cannot answer both of those questions with a resounding yes then you should probably walk around with Duct Tape on your mouth until you get the hang of keeping it closed.

Learning to wear a “Christ filter.”

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31) 

 

Self-Centeredness

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I was reading a blog post from The Unlikely Homeschool, since I am a homeschooling mama, this morning about shyness.  It was quite eye-opening because although I have been labeled an extroverted person I tend to be extremely shy about public speaking.  Don’t get me wrong I love doing it but my nerves get to me every time.  I do not personally feel I am an extroverted person because like introverts, I prefer being alone or one-on-one rather than in large gatherings.  So I am not sure if my shyness is due to truly being nervous about public speaking because of being in front of a large group of people or if it is due to my own selfishness because of wondering what people would think of me.

If truth be told it is probably a little bit of both.  When I am speaking I like to remind myself just Who I am representing and would feel bad if I did not represent God well.  Which is a plus because my ultimate goal when speaking is to glorify Him in an effort to help people glean or build on their relationship with God.  The negative side though is that there have been MANY times when I have opened my mouth to add my two cents to something but I sound, to others, condescending and self-righteous, or so I have been told.  It is not my desire to reflect that behavior but it has happened and because of that there is always this internal fight I have going on in my soul whenever the subject of God, religion, church, etc., comes up.  The positive side of me tells me to say what I am thinking because it may just be that one thing God needs that person to know and He is nudging me to be the person to deliver the message but the negative side of me feels as though if I open my mouth someone might feel like I am being holier-than-thou again, giving them the desire to discontinue further communication with me.

This verse has taught me to be zealous for the Lord, not shying away due to my own insecurities but instead reminds me to have self-discipline to pray before speaking so that I may be able to distinguish between a want (self driven) of speaking and a need (God driven) of speaking.  I do not want to be timid when speaking of or for the Lord but just have to be ever mindful if that is in fact what I am doing or if I am speaking for the sake of speaking.

I want to be God driven and prayer is the only way to succeed at that, unfortunately not everyone is going to see it as such so that is where grace steps in.  If I am speaking for Him and someone displays an attitude of irritation towards me because they see me as being pious then I will need to learn how to freely give grace.  Shyness, though, is no longer an option for me.  Thank you theunlikelyhomeschool, click here to read more on the story I mentioned.

Zealous not Shy!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:21-23

Every day is new!  I have made a lot of mistakes in the past and sometimes I cannot believe I am still standing but then with the dawning of a new day I am reminded of His promises….they are new every morning.

A couple of months ago I had to get up early for something, I don’t remember why but I do remember I was ugly towards my husband the night before and woke up feeling horrid because of it.  I had set my alarm early, earlier than even the sun and was lying there just consumed with embarrassment and guilt for my actions.  I decided to continue to lay there and speak to God, in my heart, about my heart.  I spent a significant amount of time lying there with my eyes closed and as I closed my prayer could see brightness through my eyelids.  I went to the window and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen, with a multitude of colors, as the sun began to peek over the mountains.

“They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” just pierced my heart as the verse came to mind in that moment.  His compassion never fails and I am so grateful because it gave me the opportunity to speak love towards my husband in the form of an apology; which was well received.

For all we have and will do to Him, He is justified in any wrath He wants to bestow on us but thank goodness He chooses compassion.  GREAT is HIS faithfulness!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

 

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalm 56:3-4

I was reading some scripture yesterday by the beloved David, thinking of my own beloved while he is away.  King David loved the Lord so much and even though he made some big mistakes that cost him dearly, he praised Him with an unbelievable amount of admiration and love.

In Psalm 56 David is upset because of how people are treating him.  He has moments of fear but immediately recognizes the faith and trust he has in God and begins to praise.  I am always amazed at how fully he pours out his love for God as though God is his spouse.  I know that sounds weird but today’s society places the love of one’s spouse or children above their love for God.  Society has it all backwards, our love for God is supposed to be greater than our love for a spouse or our kids; He should receive the majority of our attention and affection.

I am not altogether sure why I am amazed by David’s declarations maybe it is not so much amazement but like Scarlett O’Hara would say, “Pea-green with envy.”  I love the Lord and work daily to make Him my first and foremost but unlike David it doesn’t just naturally pour out of me so I am a bit envious at how he displays his love for God.  I desire the same and have been taking steps in my walk to draw even closer towards Him.

In the past, when my lovebug has been away for work I have had major insomnia partially because it is hard to sleep without him (putting the love for my husband first) and partially because of fear (not praising God and relying on Him).  However, last night after reading Psalm 56 I spent a great deal of time talking to God asking for His protection and putting my trust in His word.  I am happy to report I fell asleep at midnight, way earlier than normal, and was nightmare free.

Goodbye fear, hello trust!

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”  Proverbs 12:4

The New Living Translation uses the description of “cancer in his bones.”  I have been witness to a few people dying of cancer, it is not for the weak of heart.  They are in so much pain from the inside out that although their outside appearance may look bad it is nothing to the way the inside looks and feels.  Their bodies are rotting.  I am not saying this to make anyone feel bad and if you are someone who is walking through cancer right now please know I am not wanting to offend you in any way but the hurt you feel is what God uses to describe the pain a “poisonous” wife (spouse) can cause.

My husband and I are around many people in many different settings and it never ceases to amaze me how horrible wives and husbands can be towards each other.  Now don’t get me wrong, we too have had our share of a few bad years and it was mainly due to the lack of respect we shared for and towards each other.

When we were getting in a bad place I felt God turning my attention to who I was becoming, a poisonous wife.  Although society may say my behavior was justified because of his, God does not say that.  He brought me to my knees to see I needed to humble myself to be the wife of HIS desire not of my husband’s or my own.

I began thanking my lovebug for the small things he would occasionally do, eventually those small things became bigger things and more frequent.  We stopped speaking ill of each other, even to our closest friends; it is just plain disrespectful to do such a thing.  I started loving him deeply, looking past all of the things that at one point got on my nerves.  We became a team again; two finally became one flesh.

I have over the past five plus years began to ache for the husbands I hear talking trash about their wives or the wives belittling their husbands because I was there once and all that created was more hurt and bitterness.

We have really close people, in our lives, that still to this day talk trash about one another when the other is not around; makes me wonder how they treat each other behind closed doors.  I actually become so uncomfortable around these people that I feel very out-of-place at times.  I feel as though God is turning my attention, once again, not to who I am becoming but who I can prevent them from becoming with just a gentle reminder of giving each other grace and displaying love and respect whether you believe your spouse deserves it or not, after all you are not doing it for them but for HIM.

Make no mistake, when you get married it is a COVENANT you both make with God.  Show Him that it means something and stop being poisonous towards each other but instead lift each other up, show your spouse what love really is, never let them wonder if you really care about them.

Several years ago, seven if I am not mistaken, my best friend’s husband died on July 9th at the age of 34.  Her heart was shattered because of all the things that were left unsaid, all the future she would have to live without him and never being able to feel his touch or hear his voice.  She went through a period of the “what ifs” and “did he know that I loved him” thoughts.  The fact is that we do not know when our time is up, please don’t let your spouse wonder when you are gone whether you really loved them.  God does not want you to bring death to a person but life, speak life into their soul.

I am extremely grateful for the parents I had.  Before my Daddy passed away, he and my mom just adored each other.  They had their share of arguments but displayed love so generously towards each other, us kids and people they came across.  After he passed, there was never any doubt of his love for her.  Their example has been a constant reminder of what a good marriage ought to look like.

Coming from someone who has been on both sides of the situation, when you speak poorly of your spouse thinking it is all in good fun or that they deserve it, please note that most people who hear those words you speak are beginning to see decay setting in on you.  Look like a crown for him/her, for your marriage and most importantly for God.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

When I was younger, 10-22 years old, I was convinced that God didn’t know who I was or at the very least didn’t care.  I was one of those kids your parents told you to stay away from because they are going to get you into trouble.

For the record, my friends (the good ones people believed were innocent but in reality they were more like “Preacher Kids”) were the ones getting me into trouble.  Eight out of ten times they would be the ones committing the crime or indiscretion but I would be the one who got blamed.

After a few years of being blamed I just became what people believed me to be.

I had heard my mom, her friends and random strangers tell me about how God is always with them but just thought they were making stuff up.  I certainly didn’t feel as though I had witnessed anything like that.  In fact one bad thing after another kept happening to me.  I was beginning to have the “Eeyore” mentality; woe is me, everybody hates me, nobody likes me, my life is horrible.  Anyone ever had the pleasure of dealing with a person like that?  Can I get an AMEN.

Well that was me.  Everything seemed to be going wrong and no matter what I did to try to change my outcome, it never did.  I felt betrayed by God.  Why was every other person worthy enough to receive His grace and love but not me.  It just seemed as though He had given up on me or separated Himself from me because I was just too much to handle.  Can you even imagine?

On my wedding day, when the pastor told us to pray silently together, I wanted things to be different and felt like the only way to accomplish it was to challenge God.  So I prayed that God would forgive me.  It went something like this.  “Dear Lord, I know I was saved and Baptized when I was eight but I don’t think I ever felt the connection with You that people talk about.  I have messed up a lot since then.  My relationships have been horrible and I don’t want to get divorced again.  I want to be the wife, mother, friend and godly woman you desire me to be but I cannot do it alone.  Will You please help?  I want to make the commitment to take my relationship with You seriously.”

Now I am not saying that I stopped having issues right away but instead of feeling alone while dealing with them I felt His strength and love.  Life got better so much so that when I look back on my old life I don’t even recognize that person any more.

He reminded me that “nothing can separate us” from the love of God.  He is ALWAYS with me.  It feels quite lonely when we try to run our own lives and it is meant to feel that way because when we do that WE, not God, are trying to separate ourselves from God, which is impossible to do so it feels wrong for a reason.

Do you feel all alone on the path you are walking?  If so, maybe it is time to stop and pray for direction, HIS direction.

Not Yet But Getting There! (notyetproverbs31) 

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