Thursday, September 17, 2009

Black and White...

Psalm 119
1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!

I've been meditating on the words in Psalm 119 that tell us how to be happy. It tells us the things we should do if we want peace and contentment in our lives. It also tells us what we should stay away from...

I have heard several people say "How could God have allowed this ..... to happen?" When I hear that phrase I want to be sensitive and understanding about their situation, because I do care about them. But as I've been reading and meditating on Psalm 119, I have to ask the questions "Did you ask God what he thought of this BEFORE you made the decision that has found you in the situation for which you are so distressed?" or "Have you followed the commands of the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?" or "Have you walked along the path and not compromised with evil?"

Our "Happiness" status should not be situational but we all know that we are somewhat controlled by our emotions. The Bible says that " Joyful are those that obey his laws and search for him with all their heart."

Can we honestly say that we search for God with all our heart? Does the Lord consume your thoughts? Do you ask what he thinks before you make a big decision and then WAIT until he answers? Or do you not even include him in your decision making process? Are you controlled by the way you feel about something instead of knowing what you believe about it and doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing?

The whole HUGE chapter of Psalm 119 tells us how we can be happy and joyful... One way is knowing the commandments of God...

I've tried to tell my kids that you have to know what you think about something before you find yourself in a situation where you have to decide based on how you feel about it at the time... That is not the time to make a decision.

Here's where things can get sticky. I'm a black and white kind of person... Something either is right or it is wrong... Now I believe that something can be okay for one person but wrong for someone else, but if you know what is right and what is wrong for you, then there's no question as to how you should respond to it when you're faced with that circumstance.

I think that we as a society have so many socially acceptable things, that it doesn't matter what God's word says about something, the majority of people will do whatever the crowd does. That, in my opinion, is called compromising... which, as the word clearly states in the passage from Psalm 119 we shouldn't do, in order to be Joyful or "Happy" as some versions say.

I'm saying all this to say that I want each and everyone of you to be happy... I know that God wants us to be happy and he has clearly given us the guidelines of what can make us happy... Are we willing to do what it says?
Are willing to take the stand on either the Black or the White side of things? We have to take a stand for something or we'll fall for anything.
Don't be deceived... Right is always right, and wrong is always wrong... What is right for you can only be determined by your convictions and that conviction comes from the free gift of the Holy Spirit that guides us into all righteousness... That leads us down the path to happiness (if we are following it) What side are you on?
Lea Anne

Friday, September 11, 2009

Winning Favor...

I am two weeks into the study of Esther and I have deduced a couple of things from just the first chapter. The first thing I've discovered is that it isn't a person's spiritual beliefs or particular status in life that determines whether or not you win favor with others... It is mostly our Character of person... Your Character will shine through regardless of your position or status. It doesn't matter whether you are the leader or a follower... Integrity, accountability, and constancy is the thing that makes up the character of a person. You can't buy character... you can't pretend to have character... you can't hide behind character... It is the essence of you... If you have good character, that is what comes out. If you have bad character... that is also as obvious...

Esther Chapter 1 starts off with Anger, Pride, and Arrogance being displayed by the King of Persia...I'd like to suggest that anger, pride and arrogance are not character traits... They are emotional expressions displayed during situational experiences... The character trait would be identified as inconsistency, rash, and self-serving... these "traits" are not emotional outbursts... these underlying traits are what make up the person's character...What is on the inside of us will be evident in the way we live. The Bible clearly states in Galatians 5 what life without Character looks like. I encourage you to read it.

But Esther Chapter 2 introduces a new character trait... Beautiful, lovely, spirit-led, good... And it states that she "impressed Heggai and won favor with him"... How does one "Win Favor"... It doesn't go into detail as to how she won his favor... It doesn't say that she "tried" to win his favor... It doesn't say even what she did that was so impressive to him... So it leaves the door open to speculation as to what a person should do to win favor with those in authority over them... I would speculate that the only thing she did was demonstrate the strength of character that people without it look upon with longing and wish they had... She was a person of integrity... she did what she said she would do and didn't do what she shouldn't... She was accountable... She had maids and those in authority who watched every move and she was constant... What is that you ask? She didn't waffle from one decision to another... she stayed the same... she stood her ground... she was stable... The bible says in James 1:8 A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways... If you talk out of both sides of your mouth, you lose credibility... You slack a little in the integrity department... You aren't constant...

If you aren't a person of good character.... You can be... It starts with an internal decision to plant the seed of goodness in your heart. Ask the Lord Jesus to take over and recondition your character traits... A changed life on the inside will demonstrate good fruit on the outside... Go back to Galatians 5:22... the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, long suffering, and self control... These are the traits of good character.

I'm being changed by the renewing of my mind... daily...
Lea Anne

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being thankful...

Today, I'm thankful... I've been thinking over the last week of how to put into words what I'm feeling and the word I want to camp on is "thankful". I could sit and commiserate all the things that don't seem to be going my way, but I'm not going to do that. I'd rather find a reason to be thankful.

Today is the eve of the 9/11 event that brought terror to our nation. I remember exactly where I was and what we were doing that day and as I reflect back on it, I'm thankful that there weren't more deaths, more disaster, more terror. I'm thankful for family and friends that are still here and available to talk to or zip an email off to. I'm thankful that the Lord gives us the wisdom to keep us out of harm's way or redirect our steps when we are asking for that wisdom. He won't lead us into harms path and so many stories were told about how someone just changed their plans that day instead of getting on a plane or going into the office... Or they had a delay in getting there. Sometimes a traffic jam is simply put there to protect us from an unknown harm. God knows everything that will happen to us and if we are listening, he will lead us away from harm.

That doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen to us... Just that if we are listening, we might avoid a whole lot of unneccessary pain and suffering.

I watched John Maxwell this past weekend and he told a story about this little boy that was reading a book and was so devastated by the events that were happening in the book that he had to flip to the back to see how the hero ended up. Then as he went back to the intensity of the story, he was able to encourage that hero with these words..."Don't worry, I read the end of the book and you'll turn out okay. Don't give up." That is how our Lord looks at our current situations... He knows how we end up and he promises to never give us more than we can handle. You just have to trust that whatever it is you are going through can be used to teach you something about yourself. Let God teach you something as you go through the trials. As a Christian, I've read the end of the book... Guess what? We win!!!

So as you evaluate your life and situations, just remember that the problems we face are usually short lived and overcome-able. (is that even a word?)

I choose to remain thankful. And always keeping an ear intune to what the spirit is up to. I ask for a special revelation of His goodness today.
In rememberance...
Lea Anne

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Removing the LOG from my eye...

I was humbled today as I laid my cares upon the Lord in my quiet time. I was quick to think back over the last few hours as I always do and ask God to reveal any wrong thing that I might not have noticed that I did. Sometimes our sins are very evident when we intentionally know we are sinning. But other sins, sins that are of an attitude nature aren't as easily recognized in ourselves. That was the case with my sin from yesterday.

You see, I caught an attitude of excellence... You know what that is, don't you? I'm sure we're all guilty of this type of sin... Although I'm not trying to cast aspersions on any one else and I'm taking full responsibility for my thoughts and comments from yesterday, I'm sure we've all had this type of attitude...

It's the "holier than thou"... It's the "I would never"... It's the "How could they have missed that blantant misspelling?"... It's the "Why weren't they more welcoming?"... You see where I'm going with this?

The attitude of Excellence. We think everything we do is PERFECT and are quick to criticize the "incompetence" of others. The "mistakes" made. The failures and faults. I needed this word from the Lord today and it quickened my spirit within me. Whatever measure I use to judge others will be meted out on me... Father, forgive me for my attitude of excellence.

Luke 6:37-38"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot
easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

39-40He quoted a proverb: "'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice
doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

41-42"It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Go easy on someone today... they may really need to see the best side of you instead of the "excellent" side of you.

I Love you!!
Lea Anne