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Truth or…

There was a game show on TV when I was young named “Truth or Consequences”. The premise of the show was that contestants had to answer a question (usually trivia that no one would really know) or face the consequence, which was some embarrassing and entertaining stunt. Many episodes had people reunited with friends or family they had not seen in years.

 

I got to thinking about this show when I saw a quote the other day.

Between Ears

How much of what goes on in our brains is ramblings about ourselves and others that are not grounded in truth?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.        
                                                                   2 Corinthians 10:5

 

Scripture tells us to take EVERY thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. This verse can certainly be applied to our sinfulness and thoughts that are not pleasing to God. We can also take it a step further and realize that our thoughts should always be based in truth.

 

For example, while getting dressed in the morning I often take a look in the full-length mirror and immediately see things about my body that I don’t like. There is nothing wrong with the observation, it’s what I do with it that makes a difference in the rest of my day, and what I do about what I don’t like.

 

If I force myself to concentrate on the truth about my body I will remember that Psalm 139 tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that God’s works are wonderful. (v. 14) Therefore the truth is that while my body isn’t all that God (or I) desire it to be it is healthy and created by a wonderful God. I have the use of all 5 senses and the ability to fully use my arms and legs. There is also truth for me that I have not been obedient in keeping my body healthy and I have a responsibility to change that. BUT that does not make me any less valuable to God or in society.

 

Another area where I struggle with keeping the truth in my brain is when I don’t think I meet up to expectations. I begin to talk down to myself because I didn’t complete a task well enough or I perceive I have let someone down. This is an area that can bring on a downward spiral so quickly and the enemy looks forward to it.

 

It is important to recognize the truth in a situation like this and consider how my emotions are perhaps a part of the situation. Some questions I am learning to ask myself are:

1. Did I set my expectations of myself too high?
Most of the time I expect perfection of myself, or set my goals at a level that is realistic for someone else but not necessarily for me. If the truth is that the expectations were realistic I need to examine what I should have done differently, face up to any consequences and forgive myself, moving forward instead of staying stuck in beating myself up.

2. Did I truly let someone down or were there perceptions of my performance different from my own?
It can be so easy to think you know what someone expects from you without knowing the truth. I find that many times someone else is pleased with the job I did when I can only see how I could have done it better. Knowing the truth of expectations and perceptions can keep relationships healthy and our thoughts in check.

3. What does scripture say about this situation?
Whatever we do and think should always come back to the truth of scripture. If we aren’t sure of God’s expectations we should search scripture to find the truth. Sometimes a trusted friend or adviser can give us insight we can’t find for ourselves.

 

If I had to choose one scripture as the key to keeping the space between our ears healthy it would be this one:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

My heart’s desire is to not only hide this scripture in my heart but to learn it well enough that it is on the tip of my tongue and forefront in my mind as the enemy tries to lie to me and get inside my head.

I’m praying for you today that the truth would be in your mind and heart and that God’s truth would set you free today!

 

Blessings & Peace to you!
Paula

 

 

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Blessings and Curses

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praising and cursing.
My friends this should not be.
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
                                                            James 3:9-10

 

I am a thinker — sometimes to a fault I guess. This passage helps me realize that sometimes I “think out loud” regarding a person and his or her actions. Perhaps I am frustrated or just don’t understand how/why they can act a certain way. I don’t mean malice against them.

But how does this “talk” sound to someone who hears it?

Does it sound as though I am speaking against a person…cursing them in a sense?

How many times would it be better to keep my mouth shut?

Quick to listen James 1-19

I have discovered that at times keeping my mouth shut will help diffuse a situation even when others around us are being critical. I find that offering an alternate opinion often actually adds fuel to the fire of complaining and criticizing. Listening to someone complain and not responding, or diverting the conversation in another direction will often stop the negativity.

Scripture also tells us

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11

If we concentrate on finding the good in others it doesn’t mean that we will never be frustrated with people or situations we encounter. It does however give us a different perspective and keep us from being outwardly critical. We will find that the atmosphere around us becomes less negative and more peaceful.

We will also find that as we are less outwardly critical we become more inwardly peaceful and positive as well. Our minds will begin to automatically think less negatively and more peacefully as we practice the presence of Christ within us.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
                                                         2 Corinthians 10:5b

We can’t do this in our own power. It involves daily…sometimes hourly calling on the Holy Spirit to give us power that is not within our own human nature. His presence in our lives is what allows us to live peacefully in a world full of negativity.

It is what this world is hungry for, even if they don’t know it!!

As people encounter this peace they may question where it comes from. This opens opportunities to talk about Jesus with them!

I invite you to give this a try today and through the coming week. Begin to think about how little comments mean more than we give them credit for. And remember what it feels like when you receive a compliment or kind word. Even small kindnesses can add up to big blessings!

Blessings & peace to you as you bless others!!
Paula