wisdom

When Wisdom Turns Into Fear

I like to research and thoroughly think things through before moving forward or making a decision. While this habit is wise, if taken too far it indicates a problem.

The problem comes in when we get so worried about making a wrong choice, that we can't bring ourselves to make a choice at all. This is what the Bible calls being double-minded.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8

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God has all of the wisdom you need to make a good choice. You do not need to be bound by the fear of making the wrong choice. Ask God to help you, then make a choice grounded in peace and move forward knowing that you can readjust if you need to.

Key Idea: A confident person is not paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake, because they realize they can recover from a mistake.

How To Live Free From Dread

Do you have a tendency to worry about what's coming next? Maybe when you have a good day and you're starting to feel hopeful you notice a nagging voice saying, "Yeah, you're happy now, but just wait for what's coming next...things can't always be good."

When I hear this voice it usually feels like it comes from someone speaking from behind me just over my right shoulder. We can safely identify this voice as the voice of the accuser. He is constantly working to get us discouraged or distracted.  He is scared to death of what will happen if we find out how much favor and power we really have, much less learn to live in that reality.

In the book of Proverbs Wisdom says:

"But he who listens to me shall live securely,

and will be at ease from the dread of evil."

Proverbs 1:33

The fact that the enemy is working so hard to lie to us proves that it is 100% possible to live free from dread. It is 100% possible to live in peace and hope for the future.

When you follow Wisdom, you can live free from dread!

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I'm going to be digging into the book of Proverbs over the next few weeks. Why not join me? You could aim to read a chapter each day. If you get to a verse that jumps out at you, don't push past it to finish the chapter....stop and soak it in. Ask Holy Spirit to read with you and to teach you as you read.

Which Direction Are Your Dominoes Falling?

(I Want to Be a Tree Part 6 of 6)

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1:6

Do you ever feel invisible? Life is full of mundane moments. There are basic things that we have to do each day that seem trivial. The little, godly choices that you make day after day do not go unnoticed by God.

Remember Psalm 1:6.

  • For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, God sees every little good choice that you make. He notices it, and it makes Him smile.
  • But the way of the wicked will perish. Unbelievers will not prosper in the end. It is impossible to live in rebellion to God and have lasting peace.

If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:8-9

In the kingdom, it is impossible to sow good seed (make good choices) and reap a bad harvest. It is equally impossible to continually sow bad seed (resist God’s way) and live a blessed life long term.

Make sure you are knocking your dominoes over in the direction of life and not death.

Don’t give up on doing good. Keep making right choices. Keep moving forward in God. He has given you everything you need to live in victory!

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I Want to Be a Tree Part 1

I Want to Be a Tree Part 2

I Want to Be a Tree Part 3

I Want to Be a Tree Part 4

I Want to Be a Tree Part 5 of 6

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Are You Sick of Bad News?

I Want to Be A Tree Part 5 of 6

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

Psalm 1:5

There is coming “A Day.” None of us know which moment will be our last. After we die, each one of us will stand before God alone. We will not have a friend or spouse standing with us for moral support. We will not be able to cast blame for our life’s choices on any other person.

If you are in Christ, you will have Him standing with you, and He will be your Way into your heavenly home.

Psalm 1:5 speaks of people who are NOT in Christ.

  • Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, When that final day comes, unbelievers will not be able to enter God’s throne room with their heads held high.
  • Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. When we are all gathered into our heavenly home, those who have rejected Christ will not be able to join with us.

It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27

If you have not surrendered your whole life to Christ, please to do it right now! Give Him every single part of your life. He knows how to take care of you much better than you ever could take care of yourself.

Once you are in Christ, you can live with a completely clean conscience. Jesus made the way for you to be able to hold your head high and have complete confidence as you get to know your heavenly Father intimately.

Jesus' blood changes everything. When you've been washed clean by it, you never have to live under a cloud of guilt again. This is the Good News!

 

I Want to Be a Tree Part 1

I Want to Be a Tree Part 2

I Want to Be a Tree Part 3

I Want to Be a Tree Part 4

I Want to Be a Tree Part 4 of 6

When Wickedness Abounds

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Psalm 1:4

It is easy to feel put out when we see ungodly people climbing the ladder of success. We can start to feel like the Prodigal Son’s older brother (Luke 15:25-32) if we are not careful. He was jealous of his younger brother’s blessings. He didn’t stop to notice how blessed he already was.

Psalm 1:4.

  • The wicked are not so, At first glance, ungodly people may appear to be winning, but they don’t have long lasting stability because their roots are not planted correctly.
  • But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. When the storms of life blow, the wicked will fall like dust and fly away with the wind.

This verse may be a comfort for a moment. It reminds us that our godly choices really do matter in the long run.

After further meditation though, I feel a sense of compassion for the unbeliever. They are living their life the best way they know how, but their best efforts are not enough. All of their ventures will turn to trash in the end. How tragic!

I believe that people all around us are searching for meaning. They know that there has to be more to life than what they are currently experiencing.

Action point: Let’s ask Holy Spirit to help us connect with unbelievers around us who are ready to hear the truth about God’s kingdom today! Let's spread seeds, water and fertilize sprouts, and nurture new young trees all around us. After all, trees should reproduce after their own kind.

I Want to Be a Tree Part 1 of 6

I Want to Be a Tree Part 2 of 6

I Want to Be a Tree Part 3 of 6

My sister-in-law who is an artist, sent me this amazing testimony that came out of last week's post Why I Color in My Bible.

Part 1: I have been thinking a lot about "coloring in my bible" ever since I saw your first post on it. <My husband,> John got me a Beautiful Word Bible with lots of room for journaling and drawing on the sides.... but I still haven't been able to jump in (so to speak.) One would think that an artist wouldn't be so hesitant. I think I have finally come to a place where I am ready tho. I am seeking peace.... it's something that doesn't come easy to me, but I NEED it so desperately.... my mind is anxious, and I'm so tired of it. I hope that this time I spend really meditating on certain scriptures as I draw will help quiet that. Thank you for inspiring me to take the plunge and deface my Bible.

Part 2:

So often people look to Christians or even just adults as having it all together. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people talk about other Christians as hypocritical because they mess up and do such and such, as if because they are Christian they should have it all together and never slip and never struggle. Well, I have been a Christian for 15 years now, and let me tell you, I have had my struggles! I have periods of time where I think I'm not doing anything right... lately I have struggled in the area of getting into the Word. I go to church on Sunday, and I cry out to God asking Him to forgive me because I miss that time with Him (and I REALLY want to spend that time daily), but then Monday comes and goes, and I don't. I fall into that Romans pattern of "what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." And then something comes along and a light bulb goes off... something really connects and you start to think "maybe this can help."

This is what I came to when I read my sister-in-law's blog about coloring in her Bible. I read it and "chewed on it" for a while, and then finally decided to try it for myself. This has helped immensely in my meditation of the Word. I cannot remember the last time I spent over an hour meditating on a small portion of scripture.... really getting it in my Spirit, which is what happens when I am coloring in my Bible. For once in a long time I am excited about the time I'm spending in the Word! Thank you, Beth.... really, I can't thank you enough!

PS- If anyone is interested in seeing my "artistic meditations in the Word" let me know.... I would be happy to share my Bible art and maybe inspire someone else like me that needs a boost. Sahra-Dora Olson.

Part 3: Thought I would share this morning's meditation with you. I really can't thank you enough for inspiring me to do this. I can't tell you the last time I spent time concentrating and focusing on a small portion of scripture for over an hour! I REALLY think this is going to revolutionize my time in the Word!
Ps. 12:1-5

I bet this makes you want to check out Psalm 12!

I bet this makes you want to check out Psalm 12!

See You on the Flip Side

Last Monday we talked about how Slow and Steady Wins the Race. If you missed that post, please check it out. This week I want to look at the flip side of things. Recently I had a few days where I felt like I was pushing against a brick wall. I had all of these things in my heart to accomplish, and had been working towards them with diligence for many months, when I came to a spot where I smacked into what felt like strong resistance.

As I was driving down the road thinking things through, I passed a middle school football field. That was the moment when I was able to put my jumbled up, frustrated feelings into words. I felt like I had been pushing against one of those blocking sleds they use in football practice.

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Having that picture in my head brought me relief and peace. I realized that I was actually in a good spot. Sometimes to get something off the ground you have to push. Pushing is hard, painful work. The fact that it is time to push means that something awesome is about to break forth.

When I was in labor with my first son, there was a distinct moment when the pain became so strong, that I just wanted to stop, climb out of the hospital bed, and go home. I had been waiting for that day with all of my heart for nine months, honestly for my whole life. When the pain became overwhelming I just wanted to "stick a pin in it" and try again another day.

Turn back the clock another 23 years. When my mom was ready to give birth to me something crazy happened. When the time to push came, her doctor instructed the nurses to hold her off for what turned out to be several hours. This delay caused physical damage to my mom. She had to have follow-up surgery and ended up only being able to bear two children when she would have liked to have had more.

Sometimes you just have to push! Quitting is not an option, and delay is dangerous.

This is the moment when the resistance actually works for you. Great breakthrough is imminent if you keep pressing forward.

Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. John 16:21 NASB

I'm realizing that my biggest breakthroughs come when I keep pushing.

(Please do not take this as permission topush against God or against your leaders in a rebellious way. That is definitely not what I am suggesting. If you push too early, you will birth a preemie and go through a lot of added stress.)

Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 NASB

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

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My dream is for us all to dream big and go after our dreams with everything we have. Regardless of how exciting dream chasing is, life will always be full of boring moments. We all have basic maintenance things we have to do each day. We have to clean our homes, feed our dogs, and fill our cars with gas over and over again.

Personally I find it tedious to wash my face and brush my teeth every single night. I choose to be faithful in these little things because I know that they are important in both the short and long term.

These maintenance moments are some of the basic building blocks of life.

Sometimes God leaves us in a place of boring repetition because He has us in a holding pattern. Regardless of how boring our lives may seem, people around us are watching.

There will suddenly come a moment when all of your steadiness will pay off. Your consistent choosing to have a joyful attitude in the midst of plain normal life will open up the door for a "wow" moment.

You never can tell when your faithfulness will open the door for you to make a forever impact in someone's life.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:9

Slow and steady wins the race!

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Practical Help for Raising Creative Kids #firefliesaglow

I Want to Be a Tree Part 3

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He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:3

I love trees, but I’m not a tree hugger in the environmental sense. Trees are a poetic inspiration for me. I love to look at them in pictures and in real life.

One of my spiritual daughters has heard me talk about my love for trees so many times, that she has started to tease me about it. She suggests that when I die, I should be cremated and planted with a young tree so that I can physically become a tree!

Consider Psalm 1:3.

  • He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Firmly planted makes me think that someone took the care to plan where the tree was placed. Being close to streams means that the tree’s root system has underground access to life giving water.
  • Which yields its fruit in season At the right time fruit happens. The tree doesn’t have to strain to produce fruit.
  • And its leaf does not wither; Because this tree is planted in fertile soil and in a strategic location, it stays healthy all the way to its tips.
  • And in whatever he does, he prospers. The person whose life is rooted like this tree will have success in whatever he does. Everything he touches will prosper.

Take time to consider your root system today. Ask Holy Spirit if there is any gardening He wants to do in your life. He knows exactly which nutrients and which environment you need so that you can stand firmly planted.

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I Want to Be a Tree Part 2

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:2

There is nothing like the Word of God. It is the start to everything good in life. Blessings come all over us when we start off each morning and end each day thinking about God’s words.

Think about Psalm 1:2.

  • But his delight is in the law of the Lord, I love the Word of God! I am growing in my love for the Word of God.
  • And in His law he meditates day and night. I remind myself of God’s ways at least twice a day. I ask Holy Spirit to help me understand His words as I contemplate them.

 

We all know what it is like to have a tune stuck in our head. What if you were to choose which song got stuck instead of leaving the soundtrack of your mind to chance.

When I was a kid “scripture songs” were very popular. People would sing scripture verses word for word. Recordings were made of these songs so that people all over the world were able to learn and sing the scriptures together.

Putting scripture to music is a great way to store up God’s words in your memory. I find that verses that I learned to sing as a child “randomly” pop up in my mind all the time. I am able to sing the songs, even silently to myself, as I go about my day.  This is one of my favorite ways to meditate on His law. What a blessing!

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Click here to read Part 1 of this series!

I tried to find a Psalm 1 song for you, but I couldn't seem to choose one that I thought would appeal to the majority of my readers. If you know a good one, please share it with me!

 Click here to check out the Joyce Meyer teaching I have been enjoying this past week.

I Want to Be a Tree Part 1

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How blessed is the man who does not walk

in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

Psalm 1:1

Years ago, when my kids were very young, I got into a habit of starting my day by watching a popular morning show on t.v. At the time, I had four small kids. Getting out of the house was a major production. Watching this show made it possible for me to experience some of the outside world without all the hassle of actually going anywhere. I enjoyed the news updates and the playful way that the hosts related with each other. They also featured advice on a variety of topics. Some of the advice was helpful; some of it was mixed with ungodliness.

One day the Lord reminded me of Psalm 1:1.

 

  • How blessed is the man (or woman in my case) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, This reminded me that God’s word has all of the perfect advice that I need to live my life with the maximum amount of blessings.
  • Nor stand in the path of sinners, I will be more blessed if I do not spend the majority of my time hanging out with sinners. I need to spend time with unsaved people so I can be a light to them, not to absorb their mindsets.
  • Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! Though it can be entertaining to listen to stories and jokes about other people, joining in making fun of others is not the path to the blessed life.

I still watch morning shows occasionally, but overall I have learned that moderation is best. There are some things that go on in the world that are simply better for us not to know about. There are blessings galore for the person who does not look to the world for wisdom.

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It's a Bad Moment When You Wreck Both of Your Vehicles at the Same Time

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I have no idea how I can drive through a messy snowstorm and make it home unscathed, only to wreck both of my vehicles in my own driveway a couple days later when the weather is totally fine.
I do have a few lame excuses for how it happened:
  1. Our car had been at the mechanic shop for a couple days and I got very used to it being gone,
  2. I was in a hurry to get all the kids and all of our stuff into the van and to church on time,
  3. It was pitch dark outside so when I glanced at the driveway all I saw was black,
  4. Normally on Wednesday nights Christopher would have taken the car and headed to church by this time, but he was in Brazil preaching in a bunch of different churches.
None of these excuses make what happened much easier to bear. The fact of the matter is I just plain forgot that the car was in the driveway. I put my van into reverse, slowly backed up, and crunch! I paused. I was puzzled.  What in the world was that? Crap, oh yeah. 
Judah and I both got out of the van and looked around, but it was so dark out that we couldn't really tell how much damage had been done. We got back into the van and headed to church.
The fact of the matter is no matter how much damage was done it just wasn't worth losing my peace. I knew it was an important moment for my kids too. They needed to see mom not freak out over something that was clearly not a fun situation.
It may cost money to have the vehicles repaired, but money is just money. God provides what we need, and we use what He provides to take care of our needs.
Of course I would prefer not to spend money on repairing both of my vehicles, but hey, it is what it is.
The fact that this is the third time in my life that I have backed into a parked car should be laughable. I may not be laughing at it yet, but I am choosing to let it go.
Life is too short to stress over things that are not a matter of life and death.
Word to the wise: don't park your car behind me!

Everything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Poorly

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  Do you have big dreams but don't know where to start? Maybe you lack the confidence that you will be successful.

You really have to start somewhere. It is like the old question. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

When people ask my husband how he learned to speak Spanish he often responds, "You have to speak bad Spanish before you can speak good Spanish."

His desire to speak other languages is much greater than his desire to not look foolish. This thinking has served him well.

Pride is sometimes what stops us from trying. We don't like to look silly in front of other people, but you simply can not be perfect at something the first time you do it.

You have to be willing to try and fail. Fear of looking like a fool is pride.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

This is something that I personally struggle with. I much prefer to do everything as "perfectly" as I can the first time around.

I spend hours studying and researching a thing before I do it. I think there is wisdom in preparing well, but at some point you have to stop preparing and move forward.

I have to remind myself that if I am willing to humble myself and take a step forward, grace will come to me.

Everything worth doing is worth doing poorly....at the beginning.

You have to start somewhere. We have to get right up to the starting line and take that first step.

No one is born knowing how to walk gracefully. You literally have to take baby steps.

 

Take some baby steps towards fulfilling your destiny today!

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It Was the Very Wishy Washy Time of Night...

Many nights at bedtime my mind kicks into high gear with ideas and strategies for how to best do all the things I want to do in life. I feel so inspired that I almost want to skip the whole night and get started right away on the next day. Other nights I start to feel bombarded with doubts. I think we all have a certain time of day that doubts try to creep in.

If I ever feel doubtful it is generally at night before bed. Things that seem like a wonderful challenge during the day tend to be much more scary at bedtime when I'm worn out. I am always the the most vulnerable and discouraged at night when I'm tired.

It is so helpful to know this about myself. I am able to notice when I'm feeling unsure of myself which gives me a chance to choose to set my worries aside and reconsider my life with renewed perspective the next morning.

I have also learned that when I'm feeling doubts creeping in I should never make any important decisions. I would never accomplish anything important in life if I didn't put off decision making until I have a peaceful perspective.

Things generally are much clearer after a good night's sleep.

Each day has fresh grace from heaven and sometimes the grace for the day runs out just before it is time for me to close my eyes and recharge.

Here's one of my favorite songs for refocusing and de-stressing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR5IoWH9OiI

Sorrow may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5

Cause it's the Law!

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Do you remember being a kid and playing with friends always fighting for who was in charge? Because I'm the boss of you! Because I said so.  Because I'm bigger and older and smarter and we're doing things my way, or I quit! Have you ever tried to take this approach with God? It seems to be rampant in our culture.  No moral absolutes! I get to believe whatever I want, and you have to suck it up and be happy about it.

Can this really be the path to peace? Can your heart truly be at rest when you break the law?

Lately I've been obsessed with Psalm 19.  It just keeps sucking me in and racing through my heart.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul" (Psalm 19:7a)

Take a deep breath and soak that one in......

Can your soul be restored by obedience to the King?

Or was He just kidding.

"The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple" (vs.7b)

Can your mind be enhanced simply by trusting that He is honest?

"The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" (vs. 8a)

Can you shake off depression by knowing what His rules are?

"The commandment of the Lord is PURE....enlightening the eyes" (vs. 8b)

Can your face shine radiantly because you make the right choice?

"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever" (vs. 9a)

Can you live clean forever?

"The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether" (vs.9b)

Can you be righteous through and through?

"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than the honey, and the honeycomb."(vs. 10)

Can a law really be a delight? Can obeying a rule be better than having piles of money or the best cuisine in the world?

Maybe God's law really is the High way.  Could it be that He really is bigger and older and smarter than us?!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (vs.14)

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