“So encourage each other,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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I’m sure you’ve heard, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” However, if you’ve had anyone speak insulting, discriminating or vengeful words to you, you know it can hurt more than a stick or a stone. A bruised heart can have a longer memory than a bruised body. One time, a friend and mentor said to me: “You’ll never reach your potential.” The words were hurtful and unforgettable. But I’m no saint. Just this past weekend, I finally had the chance to ask forgiveness of someone who I hurt with my words several years ago. I have learned that sticks and stones can hurt the body, but words can hurt the soul. If you are a person who spouts off on people with your words, ask God to forgive you and seek repentance. Ask the Holy Spirit to unleash self-control in you when you get tempted to “go off.” If you are someone who has been hurt by the words of others, specifically pray for God to heal your heart, and pray for the person(s) who hurt it. Chances are, they need it. Do you think they’d mind if we slightly tweaked the adage to, “sticks and stones may break my bones and words can hurt more so let’s be careful with them.” 🙂
It was a big violation. After years of amassing a generous network on Twitter and Facebook; after five years of blogging 1-minute posts…it was gone. In one big hacking maneuver, someone succeeded in eliminating my presence on social media and my personal blog. For a week, at the expense of forsaking family, sleep, and eating, I grieved, obsessed and fought to get it back. But it would not be. It was gone and unretrievable. But the insanity it was costing me had to stop. I started having serious prayer time. Not for everything to be restored. Not for justice to be served. Not for my perpetrator to come forward. Nope. I got down on my knees and prayed for one thing: Peace. And God heard and helped. He slowly turned the turmoil in my body into good. After that peace filled me, I was able to peacefully let go of what was rightfully His. Yep, I realized that my former “LeadHership” online presence was never mine to begin with. It is the Lord who giveth…and taketh away. So I learned to let go of one thing, give God everything, and He gave me something: “WondHerful!” He’s good like that. And thank you for joining me on the journey
Whether your a bible reader or not, almost all of us have heard of Job. He was a righteous dude. I mostly study the book of Job to focus on this human’s worst suffering (probably unmatched only by Jesus). Job was IN hell, ON Earth. But as I was reading, something new jumped out regarding Job’s “friends.” I put that in quotes because after you study their role in his life, you’re left wondering if they really were friends. In a good portion of the book of Job, his friends are there to offer pithy opinions and wisdom. What I particularly gleaned was the position of Job’s friends. They picked the proverbial posture of looking down on Job, in pity. But author Eugene Peterson offers an alternative posture for friends who are suffering, he said: “We need to quit feeling sorry for people who suffer and instead look up to them.” Fireworks went off in my brain. That is genius! What if, instead of looking down in pity on godly-good people who are suffering, we look UP…
1) We look UP to the sky to pray for them.
2) We look UP to them to show RESPECT that God has deemed them worthy of such suffering.
3) And we look UP to them because when Jesus was suffering on the cross, his good friends stood near and looked up to Him.
As you think of anyone you know who is suffering or struggling right now, I hope this encourages you to shift your gaze. Who knows, maybe God will use your upward gaze TO them, to HELP them get back up on their feet again!
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her ruby-red heels and recites, “there’s no place like home.” Home, for Dorothy, was Kansas. Dorothy wanted to go back. Back to normal, familiarity, comfort. This makes a nice movie. But it doesn’t make good reality TV. Even if I could click my heels, I wouldn’t go back. Where I was, was where I needed to be. But God led me out. And He knows best. And I trust Him–for His reasons–that He didn’t leave me there. In the bible, Paul talked about this. He said, “My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead, I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven.” A few operative phrases, here, are: “forget what is behind,” and “run toward.” This is enough proof for me to not look back and wish I was there. If I am wishing I could click my heels and go back, I am missing the chance to strap on my Nike-Air’s and run forward. No offense, Dorothy! Love the movie, but I’ll live like Paul. 🙂
Day 4 of my #PsalmPstudy.
For further study, feel free to work through questions, below. Thanks!
1) Go to http://biblegateway.com, search “Psalm 23:1-4,” write it (yes, old-fashioned paper & pen) on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror.
2) Think about your own life, and fears. What is one healthy fear you have? What is one bad fear you have? Pause to pray: thank God that He’s a trustworthy Dad to be feared; and ask Him to help release your bad fear.
3) For additional reading on fear/anxiety, go to biblegateway.com or your bible and look up: Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Psalm 34:4
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“If You’re In a Valley, This Post’s For You” Day 3 of my video-blog mini-series:#PsalmPstudy. See below for personal study questions.
1) Go to http://biblegateway.com and read Psalm 23 in the KJV, NIV and CEV translations to get a rich, dimensional take on this text.
2) Who has inspired you to walk through your valley, as you’ve watched them walk through theirs?
3) In addition to Jesus, what other bible-characters “walked” through valleys? If time permits, do a name-search on 2-3 of them on Biblegateway.com and get encouraged by their story.
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Day 2 of my experimental video-blog mini-series titled, #PsalmPstudy. See below for personal study questions.
1) Word Search! Go to https://
2) Ask yourself: what is the state of my soul? Consider: am I weary? burdened? lost? If you answer “yes” to any of these, pause to pray. Ask Dr. God to begin some soul-surgery in you today.
3) Look up Matthew 11:28-30. What #gains do you get if Christ is in your soul?
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Just for this week, I think I’m going to try something new. A 5-day blog mini-series (short video posts + optional study questions) titled, “Psalm Pstudy.” Here goes nothing! Day 1 #PsalmPstudy…
1) Read Psalm 23:1 in parallel fashion. Go to https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/, select “multiple versions” and pick NLT, NIV, ESV, MSG. Pick something that speaks to you from each translation.
2) The bible often speaks to lambs, think of 1-2 ways we’re kinda like lambs.
3) What are some positives that can happen when we lie down? Think of a positive for the physical, mental and spiritual.
4) What is ONE literal way you can feasibly “lie down,” this week and rest in God?
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