Thursday, March 31, 2011

Have You Been Framed?

What have you been complaining about lately?

I used to complain about having so much to do that I could never get it all done. My first thoughts when I woke up would be about all I had to do that day, and worrying how I would get it done. My conversations frequently revolved around my busy schedule.

God’s Holy Spirit began to convict me of how wrong I was to complain about anything, but particularly about being busy. So, I began putting it in a different frame. I began to say to myself, “Mary, how blessed you are that you have more to do than you will get done. How extraordinary that God has entrusted you with lots of good things to do. Imagine how bored you would be if you didn’t have much to do!” Do you get the idea? As a result, I truly began to see my daily schedule in a different frame, and it changed my attitude, reduced my stress, made me more joyful—it worked.

I still have to work at it, but when I re-frame, it helps a lot. Whatever you’ve been complaining about lately, try putting it in a different frame. God will help you; you can do it. Then, please let me know how it works out for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Truth or Consequences

I’ve been thinking more about truth. There is another key about truth we should think about: Truth Heals.

If you go to a doctor because you've been having bad headaches, you don't want to be told that you have a simple headache when in reality you have a brain tumor. Your only hope for healing is to know the truth and have an operation to remove the tumor.

I think of a woman who has difficulty in almost every relationship in her life. She continually refuses to face the truth about herself, and she shifts the blame to others. As a result, she never heals. She is in constant inner pain because she runs away from the truth.

Once we face the truth, we're in a position for healing. It's like lancing a boil so that the poison can escape. The cut is painful, but once you do it, then healing begins. As long as we refuse to accept the truth, we can only get worse. The truth about truth is that it heals, it sets you free!

If so, we've got to find the truth. Where do we look? Jesus said He is the Truth. So we should look for truth in Jesus. We can read the gospels, study what He said. Jesus prayed for His disciples: "Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Truth is found in the Word of God. Anything that does not line up with God's Word must be discounted. If we don’t know God’s Word, we are susceptible to believe any error that sounds good.

The truth about truth is that even though it hurts, truth heals and it sets us free. I want to set my life to pursue the truth and settle for nothing less. How about you?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Trouble With Truth

 Jesus said: "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Truth sets you free from error, free from bad choices, free from sin and its consequences. The converse is also true: error binds us. Any untrue belief we have puts us into bondage. If that is true, you’d think everyone would want to know the truth, wouldn’t you? But people have often suppressed the truth, exchanged it for lies, rejected it, denied it. In fact, today many believe that truth is relative and everyone's opinion is right. Well, you are entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own truth!

Since truth sets us free, why do so many of us either run from it, ignore it, or reject it? Here's the key truth about truth: Truth Hurts.

I got a phone call once where someone told me some truth about myself that was painful. My reflex was to drown it in busyness. I told myself it wasn't that important. The truth hurt, and my natural reaction was to run away from the pain.

Finally I said, "Mary, this is the truth about you and you better face it and do something about it." If you refuse to take the pain of truth, then it can never set you free.

Can you think of where the truth about yourself is painful and therefore you've been denying it, or ignoring it or shifting the blame? We all need to face the truth even though it hurts. It won't hurt as much as you think it will, and once you face it you can do something about it.

Truth hurts, but if we let it, it will also set us free.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do You Need Courage Today?

“You are my divine treasury, in whom all fullness dwells…” This is a line from The Valley of Vision, a prayer book from my shelf. I got snagged up on the thought of God being a treasury. The rest of the line is, “…my life, hope, joy, peace, glory, end.

What is a treasury? It’s a secure place, where valuable items are stored and preserved. To me, that means that if God is a treasury, then He is where my life, hope, joy, peace, glory and end are being kept safe. What an interesting image! But is it biblical truth?

Hebrews 13:5-6 —God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Deuteronomy 33:12— Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.

That sounds pretty convincing, doesn’t it? I love the idea of resting between the shoulders of God. Curled up there, I know my life, hope, joy, peace, glory and end rest secure. What comfort! With that in mind today, I should be able to face anything. I hope it puts courage in your heart too.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Can We Redeem Our Bad Decisions?

I’ve made many wrong decisions. The worst decisions were the ones I knew were wrong when I made them. But there have been others that were not so intentional, just misguided. My guess is you can see the same trends in your life. But how does God see us?

God remembers our frame and knows that we are dust, so it doesn’t surprise him to see how often we make wrong decisions. What must, however, break his heart is to see how we wallow in those wrong decisions and allow them to keep us living in guilt and despair instead of taking our medicine and going forward.

God can give us the grace to live with whatever bad or wrong decision we have made, even the ones that last for a lifetime, if we will allow him to do that. And you might be amazed at how you can find joy and peace and fulfillment and be used of God even though you’ve made some wrong choices. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Are you willing to let him take your wrong decision and make something good out of it? Are you willing to stop using your bad choices as excuses for not going forward with God and being a blessing to others? If so, you can make a fresh start today.

This topic is the theme of our Weekend Getaway April 8-10. Judging by the pace of registrations, this topic hits home with a lot of us. Here’s where to go if you would like more information about it. I hope to see you there.