My Master

Embed from Getty Images “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

This one has been ticklish for me. The world reinforces some very bad behavior that serves the world well.  The problem is that it doesn’t serve God. It’s everywhere.  The truth is, it wears me out.  I read this scripture during a particularly tiring week. In addition to the demands of the week, I was struggling between my old way of operating – performance oriented, self-sufficient, frantically rushing to meet deadlines — and God’s way – a more elegant flow that is thoughtful, intentional and efficient.

In the middle of my shame attack, I recognized a nudge.  I heard the words “Yes, you slip…but you catch it.” I paused for a moment to reflect.  I feel when things are off.  I really do try to tuck into God as a check point. The shame melted away.  I realized I had cause to celebrate! There had been a shift inside of me.  It had happened so subtly that it was not discernible to anyone watching.  The big shift was inside. It was in my heart.  My heart was searching for a better way.  There were now alerts that went off inside me when I began to toil and struggle.  That was my cue to check the rule book I was using.  A peace washed over me.  I am so thankful! I realized that God was pleased too. He knows my heart and my desires. I am the apple of His eye.

God, help me to be bold and courageous walking in Your ways.  Continue to nudge me as I grow and shift.  Thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as my comforter, guide and intercessor. Thank you for teaching me a new way! A kinder and gentler way of operating in You!

Proverbs 8:32, 23:26; Isaiah 55:8, Joshua 1:9, John 14:26

My Master

my master2

 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

This one has been ticklish for me. The world reinforces some very bad behavior that serves the world well.  The problem is that it doesn’t serve God. It’s everywhere.  The truth is, it wears me out.  I read this scripture during a particularly tiring week. In addition to the demands of the week, I was struggling between my old way of operating – performance oriented, self-sufficient, frantically rushing to meet deadlines — and God’s way – a more elegant flow that is thoughtful, intentional and efficient.

In the middle of my shame attack, I recognized a nudge.  I heard the words “Yes, you slip…but you catch it.” I paused for a moment to reflect.  I feel when things are off.  I really do try to tuck into God as a check point. The shame melted away.  I realized I had cause to celebrate! There had been a shift inside of me.  It had happened so subtly that it was not discernible to anyone watching.  The big shift was inside. It was in my heart.  My heart was searching for a better way.  There were now alerts that went off inside me when I began to toil and struggle.  That was my cue to check the rule book I was using.  A peace washed over me.  I am so thankful! I realized that God was pleased too. He knows my heart and my desires. I am the apple of His eye.

God, help me to be bold and courageous walking in Your ways.  Continue to nudge me as I grow and shift.  Thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as my comforter, guide and intercessor. Thank you for teaching me a new way! A kinder and gentler way of operating in You!

Proverbs 8:32, 23:26; Isaiah 55:8, Joshua 1:9, John 14:26

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Be Kind And Compassionate

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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Kind: Of a good or benevolent (intended for benefits rather than profit) nature or disposition. Having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence. Indulgent, considerate or helpful; humane. Mild, gentle.

Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

What about those who prey on the kind and compassionate? Where do we draw the line between helping someone and allowing someone to take advantage? The Bible gives us some guidelines.  Honestly, this is an area where I have struggled.  I am learning that it is to our benefit to truly embody God’s Word.  It keeps us from going too far in either direction.  Boundaries keep us safe.  Acting out of God’s love (not earthly love) keeps our motivations dialed into His Will and discernment, keeping our hearts pliable but not vulnerable. Shrewd as a snake.  Gentle as a dove.

#1: We are to give to everyone who asks of you and not demand it back. But what does that mean?

In Luke, it not only says give when you are asked, but it also says to give to your enemies and do good to them — just as our Father gives to us. God has compassion on all, both the good and the wicked.  We are to be merciful like Him.

#2: We are also to have wise discernment. There are standards to apply for giving our time and money. What are these standards?

  • Never give to the point of being detrimental. Do not enable others.
  • Be a good steward. Use what God gives us wisely. There are things that need to be considered prior to giving to others.  This includes:
    • Giving back to the Lord His portion
    • Provide for the needs of our families
    • Pay our obligations
    • Our time should be balanced between worship, work and family
  • Seek God. Make all things a matter of prayer. Ask for wisdom to discern between a need and a distraction.

As I said before, this has been a tough area for me.  I have had a tendency to over-give on many occasions, venturing into enabling. This has not just been financial, but especially with time and attention.  Learning to set boundaries has been extremely helpful.  I do it much less frequently now.  My own personal healing has helped me learn to let go of caretaking as a means of addressing my own insecurities in an unhealthy manner.  There is so much freedom on the other side of that!

Each day is a new day.  Walking in our Father’s love, making a decision to love others like He loves us, is not the burden you might think.  God does not push Himself on us.  He’s not hovering.  He gives us room to choose.  He waits for our hearts to long to be next to His. The more intimate our love becomes, the more of a desire we have to demonstrate our love to Him through time, obedience and service.  It all comes out of love…making it easier to be kind and compassionate – in a healthy way.  Giving others the room to make their own decisions and find their own way.

Luke 6:30, 35-36; Psalm 145:9, Matthew 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Philippians 4:19, James 1:5

Be Kind and Compassionate

Embed from Getty ImagesBe kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Kind: Of a good or benevolent (intended for benefits rather than profit) nature or disposition. Having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence. Indulgent, considerate or helpful; humane. Mild, gentle.

Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

What about those who prey on the kind and compassionate? Where do we draw the line between helping someone and allowing someone to take advantage? The Bible gives us some guidelines.  Honestly, this is an area where I have struggled.  I am learning that it is to our benefit to truly embody God’s Word.  It keeps us from going too far in either direction.  Boundaries keep us safe.  Acting out of God’s love (not earthly love) keeps our motivations dialed into His Will and discernment, keeping our hearts pliable but not vulnerable. Shrewd as a snake.  Gentle as a dove.

#1: We are to give to everyone who asks of you and not demand it back. But what does that mean?

In Luke, it not only says give when you are asked, but it also says to give to your enemies and do good to them — just as our Father gives to us. God has compassion on all, both the good and the wicked.  We are to be merciful like Him.

#2: We are also to have wise discernment. There are standards to apply for giving our time and money. What are these standards?

  • Never give to the point of being detrimental. Do not enable others.
  • Be a good steward. Use what God gives us wisely. There are things that need to be considered prior to giving to others.  This includes:
    • Giving back to the Lord His portion
    • Provide for the needs of our families
    • Pay our obligations
    • Our time should be balanced between worship, work and family
  • Seek God. Make all things a matter of prayer. Ask for wisdom to discern between a need and a distraction.

As I said before, this has been a tough area for me.  I have had a tendency to over-give on many occasions, venturing into enabling. This has not just been financial, but especially with time and attention.  Learning to set boundaries has been extremely helpful.  I do it much less frequently now.  My own personal healing has helped me learn to let go of caretaking as a means of addressing my own insecurities in an unhealthy manner.  There is so much freedom on the other side of that!

Each day is a new day.  Walking in our Father’s love, making a decision to love others like He loves us, is not the burden you might think.  God does not push Himself on us.  He’s not hovering.  He gives us room to choose.  He waits for our hearts to long to be next to His. The more intimate our love becomes, the more of a desire we have to demonstrate our love to Him through time, obedience and service.  It all comes out of love…making it easier to be kind and compassionate in a healthy way, giving others the room to make their own decisions and find their own way.

Luke 6:30, 35-36; Psalm 145:9, Matthew 10:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Philippians 4:19, James 1:5

Active Love

“Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.” 1 Peter 4:8

God’s word describes love in a way that we can act on.  It’s different than our culture looks at love.  It’s strong and vibrant and selfless.  It’s a mighty force to be reckoned with.  Yet it is kind and gentle.  I have found that it melts even the toughest and thickest walls around a heart.  It is calm in a storm.  It is peace in conflict. It is non-defensive in times of insecurity.  It is confident and bold.  I have really had to look at these principles in order to understand how to love in a healthy way. Loving without an expectation or outcome in mind. Not using it as a negotiation tool. It is generous without expecting anything in return.  It is not used as a price of favor.  For me, the perfect expression of love only exists in God.  Everything else is a counterfeit.  Counterfeit dilutes the truth.  True love died on the cross for our sins, whether we accept it or not.  This Love is ours for the taking, anytime anyplace.

1 Corinthians 13