Brain Groove – WOW! (Write On Wednesday!) Takes 2 minutes to read!

Visiting a dear elderly friend who has short term memory issues (likely dementia/Alzheimer’s) recently was a little challenging because I’m pretty sure she repeated the same thought and story in one way or another 50 times in our hour visit. I know her mind, her brain, is in a groove she can’t get out of. She doesn’t have a clue she’s repeated herself. I was totally fine with responding 50 times with the same (hopefully) tender response. I’m used to it. I have a son with special needs, and some days he just gets in his own groove and can’t get out of it. It might be the days of the week, or where he’s going with Aunt Susie, or some “idea” in his head I can’t even understand. I try very hard not to get frustrated, but it IS different when you live with the person who can’t get out of that brain groove versus only spending an hour with someone!

However, in true fashion, I caught myself saying something the other day….and I realized it was MY brain groove. It’s a particular issue that bothers me about dealings with people; but the difference is this: I know I say it, I know I’m repeating myself, and I know it must really irritate a few people! As a result, I’ve made it a point to limit my brain groove comments! I don’t need to keep repeating the same old thing….I need to make some changes. So my changes have become saying what I need to briefly or not at all, and only to people who either understand or care! I know my brain groove issue could also become a sin issue – especially if I attach a name to my frustrations and make sure everyone knows about it! If I can do something to make a change, then I should, otherwise it becomes an issue for which I’ll likely have regret.

How about you? What’s your brain groove issue? For some it’s gossip; thoughts; for others pornography; for others eating more than they should…it’s whatever we keep doing without even giving it much of a second thougth…it just happens because we let it. While we’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually able, we should get “hold” of that issue and make sure we’re not making it our brain groove.

That’s my story and I’m not going to keep repeating it!

 

 

 

 

WHAT GETS FED – WILL GROW (WOW! Write On Wednesday: Takes < 2 min.to read.)

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These flowers are from my garden. I grew them. I watered them. And for a short time, they bloomed and yielded beautiful flowers to personally enjoy and give to others. I don’t have a particularly green thumb; admittedly it rained more than I watered them, but none the less, they got the nourishment they needed to grow.

On the other hand, I’ve been given indoor plants. They’ve died. I’ve been told they need to be watered. Real flowers and plants (as opposed to dried or artificial) take a lot of work. Bottom line: if I don’t feed them, they don’t grow. Feed them; they grow.

Similarly:

  • If I read my Bible, I will learn.
  • If I obey what I read in the Bible, I will grow in that wisdom.
  • If I eat too much I will gain weight.
  • If I constantly complain I will grow into a sour old woman.
  • If I feed the sin “that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1) it will grow.

The converse is true. What I don’t feed, won’t grow.

As Joe and I have the privilege to mentor others, we see a trend. Not necessarily a good trend. We see young (and old) married couples ending their marriages because they refuse to feed their relationship with healthy doses of caring, respect, and honesty. (These are the 3 ingredients that make a marriage healthy according to author/counselor/speaker Leslie Vernick.)  We see singles choosing (intentionally) to act upon their desires and lusts feeding the wrong things – emotions, physical pleasure, etc. Some even say, “God will use my sin someday to teach others.” Why not start now and become the learner who does what pleases God?

It sounds so simple and easy; but it’s not. It’s hard. We all have the tendencies to feed our sin, our desires, etc. but it takes purposeful decisions to feed the right things that will yield a flower garden rather than weeds. Still, some insist they’d rather grow, pick, and keep growing weeds; which like sin grows out of control and takes over if left unattended.

What are you feeding? What gets fed – will grow.

 

HYPOCRITES (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! takes < 2 minutes to read)

None of us is perfect; and I suppose to some extent we’re all hypocrites. If we had to be perfect to go to church, churches would be empty. Yet what keeps the Christians from being hypocritical is admitting our sin and then doing something about it. Doing something about it is called repentance – turning away from sin. The prodigal son in Luke 15 realized his wayward path, came home to ask his father’s forgiveness and changed his ways, even saying he’d serve the father as a hired hand. He was repentant, broken, sorry, and wanted to make things right.

Yet there are many sitting in the church pews week after week, who walk out the doors of church and away from God Monday through Saturday. When we recognize (whether we hear it from the pastor, a friend, a relative, or hearing God’s voice through His word) our sin, we need to seek the Lord for how to stop our sinful ways. To sit in church and listen to excellent teaching about how to follow Christ, the importance of being an example to others by doing what He’s asked, and then to put on a show of piety and holiness one day of the week before we go back to our blatant sin, is making a mockery of God. He is not pleased.

I know He forgives each of us, but when we ignore His word, when we ignore the instruction of others in our lives who care about us enough to confront us of our sin, when we continue in that sin, we become haughty hypocrites. It seems we think we can fool or hide from Him. We individually need to seek Him for the right way of living, the power to live an abundant and fruitful life being directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. We should put aside missions, soup kitchens, serving the poor, teaching Sunday School, and even sitting in church if we are doing these things to look holy to those around us, but have “another life” outside the church. Shame on us for thinking He won’t notice. Shame on us for thinking others won’t notice. Shame on us for thinking we can act one way and live in blatant sin. We need to ask Him to break our hearts so we will want to be restored to our Lord.

We don’t have to be hypocrites…we have a choice.

IS IT ABOUT MY SIN OR YOUR OPINION? (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! Takes < 2 min. to read)

Not everyone agrees with everything we do. I’ve come to take things people say and put it through the filter of: “Is what they are saying to me about my sin or are they sharing their opinion?” That keeps me focused. I hear what they say and pray about it; if it’s a sin that I didn’t recognize or own up to then I need to do so. If it’s their opinion I seek the Lord for whether I need to heed their advice (perhaps they are His instrument to show me something I need to consider) or move on in what God has for me….then I rest. I can’t be burdened by others opinions – I’d be all over the place and not where I believe God wants me.

As unfortunate as it is, when we step out to do what God created us to do, we might be met with criticism – sadly sometimes from fellow Christians.  In our heart we set out to serve God by using the gifts He’s given and while there are many who will commend us there will be a handful of people who didn’t like something because it wasn’t their style, or preference, or the way they would do it.

I remember once writing someone a letter of encouragement to which the recipient said, “I didn’t think you were sincere in your letter.” It made me recognize and realize that we’re not called to serve God in a win or lose situation, but to use the gifts and talents He’s given whether we’re commended or criticized.

We can appreciate the opinions of others most of the time, but we must to remember that we can’t let everyone sway us with them.

Those are just my opinions…and now you can filter them.

REPENT: Just Do It! (WOW! Write.On.Wednesday! Blog takes 2.25 minutes to read)

Today is the National Day of Repentance. Tomorrow will follow with the National Day of Prayer.

Somehow I never knew about it until today. I’m thankful that I did just learn about it, because yesterday my friend Preston Lund shared something on FACEBOOK. Here are his words:

“What happened to repentance? It’s like ‘as long as I am honest about my sin issue it’s ok.’ I don’t think that’s true. I think repentance somehow activates God’s grace, the imparting of His power to overcome. When we repent with genuine contrition and mourning over sin, then it’s ok because we are working on it; God is working on it. But if you don’t care, God knows and He isn’t going to violate your will and demean His relationship with you. Repent. Just start trying however you can think to start trying. Call someone. Pray this prayer. “I want to want to want to be like You Jesus.” Don’t be prideful, and don’t let my hypocrisy stop you if you see me fail. Just call out now and be saved, be renewed, restore incredibly important fellowship with the God who gave you life, TWICE!!!!”

He understands that repenting is a missing piece of the puzzle of our Christianity and our responsibility as a believer. We miss fellowship with our Lord when we continue in sin and we miss being an example to others who are questioning, wondering, and maybe considering following Christ. We’re not perfect, but when we repent we at least show that we are serious about our relationship with God.

Last week I blogged: The Standard of Measure by Which We Appear to be Holy. Preston’s words embellish what I wrote about. We think we can fool God and man. We think we can “get away” with things, but we can’t. My husband Joe and I often meet with many couples whose marriages are failing. Usually they’re failing because of an affair, but that isn’t the real reason. Peel back the layers on the onion and you’ll find a very pungent odor. Peel back the layers of marriage and you’ll find the root sin of pride along with its other manifestations: selfishness, wanting to be happy at the expense of anyone else, pornography, lust, sexual addiction, selfishness, gluttony, anger, greed, jealousy, envy…..and I’m sure you can add many more to the list.

Let’s take a minute and ask the Lord to reveal our sin to us. THEN, repent of it. REPENT means to turn away from it. Walk away. Run away. BOLT! Don’t look back and don’t do it again. Stop toying with it. Stop playing with it. Stop being tempted by it. STOP IT. Ask those you’ve hurt to forgive you, and make amends to make things right. God has the glue to hold friendships, marriages, and life together. But we have to make the effort to correct our wrongs.

THE KEY: Take the first step and just do it.