What’s On The Inside


 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:27-28

You’ve heard it said, “When you spill the glass, you see what’s inside.” If sweet tea is inside, you see tea, and if it’s sour milk, you surely don’t get sweet tea! 😉 This is so true for each of us. No matter how pretty of a face we paint on, no matter how many smiles we flash, if our character is ugly, when pressures come, (and they will!) ugly is what will come out!  

In the moments of stress, it’s never a matter of what we know, who we know, or even what we’ve learned. It’s a matter of what we’ve allowed inside our hearts, what we’ve processed and what we’ve consumed. What is within our hearts is what is brought to the surface when we face hard times.  

I love how one author puts it, “When you’re upset, you upset what’s really in you.” -Ann Voskamp 

I long for good to flow when I’m spilled out. I don’t like sour milk, never have; yet, when pressures arise, sometimes, sour is all that’s left. It gets messy, and others can see it. I long for purity. I long for less mess, and I’m really working on this; I truly am.  

Yet, I have found that it’s not a matter of the mind. You can’t just make yourself act better. ou can’t just decide in your mind, “Ok, today will be different. No more spills. No more sour milk. Today, I shall be on a better course. I shall be better!” No, it’s not just a simple making up of the mind, and all is well. It’s a matter of the heart, and, oh, how that heart can be so stubborn sometimes… 

I can determine in my mind that I will not doubt. I will not grow angry. I will not be afraid. I can convince myself that this time will be different. I will be different; however, if I’ve only convinced my mind, and I’ve not dealt with my heart, that heart will rebel. That heart will even revolt. When the heat of the moment comes, and my guard is let down, that heart will adamantly revert back to its comfort zone of fear, doubt, anger, or whatever emotion consumes it at the time.  

You see, the heart holds all the wounds, all the pain and all the joy. The heart is full of all the emotion, all the wonder, all fear. When troubles come, it really is the heart that speaks, and this is why it is always a matter of that stubborn heart which determines what will spill out. This is why Jesus longs to rule our hearts. If He can hold our hearts, He can change our mind. He can transform our will. He can even change the world. If He can have our hearts surrendered to His will, He can consume our whole being.  

If we want the inside to be purified, to be empty of the mess, to really be as pretty as the outside we paint, we must lend Him our hearts. We must surrender our emotions, our pains, our wounds. We must allow His living waters to wash over our hearts. We must let Him heal us from the inside out, and then, we won’t have to worry when the glass is spilt. There will be no sour to pour. It will only be full of fresh, living water, flowing from His heart to ours, and out to the world.  

Answer to Friday’s Angle #28

Were you able to get yesterday’s new angle?

 
It’s the side of a cookbook. 🙂

   
 

Friday’s New Angle #28

**so sorry for the earlier glitchwith no pic! Evidently, a technical glitch! Ugh! **
Are you ready for another New Angle? 🙂   
  
Remember to check back tomorrow for the answer! 

Life is so Short

  Life is short. It stops for no man. Stop. Inhale. Breathe. Make the Moments Last. Cherish those you love longer. Don’t let those memories be lost simply because you haven’t the time to remember. Don’t brush away the tears simply because you don’t want them to see. Pause and ponder. Look up and wonder. Gaze into the eyes of a child, and remember what matters most.

There is a host of generations quickly coming behind us. What will we leave them? What will we say? Will we win them, or will we toss them away, believing they weren’t worthy of our cause? Those stepping forward will come with or without us. They will keep marching forward. Time does not stop simply because we wish it to. If we refuse to lead them, someone else will, and then, we will weep.

It is our choosing. It is within our grasp; yet, it is just like a lifeline thrown to the drowning. If we don’t take hold, the rescue can be lost, and death will eventually come. We must decide who, when, how, and we must do it quickly. If we turn away, they will keep advancing with their drum beat deafening our ears. We may be able to hold the line, or we may just be trampled under their feet.

Penned – 8/25/15 – MG

Wednesday’s Ode #29

I love AUTHENTICITY.

It seems, we lack so much of it today. There are those who act happy when they’re mad. Others act downtrodden when, inside, they are elated by the “gracious giving” they receive. Some pretend to choose right simply to plan an attack. Still others, rebel against peace believing they’ll, somehow, reveal it.

When we strive to live within a contrived shell, it will eventually choke the very life we seek. When we strain to paint a pretty picture, when the interior is filled with death and disease, we desecrate our own attempt of majesty. When we give the illusion of stability and grace when there is only chaos and sin,  we diminish the only integrity and character to succeed. 

This whole world benefits when we are authentic. It doesn’t mean we all agree. It doesn’t mean we all tolerate. It does mean we can breathe without fear of suffocation. It does mean we have freedom to live and speak and share without sheltering truth from those who don’t believe as we do. When we are authentic, and we allow others to be authentic, we may not live in perfect harmony; yet, we will create a beautiful symphony to be heard. 

Overwhelming Life … Overcoming …

My heart is full of thoughts and feelings tonight – love, life, and longing; so much, that it’s hard to put it all into words…

Over the past few weeks, I have watched several bury their precious momma, several struggle with the intense sickness of a father or a 3 year old child, others who are striving to help their children succeed in new schools, with new friends and even new locations, and still others who are attempting to simply find a job, pay a light bill, or just make a new start in life, after a lifetime of bad decisions and reckless living. I wonder how those who don’t know God ever make it through these times.

I know, it’s not really popular these days to talk about God, Christianity, religion or even faith. You can talk about any sin you’d like (just don’t call it sin). You can talk about any politician you care to list (just don’t pick a conservative side). You can even talk about the latest celebrity trend or fashion faux pas (just remain unbiased to any real allegations). Yet, when it comes to anything remotely close to relating to the God of the Universe, the Savior of souls, the Christ who walked upon this Earth, you better keep your mouth shut, or someone’s going to profane your name.

Well, I just can’t keep silent one more second, and go ahead, make a note: this post is not to preach to you. It’s not to argue some denominational merits or mistakes, and it’s not even to debate the latest and greatest nor the oldest and ugliest. All I have to ask is, “How in the world could you possibly say, ‘No,’ to Him?” I’m not talking about someone who just simply wants to pat you on the back to say, “Good job for choosing me. Now, go work for me the rest of your life.” I’m not referring to some simple man who declared himself a prophet, wrote a book, all by himself, and claimed he must be followed. No, I’m not even talking about a belief system that teaches you all there is to life is living and dying and trying to reach perfection of all you have while you’re here.

I’m talking about a God who created the stars in the sky and caused the sun and moon to move in orbit. He told the ocean where to stop and the rivers where to flow. I’m talking about a Creator who formed the breath in your lungs from His very being and gave you the life to which you so desperately cling. I’m talking about a Savior who, not only, left His glorious throne to dwell among men to die for you, but who, also, rose from the grave, ascended to heaven and has promised to return to take His children home again! This is the kind of God I serve.

He is a God who loves us so much that He willingly died on the cross for us, because we needed blood to atone for our sins. He is a God who loves us so much that He sent a Comforter to dwell among us in His absence. He is a God who binds up the brokenhearted, heals the sick, delivers the captive, restores the desolate. He is a God who even cares about the tiny sparrow that falls to the ground. I just can’t fathom why there are those who hate Him for the goodness He brings. I can’t imagine trying to live this overwhelming life without His hand guiding me and helping me to overcome every obstacle, every failure, every pain.

I read, as my family, my friends, and even distant acquaintances share their struggles, on social media, and I listen as those around me call for help, kneel at the altars for prayer and even linger just to hear an encouraging word. I see their deep longing for healing, for peace, for moments of joy and a brighter tomorrow. I watch as they cling desperately to their faith, like an anchor, until the storm passes. The common bond is their faith, and I, again, pause to consider those without faith. I don’t understand how they can make it. I can’t comprehend their loss without having hope.

Faith in Him is the only thing which sustains me. Trust in a God who is bigger than my trial, wiser than my intellect and deeper than my understanding is the only way I survive. So, if you believe it’s just a crutch on which I lean, that’s okay. If you think it’s just a fairytale, and in the end, what we believe in life doesn’t amount to anything anyway, that’s your prerogative. If my words here simply light a fire of hatred and violence within your heart, and you can’t wait to tear me to shreds with your words, go ahead, because that’s exactly what they did to My Lord, My God, and My Friend. I long to be with Him beyond this world anyway, and it won’t be too much longer. This world is busting to implode, and if it does, I know where I’m going. Do you?

For, if I’ve lived my life for Christ, and there is no eternity, then I’ve simply wasted my life; however, if you’ve lived your life for yourself, or some other god, and there is an entity after this one, then you’ve wasted eternity…and at that time, there are no “do overs.”

If I'm wrong about God then I wasted my life. If you're wrong about God then you wasted your eternity - Lecrae

**I do not own this picture, nor did I take this picture. It was pinned on Pinterest, and I copied it here.**

Train Them Up

Repost, with a little addition… 😉

The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. As we strive daily to teach our children strong values and Godly principles, I often wonder how we’re doing. Dealing with the ever shifting cultural standards, the pressures from the outside that scream, “You’re too old fashion!” “You’re intolerant!” “You’re behind the times,” I am tempted, almost daily, to question my motives, intentions and purpose for setting these “rules,” these boundaries, these standards by which we live. Having a young teen in our home, one who is striving to find himself, to determine his own faith, ‘not that of mom and dad,’ and to become the man he so longs to be, it causes me, at times, to pause, to ponder, to almost take a poll to see if I’m doing right by him, if I’m teaching him these things for his own good … or for mine. 

Good parenting doesn’t come easy. Good parenting isn’t a popularity contest. It isn’t a survey we take to see who approves and who doesn’t. Good parenting takes faithfulness to the One who created it. It takes a lot of love, mercy and grace. Good parenting takes tenacity to carry on, to uphold your standards and to stick to your convictions, even when you’re all alone and “nobody else is getting’ it” or doing it your way. 

 I definitely don’t believe I’ve “arrived” at “great parenting;” I’m not sure any parent every feels they’ve mastered this. However, through the years of observing so many, learning through the ups and downs, and seeking God’s Word, I believe I can share with you what good parenting looks like… The best kind of parent has the faith to remain a boundary while all others run away in fear of ridicule. The best kind of parent stands with courage in the face of rejection and loneliness. The best kind of parent has also learned when to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” even when it hurts their own pride to do so. This parent loves beyond the failings, keeps believing beyond the mishaps and keeps cheering beyond the cold winds of adversity. This parent, also, knows when to push forward and when to pause and let them breathe. Lastly, the best kind of parent keeps loving when the door to their child’s heart has been slammed shut, and it appears he or she will never come back home. 

 Good parenting skills don’t come easy. It’s not a game in which you roll the dice and see if you hit the jackpot. No, good parenting takes faith. It takes determination. It takes a strong heart to love deep and remain true. It takes a strong mind to think the unthinkable, to plan for the unpredictable and to dream the unimaginable. It takes humility, love and grace for success to come, and, sometimes, that success may not be realized for almost a lifetime. 

So, if I may charge you today: keep the faith, Mom. Hold up that standard, Dad. Remain true to the One who called you to this purpose. You can do this! You can survive! Those little hearts are counting on you. They need your love. They need your guidance. They need your boundaries that protect them from the evil outside. They need your standards that protect them from themselves. Keep fighting the good fight! You only have a few years to win this battle for the souls of the next generation. Don’t give up. Don’t give in, and never let them see you cower in fear. You were made for this. This is your destiny.  

In this one thing, you can rest assured, is Word does not fail. is promises are true. You train that child to follow Him, they will know the way home. Yes, it will have to be their choosing; He will never force their hand. He will never demand their love, but He will be ever present, ever drawing them with His love that is unconditional, His love that never fails.  

 …These are the moments when my heart is reassured that we are on the right path…                    At a summer youth camp,  I looked up and saw him immersed in worship… 

 His dream is to be a Christian Rapper…so, we work hard to help him realize his dreams even while he is still young… 

At bedtime, we find him like this more often than not… (Many times, he’s fallen asleep reading his Action Bible.)  

    …Parents, be encouraged today. sometimes, it’s the it’s the little things that we fail to notice, and sometimes, those are the very things that matter!

Answer to Friday’s Angle #27

How did you do yesterday?

 
It’s part of an iron bar on an old fort! 🙂

  

  
 This was taken in Chattanooga, Tn, atop Lookout Mountain At Patriot Point Park. If you’re ever in that area, it’s worth it to see! Really cool, historic area. 🙂

Friday’s New Angle #27

Hello there! It’s Friday! That means it is time for another New Angle! 🙂  

Remember to check back here tomorrow for the answer! Have a great weekend!! 

Choices We Make

Just like in the game of chess, you have no control over what others will do, but you can decide what you will do. 

This is not a popular way of thinking in today’s society. Too many want to blame someone else for their problems, or they simply want to justify their poor choices. Fact of the matter is, aside from tragedy, you are never a victim of your circumstance. You have a choice. You make decisions. Even when it is a matter of “running out of time” to meet a deadline, you have made a choice to let the clock run out, by setting your priorities in a certain order, which have made room for your needs or for your desires. 

Everyone has been given 24 hours in each day; each day has exactly 1440 minutes. The CEO of a corporation has no more, no less than you and me. We have no more, no less than the homeless person in downtown, urban America. We each have a choice how we will spend each and every day. Life doesn’t just run you over by accident. You make a choice everyday to either run life or let it run you. It is surely a rough place when life is running you. When this happens, it is not because you just “happen” to become a victim. You have chosen to become a victim, and you have chosen to let life run you over. 

You may want to argue with me, but it is a fact. You have exactly what you have chosen to have in live, because you have what you value. If you value education, you have an education. If you value sports, you have a sports-centered life. If you value wealth, you have wealth. If you value family, you have a family. The list can go on and on. You have exactly what you value in life. 

Yes, I understand, you can’t control others, and others can mess up your choices. That’s where tragedy is involved, as in a tragic car wreck which debilitates you; a spouse who decides to cheat and leave you, which changes your family dynamics; a child who dies unexpectedly, which drastically alters your course in life. I get it, and I’m definitely not trying to sound callous and hard hearted. I have had tragedies in my own life which have changed some of my original plans. I’m also not addressing tragedy in this post; however, I will say, there are too many success stories, even in the face of tragedy, to dwell on the possibility that you cannot arise from disaster, but I digress, that is a post for another day. 

Simply put, if you don’t feel as if you can choose the things you want in life, I’d have to ask you, “Where have you placed your values?” If we can ever get real honest with ourselves on the answer to this simple question, we are able to assess exactly why we are where we are in life. When we can take the huge spotlight of Truth, and shine it on every decision we have made, we can truly evaluate the why’s of our situation in life. 

This is a very difficult process for so many people, especially when the culture screams to us, “Everything bad in life must be someone else’s fault. It can’t possibly be because I have made bad choices for myself!” It’s a tense place to be when we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize we have royally messed up, and it may take a while, and a lot of hard work, to get back to where we want to be. However, if we can ever get to this point, we will realize that success, and all our dreams, are really possible! We might just have to rearrange our priorities, and apply a little more effort, to make them happen; however, it is possible!

So, make a decision today. Don’t let life just run over you, and never choose to be a victim! Be a winner!! You can do it!! 😉