What Are You Feeding?

Recently, we went to the Alligator Farm which basically borders the Everglades National Park. If you are in south Florida and have never been, or if you are going to be passing by, this is definitely worth the trip! While there, we saw all kinds of alligators of all different sizes. They had them actually “sectioned off” by “age.” They had the large ones in the ponds and marshlands of one area, the juveniles in another, and even the little hatchlings in another. Apparently, they have to do this, or the grown alligators will eat the younger ones.

This experience and knowledge caused me to ask myself a question, and I’d like to pose it to you as well, “What are you feeding most in your life?” What you feed will be the dominant source of sickness or healing for your soul. What you feed will either bring you abundant joy or overwhelming sorrow. What you feed grows and grows until it is the leading voice and commanding power in your life.

If you are feeding the positive sources, the faithful things, the good nature within, then, you will reap a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. If you are feeding the negative sources, the unstable things, the evil nature within, then, you will reap the whirlwind of anger, greed, pride, deception, etc. It is the simple principle of reaping and sowing. It is like a seed that is planted, watered and brought to the harvest time. Your soul and thoughts are the soil, and your attitude, actions and words are the harvest.

What you feed will grow and mature into a monster that devours everything in you and around you. That “monster” can either be for good or evil. You decide everyday which it will be.

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Friday’s Friends #10

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Today is Friday, and it is time for the 10th posting of Friday’s Friends. This has been such a fun edition to my blog, and I do hope you all have enjoyed them as much as I have!

This week, I would like to share with you a special blogger with whom I have made “friends” quite a while back. He has a great blog over at Windblownwords, and I do hope you will peruse through his posts. One of his recent blogs that I found of great encouragement was this one about the importance of our writing and sharing what’s inside. Paul writes with integrity, maturity and wisdom, and it has been a delight to follow his words.

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Do you chatter or Do You Speak?

Have you ever met someone who just rambles on and on, and it’s hard to even get a word in edgewise? I’m not talking about when you run into your “long lost friend,” and you’re both talking so fast, excited to share what’s happened over the years. I’m not referring to those times when your spouse and you are trying to iron out some differences, and I’m not even implying those moments when your teenager is allowing the deepest soul beats to overflow for your ears to hear. 

I’m talking about the person to whom you go when you need the “latest and greatest news.” Come on, you know the one. Even when you shouldn’t listen, and even when you pretend you don’t, she has the most recent, “juiciest” word on the street, just dying to let you receive it! The string of gossip is so delicious, so “hot off the press,” she carries it to you like it’s a hot potato, and she can’t wait to release it from her flapping lips. 

If you’re a living, breathing soul, and you’re an honest one at that, we can all attest we’ve been there. We’ve been caught in that moment between wanting to hear the herald and knowing we shouldn’t give it credence. So, we are faced with a dilemma. Do we receive it, even if it is only to appear gracious and kind, not wanting to hurt her feelings? Do we say, “We really shouldn’t be talking about this,” yet, continue to allow her jaws to chatter, or do we kindly (or rudely, if needed) tell her we will not lend our ears to this gossip, no matter how close to the truth it might be? 

What do we do? What should we do?

If we are God-fearing, God-pleasing and desire to be seen as such, then we should choose the latter, no matter how hard it may be to speak, and no matter what “friendship” it may cost us. When you become a person known not only by the words you speak, but also, by the company you keep, you carry with you a reputation which speaks when you don’t have to. You become known as a person of integrity, trustworthiness and higher standards. When you close off gossip, not only from your own mouth, but also from those mouths that surround you, you close off needless chatter. 

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People are drawn to those who are of a reputable stature. They will be intrigued by your silence rather than offended by your babble or the gibberish that surrounds you. People of integrity and trust will begin to want to hear what you have to say when you choose to speak. So, choose your words and your “atmosphere of words” wisely; then, you will become known as a person who speaks and doesn’t just chatter. 

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Power of Our Words

The words we choose to use will bring life or death, and it is up to us to choose the right one. For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a study on the power of our words, and today a friend shared an incredible video to illustrate this fact of power portrayed through the letters we string together to communicate with our world.

This video got me to thinking… What if you could actually see the impact of your words on a daily basis? What if, when you spoke, the skin of your child turned brighter and healthier or darker and less healthy, all depending upon the words spoken? What if the hair of our spouse became glossy, healthy and beautiful or dry, brittle and profusely damaged, all dependent upon the conversations we had with him or her? What if mold built up within our homes when we spoke ill words and fragrance was spewed when we spoke kindness? What an interesting orbit of living we might have.

I believe if the immediate impact of our communication was seen more easily, it might just alter our interaction with the world around us…

I watched this video this morning, and it led me to several others who performed the experiment. I will share it with you at the end of this post. It is amazing. Our words have so much power, and we must choose wisely to bring life and not death into the lives of those we love.

*Note: I did not create nor do I own or possess any part this video. This comes straight from YouTube.

Love Me Challenge #16

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Something I like about myself is, also, something I dislike at times. I am a very soft spoken person, and someone who works overtime to not impose upon other people. Generally, I keep my thoughts to myself, and I’d prefer to speak when spoken to rather than speak out of turn. 

For those of you who struggle with your extroverted personalities might think you would love to have this personality trait; however, for those of us “blessed with such a skill” might have quite a difference of opinion. However, this post today is about what I like about me; so, what I like about it…

Walking into a crowded room, I can slip in almost unnoticed, find a friend and smile before everyone realizes how lonely I might be feeling that day. When someone hurts my feelings or makes me mad, I can hold my tongue until I’m over it, and I don’t have to worry about saying something stupid I might regret. When there is someone else hurting or alone, I can come beside them and help them carry the load, ever aware of the possibility of pushing too hard or staying too long. When a friend is in need of someone, but doesn’t need noise and fanfare, I can sit for hours just enjoying the company and offering a helping hand. When my children are acting like hooligans, I can calmly walk up to them, whisper their tiny thread of existence between joy and utter sorrow and walk away… well, no, that’s not quite the truth. I’m sorry, I don’t have that much patience or soft spoken qualities.😂 

As with any strength, there are equal traits that will make it a weakness when I let it. There were years when I hated this quality about myself, and honestly, there are plenty of days when I still struggle with this love/hate relationship I have built. However, as I am growing older, I am accepting the fact that God made me this way for a specific reason, and I am learning to grow with it, relish in it and explore beyond it. 

If for no other reason, I am finding more and more that one of the greatest reasons He created me in this way is because He decided to place me in a home with three very strong, outspoken, outgoing men. I bring a great balance to all the activity and noise, and He knew that I, for one, would need it! 😉💗

Your Words

 

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Your words matter. Your words count. What you say can wound or heal those around you. Choose your words wisely.

Years ago, our nine year old son came home from school sad. He felt like he had a bad day. Now, this child has always been more sensitive to those around him, to his environment, words said and actions done. He’s my rough-and-tumble, tenderhearted boy. He likes things to be peaceful and stable, fun and joyful, and this day hadn’t been quite like any of that.

He told me about his teacher snapping at him, how kids had laughed at him, and how the lunch lady had harassed him. As the story played out, I realized the teacher had “jokingly snapped” at him when he told the other kids to be quiet in line, causing the kids to chuckle around him, and the lunch lady had “jokingly harassed” him when he spilled a little of his spaghetti from his plate, saying, “Your mom needs to teach you how to do this.”

Now, to you and me, as adults and people who have experienced pain, criticism and strife, what he went through may not be that big of a deal. I could tell, by the information he had given, that his teacher hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings; she probably didn’t even think twice about it. There was no part of bullying or harrassment meant in her statement.

Don’t we all do that from time to time? We will quip our answers “short and sweet” to those around us, never assuming that it might impact them differently than we intended. Yet, the sharp remarks he received from those two adults at lunchtime, combined with the snickering of children around him, had cast a cloud on his usual joyful demeanor and caused him to feel like his whole day was just horrible.

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As he grows, he will learn how to handle jokes, sarcasm and harassment. His tender heart may not always remain as tender, but I can assure you, this day reminded me that we should all be more cautious with, not only what we say, but also the attitude and tone in which we say it. There are times for sharpness, and there are definitely times for rebuke.

Don’t mistake my comments here to be an agreement with the recent cultural push for a kinder, meeker society where we can give no rebuttal to anyone without a cry against “tolerance.” When there is evil and wrongdoings present, it angers me to hear those trying to settle down a conflict when the only persons they’re trying to calm down is the very one confronting the sin or wrong being done! It seems this nation is working hard to excuse certain beliefs, actions or opposing viewpoints simply because they’re “new and culturally accepted.” These actions and attitudes are not what I’m talking about here.

I am referring to the words we use with those closest to us and the tones and attitudes we portray behind these words. It is so easy to be in the middle of having a bad day, be approached by a child and respond to them by snapping their little head off. It’s so common to be stressed out, right at the time of a deadline and just “blow a gasket,” simply, because your spouse asked where a clean pair of socks are. It’s such a ‘knee-jerk reaction” to be worried and concerned over a situation and respond to your ‘aggravating’ teen in an overemotional manner instead of stopping to realize they weren’t trying to get on your nerves; they’re just being a teenager. I know. I’ve been there, and I wonder if you have been, too…

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The heart of a child, a teen, and even our spouse are at stake when we allow our emotions to rule over our words and actions. We should not only have the mind of Christ, but we must have His mouth as well! Let our words always be tempered by His grace, love and Truth.

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Life Speaks

Let my life speak loudly, and let it speak Truth…

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I saw this picture today, and it really hit home…


I hope that my life and my actions always line up with who I say that I am. It is so disconcerting to me how easily, it seems, some people can speak good words, smile and give a look of love and concern; they that same person can turn and completely tear another to pieces. I know there are times when we have to “smile and nod,” simply because it’s not the time or place to handle a certain situation, or maybe, you’re in the public eye, and it’s best for your leadership, your reputation and your “good name” to just keep your moth shut, smile graciously and handle someone with kindness. However, when there is underlying resentment and hatred, you can be guaranteed that will come shining through your actions! I don’t care how masked you think you are!

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Trite Answers for the Broken 

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Yesterday, we went to visit someone whose spouse is dying of cancer and then prayed with a lady whose mom is in the final hours of her life. A few moments later, we spoke with a set of parents whose 30-something daughter was admitted into the hospital with an aneurysm one month ago and who is, currently, knocking at death’s door.

Today, I read of a husband who is living in the house with his wife who desires a divorce, and I thought of a wife who faced the choice to stay and ignore, attempt to pick up the shards, or simply walk away from years of holy matrimony. Tonight, I read stories of children with leukemia struggling to thrive and more who deliberately survive day to day with debilitating diseases and conditions. There’s so many who need to be reached.

I read my Bible. I pray, and I send an encouraging word, hoping to bring hope in those places where, sometimes, I wonder if change will come. I believe His Word to be true. I really, really do; yet, I fear my answers seem so trite and contrived as I pray desperately to have the faith to believe for the miracle.

It’s so easy to give into the doubt. My flesh longs to feel the relief of my faith. My carnal mind fights against reason to grasp for Hope. My heart wars on the battlefield of Spirit vs. flesh…

Yet, in that very moment, I can feel my spirit rising in indignation. I can feel my heart leap for the Comforter’s arrival. My eyes swell with tears as I know without a shadow of doubt that He has stepped into that chasm of space and time. As the old song declares, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow… Because He lives, all fear is gone… Because I know, I know, He holds the future… And life is worth the living just because He lives!” 

I cannot tell you how He does it. I cannot even tell you how He makes it possible, but I am eternally convinced of His promise: when you place your hand in His, and you simply trust and believe, He gives you grace in the very moment you need.

He gives you Hope…for He is Hope. He is Love. He is everything you could ever need.

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Where Are the Davids?


I saw this post today, and it made me think of another “battle” David faced… I wonder if this statement could also be made, “Sometimes, God will put a Saul in your life, for you to find the David within you.” So many times, we are reminded of David’s battle with Goliath and how he had the courage to face the great giant, relied on the strength of the Lord and defeated that foe with a simple, smooth stone and a sling. 

Yet, what about the battle he faced with Saul for so many years? It has been said it took 13 years after Dabid was anointed king for him to receive the crown, and most of that time, he spent in service to King Saul who hard him and who, eventually, tried to hunt him down to kill him! How often do you and I stay in service to someone who actually hates out guts? Have you had your “boss” try to throw a spear at you or have his soldiers on a manhunt for you? I doubt many of us have had to flee for our lives, hide out in a cave, and yet, when that same evil king shows up, alone in that cave, David refuses to take revenge on the guy who has made his life so miserable!

Too often, as Christians, we may get upset over the petty little stuff posted by our “foe” on Facebook, and we sling words around like firey darts to all who will hear. We’ll run that person’s name in the dirt just because they hurt our feelings or said an unkind morsel of gossip. 

Yes, I know these situations can be bad, and I know, sometimes, unkind words from someone we believed to be our friend can feel hurtful enough to make our heart ache, but we’ve not been to the point of shedding blood! We’ve not been to the point of losing all we have for the sake of the battle we face! Yet, too often, we respond in kind rather than responding as David did. 

He gave us a great example to follow. When he had the chance to kill King Saul, to put to death the very man who had destroyed his peaceful living, and who could possibly destroy his hopes of becoming king, he refused to touch God’s anointed. After all, he had been anointed King by the prophet. Understand, he had an army of men surrounding him, he had the ‘popular vote’ to do what his flesh desired. He had a right to take his throne, even by force, right? Yet David said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” 

Then, listen to what he said to King Saul when he confronted him, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”

He decided to speak truth yet allow God to judge between he and the king. He never tried to hide his feelings of injustice, but he didn’t raise a hand of violence against King Saul. He decided it best to allow God to fight his battle for integrity and justice! How often do we do that?? 

We can learn so much from David, the man after God’s own heart! 💗
Scripture references: 1 Samuel 24

Remember Your Purpose


I hear the screams “Hypocrisy! … Hypocrite! … Deceit!” Yet, the very ones whose mouths move are of that reputation. 

I hear the cries for “Justice! … Unity! … Peace!” Yet, the very fists raised are fighting against the solution. 

I hear the rants toward “Hatred … Cruelty … Death!” Yet, the very teeth chattering gnash against reason and resolution. 

My brothers speak ill of another as result of simple disagreements and competition. My sisters spin vicious webs of gossip as a conclusion of jealousy and conceit. Yet, we call ourselves children of a King. 

Can I tell you, THIS OUGHT NOT BE! 

Where is the love of Christ? Where is the discipleship of a Savior? Are we His followers, or are we just playing a game? How can we reach them when we cannot reach each other? How can we share love if we cannot give love?

This world needs Truth. 

This world needs Love. 

This world needs Hope. 

This world needs Redemption. 

We were placed here for a purpose, and that purpose is His and His alone. That purpose is to find the lost, and let them be found! That purpose is to bring Him glory even if it means bringing us shame. 

Let us remember. 

Let us never forget. 

He is our purpose. 

He is our goal. 

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2:1-4

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