Hello all in the bloggersphere! Saundra Lane Galloway here to make a disclosure statement that I should have made a long time ago! Just to refresh WHY I started this blog...well, it was to take life lessons and find the Godly take on them. That's it...I think I have mentioned on several occasions that I will make no reference to specific people...no names, no direct attacks on a person...that is NOT my intent on this blog...MY BLOG!
I recently received two very ugly, hateful comments on my post titled "The Ugly about Pot" There was no scripture attached to these comments (made by the same person)...there was only attack on my character, what I wrote, and even the statement that I was probably an overweight white person...WHAT? Not sure what that had to do with anything, but never the less...
I want to make it clear that I will gladly study, discuss, and listen to anyone's comment if it is respectful, kind, and has validity to it...that means not your opinion about ME, but has scripture, or questions about something that is genuine. I do NOT feel obligated to post hateful, spiteful, immature statements..they are nothing but argumentative and cowardly (have you ever noticed that the hateful comments are sent anonymously?)...that serves no purpose but to banter back an forth for no good purpose! MY GOODNESS!
I say...IF you want to disagree in a respectful way, have scripture to back it up and do not use attacking statements, that is great! I'm glad to try to wade through with you...BUT, if you want to just spout off in an anonymous way, that will not be published...that goes against what I hold as a standard for myself...do NOT attack or bring a specific person under the gun! In this case, that was ME...on MY BLOG!
As I promised, I will leave scripture for us to ponder...
Proverbs 18:2 "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion"
Proverbs 29:9 "If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet"
Proverbs 14:-9 "Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance."
Proverbs 14:16 " One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. "
Proverbs 1:22 "“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?"
Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Ecclesiastes 10:15 "The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city."
and, the perfect reason why I won't post ugly, argumentative comments...
2 Timothy 2:23 "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels."...
that scripture is not my statement folks...but it is wise...so, let's try to understand that I am trying to find Godly answers to life's struggles...NOT to argue a point that is steeped in opinion, or to feel obligated to defend myself as a person who may or may not be fat! lol...Just a simple girl who wants to live as God asks...that's all!
Oops...W H A T? Just giving stuff isn't enough...well...read that carefully...the other component to giving is that little BIG word; LOVE.
Love is an action word; not just that gushy feeling we may have for someone. It is sacrifical in nature...again, look at the perfect example above. It is the action of a mature thinker. We need to develop that kind of love. We know HOW to DO the love thing...even as children...we give sweet kisses, we smile openly and freely, we give hugs, we share...all actions that are the building blocks to becoming LOVING people who will one day learn to sacrifice in our love for someone else. But, as children, we are LEARNING what it means to love...children still want back...it's hard to always share...they WANT to, and are LEARNING to share...that's where a lot of humans get stuck...they WANT to share...to give...but there is that little childish thing; that selfish thing that keeps them from truly becoming a giver...it's HARD for some folks! But, it isn't impossible!
We have some guidelines in the bible for being a giver...Matthew 6:3 says "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." We know that means that we don't give so others will praise us, or at least SEE us giving...there were a group of people in the bible that did things to be seen by men...Pharisees...yep, we don't get the impression that they were the right example of givers. As Jesus Himself said in Matthew 3:7 "Woe to you, teachers of the LAW and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean". YUCK! don't wanna be like them ole Pharisees!
So, some practical questions to ponder if we are trying to figure out if we are givers or takers...What is your TRUE first reaction when...1. You see someone struggling; hurting with an issue in life? Do you say "That's so sad, but "walk" on by? 2. You have something to say, and someone else does also? Do you feel it's more important to say what you want to say, or let the other person go first? 3. You have two of something and someone you see has none? Do you think...hmmm...I worked hard for what I have! 4. You have an answer to a difficult question when someone is seeking the truth? Do you keep silent so you don't embaress yourself, or make them potentially angry with you? 5. You want life to be one way, but your spouse needs another way? Do you choose your needs? ...just a few simple questions...OR ARE THEY...tee hee...and NOW, what is your TRUE CONCLUSION...what would you do or say or be for the sake of someone else?...
I hope you don't think I was going to give you the "right" answer...lol...it is a personal thing...one where the decision, the answer must come from inside with LOVE.
This society seems to be raising a generation of those who feel ENTITLED. They think it is the governments fault, their parent's fault, their friend's fault...EVERYONE OWES them something because their life is hard...WOW...Does this describe givers or takers? Where do you think our nation will be in the future if these people raise to power? Where will the institution of family be if we war within our own families and expect the OTHER one to "do the right thing"? WOW...scary thought...
disclaimer...NO, not EVERYONE is this...all families AREN'T this...but, do you see a rising trend of selfishness within our society? within the family? within yourself? ALL IS NOT LOST PEOPLE...we can go back, IF WE WANT, and RE-LEARN just like we did when we were little...we have a most excellent guide in the bible...those words of truth and love given to us by God...awesome!!
If you've never read "The Giving Tree" now might be the time....it is abou a mother and child...but, we are smart enough to apply it across the board...what message does it leave with you? THAT is also another way you might discover if you are a giver or a taker...:)
SO, as we move through this season where "giving" is highlighted, let's use it as a jumping off point to truly be givers all the time...FROM THE HEART!
PS...yep...sometimes we are all a little bit giver, and a little bit taker...:) BUT, ONE trait is dominant...sigh...and we struggle on! YAY!...we are NOT alone!!
|What would happen to the light if the dark took over?|
In researching this topic I found myself wanting to talk to someone who I have seen to be a man who lives what he preaches. He gave me some good Godly counsel that I want to share! Thanks Rick!
In talking to others throughout my life, and in trying to decide for myself on the topic of friendships for a Christian I often would refer to the verse in II Corinthians 6:14 regarding light and darkness and being unequally yoked.
II Corinthians 6:14 -"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" I learned from my conversation with my preacher that the concept of the "yoke" thing comes from a passage in Deuteronomy 22:10 - "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together". In this situation if an ox and a donkey were yoked together it will be the ox that determines where they are going to go. When you take the text from the NT it moves to the spiritual realm. The idea that a Christian should never place themselves in a position where a non-believer (non Christian) would have undue influence over the Christian's life. This could be in work; the boss asking an employee to keep two sets of books, or using the subject at hand in friendships...being friends with a non Christian who would influence the Christian to do something outside of what God has asked us to be or do. Like, oh, I don't know...drinking, doing drugs (yes, EVEN pot for those who think there is nothing wrong with it) (thinking about amendment 64 today), lying, cheating,...etc, etc, etc... I am even going to remind us that if we don't do those things, but those friendships would accept us if we DID do them...what kind of friends would they be??...yep...NO! Remember in the last post I talked about Proverbs 22:24-25 "Don't befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them." ? Well, do think God would think any different about associating with people who are liars, cheaters, drinkers, drug users? hmmm...what is the wisdom here?
I have had several ask me to write on this topic of Godly Friendships and what we as Christians are supposed to look for in friends, and who is NOT friend material for someone who would want to live a Godly life. This photo is a little blurry...kind of like how we feel sometimes on this subject!
John 15:13-15 " There is no greater love than to lay down your life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me."
Proverbs 12:26 "The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray."
Proverbs 20:6 "MANY will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?"
Proverbs 22:24-25 "Don't befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them." WOW, those are strong predictions!! This speaks to the image at the beginning of this post...
OK, there are a bunch of scripture on friendships. We've all heard most of them in our lives at one time or another. What kinds of advice is given in just those scriptures above? Notice key words or phrases associated with friends that our Lord speaks of..."heartfelt counsel", "laying down your life for a friend", good advice","don't befriend angry people", "reliable". Some good advice, but I think we can go a little deeper.
What kinds of friendships are we as Christians supposed to have...what kinds are we supposed to avoid...and why? WOW...a huge topic! Let's try to make it simple for this post...if we can...whew...here goes...
If we can agree that our reason for being here is to praise and worship our God, Luke 4:8 " Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only" be like Jesus, I John 2:6 "Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked" and, try to bring as many with us to heaven as we can during our "visit here on this earth. The great commission: Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them (His disciples)...we are His disciples by the way...and said "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." THEN we have some guidelines; reasons for making Godly friendships and why friendship with the world is not in our best interests.
AND, if we follow the command to bring others to Christ...teaching...saving HOW can we do that if we are seen by the world as just like them? Come on...you know what I am talking about...participating with them in ungodly behavior...it happens...we know it does...:)
I have been told when talking about this subject that I am being judgemental of others, that I am NOT being like Christ as even he ate with tax collectors, and that it is a sin to judge. I hear the point some try to make. I would say to people who say this to me that I, in no way, am judging whether these people are better or worse than me, I am not saying they are going to hell (which IS judgement), I am not saying they are evil and wrong and I am so great! Oh my goodness, NO! I am merely trying to find God's advice on who is best for me to make my closest friends, and why God gives guidelines on the matter.
As you have guessed, this is a BIG topic that is best explored in stages...This is stage number one...We have talked about what is said about friendships, what our reason for being here on earth is, and have touched on some things that can happen if we are friends with the wrong people. The next post will delve a bit deeper into what God says on the topic of friends and who we should make our close friends of. I hope you can stay with me!!
We all have done it, right? It's no big deal...a little white lie, right? I'm not hurting anyone...what they don't know won't hurt them, right? There are worse things, right? What I say is none of any one's business, RIGHT?
Can't you just hear the modern day excuses...in a time when we seem to be moving back to ME, ME, ME! At a time when we are flooded by technological this and that. So much deception, so much violence, so much of every abominable anything goes...humans tend to become desensitized, and so after all we see and hear a "little ole lie" seems almost like a gift given to that lucky recipient of deception. It "protects" them, RIGHT?... WRONG!
It must seem to some that I am just nit picking...making something big out of something "no big deal". Isn't that what a liar often uses as an excuse to the one lied to? IT'S NO BIG DEAL". What does that really mean, "it's no big deal"? Well, since I'm the author of this I'll speak from experience. It means it is no big deal to the liar...it means they want their deception to be overlooked, it means they care more about themselves than they do about the recipient of the "gift" of protection from the "ugly truth". Oh how the liar tries to excuse their behavior...
The truth of the matter is there IS NO EXCUSE. And further, it is a sin that needs to be corrected, because the TRUTH of the matter is the collateral damage of a lie is HUGE so much of the time. It breeds mistrust. It shakes the reality of the one being lied to. It can shape the way the innocent party often deals with others, due to the broken trust. It can often have life long consequences.
God hates a liar.
Read the strong language of Proverbs 6:16-19 "there are 6 things that the Lord hates, 7 that are an abomination to Him, haughty eyes, a lying tongue, (oops, that's number two...and for those of you who have been lied to haven't you just seen those haughty eyes from the liar?), and hands that shed innocent blood,a heart that devises wicked plans,feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies (there is that word again), and one who sows discord among brothers.
Proverbs 19:5 "a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish." This is where we understand that God is going to take care of the liar. It is for Him to decide what the ultimate punishment will be. HOWEVER, there are natural consequences for a liar on this earth...it could mean loss of job, marriage, friendships, but at the very least loss of trust of the person he/she lied to.
There are always natural consequences in the wake of a lie. Unfortunately the one lied to often lives some natural consequences FROM the one who lied...Let me paint a picture of what happens to a person that has been lied to...First of all, it depends on how close the two involved are...often, the closer the two are the stronger the consequences. IF the two involved are close...say married or family, the damage can be much worse. WHY?...BECAUSE with the close nature of the relationship there is implied trust, love perhaps...a bond of some sort, and when someone lies it damages those bonds...perhaps even breaks them at least for a time. Physically the one lied to, that learns of the lie, will often feel symptoms of fear...you know, the desire to get away, the sick feeling in the pit of the stomach that signals something is very wrong, blood rushes to your head making it hard to hear, shaking of the extremities, feeling hot or uncomfortable in your body,heart pounding hard. Those are just the immediate...and then the emotional toll...sadness, anger, sorrow, depression, the feeling that everything is somehow out of focus. YES, all effects from discovering a lie.
Colossians 3: 9-10 "do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
Ephesians 4:25 "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another."
There is more written about lies and their consequences, and how God feels about it...just type liar in your search engine...It's all there...
Being in the path of a lie is horrible. Being lied to is like being slapped in the face, or punched in the stomach. We don't deserve to be lied to, it hurts, it damages!
For the one who lies to someone it is up to YOU to make it right. Be honest, be adult! Don't put another one of your fellow human beings through a bad time because you want to deceive. A lie may have damage written all over it, but the only way out of the harshest of consequences for you and for one you may care about is to make it right by being honest and asking for forgiveness of the one you hurt. Then, and only then will God give you the grace of forgiveness...and, the one you lied to, if you are sincere will be much more able to forgive and move forward. Proverbs 10:9 "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out."
GUILT 1: it's that actual stuff we can touch...You know when you break a law...you are GUILT'y" of breaking a law...simple, but...well...true! As far as God is concerned, I think of scriptures like Romans 3:23 - "...all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" ok...we are guilty; all of us, guilty of sin at one time or another...or all the time! So, that guilt just seems to be objective. You can see it, feel it, touch it, read about it...and WE ALL DO IT!...
My father died a few weeks ago after a very long and hard illness. I've had to practice that phrase so it doesn't cut me like a knife every time someone says that word. I am still in such a place of sorrow, but I believe God's promise that my dad is in heaven with Him and all those who have gone home before him. I miss my dad more than I know how to express, but I am so happy for him that he has a perfect existence now. Well, I am working on being happy...it's a process...my brain knows this, but my heart still wishes he were here...that is a little selfish I know...but a very real part of the grieving process. I've been combing through all the photos I have, trying to find as many..ANY photos I have of he and I together...I need them right now...there doesn't seem to be enough. I'm sure there are more...I just keep looking and looking.
The answers I need are in the bible. I am sometimes clouded by all these thoughts and fears and the tears that seem to be constantly in my eyes. I couldn't find in scripture what I so desperately needed to see and read again. I went to visit my preacher and asked him to walk it through with me. He gladly sat down and for hours he showed me scripture after scripture. It's interesting that scripture that I have read my whole life came more clear as we studied them together that day. He told me something I will never forget..."You are able to see these things with clarity now because your life experience has made you open to see what God intended" How awesome is that! God is so good!
Did you know that we will know everyone when we get to heaven? Read Matthew 17:1-4 - It's when Jesus took Peter, James and John (His brother) up on a high mountain where he was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared. Peter knew it was Moses and Elijah...they had already gone on; they had their new heavenly bodies..how did he know them?....hmmm...interesting, and comforting! I will see my dad again someday in heaven!
Luke 16:19-22...specifically vs. 22 - "...So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to "Abraham's bosom..." another comfort for my heart to know! I know my dad wasn't alone for a second when his soul left his body...he was carried by angels!
I John 3:1-2 " Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, beause it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." We have the promise that we will have a new us. No more bodies that fail!
There were so many scriptures that my preacher shared with me. Some telling us what happens when we age, some about how Jesus is waiting, some that confirmed that we are headed for the promise God gave us as Christians who walk according to His word. His grace covers us, our hearts determine our direction...so many assurances, and my mind was at ease. Now I just have to let my heart catch up.
I love you my dad. You have always been and always will be my father. I cherish your memory and your wisdom and will remember you all of my days. You live in my heart...always and forever...
Yes, we ALL have judged another person. I'm convinced it is one of those regrettable human conditions. I've done it; thought harshly of someone; judged someone. I DO it from time to time. I'm not proud of that behavior, so I've spent a lot of time recently in my head, on my knees to God, and have been actively working on ridding myself from that kind of thinking. It is HARD sometimes! It happens often without even realization that I've done it. I don't WANT to be burdened with a judgmental heart. Even when I have been wronged. It is not only damaging to my ability to truly be a servant of God, but it also keeps me from creative thought; which is paramount for an artist! Judgment fills space in our hearts with negative thoughts that could be best spent on good and Godly things. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things"
I'm not preaching to anyone from a lofty place; I'm begging others to understand how we can come across when we sound harsh or judgmental; when we sometimes think we are better than others because...oh, I don't know...because we made good choices in life...or we go to church all the time...or we have a feeling of safety in life and don't like dealing with those who have struggled and may be living consequences of choices that might not have been so productive.
I've been in some pretty low places in my life. I live consequences of some of my choices that may not have been productive. I also am a product of consequences from life. I made a choice to feed my children instead of paying school loans I had incurred. I had to get deferment after deferment. For a single mom who loved her children and needed to get a degree to support them, there were years when they were growing up when I had to choose between paying or feeding my little ones. As life went on and jobs were difficult to come by, or I lost a job, I could not pay them for a time. As a result my consequence is school loans so huge I will NEVER pay them off. I am getting too old. My old age will be spent with loans hanging over my head. My life will never be free of debt. There have been people who judged me for being "irresponsible". It hurt me. It didn't encourage me in any way. It wasn't true. Their judgments were unfounded and placed on me from their lofty place of wealth and a feeling of being better than because their lives were different.
In the reverse, I've also encountered people who loved me as I was. People who spent their time with me brainstorming possibilities, giving me phone numbers of people who do things that I might be able to do, helping me with ideas. There have been people who built me up by naming the qualities in me that they admired. People who prayed for me and with me in my search for a way to pay those crazy loans. I ask you, which group do you think were doing what God asked of His children?
Yes, getting down in the trenches with someone who is hurting and struggling is the way that God asked us to be. It is His example. It is the best way for us all to have our reward when we are all together again one day; where there will be only equality.
PS. If reading these words makes you angry, re-read the part about the minister and the ice cream sundae's, or read how Jesus died and place your child on that cross.. It is a hard thing to humble yourself TO yourself. We all have judged, we all have had our lofty moments, so no one is exempt. Just some of us have struggled with it longer, and have come to the place where we see the damage, and we want to get in those trenches with someone who may need us down there. I've been carried on someone's back before, and I want to be one who will carry someone on my back.
My father is dying. It has been a long journey in this passage for he and my mother. It has been a long journey for all of us who love him. I have struggled with many emotions as I have been living this with all of my family and those who love us. They have ranged from confusion to sadness to anger to fear to feeling guilty at any small feeling I might have...all the while working my way to acceptance and hopefully peace. I am not there yet, but I have faith that I WILL get there.
I most often go to John 14:1-4 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND WILL TAKE YOU TO MYSELF, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going"
This whole thing gives me comfort...The WAY spoken of here is to live as God has asked us to live...and to DO what God has asked us to do! We aren't going to be alone at all in death!! Jesus will be right there...We as CHRISTIANS have a place right near Him!...THAT is my favorite passage for this thing we are going through...
This year I am waiting for a call to come to put my father's earthly body to rest and learn to live a life here without him in it. I am aware of the stages of grief, and I am sure as we make that 11 hour drive to my mom and the family that I will be very aware of each one...what I am feeling, what I think will be next...grief that I will miss him here on this earth, and gladness that he has gone home before us (just like a dad to pave the way for his family), sadness that my mom has a new existence without him and she will miss him, knowledge that we all will be in this place one day, so desire to understand what is normal to be and do and feel...for me it has always been so, to try to learn from what I see those ahead of me going through...always learning and seeing and trying to understand.
Time is marching on, and I'm trying not to get in the way of it...trying to do and be what I need to for whomever may need whatever...whew...But in this crazy time I want to stop, I wish we could ALL stop and think about what is truly important in life...what is really the end game for all of us...I want everyone to be aware that EACH person has a right to grieve the way THEY GRIEVE, to not judge someone's life or process...to not feel anger that others don't do things the way they do...There is no judgment here...there is no place for it here...there should only be love and gentleness and support for each other...sigh...how I wish it!
BUT, we all fail in life...in the imperfect parts of life...we try, and we struggle, and sometimes we all say or do things we regret...What I've learned is that each person's pathway in life has its imperfections, has its sin, has its mistakes...NO ONE is without it...PLEASE be gentle in your thinking of one another, PLEASE understand we all try our best and sometimes find ourselves in places we wish we weren't in...and we struggle, and we cry out in our own ways...and we need things we may have passed by without understanding we need them...PLEASE BE GENTLE IN YOUR HEARTS for one another...because in the end the ONLY thing that matters is that in our hearts we tried to be right and do right...PLEASE be gentle in your thinking of someone who may have fallen by the side...PICK THEM UP like the good Samaritan did...LEAVE that kindness on the heart of one who struggles. Life is short my friends...no one is immune to death...no one is immune to mistakes and failure and sorrow and regret...We are all in this life together, and our goal should be to stay connected so we can help each other go gently toward heaven!
So, for a Christian, death is merely the passage from this life (where we are not meant to stay) John 15:19 "The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I CHOSE you to come out of the world, so it hates you" Going HOME is our goal as Christians. We are to be happy for those faithful Christians who have gone home for their reward. That should be the goal for everyone..But, while in this place of waiting and reflecting, be gentle with one another as grief is personal and every ONE has a right to go through it feeling secure that their way is ok
and finally...for today...read Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." As we travel this together...remember we all need this of each other!