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A poem of praise and gratitude
by Larry Travis, Jr.
in response to John 15:12-17
Through all my many faults,
And the failures toward which I tend,
Yet You sought me out – You FOUND me,
And You call me friend!
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.
Today’s Guest: “Alicia” Follow her blog: http://bit.ly/1M8ySt7
Not Ready to Make Nice!!
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
I would like to be that sweet, patient Wife and Mother we used to see on TV. Unfortunately, “Leave it to Beaver” stopped airing a looong time ago. Anger drives me more than I like to admit, more than my faith will even approve. Do you ever wonder, “Is this how I really am? HAVE I ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY?”
I have been this angry for so long that I cannot even remember reacting with other emotions. For example, instead of being hurt or sad by something my husband says, maybe saying something cheesy and along the lines of, “Honey, I know you were probably kidding and trying to lighten the mood… but, that really bothered me.” INSTEAD, I say clever (In my head) and sarcastic things like, “Well, if you weren’t so F%$#@!% nice all the time, and let me just do things by myself, I wouldn’t get annoyed.” WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?! Who says stuff like this to someone who is so kind and caring to them?
Me, I do. I hear it come out of my mouth….. I even know I am about to say it, yet, I still say it. Why???
Because, I am ANGRY. Not at him, or my children…. those are just my safe places. We hurt the ones that we are safest with, who we feel won’t leave or abandon us…the ones who will always be there and love us no matter what.
The Bible tells us to be slow to anger: “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:14-16. Let’s see:
ABOUNDING WITH LOVE: What does that mean to you? In my child like brain, I visualize God scooping me up, every chance he gets to hug me, telling me at every opportunity that He loves me and is proud of me. Do you do that for your family and those around you?? I do not. Although that is my goal. Love isn’t a feeling… it is an action. The heart can be deceitful. Actions are how I show and receive love in its greatest form. And Christ dying on the cross, to me, seems to be the BIGGEST act of love that I have heard of. I don’t have to judge His feelings. He just DID what needed doing. That’s love.
FAITHFULNESS: hmmmmm, God… Faithful? YES! As He is faithful, we need to be to our children and our husbands. Faithful to our marriage vows to our husband. And faithful to our children, always being their comfort and THEIR safe place, not them being ours.
SLOW TO ANGER: errrrrrrrrrr….this is the one that gets me EVERY TIME!!! I want to be angry, dang it! Thank Jesus right now that He doesn’t get angry at us every time we make a boneheaded stupid choice. Truth is, in my personal experience, I am angry at the people in the past who have done me wrong. Now, everyone else must suffer. As terrible as that sounds, it is the truth. What to do with that anger? So we quit heaping it on the innocent people in our lives? Simple, choose to forgive them….. as Christ has forgiven us.
One last thought: How would your family’s DAY, WEEK even YEAR be if you could stop when you felt that deadly anger creep up, kick the Devil to the curb (cause we all know he feeds off of our sorrows, doubts and failures) and make the choice to have that Godly reaction?? Be sad! Be happy! Be frustrated even! Talk to your spouse about it… they are there to be by your side and face life’s problems. But, not angry. Even scripture says it “NEVER achieves the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) How often is it a good thing? NEVER. And it never is.
I choose to start this, today…. you gotta start somewhere, right?! I will fail some, succeed some, and I will have days where I just want to crawl under a rock because I am ashamed at how I speak to people. My husband once told me, “I love you, but you will not speak to me like that. I am your husband and I deserve to be respected.” He was right and it hit me hard. I didn’t respond with “you’re right, I am sorry.” It was more like, “ARG! You suck, BLAH BLAH BLAH, *profanity*, I will talk however I want to.”
But now I know. Now I choose. Now I want to honor God more than my pissy flesh. When I feel like being a GIANT pain in the butt, retaliating, and being all “poor pitiful me” I will Pray first.
Then choose. And surrender. You know…like Jesus!
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
Today’s Guest: “Barrett” Follow her blog on Tumblr: barrett-elise.tumblr.com/
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matt 6:25-34
The first time I read this verse, I was in a tiny cell in a county Detention Center. Outside, there was a full moon in the night sky and I mourned to see it outside of the bars. I was weeping uncontrollably for my Lord’s comfort. After I read this, I spent the rest of my days as a living sacrifice for our Lord in that jail, leading many to Christ by His power alone. I wouldn’t take one day back. I was as free there as I am here in my cozy home, with my beautiful husband and fat cat today. That is why I will try to never take my freedom for granted. By freedom, I mean my freedom in Christ. For, life in flesh is solitary confinement even in the loveliest of places. I carved that verse into the wooden desk of the cell that night. Each letter. Slowly. Deliberately. I suppose I knew I was carving it into my heart for Eternity as well.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
When I was finished carving I climbed on top of the desk and peered through the bars once more. This time tears of joy streaming down my face. Same moon. Different heart.