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How to Weed-out the enemy!

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

Annual weeds, biennial weeds, and perennial weeds—They ALL frustrate me! Those annoying garden enemies drain my happiness and take up my time. Our beautiful flowers, shrubs, vegetable plants, and herbs lack encouragement and attention because I am focused on the invading schemes of the weeds! No doubt-they get more attention than they deserve but, I refuse to let them prevail.

How often have you allowed the enemy’s plots to derail your faith and focus? The lies, fears, and flat-out conspiracies can engulf life quickly. It takes a purposeful plan of intentional living to annihilate the devil’s ploys much like deliberately eradicating those pesky weeds in the yard.

So, how can we eradicate the “weeds” of the enemy without losing focus on the Lord? It is not easy to keep our thoughts on God when the “earthly things” begin to choke out our heavenly vision.

  1. Identify the enemy – Weeds will not go away on their own. Those selfish suckers want to take over, soak up all the moisture, and ingest every surrounding nutrient. If you do not identify them and deal with the issue, they will continue to flourish. Sound familiar? Ignoring the strategies of the enemy will not make them dissipate. Call the adversary out by name! Deal with it! Claim God’s power over the enemy.
  2. Practice maintenance – Safeguarding a yard from wretched weeds takes routine prevention. Pre-emergent plans have to begin months prior to the arrival of the antagonists. Lawn experts have to “get ahead of the game” to ensure some control over the war. In order to keep the enemy at bay, we have to do the same. It takes daily preservation through prayer, studying and infusing Scripture, and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.
  3. Nurture goodness – Dealing with the weeds can rob your joy. It is easy to forget to “stop and smell the roses”. Make time to praise the Lord and thank Him for His goodness, protection, grace, love, faithfulness, joy, hope, mercy, devotion, steadfastness, presence, eternal promises, provisions, etc. Extend His attributes to those around you without bias or partiality. Build up others and feed into them. Help their roots spread and eventually choke out the enemy.
  4. Use the right tools – There are numerous tools on the market with promising results. The best ones are those that “get to the root”. The Lord has given us two helpmates-His Word and the Holy Spirit. God wants us skilled in using His sword and relying upon the Holy Spirit. We have to get to the root of our problems and issues by using His tools. So, declare the enemy powerless and saturate his plans with death-defining means through implementing the right God-given devices.

Weed-out the enemy. Remember, there are better things requiring your attention and focus. Satan has no place in your garden of life. Let God grow you to your full potential.  

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as you reward.

(Colossians 3:23-24)

I’m offended! What’s next?

Image Credit: Bing

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Yes-today we are going there-straight to the topic of being offended. Dare I say if you haven’t been offended a time or two in life, you may be the one and only. Offenses seem to occur as often as a windy day in the panhandle of Texas. They both will whip you around and leave you highly frustrated. The debris they bring into your pathway can be downright annoying. It is never welcomed and doesn’t exactly bring out the best in a person.

Offenses can happen in many forms but it usually stems from someone’s words or actions. You know-those sly cutting remarks made by a co-worker, the off-hand statement by a family member, the “grandpa” or “raging” driver, the person who just let their car door slam into your vehicle, the twenty-fifth call about an extended warranty on your vehicle, (P.S. stop calling me-the car is 11 years old!) or let’s just say it—the media!

Try going one whole day with either not being offended personally or not running across someone who was offended. Riot, chaos, looting, as well as many other actions fill the TV screens, radios, and social media pages due to being offended. It seems to be present every day of our lives regardless of where we go. People feel betrayed, ignored, misrepresented, neglected, etc. and anger and bitterness begin to rise. Honestly, it stirs up so many emotions within us.

Most offenses can be defined as an “annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles”. They hurt and 9 times out of 10 we feed them and allow the offense to become a sin on our part. Usually, that’s what’s next.

But, what is God’s perspective?

1. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us to rely on the truth of God’s Word and not our fickle heart. Unfortunately, it can be deceitful.

2. Scripture tells us to do everything possible to overlook an offense and rely on God’s wisdom (Proverbs 19:11).

3. Extend love through God’s perspective and do not seek revenge or hold a grudge (Leviticus 19:18). Romans 13:10 reminds us that love is the fulfilling of God’s law.

4. Remember the redemption you received on the cross while Jesus was crying out “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Jesus forgave while being offending—right in the smack dab middle of it! So, decide ahead of time to embrace forgiveness as your response and give it over to God.

5. Bring your thoughts under God’s authority. Cling to 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 and choose patience and kindness at all times. Take your anger to the throne room and leave it there.

6. Invest in the fear of the Lord. Have reverence for His ways and allow Him to reign over your heart, mind, and soul. Refer to Proverbs 19:23 and remind yourself of the life and contentment found in fearing the Lord.

My friend, you will be offended. But in the midst of it, will you choose to honor God or offend Him? That’s what’s next.  

Two Ways to Prevent from Being a Contaminated Friend

Tribute to Diane Reid
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

When I think about friendship, my thoughts immediately go to the song You’ve Got a friend in Me by Randy Newman and Lyle Lovett. The lyrics exemplify the definition of a true friend who “sticks closer than a brother” for me. You know, the person who knows your quirks and flaws yet, loves you anyway. Those who protect your head and heart by caring about your feelings and guarding their words because of their admiration for you.

Proverbs extends words of wisdom regarding friendship in numerous ways. I love how it delivers prevention methods to keep us from being a toxic friend. As I have been reading and studying the chapters, I have had to accept many corrective words. Ouch! – my toes have definitely endured some agony. However, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s promptings opened my eyes to several means which warrant being a noble and wholesome friend. Let me share a couple with you.

Your Lips: Yes, as lovely as they can be, they can release lethal poison. Proverbs 10:19-20 reminds us to be cautious with our words and double check to see if they are beneficial and worthy. Proverbs 12:17-23 heeds direction to utter kindness yet, be cautious in the overall flapping of the lips.

We find in the first few verses of Chapter 13 a promise of blessings for those using wise speech and pleasant words. But what about those times when provoking situations occur? Truth – they happen even in the best of friendships. Proverbs 14:29 reveals the solution is to restrain the lips and exhibit self-control over our responses. Proverbs 15:1 portrays this as having a soft reply and avoid harshness at all costs.

Then there is gossip. Yuck – the destruction it brings. Passing on all those juicy morsels and having no regard for someone’s reputation. It stems from a need to elevate self. Somehow it tends to capsulate half-truth, hearsay, etc. We can even become entangled in the web without initiating it.

Be on guard with your lips. Let your words speak life. Prepare to listen more and truly hear what others express. Make good use of your lip actions, avoid gossip, and be a friend indeed.

Your Heart: Have you ever found your heart to be in the wrong place? Self-centered living is an easy path to stumble upon. Proverbs 14:12 reveals that our “self-righteous” living may even be deceiving in its blessings because it is not sustainable. The truth is – it is a heart matter.

Luke 6:45 reminds us to guard our heart for the primary purpose of staying pure for God. We have to be mindful of what penetrates our heart and be very intentional to keep our focus on living for God and bringing Him glory, not ourselves. Proverbs 14:30 encourages us to have a “sound heart” because it generates “life to the body”. When embracing this lifestyle, we will be a friend who does not entertain a deceptive, harden heart and can offer love and goodness with the right motives.

Although there are numerous ways to produce great friend qualities, these two areas are primary issues that can make or break a relationship. Our motives and mouths can create excellence for His glory, but it requires discipline and righteousness of the Lord.

So, what does it really boil down to? A choice to love at all times regardless (Proverbs 17:17a) and to accept correction for our overall behavior for a lifetime. Not an easy decision but rewarding results – being “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” and receiving the same. A worthy blessing bringing pleasure to God.

Diane was a sweet friend to many!

Motive Check

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Motives-Have you ever made five-star plans yet, had the wrong motive? What about having a fabulous motive but, little or no plans? I cannot seem to separate motives from plans when pondering the subject.

While reading and studying Proverbs 16, God really captured my attention. I have to admit, I love to have so-called “well-laid-out-plans”. I want all 5 W’s answered and the details nailed down if you put me in charge. I might suffer slightly from anxiety when it comes to not knowing what the plans are. Do not misunderstand-I can go with the flow, but I need a general knowledge of what lies ahead or what to expect.

However, let us talk about life plans. We all make them no matter how elaborate or minimum. We have goals and dreams fully expecting for things to stay on our appropriate timeline yet, life happens!

I have had disruptions and setbacks a time or two when it comes to my “life plans”. As I ponder some of those interruptions, I think about my motives. YIKES! Several were self-centered and all to glorify me. YEP! Absolutely nothing to do with God and for that matter I really never asked His opinion. Wonder why some of those plans failed?

It is not easy to have fail-proof plans, but they might be more successful if we examine our motives behind them. Remember, we cannot hide anything from our all-knowing Father-He is fully aware of our motives (1 Corinthians 4:4-5). If our motives are to glorify the Lord and bring Him praise, it may alter our planning.

Imagine a life with sold-out motives for God only! Can you imagine how differently our life plans might look? May I dare to say, we would probably be relying on Scripture as our guide and conferencing with the Lord as we craft our daily pathway. And, we would not be as concerned about the outcome because we would know that God is in control regardless.

Solomon’s instructions in Proverbs 16:3 has made me more aware of how I plan. He was directly saying to me, “Hey, before you plan anything, check your motives. Are you doing this to exalt God or yourself? Who will be glorified? Have you consulted with the Lord? Does this align with scripture? Are you trusting God or yourself? Oh child, do you really have faith in God?”

I pray today’s posting touched you, but it might have been just for me!

BOOK REVIEW: I Want It ALL

Smith, G. (2016). I Want It ALL. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.

Summary: The book is based on Smith’s desire to experience exceptional living under God’s authority. The author crafted the information based on three categories: faith, power, and impact. Readers are given many personal examples throughout each of the fourteen chapters as a method of transparency in conveying how God can work in and through our daily lives.

Smith reveals some deep hurts, pains, and trials endured which refined her life and assisted her in discovering the greatness of God’s love, grace, peace, joy, courage, direction, and wisdom.  Each chapter highlights the many blessings God has for believers when they surrender items such as temptation, pride, fear, doubt, trials, fickle emotions, etc.  

The author frequently list steps to take and/or catchy acronyms to assist in practical application along with scripture reference. Smith backs her writing with quotes, poetry, reflection and response questions, and a study guide located in the back section of the book. Smith overall message is for readers to embrace “living with great expectations of what God can do in and through your life”.

My $.02: I have read a multitude of devotions written by Gwen Smith through Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotional ministry. However, I had never read any of her books until now.

Smith has a unique way of just “talking” to you in her southern dialect and making you feel welcome. Each chapter seemingly feels like a mini-book on a particular topic. This talented writer infuses her poetry and touching personal stories throughout, using the right timing and conveying the precise message. There were times in the book where I could visually picture her examples through her expert delivery.

The reflection and response questions allowed for personal inventory and application. There are numerous sections that were eye-opening, extremely relevant, and sometimes even convicting. Although my intent of reading the book was to gather a sense of writing style and exposure to her online book study delivery, the writing proved to be a supportive resource for the Proverbs study group I am currently leading.

Smith’s material is timeless and will still be applicable fifty years from now. My favorite sections were over the topics of taming the tongue, dealing with temptations, defining the fear of the Lord, and exchanging weakness for God’s power. Smith is bold and inspiring.

Whether you are a new believer or a seasoned follower, the depth of the book will be measured on your willingness to listen to what God’s message is for you as you journey through the pages. I believe if you ever have the book in your possession and begin engaging with the material, the Lord has a reason for it and wants to personally show you exceptional living under His authority. Then pass it along to someone else as a tool to help them grow as well. As for me, it is going to stay in my personal library for a bit to reference and support future teachings.   

Don’t just take my word for it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25779507-i-want-it-all, https://www.amazon.com/Want-All-Exchanging-Average-Greater/product-reviews/0781413702

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