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“I want it, I want it!!!” But Should You Have It?

We are a demanding culture today, are we not?

Currently we have no children living at home but we do have something just as challenging: “Mr. No-No”

That little dog has a myriad of toys to choose from but never seems satisfied with what is right in front of him! I am perpetually putting his toys back in his box. He brings them out but gets bored quickly.

When we allowed him to choose from several items, he sticks his nose up at them and demands a new chewy or toy. Instead of getting what he want, he gets a trip to “time-out.”

Aren’t we the same? We live in such a materialistic society that keeping up with the Joneses and acquiring more toys is the goal. We never stop to enjoy the bounty God has already given us. When we act spoiled rotten, sometimes God has to give us a “time-out” too. It’s called a reality check.

According to Psalm 37:4, God says He’ll give us the desires of our heart: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

What do we want? Perhaps a grilled steak every night? A larger home, better job, a spa day, a Maserati, to win the lottery? Whatever. But whatever it is, we want it now!!!

God is not a vending machine! Nor will He give bad things to His children. Just because we want it however, doesn’t mean it good for us! Perhaps we’d better read the next verse:

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act,” (Psalm 37:5)

Our hearts must be right. We shouldn’t have selfish motives and expect God to deliver. God knows that spoiling a child isn’t good in the long run. Giving in to a child will only create a habitually demanding adult who no one enjoys being around.

We live as we learn.

When I young and we were dirt poor farm kids, dinner was placed on the table and we got to eat what was on our plate and we better like it!!! One of our Mom’s favorite expressions was, “You can have anything you want . . .  and this is what you want.”

We learned to appreciate fresh vegetables, fresh air and one more thing: fresh thinking. It wasn’t recycled robotic thinking. We used our imagination, created the first “pet-rocks” to create forts and castles, read books and thought ideas through. Those disciplined habits stay with a child.

Now, going into a restaurant, I still retain discipline as well as frugality. To order the most expensive item on the menu would seem like a waste when I can be just as satisfied with less.

We have so many choices today – actually, too many. Growing up, we didn’t have the internet or 565 television channels; we played outside. Our choices were climbing trees, kicking a ball or biking. Nowadays, children play primarily inside and must decide among video games, texting their friends, checking their email or watching television.  We reap what we sow. No movement means no energy, weight gain and health challenges. Inactivity and food became our god.  Philippians 3:19.

So if God granted us instant thinness, would we appreciate it? Probably not, we certainly wouldn’t have the knowledge to choose the healthiest items at the grocery nor the discipline to maintain a healthy weight. Therefore God knows it wouldn’t be for our best.

We should earn our healthier lifestyle, it’s much more satisfying!

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:14)

 

 

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Are You a Godly Role Model for Your Children?

Over the years, hundreds of books were written meant to uncover why adults acted as they did.

Each touched on:

  • what motivates us;, how to be successful.
  • how we should view ourselves,
  • what’s our “sign”
  • discovering what type of personality we have: Type A, B, and so on.

Notice the common denominator? It was all about “self.” These books were written with the distinct purpose of reflecting how people should view themselves. Everyone got placed in a box, tied up with a brightly colored ribbon. Formula!

What self-centered thinking! Quite the opposite of “God First, Others Second and I Am Third.”

We are a combination of many personalities, because God created each of us uniquely. Our uniqueness makes us special. For example, my husband and I respond differently to different stimuli. I’m more impulsive, my husband’s more methodical. I need to talk it out, he needs time to think it through . . .

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each parent to discover their child’s “Love Language” also. Authors studied and targeted older generations and forgot about children.

Have you ever thought, the way we treat our children shouldn’t be the same as we treat an adult? Our children are as individual as we are. Each child has a distinctive personality and a separate need for recognition, discipline, space, acceptance and approval.

An emotional or affectionate child responds better to physical rewards such as a hug rather than a toy as a reward. He wants to know he is worth more than “things.” No amount of materialism can purchase this child’s love. He needs to be assured that he is more than simply another possession you own or he’ll turn to food or drugs for unfulfilled, comforting emotions.

One child is more analytical, another is a studious bookworm. These children desire stimulating conversation even more than hugs. Praise and respect them for their curiosity and dedication to studies (and of course hug them anyway!)

Sometimes a child only wants time with their parents, but rarely finds it. Sometimes the parents are so busy keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, working sixty-hour weeks in order to reward their child with “things” rather than what their child’s soul longs for; attention.

This creates a chasm between a child-parent relationships, perhaps one which will never fully heal. This child could even grow up to be introverted, placing a protective shell around his heart to avoid perceived abandonment issues.

Or perhaps he becomes another workaholic for his parent’s sought-after blessing. As he matures, he might want to sit and enjoy a movie, snuggling with his child, but years of training taught him that’s considered “unproductive” time. So he continues to strive for approval through hard work.

We are God’s child but do we spend time with the Lord? Think he doesn’t love us; accepts us as we are, faults and all?  Our Lord understands our Love Language! If we simply want to spend time with Him, wrapped in prayer, He’s always available to listen. If we encounter trials, we can rest in our Father’s Arms, finding comfort rather than criticism.

If we are analytical, He’ll provide knowledge and wisdom through His Word so we can understand. God’s always attuned to our needs even before we know them ourselves.

We can learn so much from our Heavenly Father. Remember that most children first identify our Heavenly Father with their earthly father. Appreciate each child as the blessing from God they truly are!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Attempting Perfection? Ain’t Gonna Happen!

As one begins a quest for health, either through fitness or weight loss, many strive for perfection. Did you as well? How did that go? When you failed to achieve it, did you became discouraged, falter and give up?

Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable at any age. Therefore, strive for excellence, not perfection.

But why did we expect perfection from ourselves in the first place? Did we think perfection would make others like and appreciate us more? It won’t. In fact, Romans 3:10 informs us that there was only one perfect person ever born, our Lord. If you recall, most people didn’t like him much while He lived on earth and even today Jesus continues to have countless enemies.

Humans cannot be perfect no matter how hard they try. No one else is Christ. If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience, how could we possibly think we could ever become godly enough to achieve perfection?

May I remind you that God used normal, everyday imperfect human beings for his work? We tend to believe that the personalities of the Bible were superheroes, larger than life, but look again:

Abraham was old and Jeremiah was a child, Moses was timid and not a great speaker while Peter was proud and had a temper. Elijah got discouraged and Jeremiah was frequently depressed. Paul was egotistical and boastful while Jonah was a coward, David was an adulterer as well as a murderer and Solomon seemed to love women more than his LORD.

And don’t think women were any better: Sarah was a doubter, Rebekah was a schemer, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was controlling and Rahab was a prostitute!

Just as parents love their children no matter what, God loves us and desires what’s best for us. We are not perfect, but that shouldn’t give us license to be disobedient either.

Isn’t it a relief that God does not expect perfection from us to be useful to Him?! Knowing that, what does our testimony say about us? I’m quite certain you have never killed anyone but have you ever gossiped or let gluttony overcome you at a church social? Remember sin is sin in God’s eyes and His Son died for all sins; even gluttony, laziness and gossip.

Striving for excellence pleases God. How we live represents our Christian testimony. Concentrate on that aspect rather than expecting personal perfection which only frustrates and discourages. We must begin to create a strong godly example here on earth so we will hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

People are watching us as an example of Christianity. Do we represent someone a non-Christian would strive to be? What strengths will we eventually bring to place at His Holy Pierced Feet?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” (Philippians 4:8)        

 

Peace or Power? Which Do You Pursue?

Some who seek “peace” are actually Counterfeit Christians, striving for dominance over others. Some feel if we will simply fall in line behind them, the kingdom will have peace. This is a falsehood. True Peace, Joy, Love is only found in doing what God desires of us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)

In this life we can build up or tear down another’s hopes, dreams or self-esteem. One can profess half-truths to obtain attention or destroy another through biting words. We can be a help or we can hinder another’s godly works. We can talk ourselves into success or forge on alone, foregoing Godly Counsel.

The question is: which type of person are you? To answer that, we must go back to our roots.

If your childhood was one with a dictatorial parent, a spiteful sibling, later a dominating spouse, suffered painful abuse or loss, it’s usually masked by either a false bravado or intimidating control or it made you stronger, more compassionate and more discerning. You have a heart for others because you identify with another’s pain.

As a result, the first will either bully, tear down others through words, acting as a mean girl to overcome that sense of inferiority and insecurity of never being good enough.

The second will overcome tribulations, building godly self-esteem and through strength reach out, coming alongside others to encourage them.

In essence the first attitude is projecting “I am the master of my OWN fate! No one will ever control me again!”

The falsehood here is, we will always have someone else controlling our thoughts and actions – either God or Satan, good or evil – no other! By allowing the devil to enter our mindset and puppet us, it not only hurts us, it hurts everyone around us.

By letting go and allowing God to control our life, we become stronger, content in all things, at peace with God’s Laws, provisions, pathways.

Inferiority is like having the devil whisper, you aren’t good enough!

I have news for you: no one will EVER be good enough. In this large world someone will always be and do something better, be tougher, kinder, prettier, wealthier . . .  even cook or sing better.

That’s the purpose of explaining to my patients why mental, physiological and Spiritual health is like the Westminster Dog Show. How can one judge a Golden Retriever against a Cocker Spaniel, a Pug against a Poodle, a German Shepherd against any Terrier? You can’t. Therefore each has a different standard of individuality set down by the American Kennel Club Rule Book and are judged accordingly.

Similarly, we are all uniquely designed by God and must be judged individually accordingly to His Book: The Bible.  Are we our best according to God’s Standards? I know I’m not and yet I continually strive to be excellent in all I can to please and glorify my Lord who rules over me, whispering “You are my child. I love you. You are enough.”

As a work in progress, I recognized early in my Christian life that it’s no fun being outside of God’s Favor. In fact, it’s scary!

Personalities who don’t truly believe in themselves and feel inferior, seek to find validation by tearing others down in order to build themselves up. I suspect you know people like this. One can never build themselves up by tearing others down.

Do you search for strength, peace, wisdom, but it evades you? Stand firm for Truth! Ditch Satan’s strings – seek Godly values and discover Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

Labels- Do’s and Don’ts

What a fabulous and powerfully written post by Eat, Move, Improve by Anthony DiMarino! How often do we believe the labels placed upon us? How foolish to believe the lies and whispers of the devil telling us we are junk. God made us and God never makes junk!

Enjoy reading this motivating post and take it to heart:

EAT, MOVE, IMPROVE

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Labels- we seen them everywhere.  We label people.  We label products.  We label foods.  Depending on the label we give something, it will change the meaning and the perspective we take.

For example, we label people.  We generalize.  We label rich people as “greedy,” “grimy,” or “despicable”.  We label overweight individuals as “lazy”, “losers”, or “undisciplined”.  These labels we use create how we interact within the world.  If you see the people I outlined above in this way, would you interact with them?  Probably not.

What if we turned this concept inward to ourselves.  If we see ourselves as “lazy”, “uncommitted”, “no good”, or “weak”, how do you think we would act?  Like losers, I’m sure.  So, why give yourself labels like that?  Consider changing the way you see things. Change the way you see others and yourself.  Choose constructive thoughts, words, and actions when viewing other people, yourself, and products.  Choose products and people that will benefit you in your mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and…

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Observations of a Dog’s Vacation

Nothing brings a pet owner closer to a furry friend than having a 25 pound, fuzzy-haired dog sitting on one’s lap for 1253 miles in an RV!

I must admit though, it brought out several philosophical reflections while on vacation last week.

Like how trusting our pets are.

That little guy entrusted his safety to us, oblivious to traveling along winding, mountainous highways with steep cliffs as crazy drivers sped by.

I observed how secure he seemed, even when he discovered “monsters under the bus,” which turned out to be only rumble strips.

Letting go allows us to live in a state of peace, as we turn our concerns over to the LORD. God’s shoulders are strong enough to handle it all. Turning our concerns over to our Almighty Father first – not after we’ve tried all other options, results in peace.

As we travel along our personal pathways of life, highways aren’t always smooth either.  We do come across ups, downs and detours which divert us to unexpected places, (like moving from Arizona to NE Ohio.) Sometimes during diversions we acquaint ourselves with fabulous loyal friends, discover magnificent landscapes, beautiful gardens and peaceful settings as we embrace unfamiliar territory. How much we would have missed!

Sure, there are occasionally potholes and rumble strips, but those are learning experiences. Why stress out over every little challenge we face daily, when we can place our hope and confidence in Him? God longs to provide safety and blessings as we journey through unique adventures, striving to do His Will.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths”   (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Our destination was a gorgeous RV resort attached to a SC beach. Of course along the way, Mr. “What-at- you-up-to-now?” occasionally got curious.

As we were setting up, we noticed several swans gracefully gliding down onto the lake. Having never seen creatures of this kind before, I felt “Mr. No No’s” muscles tense as he began emitting a low growl. I gently reprimanded him: settle down or risk observing the landscape from inside.

Then, as the swans swam by, he straightened, looked back at me, quizzically, as if I’d answer the question of, “What in heck kind of dogs were those???!!!”

Oh, the wonder of innocence! So many visions in life we haven’t yet seen either! Makes me wonder how we will approach Heaven when the time comes. Will we stand in awe and wonder of the perfection God creates, asking questions?

“But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

After setting up, we immediately took a stroll along the ocean. Our Mr. “OhNoYouDon’t!” boldly approached the awesome, seemingly never-ending water for the first time, but quickly withdrew as the waves crashed against the shore.

Curious now, he wandered closer as the tide receded, then dashed back as the waves appeared to chase him.

Pretty soon, he grew accustomed to the rhythmic cadence of the wave’s ebbs and flows, bravely walking alongside us, carelessly enjoying the wind in his fur while getting his feet wet and nose covered with sand.

Standing and observing a huge ocean with its constant, rhythmic, systematic timing, always makes any problem seem small. Life continues. Troubles too will pass when wrapped in God’s Love and Favor.

Relax, God whispered, you’re on vacation! I’ve got this.

Blessings abound when we place our Trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

Are You Running Away Like Jonah?

There are so many life lessons we can learn from the Biblical Jonah. As you recall, Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh but he ran away rather than face his responsibilities.

Have you ever thought, well how foolish! I wouldn’t ever run away from God when He commands me to do something!  He’s everywhere!

But we do actually act like Jonah at times! We are commanded by God to go on a journey. It is a life journey.

And as a Father, when His children rebel, God will get our attention in any way He can. Even by allowing storms (illness) to invade our body naturally when we consume too many unhealthy, chemically-laden foods.  Remember that was our choice, not His.

We live under Grace but are responsible for everything we do. Moderation is fine, but who forced us daily consume an entire bag of chips, overeat at the buffet or super-size that fast-food meal?

Like Jonah, God asks us to follow specific orders.  One of those is to keep our bodies holy and take care of this earthly temple He gave us.

1 Peter 1:16 states,  because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

But we run away from this responsiblity, don’t we?  Sometimes it seems like a monumental task trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Momentary pleasure overrides common sense.

Think of it this way: If we entered the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, we wouldn’t throw trash on that sacred floor, would we? No, but it’s exactly what we’re doing when we continually throw unhealthy food into our bodily temple.

God does not ignore disobedience, as Jonah discovered, no matter how much we feel we “got away with it.”

Look at Jonah again. When God asked him to go to Nineveh, he foolishly ran from God, trying to sail away from his obligations. But the Lord sent a storm which affected not only Jonah, but the entire crew of the ship.  That got his attention.

Truth #2: there are no victimless crimes! What we do affects others.  You might think, leave me alone! It’s my body! I’ll do what I please!

Okay, Grace again.  But when we eat unhealthily, we will eventually become ill. Heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems, strokes, cancer all trace back to what we eat.

When  we suffer, those around us suffer too! Just ask those who sit by our bedside while we’re in pain!

As parents, God asks us to exemplify higher standards to our families and yet we continue to provide an abundance of fast food, causing our family members to become ill too. Don’t you think God notices?

To correct our resistant, foolish direction, He might allow the consequences of that behavior to catch up with us. (As Jonah found out.) In our case, we might develop a simple belly ache or something worse like diabetes.

Now the question is, since He now has our attention, do we turn from our naiveté and start living and eating right, or do we shake our fist at God, defiantly demanding, Why did You allow this to happen; growing even more defiant, turning away and running away from God?

When faced with seemingly insurmountable goals, we get scared! It’s not easy but stop running! Immediately take baby steps to begin rectifying the situation. Start by consuming whole, nutritious foods. Stop trashing our earthly temple!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)