Look at the picture above. It is one of our favorite mental pictures. It is very easy for us to assign responsibility to others when things go wrong, but do we think what our part in the process was? If we look at the hand, there’s one finger pointing outward and three inward. If you’re doing the pointing there are three fingers pointing at you.
Some things are out of our control in life; I’m not negating that…but it’s not as many as we tend to think.
Have you heard yourself say things like: this person makes me feel (angry, upset, irritable) or made me (eat, scream, nag, throw something)…unless the person has a weapon and threatening your safety. Was is truly this person’s fault or did you allow yourself into the behavior or emotion? We also blame the circumstances around our lives. Most time we created those circumstances as well.
Sometimes we forget to take accountability for our own actions because it’s easier to blame others or the circumstances. The denial of our responsibility falsely releases us from having to address it or work on fixing it. By placing the responsibility outside of us, we convince ourselves that the answer is out of our hands, not realizing that is inside that fist, hidden behind those three fingers that are pointing at us.
Stepping out of that denial is not an easy thing. It makes us see ourselves for who we really are. It also finally addresses the issue that we need to work on, that’s true freedom!
So I just invite you to stop and think; every time there’s a situation in your life and you are ready to blame someone else; ask yourself, what part did you play for things to happen?
Did you enjoy this post? This is one of the lessons included in my book Growth Lessons , get your copy today! Do you already have the ebook and want my autograph…submit your request on kindlegraph and i’ll be honored to process it.
I was reading an article on the magazine “In Touch” the other day. They will have to forgive me because I don’t remember the specific author or the edition of the magazine that I read. The article was talking about how as believers we tend to have unrealistic expectations of what our emotions should be in determined situations. I think the saddest part about it, is that we permeate this culture of unrealistic expectations when we attempt to provide support to someone in distress.
I’m guilty of telling someone one that they are not trusting God on a situation, because they are exhibiting anxiety or distress and I know I’m wrong for that. I also know that I’ve accused myself of not being submitted enough to God for experiencing things like: fear, anger, sadness, anxiety.
There’s this wrong perception that if you’re a believer everything in your life has to be going absolutely perfect. We forget to read that part of the Bible that says, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Who can forget the scene where Jesus kicked everyone out of the temple? He was angry. The Word says, “be angry but do not sin”…it doesn’t say you’re not allowed to be angry.
Where do we even get these ideas that because we believe we’re going to be walking in clouds, our children will be perfect, and our relationships will be perfect? Yes, we have deceived ourselves.
The interesting thing that we missed, that was addressed in the article was that we are made as God’s image; this means every emotion that we have, he has and made for us. It’s what we do with our emotions that could either edify us or destroy us. If we use our emotions and turn them into prayers, instead of complaints, and remember that the test is only the beginning of the testimony; we would see our life with different eyes.
I had a situation this week, where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. At the end of the day, I was tired, frustrated, overwhelmed. I kept praying God’s peace. I surrounded myself with my accountability support people. I finally came to the conclusion that this was the test becoming a testimony. The testimony is that every single thing that looked impossible on Monday was resolved without my intervention and in ways that only God could have shown himself. The fact that I cried and was frustrated doesn’t mean that I didn’t know that God had it in his hand and was going to deal with it. I didn’t’ doubt it for a minute. I just had a bulk of emotions; I recognized them as such and treated them as such.
Sometimes we lose focus that not only the lost souls struggles, but our fellow believers have struggles too, and how can we be of help when instead of mercy, we hand out judgment.
Faith, Fun & Food BlogParty
Powered by Linky Tools
Clickhere to see another blog in the Faith, Fun, & Food BlogParty!
Sometimes we confuse freedom with debauchery. We tell ourselves and others that we have the right to do as we please and as we want. The truth is that our Creator gave use freedom of choice, therefore in theory it is true, but when we exercise that freedom, do we do it in a way that is beneficial to us, or we do the first thing that feels good?
For the enemies of freedom, taking control and restraint is not the way to go. The consensus on that side is that there is no happiness in self-control and discipline, but in hindsight the lack of these usually brings us devastating consequences. Let’s just look at some brief examples of how these things can affect our lives.
I should be the last one to talk about this subject as I love to eat. Why do we have places that promote all you can eat? To survive we should not eat all we can eat. We can exercise the freedom of taking care of our bodies and eat healthy with using judgment into when and how much of little unhealthy things we consume. The reality is that not exercising self-control and discipline brings obesity, diseases and shortens our lifespan. If we shorten our lives we will miss on the blessings laid out for us, but also we would be in disobedience of fulfilling God’s purposes in our lives.
Have you ever heard someone say, I have the right to sleep with whomever I desire? Others say that they need to try until they find someone compatible in that area. Others excuse themselves because their marriages are not satisfying. Our creator calls us to purity in our intimate relations. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12” What some of those people forget is that our neighbor is our brother or sister and that we are to respect and see about them like if they were our family members. What comes out of promiscuity? Disease, emotional damage. This information is not only spiritually based. Read this scientific article on the consequences of promiscuity http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/she/she_29promiscuity.html
Drugs (legal or illegal)
Yes, there are legal drugs. Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and prescription medications are some of the things that are at he reach of anyone, including believers. Illegal drugs have the society connotation of them not being allowed. How about those legal substances? Have you thought if you are a user or abuser of these substances? What are they doing in your life? Are you trying to not face some part of your life? ”Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” 1Corinthians 6:19 NIV
After a difficult day of work, we get to our homes and want to block our worlds out. All of the sudden we get consumed by mindless entertainment like our computers, television, and music; before we realize it we’re too tired to talk to God. He who gave us the 24 hours we just spent and the possibility to wake up the next day doesn’t get from us even praise. We usually say we don’t have time to do lots of things like exercise, volunteer, help others. Do you a favor? Just for this week, write down in a piece of paper the hours that you spend in front of the computer, video games or the television. Think how many nights you have deprived yourself from rest just to feed your flesh with enjoyment.
Remember that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12). Let’s use our freedom wisely and follow the teachings of our Lord so that we can enjoy the benefits of the real good life. We have the option and the freedom to say NO to a life of sin and devastation.
I had an interesting conversation the other day about tattoos. Like any form of art, they are quite interesting, some are really nice, and some are not. But the discussion was, Are Christians allowed to get tattoos? This discussion does not relate to those who come to Christ already with tattoos, we are talking about those who are already saved, didn’t have one and are now getting them or contemplating them.
For the longest time I was one of those raising the hand with Leviticus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” (NLT), but is not as clear cut as that. First of all there’s the judgment part. If I am judging other people for getting tattoos, piercings or men wearing earrings, then I’m the one in trouble for judging. I’ve met true worshipers with all of those or some, these are Christian leaders who I truly respect for their spirituality and who have been mentors in my life. I admit that at the beginning I was conflicted. So I decided to do some research.
First of all I discovered that we need to read things in its context This rule and many others in the Old Testament were placed by God to avoid pagan rituals amongst the Israelites. He wanted for his people to be set apart and he still does. So does getting a tattoo makes you conform to what the world is doing? There are two schools of thought, some that say that the rules in Leviticus still apply to us, some that say they don’t. Well, I agree in Leviticus 19:29 when it says “Do not prostitute your daughter…”, but it also says two verses before, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard” (19:27) and we know that men have haircuts and shave everyday.
From the majority of the articles I read that do not attack the tattoos (meaning not necessarily approve of them, but don’t have the notion that they will send you to hell) I gather that it’s all in the motivation and heart. Even tattoos are a matter of the heart. Why do you want to get a tattoo? Is it to fit in within the culture? Will the tattoo bring more attention to you than to Christ? Remember that our ultimate goal is that He becomes greater as I become less (John 3:30)
Some people even claim that God has tattoos using the scripture of Isaiah 49:16 “I have tattooed you on the palm of my hands” Others have said that Jesus has a tattoo as well referring to what is said in Revelations 19:16 “On his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords”
At the end, more than the focus of is it right for a believer to have or not a tattoo look at where your heart is. If you don’t have one, “are you looking at the sawdust in your brother’s eye while paying no attention to the plank in your eye? (Matthew 7:3) If you are considering one, why do you want one? Have you talk to God about it? Will getting one affect your relationship with God or make others stumble?
Personally I’ve looked at some and they are quite interesting, I could never get one and it goes beyond any religious convictions. I don’t see myself sitting for any extended period of time to be voluntarily poked. Also, I don’t think I could commit to a design. I don’t think I could agree to one color as my favorite color for my entire life, it used to be red, and somehow my mom says it used to be yellow and if you ask me now it’s blue. Can you imagine?
As always I’m interested in hearing your opinion. Let me know your thoughts and hope you have a blessed day.
Routine is an element that could prevent us from embracing the new things that God wants to do in our lives. No matter how free spirited our lives may be the most disorganized of us has a routine. We get up, go to work or school, we have a hygiene routine, eating routine, a schedule. After all the hours outside of our house, we then return and do mostly the same things, clean up, eat, and entertain ourselves (television, internet, games, Facebook). The day ends and we have not given God a minute of our time.
Some people have included God in their daily routine somewhat, but if something comes along that changes the things we usually do, we have the tendency to present resistance. I know that God has woken me up in the middle of the night with someone’s name. He usually wants me to go and pray for that person. I have to admit that I have not always been obedient to that call. How many times have you ignored that voice when you know in your heart that you needed to do something for someone or in obedience to God?
This reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan, when people bypassed helping someone in need in order to make it to the temple on time. Stopping there would have affected their routine. I have found out that when I get out of myself and actually allow God to alter my routine, I get more blessed than any blessing I can be to anyone else. Let’s decide today to give our daily schedules to God everyday and let his will be done.
It is time to rejoice! There’s a party in heaven and in earth. The best party ever. They saw him bleeding, battered and bruised. Once he had exhaled and taken down from the cross his breathless body lied in the arms of his mother who cleaned his face with her tears. He was probably getting cold real quick as he had lost so much blood.
A friend of the family had a tomb that had not been used and gave it for them to put his body in there. Because it was the Sabbath and nobody was supposed to do anything, everyone left. The women came the next day to do the habitual embalming of that time and guess what? He was nowhere to be found.
Some thought that maybe someone had stole his body and they were starting to feel sadness, but then two angels told the women that he had risen as he had promised. (Rephrasing from Luke 23 and 24)
If we think about other religions who worship someone who was a prophet, but there is an actual grave site where their body lies. Or those who believe that an unanimated object is their god. We have a living, breathing, Almighty, All Powerful GOD!!!!
In life, He won! In death, He won! The movie has a happy ending. Rejoice, he’s alive, he’s risen from the dead, he won it for us.!!
Happy Resurrection Sunday!!
I had already decided to stop the Stewardship series during Passover because I think there were more urgent things to discuss. Last year I decided to bring light into what the commercialized holiday had become and how we were engaging in a celebration that we didn’t even understand. If you want to review that just read Eggs and Bunnies by the cross.
This year I wanted to do a deep play by play study of what Jesus did for us and that we so much take for granted. I sometimes forget that I don’t run this thing and that I’m just a vehicle, so needless to say things have changed.
This weekend I heard this words, “Why with so many Christians in the world the job is not done?”
I think that as the body of Christ we forget exactly that …that we are the body. We are the hands and the feet that Jesus left on earth to do His work. In a way it goes back to the stewardship of our bodies, time and resources. If we claim to be the body of Christ how can we continue to be silent to so many injustices?
I also heard something this weekend that brought light into the lie. We have believed the lie that “poor little me” can’t do anything. I know I have bought into that one plenty of times. Really? So you can’t be the instrument that Almighty God can use to do mighty things? We need to stop putting limits to our unlimited God.
He came to save us and left us a mission “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” Matthew 28:19
How are you doing that? I know I have some thinking to do. Meditate on this song as you do…
PS. Thanks Christine Caine for your awakening and encouraging words.
Life is not perfect. I’m sure I’m the only one who has this experience, but sometimes when we look around and things are not necessarily where we would have envisioned. It’s not that we’re unhappy with where we are, it’s just that we look at where we wanted to be in the future and we’re not exactly there.
Sometimes we see people around us who have arrived (or we think that they are) where we thought we wanted to be and its not that we envy where they are. I know I don’t . I just question myself where did I go wrong. The answer is almost immediate and I start remembering wrong choices and bad decisions that detoured me from my destination.
Serving a God of mercy is a great thing. First I have to sometimes realize that what I envisioned for my life isn’t necessarily what was good for me. It says in Isaiah 55:8, 9 (TNIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” I know there’s a list of things that I prayed for that I have taken out of the table because if I knew then what I know now, they would have never made it to the praying table.
I also trust that God has his best interest for me. Jeremiah 29:11”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Finally when I feel like I may have lost an opportunity due to my own vices, I find hope in the Word where it says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.” Joel 2:25 The locust in this case are my sins, my bad decisions, my temptations. All those things that I could have lost, God promises to restore.
So there’s no more question about arriving or regrets on where I’m supposed to be. As long as I’m in the will of God, I’m always in the right place, at the right moment enjoying the right life. I then turned to a spirit of Thanksgiving for those things that I do have, those that I have accomplished, those that I’ve been freed from and the believe that there’s more in his plan for you and me.
Besides, the Joneses are a fantasy. You only see things from the outside, but you never know the struggles that anybody is dealing with on inside and who knows, it may be the Joneses who which they were in your shoes.
- Phrase: “Keeping Up With the Joneses” History (danjenn.wordpress.com)
I just finished watching Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family. I’m a big fan of Tyler Perry. I like his style in the sense that he recognizes who gave him his talent and has used it to show for it. Also the fact that through his gift he tells it like it is.
It is late at night when I’m writing this and I should be in bed by now, but I just couldn’t go to bed. God has been trying to get something across to me, and slow poke here had not caught on with the program. As some of my readers remember this post complaining about my writing.
Three years ago when I decided it was time to return to my writing roots, I didn’t think that I would pursue the dream of publishing. Now with the blessing of two short stories out there, I see the possibility of doing something I’ve always wanted to do…becoming an author! Just like when I returned, I feel alive when I do, but then I face the world and see “little me” against the world and I start doubting myself. The more research I do on how to get it done, the farther I see it coming to pass.
The whole movie was awesome. I laughed, I cried, I even had to pause the movie to call my mom just to hear her voice. At the end of the movie, Tyler addressed the audience and said that God told him how he was going to close all doors to make sure that he knew that his success came from HIM. That’s the best success any believer would want. He also talked about moving out of yourself and doing for others while God does for you. Knowing a little about Tyler’s personal journey inspired me a lot.
In different scenes and regarding different subjects the message was God knows you want to go from point A to point B and he will answer that prayer,”How bad do you want it?” Ironically, tonight at church, although the message was about finances. The pastor talked about reproducing from your talents (meaning money) but I kept hearing in my heart about my talent. He talked about how God gave us our talents for us to be stewards of those talents and produce for his kingdom.
It all came full circle. I have a plaque on my desk at work that says, “ Today there’s nothing that God and I can’t do together” Therefore, there can’t be any fear and doubt, what he gave me to produce will produce in his time and as I obediently submit my efforts to do my part. Never stop dreaming and working towards your dream. Breakthrough is around the corner.
Can you relate? Care to share?
I have a few non Christian friends; some belong to other beliefs, some non active Christians (saved but not living for Christ), “spiritual” (those who know that God exists somewhere but have no desire to live for him) and some professed atheists. Ironically, we have a lot of religious conversation and to my surprise sometimes they know more about what Jesus said and his expectations than some of my own Christian friends. Some of them ask me to pray for them when they are in the middle of a situation.
In our conversations I’ve identified certain trends of why some of them are not attracted to Christianity, so I wanted to share them with my fellow believers, because they do have a point.
- It’s not Him, it’s y’all-I’ve never heard even atheists’ bad mouth Jesus or Christ. It’s not Him who bothers them, they don’t like Christians. As soon as someone proclaims to be a Christian in front of them they form an expectation of how we should behave and we tend to fall really short in that expectation, giving us very little credibility to our words. In other words, our walk doesn’t match our talk.
- Judgment-We are perceived to function out of judgment and not out of love. Some unbelievers are living lives that according to the Christian walk is outside of the “acceptable”. Some of them have had experiences were they have attempted to reach out to learn about Christ and have been received with judgment about how they are going to “burn in hell” for their actions instead of loving them through their circumstances. I have to stop here and say that this happens to Christians who leave the faith as well or to some of those non active Christians that I was talking about. As humans, we can all fall short of the glory and what are we to do. Galatians 6:1 reads “’ Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” If the sin of that person is a personal struggle for you, don’t go there, the point is not for you to fall, but help directing the person to someone that can actually help, in love. If it’s a struggle for you, seek help, because it means that you have unresolved situations yourself. Be honest about it. But how many times have people been humiliated and condemned for what they have done instead of pursuing their restoration.
We also sometimes forget how we got to the feet of Christ. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. Personally, when I became a Christian I was very young, so I didn’t experience the redeeming life with Christ after big fallout. I was prideful. I didn’t understand why people couldn’t get it together, until I fell on my face and didn’t know how to come back. It was then when I understood mercy and grace. God placed loving people in my life to show me the way back, but those people never made me feel like I was scum and they were holy, which brings me to my next point.
- Being genuine- Life in Christ is a journey not a destination. I think much is emphasized in the church and the rules than the relationship with God. With this I’m not saying that church and guidelines are not important or necessary, but many times we try to make people act a certain way that they are not ready to instead of loving them through the process and allowing the Word of God and their personal relationship to Jesus to flow and do the changes that GOD wants to make in a person, not the ones we want to see.
Just like a child knows when someone loves them or not, wounded people know too. If you honestly don’t love someone, don’t try to fake it, they will know and your words will mean nothing, especially if you’re saying that you love them in Christ.
- Authenticity-Trying to fake life and present a holier than thou image just because you’re a Christian and present that once you received Christ live was a bed of roses repels unbelievers more than anything. When people are struggling, thinking that there’s no way that God would accept them where they are now, keeps them away from Christ.
I have a friend who has had some of my same struggles, she was key in my return to Christ because I saw how even though she had gone through, God made it happen for her. She taught me the steps to take out of the gutter and how I had believed the lie of no redemption and how God really wanted me, but she didn’t do it by Bible thumping although we did speak of the Word. She did it by sharing with me how through the Word, God spoke to her in her darkest moments. Wait! She has dark moments being a Christian…Huh, there’s hope for me!
I knew then what to pray for and how to stand on the Word of God, because of her story. Is she perfect? No! Is she living a perfect rosy live now? No! She has a real life with the same struggles that everyone has, the difference is how she overcomes them and that inspires me to overcome mine and hang in there.
Why was this instrumental? Because even though I knew the Lord, up until that time those speaking into my life were just pointing out what I was doing wrong and how I was going to burn too if I didn’t get it together. If I, who knew the Lord couldn’t get back, how do you think someone who doesn’t know his love would feel even compelled to try? Someone said that you may be the only bible someone reads. If you’re condemning other people’s lives, that’s what their erroneous bible is teaching them about a life in Christ. If you’re not real with your own struggles and your own difficulties then, they will know that you’re not trustworthy and that the god that you claim to serve is just as phony as you are. Is that how you want to present Christ to others?
When this subject has come up I’ve told my friends to look at Christ and not at us, because we are human and jacked up. All I can do is try to live as genuine as possible, pray and allow God to work in their hearts and in mine (because I’m still a work in progress), because at the end of the day Salvation is a personal decision and it’s not me who saves, but He who lives in me. So you my fellow believers are you living an authentic life or do you wear your Sunday mask every time you have to talk about Christ? Do you talk about Jesus, or do you try to live like Jesus?
Food for thought,