Choices

What You Say Matters

And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66 King James Version

Two days ago when I was at the store, I saw a precious little baby who was probably one month old. When I looked at him, he immediately started smiling at me, clapped his hands, kicked his feet and started laughing. He got excited and happy because someone was paying attention to him. How sad and tragic it is that when children grow older, we stop paying as much attention to them as we did when they were little. Sometimes we turn on the television and let the television become our babysitters so that we can do the things we want to do and not be bothered all day with the children. The thought came to me “This little baby is already acting like a missionary because I see the kindness of Jesus in his face”.

What Transforms Tender Hearts to Hard Hearts?
What happens to make these precious tender hearted and sweet babies turn into people who end up with hard hearts, become criminals and possibly even end up on death row? There has to be a reason that they stop loving people and start hating people. I believe it is because as they grow older and people begin to criticize them for everything that they do and say harsh and sarcastic things to them that their confidence begins to fade. They become suspicious of everyone and they stop trying to do nice things for others. I believe that they think what is the use of trying anymore as I will just be criticized again.

WhenDiscouragement Sets In

A Prayer for the New Year (by Matthew Henry)

"My times are in Your hand!" Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me...

    health or sickness,
    peace or trouble,
    comforts or crosses,
    life or death--

may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

The New Year: With the Hope?

"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."
~Lewis Carol, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

The new year: it is a minefield. There can be this weird concoction of hope and discouragement, effort and apathy.

A social media post, once again, caught my attention concerning this point. It was of the literary figure, Alice, from Carol's classic work, essentially binging.

And this was the image's caption...

"I can relate to Alice. She just keeps randomly eating and drinking everything she sees with the hope that it might actually solve all her problems."

Less Is More: Experiencing Holiday Meaningfulness

This time of year is all about the "too much." There's too much food, too much temptation, too much decoration, too much noise, too much spending and too much stress. Anything which is already an existing reality, this time of year, is seemingly placed on steroids.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Jolly times.

A few years ago, an interior designer appeared on a morning talk show. She was there to offer helpful holiday décor tips for our homes. So, I was anticipating glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel and every kitschy decoration known to man. I awaited pointers on how to transform each home into the Las Vegas strip.

So, it surprised me when she had some atypical advice...

Twelve Steps: Feline Resemblance

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good." Proverbs 19:8

As with most families this time of year, my husband and I commemorate the season with holiday decorations. That décor, however, is threatened by two factors: our cats, Gracie and Glory.

And, it is in this holiday decoration/feline context where I started thinking about the power of negative consequences.

The Book of Proverbs is especially loaded with helpful warnings for particular behaviors. It comes down to wisdom versus foolishness, pride versus humility, willingness to learn versus stubbornly and repeatedly making the same poor choices.

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20

Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29

Like it or not, we live in a cause and effect world. Many of us who battle with addiction, disorder and compulsion have already felt certain unpleasant consequences like lost jobs, wrecked relationships, health issues and excruciating moments of embarrassment.

Deception and Recovery

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20

The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:

"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."

Adorable. Humorous. Human.

Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.

Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

Mistaking Addiction For Happiness?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

"Frankenstein" author, Mary Shelley's quote recently stopped me in my tracks:
By The Man in Question - Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff).jpg

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

You could insert the word "addiction" in place of "evil," and you'd have a fitting portrait of the chaotic addict.

For whether or not we understand it, face it or change it, the happiness lure is synonymous with our own addiction-prone hearts. We have more in common with Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessions than is flattering to admit.

We are creatures of what we treasure in our hearts.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

If we apply Shelley's quote directly to our dear scientist, we see how he has viewed the creation of life in a laboratory as his happiness, as "the good he seeks." This was his addiction. So consumed, he did bring to life a creation compiled of assembled cadavers. A little electricity and presto! We have our grotesque monster.

His frantic behavior is not far removed from us, in the grips of our own personal addictions.

Marriage: Change of Attitude = Change of Heart

How can we concentrate more on the blessings of our marriage? How can we discover the goodness in the person we married? By focusing on what brings contentment and happiness. For instance, just a simple switch in attitude can make a person have more compassion for the person they married. We have to stop believing in the lies we hear.

The world likes to feed gullible people things that aren’t true. Some people are susceptible to these untruths because they want to believe them. I wanted to believe them and I did believe them. We want answers to our marriage problems and we’ll practically listen to anyone who has something to say that we want to hear. Anything that will provide the validation we need for our own rotten actions. Over time, believing in the lies of the world builds an unhealthy attitude in us. I receive emails from women who actually believe that their husband committed adultery because of something they did or didn’t do. This is a lie generated from the world. It is incorrect.

Unhealthy attitudes keep us stuck and trapped in our sins. Our sins are whatever we live for and whatever is controlling us. Unhealthy attitudes steer us away from God’s love and into the follies and sinfulness of the world. But if we are following Jesus than we are truly free from the lies of the world. God’s children do not search for their answers from the world. That is what those who have no understanding do. They believe in the lies of the world and that is why they are often referred to as blind. Wisdom comes from God because God is wisdom.

Are You Living the Language of Recovery?

"Rétablissement" is the French word describing recovery from illness or injury. Similarly, the phrase, "être en cure de désintoxication" has as its English translation, "to be in recovery from drugs, alcohol, et cetera."

I recently stumbled across some old vocabulary flashcards from my two years of high school French class. Some things have stuck with me years later, like reciting the alphabet and singing the Christmas carol, "Silent Night," à la française.

Yet, as I was flipping through the flashcards, I was re-reminded of just how much I had forgotten.

Seldom used words...
Factory is "l'usine."
Waste basket is "la corbeille."

Seven Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image

Airbrushing is an all too common technique used in the fashion and beauty industries. In our current cultural landscape, you and I would be hard pressed to find a magazine cover which is not "retouched" in some way.

In 2003, actress Kate Winslet was quite vocal about her airbrushed body. She speaks of her experience with "GQ Magazine," along with their choice to feature her manipulated image on its cover...

"The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that. I can tell you they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third."

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