I Told You So

 

I Told You So

How often have you heard these words…’If I were you… and I told you so?’  How often do we offer unasked advice to friends and family? How often do people do the same for us? We all mean well though, don’t we?

Do we listen to our elders who are full of life experience?  Do any of us pray before offering up our two bits of wisdom? How do we make the right decision when everyone around us offers differing advice?

Rehoboam made the wrong choice and it landed him in no end of trouble.

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” (1 Kings 12:8, 9, NIV)

He ignored the advice of seasoned experts and followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”(1 Kings 12:14, NIV)

 

This didn’t turn out too well for Rehoboam. You can read the rest of the story for yourself. (Hint: things went down hill from there.)  (1 Kings 18:12)

 

Oh, the consequences and guilt we bear when we make the wrong choice and someone even has the gall to point it out! Remember what happened in Acts 27?

 

But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship.

After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. (Acts 27:11, 21, NIV)

Common sense told the centurion to take the advice of the pilot and the man who owned the ship, but they happened to be wrong. Were their decisions based on business sense rather than common sense? They owned the ship and they had ‘the right of say.’

What do you do when your leader is telling you one thing and your heart is telling you another?

And do you know who your leader really is? (HINT—it is GOD!)

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9, NIV)

Integrity-The possession of firm principles;  the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.

We hear different advice everyday and we must learn to discern what is right and true. Then we take courage and follow through on what we know to be right. Saint Paul leads by example in Acts 21.

After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabuscame came down from Judea.  Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”

When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” (Acts 21:10-14, NIV)

How did Paul come to this decision? How did he know for sure? He listened to the Holy Spirit.

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. (Acts 20:22-23, NIV)

Brenda J Wood aims for integrity in her everyday life and rejoices in calling you to do the same.

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Keep The Merry! (Guest post by Sarah Keith)

For a few years, American atheists promoted a “Christmas” message: “Keep the merry, dump the myth.” This jarring promotion showed a picture of a laughing Santa, next to the suffering face of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns. It is quite poignant that they didn’t attack the Christ Child, since that is what the merriment celebrates! No, they went right to the heart of the matter: Christ on the cross. You see for many people — apparently atheists included — it’s easy and okay to celebrate the joy of Christmas with the Jolly ol’ Man, the Elf on the Shelf, or Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer; there’s no commitment to God or call for repentance; nothing is required! (But we do spend a lot of money trying to have a merry Christmas!) The atheists’ promotion was revealing — they understood the implication of believing in the Baby in the manger — it’s beautifully stated in the hymn, Hark! the herald angels sing: “Born to raise the sons of earth; born to give them second birth.”

Atheists understand that the Baby grew up and died a terrible, bloody death on the cross. There isn’t anything “merry” about that picture! You see, to truly celebrate the Saviour’s birth, we must be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. Atheists, of course, are not willing to do this. But are we, who celebrate the Babe in the manger, willing to submit to the crucified and risen One when the trials and suffering of life come our way? Do we trust that God is in control and that nothing happens in our lives apart from the will of the Father? It is during these difficult times that we may be tempted to give up and ask, “Where are You, God?” or even “Is there a God?”

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

In October of 2013, my husband survived a traumatic brain injury. I can’t imagine my family and me walking this path without the hope that God has a greater plan in mind. Admittedly, many days, I wanted to give up. Yet, where would I go? To whom would I turn? There is eternal hope in no one else!

Some of the fruit of our suffering has become evident: our family is closer, and we are grateful for the extra time to love one another. I also thank God for the body of Christ. For years now, we have been on the receiving end of love being poured out to us in a myriad of ways, all to show us Jesus-with-skin-on love! Over and over again, God has faithfully provided for us, teaching us that He is near and can be trusted.

Yes, the Christ Child is the reason for the season! His birth was for His death. His death was for our birth. In Him, we can find true Christmas joy!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to give us second birth. Help us to have merry hearts today, tomorrow, and in the coming New Year. Amen.”

Sarah Keith <sarah@sundayschoolnetwork.com

https://www.SundaySchoolNetwork.com
West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Mantel Piece Living

I expect you have your nativity scene displayed already. If you decorate for Christmas, it is a requirement. After all without the birth of Christ, we wouldn’t be celebrating the holiday at all.

Do be kind enough to give him a bit of room on your mantel at least. Then take the time to investigate why there is a Christ in Christmas

FjdosChristnkought(Christ in it!)

Is that how your past year looked? Take another gander. No matter what happened there, Christ was in it, just as he is in the title of this devotional.

What will this coming year look like? I don’t know and you don’t either but the one thing sure as sure and forever is this. Christ in us the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27

No One Expected Me

 

Surprise in Heaven

I dreamt death came the other night
And Heaven’s gate swung wide.
An angel with a halo bright
Ushered me inside.

And there! To my astonishment
Stood folks I’d judged and labelled
As “quite unfit”, “of little worth”,
And “spiritually disabled”.

Indignant words rose to my lips
But never were set free,
For every face showed stunned surprise —
Not one expected me!

(Anonymous)

Through the Eyes of a Friend

Through the Eyes of a Friend
That is me, Brenda J Wood through the eyes of Eleanor Shepherd

Eleanor Shepherd Award Winning Author
http://twgauthors.blogspot.ca
http://emshepherd.blogspot.com

The Interrupted Life VI – A Consequence of Sexual Abuse

The story I want to share of an interrupted life this month is a difficult one. There are so many people whose lives have been put on hold because of the devastation that has come to them through abuse of various kinds. One of the most pernicious seems to be sexual abuse, because it is often linked with an abuse of power that takes advantage of innocence. That seemed to be the case for my friend Brenda, who shared with me two significant interruptions in her life. Many of her own reflections about her experience of an eating disorder are detailed in her book Meeting Myself: Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind.
My friend suffered from bulimia for years as a result of being a victim or sexual abuse from ages 11 to 14. Before she even knew that there was a name for her condition, it was well established, as her way of coping with the emotional and psychological damage that she suffered.

The abuse that she received caused a numbing of her emotions, and she tried to fill the emotional void, with food. Her eating disorder did not mean that the food brought any satisfaction. She just kept stuffing it in to try to fill the void. Then she tried to get rid of it, so her choice of self-soothing would not be obvious to others.

Unlike many of the interruptions in the lives of others, both the abuse and the bulimia were not sudden interruptions in Brenda’s life, but rather subtly crept up on her. They became elements in her life that crippled her relationships with others because she was unable to experience and express emotions and thus grow into the person that she was intended to be.

Fear was the only emotion that she was not able to keep down and it came to dominate her life. Her reaction was to battle with it by attacking her own body through an eating disorder. She wanted to be able to tell them about the abuse and the toll it was taking on her life, but fear and guilt convinced her that nobody would believe her. In a way, she was trying to punish herself for what she was doing, as a result of the guilt that accompanied her abuse.

In addition to all this, her eating disorder also caused Brenda to undergo two bouts with cancer and a syndrome that causes her saliva glands to work overtime.

With the burden of her bulimia, Brenda struggled for years to finally regain a healthy lifestyle. It was only after she entered into a vital relationship with Christ, and grew in her relationship with Him, that she was able with help to gradually find freedom from her eating disorder and to allow her emotions to become a part of her life once more. Part of her recovery involved forgiving the one who had abused her, and although he had been dead for many years, it was only then that his power over her life was broken.

Many people suffer from the long term ravages of abuse and although it is difficult, I would not be surprised if like me, you want to be willing to listen to their stories and accept them wherever they are on their journeys. We do not want to pry into people’s lives, in a way that is unhealthy, but simply be ready to listen, if and when they feel safe enough to open the door a crack. Perhaps we can help them to more quickly recover the years that have been stolen from them by abuse. Maybe we can do this for each other and grow together. I think that was what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he told the early Christians in Galatia that they were to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6: 2). This key can help us to deal with our own interruptions.

Garden Garbage

 

What did you find in your flower garden and on your lawns, your parks and your villages this year? I bet it was nature’s garbage. Nature’s garbage is a collection of dead leaves, dead flower heads, broken twigs and pinecones.

Nature knows when to get rid of its junk. Do you? Do you have broken lamps, multiple electrical cords with no idea what they are for? Are you hoarding your grown children’s kindergarten pictures in case they want them? (P.S.-They don’t!)

Here is a list of some of the things God considers to be garbage.

-Trying to get your own way all the time

-repetitive, loveless, cheap sex;

-a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage;

-frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness;

-trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness;

-cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants;

-a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives;

-small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival;

-uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions;

-ugly parodies of community.

Yes friends, love thy neighbor…

 

Love thy homeless neighbour, Love thy gay neighbour, Love thy Muslim neighbour,

Love thy black neighbour, Love thy white neighbour, Love thy immigrant neighbour,

Love thy Jewish neighbour, Love thy Catholic neighbor, Love thy Baptist neighbour,

Love thy atheist neighbour, Love thy addicted neighbour, Love thy disabled neighbour,

Love thy born-again neighbour  “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.   And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV)

Fat Chance

 

God says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (From Philippians 4:13) Does he mean even when I have one arm in a sling….I think so!

Then I ask myself why I am still fighting that last ten pounds?

It is long after the Christmas season and I continue to struggle on. (Notice that I haven’t spent much time on that topic yet this year!)

Contrary to our opinion, the Bible actually says that we can be perfect. Thankfully the meaning is also complete and lacking nothing essential.’ Listen to this!

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (James 1:4, AMP)

Possibly that last ten pounds is only our own lack of perseverance. Let’s face our own shortcomings and our own truth without blaming God for our lack-a-daisy attitude.

Prayer- Lord, let us meet next year with ten less pounds than this year. Amen.

God’s sense of humour

 

This is the devotional i sent to Everyday Christian a few weeks ago   now God sends my own words to me as I nurse my own worry and this broken arm…  okay God  I get the message.

Worry Wort

Do you worry? Nothing I say here will change that. That is your personal choice. As a worrier you must enjoy being bothered, sleepless and unsettled. You must crave anxiety and useless concern.

You love restlessness, irritability and muscle tension. You enjoy headaches, nausea, and numbness in both hands and feet. You live with twitching, hot flashes and rashes. Of course, you must experience all these symptoms and more because you keep on doing it; worrying that is.

There is a cure, but you don’t bother with it because you like your current state of discomfort. That must be so because otherwise, you would have chosen the cure for worry.

Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?
And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, what are we going to have to eat? Or, what are we going to have to drink? Or, what are we going to have to wear? (From Matthew 6:25-31, AMP)