Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thanks Living! Happy New Year!

Thanks Living: Big Picture & Parts

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Everything: "each, every" means "all" in the sense of "each (every) part that applies." The emphasis of the total picture then is on "one piece at a time."
Give thanks: literally, "thankful for God's good grace"; to be grateful
For: indeed (a conjunc. used to express cause, explanation, inference or continuation)
Will: what one wishes or has determined shall be done (i. e. objectively, thing willed)
God: the Creator and owner of all things
In: "in the realm (sphere) of," as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).
Christ Jesus: "the Anointed One," the Christ (Hebrew, "Messiah"); the incarnate, eternal Son of God
For: of reference or relation; with respect to, in reference to; as regards
You: the person pronoun

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) (VOICE)Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. (GNT)And give thanks ·whatever happens [in all circumstances; in everything]. That is ·what God wants [God’s will] for you in Christ Jesus. (EXB)In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (AMP)
Everything. The big picture. Each and every part. 
The big picture. As we live our daily lives, we are so focused on the here and now, the small piece that concerns us this very moment, that we lose sight of the big picture. We lose perspective on what God is doing. 
The word "everything" in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 encompasses each individual part and the big picture. We are to give thanks, for the details that are taking place as God creates the entirety of His will. 
Everything. The little details which we overlook. The little blessings God sends, but we are too busy trying to figure out the big picture, we miss them. The daily everyday routines and tasks that are viewed an unimportant and mundane, but are actually necessary in view of the big picture. 

Give thanks.
Thankful for God's good grace. Simply thankful, grateful, for God and His grace upon our lives.
Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness.

Will of God.
The Creator of all, has a specific plan for each of us. So often we say, "If only I know what God wants me do to." or "What is God's will for my life?" 
The verse tells us specifically—be grateful for everything—it's what God wants you to do! Be Thankful! 

"Thanks Living" must begin with being grateful for God and His grace toward me. And if I am truly grateful and realize that God is the Creator and owner of all things—then I will be thankful for each and every part of the big picture, knowing that this is what God wants for me. Thanks Living is God's will and it begins now no matter the circumstance, no matter place, no matter..... give thanks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thanks Living: Awareness & Action

As I think about "Thanks Living", I realized that I must first learn what "Thankful" means. As I started thinking about it, I found it hard to define. 

Dictionaries define it this way: 
Thankful: A feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful. Pleased and relieved. Glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists, etc.
accountable • answerable for • appreciative • at peace • beholden • cheerful • comfortable • content • glad • grateful • gratified • honor-bound • indebted • much obliged • obliged • overwhelmed • pleased • relieved • satisfied • under an obligation

In trying to grasp what "Thanks" or "Thankfulness" is, I found it hard to define. It encompasses several aspects. But first and foremost I must recognize Who and I am to thank, and why I am thankful

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.  Psalm 26:7 (NKJV)
Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs, telling God-stories. Psalm 26:7 (MSG)

Thanksgiving is not just a feeling, it requires awareness (of what was done/or given) and action (response to the giver). In order to create a life that is "Thanks living" I must have an awareness of what God is doing and take action in giving thanks to Him.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thanks Living

This past November, a friend sent me this quote:
"Thanksgiving is once a year.
Thanks Living is all year long."

Since reading that quote, I've been thinking about it.
There are many verses about being Thankful. Here are few:
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. Psalm 30:4
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High. Psalm 92:1 
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Psalm 105:1
Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8

Throughout 2016, I want to make it a point to be THANKFUL. I want to enjoy a life that is filled with "Thanks Living"

I'll be taking a short break from Proverbs to study "Thankfulness", so that I can begin a habit of Thanks Living. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas at the Castle 2015

First Christmas at the Castle 

It was a joy to have my brothers and sister-in-law, join us at the Castle for Christmas Day. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Cheerful Christmas!

I will be glad and rejoice in You I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!
Psalm 9:2

Crowds, complaints, long check out lines,
You better watch out, you better not cry,
The chaos makes our tune all wrong.
Time to change our focus and sing God’s song!

Family, friends, neighbors, kids too 
Complaints, frustrations, expectations
No matter who or what, be unwavering—
Let your speech to God be favoring!

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend
Oh the joy — when we comprehend!
-Rhonda Sawtelle

A Continual Christmas

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

White Christmas, Jingle Bells, Rudolph
All I Want For Christmas,
Let It Snow, Silver Bells,
The sounds of Christmas add delight
But do we remember that holy night? 

Silent Night, Noel, Oh Holy Night!,
Away in the Manger, What Child Is This,
This Holiday, on the Who and why reflect
And lift up our voices in honor and respect!

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend
To Thee our praise should never end!
- Rhonda Sawtelle

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Certain Christmas!

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Gifts galore, decorations of red and green,
Cookies, candy, and overstuffed stockings
Our Christmas will be perfect this time around.
But sadly our expectations on things, let us down.

Love, peace, joy, happiness
The Babe in a Manger, the shadow of the Cross
Our Christmas should focus on the Person.
Oh the certainty we receive from God’s Son! 

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend
Our thoughts of Thee transcend!
-Rhonda Sawtelle

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Crazy (about Christ) Christmas

A Crazy (about Christ) Christmas
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:3

Santa, reindeer, elves, and stockings,
Trees, wreaths, ribbons, and bows
These all overwhelm us in December
But it should be Christ, that we remember. 

Parties, concerts, and gifts to buy
There’s a crazy chaos this time of year.
But let’s be crazy about & magnify our Savior,
Let’s exalt Christ in our words and behavior.

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend
To Thee our sounds of praise ascend!
-Rhonda Sawtelle

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Proverbs 13:2-6 Lazy. Diligent.

A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. Proverbs 13:2-6

Lazy man desires nothing. No motivation. No passion. Little effort produces little reward. 

The soul of the diligent—shall be made rich! The drive, the passion, the motivation—the excitement and anticipation! 

Sadly, our culture has created a victim mentality that enforces a "I deserve ............", "You owe me." Rather than a mentality of pride in our work and effort. 

The soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. All you have to do to know that is true, is look at the news. Reports of crime fill the news. And the majority of those who commit the crimes are lazy and want things for which they have done nothing to earn. 

There are many areas in which we can become lazy—physical (work, exercise), emotional (caring for others), and spiritual (Bible study, church). Each area produces its own rewards. 

Am I lazy? That's a question which we need to ask ourselves daily. For laziness can creep in slowly as we make excuses. And soon, we'd become accustomed to expertly others to do it all for us. 

Am I lazy? To answer that question truthfully, I must search my heart. If my heart is really permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll see any areas in which laziness has a hold. 

Lazy. Diligent. Two opposites each with their own outcome. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Proverbs 13:1 Absurd and Inadequate

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 13:1
Wise: ethically and religiously
Instruction: discipline, correction
Scoffer: have in derision; mockery, something absurdly or offensively inadequate or unfitting
Listen: to hear intelligently; often with implication of attention, obedience
rebuke: to chide, reprimand,  stern disapproval of

None of us like to be told that was are doing wrong. It's partly pride, but mostly we simply don't want to have to change what we are doing. We are content doing as we went. 

Yet, a wise person will accept discipline and correction for a wise person wants to grow and change for the better. When one chooses to ignore wisdom—they are in all intents and purposes telling God that His ways are absurd and inadequate. Um, ok. Not sure I'd want to say that to Almighty God—and I don't "directly", yet I do when I choose ignore wisdom. 

Absurd and inadequate. Those are two words I would not associate with Wisdom. However, when I choose to ignore Wisdom my actions are saying just that—"Wisdom is absurd!" 

Absurd and inadequate. Wisdom is neither of those things. Wisdom provides the knowledge, know-how, and ability to put wisdom into practice. 

Yet, how often so I hear wisdom and decide that in this particular situation wisdom is absurd and inadequate? 

Wisdom will only sound absurd and inadequate, when I change my focus from God to me. For when my heart is permitted with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll realize that wisdom is anything but absurd and inadequate. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Proverbs 12:24-28 Encouragement from God!

The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:24-28
Good word makes it glad.
Good: an agreeable, pleasant to the higher nature
Word: saying, utterance, sentence, as a section of a discourse
Glad: cheer up, make joyful, be make merry

Choose his friends carefully.
Friend: companion, an associate, neighbor
Choose: the righteous searches out, and is a guide to, his friend

I think Proverbs 12:25 and 26 go hand in hand. A good word makes us glad; choose friends carefully. Friends are usually the ones that have a good word for us! It's important to have godly friends to help put things in perspective. 

Good, agreeable—but not just a word to make one feel good, or what a person "wants" to hear. Rather, this "good" is from the perspective of "higher nature", think of it as "encouragement from God." Now how cool is that? That you can be used to share encouragement from God! Now that is an awesome responsibility and privilege. 

As I look back, I can't say that "I chose my friends." Rather, God in His gracious and unique ways introduced me to people who became my friends. I'm so very thankful for those people in my life who encourage, sharpen, and help keep me thinking godly. 

If I want to share encouragement from God, and be a godly friend to others, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when I am fearing and respecting and loving God, I can then, be used share encouragement from God! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Proverbs 12:21-23 Honor in Communication

No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. Proverbs 12:21-23
Lying: deceitful, falsehood, untruth, sham
Abomination: something disgusting
Lord: God of deity, Yahweh
Truthfully: steadfastness, fidelity, faithfulness, trust
Delight: goodwill, good pleasure

Prudent: a shrewd (in a good sense) or sensible man
Conceals: overwhelms, is full, securely hidden
Heart: knowledge
Fools: stupid fellow, dullard
Foolishness: folly, (from the word "evil", meaning to be perverse)

Lying lips disgust the Eternal, but those who act faithfully delight Him. Proverbs 12:22
(VOICE)The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22
(NIV)Lying lips are extremely disgusting to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight. Proverbs 12:22 (AMP)

Smart people keep quiet about what they know, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. Proverbs 12:23 (GNT)
A clever man is careful in revealing what he knows, but a fool betrays his incompetence. Proverbs 12:23 (VOICE)
Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; talkative fools broadcast their silliness. Proverbs 12:23 (MSG)

As I read these verses, I kept thinking that verse 23 should precede vs 22. If you don't talk a lot, you won't lie. Simple right? 
Although that is true. When I looked back at the verses, I realized one very important detail—where the Lord fits, and where I fit. 

Vs 22 clearly states that Lying is an abomination to the Lord. Lying is disgusting to God. He abhors it. 
vs. 23 shares the impact of talking on those around us. When we talk too much, we get ourselves into trouble. 

Vs 22: God directed.
Vs 23: People directed. 

If I guard against lying, I will THINK before speaking, and therefore I am more opt to keep my mouth shut! 
Lying is deceitful. It damages trust. It causes doubt. And it is disgusting to God! 
Too often we try to justify lying. We don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or we want to get out of trouble, or the lie makes us sound "better." 
No matter why we want to lie—it's sin. Period. No justification or reason makes lying "ok". 

"Smart people keep quiet." (Proverbs 12:22; GNT)
You don't have to tell everything you know. Often, it's better to remain quiet, than to share all the wisdom you have (or think you have). We've all been in situations where someone starts talking, and you soon realize that the person talking has NO knowledge about the subject, yet they can't stop talking — even if it is pure nonsense. Just because you KNOW something, doesn't mean to share that knowledge. Often it's better to be quiet and listen. 

We all like communicating. Phones aren't just for talking anymore, now there is texting, emails, Twitter, Facebook, integral, Pinterest..... the list goes on and on. No matter HOW you are communicating, the importance is WHAT you are communicating! 

Are my words TRUE? Are they KIND? Are they NECESSARY? Are they BENEFICIAL? Are they PURPOSEFUL? 
In order to have my communication truthful and appropriate, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when I am fearing and respecting God, I'll want to honor Him in my communication. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Proverbs 12:16-20 Which story will you be part of?

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20
Deceit: sense of deceiving; fraud
Heart: feelings, will, intellect; likewise for the center of anything
Devise: as one who works in, practices, imagines 
Evil: injury, wrong
Counselors: advise; to deliberate or resolve, consult, devise, guide
Peace: friendship, human relations
Joy: glad result, gleeful, pleasure, rejoicing

Recipe for Joy.
Be deliberate, have resolve to be peaceful, to promote peace. 

This time of year we often hear two types of stories: those who devise evil and those who promote peace. 

The first, those who steal packages off doorsteps, those who use stolen credit cards, those who shoplift—all have a heart that is practicing evil. When we hear these stores, we experience sadness, anger and frustration. 

Secondly, those who "pay it forward", help a stranger, give extra, help make Christmas special for someone else. When we hear these stores, we experience joy! 

If you really want joy not only this Christmas season, but year-round, then resolve to share peace and friendship. A heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), is less apt to spend time practicing evil. 

Which story will you be part of—one of evil or joy? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Proverbs 12:9-15 Listen. Attentively consider.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
Way: moral action and character
Fool: who despises wisdom & discipline
Right: pleasing
Eyes: think best, conceit
Heeds: listen, attentively consider
Counsel: especially in wisdom, advise
Wise: ethically and religiously

Fools follow their own directions and think they are right, but wise people listen intently to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (VOICE)
Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15 (GNT)
A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others. Proverbs 12:15 (TLB)

Closing your eyes and saying "la, la, la" so that you can't hear—are the actions of a 2-year-old. Sadly, they are also the same actions of a fool—who should know better! 
Stupid people always think they are right. We all know a few of those. But how often do we exhibit that same mentality? How often do we ignore wise advise? How often do we find ourselves in the midst of a mess, simply because we did "my way"? 

My-self. I know best. Looks good to ME!
Often that leads to more trouble than we can even begin to realize. 

Listen. Attentively consider. 
Do you hear me now? Too often we hear wise words, yet we do not LISTEN to them. We do not attentively consider them. Listen! That means to stop talking, stop planning, be quiet and open your hears and mind to what is being said. 
Too often we hear, yet we are too busy planning and making up our minds based on "me, myself, and I" that we don't listen to advice. We simply hear noise and then go on with our foolish ways. 

Listen. Attentively consider. 
Only when we have a desire to learn and accept wisdom, will we be ready to listen and attentively consider advice. That desire arrises from a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

May we each strive harder to Listen—Attentively consider!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Proverbs 12:8 Celebration or Contempt

A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised. Proverbs 12:8

Commended: to shine, celebrate
According to: in such proportion
Wisdom: insight, understanding

Perverse: one perverted of mind, commit iniquity, do wickedly, do wrong
Heart: inner man, desire, motive, thoughts, will
Despised: contempt, shamed, disrespect 

It will happen—the question is which will it be—Celebration or Contempt? 

The media often shows the faces of those who commit crimes. Sometimes to help locate the individual, other times to shame them, and other times just because it's news. A local Law Enforcement agency posts a "Wall of Shame" each month of those caught shop lifting. Often I wonder to those people care that they are now known for their perverse action? Do they care about the embarrassment they are to their family? Do they even realize the contempt they've brought to themselves? 

Commended according to his wisdom. 
I'd rather that a picture of me would be cause to celebrate and bring blessing to others. And more importantly, that I'd be a blessing to God as He watches what I do. 

If I want to be cause for celebration, then my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. And the more I respect and fear God, the more my heart will want to learn wisdom, and then allow wisdom to impact my heart and life. 

Celebration or Contempt. Which does your picture inspire? 

Patsy Clairmont posted this quote the other day: "When I think of certain people everything in me smiles. I want to be that kind of person for others, don't you?" 

That sums up Proverbs 12:8 pretty well. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Wish Lists

Something to think about as you make your Christmas Wish Lists. 
Delight yourself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Delight: make soft, pliable, live or spend in enjoyment; take exquisite delight
Lord: deity Yahweh
Give: grant a request
Desire: desire, petition, request
Heart: seat of the emotions and passions of joy and gladness

When one is willing to be molded to God's will and takes exquisite delight in the Lord God, then the heart's desire will be in line with God's will and wisdom. 
That should put a new perspective on what you put on your Christmas Wish List. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Proverbs 12:3-7 Thoughts regulate — what am I thinking?

A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. Proverbs 12:3-7

Thoughts: device, plan, purpose 

The thoughts of the righteous are right. (vs. 5)

What am I thinking? What am I planning? What is my purpose and passion? 

Thoughts regulate our actions. 
Thoughts regulate our attitude.
Thoughts regulate our appearance. 

Thoughts. What am I thinking? Who fills my thoughts?
God clearly tells us: 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

Meditate (think): by reckoning up all the reasons to gather or infer; i. e., a. to consider, take account, weigh, meditate on a thing, with a view to obtaining it

With a view to obtaining it. 
It's not just about thinking random thoughts. It's not about "emptying our minds" of everything. Rather it is about taking account, weighing, thinking on truth, wisdom, pure, honest... God's wisdom! And then as we think, meditate on these things they will then impact our actions, attitude and appearance—as we obtain wisdom! 

Thoughts regulate—because true thinking means obtaining and when  you have something, you then put it to good use! 
Thoughts begin in the heart. If I want my thoughts to be that of a righteous person, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

Thoughts regulate — what am I thinking?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Proverbs 12:1, 2 Longing to Learn

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. Proverbs 12:1, 2
Loves: an appetite 
Instruction: discipline, chastening, correction
Knowledge: discernment, understanding, wisdom
Hates: enemy, detest
Correction: reproof, chiding, chastisement
Stupid: brutish person, foolish, dull-hearted, unreceptive

Good: agreeable; makes the heart glad
Obtains: to secure
Favor: delight, desire, good pleasure
Wicked: lewdness, mischievous device, thought
Condemn: declare wrong, as guilty, in ethical and religious relations

This word, "appetite" is back! (See the post for Proverbs 11:23, Dec 3, 2015.) 

Appetite. I really could go for a good brownie with nuts right now! That sounds so good. However, this verse isn't talking about an appetite for food. Rather, it's talking about instruction and wisdom. 

An appetite for instruction, correction, discernment and understanding? Yes. An appetite, a longing, a desire for learning wisdom. 

We our appetite is strong enough, we will go out of our way to get that meal or treat we are craving. Our appetite for wisdom should be that strong. We should crave wisdom and instruction. We should wake up each day with a longing to learn! 

That longing to learn then will translate into our conduct — and our lives will radiate goodness. And that secures delight with God. Now, doing good and learning wisdom, DO NOT erase sin, nor is that how we get into Heaven. Doing good is not enough to forgive our sins. God is Holy and our sin must be paid for—in full. And doing good is not enough. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins—in full. When you place your trust in Christ and accept Him as Lord an Savior, then and only then will you be able to enter Heaven. (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13)

Doing good and learning wisdom, simply is our way of honoring and respecting God. When God is recognized as LORD—than a longing to learn and live a life agreeable to His will and wisdom is the result. 

Longing to learn begins when a heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

Am I longing to learn wisdom? Is my conduct a reflection of that appetite? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Proverbs 11:24-31 The Generous Soul

There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it. He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil. He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage. He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner. Proverbs 11:24-31
Getting vs Giving
All too often we focus on getting rather then giving. Our culture has created a mindset of "I need. I want. I deserve." Rather than "How can I help and bless someone else." When we stop and really think for a moment, we don't REALLY NEED the latest and newest item. Our old one works just fine.  Yet, we all too often become self-centered and convince ourselves that we NEED more. 

How do we truly learn how to bless others? 
First we have to realize that blessing others isn't always about "things". Going into debt to buy lots of stuff, it not wise. Blessing others is about sharing what you have and helping others as you are able. 

The generous soul. The one who abundantly blesses. 
In what ways can I bless others?
• Attitude
By having a pleasant and kind attitude, I create an atmosphere of joy and happiness. 
• Abilities
By sharing my abilities and talents with other, I help ease their burdens by supporting them in accomplishing their tasks. 
• Appearance 
Sometimes, just by "showing up", we can encourage someone. It can be just to listen, laugh, pray, or supporting them in a performance. 
• Attentiveness
Paying attention to the needs, emotions, hurts, joy of others and being attentive to how I can help during those times. 
• All about ME—NOT! 
It's not all about ME—or at least it's not supposed to be! First, comes GOD! He is the One who should be directing my daily agenda. Secondly, it's about encouraging those around me—having a generous soul. I have found that when the first and second are in their proper order, I am well taken care of! 

Getting vs Giving
To keep those two in their proper order, my heart must be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). And when I find myself with that 2-year-old mentality of "MINE, I WANT",  I need to stop and give myself a timeout! 

The generous soul. A goal for which to strive, not just at Christmas time, but year-round.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Proverbs 11:23 What is my appetite?

The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. Proverbs 11:23

Desire: appetite, longing for, wish, longing
Righteous: just in conduct and character
Only: with a restrictive force, emphasizing what follows (good)
Good: pleasant, delightful, delicious, sweet or savory, be pure and clean, cheerful
Expectation: things hoped for, outcome
Wicked: guilty of hostility to God or his people
Wrath: overflowing rage, fury, an outburst of passion—anger

It's Christmas time and we all start making our Wish Lists. What do we really want for Christmas? As we get older, our wishes often change. Instead of wishing for things, we know the importance of being together with family and friends. 

When we have a wish or longing, we try to do whatever we can to make that wish come true. We strive to attain. Desire: an appetite that we want to be satisfied. 

If my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then my conduct and character will be righteous restricting my desires and appetites to those that are delightful and cheerful. 
Satisfying good desires and appetites brings about peace, contentment, and joy. 

The outcome of those hostile to God and His wisdom is an outburst of anger. We see it daily on the news—the actions of those who act out on their evil desires not caring if they kill or are killed in the process. Trying to satisfy the wicked desires creates destruction and chaos. 

What is my desire? What is my appetite? How will I satisfy it? 
If I want true peace, contentment and joy than my appetite must be restricted by God's wisdom.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Proverbs 11:22 The "A"s

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. Proverbs 11:22
Lacks: showing lack of it, turning aside
Discretion: judgement, discernment, intelligence, understanding

Discretion: the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid revealing private information

ABC's. Actions. Attitude. Appearance. 
Each "A" reveals much about a person. 

ABC's: spoken and written words, including texts, tweets, likes, shares. 
Actions: everyday daily actions whether at home or out.
Attitude: is often reflected in ones body language (facial expressions, etc).
Appearance: what we are wearing and how we conduct ourselves. 

A LOVELY (beautiful, goodly, pleasant) woman who lacks discretion is no better than a pig with a gold ring in its nose. A pig "dressed up" with a gold ring—is still a dirty animal. A woman may look beautiful, but if she makes bad judgements or choices—she reveals her heart.

We know many people whom we wouldn't necessarily say are "beautiful", but they have a genuine beauty about them—literally from inside. Their spirit shines forth and they glorify God in all the "A"s

In order for one to exercise discretion in all the "A"s, it begins when a heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when a heart recognizes who God is and respects and fears Him — then wisdom and understanding are expressed in all aspects of one's life. 

The "A"s—ABC's, Actions, Attitude, and Appearance — all are effected by wisdom. When wisdom present then godly beauty shines forth. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanks Living—366 Days!

Last year at Church we were encouraged to give a gift to God. In my Bible Study part of Acts 9:31 (MSG) stood out to me: "They were permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. The Holy Spirit was with them, strengthening them."

For my gift to God for 2015, I wanted my heart to be permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. I plan to continue to strive toward that throughout the year ahead as well.

But I don't want to "re-gift" to God this year, so I have been praying about what gift can I give God this year?

A friend recently sent me this quote, "Thanksgiving is once a year. Thanks Living is all year long." 

Give thanks with a grateful heart. "Giving thanks always for all things to God." "Be thankful to Him." "With the sacrifice of thanksgiving." "That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works." "May cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God."

"grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God." ( 

Giving thanks to God 366 days (2016 is a Leap Year).... seems like a simple thing, yet if it's so simple, why don't I do it each and every day?
This year, my Gift to God is a Thankful Heart. I want to learn to not only say "Thank you, God!", but I want a heart that is grateful to God and a heart that recognizes His work in my life.

Why am I posting this to my blog? Accountable. Call me out, if you see that I'm not being thankful. Challenge me to remain thankful all 366 days of 2016.

Thanks Living—366 Days!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Proverbs 11:17-21 Can't go wrong with mercy & integrity!

The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh. The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward. As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death. Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their ways are His delight. Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered. Proverbs 11:17-21

"The merciful man does good for his own soul." Proverbs 11:17a

Merciful: kindness (especially as extended to the lowly, needy and miserable)
Does good: accomplish, be beautiful, goodly
Soul: that which breathes, the inner being of man

"The blameless in their ways are His delight." Proverbs 11:20b

Blameless: sound, wholesome, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity
Delight: be acceptable, desire, favor, good pleasure

Mercy. Integrity. 
Mercy produces a godly response. 
Integrity produces good pleasure. 

Mercy and Integrity — both are results of a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

Simply put, mercy makes you personally happy and blameless makes God happy. You can't go wrong with mercy and integrity!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Proverbs 11:16 A Gracious Woman

A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches. Proverbs 11:16
Gracious: favor, grace, elegance: of form and appearance
Retains: to obtain, keep fast; maintain
Honor: splendor, glory, of external condition and circumstances

  • civil 
  • courteous 
  • devoted 
  • kind 
  • polite 
  • respectful 
  • thoughtful
  • beneficent 
  • favorable 
  • friendly
  • generous 
  • gentle 
  • good 
  • goodhearted 
  • good-humored 
  • good-natured
  • kind 
  • merciful 
  • mild 
  • sympathetic
We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal. J.I. Packer
"Gracious" is a characteristic that comes from God. When a heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then grace flows freely. 

A gracious woman is one that fears God and then lives a life in accordance with His wisdom, and she is recognized by the endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal for all the God has done and is doing. 

A gracious woman—a title for which to strive daily. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Proverbs 11:12-15 A Faithful Spirit

He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure. Proverbs 11:12-15

Faithful Spirit. 

Faithful: faithful in spirit (disposition); confirmed, established, sure; to trust or believe, to be quiet
Spirit: being, the will, mind, especially of moral character

What peace, to oneself and to others, a Faithful Spirit provides! The Faithful Spirit knows when to speak and what to say. A Faithful Spirit provides safety to himself and others. 

A Faithful Spirit. 
Today is Thanksgiving. As family and friends get together across the country, there will be many augments and sadly, mean things said. All because wisdom was not invited to be part of the gathering. 

A person full of wisdom, has a Faithful Spirit and brings peace to the gathering. And wisdom begins when a heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

I wish you each a Happy Thanksgiving! And may each of you have a Faithful Spirit. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Proverbs 11:7-11 Blessings are Contagious!

When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes. The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead. The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 11:7-11

Blessings are contagious! 
We like celebrations. If you google "holidays", you'll find some type of holiday for almost each day of the year. Just this past week, you could have celebrated: World Hello Day (11/21); Mother Goose Day (11/22); National Expresso Day (11/23); Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day (11/24); National Parfait Day (11/25) among other things. 

When a righteous person is blessed by God, those around him are also blessed. The blessing is contagious and spreads. 

Think of it on a smaller scale. If you work, there is one cubical, office, or area which people like to visit simply because the main occupant of that space is joyful and blessed. Others want to share in that atmosphere and walk away with a spring in their step. 
There are certain stores which we like to visit, because the employees are kind, courteous, have a smile and the atmosphere is happy. 

By the blessings of the righteous a city is exalted. 
Just think of living in a place where each individual was righteous. That city would be exploding with an abundance of blessings and goodness from God. That's a place where I'd like to live! But if I want to live there, I MUST first have a heart permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For only when I fear God, will my attitude and actions be righteous. 

Blessings are contagious! Am I spreading them?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Proverbs 11:4-6 Will direct his way.

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. Proverbs 11:4-6
"Will direct his way aright"

Direct: make smooth, straight
Way: course of life, or action, undertakings

When one follows wisdom and listens to the leading of the Lord... all things really do work out for HIS glory and honor. 
Yesterday, I had to take my Mom to the ER. After they ran some tests, they decided to transfer her to another town where a specialized Doctor could run more tests. My Dad and I drove to the hospital and even on the drive there, God directed our ways as we were in the correct lane to get our exits, etc. 

After getting Mom settled into a room for the night, I tried to call several hotels to see if they had rooms available for Dad and I. The first I could not get through; they simply did not answer the phone. The second said they had rooms, but we were disconnected. So, Dad and I decided to just drive until we saw a place and see if we could get some rooms. 

We found a Motel and next store was a restaurant. We inquired the hours, since is was already past 9 pm. They were still open. Dad and I enjoyed a bowl of Thai chicken soup — very good after such a long day. As we were enjoying our soup, we noticed that the music playing was Christian. We heard "Blessed Assurance" and a few other songs. 
After our meal, Dad gave the owner one of his Bible Studies. The owner perked up. He went to get his wife from the kitchen. We enjoyed talking with them for about 30 min. They have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and had some questions. We answered their questions and they even video taped Dad as he answered some. This way they can share it with their relatives in Thailand! It was a God-designed appointment! And a great blessing after a long day at the hospital. 

Will direct his way. God directed us the place we needed to be so that we could encourage believers. Having a heart permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), gives one great peace and assurance that God is working and will direct us to where He wants us to be. 

Will direct his way. Are you being directed by God and His wisdom?