Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

I have a friend who is doing the 40-day love challenge, which is based off of the movie “Fireproof”. Today’s posting was about love being a choice. It says:

“Love is Faithful (Hosea 2:20). Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction. Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it. Say to them today in words similar to these, ‘I love you. Period. I choose to love you even if you don’t love me in return.’” (The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick)

I really like this definition of what love is. It’s a choice. And the great thing about it is, while this is written specifically for married couples, this principle applies in any relationship, whether it’s with a friend, colleague, child, or even an enemy. Love is a choice. It means, even if I don’t particularly like someone, I still treat them well. It means, even when my child says she hates me, I tell her “I love you” in return.

When I look at love as a choice rather than a feeling, it puts a whole new perspective on things. Feelings are not something you can really control. Feelings can change. Feelings lie. But, when I make a choice to show love, I am doing that whether I feel like loving or not. I do it whether I like someone or not. Love is a choice.  1 John 4:7&8 says,

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (NASB).

We are commanded to love one another. God’s Word doesn’t say love each other if you feel like loving each other. It doesn’t say love each other if they treat you well. It says love one another. Why? Because God loves us. This verse is specifically talking to Christians loving each other, but what about those who are not considered brothers and sisters in Christ? What about those who are doing things that God’s Word indicates are wrong? What does God say about that? Are we to hate them? Are we to be vindictive?

I think most of us would know that the answer to those questions is “no.” We’re not to hate them. In fact in Matthew 5, Jesus says,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘ You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (vss 43-46, NASB)

In a parallel passage in Luke 6, Jesus says,

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (vss 27-36, NASB)

We are not only commanded to love those who are lovable, but to love those who are easy to hate – those who hurt us and use us. That’s so hard. My first instinct is not to show people like that love. But we are commanded to love. So, love is a choice. I can choose to be kind, or I can choose to be unkind. I can choose to react out of anger, or I can choose to calmly respond with kindness. I can love or I can hate. Today, I choose love.

Your turn! What is your opinion about love? Is it a choice or is it something you have no control over?  How do you show love when others are not?  I would love to hear from you!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

 

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Photo Credit: limowreck666 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: limowreck666 via Compfight cc

Have you ever been mad at God – I mean really mad at Him? Have you ever had something happen that made you question why God would allow it? I know I have. I mentioned a few days ago that I was mad at God. See, things haven’t really been going the way I’d have liked them too lately. I have several situations come up where things just went a whole different direction than I expected. I might have mentioned a few times before that when things go opposite of what I expect, I tend to get upset. Well, in this case, several different things didn’t go my way, and I’ve been struggling with being mad at God. After all, He is all powerful, so He could stop those things from happening.

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have been spending time in God’s Word in the hopes that I would somehow figure it all out. The reality is, I may never know why things don’t go as I expect them to. Does that mean I should give up and throw in the towel and walk away? I don’t think so. In fact, I have been blessed because I have made the choice to stick with God.

This morning I was reading Numbers 11, and a verse popped out at me and hit me right between the eyes. I couldn’t avoid it because it was like God was talking directly to me. In this chapter, the people are complaining about the manna being the only food they were eating. They wanted some meat. Now, God was feeding them this great food that came directly from Him, and they were going to complain? (Sound familiar?) So, anyway, Moses goes and complains to God about how much the people are complaining and said he couldn’t handle all those people by himself. So, God told Moses to gather 70 elders and He was going to put His spirit on them so they could help Moses. Then He told Moses He was going to provide meat for the children of Israel, and that they would get meat for not just one day but for a whole month until they were sick of it. Be careful what you wish for right?

So, Moses, being a lot like me I think, asked God, “I have 600,000 people with me, and you say you’re going to give them meat for entire month. Should we go kill our flocks and herds so that we’ll have enough? Or should we get all the fish from the sea?” Obviously Moses was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. I’ve been there. And then comes the verse that smacked me right between the eyes. In verse 23 God says, “Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not” (NASB). God says, let’s just see if I can do what I say I can do.

I often find myself wondering how things are going to work out. I question God’s judgment and wonder how a certain situation can ever be made better. The reality is, it’s not my job to worry about that. God is in charge. When God is in charge, I have nothing to worry about. Things may not go the way I anticipate, but I have to ask myself, “Is God big enough to handle that? Do I really believe He can?” And the reality is, there is nothing in my life that God cannot (and has not) handle when I stepped out of His way and stopped fighting. I am learning that I don’t have to understand the reasons why things happen. I need to spend more time watching God work. And He always works.

Your turn, have you had situations where you felt like God was giving you more than you could handle? What do you do in those situations? Do you, like me, whine and complain? Or do you trust that God knows what He’s doing and let Him work? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo Credit:  By Martin Wessely  (Unsplash.com)

Photo Credit: By Martin Wessely (Unsplash.com)

I am not one to try a lot of new things. I prefer to stick with the things I know and like, rather than try something that I might not like. However, lately, it’s been getting to the point where I am tired of the same old thing. I feel like I am trapped in a room, looking out at the world and seeing everything I wish I had the guts to do pass me by. A lot of that has to do with the fear of trying something new and not liking it or maybe even failing at it. I think for me, failure is the biggest fear I have. I think somehow, deep inside, I think it means that somehow I am lacking – that somehow I’m not good enough.

Much of my fear has to do with the fact that I have done so many stupid things in my past. I have a litany of events in my life that would illustrate the extent of how stupid I can really be. And for the past few years, I think I’ve done all I can to distance myself from that failure and make myself out to be this person who seldom messes up. It’s all about the image because if anyone saw who I really had been, they would perhaps not like me quite so much. Forget the fact that my past has taught me so many things. To let others see me as I really am might mean rejection. And I have faced enough of that in my life – at least that’s what I tell myself.

The reality is, my past is my past. I can’t change it, but I can look back on it and see how far I have come. Or rather, I can look back and see how far God has brought me. He took a scared, stupid, insecure little girl and He has grown me into someone who, while still scared, and still able to do stupid things, and often insecure, is also learning to be courageous and strong and to depend on Him. As a result, recently I have started to do things I never really expected I’d be able to do. For example, I went back to New York, where my roots are a few weeks ago. To say that was a step out of my comfort zone is an understatement. I was terrified. But I did it. That’s just one example, but I have others that I can point to. Except, that’s not the point today.

When I refuse to step out and take a risk – whether it be failure, rejection or something else unpleasant – I do myself a disservice. I put myself in a cage. I lock myself up into a tiny little box and instead of growing, I shrink. I go deep into myself and I lock everyone else out. And that’s a lonely life.

Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it (perfection) yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NASB). Paul had a lot to be ashamed of in his past. After all, he persecuted, imprisoned and caused the death of many followers of Christ before he went through is own conversion experience. He could have chosen to hate himself, belittle himself, or lock himself away from other believers. Instead, he chose to do the opposite and as a result started many different churches, not to mention the prevalence of his letters being included in the New Testament.

Paul went on to say in verses 15-16, “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (or mature), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained” (NASB). In other words, live up to who you are. I am a child of God. As a result that means I am sanctified, redeemed, and can rest in God. I don’t have to keep looking back in shame at my past. I can use it as a learning experience, but my life isn’t in the past. I am to be embracing what God has for me in the future, and that is that I am going to get to be with Him someday. And if that’s the case, then what do I have to be afraid of here? What am I avoiding?

With that in mind, I have a few “bucket list” items I am planning on this year, such as kayaking, driving to New York with my kids this summer, taking a chance and entering a couple of writing contests this year, and so much more. And I can do those things because I am free. Yes, I might fail. Yes, things can go wrong. Yes, I can get hurt and it’s going to be a risk. But, in the end, I am going to grow and learn, and most of all, I am going to escape from that cage I have locked myself into.

What about you? Have you locked yourself in a cage too? Are you avoiding certain things out of fear of failure or rejection? What do you do to get past those feelings and live the life God has called you to?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo by Paul JarvisI wrote a few days ago about the need to face forward while running and in life, so that I will not miss the obstacles that are in my path. I mentioned how looking down or to the sides could cause me to stumble. And that is totally accurate. But, the past few time I ran, I realized something else. I am a big picture person. I am the type of person who sees what the end product should look like and then I make a plan to get there. I’m very good at that. What I’m not good at is planning for the problems that might come up. See, I have in my mind this perfect plan where everything will just go as I intend and nothing will go wrong. So I keep my eyes on that big picture, and I plow forward. However, one thing I’ve noticed as I run is that, if I look too far ahead on the path, I “forget” about the obstacles in front of me. I “forget” to pay attention, and the next thing I know, I’m tripping over an obstacle in my path. Or, if I’m looking too far ahead, I miss the hidden obstacles. You know, the ones you can’t see because they’re buried under the pine needles or leaves.

This morning, as I was running, I tripped on one of these hidden objects. There was a root that was buried under a bunch of pine needles, and I hit my foot on that root. I didn’t fall, but I almost did because I was so busy looking ahead, I forgot to pay attention to what was right in front of me. I tend to do this in life, as well. I get caught up in trying to reach my end goal, that I sometimes miss the things going on right in front of me. Perhaps my daughter has an issue, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on following my “perfect plan.” Problems don’t fit into my perfect plan. Or maybe there is someone in need, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on my goal. Or maybe it’s just that I fall into a behavior that is not in my best interests because I “forget” to pay attention and avoid it. Whatever it is, I am missing the obstacles, and I get tripped up. When that happens, I guarantee you, I don’t respond in the most gracious manner.

So, what can I do to make this better? For one thing, I can choose to pay attention to what is going on around me. Believe it or not, running has helped me to notice things more because I have become more focused. I am learning to focus on what is going on around me, while still moving toward my goal. Because I am succeeding in this area, I am gaining more confidence in succeeding in other ways. But I believe there are a few things I can do to make sure that my plans are reasonable, and that I am better able to see and avoid (or better deal with) the obstacles in my path.

 1) Ask God to help me make better plans.

James 1:5 says that if anyone lacks wisdom, then we just need to ask God, and He will give it generously and without making us feel bad about asking. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more wisdom. In addition, Proverbs 16 has a lot to say about the plans of a man. Verse 1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Verse 3 states, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” And, finally, verse 9 states, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” So, if I am giving my plans to God, and letting Him lead me, then I have a better chance of succeeding because He is all-powerful and best able to help me to succeed.

 2) Ask for counsel from friends or others who may be able to provide insight.

When I just go off on my own thoughts and make a plan, I often don’t look at all angles. I might see one or two, but sometimes I miss the most obvious ones because I am so busy looking at the big picture. So, getting the advice of others can help me to make a better plan. This is in line with biblical teaching as well. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” So, if I get good counsel, I have a better opportunity to succeed. This is really hard for me to do because I like to think I know what I’m doing, and I don’t like to bother people with my problems. But one of the things I have started to learn over the past few years is that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, that is often showing more wisdom than anything else I could do.

 3) Give myself grace when I fail.

I will never succeed all the time. There are going to be times that I fail. I have a tendency to give myself a hard time when I make a mistake, and I don’t let myself forget it. But I need to learn to give grace to myself when I fail, and instead of wallowing in my failure, I need to get up and try again. Failure isn’t permanent. I still have an option to get up and try again, and maybe the next time I will succeed.

So, the next time I make plans, I will ask for wisdom, help and not dwell on my failures. And maybe, just maybe, I will see success with defeating the obstacles in my path.

What about you? Do you find it easy to miss the obstacles right in front of you because they don’t fit into your plans? How do you avoid or deal with those obstacles? What has worked for you?

~Until Next Time,

 Karen Signature

I often find myself feeling invisible.  I can walk through a store and pass people who stare right through me.  I get cut off while driving (often).  I walk through our church halls, and pass people who see me, but really don’t.  I think this last one saddens me the most.  Church is the one place I feel people should see me most.  Yet, often, I find the opposite to be true.

Many times I want to shout out, “Don’t you see me!?  I’m here, too!  When you look through me, I feel small and insignificant and worthless.”  I long to tell these people that I have something worth offering, and that I have a strong desire to be useful, too.

Yet even worse than feeling invisible, I get frustrated at church members who talk about people as if they aren’t there, can’t hear, or have no feelings.  My daughter had this happen recently during one of our Sunday morning services.  She hadn’t attended our church in a few weeks, but she came that day and was singing and participating in the service, when a woman in front of her said to the woman next to her, “That girl behind us has a terrible voice!”  Then they both laughed.  My daughter felt like they were talking about her, since she was the girl right behind them.  She was so crushed by their words and laughter that for the rest of the service she sat, refused to sing, and just hurt.  The mother in me wanted to tell those women off – but thankfully they were already gone before I had heard the story.

Church is the one place we should be safe from such hurtful things, yet often the opposite proves true, and it’s the place more people get hurt by fellow-believers.  This should not be!!  Why do we hurt each other?  Don’t we have enough issues with how we are perceived by the world?  How does hurting each other help bring people to Christ?  This brings to mind a Bible passage about this very subject.

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. (James 3:8-12, NASB)

Our tongues have the power to hurt or the power to heal.  The words of one woman hurt my daughter – so much, in fact, that she doesn’t really want to come back to our church all that much.  We need to be careful of the words we say.

What makes me sadder about other people saying hurtful things, is that I am sure I have said or done things that hurt others or made them feel invisible, too.  I wish I could say that weren’t true, but I am sure I have.  This is something that I’ve been working on in earnest.  Matthew 12:33-37 talks about how our words show our true character and how we will be justified or condemned by our words.

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (NASB)

My tendency is to speak before I think sometimes.  These verses challenge me to think more about what I’ll say before I say it.  I don’t want to be judged by bad things that come out of my mouth.  These particular verses have helped me to be able to curb my impulse to use bad language or say hurtful words.  I don’t get it perfect, but I see improvement every day as a result of learning these verses.

I can’t tell my children or anyone else to love others if I am not loving others myself.  I have to set the example.  And to love others means I need to see them, listen to them and treat them as Jesus would.  It’s a tall order, but I have a feeling it will be well worth the effort.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  What are some practical ways we can go from treating people as if they are invisible to loving them as Jesus loves us?  Have you taken any steps toward this end?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

When I first selected this book to read and review, I was skeptical. I didn’t really think that it would interesting, and the idea of a Bible Study being embedded within the threads of a novel just did not appeal to me. But still, I felt drawn to the book, so I read it. I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed finding the answers to the Bible Study questions, and the novel was both entertaining and informative.

Sherlock HolmesThe book is authored by Len Bailey, who wove the search for the answers to ten of the Bible’s mysteries into a novel about the renowned Sherlock Holmes. In it, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson find themselves using a time machine called the “Needles Eye” to travel to the locations of these mysteries. In the novel, Holmes and Watson travel to places such as Jerusalem to see the accusation of the harlot, Philippi where Paul and Silas were imprisoned and later freed from their chains, and Bethlehem to see Joseph and Mary escaping from Jerusalem with Jesus, to name a few. While there, they saw an event or part of an event and had to solve the mystery behind that particular event. Len Bailey did a great job of entwining fact with fiction, which made this book engaging and interesting to read.

Overall, I highly recommend the book, but I do caution the reader to take into account what is actual fact and what is conjecture. The events and time periods are well-researched and the conclusions do make sense with what is presented. However, there were a couple of conclusions that were reached, that seem to me to be more conjecture than fact. I’m not saying it couldn’t have been correct, but I also don’t believe that the evidence fully backs the claims being made. Once specific example for me is in Chapter 2, “Dignified Harlots,” where the author makes claims about what Christ wrote on the ground when the religious leaders were accusing her of being caught in the very act of adultery. I’m not saying that the author’s conclusion doesn’t make sense, but I don’t think that we can really know that for sure, since Scripture doesn’t come out and say what Jesus wrote, so to make that claim as fact doesn’t seem right to me. However, I don’t think that one should simply dismiss the book because of that because the argument does make good logical sense, and it could be correct.

This book did help me understand some of the “mysteries” presented much better. It gave good background, historical references and Biblical evidence in each chapter. I was impressed with the knowledge of the author, and I think it would make a good addition to anyone’s library.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com®  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

I have been increasingly discouraged by the negative statements that I have seen about affairs in the world today.  Recently, I saw someone frustrated because the world focuses on what Christians are against, rather than what they stand for.  My response to that is, of course they do!  The reason the world focuses on what Christians stand against is because all too often that is what Christians focus on.  We are so busy focusing on why particular acts and lifestyles are sinful, and less about what Christ did for each one of us.

All this bickering back and forth between Christians and non-Christians, Christians and Christians, and so on, caused me to stop and think.  What is it that I do stand for?  Are there things that I stand for that are being camouflaged by all the focus on what I am against?  With that said, I decided to do a top ten of all the things I do stand for.  So, without further ado, here it is!

10.  I stand for common courtesy. These days, I am appalled at the lack of courtesy people show toward each other.  It used to be that people would say “Thank you” when someone helped them.   They used to say “Please” when they wanted something.  People also said “Excuse me” when they interrupted or bumped into someone.  Increasingly, I see that not happening today.  It’s horrifying.  When did common courtesy become a thing of the past?

9. I stand for hard work and earning what you get.  All too often, I see people who feel like they are “entitled” to have what they have.   After all, we live in a free country, right?  We’re supposed to be happy.  I’d like to give the reminder that we are all entitled to the “pursuit of happiness.”  Pursuit implies work.  You work for what you get.   My own children often express this feeling of entitlement.  They feel like they should just be handed things, even though they haven’t earned them.  There is a time and a place for that.  For example, I don’t make them earn what I buy them for the birthday or Christmas.  However, I do make them earn what they get other times.  Either they have to save up, or they have to work it off.  Either way, they are not “entitled” to anything.  Neither are the rest of us.  Besides, I find there is greater enjoyment of whatever I wanted if I have worked for it.  There’s a great sense of accomplishment that cannot be obtained by just being handed something.

8. I stand for holding our children accountable.  Let’s face it, our children are going to make mistakes.  After all, we’re adults and we still make mistakes, so it stands to reason our children will, too.  However, that does not mean that our children should be let off the hook when they mess up.  When my daughters make a bad decision, they are disciplined for it.  They lose a privilege (or more depending on the circumstances), they don’t get to do something they want to do, and/or they don’t get to do anything extra-curricular.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It teaches them to be responsible and to stop and think before they act.  If my parents hadn’t disciplined me, I would have walked all over them.  I would have grown up to expect that I could do what I want, and I would think I didn’t have to do the things I didn’t want to.  Yet, for some reason, many parents today do let their kids walk all over them and don’t make them do the things they should.  This gives them a skewed view of how the world works.  Basically, they need to learn that they get from life what they put into it. 

7.  I stand for strong family values.  I believe that certain activities need to wait until marriage.  I don’t mean should wait for marriage.  I mean need to wait for marriage.  Basically, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility for the consequences that come from an action, then you shouldn’t be participating in the activity that could lead to the consequence.  Further than that, I believe that if you are not ready to take on commitment with someone, then there are certain activities that should not be taking place.  It’s really that simple.  I believe that family comes before work.  In fact,  I believe the family unit is the most dynamic relationship  in the world today.   I might get some questions about that from people who know me and some of the things I have done.  I mean after all, I obviously had my children outside of wed-lock.  I certainly didn’t take my own advice.  However, I believe that qualifies me to be able to make this statement.  I’ve lived it.  I know how stupid my actions were.  I know how unprepared I was.  However, I also did take responsibility for my own actions, and I have worked hard to become better than I was, and to teach my children what I didn’t learn myself.

6. I stand for good education.  I want my children to learn.  I want them to have good opportunities, and I want them to take advantage of those opportunities.  Without a good education, there is no foundation on which they can stand to move forward in life.  A good education is key to success.  However, I don’t necessarily believe that our school system gets it right.  They focus on the wrong things sometimes.  They look more at a test score than a student’s overall performance.  They rely on a computer to decide what a child needs instead of  looking at the child and observing them.  They try to fit our children into a box, while at the same time telling them to reach for their goals and follow their dreams.  If ever there was a mixed message, that’s it.

5. I stand for freedom of religion.  Before my fellow-Christians get all up in arms about this, let me explain.  Everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe.  Everyone.  None of us can force someone else to follow our belief system.  It won’t work.  Beliefs are a heart-driven thing.  I will fully support a Muslim’s right to believe as they do.  I will do the same for someone who is a Buddhist, Christian, Atheist, etc.  I don’t agree that someone is necessarily correct in what they believe, but I do support their right to believe it.  However, at the same time, I believe that everyone should have equal right to express their religion.  Christians (teacher and students) have been told that they are not allowed to speak about their beliefs, and in some cases  have been ostracized and reprimanded just for taking part in their beliefs.  My own daughter was told that she needed to put her Bible away because her having it out was stopping others from being able to express their beliefs.  How does my daughter reading her Bible keep someone else from expressing their religion?  For that matter, how does her sharing what she believes do that?  It’s no different than an Atheist expressing he/she doesn’t believe in God.  She’s not forcing it on anyone.  She stops when they ask her to.  I sense a double-standard here.  Everyone should be able to express and discuss and talk about their beliefs.  That’s how we learn.  It’s how we relate to one another – and it engenders mutual respect.

4. I stand for treating people with love, regardless of their life choices.  Again, I’m not saying I agree with every choice someone makes.  I fully agree that God’s Word has strong things to say about certain actions and activities.  However, I also believe that each one of us has lived in sin.  God’s Word says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).  It also says that there is no one sin that is greater than another sin, and “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” (John 8:7).  I don’t have to agree that someone’s made all the right choices in life to treat him/her with love and respect.  Someone who lies is just as wrong as someone who cheats on his wife.  I had sex outside of marriage.  That doesn’t make me any worse than the person who gossips or spreads lies.  It makes me a sinner in need of forgiveness.  By God’s grace, I have repented and been forgiven for the wrongs that I committed in my life.  That does not give me the right to keep making them.  It does not give me the right to judge.  That’s God’s job.  My job is to treat people with the same love with which Christ treated sinners.  That doesn’t mean I condone their choices – it means I choose to treat them with love and respect in spite of their choices.

3. I stand for being kind.  This goes hand in hand with common courtesy – but it goes further.  Be kind to each other.  Don’t say or do things that hurt people.  In other words, do unto others what you’d want them to do toward you.

2.  I stand for being generous.   If someone is in need, we need to help them.  This is more than just saying the right words or doing the right things.  This is seeing a need, and meeting it – and then some.   I can’t honestly say that I have been perfect at that, but it is something that I have been trying to be better at.

1. I stand for honesty.  If there is one thing that frustrates me more than anything else, it is lies.  I hate to be lied to, and I try to refrain from lying.  Again, not something I’m perfect at, but something I do try not to do.  Lies do more damage to you than anything else.  I can respect someone who tells me the truth, no matter what they’ve done, but I cannot respect someone who lies.

So, there you have it.  The top 10 things I stand for.  Do you have a list of things you stand for?  I would love to read about.  Feel free to share below.

Until Next Time!