Making the Right Choice

What does a life lived with integrity look like?

Having integrity means doing what we say we’ll do and doing the right thing even when it costs us something and no one would ever know if we didn’t do it.  It means being honest and not just talking a good line but living that out every day.

God tells us in Proverbs 10:9 “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

I’ve got to admit – there are times I really hate owning a mistake I made.  It would be so much simpler to tell a little lie about it and cover it up.

It seems easier to take a crooked path.

There are other situations where I don’t feel like taking care of a responsibility or doing ‘the right thing’. Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.

It seems easier to take the crooked path.

Every once in a while taking a short-cut looks very enticing instead of struggling with all the work that is going to be involved to do something the right way.

It seems easier to take a crooked path.

Satan likes to tempt me by giving me free stuff at stores – things that were somehow never rung up so I didn’t pay for them. I hate the hassle of bringing these things back into the store and asking to pay for them. Satan knows I really don’t want to get back in line and then explain that I didn’t pay for this the first time. I hate the strange looks I get from employees who are wondering why I am doing this weird thing – I had it all the way out to my car without paying for it, I should be happy, right?

It’s definitely easier to take the crooked path – just put the item in my car and drive away.

But God tells me that the crooked path is dark with holes and cracks that will make me stumble and fall.  I’m kidding myself if I think people around me won’t realize that I lack integrity by sometimes choosing a crooked path. And I’m really kidding myself if I think God doesn’t know I took a crooked path.

God tells me the blessing of walking with integrity is that I will walk securely.  The path of integrity is straight and solidly built on the truth.  God’s light shines on this path and it is filled with his love, grace and security.

Each day, each choice, you and I have a decision to make about which path we’re going to take.

Please help us stay in the path of integrity, Abba Father

Living Right

Doing the right things. Making the right decisions. Saying the right things.

God uses an old fashioned term – righteousness – to describe these actions. It’s ‘living right”.

How do I know what is right?  The answer to that question is God’s Word is right.  It’s the truth. There are large sections of the book of Proverbs where God spells out what living right means. Here are a few –

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23.

“The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.” Proverbs 12:5″

“The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.” Proverbs 29:27.

God speaks to me through the words, explaining them and helping me apply them to my life.  The Holy Spirit convicts me when my thinking gets off and my actions don’t reflect what I believe.

I’m so glad I have the role-model of Jesus.  I don’t have to try to look around me and try to find someone I want to imitate in order to ‘live right’.  I have Jesus.  This truth has often helped me move passed major disappointments with people – especially people in the church.  I used to expect people who went to church to be a lot more ‘righteous’ than others until I realized that we’re all just people, struggling with our weaknesses.  If we are a believer, God is gradually redeeming our lives but he still has a lot of work to do.

So watching people – especially people who say they are Christians – I got confused and disillusioned.  Then I looked to Jesus.  Focused on him.  And the issues about imperfect Christians went away.

When Jesus was on earth, he gave imperfect people grace and love and spoke truth at the right time into their lives.  This makes me glad because I am imperfect – I need grace, love and truth. And I need to give other imperfect people grace, love and speak truth when God prompts me.

Jesus is my role-model. If he did it, it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you, Abba Father

Foolish

What was this person thinking?

I can’t believe this person wrote that!

There are times when I feel surrounded by crowds of people who are not thinking, not using logic, and not caring about the facts. These people seem to be reacting purely out of emotion – to everything.

And sometimes its hard not to respond back in the same way. It would feel good – for a minute – but then I would regret that I was acting just like they were. Emotionally. Without thinking. That’s not good.

God generously gives you and I some wisdom in this situation in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly; or you yourself will be just like him.”

Yep, when I answer a foolish statement with my own emotional, foolish statement, I am on the wrong track. The right track is to look to God for wisdom and discernment.

God tells me in Proverbs 9: 7-9 to forget about correcting a fool. Their response will be to insult me, abuse me and hate me. But a wise person learns from correction and grows wiser.

That’s the kind of person I want to be – a wise person who is learning and being transformed by the truth of God.

Proverbs is full of God’s wisdom regarding all kinds of situations we find ourselves in.

Thank you for your precious Word to us, Abba Father.

Where Can I Find It?

Am I ever satisfied?

Are you?

We live in a culture where it’s very difficult to be satisfied because there is always bigger and better.  There is always more.

How do I find this illusive satisfaction when I am surrounded by all of this?

God tells me through King Solomon in Proverbs 3 how to find contentment in my life.

  • Never forget what God has taught me.
  • Be loyal and loving.
  • Trust in God – be dependent on his power and strength and understanding, not my own.
  • Make fulfilling God’s will for my life my goal. “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6.
  • Keep on the path God directs me to take.
  • Turn away from evil.  Respect God and give him the credit for all the good things in my life. Never get too impressed with myself.
  • Honor God with my time and treasures.
  • Accept my Father’s discipline.  He loves me and wants the best for me.
  • Ask God for wisdom – it is precious and nothing else will bring me satisfaction.
  • Hang on to my common sense and discernment – they will help keep me safe and unafraid.
  • Encourage others.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of small things.
  • Don’t envy violent or wicked people.  At first, I would say that I would never envy violent or wicked people.  But then, I think about some people I know who have ‘gotten away’ with things that were not right but it brought them pleasure or financial gain.  Did I ever wish that was me? “The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the house of the righteous.” Proverbs 3:33.

That’s a great list!  It’s interesting to me that things like ‘get an education so you can get a good job and make a lot of money’ aren’t on here.

There’s nothing on this list that tells me that buying stuff and owning a lot of things is going to bring me satisfaction.

This list is all about me and God working together to grow my faith, grow my character and grow my wisdom.

Amen.  Let it be so, Abba Father.

My Greatest Treasure

My greatest treasure is not money,

or fame,

or any of my ‘stuff’.

My  greatest treasure is wisdom.  Wisdom – so I can navigate successfully through all of the valleys and hills and blind curves of my life.  I’ve been memorizing wisdom scripture this last 6 years.  I have an extremely bad memory so it is really God who is etching his Word on my heart – I just faithfully get out my memory cards every day.  I found out why God commands me to memorize his truth 5 years ago when tragedy blew my life apart.  God used the words he carved into my brain to keep my soul from crumbling into a million painful pieces when my son was killed in the line of duty.

God tells us in the first chapter of James that he gives us generous amounts of wisdom when we ask for it.  I’ve been asking, I need it and I’m not going stop.

King Solomon asked for wisdom at a crucial time in his reign and God responded by making him the wisest man who ever lived. The news about King Solomon spread and we read in 1 King 10 that the historically famous Queen of Sheba decided to go visit him.  She knew about King Solomon’s extreme wealth but she was not interested in that — she was crazy rich herself.  She was not interested in his palaces or any of his numerous possessions.

The Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon’s wisdom.  That’s what motivated her to take a very dangerous 1200 mile trip on camels through a desert filled with thieves and criminals.

When the Queen of Sheba asked Solomon all of her many questions, he had an answer for everything.  She was surprised.  She didn’t think any man could have that kind of wisdom.

Before she left, she said to Solomon, “How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!” 1 Kings 10:8.

I can’t help thinking – are the people who hang out with you and me happy about all the wisdom they hear from us every day? Maybe we should be asking for more?

All wisdom comes from God and he generously gives it to us when we ask.  It is our greatest treasure.

Thank you,  Abba Father

A Discerning Heart

Do you have any decisions you need to make? Are you surrounded by options that all look good? Which one do you choose?

Are you struggling with a relationship in your life? You don’t know what to do? Where to turn?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. Everything is moving and changing so quickly…and its all just going to get faster. If you’ve been on this planet as many revolutions as I have, it’s extremely tough to keep up. I’ll admit it – I can use all the help I can get.

I’m sure King Solomon felt this way as he was talking to God in 1 Kings 3: 9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” 

God honored that request by making Solomon the wisest man who has ever lived.

Whenever I think about all the wisdom I need to navigate this world, I am reminded that God tells me at the beginning of the book of James that he wants to give me a generous amount of wisdom. I just need to ask for it.

So one of my regular prayers is asking for wisdom. Whenever I feel the twists of concern in my stomach or find myself in the middle of conflict or a difficult situation, I know where I can get wisdom for this situation. God has promised he will give me plenty.

And he has. God is always faithful. But it’s not a magic button and ‘poof’ I have the answer or my issue is resolved. God speaks to me through his Word and gives me direction. I have to listen to him and do what he says. Then I see how he is guiding me in the right direction and giving me wisdom – step by step.

Do you have choices you need to make? Plans? Relationship issues that need to be addressed?

God has generous amounts of wisdom he is waiting to give you. Ask for it as you open your eyes and heart to him and his Word. You’ll find it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Fill It UP!

I used to feel an emptiness deep inside of my soul. There was a space in my heart and mind that a college degree, marriage to a great guy, two awesome kids, a big house, 2 nice cars and my dream career could not fill. I was looking for something to complete me and I couldn’t find it.

Have you ever been there? It’s a weird place filled with all the ‘stuff’ I ever wanted but haunted by a dark cloud of unhappiness.

I pause when I read about King Solomon dedicating the magnificent temple he built for the Lord in 1 Kings 8:11, and “The glory of the Lord filled the temple. “

I know what it feels like to have the glory of the Lord fill the temple. God tells me in the New Testament that the redeeming grace of Jesus changed my relationship with God and now my body is the temple of God. When I put my trust in Jesus, his Spirit came into my life and changed it forever. God’s love for me filled to overflowing the empty spot in my soul.

God has filled my life with his passion – just like he filled Solomon’s temple.

God has filled me with his glory – so that his love and light can shine out of me.

God has filled me with his power and joy. God gives me peace in spite of my circumstances. He opens my eyes and heart to his truth.

Are you looking for any of these things for your life? God’s arms are wide open for everyone who will accept his gift of grace and salvation. We can’t earn it. God gives it for free because it’s been paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

God is the only thing that can fill the empty spot in our soul.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 27, 2021

LORD, you are the light of my life.  You have saved me – so I am not afraid.

You protect me from danger.  There is no reason for me to tremble.  When the Evil One and his team attack me, trying to tempt me and distract me, they will not win.  Your mighty army of angels surround me – I have nothing to fear.  Even when my path gets tough, my faith in you remains solid.

The one thing I desire most of all, LORD, is to spend my life with you, enjoying my time with you and listening to your voice.

You hold me close when trouble comes.  I can hold my head high even when trials come my way.

I praise you, LORD, with songs and shouts of joy!

I know you hear me, LORD.  You answer me, showing great mercy.  You say, “Come and talk with me”, and my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”

I know that you never turn your back on me in anger – you are always ready to help me.  You never leave me or abandon me, O God of my Salvation!  When everyone else leaves me behind you are here, holding me close.

Teach me the right way to live my life, LORD. Lead me down the path you have prepared for me and do not let me wander. Help me avoid the pain and consequences of rebellion. Do not let me give into the temptation to act as the evil ones act.

I live with the confidence that each day you are walking beside me – loving and guiding me.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 146, 2021

I praise you, God!

Everything in me praises you, LORD!  I will praise you as long as I am alive.  I will be singing your praises, Father, when I breathe my last breath.

I don’t put my trust in people who have money – they will not help me when I really need it.  When they return to the earth as dust, all of their plans will die with them.

Those of us who trust in you to help us, God, find hope and joy. You are the Master Creator of heaven and earth and everything in them.

You always keep your promises.  You give food to the hungry and justice to the oppressed.

You have freed me from the guilt of my sins and you are opening my eyes to your truth. You, oh God, lift me up when the cares of this world weigh me down.  You are a Good Father to all of us who love you.  You protect the strangers among us and care for orphans and widows.

You mess up the plans of unbelievers.

You, my King, will reign forever, throughout all generations.

I lift my praise to you, Abba Father.

Psalm 25, 2021

I trust you, God.

I know you will never let me down.  Everyone who trusts knows how faithful you are.  Those who don’t trust in you get their just rewards.

Help me know you better, dear God.  Direct my steps and guide me into a deeper understanding of your truth.  Teach me, Father.  All of my hope is in you, God, my Savior.

You have been merciful and loving since the beginning of time.  I have confessed my sins and I know you have forgiven me because my guilt has disappeared.

You love overwhelms me.  You are so good, LORD.

I feel you walking beside me as I go through my day, God.  When I listen, you teach me what is right.  You are loving and faithful to those of us who have put our trust in you.

Your grace covers all of my sin and rebellion.

In response to my respect and honor for you, you help me make the right choices in my life.  You give me good things and bless my children.

I need to hear your voice, Father.  Speak to me – I need you each day.

When my eyes are fixed on you, God, you help me avoid the danger and pitfalls that come my way.  I turn to you when I am alone and sad – you take away my worries and stress.  When the trials and problems of this world press in all around me, you are always beside me – loving me and giving me strength.

You are my Rock and Refuge, Father.  Guard my life and rescue me.  I trust in you alone.

I pray that all people everywhere will experience your mercy and strength, God.

Thank you, Abba Father.