Only reacting

You know that aged old question, “what came first, the chicken
or the egg?” I wonder instead what came first, the thought or the manifestation?

So often I hear people say things like, “ I said that
because they said this” or “ if they didn’t do that to me I wouldn’t have done
this to them. ‘ We are only reacting to
whatever life seems to throw at us.

I wonder though… if we found out that our reality is not
defined by what gets thrown at us, instead it’s defined by our reaction, would
we change the way we react?

I have often contemplated, the commandments of Father God, maybe
are less command and more protective defense.

Also the Fruit of His Spirit we are to grow within us and
share with the world, what if He is
giving us tools for success not just do as I say, because I said so,… rules to
follow.

Take for instance self-control, if we mastered self-control,
it may stand to reason that we would become a lot less reactive, and way more purposeful in our responses to all life’s situations. Its very likely,
that most, if not all, drama and stress in our lives would disappear.

It also amazes me how easily deceived we are when it’s
pertaining to our own personal character.

We are more than willing to help in the assessment of other
people’s character, sometimes jumping in with our two cents before being
invited into the conversation.

Yet when it’s our own character being assessed, that we may accidentally overhear, rarely do
we listen self- controlled, ready to make adjustments to our own character
based on what we overheard. No… more likely we react defensively pouring out every component surrounding our
personal circumstances that may be unrealized by our assessors thereby making their
assessment of our character unmerited. Meanwhile our emotions having been
stirred are making it difficult if not impossible to remain self-controlled.

Knowing the rather high probability that this is truly the
way we would respond, still never seems to detour our two cents jumping into
either invited or uninvited conversations about others. Somehow we think only
our circumstances deserve to remain un-assessed by those without full disclosure.
It never crosses our minds that we don’t truly know enough to give any value to
our two cents in the first place so maybe we should change our thoughts instead
of devaluing our two cents by putting it out there having no backing.

No matter what life throws at us, it’s our decision and the
implementation of said decision that truly becomes our reality. Whether we are self-controlled or instead react
emotionally determines who is truly in the control seat bringing forth our
reality.

Reacting permits an open door for the enemy to take over the
control of our reality. Our reacting means an almost immediate emotional
response that’s lacking in self-control.

Not only can the enemy at that point take control of our
reality but he tends to keep it by triggering those same emotions over and over
and over again.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV — Be alert and of sober mind. Your
enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
devour.

Galatians 6:7-8 KJV — Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that
soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to
the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Father God is no respecter of person and He will not be
mocked. No He doesn’t play favorites no matter who does or doesn’t go to
church, who prays more, who’s intuitive enough to be right more often than not,
even based upon who is actually right and who’s wrong in accordance with His
Word.

Our job has never been to sit and contemplate who is or is
not acting according to His Word anyway. That is between them and God. The Holy
Spirit has never been fired and is still in charge of conviction.

Because we are weaker alone and isolated, the enemy causes
division among us and with the using of the mandate to be discerning, we are deceived into believing we aren’t
really judging people.

Ephesians 4:29-32 KJV — Let no corrupt communication
proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that
it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and
wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with
all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

No matter what situation we find ourselves in, and no matter
who we believe needs a small nudge or a big shove, back onto the straight and
narrow, two things remain true and worth our consideration,

1. To react, is
giving the enemy a very high probability of winning control, however temporary,
over our reality, keeping us in bondage.

2. We don’t get to
pick and choose what parts of God are trust worthy enough to have faith in. We
either have complete faith in Him, or we don’t.

Until next time may God-bless you and keep you as you seek
Him with your whole heart.

Giant Faith

1 Samuel 17:23-37 NLT — As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”

Instead of running away from what we say or think we cannot handle, we need to call upon His strength, wisdom, and resources.

When we run, we are doing the same as Saul and the entire Israelite army. We whine like them, helping each other justify our wallowing in self pity and confusion. We gossip and waste time, talking about our lack in abilities. We concentrate on and speak of, our weaknesses individually and as a whole, then, feeding on each other’s growing fear, we enlarge our enemy with in our minds.

We trap ourselves in the mountains of no way, no chance, no future, no help, no hope.

Then just like they did to young David, if someone comes along asking why we’re acting like this, we shut them down and try to put them in their place, trying to make them feel as small as we are acting.

But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The LORD who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the LORD be with you!”

Unwittingly, we block the faith we need to remove our giants. We don’t just block either,  No, we do our best Wto knock it down, stomp it into a pancake, pick it up, and whisk it away like a Frisbee. Who are you to tell me, we say, as we puff out our chest and tower over the help God sent to take away the giant we helped create.

Why do we choose to be defeated and keep company with others who choose defeat, while mocking and jealously making a joke out of those who choose not to ever give up. Those who choose faith over forfeit.

1 Samuel 17:40-49 NLT — He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

Our giant may not be a Philistine giant named Goliath, maybe it’s the lack of patience, for an unruly child, who is always disrespectful and mean, or, it could be giving ourselves  over to self-pity, as the sting of life’s lemons, catch us off guard, seaping into our sores, from watching the lazy get handed what we work so hard for, on a silver platter.

It could be that the giant we face is called self-righteousness or pride. Maybe our lack of self control, when we cannot bring ourselves to submit to the authority of someone who knows so much less than we do, by a long shot.

Sometimes our giant is trying to defend ourselves from the lies of those who falsely testify against us.

No matter what name our giants may go by, when we try to battle them on our own, we come out defeated, tired, confused, and sore. Because of the hell we go through, and the battle scars we obtain, from going out to battle on our own, we often get angry when confronted with the Truth of God’s word and we reject it, run from it, twist it or turn it while at the same time, shoot with the intent to kill the messenger.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT — Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We neglect to realize, God knows we are not capable of handling our own giants, much less anyone else’s, still we are called to battle both. We just weren’t called to battle them, with our own strength.

Exodus 14:14 NLT — The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Until next time, may God-bless you and keep you, as you seek him, with your whole heart.

Puzzle pieces

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about puzzles. More specifically a 40,000 piece puzzle that is the Guinness book of world records largest puzzle in the world. This puzzle is the largest in both the amount of pieces and it’s overall size. The part of this puzzle that has me thinking though, is the number of pieces. 40,000 pieces needing to find their place in the big picture.

With that many pieces one might entertain the thought that one or two pieces aren’t such a big deal if they happened to go missing.. keeping track of 40,000 pieces sounds almost overtime payish.

One piece of a puzzle won’t even give someone an idea of what the picture will be once all the pieces are put together.  Having just one piece of the whole puzzle is useless really as it cannot be the whole puzzle even if it wanted to be.  That piece has its one place within the whole, where it is vital to the whole.  If that one piece decided to go it’s own way getting lost, thinking it’s no big deal or unimportant, would ruin the masterpiece for without it the whole would be void in the spot that piece was to take up. Furthermore that piece is not replaceable either. No other piece can or will fit into it’s rightful place.

As I ponder this I am drawn to the idea, what if life was like this. What if God has this masterpiece in mind as He creates each and every piece to fit together, each having it’s own unique shape and each being equally important to the finished project. He’s skillfully and masterfully knit every single human together while in the womb, giving to each a uniqueness that only they can contribute and nobody can take the place of.

We are all just pieces to the whole puzzle. We are meant to fit together, each in our own unique way.

This is not really a new thought, in scripture Paul puts it this way,

1 Corinthians 12:14-27 NLT — Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

Selfishness, self-pity, self-righteousness, all focus on self.  So long as the focus is on self, it cannot also be on service.

The world has made popular the idea that we should be focused on self, like self improvement, self-confidence, self-help, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love, etc. All examples of the worldly idea that we need to focus on ourselves.

All around us are the messages, feeding into our minds and hearts, causing us to believe this concentration on self is right.   We are all searching for inner peace, love, and a place to just rest. When focus is on self, no matter what side of the scale, from self-pity to self-righteousness, we are in a constant state of restlessness, anxiety, always standing ready to defend.  We build up walls inside ourselves as part of our defense readiness, having no idea, the walls, once built, won’t allow the bad in, but won’t allow the good in either.   We starve ourselves of the very thing we are seeking, all because we have given into the feel-good, worldly, idea that we should concentrate on ourselves.

The problem is, we were not created for this.   Self, is lonely, isolating, non-community, it’s all take and little to no give.  We were created in the image of  All Mighty God, to be parts of a whole, to fit like puzzle pieces together.  

The enemy doesn’t want us to know we are but one simple piece.  He wants to destroy the puzzle, of course he will most deceptively, by the use of our emotions and lack of true wisdom, give us every reason to continue believing we, individually, are the whole.

We seem to all try to fit ourselves into spots that make us like those we admire or like those we respect. We work hard to prove ourselves worthy of the spots we desire to fit into. The truth is only one might actually fit in that spot. The rest are faking, camouflaged, mimicking, etc.

We all go through this life trying to find our place, a place with people like us, where we feel like we fit in. We look for like-mindedness, hobbies in common, similar interests and ways of living.

We then pass judgement in one form or another upon those who are not living up to our standards. Some may try to use religion or Christian principles as justification for being able to point out wrong doing in others.

We try to hide our true selves just in case we won’t be accepted.

The truth is instead of searching for what makes us the same as, or at least makes us resemble others, we should search for what makes us unique, different, special. We should be looking for our place in the big picture. At the same time we should be encouraging others to find their uniqueness also.

Instead of shunning people that may be different we should be accepting, learning, encouraging, celebrating what makes us individuals.

If we are to mimic Jesus, we need to learn how to serve and accept others regardless of what society and the world try to tell us.

We are all just one piece to the whole puzzle. All equal in significance, all having our own special, uniqueness to contribute to the whole.

Find your unique, be it, own it, show it off because you are special, important, fearfully and wonderfully made, most of all, you are dearly loved by your Creator!

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.