Sometime ago, I watched a video (Change Your Lens, Change Your Life– share your email and the link will be provided) by Dewitt Jones, a former photographer for National Geographic and a motivational speaker. I have enjoyed his film “Celebrate What’s Right with the World” for many years. I return to it from time to time to receive the message he brings. It’s funny that his gifts and talents include pictures and words. You know the old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, today, I want to flip that on its ear and say that “a thousand words produces an amazing picture”.
Dewitt Jones has such an amazing way of saying things that speaks directly to my heart. As he shared the experience of a beautiful sunset he said, “It (the sun) was putting on its beautiful show and wasn’t waiting for him (Dewitt) to show up. The sun wasn’t waiting for his affirmation or applause. He could critique it all night and it would still do it again tomorrow.” I started to cry. Anyone who has enjoyed my stories over the years knows that one of the areas in which I struggle is applause and affirmation. Growing up I never received kudos, little long love, from my dad unless I had completed a chore or project to his approval. Unconditional love was not in his duffel bag of military fatherly provisions. Sadly, it created a spoiled rotten adult clamoring for the love of approval and recognition. I have read God’s Word, prayed, taken classes, listened to well known speakers, sermons and read other authors in my efforts to overcome this very debilitating characteristic with my old nature always finding its way back to this childhood crutch.
Today our pastor took me back to this struggle providing a thought I’d never considered. “Compliments don’t make me more competent.” God has been with me every step of the way and has taught me so many things through this journey with Him. I have written them down in my glorified journal (my website/ Facebook) but because I depend so much to others “likes” and compliments, the lack of them can paralyze me. I stop writing or posting because I think no one likes me or no one likes the message my stories convey, and the lack of their approval must represent God’s disapproval as well. The enemy of my soul knows this need of compliments and validation and he stops me dead in my tracks with the lack of them.
Today, my soul is filled to over-flowing that your approval of my stories, or this blog, is not what makes me competent. God put it on my heart years ago to write these things that he’s doing in my life and as Dewitt Jones and Pastor Sammy (Lighthouse Church) reminds me, “Your approval doesn’t make me competent and I do not need to wait for your affirmation or applause to naturally do what my God has purposed me.
October 30, 2021
We had our small group meeting this morning at 6 a.m. Today we discussed REPENT, again. Repeating the “repent” topic from weeks ago. The question posed from Psalms. 51:1-12 was: David seems to be rejoicing at the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. What would happen if you viewed repentance as an opportunity rather than a barrier? 1
My one-word answer was HOPE! And then I presented this question. “How do you think the story might have gone had Judas not killed himself?” Wow! In comparing Jesus’s care and concern for Peter in John 21:15-17 (do you love me, feed my sheep) how might have Jesus dialoged with Judas had Judas lived, allowing that very special conversation with Jesus?
Peter did not come to Jesus to say he was sorry or ask for forgiveness. Jesus, being filled with love, grace, and mercy, instituted that conversation with Peter, for his three-time denial of him. The thought of Jesus instituting conversation with Judas to cover him with His love, grace and mercy brought me to tears.
Take everything you know about Jesus, the reason for His coming, living, and dying. Take everything you know about the love, grace, mercy, and compassion, that He so graciously held out to Peter, and then hold that out to those who are lost, depressed, hopeless, and feeling totally alone. Present to them this question; “How do you think the story might have gone had Judas not killed himself?” “How do you think your story might go if you permit such amazing love, grace and merciful conversations with Jesus in your own life?”
Taking time to truly see Jesus as love personified will grant you the joy and privilege to see repentance as the greatest opportunity you will ever take.
1 Used by permission
Doing God’s Word is Good For You!
My faith in God’s Word has been a very big part of my life. When Coronavirus created a remote working environment, I sensed becoming very depressed. That made me feel guilty as I thought all I needed was my love and faith in Christ to overcome sadness. But when I read about “The Science” of Well-Being, offered free by Coursera/Yale University, I was intrigued. I committed to take the class and as lessons were presented, I’d search the scriptures to be sure to reinforce each lesson with God’s Word. I didn’t have to work hard to find them. Examples: Savoring– Philippians 4:8-9, Gratitude– Colossians 3:15-17 Create a Daily Gratitude Journal, Random Acts of Kindness– Ephesians 4:32 Galatians 5:22-23, Make A Social Connection, James 1:22, Romans 12:2
In our world of social distancing, isolation and self-quarantine it has been very easy to fall into the myriad of depressive symptoms, This study only reiterated what God’s Word teaches and gave me resources that challenged me to make greater efforts to “do” God’s Word (homework) not just read it. I had to get a little more creative to be in contact with others and live out my faith. My contentment and joy level increased dramatically! In the case of The Science of MY Well Being, science has only proved God’s Word true, but only when you do it, embrace it and walk it out by faith! It’s an ongoing, on purpose, daily decision! Your Best Health is in Doing God’s Word! Thank you for helping me learn that much deeper lesson during such challenging times.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
A week from Saturday I along with about 51 others will begin small groups, all teaching the same lessons, RE: A Guide for the Disconnected. (A book recently written by our pastor.) I often say the Holy Spirit is always so consistent. A YouVersion devotion by Charles Stanley that I read this morning touched on many words that begin with “re” Reaffirm, Rekindle, Refresh, Revisit, Reestablish, Remember. I do believe the Holy Spirit wants us to do these RE tasks in order to draw closer to God and live the abundant life he calls us to. We need to do them all, but there might be one or two RE words we need to implement in our lives right now. I think as we get older and have walked with the Lord for a long time, we become lethargic in our daily walk with Him. We do need to carry out our due diligence to fan into flame the cinders that might be heading for ash. Let’s look at this list of RE words, and maybe even consider other RE: words, that we need to REjuvenate the excitement of our walk i.e. run.
RE: A Guide for the Disconnected (LH Church)
Saturday 6:00 am