Destruction

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for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:20

When I was in elementary school, we had a wonderful babysitter named Cheryl. She always played with us, brought us treats and was more like family than a babysitter. One day she brought me an adorable kitten she painted. I treasured it not only because she had given it to me, but because I adored anything that had to do with cats or kittens at this age.

Several week later, I got mad at my mom. She probably wanted me to clean my room, do my homework or something that seemed horrible at the time.  I remember sitting on my bed and making the decision to tear all the paint off the kitten to get back at my mom. It felt like a good idea at the time and I reveled in every piece I tore off. But, when my mom entered the room and saw what I had done, all I could do was cry. Although my intention was to hurt my mom, destroying the kitten had only hurt me.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped. Psalm 130:3

It was an early lesson, but it made an impact on me. In fact, all the emotions of sadness, remorse and guilt rise to the surface as I retell the story. Anger, bitterness, revenge and destruction are all tied up in one messy package. These emotions can lead to the destruction of a friendship, marriage, job, ministry and ultimately your relationship with Christ.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. Psalm 37:8

God created us. He knows us from the inside out and expects us to experience all of these emotions. The problem occurs when we sin because of these emotions, when we decide to take revenge for ourselves or when we hold on to anger that eats away at our own heart and no one else. If these emotions have taken hold in your heart, I pray God reveals them to you and you are able to hand them over to Him in exchange for forgiving and peaceful heart.

In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Psalm 4:4

But . . . .

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You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

These three letters can drive me absolutely nutty! It’s like a whole argument or excuse tied up in one tiny word. “But, Mommy they took my toy.”  “But, Mommy they hit me first,  they said I was mean, they told me I couldn’t be their friend anymore.” “But . . but . . but!” It is amazing how my children can use one little word to justify hitting someone, calling someone a name, snatching a toy, or breaking another other rule we have established in our home.  One day, recently, I had enough of the “buts” and pulled out the “but, nothing!” comment.  It was inevitable I know, but I try not to pull out those  traditional “mom” comments.

Later, as I reflected on the day I realized how often I am guilty of the “but” excuse. Not just with others, but with God. Even as adults we try to justify and explain actions and thoughts that we know don’t reflect the Kingdom of God.  “But, she started a rumor about me. But, he treated me unfairly. But, she lied to me. But, they promised. They betrayed my trust. But, I deserve it after all I did for them.” Do any of those statements sound familiar?

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18

“But”  is just a disclaimer we use that basically means I am accountable unless this happens, except for when, contrary to what you think.  There are no buts with God. No excuses. He calls us to forgive. To obey. To trust and to treat others as more important than ourselves. Ugh! This isn’t always easy. In fact, a lot of times it seems almost impossible. The only way it is possible is with the power, strength and love of the Holy Spirit.

Today I pray that the Lord will remove the “buts” and excuses from our hearts and fill us with forgiveness, gratitude, love and acceptance for ourselves and those around us.

“But, Nothing!” I just couldn’t resist saying it one more time.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:1


Around Every Corner

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God has blown my mind with amazing people and situations since I first published The Whisper of God. He seems to be around every corner encouraging me to move forward in this ministry. He is so faithful and I am humbled that He continues to use me, a very unworthy servant, to share His love and message with others.

Imagine how perfect and sweet it was when I sat down in church last weekend and heard our worship team leader had written a new song called “I Heard You Whisper in the Wind”.  God has given Karl an incredible gift and I am so thankful he has been obedient to God’s calling to share it with others. Please read the words of his song and let them soak into your soul. I pray they touch and encourage you as much as they did me.

I Heard You Whisper in the Wind by Karl Moraski © 2010

Verse: I heard You whisper in the wind. I heard You singing through the trees. I saw Your face amidst the sun’s light. I felt You near me in the dark of night. I’ve seen the mountains that You’ve moved. I’ve tasted love that is so sweet. I’ve felt Your arms around me when I cry. I’ve heard You say that it will be all right

Bridge: So when I feel there’s no way out; And I can see the storm clouds start to gather; And when my world comes crashing down; I close my eyes and I am still… and

Chorus: I hear You whisper in the wind. I hear You singing through the trees. I see Your face amidst the sun’s light. I feel You near me in the dark of night. I still see the mountains that You’ve moved; And I taste the love that is so sweet. I feel Your arms around me when I cry; And I hear You whisper in the wind

Verse: I’ve felt you close amidst death’s darkest hour; When nothing else could calm my soul; I’ve seen you take a broken body; And make that body fully whole; I’ve seen Your beauty in a newborn life; A life created by Your hand; And I’ve seen a child with hunger in her eyes; I don’t understand but then I realize

Chorus: That I can hear You whisper in the wind; And I hear You singing through the trees. I see Your face amidst the sun’s light; And I feel You near me in the dark of night. I still see the mountains that You’ve moved; And I taste the love that is so sweet; I feel Your arms around me when I cry; I hear You whisper in the wind

To find out more about Karl, hear more of his songs or buy a CD of his music please visit him at: http://www.KarlsSongs.net

Shine

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

You know those days or even weeks when you find yourself worn out from it all and good news seems like a train that left the station weeks ago and is yet to return?  As I was driving the kids to school one morning, I was recounting (in my head) all the discouraging things that had been going on in my life and in the lives of those I love.    So many times the  “worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19

As we topped a hill on Wade Avenue, I saw a rainbow in the sky.  It was sunny with just a few clouds that were heading out after an overnight storm, but there was a rainbow.  The rays from the sunrise must have been hitting the clouds just right and there it was.  My thoughts immediately turned from sadness to praise and I felt peace overcome me.

“Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”  Ezekiel 1:28

God is our light on those dark days.  He is the light that always shines in the darkness.  Our God is so faithful and so tender.  That rainbow was a beautiful reminder of His promises. Not just the promise that “never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 9:15, but a promise of His love for us.  He is always with us.  He walks with us through fiery trials, He celebrates with us, He carries us when we can’t take another step, He feels our pain and He counts our tears.

The next time clouds overtake you, look to the sky.  Look to God and rely on His promises to carry you through.  He is there for you and His light will always shine through the darkness. John 1:5

Persist

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May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 Thessalonians 3:5

My daughter and I recently started playing a new game. She takes her dictionary, flips to a random page and picks the oddest word she sees. Then, it’s my turn. Once I have found my word, we compare the two and decide who has the strangest one. It has been fun and I have actually learned a lot of new words.

One day, we happened upon the word perseverance. The dictionary defines perseverance as a “continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence”. I knew the definition included not giving up even under difficult circumstances, but had never considered the first part of the definition that says it is a “continued steady belief or effort”. You find many scripture references to perseverance and endurance. God knew how much encouragement we would need in this earthly life, with its challenges, disappointments, fears and disasters, to maintain a steady belief in Him and His Word.

Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:3-5

I have an amazing group of friends that God has blessed me with. We have been through so much together. In fact, sometimes we pray God will give us a break from all the “faith building” activities He has had us endure together. I am not exaggerating when I say, we have endured adultery, divorce, financial difficulties, the death of a friend from our group, sick (cancer) children, betrayal from family members and such an amazing growth in faith that we are all constantly amazed and grateful. Grateful for friends to endure life with, for prayer warriors, for God’s faithfulness and for the fact that all we endure is not wasted or forgotten, but instead molds and shapes us all in our friendships, marriages, lives and strengthens our relationship with Christ.

When faced with trials, we have a choice. We can choose misery, distrust, anger, bitterness, sadness and we can turn away from the Lord. As for me and my friends, we choose hope, character and love. We choose the Lord!  What do you choose?

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 3:3-5