Count to 10

1 Corinthians 13:5… love is not become easily angered

As a child I bet we all learned to “count to 10” before we respond to something or someone who wronged us. Back then, I probably rolled my eyes a few times when being reminded to count to 10. But oh how wise is the wisdom of that skill! It’s just enough time to catch your breath, think twice, and make a better choice… If only we always chose well!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve delved into the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians. Breaking down these verses of scripture has opened my eyes to so many areas of my heart that I need to surrender to God.

Love isn’t easily angered. In other versions of this verse it says love is not: “touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offence, doesn’t fly off the handle.”

In other words: Love counts to 10.

So much easier said than done, right?

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful. The issue with anger is that it so often leads to sin. God allows us to feel and express emotions. The emotion of anger can lead us down the long, dark road of regret. Have you traveled that road? I know I have.

anger can lead us down the road of regret.Add heading

My husband is so very good at the skill of counting to 10. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I just love how God pairs us with our exact opposites! Where I am up and down, he is steady and focused. There have been times where he has literally taken my phone away so I don’t respond to someone in a moment of high emotion. He is self-controlled, and wise. I love that about him. ❤

As I reflect on moments of anger in my past, I see things that accompany almost every encounter with anger. For me, they are: hurt and rejection. Anger has been a defense mechanism that God has been steadily chipping away at my heart for some time. Our God is the Great Healer of all our hurts and whatever ills us –  He is able to soften us, and change us from the inside out!

Jehovah Rapha

I’ve learned that my feelings of rejection have probably come due to my being adopted. The pattern of hurt and anger in my life has been partially due to my fear of rejection from people in my life. Being ultra sensitive to rejection has led me to make some very poor choices that I’ve regretted greatly.

My “Fight or Flight” response is very sstrong. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt rejected, or feared that rejection was coming. I could feel it in the air. My reaction many times was to sabotage the relationship or friendship and  be the one to leave (flight response) first.

I used anger as a way to flee rejection in so many relationships.

Responding this way led to loneliness, despair, guilt, and so much more.

If you fear rejection,  instead of running away – run TO Him. He will never reject you!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

Maybe you respond with anger for different reasons as me. But regardless of how we get to the point of anger, God does not want us to dwell there. When life doesn’t go our way, or we feel rejected or hurt, He begs us to respond in LOVE.  Anger divides, but love unites.

As much as I’d love to control what others do, and how they treat me, I can’t. None of us can. But, what we can control is how we respond. By allowing God to take control of our attitude, our emotions, and our reactions to whatever life throws at us.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galations 5:25

We allow God to move in our lives by:

  • Grounding ourselves in His Word
  • Living a lifestyle of prayer
  • By surrounding ourselves with Godly people who will hold us accountable, and encouraging us to dwell with Him.

His Holy Spirit is ever present and powerful IF we allow it to be. When His Spirit moves within us, there’s no denying it. When His Spirit moves and stirs us to love – when we may not feel like it – we need to then take a big step of obedience, and act upon His leading.

With God’s help, we can overcome anger with love. Jesus calls us to bring our anger, our hurts, and our fears to the cross.

Climb that hill, kneel before the cross of Christ, and lay your burden down.

When you feel rejected, know that He accepts you. Just as you are. But, He doesn’t want you to stay that way! He longs to change each one of us from the inside out.

-To The Cross-Where can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there my shameYou have washed awayWhere can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there You gaveUp Your life for meYou gave Yo

In Him we have no fear of rejection.

Run, don’t walk to Him. His love is enough. Through Him we have the opportunity to live in freedom, and joy, wihtout regret.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison

Vengeance is Mine says the Lord

Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Vengeance is a strong word. It’s not one of those pretty, flowery words that just flow off our tongue. It’s not an enjoyable word to say. It’s hard, harsh and angry sounding.

Vengeance comes from the depths of pain and anger. It’s the urge to get even. When we’ve been hurt, vengeance rears its ugly head in the form of wanting to give back the pain that someone gave you.

Here’s the problem with that. It doesn’t work. The end result that you hoped and longed for in taking revenge on someone for something they did for you only turns into more pain for yourself. It never results in feeling good or satisfied.

Yesterday I shared about how forgiveness is scandalous. It’s unfair. It doesn’t make any logical sense. It’s so hard, in our humanness to reconcile the hurt someone caused to us with the call to forgiveness and pardon.

Gandhi said, “If we followed the ‘eye for an eye’ principle eventually the whole world would go blind.” Oh how true is that? You see, none of us are immune to hurt. And the reverse is true, none of us are immune to being the one who hurts. We can thank our own sinful nature for that one.

There is only ONE perfect person who walked this earth, and there will never be another one. His name is Jesus.

Look at how He responded to hurt? He sacrificed His life for the sins of every single one of us for all time. Once and for all. As he was dying on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He wasn’t only referring to the soldiers who were crucifying Him. He was referring to ALL of us. He was proclaiming there, on the cross, the forgiveness of our sins. Yours, and mine. 

I’m a big World War II buff. I have watched a lot of movies, documentaries, and have read countless holocaust books. My husband doesn’t quite understand my interest, because it’s so very, very sad and disturbing. Sometimes I even ask myself “why?” am I so interested in such a dark part of history.

When I think of forgiveness, I can’t help but think about the story of Eva Kor {read about her here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/12111155/Why-I-forgive-the-Nazis-who-murdered-my-family.html}. She was a concentration camp survivor, and she and her twin sister were used as medical “guinea pigs” by the famous Dr. Josef Mengele. She found it in her heart to forgive. Her public forgiveness has brought criticism from other concentration camp survivors to which she responds, ““Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting?” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don’t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept lashing out in anger rather than embracing friendship and humanity.”

“Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting-” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don_t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept la

She gets it.

She’s GOT it.

None of us can quite grasp the amount of pain, trauma, and brutality the Jewish survivors experienced. It puts our trivial quarrels and issues with each other quite in perspective doesn’t it?

When we forgive, we also must remember that we are not excusing the behavior. We could never condone or excuse persecution and murder such as the Jews endured. Not at all. But by forgiving, we free ourselves of the weight that the bondage of unforgiveness places on our shoulders.

Writer, Elizabeth O’Connor says, “To bless the people who have oppressed our spirits, emotionally deprived us, or in other ways handicapped us, is the most extraordinary work any of us will ever do.”

hiking

Does forgiveness matter today? Yes. Without forgiveness we are robbed of living in the freedom and joy that our Father God wants us to live in.

Take a good look at the world we live in. What if countries forgave each other? What if tribes forgave each other? What if world leaders forgave each other? What if church denominations forgave each other? What if friends forgave each other? What if husbands and wives forgave each other? What if children and parents forgave each other?

What IF?

We have the choice.

Every day.

To forgive, or to hold on to unforgiveness in our hearts and miss out on what God has in store for us…

What is the reward? It’s a life lived free of regret, redeemed, and restored.

Forgiveness: remember – it’s “scandalous.”

Let us prayerfully choose well.

Daily His,

Ally

Scandalous Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13 – …bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Have you ever had to be forgiven for something? Have you ever had to forgive someone? I can pretty much assume we have all been on both sides of forgiveness.

Phillip Yancey refers to forgiving others as “the scandal of forgiveness.” I love that! The scandal of forgiveness is that forgiveness does not make sense. It’s not natural, it’s not human nature. It’s scandalous!

When we feel wronged, our human nature tells us, “You have been sinned against. You deserve to be upset, and apologized too. That person needs to come and admit what they did was wrong, and THEN maybe I’ll forgive them. It all depends if they are sincere or not.” *sigh*

Human nature wants to ‘teach them a lesson’ doesn’t it? But doing life God’s way turns it all around! What’s so amazing about grace is that it doesn’t make human sense. Learning about forgiveness starts with JESUS. He went to the cross to forgive us of our sins. He was blameless. There was nothing in Him that deserved death on cross, yet; He went there for you, and for me. He bridged the huge chasm of sin between God and us.

Even as Jesus hung on the cross, one of the thieves next to him asked for forgiveness for his sins as he was dying. Jesus knew full well that it was a request of desperation. But Jesus responded, “… you will be with me in paradise…”. He forgave. Grace. It’s scandalous. The love God has for us was scandalously given through His Son Jesus.

Forgiveness is a tough thing isn’t it? We have our pride to cut through. Sometimes that can be pretty challenging.

…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Have you ever had a conflict with someone, a friend, a spouse, a family member – and after the conflict you wait, and wait… for that person to come to you FIRST to resolve it? I sure have. I have gritted my teeth, and set my jaw and said, “Nope, they have to come to me first, and THEN we’ll talk about it!” Oh how wrong that is… There’s a natural destructive cycle that stems from this way of thinking.

We have pain. Then we blame. Then the pain returns because we haven’t resolved our pain and oftentimes anger with the other person involved. So then we blame them again for not coming to us to resolve the original pain. And the cycle goes on and on.

Unresolved.

UNTIL, someone steps up to the plate and shatters that cycle and says: “Enough!”

Many times forgiveness is downright UN-fair. Hindu’s believe in karma. Karma is when you get what you deserve.

But for Christians, forgiveness is getting and giving what is UN-deserved. It’s grace. Think about what it would be like if WE got what we deserved? Yikes. In the same way, God calls us to extend the hand of forgiveness through the love of Jesus, to those who have hurt us expecting nothing in return.

Phillip Yancey writes, “Forgiveness offers a way out. It does not settle all questions of blame and fairness – often it pointedly evades those questions – but it does allow a relationship to start over, to begin anew.”

Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Or someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Don’t wait. Unforgiveness is one of the worst prisons we can be in. God doesn’t want us sitting in that prison being hurt, angry and separated from loved ones. I’ve certainly been on both sides way too many times to count. I’ve done forgiveness, and I’ve greatly failed at it.

Life is fragile. It’s fleeting. Don’t waste a second of it living in unforgiveness. Be scandalous today – forgive as He calls us to forgive! When someone asks you how you are today, respond, “I’m feeling scandalous!” It’ll be a great conversation starter I’m sure!

God bless you all!!!

Daily HIS!

Ally

New Year’s Resolutions…

Proverbs 10.9

Proverbs 10:9 – She who walks with integrity walks securely.

Question: do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I never do. Except this year – I made more of a declaration than a resolution. For me, I have declared that 2017 is the Year of INTEGRITY: I am committing to doing my best at being the SAME person in private, as I am in public. Who I am at home, is who you will encounter at Target. And who I am at Target is who I am at church. And who I am at church is who I am at work. You get the picture.

Years ago, I read a book by Bill Hybels (Pastor at Willow Creek Church in Chicago) called “Who You Are When No One’s Looking”.

Here’s a description of the book “We are all at our best when it counts. But what are we like when no one’s looking? That’s where character comes in–being consistent even when it doesn’t seem to matter. Courage. Discipline. Vision. Endurance. Love. These character qualities are quickly becoming endangered. All too often we hear of marriages falling apart, governments lying, businesses cheating and scandals rocking the church. But with God’s guidance and strength, we can maintain character that lasts despite temptations and troubles.”

COURAGE: I know without a doubt that there are subtle differences in how I act and react at home, versus in public. Quicker to be frustrated, disappointed, or irritated. Quicker to respond in a harsh tone, or hold a grudge. However; It takes courage to recognize the need to change. It’s hard to look honestly in the mirror sometimes. It takes courage to live by God’s standard and not the world’s standard.

DISCIPLINE: Having the self-discipline to change something takes energy and focus. It means looking straight ahead at that goal, without looking to the left or right. Laser focus. Saying “no” to your will, instead of “yes” to God’s will is tough! It’s being self-less instead of selfish.

VISION: There are “visionaries” in this world who see the BIG picture. Visionaries are on the front end of every great mission. Visionaries can “see” the future. And then, they describe it to the rest of us so we can see it to. They’re the “idea” people. It is my prayer, that God would allow me to see my world through His lens. Not through my own tiny, limited lens. Ladies, I just got progressive lens bi-focals. I’m that old. The bi-focals help me focus on the things right in front of me. But they get blurry when I look through them to see something in the distance. If I want to see distance I have to gaze up beyond the bi-focal part. Look UP to see the BIG picture. To see where God is calling you, and what He’s calling you to do!

ENDURANCE: Let’s just be honest – consistency can be exhausting sometimes! Am I right? It takes endurance to continually focus on the goal. I enjoy running. I never thought I was a runner, until I just decided one day – I’m going to run. Running takes all of these character traits I’ve just mentioned: courage, discipline, vision and endurance! It takes endurance to run the race and focus our gaze on the finish line. But with His help – we can run it confidently, without growing weary and finish well.

LOVE: Having integrity takes a huge amount of love. My first and most important love has to be my love for Christ, and what He has done for me. Out of that love that I have for Him, grows the desire to be more like Him. Why does He have to be FIRST? Because if He isn’t first in my life, there is no way I can truly love others as I am called to love them. Unselfishly, and unconditionally. Am I perfect at loving? Absolutely not. My past makes it pretty clear that I’m not. But in the grand scheme of God’s vision He has laid before me – I know that LOVING BIG like He loves is my ultimate goal and prize. There’s huge blessing in loving BIG.

Since the day I opened my shop, I truly desired to create a shop where people could walk in and feel welcomed, and appreciated. I ask for His Holy Spirit to dwell here every day. I see my little shop as a place where I can freely share the love of Christ with every person who walks through the door. To show them that they MATTER. That I SEE them, and He sees them.

So, why have there been days where I’ve treated my customers better than my family? Good question.

God has clearly shown me that integrity starts at home. When my husband and kids walk in the door – I want them to know that they matter, that they are noticed and appreciated and loved. I don’t want to give them my emotional ‘left overs.’ And I’m guessing you don’t either. Yep, sometimes I’m just plain old tired…

That’s where: courage, discipline, vision, endurance and love come in.

I’ll close with this: Who do you want to be when no one’s looking? How will you become that person?

Bless you today! Love BIG!
Be – Daily His…

~Ally