Getting What We Deserve…

Getting What We DeserveEver feel like you just don’t get what you deserve? Striving day in and day out, we work extremely hard. We scrimp, save, coupon, lose sleep, work our fingers to the bone. No matter what we do we just can’t seem to get ahead. We want what we think we deserve. Society trains us to believe we are owed something in return for our hard work. The world has even trained some of us that we deserve rewards just for showing up or even just existing.

I’ll be honest with you and tell you what I think I deserve–absolutely nothing if benefit. Forsaken, tortured, spat upon, beaten, whipped, nailed and hung on a cross and crucified for my sins–that’s what I deserve. Over my lifetime, I’ve made decisions and spoken words that were contrary to the truth of God’s Word. I’ve made many mistakes and committed more sins against God than I can count. We all have.

Guess what? By the grace of God, I haven’t gotten what I know in my heart that I deserve.  Jesus paid the debt I owed.  My Lord didn’t deserve them yet endured all of those things for a wretch like me and for you.  My God didn’t deserve to give up His Son for my sake.  I don’t deserve to have the gift of life, my amazing husband, my four precious children which I call my “blessings”, health, material possessions, and freedom. Yet my Father has blessed me with all of these things.

Instead of sulking that we don’t have what someone else has, rather than pouting about not getting things we think we deserve, instead of sacrificing our souls and the souls of others to get what we want, let’s be thankful for what do have.  Let’s seek the face of God, accept His Son, live for Him, accept His Word and obey it, and allow Him to change our hearts and daily mold us into His likeness, and TRUST HIM.  Let’s accept His salvation so rich and free. Let’s share this salvation with our children, families, friends, and even strangers.

I know someone else who doesn’t get what they deserve either: God. He deserves to be loved, appreciated, worshipped and adored for what He has done for us.  He deserves to hear our prayers of thankfulness, not our entitled whining and complaining. He doesn’t deserve to be compromised in any way and deserves for us to stand up for Him at all costs.

Now, I know we can never do anything to earn our way to Him.  But shouldn’t knowing what He has done for us make us want to live a life of gratitude rather than whining?  Doesn’t it make us love Him so much that we will gladly give our very lives for Him?

Do you know how very many completely destitute people there are in this world? There are so very many I’ve known and heard of that are living in their gratitude and their joy instead of wallowing in their lack. It’s time for we pick ourselves up and see our abundant blessings. Let’s dwell in our gratitude and joy this Thanksgiving season.

The Controversial Proverbs 31 Woman

 

 

 

charmWho wouldn’t want to be the Proverbs 31 Woman?  I will tell you who–many women these days.  They’ve fallen for satan’s lies.  Unfortunately he and the world have completely distorted the truth about her.  They have created a false controversy out of TRUTH – something God meant for our good and His glory.  The enemy wants to defeat women because he knows how strong we are with God by our side.  But I say the controversial Proverbs 31 woman is a myth.  Let’s uncover the truth:

Proverbs 31:10-31


10A wife of noble character who can find?

    She is worth far more than rubies.

She lives a life of gratitude, obedience, and submission to God, who in return creates her flawless, polishes and makes her shine.  She is a precious gem, a sparkling jewel, a priceless treasure…  I want to be thought of as priceless.

 

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

She is virtuous–honest, loyal, and trustworthy.  Her husband trusts her implicitly because she keeps means what she says and says what she means.  She can be depended upon.  She is soft and beautiful, yet tough and solid.  She is a steel magnolia–lovely and courageous.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

She exudes goodness, morality, virtue, and integrity. She relies on The Lord to live an upright life.  Love never seeks to harm.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

She is a diligent worker.  She sees her responsibilities as loving acts of service to her family. She is thankful she has a family for which to care.  She does her work with joy in her heart for the family she adores.  
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.

Have you ever worked with someone who only did exactly what they were told and nothing more?  That is not the Proverbs 31 Woman.  She takes initiative and is motivated to do whatever she can to help her family and her community.  She uses her creativity and determination to go the extra mile.  

15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.

She plans her day wisely by getting up early, praying, giving God control of her day, anticipating and preparing for the needs of her household.  This takes discipline and self-control.  

16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She plans ways to utilize the gifts and talents God has given her for His glory and the good of her family.  They benefit from her initiative, hard work, and abilities.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

She doesn’t just strive to be “good”.  She strives to be better.  She doesn’t just settle for better, but for the best.  Just when you think she has done her best, she works to push past her best and sets a new record for herself.


18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

She works tirelessly and selflessly, sacrificing for her family.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She is passionate about her work.  She utilizes her passion to strive to be better, to work hard, to serve her family and others.

 

20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

She sacrificially serves her community. She is gracious with her time and her talents, sharing and giving from her blessings.

 

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She has no worries when it comes to whether or not her family has everything it needs, because she has taken the time and initiative to plan accordingly.  She hasn’t just prepared physically for her family, but she has also looked after their needs by praying for them and giving them to The Lord.


22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

With class and modesty, she clothes herself as a princess and daughter of The King.  She represents Him with virtue and integrity.

 

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She represents God, her husband and her family well through her character.  She is known in the community as virtuous and noble and this reflects well on her husband.

 

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is industrious and seeks ways to help her family financially.  This does not take up the largest portion of her day.  This industry is not her life.  It is something she does as a side note after she has taken care of her family’s physical and spiritual well-being.

 

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

It isn’t just her physical appearance that is dignified, but her dignity comes from within, from her Godly character.  She gleans wisdom from God’s Word and speaks truth in love to others. They come to her because she is trustworthy and they know they can depend on her to pray.

 

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

She doesn’t leave the affairs of her household to others.  She doesn’t expect others to care for her children, husband, or home.  She knows God has entrusted these blessings to her and she takes responsibility for them.

 

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

Her family praises and appreciates all that she does.  They know many women are noble, but they acknowledge the extra that she does because of her love for God and them.  

 

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

She doesn’t waste time on the temporal.  She fears The Lord and utilizes her time to have a relationship with Him.  Why?  Because she loves Him and is grateful for all He has done in her life.  His love and blessings motivate her to be better.  The Lord praises her.  Her heart and works demonstrate her love for God and people.

Who wouldn’t want to hear these adjectives describing them:  VIRTUOUS, PRAISEWORTHY, FAITHFUL, CLASSY, LOVING, SELFLESS, LOYAL, WORTHY, WILLING, GOOD, INDUSTRIOUS, HARD-WORKING, GODLY?

Don’t let the world distort your view of God’s truth about the Proverbs 31 woman.  He placed examples in His Word for us to live by.  With God all things are possible.  Proverbs 31 is noble, attainable, and it is God’s plan for His daughters.

New Creation in Christ – Thankfulness Thursday

Well, I’m beginning to get back into a groove on this blog. I’ve been praying for The Lord to give me content that He wants me to share. I was following a topic schedule so my readers would have some expectation, but I would like to follow His lead so we will see what happens…

Today the topic I was led to share falls directly in line with today’s theme, which is Thankfulness Thursday.  I am particular grateful for this today, because it has been an extremely busy week.  I don’t know about you, but more often than not the busyness of life can weigh heavy on me after a while.  I find myself needing to take a moment to count my blessings and reflect on God’s faithfulness.

Today I am feeling particularly grateful for the metamorphosis that is the Christian life.  I don’t always like the squirmy caterpillar stage.  Did you know a caterpillar’s one and only job is to eat?  Don’t get me wrong I love to eat, but I think after a while that would get monotonous and tiresome.  I’m such a goal-oriented person.  Slowly inching my way through life can seem tedious, and many times I don’t see the progress I’ve made.

Did you know God put into place certain defense mechanisms for the caterpillar?  At some stages a caterpillar appears like droppings to birds so that they don’t recognize the meal before them.  Swallowtails have a stink gland behind their heads to ward off predators.  It sounds rather disgusting, but many times my choices make my life stink and seem like waste.  I have to get into my chrysalis of protection, my spiritual prayer closet.  I’ve got to go through the struggles, study His Word, focus on my God-given purpose.  If I recognize my sin, repent, and submit to the Lord, He will shower me with grace and use those times to make me stronger.  He does the same for the butterfly, giving it one more chance at another day to get closer to it’s calling.  Along the path of life, I encounter so many discouraging predators and the enemy is always on my tail, but God is stronger and more faithful in His pursuit of me.  He always stays a step ahead ready to ward off the predator.

Even though change takes us out of our comfort zone, I think I’d much rather get to the process where I morph into a beautiful, colorful, amazingly complicated, gravity defying creature with gorgeously painted wings that can touch the sky.  I love this picture I took recently in our backyard.

butterfly

As I have reflected on this picture, The Lord has brought to mind so many steps in the metamorphosis that is the new creation in Christ.  Scriptures from His Word have flooded my mind:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
  • Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
  • Psalm 119:5 – This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
  • Philippians 2:12-15 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

It might not always be a pleasant process, but it is more than worth it not only to the new creature but also to the world.  Both can enjoy and reap the benefits of the change, but we have to be willing to endure the squirmy caterpillar stage and allow God to morph and shape us.  For without this seemingly monotonous and sometimes dangerous process, there would be no metamorphosis.  I am so grateful for the opportunity and life chancing power of becoming a new creation in Christ on this Thankfulness Thursday!