Do Not become Embittered

Hebrews 12:15NIV

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Acts 8:22-24

New International Version (NIV)

22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

I was just sitting here thinking about bitterness and how easy it is for any of us to let it take root in our hearts and pretty soon we are so full of it, literally, that we don’t know how to walk in love as Jesus has called us to do.  With the pessimistic, negative people we come in contact with daily, it’s easy to see how we can let bitterness take root and just go with it.  It’s not easy to remain bitter-free, but it can be accomplished; it just takes lots of practice to not let the world shape your focus or your perspective.  Jesus has worked with me on this one subject for some time now and how I react to what people say and do, can also determine how or when bitterness comes.

By nature, I am not, nor will I ever see myself as a ” morning” person.  Yes, I work a daytime job and yes, I have to get in the  early morning hours, but I am not someone that wakes up happily, eagerly ready to jump out of bed and start the day.  I am the one, that hopes I can reach my alarm clock, so I can press the snooze bar, just one more time, and that 7 minutes doesn’t really do me any justice; I really don’t get any more rest than if I had just gotten up, but it’s something I have always done and do not plan on stopping anytime soon. Then once I am up and getting ready, I don’t want to have to talk to anyone. I want time to wake up, put myself together, maybe have time for a cup of coffee and spend a little  time with God (and I need to do more of this in the morning, than I do now) and then after all that, if there was anytime left before I had to head out the door, then and only then am I ready to embrace any type of conversation.

So, it should come as ABSOLUTELY NO SUPRISE to my husband that I don’t want to chit chat about anything, unless it’s a matter of life and death, so to speak. If you want to stay up late and chat, I am all for that.  We are complete polar opposites on this matter. You guessed it, he is happy go lucky, eager to start his day; if he’s up, then everyone should be up and ready to go too.  It’s funny how after 19 years, that hasn’t changed, and probably never will.  So the whole reason I am sharing this tidbit, is that more often than not, when he tries to have conversation with me shortly after the alarm buzzer goes off, I am usually less than friendly…sometimes I think I might even be snarling….I honestly don’t like that part of myself, but I have never tried to change it.  Words are said, and you guessed it, if I am not very careful and stop and think about how Jesus wants me to be, that old, ugly word BITTERNESS creeps in.  And if I swill it around and think about it all the way to work, while dealing with people just learning how to drive (no not really-just seems that way), it grows.  The sad part is it is only a 15 minute drive at best and it doesn’t take long for that Bitterness (B word) to settle in for the day.

I get frustrated and upset and, you guessed it, way too snarly for my own good.  I start thinking about how dare he do that and then go do whatever he has planned for the day.  Sometimes, I have to pleasantly remind him that mornings are not my thing, anymore than late nights are his.  And he looks at me like I made some alien comment, and again I just have to say, please don’t get upset with me. I don’t get upset with you when you want to go to sleep way earlier than me. We are all just different and we are that way because that’s how God created us.

At http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bitterness, The Free Dictionary Online describes bitterness as this:

bit·ter  (btr)

adj. bit·ter·erbit·ter·est

1. Having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant.
2. Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh: enveloped in bitter cold; a bitter wind.
3. Difficult or distasteful to accept, admit, or bear: the bitter truth; bitter sorrow.
4. Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity: a bitter struggle; bitter foes.
5. Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment: cried bitter tears.
6. Marked by resentment or cynicism: “He was already a bitter elderly man with a gray face” (John Dos Passos).
Now I don’t know about you, but when I see what the word bitter means, I know I don’t want to be that way.  I don’t want my heart to become harsh, or acrid or unpleasant. And it can if you let it.  OR You can show grace and be gracious.
I know that people think that is hard to do, but it really isn’t. We all have choices every day. We can choose how we react to something. We can choose to show grace or not. I want to be the person that shows grace, lives graciously and accepts the fact that the world does not revolve around what I want and that not everyone sees life from my point of view or perspective.
However, I think it is very important that we talk to Jesus about this. He could have become so embittered when he walked among us on earth as the Son of Man, but he didn’t. If anyone deserved or earned the right to be bitter, he surely did; but he never was. I strive daily to remember all he went through, all he suffered and why, because he loves me. He loves you.  So when I become embittered Lord, forgive me. Show me how to be gracious. Teach me how to be more loving like you. Examine my heart and guide me so that I will not let bitterness prevail. Thank you Father.
I leave you with reading Proverbs 14 THE MESSAGE translation

Proverbs 14

The Message (MSG)

A Way That Leads to Hell

14 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

2 An honest life shows respect for God;
a degenerate life is a slap in his face.

3 Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
wise speech evokes nothing but respect.

4 No cattle, no crops;
a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.

5 A true witness never lies;
a false witness makes a business of it.

6 Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!

7 Escape quickly from the company of fools;
they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.

8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.

9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
but a moral life is a favored life.

10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
will be an outsider at their celebrations.

11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
holy living builds soaring cathedrals.

12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

Sift and Weigh Every Word

14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
a gracious person in grace.

15 The gullible believe anything they’re told;
the prudent sift and weigh every word.

16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
fools are headstrong and reckless.

17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
the wicked will respect God-loyal people.

20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
but everyone loves a winner.

21 It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!

22 Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out,
while the thoughtful win love and trust?

23 Hard work always pays off;
mere talk puts no bread on the table.

24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
fools get stupider by the day.

25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
and betrayed by the spread of lies.

26 The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,
and makes a world safe for your children.

27 The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water
so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.

32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
fools never even get to say hello.

34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
God-avoidance leaves people weak.

35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.

***********************************************

God Loves you, right where you are.

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Pondering~Being a Door

 

Being a door is much better than being a doormat for everyone to walk all over.

 

I just recently heard on the radio a song,With Every Act of Love by Jason Gray, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4bB7BUxBbY,, and he sings about how God made each one of us a door for His love to come through.  What a great song and image for me to remember that I am a door to Jesus.  That the love of Jesus can come out through me every day and live in me and I can be the light, the light that God talks about in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 5:15-16

New International Version (NIV)

15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

There are days I face when I feel like a darkness sweeps over me, not for very long, but it’s there and its in those moments that I cry out to Jesus and ask for His guidance.  Sometimes I don’t even understand why I am feeling that way or how the enemy creeps in, but I don’t like when those days come. I am a very positive person, most of the time. I always try to see the good, the silver lining, the blessings, but there are times I struggle and when I do struggle, I cry out to Jesus and seek him. This verse reminds me to do just that, to cry out to the almighty, my Savior!

2 Samuel 22:28-30

New International Version (NIV)

28 You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
30 With your help I can advance against a troop[a];
with my God I can scale a wall.

For many years, my go to verse was Jeremiah 29:11 and I still carry that with me always, but I am finding other verses that I carry and ponder in my heart.  I think of all the people that lived during Bible times when they didn’t have a Bible to go to and look up a scripture.  When they lived, ate, breathed and walked with Jesus. I can’t wait until I am home in Heaven and I can walk and talk with all of them, but until then I am so very thankful that the words that God breathed were captured in the Bible, so I can know the story of Jesus-History (his story).

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And as I have found out, sometimes the plans I have are so vastly different from the plans the Lord has for me, but I have also learned to try and be still and listen to what the Lord is telling me, what he wants me to learn.  I think, there are times that, had I not been in such a hurry, my plans might have been different; however, I truly believe with my whole heart that every single thing I go through in life happens for a reason and the Lord is always refining and remaking me in His image. Some things I go through stretch me until I think I can’t possibly be stretched anymore and just one more pull or tug and I will snap, but most of the time the “snap” doesn’t happen, because I have the Holy Spirit living within me, I have his peace.  Lord Jesus, I am so thankful that you give me peace that I can’t get anywhere else. And I am so thankful that the peace is abundant and continually fills up, unlike wells that sometimes dry up, you are living water and will always be my spring of life!

John 7:37-39

New International Version (NIV)

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a]39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

I was once told by a wise friend, that I had the gift of encouragement. Up until that point, I knew I loved to encourage others, I had always liked doing that.  That was a much a part of me as breathing, but I had never thought about it being a gift. And then I realized that in the Word it tells us that we are all given gifts by our Heavenly Father and we are to use those gifts to glorify Him. That all of us have been given different gifts to further the Kingdom of Heaven.  My other gifts are Faith and Mercy.  There may be more, that I haven’t discovered yet, or the Lord isn’t ready for me to know them yet, but when I realized it was a gift, I knew I had to share it. Gifts are much better when they are shared than we hoard them all to ourselves.

1 Corinthians 12

New International Version (NIV)

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Love Is Indispensable

And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

I cannot imagine walking through life without Jesus Christ as my Savior and friend.  I tried it once…it wasn’t very fun and my life was a mess.  I came to know Jesus when I was eleven years old. I knew him before then, I learned about him, but I didn’t give my life to him until I was eleven.  So for the last 37 years I have truly belonged to the family of Jesus. Because Jesus doesn’t say we are His until we accept him as our Savior and surrender to him.  He wants us to come back to him, but you must be willing to do it, without pressure or under duress.  And there are times we walk away, much like like Prodigal Son who thinks they have a better way of doing things and don’t need their parent’s advice or teachings to get them through life and I have also had those thoughts and learned the hard way, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how I was going to make it.  I yearned for my father’s love, to go back into his fold, but felt since I had left, I had let him down and the enemy of our souls knew that and so he built on that. Satan knew that I felt I had screwed up so bad that I couldn’t go back…filled me with fear, condemnation, dread, depression and loss, angry and frustration and every other thought and word and action that is not from the Father. GOD IS LOVE. Not God loves us, he does, but that’s not it. HE IS LOVE. Pure and simple.  HE IS GOOD.  But if we get to far away from those that know Jesus and we start associating and listening to the world, we can fall away.

It is so important to stay in the Word, to live it. To breath it. To be as much like the Word as we humanly can. We are not righteous, not one of us, but by the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, we can be.

Romans 3

New International Version (NIV)

God’s Faithfulness

3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.

3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[a]

5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[b]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his gracethrough the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

As I see it, God gives me grace daily. There is nothing I can do to earn it, he gives it to me, because I am his child and he loves me. It is my job to live as right as possible. Not easy, but most things in life that are worth anything at all, aren’t easy or everyone would be doing it.  Cliche saying I know. I want to live my life that when people see me, they see Jesus.  When people see me, they see a sinner that is broken and still working through struggles, with the help of  Jesus.  I want people to yearn to know Jesus, to walk with him and to realize how much better their lives could be if they just asked him to come into their lives. I am not saying it will be easy, because I promise you, it won’t. I have been through a lot in my lifetime, things I have seen and done that I would never have imagined doing, things I hope I never have to go through again, but through it all, the Lord has been with me and provided for me.  Years ago when my family and I were homeless, and stayed in our car and a shelter, until we found a place to live, I didn’t like it…it was a very humbling time in my life, the Lord still provided. He provided a shelter, bed and food.  It wasn’t what we wanted for our children or ourselves, but he provided. (I have thought about that time a lot these last few days with the bone chilling temps and frigid air the whole country seems to be experiencing.)(Funny what memories come, when you have to stay inside and keep yourself occupied.)

I look at the times when food is scarce and everyone is struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills to keep a roof over your heads and keep the lights and heat turned on.  The world, not just my world, but the world is going through tough times and until the world turns back to God, it’s gonna get rougher. That’s my thoughts.

Psalm 55:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.

Lamentations 3:21-25

New International Version (NIV)

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

Right now, the Lord is working with me in learning to not be critical.  This is a tough one for me. I don’t like confrontations and I don’t like to be critical, but I haven’t quite learned how to be loving with criticism yet. I want my thoughts to be helpful, not hurtful.  Some days it comes out sideways and then it’s hard to take back, because once the thought has left your lips, it’s out there.  I am striving to being the door that love walks through.

Ephesians 4:29

New International Version (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Galatians 6:9

New International Version (NIV)

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 John 4:17-19

New International Version (NIV)

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us.

I will keep striving to be that door Jason Gray talks about in his song.

Much love and blessings~Carlene