Keeping Score

Have you ever kept score of all the wrongs someone has committed against you? I’m sure you know what I mean. Like when someone says something that hurt your feelings. Or, when an expectation of yours was never met by someone. Or, when you’ve done so many things for someone else and they don’t return the favor. I know that I’ve been that person to keep score.

In fact, I have an impeccable memory when it comes to storing all this kind of information. It’s like having a filing cabinet with said person’s name written across the front. ‘I’m sure glad that I paid you a compliment and you never reciprocated a compliment back to me.’ Let me file that in my “Payback” folder.

Wow, how ugly those feelings sound when typed out before my eyes. And, yet, I lived much of my life feeling and acting this way toward others.

Learning to live like Christ is a lifelong process. It’s in this process that I am being perfected. It wasn’t until I implored the Lord to show me my faults that He brought me out of my denial and ignorance.

It’s a sin to keep score of someone else’s wrongs. By tallying them up, I never fully resolve in my heart to forgive them with each occurrence. If I want others to reciprocate their love for me, I must commit myself to never retaliate by being unforgiving.

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I had allowed my heart to be hardened. Unforgiveness is an infection that will continue to build up if left untreated. I had to learn to stop keeping score with my dearest family and friends.

God is still in the process of healing my heart. And here is what I’m learning through this journey:

  1. In every situation, I must ask Christ for His forgiveness. I must resolve in my heart to repent (turn away) from this act of sin. This is to free my heart from the bondage I created for myself. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. -1 John 1:9
  2. With each individual, I must go to them and confess that I am in the wrong for tallying up their “wrongs”. It’s only then that God can open up the pathways to my heart and allow healing to occur. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed… – James 5:16 
  3. In all things and all ways, I must choose love. Regardless of my thoughts or opinions toward others- and whether I feel if they are wrong- it wouldn’t change a thing. I must show my love and pray for them. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wrongedIt does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. -1 Corinthians 13:4-5

People tend to respond to us with what is given to them. When I choose to retaliate my feelings based on someone else’s behavior, it continues a vicious cycle of wrongs. When I choose forgiveness and love, then, those people are able to reciprocate with forgiveness and love in return.


Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”- Romans 12:9-10 (NLT) 

On-Demand

In today’s day and age, I have instant access to watch TV or Videos on-demand. TV broadcasters make their programs instantly available on the internet. Digital cable allows customers to rent movies or programs right from their own home. Subscription video on demand (i.e.- Netflix, Hulu) gives users access to unlimited programs. And these are just a few types of on-demand services available.

This is the true epitome of the idea of living in a ‘microwave generation’- instant gratification that dictates “I want it now”. In order to view any of these features, I must pay an internet bill, cable bill, or a monthly subscription. It comes with a price. And in my home, our family used to pay to have video on demand through digital cable. All this just to watch what I wanted, when I wanted it.

What’s interesting is that having video on-demand was definitely taken for granted. I didn’t utilize it to the full extent of what was being paid for. I mean, cable companies claim you’re getting a deal. But let’s face it, it’s still being paid for by that monthly bill.

In spite of this, I didn’t choose to end the perks of on-demand. Relocating to a new town landed our family with a new cable company and limited cable features.

As with most things, God used my practical every day happenings, such as on-demand services, to apply concepts to my spiritual walk. So in a similar way, I have on-demand access to Jesus! In an instant I can call upon Him, have fellowship with Him, and receive from Him. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ..For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.- Ephesians 2:13 & 18 (NIV). 

I can have Jesus (what I what) even now (when I want)! The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him.. -Psalm 145:18-19 (NLT). 

The benefit of this is that there is nothing I have to do to earn on-demand access to Jesus. It was already paid in full by Jesus Himself. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. -1 Peter 2:24 (NLT). 

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But I must confess, I do not always utilize my instant access to Him. I do not always acknowledge that this benefit was paid for. In essence, I have taken Him for granted.

I don’t consciously intend to restrict myself from this access. I have not spiritually moved my heart away from Him. But I have allowed my thoughts to relocate Jesus from being my number one priority. The busyness of life’s demands get in my way of utilizing His on-demand services available to me.

I have taken some time to first, acknowledge that I need Jesus and His instant gratification. Second, thank Him for paying that price that I may have instant access to the Father. And lastly, recognize the services available to me- all that I “have” is in Christ.

  • Holy life- I have a sacred calling that leads to a consecrated life, which is set apart and with a purpose. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. -2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV). 
  • Abundant life- I have more than is necessary, and only obtained through Christ. ..I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:10 (NKJV).
  • Victorious life- I have victory and power with which I can conquer my sinful nature that leads to death.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:57 (NLT).
  • Eternal life- I have the grace of God evident in my life unto the attainment of  my eternal life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. -1 John 5:13 (NLT).

Now, imagine if having TV or Video on-demand offered lifelong services. Services that were paid in full by the company. Wouldn’t that be something?! But, I do have these promises and so much more given to me by Christ. And, dear friends, you do too! My prayer is that you will utilize your on-demand access to Jesus as well!


“For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”- Ephesians 2:18 (NIV)

Who am I?

Negative thoughts often cling to my mind like a death grip. I’m particularly haunted by the lies of failure, unworthiness, and loneliness. This concerns some big areas of my life, or even the core of my very being. There’s a constant battle with these thoughts and what God’s truth reveals in His word.

One of the biggest areas is my role as a homemaker. This path wasn’t always destined to be for me. I spent six years in school to earn my Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. I was career oriented, and worked for almost 5 years in my field of expertise. It wasn’t until my seventh month of pregnancy that my husband and I decided it was more financially beneficial for me to stay home. Because of this, I often feel like a failure. Largely in student loan debt, I am not contributing to our family’s finances.

However, according to scripture I am a work of art- a showpiece of God’s creation. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.- Ephesians 2:10 (NLT). There is no failure in a masterpiece. And I can rely on the promise that God is constantly at work within me, perfecting His masterpiece, until Jesus comes! (Philippians 1:6).

Another area is my role in relationships with others. I can be impatient, argumentative, and controlling. My husband naturally yields patience. Our child is pleasant and content in character. My family lends overwhelming support. My friends offer kindness, compliments, and praise. Thus, feelings of unworthiness take over my mind. How do I deserve to be surrounded by so much love when my personality can be sometimes unloving?

However, scripture affirms that my inner being is sacred, a dwelling place for the Holy of holies. ..For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.- 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NLT). God sees great worth in me. He trusts me with promised treasures in this temple, and I am to guard these by the Spirit that is within me (2 Timothy 1:14).

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My role as a stay-at-home mommy is another effected area. The vast majority of my family and friends work a day shift job. Since having a young child, it is difficult for me to plan social visits with people in the evenings. My child follows an early bedtime routine, and changing that course could result in a challenging night’s rest. This tends to breed the feeling of loneliness. I often feel isolated, being cooped up in a house with minimal adult interaction.

However, I am promised in scripture that I have an extended network of family. See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!..- 1 John 3:1 (NLT). I have a heavenly Father who has promised to never leave or abandon me (Deutoronomy 31:6). And since I’m adopted into sonship through Jesus Christ, I have brothers and sisters in Christ (Ephesians 1:4-5), thus never being alone.

You see, it wouldn’t matter where I’m at in life, what I’m doing with my life, or who is in my life. Negative thoughts are constantly threatening to attack my mind. That’s because the enemy is always on the prowl, looking for whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8). And if I am not properly equipped to identify these lies, I would become victim to its destruction. And maybe you face this battle, too. But, there are beautiful truths given to us, by God’s word, to properly equip us! Praise be to God!

Friends, I pray that we daily take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I pray that God imparts to us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of who He says we are (Proverbs 2:6). I pray that we live loved (1 John 4:16), because that is the most important essence of who we really are!

What negative thoughts are at battle in your mind? What truths from God’s word do you cling to in order to defeat the lies in your mind?


For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”- 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 (NIV)

Beauty

There’s an old proverb which states, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What I may perceive to be beautiful may not be beautiful to you. It is subjective.

The world we live in has set standards for what some perceive as beautiful in other people. Namely, a person’s size in weight, or in their assets (ahem), can determine their beauty. The color of their eyes, skin, and hair is another factor. As is the sound of their voice and even particular smells. I feel there is so much pressure to live up to these standards of beauty. It is a system designed to set me up for failure in someone’s eyes.

The definition according to Merriam-Webster is- “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses…” [Emphasis added] So, it’s no wonder that these physical qualities are what we use to determine beauty in our eyes. Our senses guide our perception of beauty by what we physically see, hear, smell, and touch.

I began to think about the notion of the beauty of God. His beauty is cited in songs, sermons, and scriptures. But, I can’t physically see, hear, smell, and touch Him. So, what makes Him beautiful?

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

These words of David, found in the scripture of Psalm 27:4, are more than just a lovely, poetic verse. Beauty in this context translates as “kindness, pleasantness, and thoughtfulness”. This definition of beauty undoubtedly describes attributes of character, instead of physical manifestations. It is the character of God that makes Him beautiful. And when I live like Jesus, I radiate these same beautiful characteristics. After all, I am made in His image (Genesis 1:27).

1 Peter 3:3-4 reassures me in this, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” [Emphasis added] This unfading beauty is uncorrupted. 

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Goodness, how do I exude an uncorrupted character in a world full of sin? By the strength of the One who helps me in all things (Philippians 4:13). By setting my heart on what I believe God has given as guidelines (Phil. 4:8) for owning this unfading beauty.

Whatever is true- God is truth (John 14:6), His word is truth (John 17:17), and because the Holy Spirit lives in me I can and will excel in truth (1 John 2:27).

Whatever is noble- When I do what is right in the eyes of God and man, I live with honor (2 Corinthians 8:21), and a life worthy of respect (Titus 2:2).

Whatever is right- When I am obedient to observe and live out the laws of the Lord, I am made righteous in his sight (Romans 2:13, 1 John 3:7).

Whatever is pure- The wisdom that God imparts me is pure (James 3:17). And since I am like Christ, I can put my hope in Him who purifies (1 John 3:3).

Whatever is lovely- Christ loves me greatly and sacrificed himself as a condition of that love. I must follow His example and walk in the way of love (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Whatever is admirable- When I honor others and God in the way I live, I will be well off and will prosper (Ephesians 6:3).

I am instructed to dwell on these characteristics. But more than that, I am to live like Jesus who is the epitome of uncorrupted character and unfading beauty. Because of Him, I am made beautiful in His sight. And you, my friend, are made beautiful too!

I’d like to hear from you! What scriptures do you rely on to comfort your heart in regards to beauty? Post in the comments. 🙂


In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”- 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)

Creation

I have long been in love with and fascinated by creation. To think of the vastness that goes beyond the beautiful, blue skies I see. Not only in the galaxy with which I live, but the galaxies out there in the great unknown. To think outside the box of my own little life amongst the billions. Not only in my lifetime, but even in those generations before me.

Did you know- Our observable universe is comprised of approximately 100 billion galaxies. These are immense masses of stars, dust and dark matter. The smallest (dwarf) galaxy typically contains at least 10 million stars, and a giant galaxy can contain up to a thousand billion stars! A single star, which has planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteorites in orbit around it, is known as a solar system. Just in our Milky Way Galaxy alone, there is an estimated tens of billions of other solar systems besides our own!

Did you know- Of all the planets, in our solar system and amongst others, Earth is quite unique. It is comprised of life sustaining water. It is the ideal distance away from the sun to both protect and preserve life. It has a protective atmosphere to shelter life from overheating and to maintain life-giving oxygen. And there are numerous of other distinctive characteristics, but one thing is certain- Earth is the source of intelligent life!

Did you know– Just in the ocean alone, there are an estimated 2.2 million+ [known] species of plants and animals. It was calculated (6 whole years ago) that there are roughly 6.5 million species of animals on land. There are an estimated 18,000+ species of birds in the world. The fascinating truth about these statistics is that these numbers are not inclusive of species that are extinct and those yet to be discovered!

Did you know– Humankind is distinguished. From the outward appearance, there are differences in hair, eyes, skin, height, weight, and other physical features. Inward, there are differences in bones, blood types, muscles, organs, and other internal features. There are DNA sequencing in humans which have two important purposes- 1) Certain stretches of DNA contain genes, 2) Other stretches of DNA are responsible for regulating genes by turning them on or off. The combination of all these things is essential in validating that not one person is made the same as another.

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So, why all the scientific specifications? I’m delighted when I try to fathom the vastness of creation. I’m even more delighted with the love that God has for everything He created. Big and small, exquisitely detailed, and vast in numbers- God cares for it all! “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:31).

Every intricate detail, in all of creation, work together in a big picture. And in comparison to this big picture, it’s so wonderful to comprehend that God still cares so deeply for ME. “And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you…” (Matthew 6:30).

I am His creation made in His image (Genesis 1:27). I am His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). And He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).

There is a grand view outside of my personal existence. Past the beautiful, blue skies and beyond the Earth is a whole universe of unknowns. But even still, God cares for me- one amongst billions in my time, and times before. And my dear friend, I want let you in on a little secret… He cares for you too!


“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”- Romans 1:20 (NLT)