Finding Hope in the Seed of Honor

Honor is a seed sown inside of each of us. How we nurture and tend to that seed within every season and every step of our lives will determine what that seed produces.

From that seed, fruit can be borne. The fruit might be integrity, determination, humility, servitude, fairness, courage or trustworthiness.

If not properly nurtured along the way, resentment, revenge, selfishness, arrogance, dishonesty, maliciousness or wickedness may be what is produced from this seed that, at one time, had so much potential.

My friends! Choose honor. Bear fruit. I have to remind myself to do the same.

The path of honor is rarely straight and easy, but it is a path of peace, of joy, of contentment and of opportunity…opportunity for rewards that serve to better self, family, community, and Kingdom with what really matters in life.

What do you see around you?

Do you see the seeds of honor?
Do you see the fruit of the seed?
Do you see a harvest that honors, collects and gathers for a greater purpose?
Do you see rotted fruit that once had much potential?
Do you see the seeds of destruction?

If my life is anything like yours, we’re seeing every bit of it…even in places where we’d expect to find the opposite.

What can we do?

Look carefully,
plant carefully,
harvest carefully…
and do it all very prayerfully.

 


 

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Great is His Faithfulness, Even in Grief and Mourning

CT.4-7
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness, I say to myself,
“The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
~ Lamentations 3:22-24

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Seven… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

It’s been an insightful day. My takeaways are from the Scripture verses and from some of Sandra Stanley’s shared thoughts, but not too much from today’s devotional content. This has just been one of those days, but the Scripture still applies to the day.

I spent the afternoon and evening serving at church for the visitation of a friend’s husband who passed away suddenly on Monday morning. That friend has been a part of this Comparison Trap group study. Tomorrow is the funeral (on the day you’ll probably be reading this).

When I walked her to the restroom today on a break from greeting hundreds upon hundreds of people who had come to pay their respects and to honor her husband, she told me a story about the amazing love she’s seen poured out over her family.

Her husband was a state trooper, and the fellowship given to her by his brotherhood has overwhelmed her. Her coworkers took her car and had new brakes, rotors and other needed maintenance done on it when she had to leave it at work after hearing the news of her husband’s death. Her table-mates from the study and many of the women from the group and church stepped forward to bring food and serve in the kitchen with whatever needed to be done today.

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail,”  the verse above reads. The body of Christ has surrounded her through this tragedy, and it’s through His compassion she’s been able to see it in others.

“God is compassionate. It breaks his heart to see us struggle,”  Sandra tells us in this final devotional. It does, and His way of showing us His compassion is often by using others to display it.

“Great is your faithfulness…” 

The book of Lamentations is full of lamenting, wailing and grief. It covers pain, judgment, mourning and suffering. The book paints a picture of suffering so great that it is often difficult to see hope and to remember the promises of God.

But tucked away within the mourning of Lamentations, there are promises of hope to come. Within the heart of the message of this book, we can see that the writer expresses his confident assurance that God does not turn away from those who turn toward Him for help.

Tomorrow is the funeral for my friend’s husband.

In her grief, I want her to know that the Lord weeps with her, and it breaks His heart to see her struggling. His compassions never do fail, and His love for her will not allow her to be consumed by her grief. His mercies are new every morning, and His faithfulness in her life is truly great. The Lord is her portion, and her faith in Him will get her through the challenges to come.

There will be thousands of troopers who will stand in honor of this fallen police officer; there will be hundreds of friends and family members who will come to grieve with her; there are dozens of small group members who are praying for her; but, there is one Christ Jesus who will be there to comfort her and to bring her His hope in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Great is His faithfulness. Friend, you are loved.


 

The Quest for Life’s Purpose & Meaning

CT.4-5
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Jesus replied:  “Love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with all your soul and with
all your mind.” This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
All the Law and the Prophets hang
on these two commandments.
~ Matthew 22:37-40

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Five… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

As Christians, we often wonder what our purpose in life is meant to be. We wonder where God might be leading us… how He might be calling us… what He would want us to be doing with our life on this side of eternity.

Seeking and searching for those answers can lead us toward love, peace, joy, and hope, and they can lead us into darkness, depression, addiction or hopelessness. There is often a great struggle to find our purpose.

The Bible is the powerful Word of God.
It full of His words to us.
It is full of instruction.

Authors have made millions speaking at seminars, workshops, writing self-help books, and promoting their latest and greatest methods for figuring out our lives. Truly, the answer to finding our purpose can be summed up in these four Scripture verses.

The answer is:  Love God and love others.

Sandra reminds us that, “when we choose to honor and celebrate one another, we are honoring and celebrating someone precious to God.”  She goes on to say that, “Doing so serves us well by cleaning out envy and jealousy, but Jesus reminds us that it also serves God well.”

Jesus is the one who spoke the words of the Scripture above. He calls us to love God and to love others. This is His purpose for our life, and when we are willing to embrace it, we will be filled with the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not only will we be filled, but we will also be a part of filling others.

It is a beautiful thing to “love others well by applauding their accomplishments and celebrating their skills.”

It is a beautiful thing to be loved by God, to love Him, and to love others.


 

Finding Hope in the Intention

Intention.Rings

He makes the bed.

There’s a history here and an even bigger story, but what I want to share with you is one of the shards I spoke of in an earlier post (Finding Hope in Shattered Dreams).

He makes the bed.

A few years ago and simply out of the blue, my husband began making our bed each morning. No announcements, no asks, no conversations. He just began making the bed.

He’s a very early riser. He’s up hours before the dawn. Me? Not so much. I love to watch a sunrise, but it is rare for me to see one.

Shortly after I’m out of bed and stumbling to the kitchen for a cup of coffee with my matted hair and slippers, he heads back into the bedroom to make the bed.

When he first started doing this, I interpreted it as an “I want the bed made, so I’m going to do it after you FINALLY get yourself out of it” kind of thing. He never propped himself up to me, nor did he boast about making the bed after doing it. In fact, he never said anything about it. This was just MY interpretation of his actions. After a few weeks of him making it daily, I caught him in the act one day and decided to join him. While helping, I asked him about it.

His answer floored me.

“I do it to honor you, to honor our marriage and to honor our marriage bed. Making the bed is a reminder to me about the kind of godly husband I want to be and need to be.”

My judgments stopped cold at that moment. His answer gave me a glimmer of hope during a very rough period in our marriage.

Jump forward to today:  He’s still an early riser; I’m still not. He still makes the bed; I — prayerfully and in hopes surrendered — allow him to do so.

There are days I will make the bed, and there are days we’ll do it together. Most days, though, he makes the bed.

I’ve never checked in with him about why he still does so, but I’m hoping that if I were to ask, his answer would still be the same.

Finding Hope in Honor

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He’s given us free will. Volition. Life’s choices are up to us.

Why do we struggle with them so much? Why do the choices seem so hard?

The world often comes at us with a set of choices different from where He might lead us in His Word. In reading His Word, we can be assured that it has always been this way. Despite our desire to imagine that life was easier in the “good old days,” those days — even back to Biblical civilizations — were full of struggles with life’s choices.

A few decades ago, the “What Would Jesus Do?” movement began. Bracelets and messages imprinted with “WWJD?” were everywhere and gave some of us pause before proceeding in our free will.

So how do we, as Believers, walk through our days today making the “right” choices? Everyone has a method. I’m not an expert on this subject, as I still struggle with it myself (what Believer doesn’t?), but I have my own WWJD method.

The last few years of my life have been rough ones. I’ve faced adversity, circumstances and choices I never could have imagined I’d have to face. My challenges are probably different from yours, but they are no more or less difficult in my life’s context as your challenges are in your life’s context. My journey of surrendering my hopes to the Lord has brought some of you into my life — some of you struggling with divorce, abuse, infertility, cancer, the death of a child or spouse, infidelity, depression, traumatic brain injury, miscarriage, rape, loss of purpose, bankruptcy, military injury and so much more.

Your struggle is valid. My struggle is valid. It is in our struggles that we can be defined, or we can be refined.

Psalm 66:10 says, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”

I am one who believes that the possibility of refinement exists in the trials and tests we are allowed to experience. The positive or negative outcome from these tests is often determined by our perspective.

I don’t ask “WWJD?,” but I do challenge myself and hold myself to a standard that I try to meet in my free-will choices.

As I walk through my days, my struggles, my hopes, my sadness and my joys, I strive to be God-honoring in my choices, words, actions, and deeds. These four words…

      • choices
      • words
      • actions
      • deeds

…have been an instrumental part of the hope which has gotten me through the thousands of decisions I’ve had to wade through over my struggles of the last few years.

A few months ago, a mentor of mine challenged me to take it one more step. He suggested that I add “thoughts.”

Profound.

Very profound.

I added it.

So today, my list, my method, my goal, my lifestyle attempt is:

To prayerfully be God-honoring in my choices, words, actions, deeds and thoughts.

Oh, what a blessing has been produced by being refined on His terms and in His timing!