I realized something today, something very personal. I have had a screwed up focus sometimes toward the man I love most in the world, my husband. I do not know where I started down the wrong path or maybe it was a slow gradual incline in effort. But I am thinking it was simply not putting enough effort into being purposeful in my encouragement quotient. See, we all decide what to focus on in life. That focus dictates everything we do, like a mission statement. I had loving but critical parents, so when I am not working hard at it, I tend to lazy down into critical mode. My poor husband. I must have been very difficult to live with. So, I have rewritten my personal mission statement, which I highly recommend everyone on the planet do. I intend to be purposefully encouraging and helpful to my husband and build him up. I intend to celebrate my life with him and focus on the positive. I intend to treasure my moments with him. There is purpose behind God putting people together in marriage and I honor and worship God by honoring and respecting my husband. A life of honor and worship is a life worth living.
Every octopus has tentacles to reach for and cling to something, to hold fast to it until it decides to let go for whatever reason. Some octopi will cling to something, even if their life is in danger. Some die. Others let go and swim away, saving their lives if danger is eminent. Some just are curious and mess with things out of boredom. Regardless, all have their tentacles to cling to things they want or need, for better or for worse. People have invisible tentacles. They have this inherent and built-in drive to reach for and cling to what they want or need. Sometimes it is good and beneficial, as in clinging to God and His Word and the hope of salvation and truth for permanent fulfillment. Other times it is dangerous and self-defeating, as in clinging to some sin or unhealthy person or bad habit for very temporary faux fulfillment. And if we can be made to desire the wrong, it would have to be masked by lies or we would be er be easily coerced into giving up lasting rewards for the chase of those which will harm you but feel good while doing so. No matter how fabulous the devil’s ploy and tricks are, the choice is still ultimately our responsibility to make. We cannot be forced, only led. So to arm ourselves and not be duped by an enemy out to kill us, we must fill up on the Word of Truth, the Bible, Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other followers of Yeshua Christ, and make purposeful decisions to cling to that which is good. In this way, we will be faithful to the end and be saved. What beautiful hope. How encouraging that we know this secret. How amazing to be so loved by our powerful Creator that He wants us with Him all the time. What an honor!
“Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. A farmer patiently waits for his valuable crop to grow from the earth and for it to receive the autumn and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Do not give up hope, because the Lord is coming soon. Brothers and sisters, do not complain against each other or you will be judged guilty. And the Judge is ready to come! Brothers and sisters, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They suffered many hard things, but they were patient. We say they are happy because they did not give up. You have heard about Job’s patience, and you know the Lord’s purpose for him in the end. You know the Lord is full of mercy and is kind.” – James 5:7-11
Beauty in nature brings smiles to the face and twinkle to the eyes. We enjoy natural beauty. It is how we are made. We specifically enjoy beauty that mimics our Creator. By that I mean that the internal attitude of our hearts naturally leans toward the perfection that is our Creator. Even His craziest looking deep sea creatures reveal qualities about Him of beauty and grace or sheer determination and power. And much more importantly, our attitudes externally toward people should mimic the beauty we possess internally from our Creator. Now when that doesn’t happen, usually there has been an injury to cause a disconnect. Some people have years and years of multiple injuries and have difficulty expressing beauty because they no longer believe the truth of their internal beauty. And sometimes the injury is self-inflicted and then we assist the lie that beauty can not reside where we were ugly on purpose. And this is the truth here… ready for it? Pause for dramatic effect, you have always been to God as beautiful to Him as He purposefully designed you to be. Nothing has come as a surprise to Him. Nothing has made Him hate you. That is the truth. Everything else is lies by the enemy to hurt you and destroy you if he can. There is a reason the devil is called the father of lies. Now, there is the matter is sin. When you are saved and you confess the sins to Him and turn away from them, leaving them behind, the sin is washed clean. You are instantly just as beautiful as the day you were designed by the Creator. And once you believe that truth, you will start acting beautiful, which is an attitude of appreciation and love, respect and worship, peace and power, self-control and goodness, the more fruits of His Spirit you will reflect. What we appreciate of Him a d His beauty will start pouring out of you and your beauty will show as a light to all. Now, just because this happens doesn’t mean the enemy is going to leave you alone. He still wants you gone, so until heaven is our home, memorize this and say it out loud, “Nope, that’s a lie, get away from me in Jesus Christ’s name”. That is your tool. And back to the beauty, the renewal process works best when you replace the holes the lies left with truth from God’s Word, the Bible, and prayer. Allow the Source of truth to fill you up and renew your beauty. This will help a lot. You got this. And the best thing is you never walk alone. God is always there with you.
I love chocolate. Specifically, I love dark chocolate mostly but any chocolate that is real and alone will do. Now, the downside to my love of chocolate is my strong dislike of the consequences of having too much. For instance, I break out and my clothes get smaller overnight. Now, relying too much on anyone thing for happiness is completely foolish unless that thing you are relying on is an eternal and good thing. Otherwise your reliance is founded in something temporary, something evil (the opposite of good). This makes sense, right? So my reliance on chocolate to make me happy or alcohol or drugs or gambling or pornography or other things would expend energy that could be used for lasting and good purposes to bring glory to and worship God and instead distorts, damages, delays, detracts and completely screws up your life eventually for the enemy’s gain and laughter at your falling for it again. The opposite of good is evil. There is a definite and consistent stark contrast in the Bible between good and evil. There are not varying shades of evil or varying shades of good. It is either good or it is evil. That is truth. So, if the reach isn’t for something or someone good, we are reaching for something or someone evil. And anytime we take our chances and run with the evil side because it feels good to do so or has become habit or is familiar and comfortable, we enable the enemy a door to sections of our soul and spirit and help him in his work of killing us. The enemy, Satan, and his spiritual army only seek to destroy the amazing and beautiful people God made and loves. In contrast, when we resist the devil, he flees because he has to. He has already been defeated. So, resisting evil on purpose and reaching for good and eternal things and People will bring peace and love and joy and blessings and a purity renewed that is splendid and healthy. We get to pick. However, we must pick on purpose or it will be picked for us. God gives us the tools we only need open the toolbox and use them to receive the benefits. Prayer, salvation, repentance, Bible study, worship, church support and involvement, service, work. These things are all tools for lasting good and eternal beauty. So great a gift!