Tag Archives: Bible

Bullies Be Gone

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stop bullyingOctober 16 is Blog Action Day 2013. The theme this year is Human Rights. It is a world-wide blogging opportunity and over 100 countries are participating.

A few months ago, a co-worker and I were talking about child-rearing. Since my children are grown, he asked me, “when is teasing and mocking others a normal part of childhood and when is it bullying?”

My answer, “It’s bullying when it’s your child.”

So, the issue I chose to discuss on Blog Action Day is bullying.  

The definition of a bully is “a person who hurts or browbeats those who are weaker.” All of us have encountered these villains at one time or another. There are bullies at work, in the media, and in politics.  

I want to speak to the ones, we all have experienced, the school bullies. Several years ago a bully would steal your lunch money, call you names, and make fun of your clothes or family. But today, with the increasing use of social media, cell phones and cameras, bullies can harass and expose weaker ones with unharnessed abandon and lack of consciousness. Countless young people have had their reputations smeared and irreparable damage done to their lives. There are news reports about students who resort to suicide because they have lost hope after verbal, physical,  and cyber attacks.

What is the answer?  What can we do to stop this madness?

The first thing we do, is speak openly and honestly to our children and grandchildren. Make it real and make it personal. Tell them your own stories, treat your experience as a part of your legacy.  Second, we use bullied girlunspoken communication to train and teach. We model right behavior. We don’t mock others or make fun of people. We tune out radio and television programs that tear others down. Third, we become proactive. Encourage students to report bullying and challenge them to take a stand for those who are being mistreated.

Finally, the golden rule is still relevant today. No matter what your background or religion, it still speaks to men, women, boys, and girls. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” In other words, treat others like you want to be treated.

A culture of honor begins in the heart and at home. Let’s step up, step out, and take a stand today.

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Don’t Miss the Signs

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tsa agentA friend of mine has several children and each year she takes one of them on a special trip with just her. This year it was her teenaged daughter’s turn and it was going to be her first plane trip. As they arrived at the airport, she used the time to teach her teenager the ins and outs of flying. She walked her through the check in process and everything was going well.

As they approached the security area, she explained in detail what to do. She told her daughter to watch her and do what she did and it would all go smoothly. They took off their shoes, jackets, and backpacks and placed them in the bins. Then, my friend went through the metal detector. No problem, no noise, no nothing. Right on her heels was her daughter, following her mother’s lead.

When the teenager tried to enter the machine, the TSA agent held up his hand to stop the daughter from entering the detector until high fiveher mother had cleared the scanner. Instead of stopping, she thought he was giving her a high-five. What did she do? She gave him a high-five back!

No kidding! She did! Did you know you aren’t supposed to touch a TSA agent? The gentleman proceeded to scold her, humiliating her in public.  Of course, my friend politely set him straight about her daughter misinterpreting his sign. It all ended well, but her daughter learned a valuable lesson that day. It’s important to interpret the signs correctly. 

haltSigns are a part of our everyday lives. They are everywhere. Even the Bible speaks of signs. In the Old Testament God used signs and wonders to reveal Himself to mankind. In Daniel 4:3, the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar finally interpreted what he saw correctly. He acknowledged the Most High God because he recognized God’s signs. Nebuchadnezzar declared, “How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders!…”

Today, I say to you, “Halt! Open your eyes. Don’t miss the miraculous signs and wonders of the Lord.” They are everywhere and they are awesome. Join me in prayerfully giving God a “Holy High Five.” His wonderous signs deserve it.

Rainbow Shooters

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rainbowA couple of years ago a friend of mine was going through a particularly difficult time. She had weathered numerous storms in her life but this time, there were several stressful things happening all at once. Trials with her health, difficulties with her children, and even family issues were taking a toll on her. She was suffering spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. She said to preserve her sanity she had pulled away from a lot of relationships. This young woman who was always an outgoing, sanguine personality had to set distinct boundaries in her life in order to survive during this time.

As she poured out her heart to me, she explained the hurtful conversations she had with others when she tried to maintain relationships with her friends and family. Through her tears, she told me that being around people with seemingly perfect lives made her angry and sad. She said, as she was looking for hope and mercy just to survive each day, those people complained about everything. To make matters worse, she said they offered her meaningless advice and empty platitudes, to try to help. I asked her how that made her feel and I will never forget how she described those people. Her voice broke as she cried, “They are nothing but a bunch of rainbow shooters!” At that moment, I totally understood. 

Later I spent a lot of time pondering her description. I decided you could take the term “rainbow shooters” a couple of ways. Did she mean they offer a shot of something to make her feel better, like the “rainbow shooter” drinks that are served in a bar? Maybe a quick, “you will feel better soon” or “this too shall pass.” rainbow shot A small shot of mercy that might deaden her pain for a while.

Or did she mean, while she was looking to the Lord for hope and mercy (like the Biblical promise in the rainbow)  they took aim at her heart and shot down her rainbow? Were they shattering  the Lord’s promises which was all she had to hold onto during this time?

To this day, I am not sure what the meaning is but there is one thing I know for sure, I don’t want to be a “rainbow shooter” to my rainbow gunfriends and family. It is always hard to watch someone struggle in their lives as they face things beyond their control. But, I am learning to be slow to speak and quick to lavish others with my love and prayers.

God gave the rainbow in Genesis 9 as sign to Noah and to us, so we will remember God, His promises, His mercy, His hope and His everlasting covenant. Genesis 9:16, “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” The question for us is this, will we point others to God’s promises or will we be “rainbow shooters?”

  

5.6, 10:53, 11/5 (All Shook Up)

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No, the title of this post in not an error and no, it is not my Dancing With the Stars cumulative score and it’s certainly not part of some marathon I ran! But if you live in Oklahoma, it won’t take you long to figure it out.

On Saturday night, November 5, I was studying and preparing to lead a Precept Class. The passage I was studying was Isaiah 24-25. The study material was weighty and yet, full of rich teaching. Isaiah 24 deals with the judgment of the Earth. God is specific in telling us how this will happen. Isaiah 24:18c-20, “…the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.”

After I finished the preparation to teach, I closed my Bible and went to bed about 10:30. But before I could shut my eyes, I thought I was living Isaiah 24! I heard a low rumble and roar but it wasn’t thunder, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. As the seconds ticked it became louder and not only did I hear it, I felt beneath me what I was already hearing. The roar become louder and stronger. The ceiling fan shook, the mirrors shook and I SHOOK!

I immediately thought it would be just like God to let me in on Isaiah 24 and then give me a living illustration. As scary as it was, it was awesome, too! An earthquake in Oklahoma, REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, LORD? To witness another of the Lord’s displays of power was incredible. I have been in hurricanes, I have seen tornadoes, but this was so different. There was no way to get away from it or to prepare for it. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usb0006klz.php

The good news, no one was injured and our home was fine. We escaped with a crack in the bathroom floor. The next day or two we had minor aftershocks but the next time, I knew how to recognize the earthquake.

God warns us about what is going to happen in the future. His prophetic Word informs us of the things which are to come. He lets His children in on His future plans not to scare us but to prepare us. Do you know God’s Word well enough to recognize the coming events that are promised? Are you scared or prepared when it comes to the future?

Heavenly Father, Open our eyes to ALL Your Word including Your prophetic promises. Shake us up and out of our complacency. Use the Truth to create a sense of urgency in reaching others with the Truth. In Jesus Name, Amen

Okay, Let’s “Talk Story”

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I have friends who spend three consecutive weeks each summer in Hawaii. Believe me, they need it and deserve it since both of them are in full-time ministry in a thriving church. While in Hawaii, they meet many of their neighbors in nearby condos. In developing these relationships, they have discovered a Hawaiian term and custom. It’s called “Talk Story.”

The locals in Hawaii live  a much slower pace than we do on the mainland.  They get to know their neighbors, they eat together and actually spend time to “Talk Story.” I looked it up and talk story means “to chat informally.” Another way to say it might be, “Let’s get together and shoot the breeze.”

It’s refreshing to think that people actually make time to simply talk. I was deeply convicted by the “Talk Story” concept. What if we, as Christ-followers, actually slowed down long enough to chat informally in this fast paced, technologically isolated place where we live? What if the Lord afforded us the opportunity to “Talk Story” with others who don’t know Him? Would we be ready to do that?

1 Peter 3:15 tell us to always be ready to “talk story,”  “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Look at this verse and let’s ask some basic questions. Who is to be ready to talk story? Those who sanctify Christ as Lord. With whom are we to talk story? Everyone who asks us. How are we to talk story? We are to always be ready to give an account with gentleness and reverence.

How ready are we? Would we shy away from some people and embrace others? What if that opportunity came in the midst of a busy day, would we talk story with gentleness and reverence?

Heavenly Father, Give us numerous opportunities to talk story with others. Use your Word to help us be ready and temper our words with gentleness and reverence. In Jesus Name, Amen

She Looks Like One, Talks Like One, Acts Like One but…

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If you walked into my kitchen and looked around, you would see a five burner stainless steel name brand gas cooktop, a stainless steel range hood and a nice French style (freezer on the bottom, two doors at the top) stainless refrigerator. If you glanced in my cabinets, you would see shiny Williams and Sonoma All-Clad cookware with a matching stock pot, pasta pot and colander. On my countertop there are Hinckel knives from Germany.  I have cool small appliances like grinders, choppers, graters, rice steamer, two crock pots, electric skillet, wok, three kinds of mixers, and a roasting oven, (that will roast two chickens at a time) just to name a few.

If you talked to me about food preparation, ingredients and terminology, I can talk a good talk. My favorite spices are herb de Provence (a yummy combination of rich spices and a little hint  of lavender) and fresh ground nutmeg. I know the difference between braise, broil, and bake. I know how to marinate, mascerate, and infuse.

But…even though I have the equipment of a chef, the vocabulary of a chef, and I can cook, I AM NOT A CHEF. I am only an average cook and I can honestly say I don’t enjoy cooking very much.

If you saw my kitchen equipment and talked to me about food,  you would probably mistake me for a chef (at the very least a great cook) based on how I look, how I talk, and how I act.

I am GUILTY of this kind of mistake so often. Because I am in full-time ministry at a church, I come in contact with numerous people in our church, other churches, and in  para-church organizations. If I am not careful, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of jumping to quick conclusions about other people. 

If someone is well-groomed, well dressed, and smells good, then I decide she must be a Christian. If she uses nice words and even drops the occasional Christianease (Christian speak), I decide she must be a Christian because she has the vocabulary down pat. If she goes to church, Bible Study in middle of the week, and serves often, then she must be a Christian. 

But, what if I met someone  who didn’t exactly have the nice wardrobe and the right hair style and make up? What if I met someone who had a  potty mouth and  used profanity and questionable slang terms? What if her life was in so much turmoil  that she barely made it to church every Sunday? Would I assume, based on what I saw and heard, that she might not be a Christian?

If we are honest with ourselves and each other, we will admit that we are quick to jump to conclusions about others based on what we see and what we hear. As humans, we assume a lot about people everyday.  As believers, we assume a lot about who is a Christ-follower and who is not.

It gives me great comfort and freedom to know that it is not my responsibility to decide what’s inside another man or woman. In 1 Samuel 16:7 the Lord gave Samuel a command and then gave him a reason for the command, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his (Saul, my emphasis)stature, because I have rejected him(Saul); for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

What do you notice first about another person? How quick are you to come to a conclusion based on what you see and hear from someone? How will you temper judgement with grace this week?

Heavenly Father, Forgive us for jumping to our own conclusions and assumptions about others. Give us eyes of love so we might view others rightly. In Jesus Name, Amen

Archived devotionals at circleofsavings.com

Sometimes Choose Amnesia

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Last week on several of the daytime television shows, the guests were Scott Bolzan and his wife, Joan. Scott has amnesia due to a brain injury. His amnesia is not the temporary kind but the permanent (so far) retrograde type.

Amnesia is medically defined as a defect in memory, especially one resulting from pathological cause, such as brain damage or hysteria [via New Latin from Greek: forgetfulness, probably from amnēstia oblivion] simply defined it is forgetfulness.

After his injury, Scott didn’t remember his wife or children. He also didn’t remember how to do many ordinary things. He and his wife wrote a book that chronicles his recovery and efforts to rebuild his life. It is titled My Life Deleted. While the couple told hysterical stories about their new reality, they also openly communicated their daily trials.

http://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Deleted-Scott-Bolzan/dp/0062025473/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318281241&sr=1-1

I listened to the interview and thought to myself, boy there are somethings in my life I wish I could forget. Things like harsh words I can’t take back, stupid mistakes I can’t change, forgiven sins that pop back into my mind, bad memories, hard times, etc…

In Scripture we are told not to forget the Lord, His Word, His work in our lives.  But did you know that forgetting is actually a Biblical concept, a sort of spiritual amnesia? Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) says, “Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” While in this context, God is speaking to Israel. He is reminding them to forget their years in exile due to their sins. The lesson for us is forget your old sins, you live under God’s mercy and grace. This is a new day.

Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 chooses spiritual amnesia for himself and encourages us to do the same. “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But, one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

As I age, I find it both encouraging and freeing to learn that sometimes we can have selective memories. God’s Word tells us to remember and forget. The Bible is full of that kind of paradox.

I want to cheer you on today! Forget the former, what’s behind you and press on toward the new thing. Practice spiritual amnesia and win!

What from your past do you need to forget? What sin do you remember that the Lord has already forgotten? What is holding you back as you move toward winning the promised prize?

Heavenly Father,  Show us what we need to forget and reveal at the same time what we need to remember. In Jesus Name, Amen

Archived devotionals available at: http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

Pippa’s Behind

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Okay friends and new blog followers, every now and then I can’t help myself; I have to speak to the absurd. So hang in there with me as you read today’s post.

Last week I was watching Good Morning America while I was getting ready for work. GMA used to be a serious news show but not so much anymore. They actually spent several minutes discussing this new surgery fixation. Women all over the world are getting plastic surgery so they can have a “behind” like Pippa Middleton (sister of Kate, new wife of Prince William).  Pippa’s backside received worldwide acclaim because her God-given derriere looked so nice in a bridesmaid dress.

They interviewed a beautiful seemingly confident young woman who had the surgery. It was disclosed the procedure costs several thousands of dollars and is extremely painful. They actually take fat from another part of the body and insert it into the backside in order to mold and shape a patient’s bottom. The young woman stood during the interview. Imagine that?

What’s wrong with us? We look at others and we want to imitate them. I had to ask myself first, who do I desire to be like?

Then, the Lord whispered, “Child, remember Ephesians 5:1”, “Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children.”

Is it possible we can draw a little application from Romans 9:20, also? “Who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this” will it?

Now, before my friends who have had plastic surgery get offended let me say this, I DO NOT have any problem with plastic surgery of any kind. It is not the surgery that is the problem, it is the motive. The wrong motive here is the desire to be like another. There is only one Pippa. Anytime we start imitating others we are settling for less than God’s creative best.

Who do we long to imitate? Our Heavenly Father or an earthly idol? Where should we look to find the perfect example to imitate?  

Heavenly Father, help us to be sensible in our pursuit of good looks. Give us hearts that look to you for each motive and decision for our lives. When we desire a new look, mold us into Your image from the inside out. In Jesus Name, Amen

abcnews.go.com/GMA/pippamiddletons-derriere-plastic-surgery-fixation/story?id=14617782.

Cindy Molder’s archived blogs are available at http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

Mirrors, Swords, and Tiaras

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Last week I was invited to speak to the ladies basketball team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University okwu.edu. Not because I am special but because I am the head coach’s mom. I thought to myself, “what an incredible opportunity and honor.” I couldn’t  figure out what I was supposed to say to  thirty young student athletes. So, I decided to tell them what I wish someone had told me. I knew I had their attention when I handed out mirrors, swords, and tiaras.

The main points are below. As you ponder the verses, you can fill in the white space.  There are four distinct lessons to learn. Genesis 1:27, You are created in God’s image. You are an image bearer. Genesis 2:18, You are created for a specific purpose. You are an ezer (helper). Genesis 2:22, You are special because you are a woman. You are hand-crafted by God.  John 3:3 and Revelation 19:7-8, You are royalty. IF you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are born again into the royal kingdom, and someday you will marry into the royal kingdom.

I bet you are asking yourself, what about those mirrors, swords, and tiaras?

I told the young women to look in the mirror and remember who they are: Image Bearers, Ezers (helpers, strong and mighty defenders), and Royalty. I challenged them to pick up the sword of an Ezer and to defend and help one another. Finally, if they are believers, I encouraged them to put on that tiara that marks them as royalty and to hold their heads high because of their royal position.

After I finished with a short prayer, I looked at those image bearing, royal ezers and  I saw pure potential. It’s going to be a fun basketball season but it’s also going to be a great year! Join me in praying for these young women, Heavenly Father, help them to  remember who they really are, so they can live with fearless passion. In Jesus Name, Amen 

 archived devotionals are available at http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx

And the Lord Heard It!

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Have you ever read one short sentence in the Bible and the Lord lifts it straight off the pages and aims His Word directly at your heart? That happened to me on Sunday. Five little words got my attention. “…And the Lord heard it.” (Numbers 12:2)

When Miriam and Aaron spoke against their brother (Moses) for marrying a Cushite woman, “the Lord heard it.” What did the Lord do when He heard their criticism? Well, what would any loving father do?  The Lord called  an immediate  family meeting and He met with all three siblings at the doorway of the tent. He gave Miriam and Aaron a huge piece of His holy mind (Numbers 12:6-8). His anger burned against them as He defended His servant Moses. He left Miriam with a visual aid to help her remember. When the Lord withdrew His presence, Miriam was as white as snow with leprosy. She was kept away from others, isolated outside the camp for seven days. Then, the Lord  healed her as a result of Moses’ prayer.

How did Miriam get to this place of sin? This is the same Miriam who led worship after the Lord dried up the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:20-21). The same Miriam that once had lips filled with praise used the same mouth as a weapon against her brother.

Isn’t that just like us as women? We use so many words. One minute our mouths are praising and building up and the next minute they are criticizing and  tearing down? I’ve fallen prey to women using hurtful critical words. Being a non-confrontational person, I embrace the situation by not saying a word and stuffing it deep down within my heart knowing that ultimately the Lord will deal with it. BUT NOW! NOW, I know that when someone criticizes, gossips, or murmurs against me, I can know for sure the Lord will hear it.

Somehow that gives me great comfort. Maybe the next time I am confronted with undeserved criticism, I will whisper to the Lord (as I turn and walk away) Hey Jesus, did you hear that?

Have you ever been the victim of unwarranted verbal criticism? How did you respond? How will you respond now? How carefully do you weigh your words? What will you remember when you are tempted to murmur and criticize another?

Heavenly Father, Guard our lips and let no unwholesome words proceed from our mouths, help us to use our words in a manner that honors others and glorifies you. (Ephesians 4:29) In Jesus Name, Amen

archived devotionals:  http://circleofsavings.com/Devotional.aspx