By Clella Camp
I have been going back over a conversation that I was a part of recently. And yes, I was a part of it, not an innocent bystander but a part of the group. And in retrospect, I have decided to be more careful about my participation in such conversations. Was it harmful? I don't think so but was it necessary? Probably not.
How do you feel about gossip? Harmless? Destructive? Not a problem? The subject is on my heart this morning. Society gives gossip many labels- chitchat, rumor, conversation, prayer- wait Prayer? Really? How could prayer be destructive?
As His people, we need to examine our hearts as we make verbal prayer requests to any one on one contact. God knows the details of the situation. Vivid description of the problem as the request is made is not necessary. An explicit detail made public does little for a marital or family situation. Just like the games we played as children; the words change as they are passed from one person to the next. A simple request for prayer is enough. The key here being the word “simple.”
Elaborate prayer requests can be gossip in disguise…can you be trusted? The author of Proverbs tells his reader that a gossip betrays a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13, 20:19) Betraying a friend’s confidence by labeling it a prayer request becomes gossip. Our public prayer requests need to be clear and simple. God will understand. Our friends do not need all the “gory details” in order to pray about the issue.
My prayer today is that I might not betray my friends or my God. Won’t you join me?
A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
By Debbie Legg
I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
To one extent or another, every wife and mom modifies their own lives and desires to benefit their loved ones. I am happy to do so, but juggling multiple roles over multiple weeks with multiple issues was taking its toll.
At the end of a long day I was journaling my frustration, and what felt like selfishness, to God. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, without having to make sure it fit everyone else’s whims and desires or feeling guilty about it, just once in a while.
Finally, I wrote the words, “Okay. Rant over, I guess. Help, Lord.”
Then I sensed in my heart, “I will show you the way if you will let Me.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay, Lord,” I thought, “shoot.”
“One day a week, schedule nothing. Choose a day and mark it off as your day.”
I blinked. Crickets chirped. This was an inconceivable concept to me.
“Wait. What? How? What would that even look like?”
“Only do what you want to do. Eat only what you want, go only where you want, be only what you want. I think you will be surprised at what you find and experience.”
Another deep breath. And another. Honestly, what did I have to lose by trying it for one day? I checked my calendar.
“Okay, Lord. I’ll try it tomorrow and report back.”
The next evening I did just that.
“Lord, wow. I read the book I wanted, ate the food I wanted (breakfast food, with crepes! No low carb today!), did laundry because I wanted, made the leftovers for dinner I wanted, watered the flowers because I wanted, stayed outside longer than I needed to because I wanted.
“I’m truly shocked at how much better I feel. I’m so used to putting everyone else’s needs first that I’ve forgotten to even consider my own. I was surprised that I actually wanted to do laundry and make leftovers. Nobody was neglected and I don’t feel selfish. I definitely need self-care/mental health days more often, and if I need to schedule them on the calendar, then schedule them I will.”
“Well done, My Daughter. You do need this. One day a week for yourself. The world will still turn. No one in your family will suffer, I promise. You cannot be all I created you to be, do all I created you to do, if you don’t take time to rest and be restored.”
And then it hit me. Sabbath.
This is what Sabbath looks like for me in this season of my life.
“Thank You, Lord, for making me lie down in green pastures and beside quiet waters. For teaching me how to let You restore my soul.”
There is a meme making the rounds that shows a low battery signal. It says “You wouldn't let this happen to your phone. Don't let it happen to you either. Self-care is a priority, not a luxury.”
What can you adjust in your life to make room for Sabbath?
If you’re not sure, ask God. I’m sure He has an idea.
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by Amy Kemp
"Get wisdom - it's worth more than money; choose insight over income every time." (Proverbs 16:16)
Because I like to write, I journal daily. My journal pages include scripture, prayer requests, tear stains, and a few drops of long-since dried milk from my breakfast cereal bowl - which tells you a little bit about when words are penned in these journal pages of mine. I've probably filled the pages of 50+ spiral bound notebooks. My kids know that a journal is a safe gift for me; it will inevitably be used.
Sometimes, after I've written a scripture and pondered over it, I'll recognize that God and I shared a unique moment. I will re-read it and think it potentially worth another person's hearing. That happened with my writing from April 30, 2018.
It was a family devotion morning in the Kemp household. When my kids were in school, we started our Mondays with a family sit-down at the table to share a word and a prayer before the week began. I remember it being my week to lead. I opted to read for my family what I had written just that morning. After I had finished, my youngest daughter said, "Mom, did you write that? I thought you were reading from a devotional." So, I put a star by that date in my journal and thought, "Someday, to some audience, I'll share this again." Today is that day. You are that audience. I hope my ponderings from April 2018 bless you.
"Proverbs 16:16 - 'Get wisdom - it's worth more than money; choose insight over income every time.' Every translation I looked at said to get wisdom. That's intriguing. If you get something, you probably didn't earn it or work for it. I tried to think about phrases we often use. We get sick. We get a raise or a promotion. When we go shopping, friends/family members might ask, 'What did you get?' Or, students in a classroom will ask one another, 'What did you get?' when test scores are revealed. We also use that word with emotions. We get excited. Or, we get nervous. We don't use get with intelligence, though. Intelligence is earned; it is sought after. I would think wisdom is similar. In fact, with wisdom there is even more complexity because I've always thought of wisdom as tied to experience. Time and life make one wise. Where would you go to "get" wisdom?
Solomon asked for it and received it according the the scripture, which teaches that you can ask the Lord for it. So, in this verse, "Get wisdom" may be David's call to us to "Ask God to make you wise." Why? Because of its worth! In other verses, the worth of wisdom is likened to gold and silver. I wonder what a 2018 translation might say, ". . . worth more than stock in Apple? . . .worth more than a warehouse of Taylor guitars? . . . worth more than Oprah Winfrey's portfolio?"
In the second half of the verse, there is action on our part. Initially, David says, "Get wisdom." Now, the Word says, "Choose insight." That implies that there are other choices. Insight seems like quiet intellect--watching and observing so that you might walk away having learned something valuable. We can choose to observe, to be silent, and to take away from a situation (a teachable moment) or we can be bull-headed and barrel through, never gaining insight and perhaps damaging people and relationships around us.
Lastly, the scripture says to make the choice EVERY TIME. It's just like us to struggle with these crossroads of choice. We seem to say, 'Just this one time I'll act recklessly' or 'Just this once I'll operate on instinct instead of surmising what God would want. . .just. this. once.' Nope. EVERY TIME, choose insight. Elect to get wisdom.
Pray about it. Speak less. Listen more. Gain understanding, and You will be rich - far beyond the world's standards for wealth."
Thanks for being my audience 15 months later. Now, go get wisdom and choose insight!
By Becky Payne
I am a Doodle Mom! (For those who don’t know, a doodle is a poodle mixed with another breed of dog). I adopted Winnie the Doodle, a 3 year old goldendoodle in June 2018 from our local shelter, and last weekend I adopted Whoopie Doodle, a 13 month old aussiedoodle who was rescued from a puppy mill.
Puppy mill dogs have had little to no socialization, and are often abused and neglected. They are only good for breeding. Their life consists of being locked up in kennels which are often in deplorable conditions. There are many who rescue these dogs from these environments; however the dogs do not know how to be a dog. They may be rescued from these situations; but it can take months or years for them to truly experience freedom. They are no longer stuck in kennels without human contact, yet they still act and respond as if they are. They often carry such terror, anxiety, and distrust.
These two dogs have taught me so much about God and His love for us. My dogs struggle with fear and distrust, though Winnie has made great strides in over a year. They both are working to overcome these fears and fully accept my love, though they often revert back to their past behaviors.
Christine Caine in her study entitled Unashamed talks about the difference between deliverance and freedom as she refers to the Israelites enslavement in Egypt. The Lord delivered them from slavery; however they were not truly free until they entered the Promised Land. The journey to the Promised Land should have only taken eleven days; yet it took forty years. They could have been free in less than two weeks, but God knew the Israelites would never be truly free until they changed their mindset...until they let go of the slavery mentality.
In Exodus 14:10-12, we see this mindset as they had left Egypt and before they crossed the Red Sea. They were terrified and wanted to go back to slavery because they were more comfortable as slaves than they were of the unknown freedom ahead.
The next 40 years God was not keeping them from the good things in life. Instead He was preparing them to fully enjoy their freedom whenever they arrived in the Promised Land. They were stuck in a slavery mindset which said they were better off working as slaves instead of receiving God’s best for them. If they would have continued living with this mindset, they would never have been able to experience true freedom. They would always be driven by fear instead of by the God who is greater than their fears.
As we celebrate July 4th, are you free? Has God delivered you from bondage only to find you going back to your old way of life? Are you holding on to what is safe and comfortable or are you trusting God to bring you true freedom? Wherever you are on this journey, allow Him to mold and shape you so you can be free. It will be uncomfortable and even scary, but it will totally be worth it!!