The Bitter Root

I remembered my girls in their early grade school doing a science project with a kidney bean in a glass jar. All that was needed was a glass jar, either cotton balls or wet toilet paper damp but not too wet, and a bean. Place the jar near to a window … and in two or three days the seed germinates into a small plant much to the excitement of the little curious eyes who kept a vigil going.

Hebrews 12: 14-15 warns us to make every effort to live in peace with everyone and see that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and contaminate us. When the root is bitter the fruit must be sour. Bitterness creeps into our heart by wet used tissues that we use to blow our noses after an ugly crying session. Like the red kidney bean sitting by the window … we pull up our chairs by the window and in two or three days the bitterness grows and produces troubling thoughts.

Bitterness shackles us to memories of the past, sickens us to the core, and obscure our vision making everything blurred. We were warned to make every effort to live in peace with everyone and see that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble thoughts that blur our vision.

Stephen Covey, the author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ says that: 10% of life is made up of what happens to you, and 90% of life is decided by how you react. We do not have any control over 10% of what happens to us … but we do own the 90% refusing to be drawn into a sea of hatred and bitterness.

To be honest, I am grateful for all the major incidents in my life that forced and pushed me to be the person I am today. Whether those events were positive or negative one thing is certain they changed my life forever in a good way. Everything happens for a reason whether they were planned or outside of our control.

My AHA MOMENT: People will do better if they knew better. In the meantime … I do the best that I can. I want to see what happens if I don’t give up.

I have gone through major changes over the years that has rocked my little corner of the world, some I thought I would never survive the aftermath … and others I thought there’s no way that God sent me this situation. But today, I am the proud recipient of valuable lessons that have inspired me to write from my advantageous viewpoints.

I had an amusing thought recently — “Why didn’t God make us microwavable?” If we were microwaveable maybe I could just pop myself into the microwave, click the one-minute button cooking myself into a nice gourmet dinner for everyone sitting around the table. People who love to eat are ALWAYS the best people to be around. (Not funny at all. Sort of funny. Far better than crying. )

Someone said, “Anger is about a present hurt; bitterness is about a past hurt. When we feel angry it’s because of something that just happened. Bitterness is always waiting outside the door.” Let it go! Don’t feel so hurt about something that was done to you in the past and every time your heart beats you feel the pain all over again.

I have had to forgive people that never asked for my forgiveness … it’s not about them … it’s about me freeing myself from the memories. I opened the cage and let the caged-bird fly out. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to enjoy it. Let no root of bitterness spring up and contaminate you.

It’s Those Little Things

Psalms 90:12 says, ‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.’ Life is shorter than we think. One day we are here … the next day we are gone. Birthdays always comes with great excitement, big plans, and heartfelt wishes from far and near. The overlooked reality is, our birthdays are numbered by God and not by us.

Most folks do not like to talk about death … but the truth is no one can avoid that appointment. We are not entitled to any of life’s privileges tomorrow. We sometimes put off an apology for another time that may never come. We sometimes delay making an important decision for any day besides today. We more often than not decide to think about death only when we are faced with death.

The things we take for granted today … may one day be too late to show our appreciation. The kindness of a stranger, the love and sacrifices of your parents, the water in the tap, the air we breathe … many of us know exactly what we have is what someone else is praying for … BUT … WE JUST NEVER THINK WE COULD LOSE IT.

So teach us LORD to apply wisdom to every day we are kept alive!

A little girl was holding two apples with both hands. Her mum came in and softly asked her little daughter with a smile ‘My sweetie, could you give your mum one of your two apples?’ The girl looked up at her mum for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite on one apple, and then quickly on the other. The mum felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment. Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mum, and said, ‘Mummy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.’

Those who like to pay the bill, do so NOT because they are loaded but because they have responsibilities and their integrity matters.

Those who choose to stay in touch with you … do so NOT because they are stupid but because they care about you.

Those who apologize first after a fight, do so NOT because they are wrong but because they value friendship. They are not irrational … they know life is short.

Those who are willing to help you, do so NOT because they owe you any thing but because they see you as a fellow human being.

Those who often text you, do so NOT because they have nothing better to do but because you are in their heart.

Those who take out time to chat with you, doesn’t mean they are jobless or less busy, but they know the importance of friendship.

One day, all of us will get separated from each other … we will miss those conversations we used to have of everything and nothing. The dreams that we shared will one day only be a memory. Before long the days will pass by … it will be months and years before we realize that our lack of appreciation pushed the real love away.

One day we look back at the pictures, the cards, the kindness of others and say , ‘IT WAS THEM THAT I HAD THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE WITH’.

Dear LORD,

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. In Jesus Name, Amen

It is Well

Most of us have sung the beautiful hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” for years without realizing that it was written by a man who experienced great personal loss. Even in the midst of his tragedy, he was able to find an assurance in God’s goodness. This song encourages our hearts to praise God whatever our circumstances maybe.

When life gets rough and all appears to be lost … we encourage ourselves that ‘it is well with our soul.’ Our COURAGE is the key to us surviving the aftermath of a devastating blow. The Bible says:

We are hard pressed on every side, BUT NOT crushed.

Worried , BUT NOT hopeless.

Mistreated, BUT NOT abandoned.

Often when we are faced with overwhelming difficulty we feel like we’re in a dead end, but the truth is that no one is ever out of HOPE … there’s always a way out with God.

Because of God’s faithfulness, we can say, “It is well with my soul.” When Satan targets us … JESUS is rooting for us … we will never be ashamed.

I did a search online for the story behind this great hymn “It is well with my soul” and thought why not share it with the hope that someone like myself will be encouraged.

***** Credit for the story goes to Fernando Cabrera the senior pastor of New Life church in the Bronx, New York.

The song “It Is Well With My Soul” was written by a successful Christian lawyer Heratio Spafford. His only son died at age 4 in 1871. In 1872, the great Chicago fire wiped out his vast estate, made from a successful legal career. In 1873 he sent his wife and four daughters over to Europe on a summer trip on the ill fated SS Ville du Havre. Since he had a lot of work to do, he planned to follow them later.

The Ship sank and he lost his four daughters with the wife being the only survivor. She sent him a famous telegram which simply read, “SAVED ALONE….” On his return home, his Law firm was burned down and the insurance company refused to pay him. They said “It’s an Act of God”. He had no money to pay for his house and no work, he also lost his house.

Then while sitting and thinking what’s happening to him, being a spiritual person, he wrote a song – “Whatever, my Lord, You have taught me to say – It is well, it is well with my soul”.

My dear friend, a good attitude will determine your altitude. When you look at your life, career, job or family life, what do you say? Do you praise God? Do you blame the devil?

A good attitude towards God makes Him move on your behalf. Just sit down and say, “Today, God, it is well with my soul, I am thankful I had a peaceful sleep, I am thankful I am alive with possibilities, I am thankful I have a roof over me, I am thankful I have a job, I am thankful that I have Family and Friends.

Above all, I am thankful that I have the Lord Jesus Christ on my side.” Be blessed and don’t be envious or shocked when others are prospering because you don’t know what they have been through to get there (test, trials and tribulation) so thank God for what you have.

“Little is much when God is in it. It Is Well With My Soul!” Touch someone’s life with this message. If God is for us, who can be against us? A blessing is coming your way, my friend.

END.

May all who put their hope in God take pleasure in saying … “Whatever, my Lord, You have taught me to say – It is well, it is well with my soul”.

A Suitable MATE

Sometimes life seems like a dark tunnel with no visible light anywhere in the distant … but they that know their God keep moving forward believing that the end must be nearer than we can see. Life many times get blurry.

The Bible says, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will MAKE A HELPER SUITABLE FOR HIM.” People need people … we were created for relationship. Finding someone compatible must include God’s input to avoid repeated relationship failures.

It was NOT God’s idea for anyone to go and find Mr. or Mrs. Right. God said … HE WILL MAKE TWO imperfect persons the right match for each other. They will have their flaws as all humans but because God has put them together their relationship will work as long as they hold on to God.

When we do life God’s way, we obtain favor and the fit is right. The Word of God NEVER contradicts itself. God does everything to keep us from heartbreak, remorse, and falling into repeated bad relationships. God said that He will MAKE you and your spouse compatible to live, work and have a happy family life together. We cannot make anyone compatible with us … it’s a God thing.

God our Heavenly Father should have an input into choosing our mate. Anyone who chooses to wait on God is a wiser than someone who falls in love when they are lonely.

Ignorance of God’s Word is Satan’s master plan to a cycle of dysfunctional relationships. Two persons can’t walk together unless they come into agreement, so it makes complete sense that we put all matters of the heart in God’s hands. No relationship is perfect … there will always be disagreements … but you never stop holding hands with the Father.

Both my husband and I have had many learning curves along the way but by the grace of God we made it … and His grace towards us was not in vain. We are proof that Jesus can work on the inside making us compatible to live, work and have a happy home. We have fought a good fight and kept the FAITH.

Relationship is a learning process. We learn to disagree and hold hands with the one who MAKES us ONE. We make sacrifices and we learn how to overlook some things for the betterment of our marriage.

We wake up … we are next to each other. We fall asleep … we are next to each other. We share a meal … we are next to each other. We disagree … there’s a profound silence … but no one is running off to solitary confinement. Marriage is for grownups.

When God puts two persons together you can experience God’s blessings in the city, in the country, on the children, on our bread and water, in our coming and in our going out. When we walk in humble obedience, we will reap the fruit of God’s reward.

Trust God to put the right person in your life. May you find comfort in knowing that Jesus is a true, true friend that is more concern about your happiness than you are … just falling in love because you are lonely is the worst mistake anyone can make.

God is the Mastermind behind the construction of a healthy relationship. We are made from dust and we are reproduced into a more durable display of God’s glory.

Let’s Get Ready to Laugh

The easiest way to prevent stress is to laugh as often as you can. Laughter is good for the heart, it’s a lot better than taking medication.

Never laugh alone … a good laugh heals a lot of hurts.

Let’s get this weekend started.

Here’s to the start of a fabulous weekend. A happy heart is a healthy heart. Take time to hug your loved ones.

Thanks for sharing your week with me. Without YOU, there’s no ME.

Happy Weekend. See you on Monday when I get to share my thoughts with you again.

It Takes Discipline

Fear is cruel and heartless. Period. Full stop. If fear was a person, it will be a bully who attacks the weak and the most vulnerable . Once fear starts an internal dialogue …. your imagination takes on wings carrying you wherever you want to go … but only on a one-way ticket. Fear is cruel and heartless.

The scary stories we tell ourselves causes you to over analyze every detail of the matter at hand creating unimaginable fear especially when you are alone. Overthinking leads to depression and anxiety … and it becomes an ugly cycle to the point of making you sick to the stomach.

There are some battles that you must choose wisely to maintain your mental and emotional sanity. As human as we are … one minute we can feel like a superhero and the very next minute we can feel defeated and severely paralyzed with unhealthy dialogues of unhappy thoughts.

We have no control over thoughts that enter our minds, however we do have control over what stays in our minds. It’s like fly swapping … you can’t prevent flies from flying around your plate of food but you have two choices — do nothing about it and allow the flies to have your meal or refuse to accept that this is not how my meal will end.

What can we do about our thoughts and imaginations before they get lodged into our mind? We must actively take control over our thoughts. With God’s help we can! Discipline your mind by not allowing any and everything to consume and take it over. We have the right to watch and do anything … but is everything beneficial or constructive? Sad movies make me cry. Comedy makes me laugh. It’s my responsibility to decide whether I want to be happy or sad.

Nothing just happens by wishful thinking … it takes discipline to take every thought that pops into our minds and match it with God’s voice. Will God ever say derogatory things to you? Will God be part of a sinful plan? Will God agree with your worried state of mind jeopardizing your health?

It takes discipline to train our thoughts to line up with the Word of God so we can enjoy His peace during the storm. Fear is cruel and heartless. Faith is saying, “God, I don’t know how things are going to work out, but I give you control.” Fear keeps you up all night long. Faith makes a good pillow at nights. You can’t have them both.

We can’t say that God don’t talk to us … if we don’t read the Bible. It’s like saying that there’s no volume on the radio when you haven’t turned the radio on.

It is possible to live a life always being aware of your thoughts … it’s called discipline. What you put in is what you withdraw. No one goes to the bank window to withdraw monies they have not deposited. The thoughts you allow to stay in your mind are the ones you will withdraw.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.” 1 Corinthians 10:23

The Dream Team

Have you ever watched Sports from the comfort of your home with family and friends and felt like you were in a stadium packed with overenthusiastic paying fans? They jeer, they scream, and they actively and vociferously coach the players through their television sets. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E in the Family Room is a ‘professional coach’ in their own rights. They call foul, change players, call out referees, provide encouragement, and they give a running commentary even after the game is done. It’s a LIVE stadium performance in your home.

I wonder how my Mom the head coach of the size of a football team handled her team’s performance (good or bad) along with the jeers and running commentary from those looking on from the other side of the fence. The strength of any good mother is second to none. A coach can leave his team, but a good mother can’t.

Someone said, “A coach is someone who TELLS you what you DON’T want to hear, who has you SEE what you DON’T want to see, so YOU can be who YOU have always known YOU could be.” Sounds pretty much like a good parent who sincerely wants the home team to win.

A parent’s role as a head coach is getting each player to understand what he/she is doing right or wrong … and how they can improve the game to bring home the trophy. Our job is NOT solely to win all the games in the stadium of life but it’s to teach and help every player grow and become better players wherever they are called to play.

As the head coach of the team, there are sacrifices to be made, individual needs to be met, dealing with failures, learning to trust again, playing by the rules, telling the team what they don’t want to hear, showing them things they don’t want to see … so the team can be the dream team that it was meant to be.

Sometimes the head coach exhausted as he/she may be … often must cover for one or two fallen players on the home team while the ‘unprofessional coaches’ are shouting out harsh comments from the other side of the fence. The show must go on. Life doesn’t stop … the head coach knows it’s just a bad season with some fallen players, but the team must keep going in spite of the jeers and mockery.

Quitting is not an option … the team must be kept motivated … it’s the job of the head coach. Win or lose the team remains YOUR DREAM TEAM. To all the head coaches of the family, hats off to you for keeping your dream alive despite of the injuries, the insults from the crowd, the naysayers, the fights among the team members, and the long exhaustive meetings. I admire and respect your courage even while under fire.

Sure, your team can go from winning to losing in any season … but don’t let people’s compliments go to your head and don’t let their criticism get to your heart. It’s all in a day’s work. Be brave. My Mom would say to us, ‘Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest. Till your good is better and your better is best.’

I want to celebrate in a humongous way the day God uses our wins and losses, challenges, attacks, heartaches, sadness, pain, to produce the greatest dream team of our lifetime. Let it be said that …. ‘You held steady under fire’ and that your arms didn’t get tired neither did your knees buckle under the pressure.

When everything you ever held dear comes crashing down before you, when nothing makes sense anymore, when the attacks are fast and furious … let it be said of you that you didn’t give up.