Weekend Challenge…

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’ve been thinking about this challenge for awhile and I woke up this morning with the perfect verse to go with it!  Are you ready for something amazing?!

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”  Proverbs 3:27 (NIV)

I also like the NLT translation of this verse which phrases it this way:

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.”

We’ve all read this one before and many people also tie it in with Galatians 6:10 (ESV), which says:

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Did you notice the wording in these three Scripture references?  Go back and read them again.

  • All three talk about doing “good”, but they don’t list specific actions that we’re to do.  That means we have lots of options to consider! (Let’s think of something really difficult, ok?)
  • Proverbs 3:27 says that there are people out there who actually deserve for us to do good to them!  They are DUE for some blessing from us! (Some of them, in fact, might actually be OVER-due…oops!)
  • That NIV translation also lets us know that we have the power to act. (Doesn’t knowing that make you feel great? We actually have power!!  Let’s not waste it!!)
  • The New Living Translation of that verse brings in the idea that when we act, we’re also supposed to help people. (uh-oh.  That sounds like we’re going to actually have to DO something!)
  • Paul’s word to the Galatians is that we’re going to have some opportunities come our way–and we need to take advantage of them. (Good old Paul.)

So, what monumental task am I asking you to do this weekend?  Become an observer…and then, become an encourager. Become a reinforcer of good choices or behavior. Become someone who sees the good in those around you…and lets them know. Become a person of influence!

Oh, my goodness, what a tall order!  (well, yes…and no.)

Your challenge this weekend is to be a compliment-giver!  Is that all? No!  Of course not!  Here are your parameters:

  • You have to give at least 3 GENUINE compliments to people you see regularly in your life. (This does not include things like, “Well, I see you finally got a decent haircut.)
  • Work them into your conversations, send a card or email, leave a sticky note, or write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror–I’m not picky about how you deliver these blessings!
  • THEN extend your gaze outside your normal circle…and do the same thing for 3 people you don’t know that well. (Oh, my word!  Are you serious?!  Yes. This is your opportunity to bring a smile and a warm fuzzy to people you may never see again…unless, of course, they decide they want to become friends with someone who is so nice to strangers!)
  • And last, but not least:  No one can know you’re on assignment!  Smile and make it seem natural!  Have fun with it!  This is heady stuff!  In fact, you just might become addicted to this one and repeat it over and over and over…Who knows how many lives you can influence in just this simple thing?

cropped-heartGrace & Peace! (and a very happy weekend!)

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Wardrobe malfunction

Happy Monday, everyone!  I used to have some subtle people in my life, but I’m not sure where they’ve all gone!  In their place, I’ve discovered people who will just flat out tell you that they are now waiting on another blog post! (Smile, Cindy!!)  Being the consummate people-pleaser that I am (HA!), here’s just a little bit of what’s been running through my head recently:

Unless you’ve moved within the last couple of years, it is easy to forget how much there is to do as you get settled into a new place.  The lists (yes, plural!) of things that need to happen, the scheduling of those things and the practical everyday life stuff can take over in ways that even this slightly-OCD-tendancied person had forgotten.  Long after the unpacking, there are all kinds of “move chores” that seem to crop up and get in the way of what you’d really planned to do…and, if you’re not careful, the list can become the focus instead of just the incidental chore.  I know this, because it happened to me.  I’ve managed to get things done and keep us on some sort of schedule…and along the way, I forgot something really important.

Three weeks ago, my pastor started a series on Spiritual Warfare based on Paul’s writings to the Ephesians (chapter 6, verses 10-17) and something amazing happened:  Once again, I realized that God was speaking directly to me.  Yes, I know, there are probably others in the church who think it was about them, but no.  It was for me.  (smile)

I know this because as soon as he began to speak that morning, I realized what had been missing!  I’d been creating my very own wardrobe malfunction!  I’d been forgetting to put on my spiritual armor before I started facing the day.  (And, yes! I did see some of you just roll your eyes, but trust me–this makes a huge difference!!!)

Oh, I hadn’t given up my faith or quit reading my Bible or even stopped praying!  In fact, I was quite proud of the fact that I was actually trying to step things up a bit now that we’ve gotten more settled.  (FYI: pride will get you EVERY time!)  My problem was that I had JUST been praying and JUST been reading my Bible and JUST been doing my life with all of my detailed to-do lists and I had forgotten that, while all of that is good stuff, it is only part of who I’ve been called to be.

I’m supposed to be a prayer warrior.  I’m supposed to actually make a difference in the world.  I’m supposed to do more than just go out in my own strength and the wealth of knowledge from YEARS of reading the Bible and teaching and being taught.  I’m supposed to get dressed for battle every single day and go fight the ones God puts in front of me…even when they are just ME and my lists.  I’m supposed to do more than just make do and get by.  I’ve been called to do more than just exist and get it done…and so have you.

Sunday before last, our pastor actually gave us homework!  We were to memorize the different parts of Spiritual armor and we were to memorize a verse of Scripture.  I expected it to be one of those verses in Ephesians, but I was wrong.  Instead, he pulled in another verse I’d read many times before, but had—for whatever reason!—not connected with the topic of Spiritual Warfare before and he tied it all together for me in a brand new way.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  Romans 13:14

Did you get the first part of that verse? This is about more than just going to church and doing all the ‘churchy’ things that we get lost in at times!  This is about getting dressed to go do life in style!—in HIS style!  We are to do more than just leave our homes looking good on the outside!  We are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and go do life like He would!

We’re supposed to be more than nice.  We’re supposed to stand up for what is right and speak truth and pray like we actually believe He’s listening and can DO something about it!  We have got to realize that when we face difficult things, it isn’t really about the crushing deadlines or the person who is getting in our face and causing us grief at that moment.  These are just real-life spiritual battles and we’d better be properly dressed for them!  Our responses to the challenges we face can do more than just diffuse tense situations!  They can make the people around us want to be like us…or be determined not to be.  The choice is ours: are we going to look like us or are we going to look like Him?

IF we choose to walk out this life in just what we can do for ourselves, we are lost.  If we have any hope of representing Him well, we must gear up for battle.  We must put on the Lord Jesus Christ and respond to the challenges and the opposition—and the blessings and the joys!—like HE would.

I’m getting dressed a bit differently these days and I must say, proper wardrobe makes all the difference in the world!