Mean-Spiritedness – Is it Justifiable?

I recently read a blog post by a pastor’s wife that got me to thinking. While I didn’t agree with much of what the woman said, I could understand where she was coming from; I couldn’t, however, understand why she felt the need to be so mean-spirited in her delivery. She could have just as easily gotten her point across in a more loving way.

So why did she choose the mean-spiritedness route? Why do any of us ever choose to address a subject we don’t agree with, or attack a person we don’t exactly care for, with mean-spirited words and attitudes? While I’d like to say I’ve never been guilty of being mean-spirited, I know I would be lying. Unfortunately, I have — probably more often than I’d like to think. But why?

bud and shug

Since as Christians we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, always ready and available to guide and direct our every word, thought, and action, what excuse do we have for mouthing off? What excuse do we have for lashing out at others in a mean-spirited way?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t speak up when we see or hear something that’s wrong, something that doesn’t honor God. Chances are we should more often than we do. It’s even okay to share a differing opinion, like what this woman did in her blog post. But I’m convinced that whatever it is we believe we just have to say — whether we’re taking a firm stand against evil in this world, or simply disagreeing with someone on an issue — it can and should be done in a kind and loving way.

“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:14-16

shug and bud

Bottom line is this: I was deeply grieved when this woman, without any biblical grounds, chose to attack — in a derogatory fashion — another Christian sister by name, simply because she shared a differing opinion. But that’s not the saddest part of this story. The Bible tells us that whenever we are mean-spirited in our words or actions, we’re grieving the Holy Spirit. Wow! I don’t know about you, but that causes me to stop and give serious consideration to how what I’m thinking, saying, or writing impacts the presence of God who dwells within me.

In Ephesians 4:29-5:2 Paul admonishes believers with the following words:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” 

May we all be careful to take Paul’s words to heart the next time we’re tempted to speak or react in a mean-spirited fashion.

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Birds, Bees & Butterflies. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

bee

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

I Shall Call Upon the Lord

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Jesus says: “Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy. You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control.

As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will deliver and rescue me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me. Psalm 55:16-18a

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid, what can mere man do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me; He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah. God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth. Psalm 57:1-3

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God, who shows me lovingkindness. Psalm 59:16-17

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Randomness. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Celebrating Freedom

I’m reposting something I shared a couple of months ago while promoting my newest Christian fiction novel — Caribbean Freedom. Since my weekly Bible studies/devotions post on Wednesdays and this week’s is scheduled for July 3, I thought it would be a good time to share it again as we celebrate America’s Independence Day.

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So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. So if the Son makes youfree, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-32, 36

It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedomII Corinthians 3:17

Freedom is the theme of my latest novel, Caribbean Freedom – the third & final Island Legacy Novel. Although the heroine’s mother and father sought freedom from Castro’s communist Cuba during the mid-1990’s, ultimately her family and friends – in Viñales, Cuba and Miami, Florida – discover the greatest freedom life has to offer comes through letting go of bitterness, forgiving past hurts, and embracing the life of freedom Christ came that they might have.

Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom 

While eating a boiled egg and piece of dry toast for breakfast Saturday morning, Mariela watched her grandmother scurrying about, reminding her of an older version of her own mother. The woman’s chin length hair was more salt than pepper, but still hinted at the rich dark chocolate color it once boasted. Her eyes danced as though their owner found great delight in living. Mariela contrasted the woman’s exuberance for life with what she knew to be her mother’s general countenance. She had to admit while Abuela had lived all her life in Cuba, she seemed more fulfilled than Mariela’s mother did although she lived a life of freedom in Miami.

“Abuela?”

“Humm?

“Are you always this happy?”

The older woman turned from wiping down the countertop and stared at Mariela for a moment, her forehead creased in thought. “Are you asking have I always been this happy . . . or at this season in my life, am I always this happy?”

Mariela tapped a forefinger against her lips, pondering her grandmother’s question. “If you have to ask, I’m guessing that means you’ve not always been this happy.”

“No, child, I haven’t.” Abuela leaned against the counter. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned much of what I once allowed to make me sad or discontent was only robbing me of the fullness of life I could experience if I truly surrendered it all to God. I hope that’s a lesson you’ll learn much younger in life than I did.”

“And how might I go about doing that?”

“By trusting God and learning — as the apostle Paul said — to be content in all circumstances.”

“But does learning to be content mean you don’t ever wish things were different? I mean, have you ever wished you’d been given the opportunity to live somewhere else?”

Abuela pushed away from the counter. “Are you asking if I’ve ever wished I lived somewhere other than Cuba?”

Mariela didn’t want to stir up any of the hard feelings related to her parents’ decision to leave, but she did wonder if her grandparents had ever longed to live elsewhere. “Yeah, I suppose so.” She shrugged her shoulders as she dunked a crusty piece of bread in her cafe con leche, hoping to give the appearance of simply generating conversation as opposed to probing. “Have you ever wondered what life would have been like had you lived . . . say . . . in the States?”

Abuela pulled out a chair, still drying her hands on a dishtowel as she sat. “Unlike your mother and father, I’ve never had grand illusions of living a different life outside of my beloved Cuba. But we are of a different generation, I suppose. Even so, I can’t imagine leaving my homeland for an unknown . . . no matter how glamorous others might say that it is. Perhaps if we’d suffered great persecution, I would have felt different . . .” The woman’s dark eyes drifted toward the open door.

The laughter of the three children who lived across the street filled the balmy air. Mariela listened to the light tinkle of youthful merriment for a moment. She’d always believed Cubans had in fact suffered great persecution, yet her grandmother inferred they had not. “You don’t feel that you’ve lived a persecuted life?”

Abuela shrugged. “At times, yes . . . we were persecuted, but not to any great extent. Although we had a season when we had to be secretive in our worship, here in Viñales we never really feared for our lives.”

“But during that time, did you ever long for the freedom to worship as you pleased?”

Abuela ran her index finger along a broad red line in the checkered tablecloth. “Despite what you may think, I was always free to worship as I pleased.” She placed a splayed hand over her chest. “My child, no one can ever stop us from worshipping the Lord. True worship comes from within. I’ve always been free to worship, even if it was restricted to the privacy of my own heart.”

Tears welled in Mariela’s eyes. How differently her grandmother seemed to view her faith. What a wellspring of wisdom she possessed in recognizing that worshipping God was not confined to a church building.

The older woman smiled. “One thing we as Christians need to always remember is that freedom — when it comes to our faith — is not tied to our outward circumstances. Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we are free. Remember Jesus’ teachings in the book of John? He called Himself the truth . . . the truth that makes us free.”

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” Mariela whispered.

Abuela nodded. “So you see, when it comes to my faith, I’ve always been free. And no matter what our government leaders said or did, they couldn’t take that freedom away from me. Do I wish some things had been different? Do I even wish some things were different today? Absolutely. But what is, is.” She touched Mariela’s cheek with the tips of her fingers. “And your life in Miami, Nieta, has it always been perfect, exactly as you wished it to be?”

Mariela cast her eyes downward. Abuela had turned the tables on her. Here she’d been feeling sorry for her grandparents because they’d lived all their lives in Cuba, not experiencing the freedoms she’d known, and yet . . . had her life always been all that she’d wanted?

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This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through scripture and photographs: Red, White, & Blue. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

 

It’s Too Difficult for Me

A devotion from The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss reiterated a lesson I believe God has been trying to bring home with me lately. Hopefully the devotion and scripture references I’ve included will speak to you as well.

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. Psalm 131:1-2

From The Quiet Place“The last part of this verse (Psalm 131:1) has become a recurring theme for me, something I often call to mind when facing difficulties and challenges: ‘This is just too great for me. There is no way I can figure it out on my own. And I am not going to let my heart get all worked up over something that is so far beyond my control.'”

Commit your way to the Lord; Trust also in Him, and He will do it (He will accomplish what concerns you). Psalm 37:5

“That’s a good place for a child of God to be, because life brings an endless stream of unexplainable problems, unanswerable questions, unfunded opportunities, unknown speculations. Deep down, we want to be able to manage all of this, to stay in control of it, to know how all the pieces fit together. But there are puzzle pieces we will never have the knowledge to understand or put together without divine help. And we will stay in a continual dither of wasted time, energy, and emotion if we keep trying to sort it all out — situations we simply cannot solve before bedtime tonight — if ever.

So if you’re over your head today — if perhaps the people at work or at church don’t value your gifts and potential, if the people in your home won’t respond as they should — this would be a good time to focus instead on calming and quieting your soul, trusting God’s wise determination of how He wants to take care of this.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Instead of seeking your own ambitions and agenda on your own timetable, trust God to place you where He wants to use you, while you concentrate on serving Him faithfully in the midst of circumstances beyond your understanding. That’s one secret to a peaceful heart.

How much of the noise in your spirit comes from being consumed with matters beyond your comprehension or ability to control? Stop wrestling and start resting in His wisdom and grace.”

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Now at my bungalow retreat where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Snapshots of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

 

Whose Voice are You Listening to?

Another great devotion by Nancy Leigh DeMoss from her book, The Quiet Place

“As a rule, people don’t fall into bondage overnight. There is a progression that leads to bondage. And it begins when we start listening to and pondering things that aren’t true.”

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

“That’s how it all began in the garden of Eden. Eve listened to the lies Satan told her. I’m confident she had no idea where those lies would ultimately lead her and her family. Perhaps it didn’t seem particularly dangerous just to listen to the serpent — to hear him out, to see what he had to say. Listening in itself wasn’t disobedience.”

He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

“But here’s the key: listening to a viewpoint that was contrary to God’s Word put Eve on a slippery slope that led to disobedience, which then led to physical and spiritual death. Listening with an open mind to things that are not in accord with God’s Word is the first step toward bondage and destruction.”

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned (misrepresented), and in their greed they will exploit you with false words (stories they have made up). II Peter 2:1-3

“That’s why it’s so important to monitor the input we allow into our minds and hearts and to reject that which promotes ungodly thinking. A steady diet of worldly influences — from television, magazines, movies, music, friends, novels — will seductively shape our view of what is valuable, beautiful, and important in life.”

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

“There are no harmless lies. We cannot expose ourselves to the world’s false, deceptive ways of thinking and expect to come out unscathed. Eve’s first mistake was listening to the serpent and considering his worldview as a valid option. Mindlessly absorbing counsel or reasoning that is contrary to the truth will lead us to develop wrong beliefs that eventually place us in bondage and erect barriers in our fellowship with God.”

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. Romans 16:17-18

“Can you think of something you heard recently that appealed to your interests or desires but, as you think about it, is not consistent with God’s Word? Did you ‘listen to’ it (receive it immediately), or did you consciously reject the lie?”

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

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Now at my bungalow retreat where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Seagulls, Pelicans, & Dolphins. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

God is on Your Side

This devotion from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young really spoke to me recently, maybe it will speak to you as well:

From Jesus Calling, Jesus says: “I, the Creator of the universe, am with you and for you. What more could you need? When you feel some lack, it is because you are not connecting with Me at a deep level. I offer abundant life; your part is to trust Me, refusing to worry about anything.

It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation, to bring about the result you desire. Your thoughts close in on the problem like ravenous wolves. Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life. The only remedy is to switch your focus from the problem to My Presence. Stop all your striving, and watch to see what I will do. I am the Lord!”

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Cease striving and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Micah 7:7

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes. Romans 8:28

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: A Little Squirrelly. I hope you’ll drop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

Taking a couple weeks off, but I will be back on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

And don’t forget, you can always connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

I Will Praise You, Lord

Borrowing again from my husband Joe’s blog at www.dlobaptistchurch.com:

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.” (Psalms 9:1, 2 NLT)

1. I will praise You.

”Praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being.” (Psalms 148:1-5 NLT)

Give Him praise today

2. Tell of all the marvelous things God has done.

”The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38, 39 NLT)

Tell someone today what The Lord has done for you

3. Be filled with joy.

”But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord — rejoice in his presence!” (Psalms 68:3, 4 NLT)

Express your joy to the Lord today

4. Sing praises to His name.

”Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalms 150:6 NLT)

Sing Praises to Him today

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm.” (Psalms 47:6, 7 NLT)

If you can’t come up with a song of praise, let me suggest one for you today, “You Are My All In All” by Point of Grace.

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Take Time to Smell the Roses. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

God Cares for You

Every winter when I put out seed for the birds, sparrows far out number all the other birds that visit the feeders.

As most of you know, I love photographing birds, and while I’ve taken lots of pictures of sparrows, they really aren’t one of my favorites. I must confess I’ve been guilty of hearing birds at the feeders, looking out, then thinking, “Oh, it’s just more sparrows.” And yet, whenever I see the sparrows congregating at the feeders, I’m reminded of what God’s word says about them and the implications His concern for even the sparrows has for you and me.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:28-31

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

These passages of scripture always remind me of the old hymn His Eye is on the Sparrow by Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel:

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

As you read through the words to this old song, did you find yourself humming along? I know I did. But even more importantly, did you take time to allow the truth of the words to soak deep into your soul? I sure hope so.

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Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: Sweet Serenity. I hope you’ll drop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

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If you’ve not had a chance to purchase your copy of Caribbean Freedom (third & final Island Legacy Novel), I’m having a Book Signing on Sunday, May 19, at Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon, Mississippi. I’ll be set up outside the book store before, between, and after both morning services. If you’ve not read any of the Island Legacy novels, I’ll also have copies of Caribbean Paradise and Pearl of the Caribbean (first & second books in the series).

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

The Truth about Forgiveness

Borrowing this week from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In her daily devotional book, The Quiet Place, she shares what I feel are some great truths related to the subject of Forgiveness. Since learning how to forgive those who have hurt us is vitally important if we as believers are going to walk victorious in our Christian lives, I felt these teachings were worth passing on.

Forgiveness and good feelings don’t always go hand in hand

“Forgiveness cannot be proven by our feelings, any more than it can be motivated or empowered by them. Forgiveness is a choice. And feelings often aren’t. So it’s quite possible to forgive someone the right way — God’s way — and still have thoughts flash across your mind that seem to contradict the decision you made.

Forgiveness is not like planting (flower) bulbs, where you never have to think about them again, and everything just naturally comes up nice and pretty in the spring. No, life goes on. Sometimes old feelings turn up when you’re not expecting them, needing to be handled and replanted. But that doesn’t negate what you’ve done. It simply gives you a new opportunity to let the Lord reign over your emotions. When you don’t feel forgiving, that’s when you just keep forgiving — by faith.”

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgression.” Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting

“The Bible never says God forgets our sins. He simply has chosen not to ‘remember’ them against us, not to bring them back up again, or to accuse and condemn us with them. Choosing not to remember isn’t the same as forgetting. The fact that you have not been able to forget the offense doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t forgiven it.

But why wouldn’t God make this tidier? Couldn’t He just purge these negative thoughts and painful memories from your mind? He could, of course. But He doesn’t always choose to do so. One reason is that the memory of past hurts can provide a powerful platform for ministry to other hurting people. If you could not remember how it feels to be damaged by the blows of sin and injustice, how could you relate to the pain that people around you are experiencing? Thank God when He leaves behind enough (memory of painful hurts) to make you useful in ministering to others.”

Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25

Forgiveness is a Choice

“By God’s grace, you can choose to forgive in a moment of time. And though additional time and hard work may be required to live out the implications of that choice, the reality of being released from the prison cell of your own unforgiveness can happen today as an established fact.

The choice for you to forgive is actually no more a slow-moving, wait-and-see process than God’s forgiveness of you. Just as you were extended His grace in a moment of time, you can extend grace to others as a right-now expression of your will. That’s when the process begins. Rather than following on the tail end of a lengthy healing period, your willingness to forgive is actually the beginning point of true healing. Forgiving allows you to enter the process of restoration, not the other way around. Forgiveness happens, then it grows on you. You plant it, then it begins bearing fruit.”

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. II Corinthians 5:19

Forgiveness doesn’t always fix things

“Innate in the human heart is the expectation that life should follow an upward trend, getting richer, fuller, and more fulfilling along the way. But life generally isn’t like that in our fallen world. Yes, believers in Christ know that the years we spend on earth are but a small fraction of our eternal lifetime . . . but in the meantime, not every offender is going to repent,; not every relationship is going to improve. And as surely as you’ve been wronged in the past, you will continue to face situations where you will again be wronged, maligned, and treated unfairly. Not even the power of forgiveness can prevent that from happening. To expect otherwise is to set ourselves up for disappointment and to live with the foul fruit of bitterness.

It we are going to live at peace with God and our fellow man, forgiveness must be an ongoing way of life. So the next time you are faced with a hurtful, perhaps even repeat offense — in your marriage, with your children, in the workplace, at church — will you harbor resentment, or will you forgive . . . anyway?”

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

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 Now at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through photographs and scripture: April Showers bring May Showers . . . I Mean, Flowers. I hope you’ll drop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com

If you’ve not had a chance to purchase your copy of Caribbean Freedom (third & final Island Legacy Novel), signed copies are available directly from me, or you can purchase unsigned copies through Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. If you’ve not read any of the Island Legacy novels, Caribbean Paradise and Pearl of the Caribbean (first & second books in the series) are also available directly from me or through Amazon.com. Check under Island Legacy Novels for more information.

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Tapping into the Power of God

I’m borrowing again this week from my husband’s Pastor’s Blog where he shares daily devotions. If you would like to receive these devotions by e-mail, you can subscribe by stopping by our church website and filling in the information under Subscribe to Pastor’s Blog in the right hand corner of the Home page: www.dlobaptistchurch.com 

Walking in God’s Power

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16 NLT)

Do you need to be empowered today? Do you feel as if your inner strength has been sapped? God has unlimited resources that can take care of all that.

Sometimes it is in our weakness that God does his greatest work. . . . “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. . .So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT))

Tap God’s unlimited resources and you will find strength you never knew was available. Walk in God’s power today.

The Power of Christ in You

“News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.” (Matthew 4:24, 25 NLT)

People were drawn to Jesus. They followed Him wherever He went. I believe it’s still true today. People are drawn to the manifest presence of Christ. They were drawn to the power that Christ displayed while He walked this earth. Today, people are drawn to the power of Christ within you.

So, are you living life under your own power or the power of Christ who lives in you. Who gets the credit? You and your goodness or the goodness of Christ?

“For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.” (Colossians 1:27, 28 NLT)

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This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through scripture and photographs: Spring in the Country. I hope you stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

I have another Book Signing coming up on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Cups in Brandon, Mississippi, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you live in the area and haven’t gotten your copy of my latest novel, Caribbean Freedom – the third & final Island Legacy novel, I hope to see you there. I’ll also have copies of books 1 & 2, Caribbean Paradise and Pearl of the Caribbean available for purchase.

If you can’t attend the book signing, you can still purchase a copy of Caribbean Freedom as well as the other two Island Legacy Novels. Signed copies are available directly through me, or you can purchase unsigned copies through Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. Check under Island Legacy Novels for more information.

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.