BELIEVING THE BEST ABOUT OTHERS

Positive Thinking Sign by Stuart Miles

Happy New Year! I am believing with you that 2018 will be the best year ever. One of the things that I do on the first day of January every year is to review my goals from the prior year to assess my accomplishments, and then I set new goals for the year. One of the goals that I have set for myself this year is to believe the best about people.

I Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love thinketh no evil.”  To be honest, that is something that I struggle with. Sometimes I am quick to jump to a negative conclusion, and I want to change that. If I don’t understand why a person said what they said or did what they did, instead of jumping to conclusions and making assumptions and judgments without having all of the information, I need to ask questions, gather information, and get clarification. When I don’t it leads to problems because, as Proverbs 13: 10 (NAS) says, “Through presumption comes nothing but strife.” According to Pastor John Lawrence, of Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro, “Presumption doesn’t know what is right, doesn’t ask, and goes ahead with the plan and action without finding out.”

For example, I made an appointment to meet with a contractor to assess the work that needed to be done to our house. He did not show up for the appointment, and he didn’t call either. He stood me up! So I texted him and told him I would have appreciated him giving me the common courtesy of calling or texting me if he could not make it to the appointment we had set. The next day his wife called me and said he was in the hospital after having suffered a heart attack. I felt two inches tall because I assumed that he was just plain rude. That’s why I need to get better at thinking no evil. How about you?

Sometimes people say things that are offensive. This year I am trying to change my thinking about this as well. When I encounter someone who says something crazy, this is what I am going to TRY to tell myself:

  1. “The enemy is behind this.” Ephesians 6:12 says, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The more quickly you discern the devil’s activity, the better off you will be. When you recognize the enemy at work, sometimes that’s enough to help you make the decision to keep silent and allow the Lord to defend you.
  2. “They don’t intend to hurt me.” If your goal is to believe the best as in I Corinthians 13:5, you will have to come up with statements like this that put a positive spin on negative, hurtful speech and behavior. I Timothy 2:25-26 says people are sometimes caught in “the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” I believe that most people don’t want to hurt others, but they are wounded, and hurt people hurt people.
  3. “They don’t recognize what they are doing or how they sound.” Proverbs 11:12 says, “Whoever derides his neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding hold their tongue.” Jesus said in Luke 23:34, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Therefore it’s highly likely that the person who is being offensive doesn’t even know they are being offensive, and that can motivate us to offer grace instead of judgment.
  4. “If they were aware, they would make another choice.” Proverbs 10:23 says, “A person of understanding delights in wisdom.” Proverbs 17:27 says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint.” So when I believe the best, I believe that it’s their lack of knowledge and awareness that is causing the problem, not that they are bad people.

However, I am not naive, mind you. We have to have a balanced worldview.  I know that sometimes people do deliberately commit evil against us, and we must confront them in love as stated in Matthew 18:15. Job 20:3 says, “I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply.” Even John 2:24 says, “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.” But I want to believe that evil is generally not the default mode for most human beings. So this year I am striving to think no evil and believe the best about people with the Lord’s help. Then when I have to think negatively because I really have no other option, that will be the exception and not the rule.

 

How do you think believing the best about others can help you in your relationships?  Please leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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HEALING THE SOUL WOUNDS WITHIN

 

Broken heart with bandaids by Idea Go

I pray you had a blessed Christmas holiday filled with love, peace and joy.  Unfortunately, many people are saddened at holiday time because of soul wounds caused by rejection, loneliness, loss of a loved one, and/or family or relationship issues. If you are dealing with a soul wound that is causing you emotional difficulty, or know someone that is challenged in that area, the information I am sharing here may help.

First of all, you may ask, what is a soul wound?  A soul wound results when our emotions are injured in our interactions with others (whom the devil may be working through, I might add). These emotional wounds are mainly a byproduct of our erroneous thinking. When we know who we are in Christ, we will be less likely to be wounded emotionally. That is why we need to strive so diligently to know our true identity.

Today, my goal is to give you some encouragement. You can be healed of whatever is keeping you from being your best self, that which is attempting to keep you from fulfilling your destiny. If you want to be a better you in 2018, there are several things you can do to facilitate the healing of your soul:

  • Forgive those who have hurt you. In the parable of the ungrateful servant in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus relayed that the servant who would not forgive was being turned over to the “tormentors.” That means if we do not forgive, we too will end up in emotional torment. Forgiveness is the spiritual antibiotic that will certainly facilitate the healing of your soul,
  • Love, bless, pray for and do good. In Luke 6:27-28 we are commanded by the Master to treat our enemies in specific ways. When we do what Jesus instructed, this is evidence that we have forgiven, and also our obedience releases the power to heal our emotional wounds.
  • Identify and replace the lies of the enemy. Soul wounds result when the enemy deceives us into thinking less of ourselves because of what has happened, or what other people have said or done to us. When we identify the lie and replace it with the truth of God’s Word and what He says about us, healing will come forth, and we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
  • Focus on helping others. When we have been emotionally wounded, we can choose to nurse our wounds, focus on ourselves, and have a pity party, or we can get our minds off of ourselves and help someone else. This is not to say that we should run from our pain. But when we focus on the needs of others, we will heal faster if we “trust in the Lord and do good” (Psalm 37:3).
  • Confront the person who hurt you. Matthew 18:15 says, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” The healing process will often be expedited by telling those who have hurt you how you feel and giving them the opportunity to make amends.
  • Confess your hurt to someone you trust. Paul said in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” Talking to a trusted friend or a good Christian counselor, as well as prayer for the perpetrator, may be what you need to help to heal your broken heart.
  • Saturate yourself with the presence of God. By meeting with Him daily in an established quiet time, you can be healed and transformed. Psalm 16:11 says, “In His presence is fullness of joy.”  God says He is close to the brokenhearted, and He binds up our wounds (Psalm 34:18). If you want the wound in your soul to be healed, you must slow down and put yourself in position to receive His healing touch.

Jesus died so that you can be healed, healthy and whole. Therefore, don’t allow the enemy to get the best of you. If you will go into 2018 with the intent of becoming free of emotional baggage and do what the Holy Spirit instructs you to do, you can have a happier New Year, and 2018 will be one of your best years ever.

Have you been resisting God’s instructions about what to do to facilitate the healing of your soul? What do you need to change in 2018? Please leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of Idea Go via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

 

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE WALKING IN FORGIVENESS

Forgive or punish by Stuart Miles

Every day we have many opportunities to be offended, don’t we? God commands that we forgive people seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). That means we have to be willing forgive infinitely. We have to forgive every time. That’s hard, isn’t it? But it’s the Bible.

That being said, I wanted to talk about how to know if you have really forgiven those who have hurt you. At a woman’s meeting I attended just the other day, I heard the speaker, Rev. Tracy Barbie say, “Forgiveness is a decision, but the healing of your emotions is a process.” I totally agree.

So how do you know if you have really forgiven them? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I refuse to retaliate against the person for the wrong they have done to me as Jesus refused to retaliate against those who crucified Him?
  2. Have I let go of my desire to see that person punished as they deserve as God refrained from punishing me as I deserve?
  3. Have I stopped pursuing restitution from the person, or requiring them to pay me back for what I lost, and canceled the debt they owe me?
  4. Am I looking to God, not the perpetrator, to repay me and provide restitution for the pain and loss I have suffered?
  5. Am I trusting the Holy Spirit to heal my negative, painful emotions, recognizing that those feelings are not a sign of unforgiveness, but a soul wound that needs to be healed?
  6. Do I feel at peace with allowing God pay them back for what they have done, and administer justice if, when, and how He sees fit?
  7. Am I willing to love, bless, pray for, and do good to the person who has hurt and/or offended me in spite of my feelings?

If you can truthfully answer “yes” to the questions above, then it’s safe to say that you are walking in forgiveness. When you walk in forgiveness, you will avoid sickness and disease, torment in your soul, hindered prayers, and soul wounds that fester, remain infected and refuse to heal. There are so many benefits to forgiving those who have hurt you. Therefore, if you are currently struggling with a forgiveness issue, why not do yourself a favor and let them off the hook today? Let 2018 be the year in which you get rid of those things which weigh you down so you can run your best race (Hebrews 12:1).

 

What are your thoughts about forgiveness?  How do the above questions apply to your life? Please leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

 

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS: THE DIVINE QUALITY CONTROL PROCESS

 

Pass Fail Buttons by Stuart Miles

Today, I want to focus in on James 1:2-4 (NIV), which says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Let’s face it, when we go through trials we rarely consider it a joy. In fact in our attitude is usually, “Count it all aggravation and frustration when you fall into divers temptations. Knowing this: the trying of your faith worketh on your nerves.” That, Saints, has got to shift if we are going to become all that God wants us to be and get to a new and higher spiritual level.

God’s Quality Control Process
God gave me an analogy to help me to understand why He allows trials. Before a product goes out from a manufacturer to the public, there is a quality control or QC process that must take place. This inspection process proves that the product is fit for the consumers to buy. This keeps the company name and brand from being tarnished by the product’s failure to live up to public expectations. When the QC process is done right, there will be no necessary recall of items back the factory. In the same way, God has established a “QC” process that we all must go through. It’s called trials.

Are You Ready to Leave the Factory?
When we go through trials or testing, and we pass the test, this proves we are “ready to leave the factory,” or go to the next spiritual level and receive more visibility. Once we have been tested, God can trust that our character and integrity are intact so that we will not end up embarrassing Him. He has confidence that He won’t have to do a “recall,” meaning He won’t have to sit us down and take us out of the limelight because of a “product failure.”

How We Hinder the QC Process
One of the problems we create for ourselves is the thwarting of the “QC process.” James 1: 4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” “Let” implies that we have control over whether the work is finished or not. How do we impede the process? Murmuring, complaining, failing to trust God, getting mad at Him for allowing us to go through the situation, and focusing on “Why?” instead of “What is the lesson I need to learn, and what response does God want me to give?”

Therefore, if you are going through a test, submit to the hand of God. The pathway to wholeness is paved with trials and tribulations that expose weaknesses and build strength. Embrace what you are going through right now because, in the end, if you handle things properly, you will rejoice when you see the results.

What has God taught you about James 1:2-4? Please leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

 

THE DANGER OF JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

Jumping_to_Conclusions_Quote

Today, I want to talk to you about the danger of jumping to conclusions. The Holy Spirit has been dealing with me heavily about this topic lately.  It’s so easy to make assumptions and jump to conclusions about a matter, only to find out that what we perceived was not actually the reality of what was really going on.

For example, I remember when my fiancé, Steve (God rest his soul) would make some comment, I would jump to conclusions about what he meant, and “intense fellowship” would follow. Am I the only one who’s ever had “intense fellowship” with a significant other? But anyway, after we talked it out, I would find out what he really meant and have to repent because I didn’t ask for clarification before I responded. Once I started making a habit of asking what he meant before I responded instead of jumping to conclusions, things went much smoother.

The point I am making is that it’s dangerous to jump to conclusions. God wants us to make sure we look past first appearances and make sure we are making a right judgment because as Iyanla Vanzant once said, “The truth is not always visible to the naked eye.” Let’s take a look at a couple of scriptures to support this:

Proverbs 31:30 ~ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

I Samuel 16:7 ~ The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

These two verses highlight the importance of not jumping to conclusions based on what people look like on the outside.  What God is saying is that good looks are not to be used to make decisions about a person’s character. We must take a closer look and see what is on the inside.  In other words, never be impressed with a beautiful exterior until you find out what is inside that beautifully wrapped package. Physical appearance is the least important attribute.

As you can see, what’s inside the heart and a person’s love walk is what really counts. However, it’s also important to not jump to conclusions based on situations we observe. Take a look at these scriptures:

John 7:24 ~ Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.

Corinthians 4:5 ~ Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.

These two verses encourage us to refrain from jumping to conclusions when it comes to what people do.  You see the problem is that we don’t know everything about the situation or the person under scrutiny. There are hidden factors that only God can see.  That’s why God is the only righteous judge (II Timothy 4:8). James 4:12 says, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”  Therefore, it’s important to make sure you have complete information before you judge if you want to judge correctly.

So I want to encourage you today to refrain from jumping to conclusions. Examine the situation. Pray and ask God for insight.  Wait until the Lord comes. Let Him shed the necessary light on what is going on so that you can make a right judgment and avoid being deceived, having to repent, and needing to apologize.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and regretted it? Please leave a comment below.

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of piccsy.com

 

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY HANDLE INSULTS

Girls Staring each other down - Stuart Miles

 

The other day, I decided to read the account of the battle between David and Goliath in I Samuel 17 once again. I love stories about people overcoming great odds! As I read the passage, it dawned on me that David was insulted three times! Each incident was probably within minutes of each other, but he did not let his emotions get stirred up. Amazingly, he still had the presence of mind to face Goliath and defeat his archenemy. I wanted to know how he did that, and when I examined the passage further, this is what I found:

He Ignored Negative People

When David showed up at the battle, his brother, Eliab, questioned his integrity. He asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle” (v. 28). David refused to take the bait and get off track and defend himself. What did he do? He turned away and ignored him. He probably realized that his brother’s emotions were still raw from being rejected as king and having to watch his little squirt of a brother be anointed. Therefore, he chose to ignore him and shifted his focus to others who gave him respect.

He Rehearsed Past Victories

King Saul hurled the second insult. When David told Saul he would fight Goliath, the king said, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth” (v. 33). However, that put-down did not phase David. He shifted his focus from Saul’s comment to a focus on his track record of killing a lion and a bear. He argued against the insult that he knew to be untrue. In other words, he rehearsed his past victories. When the enemy tries to discourage you and tell you that you are incompetent, don’t focus on what one person says, focus on what you know to be true, and all the other experiences you have had that will fuel your faith and confidence.

He Remembered Who He Was and to Whom He Belonged

 Finally, Goliath, the giant, insulted Him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?”…“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals” (vv. 43-44)! He threatened David with bodily harm. Again, David shifted his focus, this time to God and Who He was in his life.  He told Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the  Lord  Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v. 45). When people insult you, you have to remember who you are and also Whose you are. When you know who you are in Christ and to Whom you belong, you know that whatever people say to you cannot diminish your worth and value. Your righteousness cannot be altered by what mere mortals say or do. So the next time you are insulted, let the Lord defend you and remember who you are in Christ.

As you can see, the key to dealing with insults initiated by the enemy is to shift your focus. Shift your focus to others who love and respect you. Shift your focus from what one individual says and refuse to lose sight of what others say about you or what experiences you have gained to refute the lies of the enemy. Shift your focus to God, remember what He has said about you, and let Him defend you. When you shift your focus, like King David, you will be able to stay on track, avoid distractions, keep your emotions in check, and accomplish what God sent you here to do.

How do you effectively handle insults? Please leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net (Stuart Miles)

FORGIVE YOURSELF, AND MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR PAST!

If you have trouble forgiving yourself sometimes, I’d like to share a poem with you that I wrote called, “Make Peace with Your Past.” This is so important because God can not use you if shame has you bound. So take yourself off of the cross. Jesus paid your penalty. Forgive yourself and make peace with your past!

MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR PAST
© 2016 by Tracey L. Moore

The past is over; the dark moment is gone,
Remember the lesson, forget the past and move on.
There’s no condemnation to those hid in Christ,
Even if you have made a mess of your life.
Satan is the accuser, for that is his job,
His goal is to deceive you and fully rob
You of the good life that God has planned for you,
Don’t let him defeat you; his words are untrue.
He’s the father of lies, and he means you no good,
Receive God’s grace like a child of God should,
Pick yourself up and dust yourself off,
Embrace what Jesus has done on the cross.

You’ve got to move forward, refuse to look back,
Hold on to God’s love and keep firmly on track.
Know that you are steeped in His righteousness,
In spite of what happened, He says you are blessed.
Stop looking in the rearview mirror of life,
Look through the windshield; Jesus paid the price,
So drive forward into your God-given destiny,
It’s time to move on; it’s time to be free.

For God has forgiven you, He’s faithful and just,
All you have to do is just put your trust
In God, and hold tightly to His unchanging hand,
And courageously move towards the Promised Land.
It’s time to forgive yourself; God’s done so already,
Keep your eyes on the prize and prepare to hold steady.

Make peace with your past; make peace with yourself,
Don’t you dare allow Satan to put you on the shelf!
You’ve got gifts and talents! God wants to use you!
With everything in you, His Kingdom pursue,
But God cannot use you bound up by shame,
You must shake off the chains in Jesus’ name!

Don’t worry about what the haters may say,
Just expect God to make a way out of no way,
For people are quick to throw dirt in your face,
Don’t let it distract you, keep running your race.
When God’s ready to use you, your past doesn’t matter,
Ignore people’s thoughts and their negative chatter,
God will use the foolish things to confound the wise,
Those who finish the race shall indeed get the prize.

So keep pressing forward towards the mark
Of the high calling in Christ, don’t stay in the dark,
Or allow the forces of evil to keep you bound,
Every stronghold of Satan, you’ve got to pull down.
It’s time to move on, let yourself off the hook,
Don’t even give your past a second look.
Though you had a setback, you’ll make up for lost time,
For the grace and mercy of God is so sublime.
Yes, the last shall be first and the first shall be last,
So lay down the guilt and make peace with your past.

 

If you can identify with the poem, share your thoughts with me and leave a comment below.

 

I’d love your help spreading the word about my books, Oasis for My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth and The Exceptional Man: Love Poems and Inspirational Writings Celebrating Godly Men and Great RelationshipsClick here to find out ways you can help.

Would you like to receive your FREE e-chapbook entitled, Your Faith Has Made You Whole: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual Transformation, by Tracey L. Moore? Go to www.traceylmoore.com and subscribe to the email list.

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