faith

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Greetings of peace and love for all who have stumbled upon this lowly blog. It is early morning, and my God woke me with an assignment. I crawled out of bed, made a routine pit stop, and made some fresh brewed coffee before I begin to log in and type. Let me tell you, that is as close to immediate obedience this gal can manage. Thank you Lord for showing me that I am useable.

God has turned my ears and heart to Him recently and spoken through authors, and Christians that make a living out of encouraging others; either through finances, mental health, or offering up meaningful prayers. I am writing this hopefully near the end of the covid-19 crisis, we have been social distancing and a shelter in place reality for 40 days. I just pulled out my calendar and realized that indeed today makes 40 days for us. Forty days in the Bible is a meaningful number, and it certainly makes me even more in awe of the fine details the Holy Spirit doesn’t want me to miss this early pre-dawn morning. The significance is not lost and I’m going to take that as a God wink.

I’m hoping by the end of this piece you would be able to hear Truth, perhaps convicted and respond positively to God. Remember way back when all adults pretty much carried around a checkbook and that is how you made purchases in person at stand alone retailers? (sorry, thinking about my buying habits and brown boxes delivered to my front door) Before duplicate checks, it was imperative to record your spending in a perfectly sized little register that was typically found above your actual checks. You would write down the date, the check number, payee, and the amount paid. If you were really thorough, you constantly had a running balance of the money you had in that account. Each month when you received your bank statement, a diligent responsible person would sit down and reconcile and balance their checkbook. Pretty much the process would mean that you made sure your checkbook register and the bank’s records matched. What if the bank and the account holders numbers didn’t match? For some of us that happened more than others, nowadays we call that operator error. I give you all this historical setting for the youngsters who may be reading to understand. Back in my early 20’s I heard something that has stuck with me through the years. The exact words, or from where I originally heard this escapes me, but the idea conveyed was simply look at that checkbook register and see where you spend your money, it says a lot about what you deem important.  Presently, you can log on to your bank account, perhaps pull out your credit card statement(s) too, look and see how often certain payees appear.

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I didn’t receive a Holy nudge to get out of bed and write a message regarding money management. By no means am I an expert either! I did want to start there because if you have never heard it, well maybe it will stick with you for the rest of your life as it has for me. It should get your gears in that brain of yours going. In the same way you have an impartial paper trail record to inspect your spending, I would love for you to step back and take a look at the way you interact with the world. How do others see you?  Do the words you use build up, or tear down?

Ephesians 4 is a good read at this point. Grab your Bible, take the time to read for yourself, don’t rely on me to interpret God’s word. He is faithful, and will speak to your heart.

Want to know how others see you? Don’t ask them. You know why? Most people are either going to mirror what you think of yourself perhaps out of shared opinions, or they won’t be completely honest because they are “nice” or know of your short fuse and don’t want to make things uncomfortable for either one of you. Like that bank ledger, or credit card statement can speak of our spending habits, is there a way you can objectively step back and view your interactions with the world?

For many of us, you don’t have to look any farther than social media. Imagine a section, or entire timeline of your posts, likes, shares, and comments are printed out. For good measure, a sharpie has blocked out your name as the author and nothing could be traced back to you. Objectively, what could one ascertain about you? What are your habits, mannerisms, beliefs, dare I say political affiliation? What brings you joy?  Do you harbor hostility and hatred? Do you promote love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and last but not least self-control? Are you willing to put your self-righteousness to the side, and do some deep and honest reflections? Are you a follower of Christ? If so pray and allow the Holy Spirit living in you to help inventory your thoughts, opinions, and attitudes. Take some time for personal reflection and prayerfully ask for your eyes to examine your attitudes, opinions, words, and actions through God’s lens. Does our walk (your social media interactions) reflect Him well?

There was a time I wanted to put a bumper sticker on my vehicle that reflected my faith. However, I decided against it primarily because I sometimes speed, turn without a blinker, and either willingly or accidentally cut someone off. I can’t trust my driving to be impeccable every time I am behind the wheel, so I would not be a good advertisement for team Jesus. Does your social media support your claim of being a Christian? Do you reflect Him and His teachings well? Do you pray for your enemies, do you extend grace, or a poster-child for patience? My guess is probably not. What if ALL of us believers united and cleaned up our profiles and gave the enemy no room for a foothold? Remember, Satan is crafty and loves for us to be divisive. He is the accuser, and he is promoted when we devalue God’s creation.

I feel convicted to do some deep social media house cleaning.  All the ugliness will not just find a speed bump when it comes across my feed, but a full stop. I for one do not want to have anything to do with adding a log to the fiery furnace of the pit and gives a victory to the enemy. Our social media is a written and visual response to our world and how we interact with others of every background. I will continue to humbly pray and ask the Lord to prepare my heart, and mind and attitude to reflect Him in all I do. I want to be so filled up with the fruit of His Spirit, that when people scroll by me I splash a little encouragement, and love, and provide light to a dark and hurting world. I choose Jesus and I choose Joy! May these words and the attitude of my heart be reflected and received as a blessed billboard for the Kingdom of Heaven.