How to Win Favor and a Good Name

Proverbs 3:1-4

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

In May of this year I started studying Proverbs 3. You can read some of my first impressions of Proverbs 3: 1-4 here. For the month of June I have continued meditating these verses, asking the Lord to reveal more truth to me. After a few weeks, here’s my version of verses 1-4:

My son, remember the things I am about to tell you. They will give you a long life of peace and prosperity. Here is the first one: Let love and faithfulness never leave you. When you are trying to get an understanding of what it means to love, meditate this list from I Corinthians 13:4-7:

  • Love is patient.
  • Love is kind.
  • It does not envy.
  • It does not boast.
  • It is not proud.
  •  It does not dishonor others.
  • It is not self-seeking.
  • It is not easily angered.
  • It keeps no record of wrongs.
  •  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
  •  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Faithfulness is doing what you say you will do, being dependable and trustworthy. Faithfulness means being truthful. Being honest with yourself and others is the epitome of faithfulness, along with keeping your word. When you are honest, people learn to trust you and trust what you say.

The promise from God for those who “bind love and faithfulness around their neck” is winning “favor and a good name in the site of God and man.” You will be respected and loved by others and God will bless you. All you have to do to obtain favor with God and man is to love people and be true to your word. It won’t take people long to see that you are sincere.

Proverbs 3 1-4Think about what favor and a good name will mean to you and to your own family. You are not doing this for yourself alone. When you love and are faithful to your word, you welcome blessing into the lives of your children and grandchildren and future generations. As you wake up in the morning, let love and faithfulness be the first thing on your mind. God alone can show you how to walk this out on a daily basis, and it might look different every day.

Please help me out by telling me how you keep love and faithfulness “around your neck.”

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Could I Borrow a Mustard Seed, Please?

I finally got it! This verse has puzzled me since I was able to understand that I didn’t understand it.

If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

mustard seedThe passage refers to the disciples asking Jesus why they couldn’t cast a demon out of a young boy, and Jesus answered them saying they had little faith. Immediately after saying this, he told them that if they had faith like a grain of mustard seed, they could cause a mountain to move.

Recently I was having a talk with someone who was “in a hole.” They were down on themselves, sure they had sinned a great sin of self pity and pride. They were feeling miserable. We talked about what sin is and what it is not. We explored the idea that a person can be deceived by the enemy to the point that they are miserable and have an extremely distorted view of themselves and God’s plan for them. Finally this person said, “It’s going to turn out good.”

That’s when I realized what “faith like a grain of mustard seed” means. It is that one small thought that gets you back on the right track. It gets you into position for all of heaven to come to attention. One by one the truth comes to you and your faith is big enough to get your answer.

When we are down, thinking the worst of ourselves and our situations, letting negativity run away with us, we are not “in faith.” This position prevents us  from getting the help we need and long for. God responds to our faith, and when we have our antennas tuned in to the negative side, we are not in position to receive His help. When we allow  one positive truth to take residence in our mind, that is our mustard seed. That one thought opens the door to our answer. Believing an answer will come, is the  way to get our answer. Accept that one thought as your mustard seed, and it will grow to be a mighty  tree providing you with answers to your life’s questions!

mulberry tree Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32

Have you ever had a time when one positive truth pulled you out of a pit of despair?  We’d love to hear your story.

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The Empty Glass

Have you ever felt like this: You don’t have what it takes. You don’t measure up. Your problems are insurmountable. You are so far from where you need to be, you will never arrive. You think you have to change yourself, but the fact is you can do very little about your own inadequacies. You are an empty glass. An empty glass is nothing to fear.empty glass

How often do we go in our kitchen and look at all of the empty glasses wishing they weren’t empty, wishing they could quench our thirst, wishing they would give us what we need. Should we really keep thinking about how empty those glasses are when all they need is to be filled?

What a happy thought it is to know we are that empty glass, and we can easily be filled to overflowing with confidence and with all of the things we need. Our Creator made us just like this empty glass so we would need Him to fill us. All we have to do is ask! Our enemy would pound us and proclaim that we are empty, and we will always be empty, there is no way we could ever be full. He is saying all of this while our Heavenly Father longs to fill us. Give Him the glass and let Him fill it.  Then stand firm in your belief that He has filled you, and He will continue  to fill you every day for the rest of your life with exactly what you need.

Smile because the glass is empty only to be filled.

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How to Make Your Own Commercial

Have you thought about an ice-cream sundae lately? Can you guess what will happen if you imagine the cool, creaminess of that spoonful of chocolate and vanilla as it glides from the spoon into your mouth. Mmmmmmmm. Delicious. Will it be very long before you are actually finding yourself in front of the glass enclosure that separates you from all of the flavors? Won’t you soon be enjoying the treat?

Everything starts with a thought. In order to get somewhere, you must think about it first. You will never get to California if you don’t first think about it. You won’t even cook a meal if you don’t first think about it. It starts with a thought.

This is why we have commercials for McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, even shampoo, beer, and automobiles. They want you to think about it. It is even better if you have an emotional reaction associated with what you are thinking about. Millions of dollars are spent to get you to think about their product and feel what it would be like to  enjoy it.

beachWithout spending a dime, you can make your own commercial for the things you want. Put yourself in the picture.  Decide what you want, where you want to go. Is it toward a better marriage, a better relationship with your husband, wife, children? Is it a better job, greater income, success on the job you already have? A problem solved? A closer relationship with God? You could imagine yourself on a tropical beach with sailboats gliding by in the distance. You could be enjoying a delectable meal at a favorite restaurant or spending a quiet evening with your family or friends. Go ahead and think about it. Think about it, literally! It is the first step.

  • If it is going to happen, you are going to have to think about it at some point!
  • Today’s Action: Just take some time to think about “it.”
Not Really Our Bedroom
Not Really Our Bedroom

Here’s me thinking about a project I need to complete in our bedroom. I am closing my eyes now. Yes, I can still type. Amazing, I know. Yes, I can definitely see the stacks of things that need to be sorted. A box of papers, tax receipts and documents, a  portable CD player, a stuffed giraffe and a moose. A moose? Yes, a moose. More books. Three baskets of papers including inspirational articles, journals, books I’ve read and haven’t read and will never read. Now watch as I am sorting through each basket paper by paper, book by book. Some books going to Goodwill, some to the library upstairs, some to my sister and my dad. Papers to the trash, some to the shredder, some in a file. Now three empty baskets going to the attic. Nothing left on the floor. Just a chair and a few books, a flashlight, and an alarm clock beside my bed. Now I can walk or dance or spin around the bedroom. Incredible! It started with a thought.

Why don’t you give it a try?

 

 

Don’t Kick the Cat!

It is so refreshing to think positive thoughts. We must surely know that positive thoughts produce positive results. What would happen if all of the world thought positively? Think about it!

What if everyone gave everyone else the benefit of the doubt? What if people  thought the best and expected the best of every person? What if kindness and truth and love  reigned in this world?

kicking-a-catWhere does unkindness comes from anyway? It comes from unkindness. No one wakes up one bright sunny day and decides to be unkind. There had to be a catalyst. Perhaps it was something that started in childhood. Perhaps it was something that occurred yesterday, but something happened to cause unkindness.I am reminded of the famous “Kick the Cat” story told my master motivator, Zig Ziglar. Mr. B’s bad morning causes him to yell at his sales manager, who yells at his receptionist who, after a bad day at work, yells at her twelve year old son, who kicks the cat on his way to his room. Zig asks his audience, “Wouldn’t it have been better if Mr. B had gone to the receptionist’s house and kicked the cat himself?” And the question is asked, “Who’s cat are you kicking?”

What if, in your realm of influence, only kindness happened from now on?That is why the Bible teaches us to return good  for evil. That is how we stop the cycle. If everyone keeps passing on the negative way they are treated, it will just grow and grow. Someone must stop it. That is why we return good for evil.

This is  a staggering concept. “Turn the other cheek.” “Give a man your cloak if he steals your coat.” Jesus explained this perfectly. “Do good to those who curse you and despitefully use you.” I am beginning to understand. We can be a catalyst for good. When we treat someone good, it not only breaks the chain of evil and negativity, but it starts a new chain. People will automatically pay it forward. When someone is good to you, you naturally feel better about life and yourself and your situation. You will pass on kindness, love, and joy to others. We have  a responsibility to spread God’s love not in words, but in actions. How much good can we do tomorrow and what ripple effects will we set in motion? I can’t wait to find out!

Today’s Verse:  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

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