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Does ‘Redefining’ Change Anything?

21 Oct

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror in the bright morning light, sans make-up, I breathed a heavy sigh.

“That’s it,” I said. “I’m officially calling my age spots ‘freckles.'”

I’d already redefined the wrinkles around my eyes as “smile lines.” And the silver (Ok, gray) around my hairline as “highlights.”

My mom calls her double chin a “wattle,” but I’m still searching for a happier way to define the fleshy flap of skin under my jawline. Rooster wattles are meant to gain hens’ attention. Frankly, I don’t want ANY attention going to my double chin.

No matter how I redefine my bodily changes, it doesn’t really change anything.

I’m getting older. It’s programmed into my DNA. No matter how I try to eat healthier and move my body, my bones will likely grow more brittle with age; my hormones and fat storage will likely change; and my voice, eyesight and hearing will likely weaken.

Solomon talked about this in Ecclesiastes 12:3-13.  In old age, our muscles slacken, our grip weakens, our joints stiffen, and the shades slowly pull down on our world.

The promises of scripture for the aging are God’s continuing presence and opportunities to bear fruit for His Kingdom (Psalm 71:18; 90:10, 12; 92:14, 16; 71:9).

But this redefining thing bothers me.

Redefining reality doesn’t change it.

Redefining only makes us feel better, perhaps, about our challenges.

Or it allows us to go our own way rather than seeking God and His will for our lives.

We live in a culture that tries to redefine so many things.

  • Redefining gender.
  • Redefining femininity and masculinity.
  • Redefining roles.
  • Redefining marriage.
  • Redefining parenting.
  • Redefining love.
  • Redefining tolerance.
  • Redefining salvation.

I’m not going to go into all those re-definitions; but only want to note: We’re ending up with a culture lived in shades of gray. We’re doing what seems right in our own eyes (Proverbs 21:2).

We need to be careful not to redefine what God, in His infinite wisdom, already defined in bold, living color in scripture.

Either He is our Lord and final authority, or He is not. And He already made clear what the consequences are for not recognizing His lordship over every area of life (Matthew 7:21-23).

The One who redeems us also lays claim to our lives, and He has the right to define how we live.

Redefining what the Lord declares doesn’t change anything!

Redefining age spots as freckles is laughable; redefining “thus says the Lord” is not.

What are you trying to “redefine” in your life? Is it flying in the face of the Word of God? 

 – Dawn

 

 

 

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What in the World is a ‘Faithful Wound’?

28 Jul

I feel like I need a paraphrase of Proverbs 17:17 today.

“A friend loves at all times, and a sister is born for the days when you are craving every unhealthy food in history!”

I joke that I don’t need a personal trainer (OK, maybe I do), but I just need someone who loves me who will shadow me and slap every unhealthy food out of my hand.*

My husband jokes, “I’M not going to be that friend. I know better!”

I laugh, but that would be love, right?

Actually, that kind of friend really does love you. (And my husband has challenged my choices from time to time.)

Good, loving friends really do speak the truth and challenge you to confront the lies you’re believing, or the rabbit trails you’re chasing, or the foolishness you’re letting reign in your heart and life.

God-honoring friends encourage you to be wise and not indulge in anything that will harm you or prevent you from becoming the person God created you to be. They are wise counselors and we can trust their advice.

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”

A good friend might “wound”* us with their advice, but they don’t wound us to hurt us.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern]….” (Prov. 27:6a AMP)

Faithful wounds.

The kind of wounds that come because a friend simply wants what is best for us and wants God to heal us of any sinful and harmful behaviors and addictions. 

It’s like the pain of setting a bone that’s out of joint. Sometimes there has to be some pain before we can heal.

There are times a friend will wisely overlook something in our lives, and that is grace in action.

But there are other times friends will lovingly confront us. And that is also grace in action. 

A true friendship is never threatened by disagreement or even misunderstanding that might come in times of loving confrontation. That kind of friend knows there is some accountability involved in a true, loving friendship.

Do you have a friend who is willing to love you enough to challenge you when you wander off the path of righteousness or are about to make a foolish choice?

If so, praise God for that friend. You desperately need her!

– Dawn

* Note: I’m not talking about any kind of abuse here. Just the “love-tap” of friendship’s wounds … much like the way we tap a baby’s hand and shout “NO” when the baby reaches for something that will cause harm.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of silviarita-Pixabay

Be Careful What You Assume

16 Apr

During a stay at an expensive hotel in New York City, a man woke up in the Assumptions_LOLwithGod_Graphic-morguefilemiddle of the night with an upset stomach. He called room service and ordered some soda crackers.

Later, when the man looked at the charge slip, he was furious. He called room service and raged, “I know I’m in a luxury hotel, but $11.50 for six crackers is ridiculous!”

“The crackers are complimentary,” the voice at the other end coolly explained. “I believe you are complaining about your room number.” *

LOL!

The man’s assumption was absurd, and refuted.

Christians often make assumptions that are just as silly, and the Word of God refutes them.

Here are just four examples:

(1) The news or my friends will tell me all I need to know about life.

God’s Word tells us people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).  Wise counselors can help us, but we need to be careful not to walk in the “counsel of the ungodly” (Psalm 1:1).

It’s always wise to compare what’s going on in your world (and the world) with the wisdom of scripture.

(2) If I’m godly enough, I won’t have any struggles.

A study of the life of Job should be enough to refute that.

But Jesus said we would have trials in this world (John 16:33). Our struggles are meant to develop character and make us more like Jesus (Romans 5:3-5), and to draw us closer to God, our only true hope and security (Psalm 62:5; John 10:28-29; Philippians 1:6).

(3) If I know and love the Lord, I won’t need people.

God didn’t create us to live outside a community.

People are God’s gift to us, to encourage us and help us grow, to bring comfort, to add wisdom, and to help us heal. He means for us to “bear one another’s burdens….” (Galatians 6:2).

Think about it. If we were meant to live a solitary existence, why did He give us all the “one another” scriptures?

(4) If I just make all the right choices, I’ll be a strong Christian.

This was one of my basic life assumptions. I mean, my whole ministry (Heart Choices Today) is about making wise, godly choices. And one of my blogs (Upgrade with Dawn) encourages wise choices too.

But God has been teaching me this important distinction: making choices is more than mere human will power. Will power can fall short because we are totally human. Instead, we need to surrender our whole self–mind, heart, will–to the Lord. We must have His power in our lives.

Sometimes, in ourselves, we just don’t want to do right. We have other loves or idols that keep us from making godly choices (Romans 7:22-24; Galatians 5:17)

We need the transforming power of Christ (Romans 8:1-4; Galatians 5:16-18) and the desire for holiness that comes from Him alone (Philippians 2:12-13).

Making right choices is the result of growth in Christ—not the other way around (Galatians 3:3).

There are many other assumptions we make that are based on lies the enemy of our soul feeds us daily. And if we keep on believing them, we may experience great regret.

That’s why it’s crucial to study the Word of God.

Know and apply scripture so you won’t be embarrassed with silly assumptions. 

Some questions to contemplate:

  • Do I know what I believe?
  • Where am I getting my information about life?
  • Do my assumptions square with and hold up under the scrutiny of scripture?
  • Have I redefined God’s Word to fit in with my assumptions or preconceived notions?

Paul gave instruction to Timothy that would be good advice for all of us:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV).

Knowing the truth will help you become holy (John 17:17) and wise (Psalm 19:7b).

Have you ever made an assumption and later found out it was false? How can the Word of God help that not to happen again?

 – *Humor: Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3945, 4-6-13; Graphic of crackers, courtesy of xandert, Morguefile

 – Dawn

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