Our Thursday Thoughts quote is one that I have pondered often, given its author and the circumstances surrounding his death. Let me give you the quote, then I will share a brief story about the author of the quote.
In 1956 Jim Elliot and four other Christian missionaries attempted to share Jesus with the Auca Indian tribe (Operation Auca), located in Ecuador. All five young men knew the dangers of what they were doing because no outsider had ever survived making contact with this tribe of people. Yet, they all agreed that the only way for outside people to ever be able to have contact with the Aucas was to introduce them to Jesus.
For several weeks, pilot Nate Saint flew an airplane over the area where the Aucas lived and dropped gifts and supplies from the plane to them. The missionaries also used a loud-speaker to voice friendly Auca words to the tribe.
The time came for the men to attempt to make contact with the people of the Auca tribe. Their first attempt was successful and they visited with a man and two women. They ate a meal with the Indians and Saint took the man for a ride in the plane. The missionaries encouraged these three to bring others to meet them.
After several days of waiting offshore, the men saw two Auca women appear on the beach. The men began to approach the beach, but quickly realized they had been ambushed. The Auca warriors that appeared behind the women used spears to kill all five of the men.
Eventually, Jim Elliot’s widow, Elisabeth, her daughter, Valerie, and Rachel Saint, sister of Nate returned to the island, made friends with the Aucas and lived among them. Many were brought to faith in Christ and missionaries live among the Aucas (now known as the Waodani tribe) to this day.
Books were written and two movies were made about Operation Auca. Elisabeth Elliot authored a book and made the movie, Through Gates of Splendor. The other movie, End of the Spear, based on a book by the same name that was written by Steve Saint, was released in 2005.
Now that you know the story behind the quote, what are your thoughts about what Elliot said?
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I am offering Amazon links to Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Through Gates of Splendor and Steve Saint’s, son of Nate, book entitled End of the Spear for your reading pleasure.
If I asked you what values you consider foundational in your life, what would you tell me?
As part of my life coach training, I was required to develop a list of my core values. To be honest with you, I had never really given them much thought. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what the term ‘core values’ fully meant. I knew what values were, but it helped me so much to get an actual definition of core values into my head. So, in case you need that same definition, here it is:
Core Values are the values we hold dear that form the foundation of our lives.
Does that help you as much as it helped me?
Now that we have a working definition, may I share what I came up with for my core values?
Strong Work Ethic
“The most important thing is to decide what is the most important thing.”
This quote by Bill Montgomery helped me look at a very long potential list of values and decide which ones describe me. The list was not exhaustive and I added a couple of words to it. I circled about 15 or so from the big list, then pondered a bit longer to pare the list down to what you see above.
Christ Follower is my number ONE, absolute core value, although it was not part of the original list provided to me. My faith in Jesus Christ informs every part of my life. It guides me in my relationships, actions, words, and thoughts. More than anything in this world, I want to live a life that reflects Jesus’ love and grace to other people and causes them to want Him in their lives.
May I share just a moment about integrity, which would be my second core value?
‘The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles’ is how integrity is defined. My ‘yes’ should be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ should be ‘no. I want people to be able to believe what I tell them and not wonder if I am lying. There is an epidemic of lying in our world today, from the church house to the White House, as my Daddy used to say. I do not want to be part of that epidemic. If I am a follower of Christ my life should ooze integrity, and so should yours.
There are almost endless possibilities when it comes to core values and it is important that we can identify our own. If we can not, we have nothing on which to build our life.
This core values exercise is one of the ways a life coach helps their clients move from where they are currently to where God wants them to be. It is my pleasure to work with clients to discover their core values and help them develop a plan to live out those values.
What are your core values? (share them in the comments)
Does the way you live your life reflect those values?
What obstacles are preventing you from living out your core values?
If core values are something you would like to work on with a life coach, I would be honored to help you. Click over to my (newly redesigned) website and learn more about what coaching offers you. It would be my privilege to work with you.
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“I just cannot forgive myself for _______________.”
This statement is something I hear from women over and over. Perhaps you have said it yourself. It sounds reasonable, especially after doing something you wish you had never done; something that causes you monumental regret.
The only problem is that it is not biblical. In fact, nowhere in Scripture will you find one verse that talks about self-forgiveness in order to (a) be truly forgiven, and/or (b) ‘feel’ forgiven and able to move on.
Let’s look at a few verses that speak about forgiveness.
Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sins are covered
Psalm 32:2: Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity
The Hebrew word used in Psalm 32 for ‘blessed’ is asrey, meaning blessed or happy.
Psalm 103:12: As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us
Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins
Hebrews 8:12: Quoting from the Old Testament, the writer of Hebrews reminds his readers of the promise God made to Israel. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Do you see there is nothing in the verses above about forgiving oneself? With that said, let’s think about times when our actions caused us great regret and the need for forgiveness. Every sin and disobedience that we perpetrate is, first, a direct offense toward our Holy God. Light bulb moment!!! Had you ever considered that truth? (Psalm 51:1-4) Because of that God is the one who must offer forgiveness to us.
You might be thinking, “Leah, I know all that, but I just cannot ‘feel’ forgiven.”
Let me offer an illustration I hope will clarify this for you.
Do you remember when the cute guy who would ultimately become your husband asked you to marry him? Weeks or months later you walked down the aisle and said ‘I do’ to him. The minister pronounced you husband and wife and off you went to begin a new life together.
A few weeks into your married life, you decided to go out with girlfriends. You went to a place where you previously went to meet guys and saw a guy that interested you. You caught his eye, flirted with him. and he eventually asked you out on a date. You accepted.
One of your friends said to you, “But, you just got married a few weeks ago. Your husband is at home. What are you doing?”
To which your response was, “Oh, but I just don’t feel married.”
Most people would say, “Well that is crazy. No one would ever do something that ridiculous.”
Friend, that is exactly what you do when you hold onto the idea that you must feel forgiven in order to move past a sin or the consequence of something you did. If you have sinned and asked God for forgiveness for that sin, it is done. You are forgiven by God and He will never remember that sin again.
Allow me to offer a quote by Dr. James Merritt from his marvelous book entitled, 52 Weeks Through the Psalms.
What do we do with the guilt we feel years after our transgression, sin, or iniquity? To put it plainly, we need to forget. God forgives our sins and then forgets our sins; he charges our sins to Jesus’ account and wipes them off our books. Sometimes we feel guilty even though we are not because we keep trying to remember what God has forgotten and trying to uncover what God has covered.
When we remember what God remembers, we are guilty.
When we remember what God forgets, we feel guilty though we are not.
When we forget what God forgets, we are not guilty and won’t feel guilty.
As deep as our faults go, forgiveness goes even deeper.
Friend, this does not mean that you never think about what you did again. That is likely not humanly possible. What it does mean is that you do not allow guilt to take you captive ever again over what happened. This is a situation where you must apply the old ‘fake it till you make it’ principle. If you have asked God to forgive you for sin, STOP remembering what He has forgotten and walk forward in His forgiveness. You are forgiven, now think and act like a forgiven person.
Want to read more in this Lies We Believe series? Click the links below.
3 Reasons Why We Are NOT All God’s Children
God Will Not Give Me More Than I Can Bear….Or Will He?
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It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.
There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.
These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.
I have given you my affiliate links to the book I referenced above by Dr. Merritt and also a marvelous book I am reading for my Life Coach certification, The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman. I highly recommend both of these books. If you are reading this post via email, please click HERE to be taken to my website where you can see the links to the books.
I have been in ministry for ten solid years, and in that time I have written about a lot of topics. There is one topic, however, about which I rarely write because, quite honestly, I do not feel that I have enough wisdom to offer in that arena. That topic is marriage. After 23 years of marriage, I still do not have it all figured out and I am far, far, far from the perfect wife to Greg. Yet, today, I believe that I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of marriage wisdom that I want to offer to you.
Let me give you the back story.
Our family has experienced the joy of seeing two young men choose beautiful young women as their future wives. In 2018, our nephew, Kalem, will marry his fiancee’ Erika in May. Then, in June, Greg and I will be blessed to gain a daughter-in-love when our son, Charlie, marries Morgan.
All of this wedding chatter and planning prompted me to think about when I got married and how I wish there had been a ‘marriage mentor’ to walk alongside me and pour into me. Of course, I had my parents, but there is something different and special about having someone come alongside and pour into your heart in a specific way. Someone just a few steps ahead of you in the journey who is willing to share, and yes, even to call you out when you step off the path of truth. Now, that all assumes that I would have been willing to L-I-S-T-E-N!
Last week, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there is a ton of godly wisdom on the topic of marriage within my circle of friends, and that perhaps our kids, and maybe others, would benefit from hearing some real-life wisdom born of trial and error and experience. To that end, I tossed a question out on my Facebook page, and HELLO!!!! wisdom poured onto the page. Today I want to share some of that with you because it is toooooooo good to let it get buried on my Facebook feed.
So, here is the question I asked:
Our family will be blessed to witness two weddings this year: our son, Charlie and his fiancee, Morgan, AND our nephew, Kalem, and his fiancee, Erika. We will also be blessed to have young friends who are getting married in 2018. What marriage and relationship advice would you give a young couple as they say “I Do”?
One major theme of many of the responses was the importance of good communication between a husband and wife. Check them out:
Cindy said: Do not bottle things up, talk, talk and talk some more until it’s all worked out!
Teresa M said: Keep talking with God, each other, and as needed, reliable Christian counsel.
Shelley offered: Don’t be too proud to apologize – and make it heartfelt. There will be times when you will feel out of sync, and that’s okay, it will pass. But, if you are uncomfortable with it, just ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” Then talk about it. Girls AND guys need to feel connected
This wisdom from Kathy speaks loudly: My biggie is healthy communication and determining to work completely through an issue to a healthy resolution. You may come to an impasse at times, so call a time-out and go to neutral spaces but DETERMINE to come back to it when the dust and emotions have settled. That may be 30 minutes, 2 weeks or 30 days BUT come back to it and “finish” resolution of the issue to a healthy place, and then lay it down and learn from that process. I believe one of the biggest problems is that, with most couples, nothing ever gets fully resolved but rather just pushed aside to remain alive and festering, sure to rear its ugly head again some time….
Cathy gave us four rules of communication.
1 be honest
2 keep current
3 attack the problem not the person
4 act don’t react
And this from Larry: The men need to learn 3 phrases – 9 words: 1.) I was wrong. 2.) I am sorry. 3.) Please forgive me.
And all God’s women said, “Amen!”
Another theme that emerged was conflict resolution in marriage. Kathy’s comment from above was on this theme, as were these:
Gloria reminded us that: You don’t always have to be right… it’s okay to admit that you are wrong. And fight fair.
Karen said: Tell on your spouse to God and not to others. Always do this. God is the only way for change either in you or your spouse.
Once again, Kathy added a wealth of wisdom with this: Make it your daily practice to try to “out-serve” each other…and i think that speaks for itself. Can you imagine how many things would never even make our “grumble lists” if, as couples, we were trying to serve the other the most while they have that same goal?!?!?!? About the only thing we’d have to fuss about would be being served and loved TOO much!
A third major theme of finances emerged. This one is huge because research shows that the NUMBER ONE thing couples fight about is M-O-N-E-Y. Let’s take a look at some of the comments on finances:
I said: Since money is the number one issue about which couples argue, do not get into debt (the borrower is slave to the lender).
Teresa T said: Start a nest egg for retirement as soon as you get married. Don’t buy everything you want and see, save your money and pay cash and you might realize it wasn’t needed, after all. Follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace rules. Stay away from credit cards! Have a joint checking account and decide together what you will spend your money on.
Beth echoed Teresa with this: No separate checking accounts. Full disclosure in finances will keep everyone accountable.
The issue of romance and dating your spouse also garnered a couple of comments:
Kathy T said: Keep dating. Even after children, time with your spouse is crucial.
Anna, who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year said: Marry someone you like first and then fall in love with… enjoy doing things together but also have your own time for hobbies.
Lori offered: Know and understand your spouse’s Love Language. Learn to “speak it” if you don’t have the same one. (See Amazon link below to Chapman’s book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’)
Alysa said: I cannot express how important it is to keep dating… Having a child throws a huge curve ball however, we are closer now than ever because we still date!!!
Another topic that elicited some wonderful feedback was the issue of praying for your spouse:
Natasha said: Fight for your marriage daily. We each keep a prayer journal and every day we pray together and separately and I pray to be the best help mate for my spouse and to help mold me into being a better wife and mom. For so long I prayed for change of him, when really it was me who needed changing!
Martha gave some incredible wisdom in her comment: Many many years ago as a teenager, my Pastor’s Wife taught us to begin to pray for our future husbands. I began to pray for him very specifically. I prayed he would learn the things that would prepare him to care for me and our children. I ask God to build my husband and equip him long before I ever met him. Now I recognize the Holy Spirit was preparing me to accept and respect who He was assembling for me. When trials and hardships come as they often do. This truth has been a constant encouragement to me. When my son was in the second grade I began to specifically pray for his wife in the same fashion. I cannot began to tell you how this has impacted our relationship. Now I pray in this manner for my grandchildren. I expect great things from my God because I have invested Great Confidence in Him in prayer. The most amazing thing to me, is for almost 40 years He has been Absolutely Faithful to every prayer I’ve ever prayed.
I want to leave you with a comment from Paula that blessed and challenged me so much as a wife. I hope it will bless and challenge you, too.
Recently I did an online study on the book “YOU & ME FOREVER, Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis and Lisa Chan (see Amazon link below). It was soooo good and so eye opening! The main thing I took from it, is we have to remember, God joined us together in marriage as an illustration to the world the love of Christ for His bride. How I treat my husband and vice versa is SUPPOSED to reflect the love, grace and forgiveness that Christ gives His Church.
It has completely changed my perspective in many ways. Now, if I feel like John isn’t acting in a way toward me that I like, for instance maybe he’s had a bad day and is being hateful. It may be quite irritating to me because I know it’s not my fault. But rather than get mad or pout, now, my first thought is…how many times have I acted this way toward God? And how many times has His grace and mercy loved on me through my bad attitude? So how then can I be Jesus to my husband, and extend grace and mercy to him and love him through this like Christ loves me?
To me, this just changes everything!
Then secondly I ask myself, as the world watches how I respond to my husband when he isn’t really my favorite person, or when I feel like he has treated me wrongly, am I showing the love of Christ to the world? Do they see grace, mercy, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (this is a concept that too many people only attribute to what God has for us, but we are called to love others this way, and we even VOWED before God to love our spouse this way)? Does my marriage reflect the image of the Gospel of Christ? Am I willing to serve my husband when he doesn’t deserve it? Am I willing to always put His needs first, even if I feel my needs may have been neglected (because that’s what unconditional love is… giving and loving as a choice, not because it’s earned and not as a reward to them for meeting your needs)? Am I being Christ like to my spouse?
These are hard questions, but, if we put our focus on the Gospel, and realize the world is watching us and the message of the Gospel is at stake based on how we act, then our marriages will be changed, and our lives will be changed. And most importantly, we will bring glory and honor to God in the process.
I hope this post has been a blessing to you…or maybe if you are like me, it has been a bit uncomfortable because it shines a light on areas in our marriages that could stand a little, or a lot, of tweaking. Whatever the case, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us in to husbands and wives that look more like Jesus.
What marriage advice do you have for young couples? Share it in the comments.
Have a great week!
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A few years ago I went to the funeral of a woman I had known all my life. I wish I could say I remember her fondly, but the truth is, I don’t. The memories I have of this woman consist of her saying very ugly things to some of my family members. Often when she saw us in public, she would turn her head so she did not have to speak to us. She was highly critical and downright mean with her words where my family was concerned. In spite of the bad history, I have forgiven her for her actions toward my family.
When the funeral service began, both preachers who delivered the eulogy talked about what a wonderful encourager this lady was to those in her church and community. They spoke glowingly of her generosity to those in need and her love for Jesus, her family, and her church. The pastor informed us that he was reading her favorite Bible verses which had been taken from her apparently well-marked Bible. Her memory was honored by the speakers with glowing words of praise for her character, generosity and love for the Lord.
I was in total disbelief.
I had this insane urge to scream right in the middle of the service.
In fact, it was all I could do to keep myself from standing up and saying, “Excuse me, I must be at the wrong funeral. I don’t know the person of whom you speak. Don’t mind me. I’ll leave now.”
I maintained my decorum, smiled kindly at the family, got in my car and shrieked to the teddy bear that rides in my back seat, “I CANNOT STINKING BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!”
It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. I go to the funeral of one person, but the person who is eulogized appears to be a totally different person. I kept pinching myself, but I know I was at the right funeral. All the family was there, but for the life of me, I did not recognize the person of whom the pastors spoke.
The Lord used this to drive home a lesson in my heart. If you know me at all, you know that the topic of LEGACY is my hallmark message. It is what I write and speak about. (www.leahadams.org/legacy) My desire is to leave a godly legacy for the generations that come behind me, and to help others learn how to do this as well. I want others to look at me and see Jesus.
In the midst of all that was going on in my head during this funeral, the Lord reminded me that it is so important for me to be consistent in who I am; to be the same person on Monday or Friday that I was on Sunday. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Leah, do you want people at your funeral to not recognize the person being described because you presented one face to one group of people and another face to another group of people?”
“NO! I do not want that,” my spirit groaned.
So, how do we accomplish this consistency of person?
I would submit to you that we find the answer in Galatians 5: 16 (NLT),
“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
There is no way to escape differences of opinion and personal preferences in this life. We are all unique people with unique desires and tastes. In spite of this, if you and I name the name of Christ over our lives, we serve the God who is unchanging. He never has a bad day, never gets mad and walks out on us, never chooses to ignore us when we don’t act the way we should. Yes, He is just and holy, but He is also merciful and loving.
If we have God’s Spirit living within us, in the midst of disagreements, we can be still be loving and kind. When someone does something that does not please us, we can still be patient and offer grace. Oh, WE cannot do it in our flesh, but the Holy Spirit can do it through us. Because Jesus, the One who is love, light, peace, gentleness, grace and mercy, can help us to be the same person on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday or Saturday that we were on Sunday in church. His love can shine through us…..if we will allow it.
Is there a consistency of person in your life?
If you died today and could write your eulogy, would the people who attend your funeral recognize you?
What would you hope would be said about you?
Who are you when everyone is looking?
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Perhaps I am just getting old….or maybe 53 years of breathing earth’s air has planted a bit of wisdom and caution in my heart. Whatever the cause, the wariness I feel toward social media these days is very real and a cause of legit concern. Our devices are impacting us in so many ways that are good, but also in an equal number of ways that are not good. Today, I want to ponder the selfie phenom that has taken over our world.
Let me state at the outset that I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone with this post. If the shoe fits your foot, then wear it. If it doesn’t, leave it in the box for someone else to put on. I am simply sharing what the Holy Spirit has been working in MY heart.
Have you ever looked up the definition of a ‘selfie’? Check it.
Selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks.
In my heart, there is a great deal of discomfort with this ‘selfie’ obsession that has invaded social media. Have you ever Googled the word ‘selfie’? Sweet mercy, I did not just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but what I saw shocked me. It is incomprehensible to me that people would take such pictures of themselves…AND POST THEM ONLINE. It is also hugely disturbing to me the sheer number of ‘selfies’ that many people take and post to social media in a 24-hour period.
An article published by the American Marketing Association in November 2015 entitled, Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High, tells us that there is a physical component to social media. Who knew? The neurochemical dopamine, known as the ‘reward molecule’ is “released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal.” Apparently social media activity is also a trigger for the release of dopamine according to a study of Australian consumers.
“Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the AMA study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”
Nowhere is this more true than with selfies. Although the word ‘selfie’ is a relatively new one, the impetus behind the action is an age-old one. Obsession with, and glorification of, self. Taken to the extreme, that’s what a ‘selfie’ is…and it runs so counter to God’s desire and command for His children.
Let me clarify one thing, please. I am not talking about the occasional family/friend/group picture. Those are great, and I totally enjoy seeing them. Even the occasional ‘selfie’ posted to social media is acceptable. What I have become so leery of is the repeated pictures of self that are posted to social media. Five, ten, twenty or more ‘selfies’ in a day.
John, the beloved disciple, said that Jesus must become greater, but I must become less. (John 3:30). Paul emphatically stated that ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21).
As Christ-followers, we are called to humble ourselves, look like Jesus, and ultimately, draw other people to Him. If my calling is to point others to Jesus, it is virtually impossible for me to do that when I am so focused on taking a dozen pictures of myself each day so that I, and others, can see my face on social media.
Psychologists have discovered that, taken to the extreme, the ‘selfie’ craze can lead to a psychiatric problem called body dysmorphic disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to some studies, more than 3 selfies in a day might signify a mental disorder. Seriously!!
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and Him only. I fear today’s ‘selfie’ obsession places self in the spotlight and dethrones Jesus in our hearts. Remember the definition of ‘idol’….anything that takes the place of, or occupies more of our heart than God is an idol. Y’all, I want my relationship with Jesus to be what other people remember about me rather than endless selfies that point to Leah.
I wonder if it is time for us to examine our motives in the area of ‘selfies’ and social media? Why are we posting selfies? What is our reason for being on social media? As I have done this self-examination recently, I decided that, for me, the right decision was to delete Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat from my mobile device. I’m not saying that decision is right for you, but for me, it was the right move. And you know what? To my surprise, I don’t really miss them. You may recall that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is ‘Christ-like’. I believe that as I seek to make much of Jesus and less of Leah I will become more like Jesus.
I would love to hear your thoughts on selfies and social media. Would you share in the comments?
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