“For-gift-ness: The Gift Everyone Needs Year Round!

“For-gift-ness: The Gift Everyone Needs Year Round!

(Published initially on http://www.Livingbetterat50.com  Nov. 2012)

by Holly LaChappell

The Holidays are almost upon us. What are your family dynamics? Emotions can run high and getting together with extended and immediate family can create stress, dreg up a lot of emotions and hard memories of holidays past.

What if we started our gift giving early? What if you gave the generous gift of “for-gift-ness” (forgiveness) before you got together for the festivities? Could there be a change in your attitude and also possibly in the attitude for who you are praying and forgiving? I believe so! Think about what has bothered you about a certain person’s behavior, their words and their facial expressions. Pray, asking God to help you forgive them. Pray, Lord help me to let go of the past hurts and embrace your love and acceptance for me and the person I am trying to forgive.

Some forgiveness tips: remember no one has lived a perfect childhood or life. Things have happened in our past to shape us into the person we are today. Many of us are responding out of a five year old’s body and mind, because when something traumatic happened to us, our bodies stored the memory. Your five year old self formed a defense mechanism (or survival mechanism) around the hurtful or traumatic experience.  When your Aunt gives you a disapproving look, remember you are not five years old anymore! Your adult self can shrug it off and say, “Really? What’s the matter here?” and they will probably back down and say, “Nothing”.  Or you can just choose to ignore the look that was probably not intended for you anyway! So much of how people respond is about them and how they are internalizing something. It’s not about you!

Tips for a more pleasurable Holiday experience: Pray, asking God for His outcome in the event. Try building rapport (again) with family members ahead of time by giving them a phone call or mailing them a postcard. Let them know the details of the day, mentioning a family walk, a game or they’ll have an opportunity during dinner to say what they are thankful for. I also have activities for the younger children such as coloring, simple crafts, books and games. Let them know you are looking forward to celebrating the Holidays with them.

Do let your family members have a say about what the menu will be and what they can bring to contribute to the meal. Everyone needs to feel a sense of control and a sense of security and belonging. Letting everyone know your expectations helps to minimize unfortunate surprises. Ask if they are bringing anyone else with them to dinner. Let your family members know what time they can come to help set up and what time dinner is served. I suggest keeping the dinner time as close as possible. If alcohol has been a past problem, I suggest opting for non-alcoholic drinks to help reduce quarreling and potential violence.

As the Hostess, you help set the tone of the Holiday. If you are uptight and anxious, you will put everyone else on edge. Remember the reason you are gathering together in the first place: to celebrate God’s provision and His 10,000+ blessings! At Christmas, we celebrate the most important gift we have ever received: Jesus! His love and forgiveness is the gift that keeps on giving! Knowing He is with us gives us peace and contentment. We are anchored in His love no matter how our families act! Ps. 16:11 “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence.”  Let the “for-gift-ness” begin!  Merry Christmas!

Peace & Joy!

Peace: in Greek the word  is “shalom.” It means peace, completeness, welfare and health. That about covers it, our lives in full, I think! In the Old Testament, the word peace is used 237 times! It is a pretty important concept! It’s a state of being at ease,with harmony in your soul  and mind, so it’s externally and internally. We know don’t we, if our insides are calm or crazy, our outsides are going to reflect what is going on! It’s pretty hard to conceal our discomfort, pain or dissatisfaction. Isaiah prophesied our Prince of Peace~ Jesus in Isaiah 9:6. And in 9:7 he said, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies  will make this happen!”

Peace in Greek as a noun is: “eirene”

As a verb, peace is: “eireneuo”. It means to keep peace or be at peace.

As an adjective, “eirenikos” denotes peaceful and is used as the fruit of righteousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at each of these pictures,  you can choose one that can help you feel relaxed and produce a sense of peace right now. See Jesus there with you, comforting you, holding your heart and casting away your fears. Thank Him for a peace that surpasses all understanding. Carry that visual, that picture with you today as you go through your day facing your fear or uncertainties.

Isn’t true also, when we are resenting something or somebody,  it causes us fear, unrest, discontent? So, we start to distant ourselves from the problem, the challenge, the bump in the road…instead of praying and going to Jesus first! It always seems to me, my peace is interrupted when  my comfort level is at stake, our kids are making wrong decisions, and someone in charge is doing something crazy! Holding a grudge, harboring bitterness and unforgiveness not only steals our peace but also our joy! And, it can sneak up on us and can happen oh so quickly!

What if our mindset the moment we wake up was: “Be my first thought, God!” Lord, help me to Seek first your Kingdom! This helps us  to set the tone of our day, so we can start out with a peaceful attitude!

Phil. 4: 4 “Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy.” Does anyone want more JOY in their lives? I know I sure do!  The Greek word for JOY is rendered “chairo”.

Have you ever stopped to think how God allows crazy, hard situations in your life, so you can still practice being joyful in the midst of the trial?! Hmmm…We have to come to a place in our lives where we can rejoice for  what is taking place. Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say, REJOICE! God has to become the point of our joy! This is the mark of spiritual maturity in us. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Learn that all that comes into your life, even those irritating comments,  is allowed by the Lord either to reveal something in your own heart that you haven’t seen or to give you an opportunity to manifest the “sweet reasonableness” (gentleness) of Jesus.

Years ago, when my daughter was eight years old, she asked me if I would go to camp with her and be her Camp counselor. I was super excited because I had never gone to “overnight camp” as she called it, before.  There was a rivalry building between the boys and girls. Rumor had it, it was pay back time because the girls had gotten the boys pretty good with water balloons at the last year’s camp. Well, from  the earliest moment possible, on the second day of camp,  the water balloon war was on! ! The girls in my cabin and I were  chased onto a tall wooden deck by the boys with water balloons. We of course, had already tossed our water balloons and a few broke  on the the boys! As we were running away from the boys and their triple stacked arm filled water balloons, the deck broke! My leg went through the decaying wooden deck! I could see a hole in the deck, just about 15 feet below me! I was pretty stunned and torpedo water balloons were splashing and landing all around us! All the girls helped me up as the camp officials came running to help! I am sure the Camp’s officials thought I was going to sue! But, Jesus’  “sweet reasonableness” abounded that day and over the next few days! Today, my wedding ring is not completely round, my middle finger is no longer straight and I have a nice scar that looks like the continent of Africa on my knee!

As I look at my somewhat misshaped  circular wedding ring, I am reminded Jesus’ unfailing love never stops. His love just continuously circles around my heart and it never runs out!

His unfailing peace is always mine as my mind stays rooted in Him.  His unending joy is mine when I stop to thank Him and have gratitude, knowing He is always near to me.

I also have peace and joy in my memories, spending that precious camp experience with my daughter!

Jesus came to set you free from the Law! Gal. 5:1 “So Christ has truly set us free.”

   old camera Gal. 5:1 “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up (or harnessed) again in slavery to the law.” (rules, regulations)

   Jesus’ righteousness imparted in YOU means:

    1.         You do not have to isolate and hide in your pain, shame or guilt.

    2.        You are righteous by faith, so take a step of faith and approach Him when you feel shame. You do not have to earn your righteousness by keeping the laws.

    3.       Learn to call on Jesus first in your troubles, addictions and pride!  He will personally and divinely deliver His love to you!

4.         He is the God of heart healing transformation! He has a new photograph to show you of YOU!

5. Let Jesus bury your old life and thought habits. Receive His righteousness as an act of faith!

Romans 6:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.”

What’s your most prized accomplishment? Many will say the day that got married, had children, got a promotion at work.  Invite Jesus into your happy place too! Thank Him for making ALL things possible! Thank Him for what He is doing in your life! Thank Jesus for taking on our sins so we can live without shame, blame or condemnation! We are so blessed!

What about those not-so-great-days? Invite Him into those days, where you isolate, hide and feel shame or guilt. A lot of your shame was never meant to be taken on. For most of us, research has shown, shame was taken on from your family of origin.

In addictive personalities, because people cannot or are not facing their addictions, someone has to take on the feelings, the mantle of shame. It is usually the innocent children, who because they do not understand what is fully happening, will take on the shame. Then, we try really hard to follow a set of rules, trying to be better and make ourselves clean. This is just not possible. We try being religious and somehow still feel hollow and empty. What is missing? We need real Love and a Real Savior to cleanse us and release us from our past.

Were your growing up years marked by: alcoholism, workaholism, pornography, eating addictions, gambling, sexual abuse, verbal, physical abuse  and rage? If so, you have to get real and clear about what your identity is based upon. If you base your self-worth on your past and the lies of shame and guilt, one would never become what God is asking and moving you  to do.  Because it means if our identity is based on untruth then we will make decisions that are out of line with God’s best for us. Often it’s what we believe about who we are, we are! That is why it is so IMPORTANT to believe Christ: what He’s done for us in love, and that He does indeed make us free and righteous! In our fiery trials, Jesus covers us in His fire suppressant gel called grace.

Did you see that fun, old camera? Smile and see Him!  God is smiling at you right now, too because He knows how your photograph, your life will be developed in Him! He is the One that is transforming you into His image as He imparts His righteousness in you! We can stand at   of a new day together TODAY and say, “This is who God says I am. And because of that, I will be different today, because I am free indeed!”

My 2nd book “Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace and Hope in Your Fiery Trials” is ready on www.Amazon.com Kindle!

                I am excited to announce my 2nd Book, “Reigning Fire” is published and ready to download on Kindle!

         {FYI… you can download a Kindle book to your desktop, your Smart phone, or Ipad and of course your Kindle device! You

will just need to download the Kindle app or whatever app you want to read your book in!}

I expect it to be ready in paperback mid November! (just right around the corner!)  Thank you for purchasing!

A portion of the proceeds will benefit A New Day, a non-profit, free counseling center in my hometown.

     http://www.anew-day.com              I am blessed to serve as a Lay Counselor there!

I started this book four years ago! I sure thought I would finish it as quickly as my first book, “Flowers of Grace” but

God had some new adventures in learning and teaching for me to go through first! His timing is always perfect and He is

with us as we go through the fiery trials 100% of the time!

Here’s an excerpt: (copyrighted)

Can God, even in our sufferings, bring something good out of devastation? Yes. God is pure and good, all the time. As we participate with Him, moving in faith and trust (even when we do not know how something horrible is going to turn out), He will bring something good to fruition. It probably will not be what you are expecting, but who are we to decide what our sovereign and glorious God can and will do? His ways are so much higher than ours!

Zechariah 4:6b tells us how to live and move in the Spirit: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” We are to move, act, and decide by His Spirit, not by our own strength or accord. I certainly can tell when I am moving in my own strength or accord! I am confused, and I need His emotional guidance, definitely not the world’s advice. As my emotional counselor, the Holy Spirit helps me to recognize my negative thoughts. He helps me to see and clarifies my thinking when I am acting out and allowing negative thoughts to direct me. He helps me and clears up my erroneous perspective. When I ask for help and guidance, He moves me into healthy thinking and healthy living. I just need to remember to ASK for help! I need to go in His strength each day, not my own. How about you? Do you sometimes forget to ask God for His strength, His guidance, and His presence to go with you? I know I do.

Powerful emotions and feelings of overload, confusion, fear, anger, jealousy, frustration, disappointment, inadequacy, guilt, unforgiveness, and being lost in our sins and loneliness leave us in a place of trying to do it on our own. We habitually make decisions in our own strength and intuition. These emotions are the strongest indicators that we need the Holy Spirit’s guidance and truth in our circumstances. How many times have you heard of a huge fire, burning out of control, and yet, the homeowners will not leave their homes? The authorities have ordered them to “LEAVE NOW. We cannot protect you or your home. The fire is too intense and moving too quickly.” So many of us choose to remain where we are, take our chances and fight. Is this obedience or defiance? Stubbornness? Pride? The enemy of your soul wants you to stay in this stuck mode. Recognize your state and ask God for direction. Pray for forgiveness for trying to move in your own strength instead of relying on Him. Accept His forgiveness. He will set you free, and your spirit will be lifted out of despair.

 

Waiting and Wisdom

Job12:13 (MSG) “True wisdom and real power belong to God; from Him we learn how to live, and also what to live for.” Job 28:  23-24 (ESV) “God understands the way (wisdom) and He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.”(italics mine)

How would you define wisdom? Wisdom is a noun. Wisdom is God. It is defined as the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. Prov. 2: 1-8 give the benefits of wisdom which come in the waiting time. “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to Him. Proverbs 2:10 shares, “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.” Awesome! Not only do we receive wisdom into our heated battles through the Holy Spirit, we also receive joy! We need wisdom and joy in our fiery waits.

We do not have to be afraid in our waiting times. We are waiting in God’s timetable not our own. God is up to something behind the scenes on your behalf. So be patient in your waiting times. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT

The goal of the pain of waiting  + obedience =blessings, joy and rewards in our pain. As we rely on God, trusting Him, He blesses us!

How do we quench the fury of waiting? By turning to God asking for wisdom and being still. As we get still, we begin to hear what are own thoughts are as we encounter our self, our challenges, our worries and deep concerns. Prayer helps us to get in touch with our self and God. As we experience Him we are comforted and encouraged. We are able to quench the fiery challenge of waiting by being in a close relationship with Jesus through prayer, stillness and meditating on Him and His Word. It does take us getting still before Him. He showers us with His living water, His holiness and in the process purifies our lives. It’s in the fire, you are made holy. In the purification process, impurities are being burned off. We receive our self and God’s presence when we are still. In the fires of life, we get tired. We get discouraged. I need Jesus’ cooling waters of wisdom in my life to refresh my parched spirit. John 4:14-24 (NLT) 14″ But those who drink the
water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

excerpt from Holly’s upcoming book:

“Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy Spirit Grace in Your Fiery Trials”

www.HeartForTheCross.com 

At the Crossroad of Decision

Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Look, Ask, Walk, Rest. Four words. These four small words boiled down, give us God’s thoughts in making a decision. Look to see where He has been working and already starting to lead.

Ask Him what He’d like you to do.
Walk in obedience in the direction He is asking you to go. Rest in Him, rest in your decision. Sometimes, it is a wrestling match and yet, I know He will win…and I want God to win in my life!

He whispers to me, in a matter of time, this decision will be settled and I will bring it to fruition. Just watch now and rest in me. Oh, how I am starting  to enjoy this part of the decision-making!

Rest, not worry and wait. Love me and enjoy me in the process, His heart whispers to mine.

Praise you, Lord!

A Heart That Stirs

Exodus 35:21 (NKJV)
“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.”
Is your heart being stirred? Is God creating something new in your life? Or, is He asking you to bring an offering to Him? He could be asking for a tithe, but my thought is He also asks for us to give an offering of something else– our hearts. Our heart is where our decisions are made, because we decide out of our affections what we love and what we want to do. Our beliefs create our emotions. Our emotions then create our reactions and our responses. If I am reacting in ways which are explosive, violative or snide and snarky, fearful and doubting, there is something about my core belief that needs to be explored. In God, I can ask Him to examine my heart, my will, my affections, my mood. I can pray to have Him point out what is the root of my belief. My identity is formed around these beliefs. Instead, I need to let God help me form my identity in Him.  God is love and He loves you and I perfectly and unconditionally.
When we allow God into our hearts, we can make space for Him to fill us up. Now, we will start to make decisions happily based on His desires for us. And, our identity is based upon His love for us and not upon what the world
or what others feel about us. Then, we can go about doing God’s work, touching other lives with His precious love and grace.  So, rise up! Listen to the stirrings in your heart. Make some positive Holy Spirit inspired changes and throw off the garments of old beliefs! Then go confidently in Him.  Thank you, Lord for your loving touch upon my life today. I will listen to your stirrings, empty myself and make space for you to move fully in my heart and life. Amen.
Excerpt from Holly’s upcoming book:

“Reigning Fire: Discovering Holy
Spirit Grace In Your Fiery Trials”

www.HeartForTheCross.com