Titus 3:8b (NLT)

… so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good.

What does it mean to do good? Is “good” subjective?

Titus 3:14(NLT)

“Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others….”

When you do good, you are unselfishly thinking of others. The act of doing good becomes second nature when practiced. Titus 3:14 says you “must learn to do good by…”. You must take action. You must be about the practice of doing good, and the more you do good, the easier it will become.

Daily examples:

When driving in the parking lot and met by a pedestrian, stop, patiently, and allow the pedestrian the right away. Don’t speed up thinking, “they are walking too slow!”

Do good.

When you are out with a group of 11 people, do not sit at a table for 10. Consider everyone and draw in the outsider.

Do good.

When planning a meal, try to have something everyone likes. Occasionally, we focus on one family member or another, but we should strive to have options.

Do good.

When frustration attacks, take a step back, breathe, reevaluate the situation. Try a new approach.

Do good.

When the waitress seems to be having an especially bad day, and your service is directly hindered, show mercy. Smile, be kind, and tip well.

Do good.

Wave. Smile. Make eye contact. Greet a stranger. Slow down. Say, “I am sorry”. Think of others first. Be the last in line, somebody’s got to do it. Empty the dishwasher. Take out the trash. Replace the trash liner. Say, “I love you”. Say, “Jesus loves you”.

Do good.

When you do good, you “do😃 God”. You are God’s hands extended. He uses you.

[“DO GOOD” spelled backwards is “DOO GOD”.

I know it has an extra “o”, but phonetically it works.]😉

Mini Cooper Phenom

Galatians 6:4 (NLT)

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.

Glamour. Prestige. Power. It’s the stuff movies and books are made of. My friend embodies this lifestyle. She possesses strength, wit, and book smarts. Her successful career has been achieved through diligence and sacrifice. She has ups, and she has downs; but, her sheer determination and seemingly fearless work ethic propel her forward. What’s more, she is not finished. The best is yet to come. Each day, every experience, a stepping stone building the firm foundation for her next level.

Wife. Mother. Homemaker. Far from the hustle and bustle of the corporate world, my life could not be any more different than my friend’s. However, as a mother, sacrifices are made to ensure the successes of my children. I, too, experience the ups and downs along this roller coaster ride known as life. Maybe we aren’t so different, after all. Kindergarten through college, we share a plethora of memories: boys, friends, laughter, tears, and the occasional half gallon of Blue Bell. Almost 30 years have gone by, and the winds of time shape and mold us into different people. The memories linger. Reunited, the conversation flows, and though our paths differ, we remain connected.

We both drive Mini Coopers. Yes, we are not that different, after all.

Love, love, love

1 Timothy 1:5 (NLT)

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith.

Paul writes to his young protégé, Timothy, and he has a specific purpose in mind. Paul’s writings are not intended to be a list of dos and don’ts for believers. Oftentimes I tend to look at it that way. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel defeated as we “work” to please God.

Thank Jesus, that’s not the intention at all. Besides, Paul even tells us in 1 Timothy 1:15 that he is the worst sinner of all. Jesus uses Paul as our example, so we can know there is hope for us. “…[Jesus has] great patience with even the worst sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15, NLT)

Paul’s intention is for everyone to be filled with love. Love. Personally, I love “love”! When we view life through the eyes of love, our perspective is renewed. And, Paul’s not referring to an “I love pizza” kind of love, but he means a special, unconditional love.

(1) “Love that comes from a pure heart”

How can we have a pure heart? Ask God and He will grant it. David prayed in Psalms 51:10 (KJV):

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

(2) “Love that comes from a clear conscience”

This seems impossible, but it’s not. Recognize that condemnation is not from God but from the devil. Repent – turn from your sins and move forward.

Romans 8:1(KJV):

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

(3) “Love that comes from a genuine faith”

Have faith in God. In order to be filled with true love, we must believe in God.

Hebrews 11:6(KJV):

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Just believe.

You can not only experience this kind of love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith; but, you can walk in this love everyday!!

Take 5 minutes and reflect upon God’s unconditional love today! Then, as you carry on, grant that same love towards others.

It’s Exactly the Right Time

I remember vividly standing in line at Toys R Us to purchase only a package of diapers for which I held a coupon. Jacob sat in the buggy screaming and pitching a fit, and I could hear the ladies in line behind me discussing how “he’s too old to be acting that way…”. I am embarrassed and mad and just want to get out of that store!

“Too Old!?!” Jacob was not too old, as a matter fact, he was two years old. The exact age “to be acting that way”. People even call them the terrible twos for that exact reason!!! I made up my mind that day to never judge a young mother when her child throws a fit in public. Some moments are uncontrollable. Or…are they???

As I reflect upon that day, what could I have done differently? What prompted the fit in the beginning? Well, I was in Toys R Us with a two-year-old, enough said, but I will explain further. My mission was to purchase diapers, that’s all, nothing more. Jacob wanted to stop and play with the toys (the large cars and the Little Tikes brand displays). I was only thinking about diapers and said, “no”. Upon reflection, I should have taken five minutes and enjoyed the toys with my son.

One piece of advice with which I encourage all new parents is to enjoy each moment. The kids grow so fast, and you can never get those moments back. Hopefully, I learned from this experience and made some different choices after that.

For each moment in time, there is an exact right time for you to be present and involved. Some times are sad, and other times are happy. As long as you are breathing, this is your time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

…a time to every purpose under the heaven…

Embrace today! Live in this moment. Grieve in times of sadness. Rejoice in times of joy. Laugh in the goofy times. Cry in the hurting times. Just be. Don’t wish today away longing for the past or the future. Be present, now. It’s your time.

A Just Man

Matthew 1:19 (KJV)

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

What does it mean to be espoused? A lot more than our engagements present day. When a man and woman were espoused, they were already completely committed to each other. They could not even call off the wedding without a formal divorce.

Joseph had the opportunity to disgrace Mary as he probably felt she had disgraced him. If he had taken her before the priest, she would have been stoned to death according to the law. But, because he was honorable, he honored Mary and decided to keep this situation private. Before Joseph heard from God, he displayed a godly character.

Then, the dream. Can you imagine the realization of years of prophecy being fulfilled before your eyes and at the care of your hands? Joseph obeyed God, loved Mary, and raised God’s son, Jesus, to have a godly character, too. What an awesome responsibility! What an awesome privilege!

Will you be ready to do the right thing even when adversity comes? God is looking for people who trust Him and make “just” decisions. Let God use you.

I encourage you to read the Christmas story for yourself this season. Be reminded of the precious gift God gave us all through His son, Jesus Christ. What a joy it is to celebrate His birth! What does the birth of Jesus mean to you?

Matthew 1:18-23

Luke 1:5-80

Luke 2:1-39

Bangs or No Bangs

The deed is done. There is not much use in asking now. But, the question plagued me from the moment I decided to try to grow out my bangs. It seems like such a small decision. Is it really that important of issue? It’s only hair! Or is it?

Toward July’s end, you might recall pictures of my highlighted hair. I like to refer to that stage as my “skunk style” because to me the large, chunky highlights looked more like streaks. It was not my finest hour. It was unplanned and not what I wanted, but I agreed to a “few highlights”. My mom texted me, “Don’t you know how to say ‘no’?”

Do I? This is difficult for me. I have a hard time saying “no”.

I tend to second-guess my decisions. I worry about what other people think. As I reflect upon my life, I recognize that many of my choices have been made based on others and not my own wants or desires.

As my bangs grew, before I had time to get a trim, I pinned them back out of my face. Sidenote: I cannot stand my hair in my eyes. I received a few compliments on my new style. Who doesn’t like compliments?

So, the next time I went for my trim, my stylist suggested that she liked my bangs off of my face, too. So, I agreed to let them grow, but it was a difficult choice because I prefer bangs.

I brought this up in a counseling session I attended. “I have a hard time making decisions.” The male counselor wanted an example, so I referred to my bangs. The funny part is that he had no idea what bangs are, so I had to give an entire explanation. I suppose it does sound confusing to think that bangs are actually created by cutting the hair. Generally, things that are cut off no longer exist, but in order for bangs to exist, you must cut them off. Interesting, huh? LOL.

Well, his advice for me was to look in the mirror over the next couple of weeks and decide what I like. I must not think of others, only myself. It sounds selfish, but in reality, who does my hair effect? Only me.

Guess what? I like bangs! On my face, I need my hair to be out of my eyes. Otherwise, I pin it back every day, or it drives me crazy. So, bangs it is.

Does this hair raising story have a point?

Even though there are times to prefer others and consider others’ feelings, it is important to make choices based upon what I like. I am the one who has to live with my choices, not others. My opinion matters. I can have a voice. I like what I like, and it may not be what you like, but that’s OK.

2 Corinthians 10:12

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with them that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Citizens: Know Your Rights

Philippians 3:20a (NLT)

But we are citizens of heaven….

Philippians is a short letter written by Paul to his friends in Philippi. Paul has been imprisoned for preaching the Good News of Jesus, but his concern is not for himself but to encourage others who might suffer a similar fate. I hope you can take the time to read the book in it’s entirety and feel empowered to continue to spread the gospel.

The simple phrase, “but we are citizens of heaven,” pricked my heart this morning. What does it mean to be a citizen? I imagine all the blessings I received as a citizen of the United States of America. I am covered by the Constitution and the laws of the land. I’m granted freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to bear arms, freedom to worship, and so much more simply because I am a citizen of the USA. When I travel to other countries, I don’t travel in fear because I have the support of the American government and Armed Forces because I am a citizen. When I return to the USA from travels, I do not worry about crossing the border because I am a citizen. Being a citizen grants me special privileges.

How much more are the privileges of being a citizen of heaven? I am able to come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy because I am a citizen. (Hebrews 4:16) I receive the gift of eternal life because I am a citizen. (Romans 6:22, John 3:16) The angels rejoice over me because I am a citizen. (Luke 15:10) What ever I ask the Father, He hears, and He will give it to me because I am a citizen. (John 16:23) The list is endless.

The best part is that becoming a citizen of heaven is free; there’s no test; only one requirement: receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Galatians 3:26 (KJV)

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Will you believe today?

Will you become a citizen?

Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)

But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Throughout this Christmas season remember Jesus made the way for you to become a citizen.

Only believe.