Don’t Be Fooled By Your Scars – Here’s What They Reveal About You

You live. You breath, therefore you have scars. Some can be seen by others, and some scars are under your skin. But they are there, aren’t they? Ever been tempted to believe your scars are proof that God wasn’t looking out for you? Me too. Don’t misinterpret your scars, they reveal God’s grip on you. Let me explain.

It’s amazing how brain dead I get sometimes. I actually have bouts of thinking that go completely against what God’s Word tells me is true. Things like…

  • God’s not looking out for me or he wouldn’t have allowed me to go through this.
  • God doesn’t love me because he hasn’t given me what I think he should have given me.
  • God doesn’t really reward right living because he could have rescued me from this situation, but he chose not to.

Look, if you have ever uttered, “God, I trust you with my life.” Well then my dear, you have set yourself up for notgetting everything you want in exchange for what God knows is better. It’s your own fault!

When you trust your creator to the extent you would abandon every comfort you know in exchange for what he knows is better – you get scars. But don’t misinterpret the scars. They reveal God’s grip on you.

The Boy & The Gator

I heard a story that was in the news about a little boy tackled by an alligator. He decided to go for a swim in the swimming hole behind his house. He jumped into the water not realizing that an alligator was swimming toward him. His mom was in the house looking out the window and saw the gator headed her son’s way.

She ran to the water screaming to get her boy’s attention. Her son swam toward her but the gator was quicker. Just as the boy reached for his mom’s hands, the gator grabbed his legs. The mom and the gator played tug-of-war, neither willing to loosen their grip on the boy. The gator was much stronger than the mom, but she had more determination.

A farmer driving by, heard her screams, popped out of his truck with his rifle and shot the gator. After weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were severely scared by the gator attack. There were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his skin because she was hanging on with such a tight grip.

The news reporter asked the boy if he could see his scars. The boy lifted up his pant legs. But then with great pride said, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms too…because my Mom wouldn’t let go.”

The boy’s scars revealed his mom’s grip on him and the fact that she didn’t let go. Take a look at your scars. But don’t misinterpret them, they reveal God’s grip on you.

Look Back

During the difficulties, even during your struggles, you knew God had you in his grip. You could feel his hand on yours. Take a moment or two and reflect on what God has done. And what he has brought you through. Your scars are a reminder that he could have let you go and fed you to the gators, but he chose not to! You were salvaged. Don’t misinterpret the scar, it’s proof that God was on the scene and he didn’t let go of you.

[God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!] Hebrews 13:5b AMP

God Left His Son with Scars Too

You’ve probably heard about the scars Jesus has. In the struggle, he too felt abandoned. He too asked for his father to come to the rescue: “Father if it be your will, take this cup from me.” But God didn’t get Jesus out of that situation.

He allowed the pain, the mistreatment, and the abuse that left scars. The scars that represent the pain and agony of a necessary suffering. Suffering that left a mark, but brought greater good. God’s glory. And salvation for you and I.

I’ll say it again. Don’t misinterpret your scars, they reveal God’s grip on you. And his glory.

Share the story of your scars with someone today. And smile when you say, “But look at these scars, they are there because my God wouldn’t let go of me!”

Want to share your story here? Go for it. Show us your scars in the comment section.

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How Cutting Corners Comes with a Heavenly Price Tag
I heard about a guy who is a great Christian. Loves God with all of his heart. Well, sort of. You see, at first glance he loves God with all of his heart. But take a second glance and you’ll see how he cuts corners. See if you’re in anyway like him.

This guy doesn’t like seat belts. They save lives, yes? Of course. And he knows that. But he chooses to not wear his. But what about that little dinging sound that would be a constant irritant if he didn’t buckle up when he got in his vehicle? Oh, no problem. He found a work around for that.

He went to the junkyard and bought a seatbelt. Brought it home and cut the belt part off of the buckle part. Took the junkyard buckle piece and snapped it into the buckle part in his truck. No dinging sound does he get even if he doesn’t buckle up because he fooled his truck into thinking he’s buckled up.

For now, he’s found a way to beat the system. Only if a cop stops him, will he have some explaining to do. And who knows, by not doing as directed, he may just loose his life. Cause, you know, seat belts do save lives!

Let’s take this into the realm of Godly living. There are folks who will do exactly the same thing with what they read in God’s Word. For some reason, they think it’s ok for them to cut corners.

Not feeling the 10 commandments today? No sweat. As long as you can find a way to cut the corner without sounding an alarm, you’re good. Not feeling like honoring your mother or father today? No biggie, you can do that under the radar too. Not feeling the whole idea of paying Caesar what belongs to Caesar (aka Uncle Sam)? Ok, as long as no one at the IRS finds out, your secret is safe! Not feeling the idea of telling your spouse where you really were last night? Hey, as long as it doesn’t hurt your marriage, and no one mentions it, your good, right?

Not so fast.

Scripture says to be doers of the word and not just hearers of the word.

God’s System Can’t Be Beat

You can’t fool God into thinking you’ve buckled up when you haven’t.  You may look all tidy and compliant from the outside of the car. But God sees the real you on the inside. And you may not hear the chime go off when you don’t do what’s right, but God does. And let’s be clear, we’re not just talking about seatbelts here. Paul lays it out in Romans 12:1-2 where he says:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering…Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it… (Message)

And then as far as who sees…

2 Chronicles 16:9 says…
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to them. (NLT)

Buckle up your spirit man and do what’s right even when no one’s looking. Because in case you haven’t noticed, God’s always looking even when man isn’t. And he’s dishing out strength to those who do right.

The Heavenly Price Tag:

Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. (Revelation 22:12 NLT)

 

Enough said? Yep. Buckle up baby!

That’s righteousness. When you buckle up on the inside, you’ll buckle up on the outside. And you’ll be safe in God’s eyes. Play it right. And you’ll be all-right.

Prayer Booster: God I really want to do what’s right in your eyes, even when no one else is looking but you. Help me to do what’s right simply because it’s the right thing to do. I am deciding today to honor you in all areas of my life. Amen.

Where have you been challenged to cut corners in your life? Share with us in the comment section.


How Just One Minute in the Word Can Make a Huge Difference in Your Day

You may not always have gobs and gobs of time to read the Bible every day. But let me share how even just one little minute reading your Bible can make a big difference in your day.

Consider the Illinois man who left the snow-filled streets of Chicago for a vacation in Florida. His wife was on a business trip and was planning to meet him there the next day. When he reached his hotel, he decided to send his wife a quick e-mail.

Unable to find the scrap of paper on which he had written her e-mail address, he did his best to type it in from memory. Unfortunately, he missed one letter and his note was directed instead to an elderly preacher’s wife, whose husband had passed away only the day before.

When the grieving widow checked her email, she took one look at the monitor, let out a piercing scream, and fell to the floor in a dead faint. Hearing the scream, her family rushed into the room and saw this note on the computer screen:

Dearest wife,

Just checked in. Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!

The absence of just one little thing can make a big difference, can’t it?! So can the addition of one little thing. My friend was telling me how she didn’t have much time the other morning to read her Bible. She only had a minute. So she took one minute in the Word. That’s all it took. That one little minute set her day up – the right way.

She shared how one tiny bite of the Word is like a tiny bite of food. Think about it, even just a small bite of food contributes to our well-being. It nourishes. It tastes good. It delivers vitamins to our body. The same happens with just one bite of scripture.

God’s Word is so powerful that even just one tiny bite has value. It’s nutrition-packed! So the next time you’re tempted to beat yourself up because you don’t have time to read a whole section or a whole chapter in your Bible. Don’t! Just take a bite.

That one little bite can encourage you, lift you up, set you up, and keep you going. Just one word. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Here are a few ideas on how to sneak in a bite of the Word:

  • If you have one minute to spare before you get to work, grab your smart phone
    and grab a bite. (YouVersion Bible app is my favorite Smartphone app.)

  • Got a pocket Bible? Stash it in your purse, briefcase, or backpack before you head out the door.
    Then you will be prepared to take advantage of a break in your day when you can munch on the Word.

  • Have a few minutes while your waiting in line picking the kids up? Grab a bite.
  • Waiting on your next appointment, your doctor, or in line at the grocery store? Grab a bite.
  • Standing over the stove cooking dinner? Grab a bite before you grab a bite!
  • If all else fails, and you’ve found yourself at the end of the day ready to plop into bed and you
    still haven’t had a bite of scripture that day…take just 60 seconds and grab a bite!

    One bite is better than no bite at all. Even just one tiny bite of the Bible will do your body good!

    Anywhere. Anytime. Grab a bite of scripture.

    Bon Appétit!

    How has just one tiny bite of your Bible make a difference in your day? What are some ways you can come up with to sneak in a bite of scripture?  Let us know in the comment section!

    (Story credit: LOL Text: Daily Funny Texts and Jokes, Appstore. Image of food: Google Images)


One Thing That May Make Your Reward Instantly Vanish Before Your Eyes!

You give and you’re promised a reward, right? Not so fast! A reward is something you can opt-out of and not even know it. Listen to how it can unfold so you don’t do the same…

A rush of emotions poured over me. I saw a person make a huge donation to an organization that’s feeding hungry children and orphans all over the world.

I was blown away! Ecstatic might be a good word too. I was excited about how his gift was going to impact these kids. And too, I was excited for this individual knowing that a truck load of rewards were going to be dumped into his lap.

But then I gasped!

I wanted to run up to him and say, “STOP! Stop speaking. You’re blowing it!”

Blowing what?

His reward.

He just let it fly out the window. Because his mouth revealed what he gave.

Bummer.

Really big bummer.

Because this was a really BIG gift!

The Real Reason Behind the Giving

At first I thought, this is really cool that he has learned the joy of unbridled giving. But then when he opened his mouth and began to tell people what he had done it became very apparent why he had given. It was to be seen. It was to feed his ego. It was to inflate his self-esteem.

And guess what? He may have gained those things. But he lost the reward that would have come from above. What a thought, the mother-load sacrificed for a tiny slice of “Good job!” Those momentary feelings he received, the at-a-boy pat on his back…that’s it! That’s all he gets for his generosity. Sad. Because God had arranged more.

This is what the Bible says about it in Matthew 6:1-4 (NLT):

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth; they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

The Acid Giving Test:

If you can pull it off in secret, most likely your motives for giving are good. But if you’re doing it to be seen – that’s not good.

If you want credit for it here, you’ll sacrifice credit for it there. Where? Heaven, where the rewards are much weightier.

Here’s what you can do to check yourself the next time you feel like giving:

• Are you giving to someone else so you can give to yourself (via self-esteem, accolades, recognition, etc.) If so, then you’re not giving to God.

• Have you ever talked about the money you gave away?

• Do you tell others about your good deeds?

• Have you ever Tweeted or Facebooked your status after helping someone out?

If so, enjoy. Cause that’s all the reward you’re gonna get. Bask in it while it lasts. Or, you can wait for the praise from God and have it forever!

How much of a reward do you want? Do you want a little here? Or do you want it forever there? Shut your trap so it doesn’t shut down your reward!

Be a top-secret giver and enjoy the rewards forever.

 
Prayer Booster: “God I want to give with a pure  heart and for the right reasons. The next time I give, let my motive be to bless others – not myself. Help me to squash the desire to make it in anyway about me. I choose to wait for my reward and to give with no strings attached. Amen.”

What say you? Have you ever lost your reward? How would the redo look if it were possible? How will you give next time? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. 


If You’re On the Verge of Giving Up On One of Your Prayers, Hang On and Read This…

Do you have a prayer that’s still in “wait mode”? Oh, me too!

I love the story in Luke 18:1 about the persistent widow. She pretty much said, “Jesus, I’m not leaving you alone until you give in!” She did not let up until he healed her. That takes guts, that takes boldness, and that takes determination.

And guess what? Jesus rewards that kind of gumption.

If you and I could develop that kind of persistence, we’d get a lot more prayers answered.

I’ve been guilty a time or two of giving up when I didn’t see God answer my prayer. You too?

But here’s the deal.

During the waiting, we need to keep praying.

Had the persistent widow quit being persistent, she wouldn’t have recieved what she had been asking for. Keep asking and you’ll eventually get an answer. Quit and you will never get an answer.

So I want to encourage you…

Don’t give up until God answers.

He may say yes.

He may say no.

He may say wait.

During the waiting, keep praying.

How do you deal with prayers that are still in wait mode? Share with us, the comment section is waiting for you!


How You Can Grab God’s Attention
Ever feel like God is out to lunch when you are praying?  Does he really hear you? Maybe he’s sipping on a tall vanilla latte at Starbucks and he really doesn’t have time to listen to you today? Or maybe he doesn’t even want to! Ouch!

How often have you bombarded heaven’s door  only to feel like your prayer bounced back into your lap? So, let me ask…Are you frustrated in any way with your prayer life? Or embarrassed because you really don’t have one?  Maybe you’re disappointed because only some prayers have been answered. Or you’re looking at others who have gotten exactly what they prayed for and your feeling shortchanged.

I’ve been there. I totally know what ALL that feels like. And let me tell you…

Help is on the way!

I asked 100’s of people what their most pressing questions were about prayer. I went into chat rooms and forums and noted the most frequently discussed prayer dilemmas. Then I went to work answering those questions. Through years of study and 20 years experience as a pastor, I have learned a lot about prayer and I want to help answer those questions for you.

I have discovered that people really do want to pray, but sometimes they don’t know how. And they don’t always believe that their prayers make a difference. Many give up. That’s exactly what the enemy would want. Do you feel like that could be you?

This is why I have written a book to address some of the most common questions and frustrations about prayer. It’s called, Grabbing God’s Attention – The Art of Praying Like a Pro. It’s available on Amazon in the Kindle edition or as a PDF that can be printed.  The PDF option is great because it allows you to write in the “Taking-Action” sections so you can immediately put to use what you have been reading. Grab it today and start digging in!

You Can Be a Prayer-Ninja!

If a person would want to change the world, all he needs to do is teach people to pray. Well, I’m looking to change the world. Want to help me do that? If you can learn how to Grab God’s ear, you will change your world and the world around you. Talk about a prayer-ninja!

This book will help you learn how to approach God boldly. This book will give you assurance that he wants to talk to you just as badly as you want to talk to him. I’ll offer you guidance and tips that will take you from feeling like prayer is a duty to feeling like prayer is one of the most satisfying activities of your daily life. It is so amazing to have a great conversations with God and to know when you speak, he hears!

By the time you are done with this book, you will see that prayer is as natural as talking to your friend or companion. No fear, no worries.

God is waiting for you to come and tell him what’s on your mind. Get the book that will help you Grab God’s Attention. Soon you will be praying like a pro!

Click here for the Amazon Kindle version. Or click here for the PDF version that you can print.

Grab the book so you can Grab God’s Attention!!

Dr. Linda Travelute


Why God Hates it When You Trash Talk YOURSELF
Imagine this…You forget to unplug the iron, it falls and burns a big ol’ hole in your ironing board cover. Rats! Thank God, it didn’t catch the house on fire. Still, you feel like an loser.

Or get this, You’re late and your whipping in and out of traffic like Jeff Gordon. All of the sudden your car slows down and it’s not because you let your foot off the accelerator. It’s because your gas tank has gone bone dry. You forgot to get gas this morning. Grrrrrr!….You think, “I’m such a dork!”

Or you bounce a check…again. In fact, it’s the third check you’ve bounced this month. Not intentional. Just happened. You were juggling things – trying to make it all work. Fail. Fail. Fail. What slips out of your mouth? I’m such a failure!

When you goof up, what’s the first thought that races through your mind?

I am so stupid!

Really?

Is that the best you can come up with?

Or try this on for size…

“Gosh, I just can’t get it right.”

“I am so forgetful.”

“I’m an irresponsible dim whit.”

“I’m such a goof!”

“Nice job, bozo!”

“I’m such a fool, will I ever learn?”

“I will never get ahead!”

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Wonder how God stomachs all of our insane, self-inflicting comments when we start letting them roll.

Right now, I’m picturing God sitting on His throne, listening to someone tear you, someone He loves, into shreds. Doesn’t matter that the same person who’s spouting off the name-calling is also the recipient. When you start getting down on yourself, you’re hurting someone God loves.

And that’s wrong. Stop.

Know what? God would never call you names. Regardless of your mistakes! And God would never ask you to do anything He doesn’t do himself. If He asks us to think about the good in other people, then He’s thinking about the good things in us too.

Let’s take it a step further. God asks you to think Philippians 4:8 about yourself.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil 4:8 (NLT)

What about you is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable?

Think on that! But don’t just think on that, FIX your thoughts on that. In other words, those thoughts about the good in you should consume the majority of your thoughts. When you “fix” something in your mind, your thoughts don’t move. They stay. They stay on the good.

Rather than trash yourself, treasure yourself.

Cause you are good stuff to think about and you’re good stuff talk about.

Let me know if this post has connected with you. Tell me about your struggle and your success in the area of talking about yourself. Pop your thoughts into the comment section! 


How You Can Make Smarter Decisions Based on My Decision About Getting a Nose Ring
Just for kicks, I asked my teenage kids what they thought of me getting a nose ring. I’m not talking a hoop or anything like that protruding from my nose in an awkward fashion. Just a tiny diamond stud. You know, something tiny yet with a bit of dazzle.

 

My daughter was the first to speak up. She’s 14 but declares she is the Ann Landers of her generation. She said very sweetly, “Mom, I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you are too old for a nose ring. You have too many wrinkles.” Ouch. Not so sure why she equates wrinkles with non-nose ring wear, but ok! I took her thoughts to heart. Then I decided to get the opinions of a few others. 56 others to be exact.

Yes, within 2 hours, 56 people had responded to my Facebook post.

This is what I put out there:

“My daughter says that being 43 automatically disqualifies me from getting a nose ring! Your thoughts?”

Oh my! The responses ranged from, “Yes, “go for it!” to, “You’re too cool or beautiful and that would ruin you!”

Ruin me?! Really?!

Here’s the decision I made and why it can help you when you are up against making the right decision verses the wrong one.

1. Help People Trust You

First impressions shouldn’t really matter, but they do. So in an age where people look on outward appearance instead of the heart, we have to help them trust us. That may mean foregoing a freedom or fashion statement in order to win their confidence and trust. That’s not how it should be. But that’s how it is. I’m not saying it’s right or fair. But that’s reality. People judge based on appearance.

My rule has always been this:

Form a light-first impression based on the outward, but always be prepared to change your view of someone based on what you learn about them. The more interaction you have with someone, the more you get to know him or her. First impressions can be right, but they can also be very very wrong. Sometimes it takes years to really know someone.

Unfortunately, not everyone plays by my rules. So here’s what else I recommend:

2. Remember Who You Are And What That Stands For

I am a pastor and I take my role as a pastor very seriously. I am also a professional counselor. I don’t know many PhD’s with nose rings. (Maybe I just haven’t met the right ones yet!) But my thought is this; if I had to connect with an ultra conservative group, or mingle in a professional one, would the nose ring keep me from being heard? Or would people discount what I have to offer because of that stud in my nose? Sadly, yes.

Yes, it’s ok for me to get a nose ring. But it’s even better not to right now so that nothing stands in the way of touching someone’s life. I want to be more thoughtful. In your realm or arena, it might be perfectly acceptable for you to done a nose ring. If so, I’m glad you get to have one. For me, right now, it’s probably not the best idea.

I have decided to give up freedoms that I rightfully have in order to connect with and be accepted by others. If having a nose ring would in any way keep me from being a blessing to others because they may not be able to get past the jewelry in my nose, then I will give up my right to have a nose ring.

I don’t want my freedom to cause anyone to stumble. And how would they stumble? By not accepting me based on my outward appearance. (Romans 14 has some darn good stuff about this. Check it out.)

So, at this point in my life, no nose ring! Maybe when nose rings become more accepted, just like women wearing pants has become more accepted since the 1940’s, I might just go for it! But not until I know it won’t keep others from connecting with me. Their bad, I know! But my heart to serve them overrides their bad in making an unfair judgment. 

What rights are you willing to give up in order to reach more people? I’m thinking that’s more important. Call me crazy? Chime in. I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section.


Do You Have Enough Guts to Bring God Glory?
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Next time there is a full moon, take a peek and notice her splendor. I guarantee she’ll knock your socks off if you give her a glance!

Have you ever thought about what the moon does? It generates no light. But baby, it shines!

Apart from the sun, the moon is nothing more than a dark black, marked-up rock. BUT, when it’s properly positioned, the moon beams. Let her do what she was made to do, and a clod of dirt becomes a source of illumination & inspiration. All that happens when the moon reflects the greater light, the sun.

I bring this up because that’s what you and I can do. But it only happens when we are in the right position to the Son -The Son of God. When in position, we become a source of illumination, and inspiration.

Look how the Bible explains it…

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “All of us can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

What is so cool is that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be in position. Like the moon, you have marks–don’t we all! But you can still reflect the light.

You can have habits you are still trying to kick… But over the years you can change more and more. And as you do, you reflect Gods glory more and more.

The Bible says, we are changed from glory to glory. Know what that means? The more and more we act like God, the more and more we look like God. And that brings God glory!

To make this happen, it takes guts! Let me ask you, do you have enough guts to bring God glory?

No Guts, No Glory
You’ve heard the phrase, “No guts, no glory.” That is so true. If you don’t have the guts to impact someone’s life, then God gets no glory.

I failed to have guts one time. I was at Tropi Grill, there was a lady sitting there. She was minding her own business, eating her Tropi chops. I wanted to mind my own business and eat my Tropi chops. But guess what? God wanted me to speak to her. He said, “Just tell her I love her.” That’s it. Just one line. I didn’t want to.

He said again, “All I want you to do is tell her I love her. That’s it.” So I’m sitting there arguing with God, saying things like, “I don’t feel like it, I’m too tired, I’m too hungry.”

I thought, What if this is the devil telling me to do this? Then God said, “Do you actually think the devil would ask you to tell someone God loves them?” Hmm, probably not!

What I learned is that even if it’s not God’s voice, but it’s a good thing, just do it anyway, cause 9 times out of 10 it is God’s voice.

Because I sat there so long, the lady got up and left. I lost my chance.

Because I didn’t have the guts, God didn’t get the glory.

The Message says in Ephesians 5:1

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Love like God does.

Any way you can love on someone – brings Glory to God because when you do these things – you look like God. It points people to Him. It brings Him glory.

You don’t have to be perfect to bring God glory. You just have to have guts!

Get gutsy, so you too, can glorify God!

Let us know how you have been gutsy enough to bring God glory. Hit up the comment section. Thanks!