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“…Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Philippians 4:8

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the Law.”

Romans 13:10

After a walk by the swimming area of the lake today, I prayed for the men of our town. How difficult it must be to control their thoughts with so much FLESH visible that it leaves little to the imagination!

No matter what the foolishness of the current culture is trying to tell us, men and women are different. In all aspects. And I am praising the Lord for that. I wish I knew how to get that message out so it would truly be heard. My soul was grieving at what we are becoming as a society.

(As I was walking away from the area, today, I thanked God I am not a man. I’m not sure I would be strong enough to keep my thoughts pure. It’s not just on the beach, but also around town.)

Then I noticed some men sitting alone–some in cars–some in work vans (the names of their businesses were on the side of their vans)…They just sat…looking toward the swimming beach. I prayed for them to take their thoughts captive.

(There were plenty of parking spaces by the sea wall where they could have sat and not viewed the FLESH that leaves little to the imagination…and yet they were there…at the swimming beach area…just sitting and watching.)

I began to fear a bit for the women and the young girls. And to pray that they will be wise and thoughtful to help men to wrestle LESS with their thoughts, by choosing to reveal less. To be feminine and modest. To be prudent and wise and kindhearted.

On my way back home from my walk, I prayed some more for the men and boys of our town. That they will be strong and resist following through with the temptations that their eyes cannot resist. It’s not MY idea…

God made His message clear Throughout the Old & New Testament:  Job said in Job 31:1 (Good News translation) “I have made a solemn promise never to look with lust at a woman.” And Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  And James in James1:14, 15 taught, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed…”

May women see the need to not entice men and may men choose wisdom and strength and look away.

Lord, have mercy.  We desperately need You. We are weak but You are strong! To God be the Glory!

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

–Adapted from a post from 2015. Still very relevant today. Sadly so.

 

Personality and Jesus

Do you know who God created you to be? Have you ever stopped to think about how your personality affects the way you interact with others? Find out more in this new book by Pamela A. Taylor.

Personality and Jesus

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Learning to Lean

Boy leaning head and looking out window

I was grumpy yesterday.

My plans went south. And I had to WAIT for someone before I could move on with my day. I was frustrated. I like routine and dependable people. So I was grumpy and feeling miserable because I could not have MY WAY! I was at the mercy of another. I went to bed late and had troubled sleep.

So, when I woke up this morning, I realized I did not want to be grumpy anymore. I DECIDED to be content. I CHOSE joy as I awakened and a song popped in my head. Not sure I have the words exactly correct, but here is the gist of it: “To God be the Glory. To God be the Glory. To God be the Glory for the things He has done. By His blood He has saved me, by His power, He has raised me…And if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary. To God be the Glory…”

I’m sure I left something out, but it got me back into right perspective. Truly, God had ministered to me and my spirits lifted.

Then, I asked God, “Why is it that I don’t “wait” well, God? I get grumpy. I feel like so much time is wasted waiting. HOW can I have a better response as I am going through the “waiting”???” (That is kind of a risky prayer, because God gives us opportunities to see if we really want an answer to that kind of prayer. 😉

How do we do that?

How do we learn what is right in the sight of the Lord? We learn by reading the Word and then applying those Biblical standards to our personal lives. Our faith is nurtured through extended and deliberate time spent in the Word of God and in prayer. Spiritual wisdom comes little by little throughout our earthbound days, maturing and growing us daily.

We learn to trust

Trust develops over time, and we learn to experience and believe that all that happens—the blessings AND the sufferings—are God’s ways of teaching us reliance on Him. He never ever leaves us alone. He walks through ALL of life WITH us. The good, the bad and the ugly.

An attitude

Learning to lean is an attitude toward God—a mindset—an awareness—of what He wants, and then desiring to do it. And then following through on that desire. He renews our mind, resulting in Godly living. Leaning guarantees the Lord’s guidance in all things so that we may live rooted and grounded in Him. He is the vine and we are the branches. We stay connected. This is where that peace that passes understanding comes in. Even in the midst of storms of life, we can be peaceful on the inside. Blessing upon blessing.

Solomon teaches in Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding…Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” Again…This is a choice.

Living under the influence of just our own understanding…

  • can lead to MISunderstandings
  • can lead to fear
  • can lead to poor responses
  • can lead to assumptions based on past experiences

However…

To trust in the Lord and acknowledge His authority and leading in all our ways…

  • dispels fear
  • brings inner rest and peace
  • leads to trust that today is a “new day”
  • daily new beginnings

And these Godly responses lead to peace, joy, rest and confidence moving forward.  Learning to lean!

Until next time…

Personality and Jesus

Do you know who God created you to be? Have you ever stopped to think about how your personality affects the way you interact with others? Find out more in this new book by Pamela A. Taylor.

Personality and Jesus

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Is Compliance Obedience? Is Disobedience Rebellion?

Gavel

Lately, I’ve been pondering the question:

Must we, Biblically speaking—as Christians—ALWAYS obey ALL authorities? I am just guessing, but I believe this has been an often debated question from way back when time began. Think Adam and Eve.

Dictionary.com defines compliance: “the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding, a tendency to yield readily to others, especially in a weak and subservient way.” Kinda mindlessly following. God wants us to have the heart of a servant, not to be SUBservient out of fear or dread. We must not check our heart at the door. Whatever we do, must be with our whole heart, in response to the love we have for our Creator God. Our Father. He always wants our best. And He has a plan. The plan He has for me will NOT look like the plan He has for you or for any other person. We are unique and each of our paths are unique.

I want to tell you a story.

Many years ago, I think it was 1986 or 87, I came face-to-face with that decision. Did I have to obey? Was I facing a forced compliance? It is not a frivolous question. And there are no easy answers. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me give you a bit of background.

The Mission Field.

When we had our initial interviews, the mission authorities understood that my husband and I believed with our whole hearts that God had called us to homeschool our children. We felt we could not compromise that “calling” in order to join in ministry with the group. They would be with us wherever we went.. And…Thankfully, the authorities agreed. We had a green light that all was in order. We were delighted that they honored our commitment.

However, when we came back to the mission headquarters in California–from language school in Costa Rica—we needed to go through some additional intense training before we were released to our assigned country.

Things changed.

THAT is where we had to make a decision. Must we, Biblically speaking—as Christians—ALWAYS obey ALL authorities? The “authorities” said EVERYONE had to put their children in California schools or daycare during the training season. We reminded them of our agreement. They said “No exceptions”. We were stunned. What happened? What were we to do?

We didn’t argue. They ran the mission. We had to obey the rules. Or did we? We prayed for wisdom. Our pastor’s daughter was willing to come to our headquarters apartment to stay with our kids during the day while we were in training. And then I could go down between classes and during lunch and other breaks and check on my kids.

We presented that option to the “authorities”.

They said they would consider it but we would have to pay for the nannie ourselves. It costs a fortune in California, and we did not have that kind of money available to us and there was no time to raise that kind of additional support. It was “D-day”. NOW! we had to have a solution. So,we asked if the money they were going to pay for us for the California Day Care could be used to pay our “nanny”. They said NO! Absolutely not. They couldn’t set a precedent. So, I was beside myself with grief. It looked like we were up a creek without a paddle.

What would YOU do?

My husband was busy in flight training school.

I was alone with the children. I talked to God about what to do. I cried and prayed and cried and prayed and prayed some more for God to provide.I felt POOR. And forsaken. I felt betrayed and confused. Why were they making it so hard for us? Where was their compassion? Shouldn’t they be keeping their word? Shouldn’t they be delighted we were committed to obeying what God had clearly told us to do to raise our children? After all that crying and questioning and praying…I began to ask…

What did God want me to do?

He tells us in Hebrews 13:17 NLT “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”

I didn’t want to give them grief.

But I simply could not do what they asked. But 1 Peter 5:5-6 NLT instructs: “In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

And Romans 13:1-2 NLT teaches: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.” Does that mean that someone else makes decisions about how I am to raise my children? No, I don’t think so. There is a Higher Authority that decides the family structure.

What does Peter mean when he says to humble myself?

Does that mean that they are right and I am wrong? It was a horrible testing time. I was so grief stricken. The Webster dictionary defines humility as “not being proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive.” I truly don’t think I was doing any of that, but was I being a rebel?

Was I in rebellion against my “authorities” like Romans teaches?

Rebel is defined by Webster: “to oppose a person or group in authority: to refuse to obey rules or accept normal standards of behavior, dress, etc.“ I didn’t feel like I was rebelling, but rather reminding them of our original agreement and their promise to us. Was I rationalizing? NO! I know that I had to do what GOD said. Not man. I knew that I would have to accept the consequences, however it turned out. And I was willing to do that, but I was so very sad. I trusted God but I wondered if I had misunderstood Him. But I knew I had NOT misunderstood God. Too many things along the way since BEFORE the children were born, convinced me that I was on the right path. Our “sending” church from back home was fully behind us homeschooling our children. But perhaps we had misunderstood going to the mission field?

What would YOU do?

And then, there is also the other side of the story. The mission “authorities”:

“The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.”

John Stott

I prayed and cried some more

It all seemed impossible. We were going to have to leave the mission and go back home…failures!! Quitters!!!

There was a knock on my door.

It was a missionary neighbor. She said she had just gone up to headquarters to get her mail and she had received a letter with a check in it. And she didn’t need the money. And…

Are you ready for this?

She felt that God had told her to give it to me. And…are you ready for this? It was the exact amount we needed to pay a “nannie” to stay with the kids in our apartment so I could attend the meetings and come down often to check on the kids during the breaks.

THE EXACT AMOUNT NEEDED

AT THE LAST HOUR
CONFIRMATION THAT WE HAD INDEED HEARD GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR FAMILY.

So, I immediately went up to headquarters and told them the news. I hate to say, but truthfully, I can’t remember what they said in response. (I was kinda floating around on a cloud of joy.) But I do know that everything fell into place and it all worked out beautifully.

So, back to the initial question:

Must we, Biblically speaking—as Christians—ALWAYS obey ALL authorities? It’s not just cut and dried one size fits all, is it?

If you ask Father God, He will tell you when to stand firm and when to yield. It won’t be easy, but it will be GOOD! And you will know in your “knower” when He has given you your answer…

I’m praying for you right now…

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


It Is Written…

Woman readıng Bıble on dock
It’s been awhile since I read through the whole Bible in a year. I’m not sure what happened. Why DID I stop?

It is time for me to begin that blessing again

I am hoping you might want to join me in this adventure in 2022. I really, really, hope you will! So, I am writing this blog post, as though you have said YES that you will join me!

Bible Reading Plan

The Our Daily Bread devotional has a Bible reading plan at the bottom of each day’s page. I have ignored that reading plan up until now. So, it is TIME to honor their hard work to provide it!

I plan on reading those Our Daily Bread through the Bible verses in the evening before bed. What a great way to end the day. I’m excited to begin!

Do what works best for you

What will YOU do? And WHEN will you do it? The point is for each of us to use the plan and the Bible version and the system that works best for you/me. I have tried many different Bible reading plans through the years, and each had different benefits.

Each Day

Each year, I notice creative new reading plans to choose from. You can follow my same plan or you can choose another. The point is to read through from Genesis through Revelation in a year. It will be such fun sharing this experience with you. Please let me know if you are joining me. We can pray for each other to complete the successful journey.

Delighting God

I can’t think of anything that would delight God more than His “kids” spending extended time together in His LOVE LETTER to HIS BELOVED (you and me) as we read through all of His word this year.

Which translation will you use?

I haven’t decided YET which translation to use this time through. I had wanted the Passion translation I’ve been hearing so much about. But when I went to order it, it looks like to me that it is only the New Testament. So, now I am not sure. What about you? Which is your favorite? Will you try a new version for this journey through the Bible together, or do you prefer staying in one and the same that you started years ago. There is no wrong or right way. We just need to commit to DO IT faithfully and daily. This is to get a full picture of the entire Bible every year. Not just our favorite books and verses.

Practical stuff

What time of day will you read these extended passages? Morning, lunch break, afternoon coffee break, evening? When? Where?

This is a time for expanding our knowledge of the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD!

Remember, this is different from your devotional morning time, which is meant for connection. For fellowship. For direction.

December 31, 2022

On that last day of December, we can know that we know in our knower that we know our FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT in fresh, new delightful ways. And we will know that we have grown in our faith and accomplished what we set out to do. To be “hearers” of the entire Word. Which leads to being “doers” of the Word.

Thoughts

I want to remember to ask God to bless the reading of His word, and to speak to you/me as we read. You may want to keep a journal nearby as you read, to record fresh insights—or make notes in your Bible as God expands your knowledge and understanding of Him. Keep it simple so you don’t get overwhelmed to the point of quitting. And if you happen to get behind, don’t try to catch up. Just pick up where you left off. There’s no LAW that you have to FINISH on December 31. The point is that you DO FINISH what you start. Not WHEN you finish. But THAT you finish.

This week

So, now, this week, decide which version of the Bible you will use and if you need to purchase it, do it right away. AND decide if you want to use the same reading plan as me, or if you want to use another. DECIDE THIS WEEK. Decide if you will keep a journal handy with colorful pens to record your thoughts as you read and ruminate. Decide what time of day you will read. Make a notation in your appointment calendar. Be deliberate. Decide where you will read. Will you have a special Bible Reading Corner?

OK, then…

ONWARD, fellow warriors. Grab your sword (the Word of God) and let’s enter into the battle armed and ready to deflect the enemy’s arrows—prepared as as our Lord was, when satan tempted Him in the wilderness after His baptism. It was the official beginning of His ministry and He was prepared with the Word on His lips – the Sword of the Spirit – And His response to satan was … “It is written …”

May that be our goal.

Join me? I hope so. I pray so…

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


How Do I Get What I Want from God?

Woman in coat walking down street
The book of James says that if I resist the devil he will flee from me. Well, that sounds easy. But IS it?

It must be a conscious choice to not only receive the salvation of our Jesus, but to be certain He is on the Throne as Lord of our lives.

There are immediate and serious challenges in our world today. Challenges we cannot ignore.  We are now and have always been in a war for our mind. And the mind is the devil’s playground. He loves to manipulate Scripture to get us to stray away from God. Just think about his manipulations of Scripture with Eve in the garden and even with Jesus in the wilderness. The first step to get the devil to flee, is to submit to God. So, the “formula” is this:

  1. Submit to God (turn toward God) SO THAT you will have the power, the strength, to…
  2. Resist the devil (turn away from the devil) SO THAT…
  3. He will flee from you.

It sounds simple and is truly is. But this is also very serious business. It takes daily deliberate thought and action. And even moment by moment.

The devil wants you to fail. Remember, he wanted Eve to fail and he wanted Jesus to fail. However, the Lord God wants you to succeed and to have that inner peace and joy as you walk in the midst of His will. Our relationship with God must be our priority.

So, how DO you get what you want from God?

ASK

In the beginning verses of chapter 4 of James, the Word is clear that when we don’t get what we ask for it could be because we don’t actually ASK God. We don’t take the time to talk it over with Him. To seek His will. To ASK. Crazy, but I know I am guilty of that. I can’t believe I still, after all these years of walking with Him, I actually forget to do the actual ASK. Lazy? Preoccupied? Pride? (We think we can do it ourselves.) Is that why God tells us in James 4 verse 6 that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble? When we find ourselves coming up short with anger, irritability, confusion, could it be we just forgot to ASK God for His help and His will? It never ceases to amaze me that I can actually forget to ask! What about you?

Wrong motives

And sometimes, we don’t get what we ask because, when we DO ask, we ask with wrong motives. Selfish motives. Only to satisfy our own desires. We have our SELF on the throne. Wanting what will make others’ lives or our own lives easier. I am actually guilty of that as well. But God has a bigger plan. I am so glad He is patient to teach us the same lessons over and over again. Isn’t He amazing? He wants us to ask Him what HIS plan is for our friends, family, co-workers, our town, our state, our country and our world. Our big assignment is to train ourselves to remember to always ask God for HIS heart for all the things I mentioned…and MORE!

We are merely instruments through whom God works. It is not about YOU. It is not about ME. It is about GOD and HIS plans.

Now, let’s go back to specific points

He tells us we must first humble ourselves before God. What does that look like to you? Humbling yourself. That’s really what we have been talking about throughout this whole post. Choosing a Godly mindset. Asking for the unselfish Mind of Christ. Humbling ourselves. Getting ourselves off the throne. Seeking God before moving forward. Before speaking. To take control of our thoughts. Turn them toward God. And then we can walk in the light of the following verses…

Let’s look at the surrounding verses in chapter 4 of James in a version you might not be familiar with. (The J B Phillips New Testament version.) I’m sure like me, you’ve also realized that when we look at the same verse in different versions, it gives us fresh insights. It expands the meaning for us.

But resist the devil and you’ll find he’ll run away from you.
Come close to God and he will come close to you.
You are sinners: get your hands clean again.
Your loyalty is divided: get your hearts made true once more.
You should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, You should even be in tears.
Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become dejection
You must humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord before he will lift you up.”

James 4: 7-10 (Phillips)

Pretty stiff conditions, huh? But all for our good. All for our peace. Our joy. God created you and me, and He knows how to bring out the best in us. He made the rules of the “game” of life. Of Eternal Life with Him! And if we want close fellowship with Him, we will stop trying to make our own rules for this earth-bound life. So that things will go well with you and me.  And THAT, my friends is how we get what we want from God. Because we come to realize that what we want is actually what He wants.

Just like if you play a game of Monopoly. You can play by the rules—OR–you can decide you are going to make up your own rules. I am pretty sure making up your own rules will NOT go well with you in Monopoly. And, the “game” of life eternal has much more serious consequences than a game of Monopoly.

Choose wisely, remembering God adores you. He even sent His son to die for you. Let’s talk…

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


The View from My Window

Illustration of man walking dog

A man and his dog

This morning as I gazed out my apartment window, I noticed a man leisurely walking his dog on a leash. They made such a peaceful and fun picture together.that i lingered at the window awhile, just enjoying them.

All was leisurely and calm, UNTIL…

they got within view of the bank parking lot. Then, that sweet docile creature on the leash changed from docile to ALERT. Ears perked up and the dog was on a mission.

SUDDENLY…

I was literally laughing out loud at the funny antics. The roles reversed and it looked like the dog was walking the man who could barely hold onto the leash. He was being dragged straight up to the drive-through window.

Background

My local bank has a bowl of doggie treats at the drive-through window.

The treat was received

and peace returned. The dog was calm again. He was enjoying his treat. The man looked relieved.

So, let’s think about our relationship to our Lord and Savior

Oh, to be that enthusiastic for the TREAT of feasting on Your Word, Lord. Give us that passion and sense of mission, letting nothing hold us back!

Prayer

Dear friend, may it be said of you and me that the treat of the Scriptures daily calms us as our furry friend was calmed with his treat!

To God be the glory!

Daddy, Daddy! Guess What I Saw Today?

From a flock of geese to a dog on a leash, the pages of this winsome little book are filled with things we see around us every day. Pamela A. Taylor takes those everyday items and looks at them through the eyes of a child; making them seem exciting and new while also teaching children how to be grateful for the God who created them. Take a walk with Pamela through the pages of this book and help your little ones see God’s hand in the beauty of life.

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com