Sharing Faith the Duck Dynasty Way

I am a new convert to Duck Dynasty.

Duck Dynasty

I really like the show… its funny, its interesting, and all the people on it seem real. Like, really real.

But my favorite thing about it is the story behind the people.

They love the Lord and they testify His name.

They go on national television is proclaim the way of Jesus of Galilee.  They share the true message of the Gospel.

And I cant help but think its totally awesome.

Have you seen Duck Dynasty?  What do you think of the unabashed proclamation of God’s holy word?

(check out some funny Duck Dynasty quotes here!  They are also on facebook in case you want to follow along)

 

What is Love?

God answered the question for us over and over again.  I have heard it a million times, but have I really listened?  I just wanted to share a little trick a friend taught…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  New International Version (NIV)

Love is Patient...

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Now, replace the word LOVE with your name.

Amanda is patient, Amanda is kind. Amanda does not envy,  does not boast,  is not proud.   Amanda does not dishonor others,  is not self-seeking,  is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.   Amanda does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I dont know about you, but that humbles me and inspires me simultaneously.  I cant say with honesty that I am any of those things.

God calls us to be love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith Hope Love
While Valentines Day is commonly called a man-made holiday, I do appreciate the idea that we are given an opportunity to show love to others.

Even if we dont spend one cent, just try and be love to others today.  Replace your name in 1 Corinthians, then model it.  You could be giving someone a priceless gift.

I know that is what I am going to focus on, as well as trying to be an example for my kids!

May your day be blessed and full of faith, hope, and love.

 

Whole World vs. Soul

I just wanted to share a story with you that really touched my heart.  I hope it will yours as well!

 

 

Not a lot of press coverage was given to the tough Argentine golfer Robert De Vincenzo, but one story from his life shows his greatness as a person.

After winning a tournament, De Vincenzo received a check on the eighteenth green, flashed a smile for the camera’s, and then walked alone to the clubhouse.  As he went to his car, he was approached by a sad-eyed young woman who said to him, “Its such a good day for you, but I have a baby with an incurable disease.  Its of the blood, and the doctors say she will die.”

De Vincenzo paused and then asked, “May I help your little girl?”  He then took out a pen, endorsed his winning check, and then pressed it into her hand.

“Make some good news for the baby,” he said.

A week later as he was having lunch at a country club, a PGA official approached him saying, “Some of the boys in the parking lot told me you met a young woman after you won the tournament.”  De Vincenzo nodded.  The official said, “Well, she’s a phony.  She has no sick baby.  She fleeced you my friend.”

The golfer looked up and asked, “You mean that there is no baby who is dying without hope?”  This time the PGA official nodded.

De Vincenzo grinned and said, “that’s the best news I’ve heard all week.”

 

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7

The preceding story is from Gods Little Devotional Book, published by Honor Books.  Its a great book and I encourage you to get it if you need little boosts of faith.

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!

Amen.

 

Love is Patient… Right?

I came across this “Love” passage for kids from the Adventure Bible.  My kids really like this Bible!

We were reading 1 Corithinans passage last night, the famous one you hear at weddings.

“Love is Patient, Love is kind…”

This Adventure Bible had a little different take on it, and for some reason it really spoke to me.

“Love will stand in line and wait its turn.

Love looks for the good in others.

Love doesnt always want what others have,

and it doesnt brag about what it does have.

Love is polite, even when the other person is rude.

Love doesnt have to be first.

Love doesnt get angry over small things,

and doesnt remember one reason after another to be hurt.

Love isnt happy when someone else fails

but is happy with the truth.

Love will always protect others,

especially those who are picked on or teased.

Love always believes the best about others and is steady and true.

Love never gives up.

While I still believe the “original” version is brilliant and wonderful and compelling, for some reason this childs version spoke to me.

I dont know if I have been struggling with sin more in this holiday season, but I felt such a pang of conviction when reading, “Love is polite, even when others are rude.”

Have I been polite in the face of rudeness?  Sadly, no.

Have I held on to anger, found sin in others, or wanted what someone else had? Yes.

If the Lord is convicting me of something, there is a good reason.  If the Lord has shown me His holy and sacred word in a way that is specific and personal, then I know He is trying to reach me.

Today I will read this verse.  Today I will say this verse.  And today, I will try my hardest to live this verse.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Thank you Lord, for not giving up on this wretched sinner!

My Worst Possible Fear

Birthdays are an exciting event around this house.  No matter whose birthday it is, it is cause for celebration.  When Chad and I told the kids that we were heading over to Uncle Jamie’s house for his 60th birthday, they reacted with screams of delight.

Upon arriving they were not disappointed.  There were friends and family members in abundance, and even candy dishes set out for their grazing pleasure. (they do not get candy at home!)  The backyard was huge and had big climbing trees and lots of places to play hide and seek.  The cousins ran with wild abandon and laughed until their sides hurt.

We dined on catered food and every side dish imaginable and more candy, and then the kids were off to play again.  Keeping track of them was hard, and me being in the throws of a very trying first semester didn’t make things any easier.

About two hours into the celebration, I finally sat down and chatted with family.  I figured I had told the kids the rules enough times that they knew where they could and could not go.

About fifteen minutes later, I realized I had not seen Colton.  I found Chad and asked if he knew where Colton was.  He did not.  We started looking all over… in the yard and the house and in the yard again.

Five minutes later, it started to get serious.  Colton was no where to be found.  We had searched everywhere and were going back a third and fourth time.

The party started to quiet down and I heard someone whisper, “Are they really looking for a lost child?”

I walked to the farthest corner of the yard and started to call out for Colton, but was overcome with fear.  The tears flowed, but I tried to keep my back straight and pretend I was not losing all composure.

Horrible scenarios ran though my head as if every worst possible fear of mine was being realized. 

I had lost my child. 

He was missing.

I cried out to God, “Please Lord, I cannot stand this!  I feel like I am going to burst… please Lord, I need some peace.  I need to find my baby.  Please help me to find your peace so I can think rationally and help search for Colton.”

It was then, approximately twenty minutes after we first realized he was missing, that I heard the four most precious words in the world.

“We found the boy.”

I held my breath until I saw him, and then I ran to Colton and hugged him with a fierce desperation.  I then reached for my crying baby (I think she had sensed the anxiety) and brought her into the back bedroom.  There, in that room, I sobbed like I have never sobbed before.

I cannot explain that moment of relief.  I literally shook with sobs as I held onto Audrey for dear life.

I had been totally unable to comprehend my life without Colton.  To imagine that he had been kidnapped or scared and lost or injured somewhere was an unbearable physical pain in my heart. 

Priscilla Shrirer told a similar story in her latest Bible Study*, Deeper Still.  Her child had been lost in Disney World for fifteen minutes.

Only when it was over, after she had thrown herself at the feet of our Lord in a desperate prayer, she heard a very specific message from the Holy Spirit.

It was as if God told her, “You could not bear your life without your son for fifteen minutes.”

“I gave my only son over to the enemy to be beaten and tortured and killed… all for you.”

All.  For.  You.

Her divine insight blew me away.

I had never before really put into perspective what it must have been like to send Jesus into the fallen world.

It was like I was experiencing God in a whole new way, and I was speechless and in awe of the awesome sacrifices He had made.

All for a wretched sinner like me.

I don’t know about you, but after that glimpse into the unparalleled and unconditional love God has for us, I sure want to make sure I am making choices that are making Him proud.

I want to make sure He knows how grateful I am.

 

 

*Pricilla’s story is also found here.

 

Forgive Me

I read this quote recently, and it conjured up a variety of counterproductive emotions in me.

“I like to define forgiveness as ‘giving up the right to punish the one who has hurt you.’ That’s what Jesus did on the cross.”

-Jan Silvious

Wow.

I am sure other people dont do this, but I have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of punishing people for their transgressions against me.

I can remember doing it as a child.  If someone offended me or mistreated me I made it my unspoken mission to make them suffer as I had.

I used forgiveness as a weapon, a form of strategic manipulation in my ultimate battle to see who was the most ‘right’.

Thats very important to me you see… to be right.

When someone sought my forgiveness I had determined that it meant I was right.  They were wrong and I had won.

This distorted view of forgiveness has brought me to  disturbing conclusion.

I am wrong.

Over and over again, I am (was, is, have been) wrong.

Coming from someone who spent a lifetime trying to convince the world (and myself) that I am right, this is a horrific admission.

I read an excerpt from my Bible on forgiveness:

“Love is the prime ingredient in forgiveness.  Often the one wounded must forgive with an act of the will, giving time for working through feelings and experiencing healing.  Forgiveness comes with the removal of past offenses from the mind, followed by meditation on Scripture, giving over to God our hurts, praying for the offender, and serving as a willing channel for God’s grace.

…Forgiveness is the willingness to search for new solutions. (not mine or yours, but a new mutually acceptable way)

You must use words that do not cast blame or create questions.  You must be concerned with seeking forgiveness only for your wrong.  You must remember that a forgiving attitude does not excuse self, defend self, or accuse another.”

(emphasis mine)

I love the transparent and authentic forgiveness that is God’s perfect design.  His recipe is flawless.  His way ideal.

I have been on a mission to seek forgiveness from everyone that I have wronged.  (and shamefully, the list is long)  Some have offered me mercy, some have not.  Some hurts run deeper then others.

What I am learning is that through forgiveness, I am truly finding out what mercy is.

“Seeking forgiveness frees you to receive Gods mercy.”  (from my Bible, ‘The Womens Study Bible’)

And after I try to amend the wrongs I have done on this earth, I can lay them all at the feet of Jesus, and he wipes the slate clean.

Now, my responsibility doesn’t end!  I must seek to change my behavior!  To learn from my errors.

But He doesnt hold them over my head… He doesnt whisper in my ear, “You dont deserve this joy Amanda, remember that one time you did that bad thing?”

He whispers, “I forgive you.  I forgive you.  I forgive you.  You are forgiven.”

Me, Myself, & Lies

I just finished up a Bible study entitled, "Me, Myself, and Lies" written by Jennifer Rothschild.

It was just a six week study (I'm sorta used to the 12 week study's with Beth Moore) and it was jam packed full of information that is essential to me being a better child of God.

I was going through and writing down some of the wonderful insights in my journal.

I thought I would share some with you…

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I think one of my favorite quotes from her DVD series is,

"Guess what folks.  We're not in the garden anymore.  Life is tough."

That just about sums it up!

Blessings to you and yours.

An Elephant Named Disappointment

Disappointment. It’s just a part of life. It comes in all shapes, forms and degrees. It can range from our team’s losing the “big game” to our not getting the job/promotion we hoped for. It may signal the end of a marriage, relationship or friendship. It may be related to your child, your health, the church, politics, finances or someone’s behavior. It can involve your dreams, hopes and aspirations and invade every aspect of life.

-by Earle Donelson, Ph.D.

I've heard this before.  Many times.  It seems that encountering disappointment is inevitable.  As a matter of fact, I was doing some research on the subject and it seemed that most, if not all of the authors I read had already gone beyond that fact that disappointment is going to happen.  At this point, its just an assumed 'human experience'.

So in thinking about my all disappointments, I was led to the next question…

Have I ever been a disappointment to someone else

I have.  And it stings.  It hurts my heart…and its a regret in my life.  I wish I could change the circumstances. 

I tried, and failed, to not disappoint anyone ever again.  The reason I failed is not because I'm a failure, but because I cannot live up to others expectations of me.  Sometimes I don't even know when I'm disappointing others, simple because I do not always know what they expect me to say or do.

My dear sister in Christ Kelli, who is leading my Thursday morning Bible study, read to us her daily devotional for today.  It spoke to disappointment on a huge level.

The question came up, "What if you made it your goal to never let anyone know if they have disappointed you?"

I'll say it again. 

"What if you never let anyone know if they have disappointed you?"

My initial response was,"No way!  How will they ever know if I don't tell them?"

And then my heart sank, because that was the point. 

They wouldn't know. 

They wouldn't have to add to their list of life experiences, "I disappointed my mom(sister, husband, child)…and know I can never fix it."

 

Right now, I could make the choice.

 

I could choose to    never utter the words, "I was disappointed in you."  

That doesn't mean I won't experience it.  Or  feel it.  Or contribute to it.  But that can be one 'feeling' that I don't have to share.  I can learn from my experience, adjust my expectations if needed, and grow. 

This is a tough topic for me.  I do not know if I am even capable of biting my tongue. 

But I would like to find out.

If you are currently trying to deal with a disappointemnt in your life, I came across an article that seemed to offer up some good "coping" advice.  Click here to check it out.