Wisdom for the 9 taw issues from the bible, psychology, and common sense

  • RESPONDING to the TRUTH
    Denial vs. Honesty

    We need to ask ourselves where we get our truth, and how our lives bear witness to it. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The best way to find and test the truth is to know Jesus, through the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the fellowship of believers, and all the stories and teachings in the Bible.

    BLESSINGS THAT COME TO THE HONEST PERSON

    Those with a pure heart who aren’t deceitful will walk closer with God Psalms 24: 3-5

    Lies are soon exposed, but truthful words stand the test of time Prov. 12:19

    Know the truth about yourself and God will set you free John 8: 31-32

    If we don’t deceive ourselves, and if we tell the truth about our faults, we receive not only forgiveness, but cleansing, healing transformation. I John 1: 8-9

    THE HIGH COST OF DECEITFULNESS

    Today, lying would be likened to a cancer, or more likely, to a pandemic. In the Bible, the most frequent images of lying are of spreading fire, and an arrow shot to kill. The following points are taken mostly from Proverbs 26: 18-28, Jeremiah 9: 3-9, and James 3: 2-8:

    Beware spreading false rumors, accusations, or gossip throughout the land. Exodus 23: 1

    People can delight in lies, becoming two-faced, smiling through their teeth. Psalm 62: 4

    Lies come back to haunt us: people won’t trust us anymore, and will lie back to us. Eventually we begin to believe our own lies. We fool others, and their reactions fool us into gradually believing that my false front is the real me. II Timothy 3:13

    Deceitfully smooth talkers will not live out half their days. Ps 55: 21, 23

    We lose touch with our need for God: Through deceit they refuse to know me. Jer 9: 6

    God will return the favor, and say that He does not know us. Matt 7: 21-23

    When we keep doing what we know is wrong, God gives us over to it. Rom 1: 25-28

    SATAN is closely linked with lying: Jesus called him the Deceiver Matt 27: 63, John 8: 33

    FLATTERY is just another form of deceit. It’s listed with wickedness. When we flatter and when we find fault, we’re deceiving people to make ourselves feel better. Ps 12: 2,3 Jude 16

    RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY can be an excuse to avoid church. It ticked off Jesus, who went off about clean-looking cups and whitewashed tombs. Matt 23: 25-28

    Because so many today get all their news filtered for them by biased and often dishonest sources in social and traditional media, perhaps this prophesy is coming true in America now: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and turn aside to myths.” — 2 Tim 3: 13, NIV

  • Balancing Respect for Self and Others:
    Selfish Pride vs. Humility

    Selfish Pride is the habit of thinking too much of ourselves, having too much regard for our worth, importance, intelligence, charm, looks, etc. The flip side of that coin is insecurity, which is a constant undercurrent for vain people. It erupts to the surface at times of failure and rejection. For others, it stays on top in the way they act and treat themselves as worthless. They could appreciate their worth if they didn’t keep expecting themselves to be more than they can be (that’s the underlying Selfish Pride). The following scriptures explain the causes, consequences, and corrections of this attitude of Selfish Pride, as well as its positive counterpart, genuine Humility.

    CAUSES

    Trusting in one’s own moral purity and will power to impress God. Job 25: 1, 4-6; 27: 1, 4- 6; 38: 1-4; 42: 1-6
    Trying to impress others. Matt 6: 16-18; 23: 4-12
    Fooling oneself into believing that others are impressed. Luke 14: 7-11
    Pretending “I am alone. No one sees me. There is no God.” Isaiah 47: 8-11
    Denying the world was created by God, and in place of God, idolizing something or someone that was created. Rom 1: 21-32
    “Praying” to self instead of God. Lk 18: 9-14
    Taking credit for God’s gifts. Rom 12: 3

    CONSEQUENCES — There is always a fall. “What blows up, must come down.” Prov 16:18 and 18:12

    God will show us who he is. Job 42: 1-6
    If this is denied, God gives people up to their own lusts and depraved minds. Rom 1:21-32
    God does not answer prayer, or give expected rewards. Mt 6: 16-18
    Selfish Pride evokes the judgmental side of others. Mt 7:1
    Prideful people embarrass and humiliate themselves; they look ridiculous when exposed. Mt 7: 2-5, Luke 14: 17-24
    They deceive themselves. Gal 6:3 and Rom 1:21-25
    Other people reject them, and they don’t know why. Isaiah 47: 8-11
    Selfish Pride, the chief of the seven deadly sins, has always been considered basic, leading to all the others. Rom 1: 21-32
    The humble, on the other hand, are exalted, both in this life (Luke 14: 7-11; 18:9-14) and the next (Mt 5: 3, 5).

    CORRECTIONS — Discipline is given by God (see verses above)
    This is accepted and extended (through self-discipline) by the humble. Here’s how:

    Meditate on Psalm 51. Make it your prayer.

    Try not to judge others. Mt 7:1, Rom 14: 4

    Appreciate God’s gifts. Be thankful for them, and don’t steal God’s glory. Rom 12: 3

    Associate with people who are “beneath you.” Rom 12:16

    Esteem others even more than self. Follow Christ’s example: turn down the quest for fame,

    and take up the role of servant. Phil 2: 3-9

    Humility is a gift, the fruit of the Spirit (meekness – Gal 5: 22-23).

    It can be expressed and practiced once it is given, but it cannot be created by self-discipline alone.
  • Sheltering in Ultimate Security: Fear vs. Faith

    Our SECURITY is where we go for strength, where we find our security, confidence, and safety. But whatever power we trust to take care of us, it takes over us. So we need to make sure our protector wants us to surrender not to his control, but to his care. Good security protects our freedom, not our walls. The fruits of FAITH include peace, confidence, courage, calm, focus, and hope. A bad protector keeps us in the spirit of FEAR, making us and others bear the fruits of insecurity, worry, anxiety, doubt, panic, and nervousness.

    HARMFUL ways to take security, strength, and safety, and what harm they cause

    Idolizing a person (see Samson in Judges 13) or an institution (Israel and its kings, 1&2 Samuel) * Don’t fear and fall for popular conspiracy theories: You’ll stumble into a trap Isa 8: 12-5 * Dealing with the devil to make your world safe: Disaster for Judas, Luke 22: 3-53, Acts 1:16-25

    NATURAL, NEUTRAL ways to take security and safety, and what results from these

    Worrying about tomorrow, your body, your death weighs you down Pr 12:25, 29:25; Matt 6: 25-34 * Trusting in your own heart (deceitful Jer. 17:9) or judgmental (Pr 14:12): self-help will exhaust you.

    HELPFUL, HEALTHY ways to take security and safety, and what good comes from these

    Make the Lord your refuge: no evil will conquer you, God will rescue and honor you Psalm 91: 9-16 * When in court facing prison and torture, trust God to put words into your mouth Matt 10: 16-8 * Your awareness can dwell on/live in your body, heart, mind, or soul. Focus on/Live in your soul, as no one can touch you there, because that’s where God is in complete control Matt 10: 28-31 * Trust that the presence of God calms storms, including our storms of fear and doubt Matt 14:22-34 * Ask God for more faith: worked well for father of demoniac son Mark 9 and Thomas Jo 20: 24-8 * Trust God as sheep trust a shepherd (Ps 23); listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd Jo 10:10-6 * Reframe suffering to see the full part of glass; find fellowship with Christ’s suffering 2 Cor 4:8-12 * Believe the faith God gives is the first sign of other supernatural things God will also do Heb 11:1

    Memorize, remember, and trust in the promises of God:

    “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Ps 118: 6, Mt 10: 28, Heb 13: 6 * “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. And don’t worry about tomorrow, for it will bring its own worries.” Matt 6: 33-4 NLT * “We know that God causes everything to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them…. Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Rom 8: 28,38 NLT * God doesn’t take all our fears and doubts away. Our thorns in the flesh are left to keep us humbly aware of our need for God, for the strength that’s made perfect in weakness. 2Cor 12: 7b-10 * “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…. Whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable, think about such things.” Phil 4: 6-8 NIV * “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7 * “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. And after you have suffered for a little while, God will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Pet 5: 7,10-1 NRSV
  • Balancing Concern for Self and Others:
    Envy vs. Compassion

    Descriptions of Envy: James 3: 14, 16; 4: 1-3
    Descriptions of Compassion (agape, Love)

    Isaiah 58: 6-12 Prophetic call to specific acts, with specific blessings from God

    I Cor 13: 4-7 Paul’s classic expression of “Love is patient and kind…”

    I John 3: 16-17 God is love; we love because He first loved us

    I John 4: 16-21 Perfect love casts out fear

    Matt 25: 31-46 Caring for the sick, lonely, imprisoned, hungry is the way we show our love for God, and our eligibility for the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Examples of Envy

    Gen 4: 1-5 Cain envies Abel’s favor with God, and kills him

    Gen 37: 1-5, 9,11 Brothers envy father’s favor of Joseph, and try to kill him

    Luke 15: 25-32 Brother of prodigal son refuses to join the party

    Matt 11: 16-19 People won’t fast and cry with John, or eat and drink with Jesus

    Matt 27: 18 Envy is given as the motive for church leaders killing Jesus

    Examples of Compassion

    Hosea 1-3 Hosea stands by his wife through adultery and harlotry, and buys her back. This symbolizes God’s love as well.

    Matt 8:3, 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34, and 23:37 Examples of the compassion of Christ

    Luke 10: 27-37 The good Samaritan illustrates the greatest commandment

    Example of Compassion Overcoming Envy: I Sam 18: 1 thru I Sam 19: 7

    In contrast to the envy of his father King Saul toward David for his popularity, youth, and courageousness in battle, Jonathan loved David as much as his own life. He supported him even by facing his father’s murderous rage, and overcoming it.

    Commandments to Express Love/ Ways to Regenerate Love with Self-Discipline

    Ex 20:17 The 10th Commandment: don’t covet what your neighbor has.

    Lev 19: 17-18 Love one another, don’t hate; don’t carry any grudges.

    Matt 5: 43-47 Love, bless, pray for, and do good to your enemies.

    Luke 7: 44-47 Woman at Jesus’ feet: the more we’re forgiven, the more we can love.

    Rom 12: 14-15 Bless and don’t curse your enemies. Laugh with those who laugh, and weep with those who weep.

    I Cor 13: 4-5 Hang in there – don’t seek to get your own way.

    Col 3: 12-14 Shows how Concern is related to Respect and Anger: forgive as Christ forgave you.

    James 2: 14-16 What good is faith or love without caring for practical, physical needs?

    I John 3: 16-18 In response to Christ’s sacrifice, we should love others, not just in word, but in deed and truth.
  • USING ANGER TO MAKE OR SOLVE CONFLICT:

    Resentment vs. Peacemaking

    Anger is the normal human response to injustice. When faced with hurt, it guides and motivates our efforts to correct an unfair situation. When justice is seen through the eyes of divine love and mercy, the anger is God’s, and it is a powerful force influencing others. When the focus of our hurt is personal (our needs have been neglected, our pride has been hurt), we are walking in the flesh, so the most adaptive response is a turning to God for comfort and guidance. Sadness and tears are often the outward expression. When our expressions of grief (“I’m so sorry you feel that way”) meet with a cold heart and closed mind in others, then anger, having first broken open and cleansed our own souls, can do the same for others. Here is how this morally neutral power of anger can be harnessed to do good for the Kingdom of God.

    INEFFECTIVE INWARD RESPONSES TO ANGER (Resentment)

    Deny it, or bury it alive. Eph 4:26

    Run to God about something else, as an escape, like just going on to church or Bible study and acting like nothing is wrong. Mt 5:23-24; Mk 11:25-26

    Plan ways to get even. Rom 12:17,18

    EFFECTIVE INWARD RESPONSES TO ANGER (Peacemaking)

    Turn to God for help, Psalms 39 and 56, and for inner cleansing. Psalm 51; Mt 7:1-5.

    Forgive others. Matt 6:12-15; Mt 18:21-35; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13

    Pray for enemies, appealing to God’s

    wrath: Psalms 35 and 109, Matt 23

    justice: Psalms 28 and 37, and only THEN can you pray for God to show

    mercy: Luke 6:27-8, 23:33-34

    Decide if it is your anger (problem) or God’s. Romans 12:17-21

    INEFFECTIVE OUTWARD RESPONSES TO ANGER (Resentment)

    Speaking quickly without reflection Prov 14: 17, 29

    Cursing Rom 12:14, James 1: 19-21

    Gossip Lev 19:16, Rom 1: 28-9

    Hostile, insulting criticism to the offender’s face Mt 5: 21-2

    behind offender’s back II Cor 12:20

    Getting even – paying back the hurt Mt 5: 38-9, Rom 12:19

    EFFECTIVE OUTWARD RESPONSES TO ANGER (Peacemaking)

    Be kind to enemies. Mt 5: 38-47; Rom 12: 19-20; I Sam 24: 1-22

    Take action to correct situation. John 2: 13-17

    Verbally confront the offender. II Tim 2: 24-25; Mt 23

    Try to make peace, first one-to-one, then with one or two others to help resolve differences, then to church authority.

    Mt 18: 15-20 The healing of the relationship comes from the new and deeper understanding of each other,

    which comes from really listening to each other, which comes from the power of Jesus’ presence: v. 20
  • The Use of Money and Material Things:
    Greed vs. Stewardship

    What is Greed, and what are some of its consequences?

    The love of money, for the pleasure it buys Ecc 5- 10-14 Luke 16: 13-14 1 Tim 6: 7-10 Heb 13: 5

    Believing we can find security in money Ex 20: 17 Prov 11: 28 Luke 12: 15-21 Luke 18: 18-23

    Closing our eyes and hardening hearts to those in need Deut 15: 7-11 Prov 28: 27

    Incurring the punishing wrath of God Isaiah 10: 1-2

    What is stewardship, and what good will it do for us?

    Tithing – setting aside the first fruits to acknowledge God ownership Prov 3: 9-10 Malachi 3: 8-10 Matt 6: 19-21

    Generous giving to others Prov 11:25, 19:4 Prov 28:27 Luke 6: 35-38 Acts 20: 35

    Appreciating what it’s like to be poor Matt 6: 1-4 Luke 14: 12-14 Luke 16: 19-31 I Cor 13:3 I John 3: 16-17

    Having the less fortunate over for dinner Luke 14: 12-14 James 2: 1-16

    Living simply, appreciating the free things of life Matt 6: 31-33 Phil 4: 11-12

    What are the advantages and dangers of being rich? of being poor?

    What are the advantages of wealth? Prov 14: 20-24 Ecc 5: 19-20

    What are the dangers and warnings of wealth? Jer 5: 27-29; 9:23Luke 18: 24-27

    Are wealthy people more likely to be spiritually poor (greedy)? Yes . . . Luke 6: 20-21, 24-25. Luke 18: 18-23. I Tim 6: 17-19

    Why is that? Matt 6: 19-21 What is “the deceitfulness of riches”? Deut 8: 7-14, and 17-18

    (God and spirituality are forgotten.) Matt 13:22 Luke 12: 15-21

    What are the disadvantages of poverty? Prov 19: 6-7 What is an advantage of poverty? (None practically, but God will deliver them!)
  • The Stewardship of Time and Energy:
    Laziness vs. Enthusiasm

    Laziness on the surface is apathy, boredom, procrastination, and lethargy. It is a lifestyle of reluctance to work, and addiction to rest and play. The lazy person may be deceived, and say “I can’t” instead of “I won’t.” By always trying to avoid the ridicule of failure, and the rejection which comes from hurting others feelings, one can become caught up in habitual sins of omission.

    The antidote to this is Enthusiasm, the inspired dedication to work hard in service to God and others. It requires an appreciation of the precious scarcity of our time and energy. We must recognize our talents and opportunities, and see that God’s giving them to us grants us both responsibility and a source of self-respect.

    Laziness is an insidious attitude, growing on us suddenly without our awareness. Before we know it, it has come upon us, and is taking us into financial or spiritual poverty (Pr 24: 30-34). Separated from God, work begins to seem like a curse (Gen 3: 17-19). We may even want to mooch off the church (2 Thess 3: 7-13), or expect the church to take care of our family for us (1Tim 5:8). We rationalize our laziness as due to fear (Pr 26:13), fatigue (vv. 14-15), and cleverness (v. 16), but none of these are valid excuses.

    Here are some ways to overcome your lethargy and apathy, and live with Enthusiasm:

    Celebrate (as Jews historically have) both work and play as gifts from God meant to be enjoyed (Eccl 3: 9-13, 5: 18-20; and 9: 9-10).

    See your occupation as a loving service to your Heavenly Father, not to your earthly boss (Col 3:17, 23-24).

    Learn from the ants that there’s a time to work and a time to play (Prov 6: 6-11), so that your hunger and poverty, or your potential for it, or the needs of others, can motivate your work (Prov 16:26, 2 Thess 3:10).

    Realize that time is short, so make every moment count (Psalm 90). Jesus warns us that he may come back and we may die at any time (Matt 24: 37-51). Given that, Jesus told us three poignant stories to illustrate the urgency of life, teaching us always . . .
    • to be ready for death (Matt 25: 1-13);
    • to consider our talents and opportunities as gifts from God, comparing our accomplishments not to others’ but to what we could be doing (Matt 24: 14-30); and
    • to serve other people unselfishly in the faith that as we bless others, we are blessing the Lord Himself (Matt 24: 31-46).
    Finally, we can look away from what we used to be (our sinfulness, our past), and focus our attention on the future, on how we are becoming more like Christ (Philippians 3: 10-14).
  • BIBLICAL INSIGHTS ABOUT SEXUAL SIN:
    Lust vs. Sexual Integrity

    The Bible gives in rich detail how life unfolds for people who fall into sexual sin. It was pure visual seduction for David when he laid eyes on his neighbor’s wife Bathsheba (2 Sam 11). His heart followed his eyes in violating the 10th commandment, and in short order that act stimulated violations of the 9th (lying), 8th (stealing), 7th (adultery), and when these couldn’t be covered up, he went on and broke the 6th by murdering her husband. Previously a virtuous man, he quickly broke half the ten commandments, and it all started with his eyes. For her infidelity, Bathsheba may have gotten a palatial upgrade on her residence, but she had to endure her lover’s murder of her dear husband, feel his remorse expressed publicly in the hit song of its day (Psalm 51), and then like David and other adulterers, watch helplessly as their children and step-children lived out the generational after-effects over the years to come: rape, incest, violence, job loss, family disintegration, etc. (1Kings 11:1-4). What does David’s story tell you about yourself? About God?

    We see many successful lives turned around through repentance, confession, and obedient forsaking of sexual sin. David shows us the way in Psalm 51, and several women in Jesus’ life followed it — the one at the well in John 4, the one weeping for the joy of her forgiveness and cleansing at the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7), and the one caught in the act of adultery, about to be stoned for it (John 8).

    To prevent or to break bondage to sexual sin, it is necessary to guard what comes into the mind (Phil 4:8) and heart (Pr 4:23), through the eyes (Mt 5:28-9), through what we touch (v.30), so that unclean acts do not come out from our bodies (Mt 15:18-19), so we and others are not perverted and ruined by the words coming out of our mouths (James 5:5-6), or by what we join our souls to as we unite in sexual embrace (1 Cor 6:15-20). This robs our spouse of what belongs to her (1Cor 7:3-5). You check the doors of your house every night to keep your family safe. What good would it do to check every day your mind gate, heart gate, eye gate, ear gate, skin gate, mouth gate, groin gate, to keep good in and bad out?

    Computer porn and cheat chat smells badly of “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 Jo 2:16). We find the strength to avoid all this from our God, embodied in the Holy Spirit (John 14-16) poured out through the church/fellowship of believers (Eph 2:18-21, 4:4-6), the word of God (Heb 4:12-13, 2Tim 3:16-17), friends (John 15:15), people we help (Mt 25:37-40), and small support groups (Mt 18:20). Is your God able to come to you through all these channels, or have you tired some of God’s blessing arms behind him?

    HEALTHY EXPRESSIONS OF SEXUAL ENERGY

    Sexual energy or feelings themselves are not considered good or bad in the Bible, just the thoughts and behaviors that express them. For single adult love relationships, expressions of sexual energy are not encouraged in the Bible. Healthy ways of managing this drive are discussed in the Brainfood for the Good Life blog and podcast at mynewlife.com.

    For married couples, married love life is a gift from God, intended to be enjoyed: for marital refreshment and enrichment (Prov 5: 15-19), for the appreciation of natural beauty and pleasure (Song of Solomon), and to be enjoyed as a thanksgiving to God (I Tim 4:3-5). Spouses are to leave their parents and cleave to each other, and take lots of time to be alone together in their first year (Deut 24:5). To protect the marriage from temptations to infidelity, partners are called to regularly keep up their sexual relations (ICor 7:3-5). With love and respect, they care for each other’s bodies as their own, seeing them as beautiful and pure, and sacrifice their own desires to take care of each other, as Christ did for the church (Eph 5:21-33).
  • Addictive Substances and Habits (ASH):
    Gluttony vs. Physical Fitness

    In our addiction-prone society, almost all adults have some Pain-Killing Escape from Reality, Responsibility, and Relationship. These PKER’s can include substances (like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and junk food), habits (like sex, gambling, working, hoarding, spending, and all manners of screen addictions), and even people we want to fix, figure out, or stay attached to). This is bondage, and it results from both the Gluttony of enslavement to our desires, and the neglect of keeping our habits in balance (Physical Fitness).

    Constructive, temporary, moderate uses of PKER’s and ASHes in Scripture

    Drugs and alcohol were used for medicinal purposes, to prevent or treat illness, and to relieve pain (1 Tim 5:23).

    They were used to give a temporary lift of the spirits over terminal illness, or to comfort agonizing losses that were major, non-routine, and not of their own doing (Prov 31: 6,7; Psalm 104: 14-15).

    Sweet food and wine are enjoyed by celebrating their delicious taste and good feelings as gifts from God. Receiving them from God with thanksgiving in worship is a means of consecrating these substances as holy (Deut 8: 7-10, Ecc 2: 24-25 and 3:13; 1 Tim 4: 3-4).

    These substances are used to celebrate achievements, wholesome fellowship, and good news, such as when Jesus made enough wine for an all night wedding party (John 2: 1-11). Other examples are found in Matt 9: 14-15, Matt 26: 26-29, Luke 7: 33-34, and Luke 24: 29-31.

    Destructive, harmful and immoderate uses of PKER’s and ASHes in Scripture

    Look at all they can take away from you:

    Freedom to say no: I Tim 3:8 and your Incentive to care, and to act (Matt 26: 36, 40-41)

    Alertness (Luke 21:34) and judgment, memory (Prov 31: 4,5)

    Your witness, and ability to lead your family and church (1 Tim 3: 1-4, Tit 1:7)

    Your spiritual appetite for God (Mt 6:24.25, 31-33; Mt 26: 40-41; Eph 5:18)

    Your attractiveness (God may not be as concerned about this as you are): 1 Sam 16: 7

    Health (The many medical problems associated with obesity, drug abuse, smoking, and alcoholism could not have been explained to biblical listeners.)

    The faith, trust, respect, peace, and joy of companions weaker in their faith. Before indulging in ASHes or PKER’s around people who consider your behavior offensive, read Rom 14, especially verses 3, 21, and 23. It closes this way: If you’re not sure, don’t do it.

    Saving the best for last, for a great, colorful picture of the glutton, feast on Prov 23:29-35. And whatever you do, remember Romans 14.
  • DISCERNMENT EXERCISES

    Good ways to tell if I’m walking in the flesh or the Spirit, and how I can look at my problems from God’s viewpoint

    Standing/Cowering in Judgment?

    Am I judging the motives or character of other people, maybe worried they’re judging me?

    Or am I looking for God’s approval, trying to express and portray His motives and character?

    Figuring out to Fix?

    Am I trying to figure somebody out, to fix them? Or figuring myself out, so I’ll let God fix me?

    Restlessly Comparing (Image Management), or Gratefully Content?

    Am I looking to make myself (look) different, or am I comfortable in my own skin?

    Who’s Helping Who?

    Am I thinking what God could do to help me with what I’m doing,

    Or how I can help God with what God is doing here?

    Looking to Get, or to Give?

    Am I seeking more to get or to give in this situation here?

    Am I trying to fill a void in myself, or trying to fill a need in others?

    Seeing Flesh or Spirit?

    Am I seeing myself and others in the natural, focusing on the ego, the selfish self, the false self we’ve all made (up) to avoid pain and pleasure, to calm and protect ourselves?

    Or am I seeing through pain to our true selves, able to give and receive love, all of us created in God’s image, all of us brothers and sisters in the family of God?

    WHERE TO LOOK

    Am I looking to get a lift from the support of others, looking to them instead of God for this support?

    Or do others here need something from me, if I am fulfilled and inspired enough to help them out?

    I can give when I trust I am always getting fresh supplies from God. What about these nine resources some call “A-food”: am I hungry to get these from others, or ready to give them some of mine?

    Attention
    Acceptance
    Approval
    Affection
    Appreciation
    Acknowledgement
    Admiration
    Affir
    Atonement
    Am I looking to get a lift from the support of others, looking to them instead of God for this support?

    Or do others here need something from me, if I am fulfilled and inspired enough to help them out?

    I can give when I trust I am always getting fresh supplies from God. What about these nine resources some call “A-food”: am I hungry to get these from others, or ready to give them some of mine?

Questions?

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Dr. Paul F. Schmidt