Forgive, Let Go, and Live

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in GRACE for More (Faith, Hope, Empowerment), The Blog | 1 comment

While some opportunities may be in short supply, the chance to practice forgiveness is never-ending. Holding on to offenses and hurts causes physical, emotional and spiritual harm. Read below to see the experiences and advice shared by Deborah Smith Pegues, a woman who knows all about forgiveness.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Forgive, Let Go, and Live

by Deborah Smith Pegues

“Even as a little girl, when kids would cross me in any way, I never let them back into my good graces.”

My mom’s words echoed in my spirit and found rest there for many years of my life. Similarly, my father never forgot a single offense that anybody committed against him. He and my mom argued frequently about things that happened or were said in the far distant past. Although they served faithfully and sacrificially inside and outside the walls of the church, unforgiveness plagued them. Near the end of both their lives, God’s redeeming grace prevailed and they finally released the pain of holding onto the hot coals of unforgiveness.

With such a heritage, I knew unforgiveness was poised to become a stronghold in my life. The pattern had already developed. If people offended me, I never viewed them the same. Depending on the nature of the relationship, I would either keep my emotional distance or make a mental note never to trust, favor, or include them again in my dealings. My most common tactic was to hide behind being “too busy” to interact with them—ever. They finally got the message: Once you offended me, you were out. No three strikes policy here!

It was not until I saw how one of my beloved spiritual mentors modeled true forgiveness that I began to make headway in conquering this emotional giant. She frequently proclaimed, “I release everybody who has hurt me.” Unforgiveness had wreaked havoc in my life long enough. It had caused me to write off several relatives, friends, coworkers, and others. I spent way too much time in my head rehearsing the wrongs people perpetrated against me and imagining the awful things I could have said or done to retaliate if I weren’t a Christian. In my heart, I wanted to please God. As I delved into His word, I realized two truths that were hard pills to swallow:

  • God had foreknowledge of every single offense ever perpetrated against me; yet, in His infinite wisdom, He chose not to prevent it. His Divine purpose was obviously greater than my comfort or convenience. Therefore, I embraced the truth that every hurt will ultimately work together for my good because I love God and He has a purpose for every thing that comes my way (Romans 8:28). Perhaps this was the truth that caused the victims’ families to forgive Dylann Roof after he murdered nine people in a June 17 shooting at a Charleston, Carolina church.
  • My decision to forgive–or not–has a direct bearing on whether God forgives my transgressions (Mark 11:25). Simply put, if I don’t forgive others, He isn’t going to forgive me. I don’t want to suffer such dire spiritual consequences.

Life has presented many opportunities for me to practice the forgiveness principles found in the Word. Unforgiveness is a giant I could never conquer in my own strength. Thank goodness my Heavenly Father gives me “the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 NLT). Therefore, from my childhood molester to the Ponzi scheme crook who duped me out of thousands of dollars to the doctor who botched my foot surgery, I’ve released them all. I’m free. I’m on a mission to forgive, let go, and live.

 

Bestselling author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue

www.ConfrontingIssues.com

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Avoiding Financial Stupidity

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 4 comments

While standing on the balcony of a nice hotel recently I overheard (come on, eavesdropped is a harsh word!) the following conversation between guys on two other balconies:

“How ya doin? Nice view, huh?”

“Yep, it’s pretty impressive.”

“Pricey, but the kids are having a great time so it’s worth the $400 per night they charge, right?”

“Yeah, that’s what they make charge cards for.”

“I guess we all do the same thing…enjoy life, charge it and wait for the parents to die to pay off debt.”

I nearly fell off my 15th floor seat. Dave Ramsey would have had a seizure.

I don’t want to sound like a lecturing old biddy, but that’s just wrong. My husband and I racked up a couple thousand in credit card charges early in our marriage, but we saw the endless hole we were digging and made a plan to get out of debt.

Spending money you don’t have is a cancer on living a healthy life.

It feels good in the moment but creates stress, grief, fear, dread and worry in the aftermath. This is a prison term people give themselves… and it often turns into a life sentence. Getting out of debt requires a lot of work and sacrifice. Many people aren’t up to the challenge so they continue adding to the pattern.

The younger you are when you actually grasp this concept, the less burdened you will be in your every-day life. Additionally, you will be financially free as you get older.

Media just reminded us that the Social Security disability fund will run out of money next year unless Congress takes action to put cash back in… the question is, where will it come from? Eventually there won’t be enough in Social Security for people to feed their cats, let alone themselves.

But, planning ahead for “old age” requires giving some things up now. Expensive vacations are replaced with camping trips. Pedicures are done at home. Eating out is the exception, not the rule. Whether it’s a small charge or a really big one…all output of dinero adds up.

I’ll confess, I wish we had avoided a few bad investments, spent a little less and saved more. We haven’t been as responsible or savvy with our income as we could have been, but we’ve been much more intentional in recent years.

Being money-wise also involves smart investing. Even a little bit will eventually grow into a lot more if it’s consistently invested well. There are people with integrity that can help with this.

And the last thing that contradicts what my fellow vacationers believe: not only do we need to spend less and save more, we should be budgeting a portion for God’s purposes. Giving to your church or a reputable charity is an investment in others but it’s also an investment in growing your own character. It builds discipline and helps prevent greed.

“Experts” are buzzing about another recession hitting soon. Are you prepared to act with financial wisdom? If you’re waiting for an inheritance from your parents, maybe you should rethink it. In fact, they might not have much left to leave you.

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Need for Purpose Starts Early and Never Ends

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 2 comments

When I take a load of laundry out of the dryer I throw all the hankies and hand towels in a laundry basket to save for later. I’m not just being lazy. Three little ones who are mastering the skill of folding will be very excited to find this container full of purpose and challenge.

I began teaching Zoe how to fold laundry a while ago. We lay a bandana on the bed and bring those corners together again and again until it is a neat little square. Watching her attempt this, sometimes getting frustrated, but typically just concentrating and doing it again- I see a couple of things we can all relate to.

For most of us, learning a new skill that others have mastered is challenging but also exciting. I have known adults who learned to swim or drive when they were in their 40s. It is a little embarrassing and a lot scary, but the accomplishment far outweighs those negative feelings.

Senior adults sometimes have a tough time keeping up with technology. (Cough-me too-cough) I’ve heard people say, “I don’t need to learn how to use a”… computer/iphone/email/fill in the blank. But that’s simply not true. If you aren’t at least marginally engaged in technology you will be left out of so much. When they finally grasp this and learn (from a patient, younger volunteer) how to create a new document, attach a file or post a photo on Facebook, they feel terrific.

The second thing my grandkids’ laundry endeavors have taught me is that the desire for purpose starts early and never ends. They feels such satisfaction and pride when they’ve completed an entire load and “helped” me finish my job. It’s not busy-work to them, it’s useful and purposeful.

Kids get bored and adults of all ages can feel a little lost or depressed when their lives don’t include purposeful pursuits; accomplishing something of value.

If your days are being consumed without the satisfied feeling of purpose, remember that there are endless opportunities to learn something new and put it to use serving others.

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Death and Life

Posted by on Aug 3, 2015 in GRACE for More (Faith, Hope, Empowerment), The Blog | 4 comments

Death is simply brutal for those still living. The one who dies stops suffering, or if there was no illness or pain- doesn’t have to endure the intense ache of losing a loved one.

In spite of this, most of us would choose to be the one who continues to live.

Have you given this much thought? Probably. I know I have. Certainly I’d rather go before my kids or grandkids. They’re young and have rich, full lives ahead of them without me. I know my mom felt this way before she died. And I have continued on with a terrific existence. But there is a distinct missing piece in her absence.

Playing that game with my husband in mind is a lot harder. From a selfish standpoint, I’d like to be the first to go. I wouldn’t have to know the loneliness and lost feeling I see in the haunted eyes of other widows. But if that’s the case, I have to think about what my husband (left behind) would have to face. I’d never wish that much grief and adjustment on him. Damn!

Thankfully, we aren’t the ones who make this all-important call, so speculating is a futile waste of time.

Death is on my mind today because of a woman I know (in her early 40s) who is in the last stages of pancreatic cancer. She isn’t playing the game because she knows that (without supernatural intervention) she will leave this world ahead of her beloved family and it will be very soon.

Death is on my mind because a couple days ago a family friend- a 60-year-old man- went to bed and didn’t wake up to the alarm clock the next morning. His wife nudged him but he was already gone. Game over.

Death is on my mind because I saw a post on Facebook yesterday asking for prayers. A young woman died during childbirth leaving her husband and baby girl to face the rest of their lives without her.

Yes, death is a part of life. In my opinion it’s the worst part. Being totally honest, I wish God would have implemented a different plan for life that didn’t involve death.

As a follower of Christ, I am confident that what comes after death is glorious. Maybe I’m just not strong enough or faithful enough, but that sincere awareness doesn’t make up for the heartache of those who are staring death in the eye as they approach their final days with the people they adore. Neither does it alleviate the sorrow and despair of widows and orphans in the aftermath of loss.

Later…much later, after the shock and misery begin to subside, the hope and promise of Heaven become meaningful again. The certainty that those we cherished haven’t ceased to exist- that they are merely absent from our current lives- becomes a sweet salve to our wounded hearts.

If you have lost a loved one, my hope is that you are feeling the comfort of what’s to come… when you meet again. If you aren’t grieving, pray for those who are…there is an abundance of people who need it.

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Preparing Young Warriors for Spiritual Battle

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in PARENTING | Never Ending Story, The Blog | 11 comments

Children are our most precious resource. When they learn hatred and bigotry, they become hateful. When they learn kindness, they become kind. When little ones learn faith, they learn to withstand challenges with grace. But there is a spiritual war going on and an enemy that would love to eradicate our future leaders. We all have a stake in helping them learn to fight. Check out the post below and comment to win a book from Angelique La Fon-Cox’s Huggabear series.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

Preparing Young Warriors for Battle

by Angelique La Fon-Cox

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

You may think your child is too young to be a warrior of God, but the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:12 ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.’ I can testify that children are some of the most powerful warriors of God this world has to offer. To face the world today we need to train our children to be strong in spiritual warfare; to be warriors of God. But where do you start? How is this training done? Churches and their programs are excellent and important, still, the most consistent training for spiritual strength is done at home by you.

  • Teach your children daily by example.
  • Plan devotionals.
  • Read Bible stories.
  • Play worship music in your home and car.
  • Sing His praise together.

Most importantly: pray with your children. Teaching them prayer is the most supernatural, powerful weapon of spiritual warfare they will ever have. Teach them to speak scriptures to their trials, for the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible, is truth unchanging and the same weapon that Christ Himself used when battling Satan. There is power in speaking God’s Word and there is power in prayer! Teach them to claim the victory of God’s promises, for every promise written is for them—and you! Let them watch you develop your relationship with the Lord and I can say from experience, they will follow you. Here is an example of how this investment can bring great riches in return.

My husband has been laid off for the past eight months. He applies for jobs daily and we both do all we can to support our family during this test.  One day I was struggling and could hardly pray. My children had on their “Armor of God” (Eph. 6:10-17) and were ready to assist me in battle. My son, Samuel (8), wrote a note that said, “God will help you.” My daughter Aven (12), wrote in my prayer book, “You will be alright, just keep praying. Hebrews 6:5 ‘After waiting patiently, he received what was promised’. MaCaedyn (9) my youngest girl came and prayed for me with all her heart.

Your children can truly be powerful warriors of God. Do not underestimate the child God has given you, for He has created them for mighty things! It’s never too early to start showing them the way.

*A special gift! For a free ebook of Exordium the first mystery in The Intercessors series (by Angelique La Fon-Cox), simply send an email request to: theintercessors@hotmail.com. Don’t forget to comment on this post to win one of her Huggabears books for little ones.

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Your Next Big Purpose

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 3 comments

Tent-Maker is an Honorable Profession

The Apostle Paul knew he couldn’t get by on his looks and preaching the Gospel to poor people, so he made tents to earn a living.  Do you think he asked, “Is making tents my calling?” or “Should I starve because I’m not willing to do anything except share the good news about Jesus?”

Most of us have spent at least a modicum of time trying to figure out what we were meant to do.  Additionally, the majority of us aren’t spending all our time doing it…even if we have figured it out.

You might know that you were called by God to be a nurse, an artist, a writer or a missionary but your day job is banking or grooming dogs or coloring hair. Is this wrong? Are you wasting your time or dishonoring God? I say absolutely not.

When my kids were young I really wanted them to discover what the Lord was calling them to do and be. My hope was that they would discover their purpose, take steps toward getting an education and experience, and finally land a job doing what they loved and that God had designed them to do.

Even if you have a parent with that kind of foresight and intention, life and human nature complicate things. While some folks have a certainty from childhood about what they are supposed to do with their lives, most flounder around searching for the answer.

Searching and wandering is often part of the journey of discovery and usually equips us to step into the role we’re meant to fill. I talk to women all the time who tell me they don’t know there purpose. They feel lost and a bit embarrassed at this confession.

The truth is that for those who are close to God there is no wasted time. He has us where He wants us for “such a time as this.” Caring for children, maintaining a home and marriage, working in a job they don’t love to feed the family… these are all honorable callings. But things change and when we find that those seasons have passed we get a yearning to hear from God about what’s next.

Whether you’ve spent many years as a tent-maker and are longing to fulfill your greater purpose, or if you’re realizing a need to make a few tents, you are completing your mission of the moment. Each moment adds up to a lifetime.

As you look back, do you see how your moments have led you to this place? When you ask God, “What do you have next for me?” what is His response?

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Bold Move on the Dance Floor

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 0 comments

I was at a high school dance (Do they even have high school dances anymore?) and noticed Brad standing alone. Why was this cute, popular guy not dancing? Like a lioness I took that moment to go after the isolated prey. (Sounds sinister, huh?)

Me: “You wanna dance?”

Him: “Well I came with someone so I guess not.”

Me: “Where is she?”

Him: “Not sure. With her friends I think.”

Me: “This isn’t a marriage proposal, just a dance.”

Him: “It’s probably not cool, so no thanks.”

Me: “OK. Your loss.”

On the inside I was jello. I flitted around like approaching him was no big deal, but it took all I could muster. The funny thing was that the rejection didn’t hurt. I could tell that he genuinely wanted to spend more time with me but was being the gentleman his parents had raised him to be. (He confirmed this later- sometime between our first date and our wedding.)

This was one of my youthful memories of being bold. Back then it wasn’t polite for girls to ask boys to dance. I was wearing my cutest short skirt (not sure how I got away with that) and looked like every other girl in the room, but that daring move made me stand out in the mind of this boy that a lot of other girls wanted. I danced all night (to Deep Purple and Steely Dan songs) and never looked in his direction again. We went on our first date a week later.

The rest is history.

I’m sure God meant for us to be together and it would have happened eventually no matter what, but if I had been too fearful to make that move my high school and college years might have looked very different.

It’s fabulous to have bold moments to recall when you’re feeling timid or uncertain. Drawing on those feelings of empowerment and the outcomes can be intense fuel to propel you forward when you want to stay put or run in the opposite direction, or worse, let someone else make a move.

It may be cliché but it is also solid truth to say that you won’t get unless you ask and you can’t succeed unless you try.

What bold move have you been pondering? Why not just make it now? A small rejection or a little failure is a blip on the screen compared to what your potential gain may be.

 

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