Category Archives: Relationships

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect

“A kind and gentle woman gains respect but violent men gain only wealth.” Proverbs 11:16 (ERV)

We must be KIND and GENTLE to gain the respect of others and win people over. When I read this verse a short time ago I thought of the mean ol’ bitty lady at the family reunion I attended recently. Actually, Eric and I had just been discussing how mean she was and how she has a negative impact on people because of it. She could have a lot more influence if she’d only be nicer and less harsh (i.e. more kind and gentle…like the verse says!). She goes on and on about the family reunion dying out and the lack of attendance as the older generations are passing away. Her continuous reprimand each year is that the young people need to take over so the family, its stories, and the reunion will live on.

However, she then proceeds to belittle the younger people and act condescending toward them lashing out constant insults. She’s bossy and harsh with her mannerisms and words. Quite honestly, she’s really just flat-out rude. Because of this, she’s turning and driving the young people away. She’s losing her influence. More than likely, she’s having the exact opposite effect of what she wants. After all, who wants to keep a family tradition of meanness, rudeness, and condescension alive?

On the other hand, if she would do as Proverbs 11:16 says showing kindness and acting more gentle, she would earn the respect of the younger generation to whom she is trying so hard to pass the reigns. They would probably bend over backwards to help out and keep the family traditions alive if only she would be kind and gentle.

A bad first impression of this less than kind and gentle lady 

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Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character.

Proverbs 31…It’s Not Just For Women

Proverbs 31 is one of those chapters that I think a lot of women sometimes read and then feel deficient. It’s almost like we can never measure up to her. I mean, really, who can do and be proficient at ALL of the things that she does? Talk about a Renaissance Woman!

However, recently I had some different insights while reading Proverbs 31 in The Message translation. As I read through the verses about the Proverbs 31 woman, I jotted down her characteristics in my journal. It dawned on me that it’s not necessarily the activities that she does that matter, but the character and traits she possesses are what are truly important. That should be our primary takeaway from the reading. Thank goodness because I don’t think I’ll EVER be proficient at sewing!

In Proverbs 31, verses 10-31 form an alphabetic acrostic, used here as a type of Hebrew poem about a woman who exemplifies godly character and wisdom from A to Z. J.A. Motyer says, “In the common form of acrostic found in Old Testament Poetry, each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This literary form may have been intended as an aid to memory, but more likely it was a poetic way of saying that a total coverage of the subject was being offered — as we would say, ‘from A to Z.‘”[1] So in this case, the Proverbs 31 woman exemplifies godly traits and wisdom throughout and completely. She’s the full package.

Proverbs 31 is not just for women

In part of my recent study of the Proverbs 31 passages, I came across a really good article by Rachel Held Evans. In her post, she mentions that the “target audience” of Proverbs 31 is actually men. I did not know this! Rachel mentioned that she learned from a Jewish friend of hers that in the Jewish culture, it’s the men who memorize the passage, not the women.

In fact, the men actually sing or recite it to the women as a way of praising and blessing them! This special “Eshet Chayil” song is typically done each Friday night before the Sabbath or Shabbat meal.

Here is a video of a traditional Eschet Chayil song with the Hebrew lyrics and English translation shown:

I LOVE this English rendition by Ari Lesser as he sings to his wife:

I also realized these are NOT just characteristics that a woman should possess. Men should possess the Proverbs 31 characteristics too. These same character traits this passage praises the Proverbs 31 woman for having are also desirable for men. They are not gender-specific. ALL people, men and women alike, should strive to have this type of character. 

Proverbs 31:10-31 in The Message Translation

Below is a look at my takeaways about character from the passages. I use the feminine pronouns “she” and “her” when describing her characteristics, but read through them keeping in mind that we should all endeavor to display this type of character in our lives. Continue reading

Lessons from Barabbas at Easter

Learn the symbolism of Barabbas in the Easter story

Lessons from Barabbas at Easter

I’m super excited about this week’s post! Although, it’s a bit delayed due to taking some extra liberty and time with some extended research. In fact, I went all “college professor” on this one, even researching some books and scholarly articles to examine some history and expert opinions. With this being Easter Week or Holy Week, I’d like to share a bit of what I learned about Barabbas.

Not long ago Pastor Brent Troxell, one of the pastors at my church, gave a mini-message of sorts before we took communion together at church. In less than 5 minutes, he spoke something so profound that impacted me as much as an hour long sermon. He shared part of the crucifixion story, specifically about Barabbas, in a way I’ve never heard before. It made such an impact on me that I made a note to go and study it further on my own, which is what I’ve done over the past week.

Pontius Pilate was convinced of Jesus’ innocence

After Jesus was arrested, questioned, and falsely accused by the Jewish authorities, he was handed over the next day to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea (Matthew 27:1-2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1-2, John 18:28-29). Pilate questioned Jesus and was convinced that Jesus was innocent (Matthew 27:23-24, Mark 15:14, Luke 23:4, 13-16, John 18:38).

Paschal Pardon

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KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

KMS...Keep Mouth Shut

KMS…Keep Mouth Shut

I think the best piece of marriage advice that I’ve ever received is KMS. Honestly, it’s been some pretty good advice in a variety of settings. However, it’s probably been some of the hardest advice to actually follow. Especially for me. Those who know me well will understand.

You see, several years ago I was serving on a volunteer team at my church. My team leader, Shelli, was amazing. She was such a great leader. I really looked up to her. One day as Shelli and I were serving together she mentioned that she and her husband were celebrating 17 years of marriage (or maybe 18 or more, I can’t remember offhand). I think I was only about 10 years into my marriage at that point, and we were going through some marriage problems.

So, I asked her, “What’s the best advice you could give me on marriage?”

Shelli quickly responded, “KMS.”

“KMS?” I questioned, “What’s KMS?”

She smiled at me and said “KMS…Keep Mouth Shut.”

I laughed and said, “Oh, I can’t do that! That’s your best advice? How do you do that? What about when you know you’re right?”

She laughed and jokingly replied, “Oh, I’m ALWAYS right, but I still keep my mouth shut!”

That was such a hard concept for me to fathom. How can I possibly believe that I’m right about something and still keep my mouth shut? 

God had already told me as much

Honestly, God had already been working on me to “KMS” for some time on this one. Even still, it took a while for me to get it through my thick head. Wait a minute! What am I talking about? I STILL struggle with this one a lot. 🙂 However, it is getting a lot easier.

After my conversation with Shelli, I started noticing bible verses about this exact topic of KMS during my quiet time readings…

“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.” Exodus 14:14 (AMP)

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:1-4 (NLT)

“…So let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2b (NLT)

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV)

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.” Proverbs 17:27-18 (NLT)

Did you see that? God was so nice. He started correcting me softly with phrases like “hold your peace”, “without any words”, “gentle and quiet spirit”, “few words”, “restrained lips” and “keep silent”.

I didn’t take the hint

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t taking the hint. Therefore, God got a little firmer and starting being a little more blunt about this KMS thing. Sometimes I need a good kick in the pants anyway!

Often, I like to read and study my bible in several different translations. One of my favorite things to do, as I’ve mentioned before, is read a chapter of Proverbs each day corresponding with the day of the month (since there are 31). Then, I start over again the next month reading in a different translation or version.

Several of these verses I kept reading about KMS came right out of the book of Proverbs. Can you believe that as I started reading in different translations, many of these same verses that I had already read (and had already been corrected on softly mind you) ACTUALLY had the KMS command in them! In fact, they flat-out said “keep your mouth shut” right in the verse! Who knew God could be so blunt and direct? Ouch!

KMS Verses:

KMS Bible Verses

KMS Bible Verses

“God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!” Exodus 14:14 (MSG)

“…Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.” Psalm 4:4 (MSG)

“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

“I wish you would keep your mouths shut! Then people would think you were wise.” Job 13:5 (NIRV)

“So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time.” Amos 5:13 (NLT)

“Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)

“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.” Proverbs 17:28 (MSG)

“I promised I would watch my steps so as not to sin with my tongue; promised to keep my mouth shut as long as the wicked were in my presence.” Psalms 39:1 CEB

“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” Ecclesiastes 5:1 (NLT)

“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” Proverbs 13:3 (NLT)

I finally started to get the idea

When I started reading these verses that were pretty much just in my face about the whole KMS issue, I finally started to take the correction. Boy was it humbling! I started to learn that sometimes fewer words (or no words) can speak volumes. The old cliché “silence is golden” can actually be pretty accurate.

One time God even threw in an extra analogy for me during my studies to drive His KMS point in really well. Wasn’t that nice of Him? 😉 One morning as I was sitting there studying these KMS verses about remaining silent, I had a thought cross my brain. Miranda Rights. All of a sudden these words ran through my mind, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…” Consequently, this reminded me that I will also be held accountable for everything I say. What I say can and will be used against me. Yet another reason to KMS!

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.” Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP) 

Now, it’s YOUR turn to KMS!

Take Some Practical Steps to KMS…Keep Mouth Shut:

  • First, read over the bible verses about KMS. There are LOTS of them! God probably deems this as a pretty important concept if the bible repeats it that much. There are some really good insights in these verses, and you can see some benefits of keeping your mouth shut. For example, when you KMS, God will fight for you, you appear more intelligent and wise, you stay out of trouble, you win people over, and you can keep yourself from sinning.
  • Next, pick a verse or two that stands out to you, write them on index cards and post them where you can see them daily as a reminder to KMS. Consider memorizing them.
  • Additionally, you might even turn some verses into a positive affirmation. For example, you could say, “God will fight for me. I will hold my peace and remain at rest.” Another affirmation might be, “I watch my tongue, keep my mouth shut, and stay out of trouble.”
  • Pray, and ask for God’s help to KMS. I try to make this a daily routine. A helpful verse to pray is Psalm 141:3. This is another verse I have written on an index card and posted on my bathroom sink so that I see it every morning.

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 (NIV)

Has God encouraged you to KMS in your relationships? How has KMS (keeping your mouth shut) been effective for you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, disrespectful, sarcastic, offensive, or off-topic.  By posting on this site you agree to my Comment Policy.

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If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward!  Share this post via the sharing links below.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

Why are teen and preteen friendships so hard sometimes? Especially with girls. I know young girls who insist on remaining in unhealthy friendships that aren’t good for them. They stay friends with people who hurt them on a regular basis, over and over. Hey, I’ve BEEN that girl! Sadly, this wasn’t just as a teen either!

I currently know a few young girls who are struggling with healthy boundaries in friendships. My precious niece has given me permission to publish a letter of advice and perspective to her in hopes that others may benefit in their own friendships as well.

Dear sweet niece,

I’m so sorry that you’ve been having a hard time in some of your friendships lately. It breaks my heart to see you get hurt. Sometimes I wish I could let a few of those girls have a piece of my mind. On the other hand, there are times when I want to scream at you too for letting them treat you this way! Then I remember that I’ve been where you stand, even in my adult years. So, I get it.

But why do we continue to endure these harm-inflicting relationships? It’s because we don’t want to be alone. We’d rather be with people who, deep inside, we know aren’t good for us, than to fathom the pangs of loneliness. The problem is…we’re still lonely.

I mentioned a quote in a blog post that I wrote a while back… “There’s only one thing worse than being single and lonely.  It’s being married and lonely.” The quote referenced being married versus being single. However, this can pertain to unhealthy friendships too. Just like marriage doesn’t exempt us from feelings of loneliness, neither do friendships. Booker T. Washington once said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

I’d like to give you a little bit of advice from my perspective about what I’ve learned and what God has shown me about some unhealthy friendships.

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It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

This past weekend I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a couple of teenagers about issues of faith. To be completely honest, I had some pretty mixed emotions about our conversation. You see these teens had some pretty tough questions, and at points during the conversation they seemed to be questioning some of the most basic and important principles of the Christian faith.

Surprise

One emotion I experienced was that of surprise. These two teens had grown up in church and had been raised in a Christian home. Were they bringing into question everything that they have been taught all of their lives? Were they questioning the validity of the bible? How did they get to this point?

Then I almost talked myself out of the feelings of surprise as I reminded myself of the environment and culture that these teens and other teens are growing up in. The voices of the world are becoming louder and louder. They are surrounded on all sides and bombarded with attacks against Christian faith through culture in general, media, school systems, and even peer groups. How could they NOT have questions?

In the Bible, even the people in Berea were commended for questioning the teachings of Paul and Silas to make sure they were true. Their questioning did not surprise nor offend Paul.

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NLT)

Fear and concern

Another emotion that arose was one of fear and concern. Questions began to flood my mind. If they are Christians and they have these questions, what must kids that weren’t raised in a Christian environment believe? If they were raised in church and in a Christian home, do all kids raised in a Christian environment have similar doubts and questions? Will my own kids have doubts and questions about their faith too? Am I equipped as a parent to raise kids who won’t have doubts? Is our future doomed if this is the common belief system of the current generation?

Then, as He always does, God started to ease my fears and concerns. Continue reading

Gathering Different Kinds of Souvenirs

Gathering Different Kinds of Souvenirs

Gathering Different Kinds of Souvenirs

I recently took a short trip out to Charleston, South Carolina to spend some time with a couple of my best college friends. Charleston is GORGEOUS! Honestly, traveling is one of my most favorite things to do in the world. This is especially true when traveling to places saturated with rich history and culture. I love going and doing and seeing and learning.

Gathering souvenirs

Kiawah Island

This visit was a bit more casual, which was nice and refreshing. Oh, we still did a couple of touristy things, but for the most part we just took it easy. We walked along the beach one afternoon and chatted. We spent a day doing some antique shopping, convinced that antiques in Charleston SURELY must be older and cooler than those in Oklahoma! 😉 Then we also visited a plantation taking our time learning about the history of the area. However, most of my time was spent just visiting and catching up with my friends of 20+ years.

Different kinds of souvenirs

Typically I love picking up souvenirs along the way from my travels, just little things to commemorate my trip. This trip my short list of tangible souvenirs included a few shells and sand dollars picked up on the beach, a print of the Angel Oak Tree from a local artist, a skeleton key given to me by a lady in an antique shop, and some spices purchased at The Tomato Shed Café so I could recreate the amazing Tomato Shed Shrimp at home.

A souvenir is a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event. It is French for “to remember” or “to come to mind”. So I guess technically souvenirs don’t necessarily have to be physical items. They just have to be something that serves as a reminder. For this trip then, I received a different kind of souvenir. My most precious souvenirs are my memories…those of quality time spent with my friends, but also those of some of the interesting people I met along the way.

Frank, the Angel Oak artist Continue reading

So WHY do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

So why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day ??

So WHY do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Well, since our Tuesday post fell on Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about a bit of the history of the day. Then we can also discuss why so many people might celebrate this holiday. According to my husband, and probably a multitude of others out there, Valentine’s Day is pointless. For me, however, it’s both an opportunity and a reminder…to love and be loved.

Those crazy ancient Romans

Historians aren’t completely sure of the accurate origins of Valentine’s Day, but they have some speculations as to some of the beginnings.

Celebrations on or around February 14th-15th were originally rooted in a pagan Roman festival called Lupercalia. Not surprisingly, these pagan celebrations were pretty crazy. Lots of nudity (amongst other immoral acts I’m sure). Lots of drinking. Animal sacrifices. Then, the weirdest part of this particular celebration included taking strips of the animal hide from the sacrifices and then whipping the women with them. They believed this would make them fertile. I told you…weird.

Now, my grandma was pretty fertile. She had 13 kids. However, I DEFINITELY don’t think she EVER ran around naked letting men whip her with bloody animal hides. Nope. Not my grandma. In fact, she’d probably pass out at just the mention of it! But I digress…

Put your clothes back on, and stop beating women with dead animals!

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