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Getting to the Root

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“You’re going to need a root canal.”  The dentist scanned the x-ray, offering a matter of fact tone.

I closed my eyes, dreading the procedure.   When the dentist noticed my apprehension, he explained, “If we don’t get rid of the infected root, it will destroy your tooth.  A crown will only mask the problem.”

Reluctantly, I dragged myself to the office to have the root canal.  While the procedure itself wasn’t that bad, I’ve had almost a week of pain and discomfort, so much so that I had to make a return visit to the dentist.  As difficult as the thing has been though, I’m thankful to report that my tooth is intact and on the mend.

My process with the root canal has made me think about how important it is to address the root issues in our lives.  If we don’t address the root problem, eventually, things will get worse.   Most of the time, as we all know, roots aren’t easily visible, yet they’re essential for life.  However, just because we can’t see the root, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there and crucial.  We sometimes try to manage, cover, and even coddle the hard problems with what feels comfortable for us.  For example, maybe we don’t want to deal with the headache of voicing our concerns to someone that we love because we may fear their rejection, anger, or hurt feelings.

So many times, we don’t get to the root of issues because it’s painful.  Just like going through a root canal can be difficult, getting to the real reasons for the problems in our relationships can be risky and uncomfortable.  Relationships may change when we address the root, and yes, we might even be the one who has to change, which can be difficult to face.  I’m sure a root canal could have been avoided if I would have done a whole lot of things better.  It’s the same way in relationships.  The longer we wait to address the problems, the bigger and worse they tend to get.

My advice to everyone is to eat right, brush and floss (even in your sleep), and get to the dentist often.  If that still doesn’t do the trick, opt to get a filling.  Don’t let it get to the root canal point if you can help it!  If you must get a root canal, get it done quickly.  In other words, we have to identify the root problems in our relationships and within ourselves.  After that, we have to do the hard work of hashing out, compromising (if and when needed), and letting go of anything and anyone that is holding us back.  We must get sin out of the camp—at all costs—whether it manifests within ourselves or in our relationships.  We shouldn’t participate in sin, and we shouldn’t tolerate it.  Getting rid of the diseased areas in our lives is vital for optimum growth and potential.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  When we put our trust in the Lord, we are rooted in Him, not in vanity, people pleasing, selfish motives, desires, and the stress and cares of life.  Notice that the verse likens us to being a tree planted by water, which is a constant source of life.  Trusting Him as our source means that our roots are healthy, and even when drought comes, whether spiritually or naturally, we will always be fruitful.

If we have anything affecting or infecting our root (our spirit), we have to take care of it.  Sinful actions, thoughts, words, and relationships must be severed.  It takes courage to deal with the problems areas in ourselves and in our lives in general, but when we’re abiding in the true vine of Jesus Christ, we have the courage to face issues.  We also have the Holy Spirit to lead us in our actions and speech, empowering us to operate in truth, love, and God’s grace.

Blessings and Love,

MaRita

 

 

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Casting Your Pearls

 

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Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t please certain people.  It doesn’t matter how kind, loving, and accepting you may try to be.  You can jump through hoops, bite your tongue, and pray that God changes the situation.  Yet, there are times when people refuse to see the best in you—refuse to see anything but negative motives, actions, and flaws.  So, how do we deal with situations where we constantly find ourselves running into a brick wall when it comes to certain relationships that may seem so important to us?  I’m learning that while we can’t make anyone do anything, we can turn the brick walls they try to put up to block us, into a brick road we can travel onto God’s purpose for us.

It baffles me, but some people employ adult bullying tactics, like pulling people in and then dropping them, or ignoring and refusing to acknowledge people in some way, as well as other immature behaviors.  Instead of addressing the root of their issues, they lay all of the fault and problems at the feet of another’s.  In short, they thrive off of negativity.  When you put this person in the presence of another with transparency, acceptance, and love, it can only work if the negative person is willing to change.  Period.

I’ve wasted too much time being a people pleaser.  Usually, I get along with almost everybody, so when I’ve had situations where a few haven’t like me, I’ve been alarmed and ‘knocked off my square.’  Some of the precious time that I could’ve spent pleasing God, I’ve spent, trying to please people that will never like or accept me.  It is truly a case of casting your pearls before swine.  To be exact, Matthew 7:6 says, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  It is not noble or God-like to allow others to abuse you by accepting negative words, actions, or neglect.  It’s not being mean to refuse to accept being mistreated.  The trap that others set for us are the traps that they will fall into, and it’s not being mean or hateful.  It’s the principal of reaping and sowing. 

Our responsibility is to not let the brick walls that others attempt to put up to stop us, unhinge us.  We can’t spend time worrying and stressing about whom doesn’t like us and for what reason.  Instead, we need to acknowledge the problem, and we can try to address it with openness and honesty.  If the other party doesn’t want to make amends, then it’s up to us to move on!  When we move on, instead of them blocking us, we’re traveling on a different path with greater opportunity and purpose.  We’re refusing to allow our flow to be blocked by negativity.

So, my message today is not throwing off on anyone, but just a message to those who may be wasting time trying to please others that they have no business trying to please.  We need to please God and not people.  When we please God, there will always be people who will dislike or even hate us, but there will be those few who are like-minded, who will love us and vice-versa.  I’ve had to remember Colossians 3:2, which reads, “Set my affection on things above, and not on things on the earth.”

I’m not casting my pearls any longer, and I pray that you will join me.  Be resolved to please God first, unhindered by the brick walls others may try to put up to cause us to stumble or fail.  Let’s walk on the path that he’s lit up for us to travel on, and our purpose will be fulfilled!  

 

 

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Personality Trait or Trap?

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I cry at almost anything.  No, maybe not a full-blown, ugly cry, but tears fall down my face at the most inconvenient and unexpected places.  When I was young, I used to hear, “You cry over spilled milk!”  I hated hearing that because I didn’t want to cry.  Nevertheless, if I was corrected about something, my eyes would flood with tears.  When I watch commercials of children without food or water in other countries—yes, you guessed—I tear up.  My heart aches for people in pain.  If I hear really good news or bad news, tears may well up, without warning.  I spent so many years and so much time, dreading and hating my tears.  However, God is showing me that, unlike what I may think or others might assume, it’s not a sign of weakness.  So often, God gives us things that we may look at as a liability when, in actuality, these things can be a gift.

Remember how impulsive and sometimes extreme Peter could be?  It’s interesting because his personality traits that sometimes got him into trouble are some of the very ones that God used to promote Peter to greatness.  He was not only one of Jesus’ closest friends, but he was also the one appointed by Jesus to establish the church.  Peter, in spite of all of his flaws, had the distinct honor of recognizing and knowing that Jesus is the son of the living God.

What about you?  Maybe you’re unusually reserved and quiet, or maybe you’re loud and boisterous.  Have other people given you the impression that the way that you are is negative or unfavorable in some way?  Before we’re so quick to latch onto the dark side, let’s consider something.  God made each and every one of us special.  In fact, the Bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  There are no accidents when it comes to us being here.  We have unique characteristics, but yes, we are all born into sin.  Because of this, we are flawed and have weaknesses.

However, because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins on the cross and His resurrection, we don’t have to live defeated, miserable lives.  In the book of Revelation, the scripture tells us, “I make all things new.”  So, in short, he can take those undesirable things about us and turn them around for His glory.  That person who is shy and quiet, for example, God may use them to reach others in an unassuming way.  Maybe a calming and settled presence is just that thing that will reach and touch others.  The same is true of a loud and boisterous type.  Maybe they once annoyed people, but through relationship with Jesus, a magnetic person who attracts attention can do much to advance the Kingdom.

What is it about you that you wish you could change?  As you reflect, ask yourself if it’s a personality trait that really needs to be eliminated or if it’s one that just needs to be channeled in the right direction.  Through God’s grace, Peter channeled his God-given personality traits from negative behavior, to boldly witnessing and building the church.

Sometimes, our personality traits can lead us down paths that can be negative, but through Jesus, we can turn these negative patterns and behaviors around for His glory.  The very things that Satan means to use to destroy us or others, God can use to get the glory out of our lives.  For example, it’s a pain to be around someone who’s bossy, but when this same person is saved and allows God to lead and use them, he or she can lead others and be used in miraculous ways.

I often feel that my tears come at inconvenient times, and I worry about being perceived as weak.  However, when I am resting in Him and who He is (and how He made me), I’m not going to be a basket case.  I am not going to be overly sensitive to criticism and cry at meaningless things or with an air of hopelessness.  When I am anchored in Him, and He allows the tears to fall, it’s for His glory—regardless of how some might take them.  He’s shown me that He’s given me the gifts of compassion and empathy. 

What gifts has He given you through your personality?  Are you using what He’s given you for His glory?  If not, I ask you to consider challenging yourself to first, know Jesus and accept Him as your personal Savior.  Then, perform a self-examination, aligning yourself with the Word.  Pray, and ask God to remove or change the undesirable personality traits.  Then, don’t despise what He’s given you, but instead, maximize it for His Glory!  He’s given us each very special assignments, and we can’t allow Satan to thwart our God-given purpose.  You’re special, so use your special to build the Kingdom!

 

Blessings and Love,

MaRita