Telling The Truth ~ character matters

A crossed-fingers

I Seem To Have A Verse For 2020

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Christians have this thing about lying…we’re not supposed to.

What was so interesting in this verse that so randomly kept popping up in my life since January is that the first two points (what is true, honorable) deal with the deepest realms of dealing with and telling truth.

I discovered that when the thought came to me that I should look up the word “true” in Strong’s Concordance. [No, not Strong’s. Anything but Strong’s.] So, after that thought assailed me for the third or fourth time, maybe even the fifth time, I finally dragged out my heavy, hardcover Strong’s, leafed through its cumbersome pages, and found the ancient meaning of “true” as it appears in that verse. And, the meaning is ‘truth without deceit, without concealing or hiding’.

I immediately thought of the times I’d parsed my words (not often) so that I could say to myself and to others if need be, “I didn’t lie”. Oh, those little white lies. I’d like to say I usually did this parsing to shield others. But of course, that would not be truth without deceit or without concealing or hiding. That statement would not only be a fantasy, but the reality would be a 50/50 toss up.

Returning to the Scripture, I searched Strong’s for honorable. I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB] and Strong’s translates from the King James Version [KJV]. The King James translates the ancient Greek word as ‘honest’. So next I went to Webster’s Dictionary. I used the 1828 edition because our modern dictionaries water-down ‘values ladened words’. And according to Noah Webster, ‘honest’ means: 1. Upright; just; fair in dealing with others; free from trickishness and fraud; acting and having the disposition to act at all times according to justice or correct moral principles; applied to persons. 2. Fair; just; equitable; free from fraud; as an honest transaction; an honest transfer of property. The definition goes on to include ‘frank’ and ‘sincere’.

So, when put on the spot about something in my own life, or someone else’s how do I cease and desist the parsing of words? Dare I say, Biblical dishonesty? First of all, other people do not, repeat NOT have a God given, or constitutional right to the details of my life. And I have NO right to give out the details of another’s life. We believers will feel much better about ourselves, on a deep internal level, if we simply tell the truth.

If someone carelessly, callously, or nosily asks about a personal part of my life, about my private plans, hopes or dreams I can simply say, “I’m not prepared at this time to talk about that.” I can also say that if asked about another’s life. When asked about another, I could say, “That’s his/her story. It’s not mine to tell.” Those statements would be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet.

Here’s a tricky one. What to do when someone asks for an unreasonable favor? Money, perhaps? There’s no need to go round-and round, parsing words to come out with a reasonable sounding negative statement. Here’s a straight forward one. “No, I wish I could, but I just can’t. Not at this time.” I could add, “I’m really sorry,” if I am. If the individual is a habitual user, I’d leave the’ sorry part’ off. That would also be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet. It’s not parsing words, or beating around the bush. Am I good at this? No! Am I getting better? Yes, I am.

Doesn’t the Bible say…

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. ~ Matthew 5:37 New King James Version [NKJV]

Hope You’re Rockin’ Around ~ the Christmas tree

J's Biker Jacket

In the new old fashioned way.

When I got up to feed the strays it was 40 degrees in Jacksonville (with a feels like of 38). That’s when Floridians start thinking of wintering in the Caribbean. It had dropped to the mid 30s overnight. It was cold and damp…a breeze coming off the Atlantic and up the St. John’s River. I’m closer to the river than the beach.

I had been meaning to give my late husband Joseph’s biker jacket to Goodwill since I only wore it once last year. That was right before Christmas, when I went to see Deck the Chairs in Jacksonville Beach with my daughter Victoria and Lynn Woods Rix writing as Dalyn Woods. It was cold that night This year, I wanted to let someone get some use out of the jacket, but Joseph had loved it even though he didn’t have a Harley, not even a motor scooter. It made him feel a little like James Dean. I must confess, when I wear it some of that James Dean spirit rubs off on me too. There’s just something about a well-worn, broken in biker jacket.

Joseph passed away on December 8th three years ago. I’m seeing a lot of memes about how to treat a person who is mourning at Christmas. Should you bring up the loved one who is gone? Should you tip-toe around it? If you care for your loved one who is in mourning, they will know you care. You might say the wrong thing. If you’re a believer, you might say, “He/she’s in heaven with Jesus,” when all your loved one wants is for them to be back here, even for a moment. We all say the wrong thing in situations like this. Your loved one knows that. Your loved one has also said the wrong things. It means you’re human.

So, what should you do? What should you say at Christmas to a loved one who’s heart is aching (and mourning goes on for years)? Say, “I love you lots.” Call them, tweet them, private message them, email them, send them cute, light-hearted memes, send them a Christmas card. For a person in mourning, the hours can creep slowly by, feeling empty. Fill some of that empty space up…in a gentle, gentle way saying “I love you.” “I’m thinking of you.” Don’t pressure them to be part of the holly-jolly spirit of Christmas, but leave the door open to them if they’d like to join in. You might be surprised. They might have no place to celebrate and would love to be part of your Christmas.

…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

JDC Xmas 2013-3
Joseph, Christmas morning 2012, before coffee
JDC Waldorf Astoria-Boca
Boca Raton, vacay 2011

Victory Over Despair In A Krazy World ~ the ultimate kind

Don't jump off the end of a pier. Sit down on it and pray.
Don’t jump off the end of a pier. Sit down on it and pray.

 

The Lord spoke to my heart reminding me there are many people who read this blog who feel beset on all sides. They have health issues, or they’re home or car is about to be taken away from them by the bank, they’ve just lost their job, their children are flunking in school, and the like. Most of those who read this blog are Christians, but not all. And when the Lord gave me this inner witness, He wasn’t only talking about believers. Many are hurting right now.

Now is the time for each of us to understand on a deep level that God wants the best for all people. That He loves all people.

Now is the time to understand God has the answer for each of us. It’s time to stop looking to the media for answers, even our favorite media outlets. The media lies, twists the truth, or at the very least presents a mostly negative view of life because they think that garners viewers. So, you have to not take that as your reality, knowing at the very least that picture of life is skewed. Lift your eyes to a higher place. Know the situation is better than what you’re getting from the secular world’s point of view. Know, no matter how horrible it is, you can go through and come out.

Isaiah 61:3a [NASB] ~ To grant those who mourn in Zion (put here wherever you live) , Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.

The NIV translations says, “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

God has given you praise as a weapon to defeat despair. So, first and foremost give praise to the Giver. Make sure you’re speaking well of God. Watch your words. They have power and they shape your life. Speak well of your life situation, your talents, your home life, your family, your job. Even if you don’t much like your employer, as long as you accept a paycheck, do not denigrate the company with your words. Pray for your life situation, expecting it to get better, for your talents, home life, your family, your job. Go to God in prayer with complaints, not to your best friend, neighbor, or to those at the water cooler.

Now, in the spirit of transparency, I have to tell you that I’m a great complainer. Boy can I murmur up a storm. So, I know God is giving me this “Word” for me first and foremost, but also for those who read this blog who are burdened about to the breaking point. I’ve gotten better about complaining and when I do catch myself complaining, I pray for those I’ve been murmuring about. I know this has helped me get through and is still helping me get through some difficult situations.

I know I’ve grown spiritually in this regard because I used to murmur about situations that weren’t even that important or threatening…just not to my liking. I don’t do that any more. I’ve improved. At least if I’m going to whine and complain now, it’s going to be about something significant. That’s just a stab at humor. My goal is to quit complaining and to be proactive in prayer and outlook, to develop some spiritual muscles.