Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She recently published her first book - My Best Marriage Advice. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
"In all the years I've worked with people, I've yet to meet someone whose life was all messed up because he or she kept God's commands." (Joe Stowell) This quote resonated with me because of its truthfulness. Many people want lives that reap the result of God's commands, but they don't want to believe or follow God's commandments.
So we are in a free for all - everyone doing what they want and hoping that they come out fine. Sometimes people look for the easy way out and rationalize, that if it's not explicitly stated in the Bible, then it can't be done.
Psalm 1 covers many situations relevant to our world - let's take a look:
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
So the real question is - who are the wicked? The simple answer, those who don't follow God.
2 But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Your beliefs determine your actions; no point in having beliefs if you do nothing with them. If you love God and believe what He says, you will search the Bible for truths for living.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
I like to garden - a well-watered tree or plant thrives. It has deep roots and is stable so it takes a lot for this tree to tumble. When you are like a well-watered plant in God's word, the troubles of life draw you closer to your Source; you handle problems differently; you have a confidence that is not braggadocio, but is peaceful and sure; others want what you have.
4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Because this person is not content, they jump on every bandwagon or every fad that may lead to happiness; they may buy more things, try illegal substances, drink more, indulge in fleshy pastimes and reap the consequences of all of these actions. They may have an over-inflated sense of self and believe that they are entitled to a good life. For them, life is about the next experience, the next high.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Their actions have doomed them to the place of the wicked.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
The Lord preserves but the wicked destroy themselves.
Use the rubric of God's word to live right; no one has ever been sorry who has done so.
As a parent, I remember when I first heard the phrase "high stakes testing." It was presented in a pressure-filled manner so that parents would approach state tests seriously. However, because I always took education seriously and knew how my children were doing in school, I approached these tests as low stakes tests - just another test that they would master. I felt that the pressure would be a hindrance, so flipped it on his head and treated the tests as normal, because children are primed to take tests as a way to indicate learning.
We are primed to deal with problems, Jesus told us it would be so. He said, "in this world, we will have tribulations but to be of good cheer for I have overcome the world (John 16:33)." He was letting us know that we should expect problems - no matter their shape, hue or size.
When it's your life, your problems provide a barometer for the intended outcome. It all seems like high stakes, but when we listen to Jesus, He says there are low stakes. High stakes indicate a significant gain is realized; with low stakes, the opposite is true. Our problems don't phase Him though they may change us. But he didn't leave us to handle our issues by ourselves. He left Himself, the Comforter, and just before he left, after telling us about the inevitability of our problems, he prayed for us (John 17).
The writer of this spoken word poem is in a season of his life that gives Jesus's words new meaning. As he pondered his current situation he shared these words with me:
High Stakes Low Stakes
Some people learn when the stakes are high; some people don't
Pressure doesn't always make diamonds or make the screw fit tighter,
There are those for whom pressure crushes their hopes and strips the thread that was supposed to hold them together,
Low stakes learning then is their friend.
Failing is an option and the very means to an end.
Mistakes will require a reroute to the intended destination, like a GPS
If you really want to get there, you'll follow the instructions more carefully each time you reroute.
But you'll keep driving, you'll be faithful, with or without the pressure
Whether for the first time or not, the pressure is on
So seek God, plan, execute, even with mistakes, yours or others,
Then press on while firmly on the victorious road.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6
But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
High stakes or low stakes, be faithful. With Him, we are acing the test.
My father reminded me of this prayer that he learned in Sunday School. The words of this prayer have stuck with him all these years because it tells him that words are precious, and once said they couldn't be unsaid. It may be why he appears quiet and tries to be so careful when he speaks. But he also acknowledged that we've all made mistakes with our words.
Prayer for Daily Grace- by John George Fleet
Words are things of little cost
Quickly spoken, quickly lost;
Witnesses at God’s right hand,
And their testimony bear
For us, or against us there.
Oh, how often ours have been
Idle words and words of sin!
Words of anger, scorn or pride
Or deceit, our faults to hide,
Envious tales of strife unkind
Leaving bitter thoughts behind.
Grant us Lord from day to day,
Strength to watch and grace to pray:
May our lips, from sin kept free,
Love to speak and sing of thee
Till in heaven we learn to raise
Hymns of everlasting praise.
We've all made mistakes with our words. Give it over to God in prayer and seek forgiveness. Be quick to apologize so that broken relationships are mended. Spend time with Him, so that it becomes evident Who controls every part of you, including your mouth.
Going forward, I'm sure I'll always hear his voice in my head saying, "Words are things of little cost, quickly spoken, quickly lost" in that very strong Bajan accent.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 [NLT]
Are you careful with your words? Is there something you do that cautions you before you speak? If you were reckless with your words, what do you do to correct the situation?