And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Fate is a very complex idea. We’re not the sovereign masters of our fate… Only God is sovereign. Even the things that we sometimes call fate is under God’s control. Yet… Scripture doesn’t teach that fate is predetermined and beyond human control. Therefore, we need not feel helpless to change our destiny or fate. We must not take the attitude that… whatever happens, happens… And, we can’t do anything about it. This way of thinking is called fatalism and it’s not biblical.

However, Scripture does teach that we were created with the ability to make moral choices. Even the Fall of Man wasn’t a predetermined incident. Adam and Eve were not held captive by fate. Actually, Adam and his wife had the ability to choose obedience and its connected blessing or disobedience and its resulting curse. They both knew what the result of their decision would be (Genesis 3). When we fail to do what is right, it’s because we chose to. We can’t blame the consequences of our bad choices on fate or God (James 1:13-14).

If fate doesn’t seem kind… or things aren’t going in our favor, regardless of our best efforts to do what is right. Remember Matthew 17:20, teaches that through faith the size of a mustard seed… we can move mountains. Then continue to:

  • love God and others (Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:35–40),
  • believe that God is who Scripture says He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5-6, Jude 1:14-15),
  • stay spiritually minded, because it is life and peace (Romans 8:6-8, Acts 2:38, Luke 15:7),
  • reverence and fear God… hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11, Exodus 20:20, Proverbs 1:7),
  • study and follow the examples of Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher (Matthew 17:5, John 8:29, Matthew 22:16, 24),
  • obey God…  it is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3), and
  • work to do God’s will (Hebrews 13:21, Matthew 5:48, Luke 22:42).

Through free will, God has given us the ability to choose… but our choices do affect our fate. God is still in charge. Even though, we may choose to obey or disobey Him. But, everything that happens in this world is made to work out according to God’s purpose

For, when our ways please God… He can affect our past to change our future. So that in the present moment… we see our faith change our fate.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. ~ Romans 4:21

Years ago, I took a lay theology class. The theologian, who taught the class was fond of saying, “The devil is not creative. He takes what God has given us [to use] for good and finds a way to corrupt it… which leads to sin”. For example; eating is good, but gluttony (Deuteronomy 21:20) is a sin. Love is good, but narcissism (2 Timothy 3:1-9) is not.

Christians don’t have the authority to lift, their earthly good… above their Heavenly Father’s good. We err in the notion of “the greater good” when we do so. For example, when we support moral misconduct, in favor of subscribing to a self-defined, self-serving, “greater good” …we have been deceived. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). Christians need not seek, a better advantage or outcome by harming something or someone who is considered less important (Philippians 2:4). The secular gain in the end… doesn’t always justify the means, because the end is not of this world. Scripture affirms that there is an eternity (Romans 14:12).

This world is full of complexities, deceptions, and challenges. Making the best decision, as the right decision isn’t always easy. Since, what looks bad now, may not be bad in the long-term and what looks good now, may not be good in the long-term. That is why we need the wisdom of God, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit every day.

Our perspectives become clear when we embrace the teachings found in Matthew 22:36-40. We remember the promises of God. We stay in constant communication with Him through prayer. And, we always strive to make decisions that lead to the greater good for all.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8

In our… it’s all about me… self-made state of mind. We sometimes remember that we didn’t make ourselves. In humility, we see our smallness in the vast universe. We thank God for feeling the harmony of life. When the rhythms of this world flow in our favor. In the fiercest storm, we see glimmers of hope. These are the times when we feel the grace of God in our lives. It’s in such moments of clarity, we thank God for His amazing grace.

Hebrew 4:16 says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. As long as we live… in this world… we need God. We should live each day in awe of His presence. Giving honor to Him… in the name of Jesus for divine favor.

It’s not to say that we don’t make mistakes. But we know that He keeps those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him because they trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). We can’t turn lead into gold. Yet, we’re devoted to the One who turned water into wine. We recognize chaos and confusion. But, we know the One… who has it all in control. We work to make this world a better place… as we overcome hardships, experience loss, and sometimes fail.

We may be rich or poor, healthy or ill, popular or shunned, behind bars or free. Others may look at us and wonder, why we sing so loud and praise so hard… Give so much, while asking nothing in return. Pray for those who mistreat us and help those who try to harm us. For we’re not afraid because we know that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Therefore, we boldly do as our Father in Heaven instructs us.

That we may continue in favor… knowing God favors whom He chooses. According to 2 Peter 1:2, grace and peace is multiplied unto those who know God through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we understand… it’s not by our works… or because we’re so good… or by our power… nor by our might that God favors us. We know that it’s by His grace.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: ~ Hebrews 10:24 

One of the best ways to inspire others… is to let them see that we’re inspired. But, staying inspired as we grow older is much easier said than done. Every disappointment, heartache, or failure chips away at our inspiration. Yet, there are those who manage to stay inspired and do good works.

Last week, I spent several days at a dynamic conference. The founder is a 91 years old woman, who has written several books. She is reported to still be active and engaged in learning. We received a copy of her latest book published by Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company.

Seeing the name Wiley, flooded my mind with thoughts of my grandfather. Memories from a particular conversation caused me to smile.

“Well I got to work in my orchard by spring,” he said.

“What do you mean daddy?” I asked. He was lean, wise, and weather-worn. Eyes still as bright as any five-year-old. In my mind and when talking with others, I referred to him as ‘grandfather’. Yet, it was ‘daddy’ whenever I addressed him. A childhood habit that followed me into adulthood.

I think that his use of the word orchard caught me off guard. I’d never heard him use the term before. Plus, how many trees are needed before it’s called an orchard? Seeing my puzzled look, my 92 years old grandfather laid out his plan. He told me that his peach trees needed pruning and a couple of the fig trees needed work on them too. His idea for addressing the fig trees was fascinating. He was going to make a concoction out of ashes to put around their roots.

I became caught up in what he was saying. He had to remind me, that it was time for me to go back to work. My office wasn’t that far away from where he lived. So, I often visited him during my lunch break. I called it our breaking bread and storytelling time.

I drove back to work thinking… Wow at his age… he still has dreams. I hope that’s me when I’m that age… I was inspired. I thought of good works that I needed to get done.

Psalms 92:14 affirms that They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing… It’s good to know that God created us… where we can stay inspired for good works as we grow older.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, ~ Matthew 6:14

In the book Hurt People Hurt People, lingering childhood hurts and generational patterns of being hurt is what causes people to hurt others. In other words, people who are hurting… hurt other people. Through their mean-spirited behavior… they show how they feel on the inside. Romans 1:28–30, list several mean-spirited behaviors that include malice, gossip, slander, rudeness, heartlessness, and cruelty. It’s inevitable… most of us will meet people driven by such behavior at some point. So, how do we deal with mean-spirited people? Keeping in mind that we’ve all stumbled (James 3:2).

Jesus Christ says love unselfishly and endlessly (Matthew 5:44; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7). Are we expected to force a smile, while cringing inside because of the way a mean-spirited person treated us? Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can rely on biblical principles found in Matthew 6:14–15, Matthew 23:12, Mark 9:35, Matthew 5:9, Proverbs 13:3, Luke 23:34, Acts 7:59–60 and Colossians 4:6.  We should keep in mind the following:

  • Respectfully express that the mean-spirited behavior is hurtful.
  • Pray for the mean-spirited person to see the error of his or her ways.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit’s intervention on your behalf.
  • Treat the mean-spirited person with love and consult the Scriptures for practical advice.
  • Keep in mind that the other person is hurting inside and show empathy.
  • Stop and think before speaking or responding.
  • Refuse to conspire against the mean-spirited person with others.
  • Refuse to retaliate by acting mean-spirited.
  • Pray for discernment and wisdom on how to address the mean-spiritedness.
  • Remember God loves you and the mean-spirited person.
  • Examine yourself and your attitude towards the mean-spirited person.
  • Remember you are accountable to God for how you treat the mean-spirited person.
  • Know that you are not accountable to God for how the mean-spirited person treats you.
  • Give the mean-spirited person respect and act with humility and genuineness.
  • Forgive the mean-spirited person.
  • Sometimes you may need to walk away… less you become the mean-spirited person.

The Bible instructs us to deal prudently with mean-spirited people (Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 4:31-32; Matthew 5). Consider Matthew 18, as we acknowledge that mean-spirited people are hurting people who hurt people. Know that God can heal and deliver those who are hurting. We don’t have to hurt others and we don’t have to continuously be hurt by mean-spirited people.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.