Category Archives: decisions

Don’t Poke the Bear

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I prayed about what to write in this post. One side of me is so angry at how people, particularly those in positions of power and authority, mistreat each other. But I realized that if I allow anger to be the “go to” emotion, then I am no better than the ones who are doing the mistreating. The other side of me – the calm and reasonable side (yes, I do have one) – is filled with compassion and even sorrow for those who feel it is their duty to diminish others.

A phrase that comes to mind is, “don’t poke the bear” – a warning to refrain from saying or doing something that might provoke a negative response from someone else. You probably know some of those people. They’re the ones who deem it their right to needlessly provoke, upset, intimidate, or annoy others, sometimes going out of their way to do so and often presenting the action as a joke.

Not funny. And certainly not funny if you’re on the receiving end of the jab.

I think most everyone has engaged in this kind of behaviour at one time or another, not that it makes it right. We lash out at the authority figures who make rules we believe are ridiculous, but we have to abide by them anyway. This is particularly evident during this time of Covid-19 restrictions as social media is overrun with scathing comments, senseless arguments, and cringe-worthy responses. I am saddened when I read some of the words coming from people who should be offering encouragement and hope, but instead are using Facebook as a forum to vent. They’re poking the bear – inciting others to join them in their negative rants.

With empty words. Dangerous words.

1 Timothy 1:5-7 says: For we reach the goal of fulfilling all the commandments when we love others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and sincere faith.Some believers have been led astray by teachings and speculations that emphasize nothing more than the empty words of men.They presume to be expert teachers of the law, but they don’t have the slightest idea of what they’re talking about and they simply love to argue! (TPT)

I read that and could do nothing but take a good long look at myself. Am I leading people astray by teachings and speculations that emphasize nothing more than empty words? Am I arguing simply because I love to argue? Have I been prodded to poke the bear by reading and listening to others who do so? Lord, forgive me.

My goal, as in the first part of the scripture above, is to fulfill God’s commandments by loving others deeply with a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a sincere faith.

Be encouraged to do the same. The Father is always close by to help.

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Pick One – The Right One

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When my kids were teenagers, I encouraged them to stop and think about the consequences of every little decision they made. For instance, if they were standing at the top of the escalator at the mall, what would happen if they decided to stay on the floor where they were instead of going down to the lower level? Could such a small decision potentially change the course of their lives? I had a few of these speculative questions which, as you can imagine, frustrated my children to no end. My purpose wasn’t to annoy them, but rather to reinforce the importance of thinking through in order to make good choices. I don’t know if the lesson stuck with any of them, but I hope so.

The older we get, the tougher the decisions. They come with greater consequences. Our successes or failures can depend on what we choose to do. To say. To think.

I’ve made some pretty bad decisions in my life, many of which have caused unnecessary hardship and heartache for me, and sometimes for others. I’ve also made lots of good decisions that resulted in great favour, achievement, and progress in my personal, spiritual, and professional life. Guess which choices were made when I thought I was smart enough to do it on my own, and which ones included consultations with the Lord?

I’d really like to say that I’ve learned to make completely wise decisions one hundred percent of the time, but I haven’t. I am, however, much better at listening to what God has to say before I leap into something. Better, I said, not perfect. I will always need to clutch His hand and follow His lead. It really is the only way.

He’s right there, you know, ready and waiting to give you a nudge in the right direction. Even when you think you know best, you don’t. But He does. And He will give you what you need to make the right choice. Just ask. Read His Word. Listen to what He says.

A very familiar scripture says: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

I love the same verse in the Passion Translation: Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of your word makes my pathway clear. Psalm 119:105 (TPT)

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