HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
As usual, I’ve seen the advertisements for fitness equipment, diet fads and all sorts of quick ways to lose tons of weight for the new year. It’s a cycle, isn’t it? We give ourselves permission to eat anything we want from Halloween to New Years – then BOOM – we’re supposed to be on this track toward nutritional nirvana or something. It’s crazy!
I’m not going to give you more hype about how having a better body will magically improve your life. It will make you more healthy – that’s all. There’s more to having an improved life than a new diet and exercise routine.
For me, in 2017 it’s less about what I want to be and more about what I do NOT want to be. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone else this year. What IS a stumbling block? There are several portions of Scripture that explain.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – Romans 14:13
It’s a decision – a choice – a will of the heart and mind… not to put any stumbling block or OBSTACLE in the way of a brother or sister. Think and count to ten before you spew criticism out of your mouth to anyone. You do realize that once those words are spoken, you can’t reel them back in, right?
That OBSTACLE can be verbal, it can be put in their way through actions or inactions on your part. Your attitude or behavior could be considered a stumbling block to someone. We have to be so very careful with each other because everyone is fighting a battle in life and we all come from different backgrounds. We need to try to show more understanding. I want to do that this year.
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” – Isaiah 57:14
Instead of throwing rocks and stones at others, I want to help them clear them away. I want to help others have a smooth path to walk. I want to pray for them and let God do the work in their lives.
You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD. – Leviticus 19:14
It’s possible that not everyone has heard the gospel of Christ. Certainly there are those in our world who are blind to the truth of it. I can’t believe in the place of anyone else. It’s my job to share – not to beat anyone over the head with a Bible. This year I want to pray for the deaf and the blind – and make sure my life is the way it needs to be. Any prayers said for me are appreciated, to be sure. I’m not perfect, but I sure do want to be the person God wants me to be.
“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. – Malachi 2:7-8
Preachers and teachers should be especially careful. What you’re preaching and teaching should not cause folks to stumble. Sometimes the truth can hurt, but it should never be delivered in such a way that it causes anyone to throw their hands up in defeat and give up. Pray before you preach and lean on God’s Holy Spirit to guide you.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Matthew 16:23
So now we know where these stumbling blocks come from, don’t we? Big surprise – a stumbling block is one tool in satan’s tool box. He gets someone to put the obstacle in front of us, which in turn gets us discouraged and ready to give up – and if we quit – split-hoof wins the battle. He doesn’t win the war – he’ll never win the war – but he can win small battles.
Don’t be angry at the person putting the stumbling block before you – be wise and look beyond what you can see. Only our Lord can actually call His disciple out on it – but we can essentially do the same thing – take the stumbling block to your prayer closet with you – and show it to Jesus – and say “Get thee behind me, satan, in the mighty name of Christ Jesus, my Lord and King.”
It hurts when obstacles get thrown at us – the enemy of our soul knows it will – that’s why it happens. If we’ll just lean strong on God and His Word, nothing that is thrown at us will make us give up and quit for good.
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. – 1 Corinthians 8:9
Let me ask you a question. If you have a RIGHT to do something, but it infringes on another person’s BELIEFS, do your rights mean more than their beliefs?
HOW SELFISH if you answered yes. We live in a country based on a Constitution and I’m so thankful for it; however, let me share a basic truth my parents instilled in me:
MY RIGHTS STOP AT THE END OF YOUR NOSE. I’m a big fan of personal space, so my rights end a little further than the end of my nose – give me a couple of inches of personal space.
The right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I’ve lived by that simple truth – and it is the truth. Nobody’s rights mean more than another person’s beliefs. Rights and beliefs can and should live in harmony.
Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – 1 John 2:10
Ah-ha! Did you read that? I want that… I want to live in LIGHT and LOVE with others and have nothing in me that makes me stumble – and … nothing in me that will make anyone else stumble!
I wouldn’t call it a New Year’s resolution exactly… but I sure would call it a goal.
Oh Lord break my heart for what breaks yours. Let me love others as you have loved me.
Happy New Year! Have a blessed 2017 in which you encourage and iron-sharpen to your heart’s content! 🙂