Raising the Bar in Relationships

Are you a child of God? If you’re a child of God, it means you’re saved by grace. It means that you receive eternal life, through Jesus, when you ask him into your heart. It means you take a step of faith, believing he died for you, and asking forgiveness for your sins.

But being a child of God also means that you’ve given your life to Jesus. It means you allow the Holy Spirit to do a good work in you, so you can become more like Jesus. When you follow Jesus, people see change, which draws more people to Christ.

To learn how to live like a Christian, you have to read your bible. It’s like a handbook for how to live the Christian life. But the difference is, the bible is not just a bunch of rules to follow. It’s a way of life; a way of life that has rewards in it for YOU, and for those you love! It will save you a great amount of heartache if you read it, and follow it. The wisdom and advice in the bible is free. It is a LIVING book, breathing out TRUTH! Because the bible is spiritual, many will read it without understanding its power and authority.

As a child of God, you have access to this power and authority in your own life because Jesus lives within you! You have privileges given to you by GOD! When you follow God’s laws, it’s like being underneath the protection of an umbrella. When you wander from God’s laws, and rebel, it’s similar to walking away from the shelter of that nice, big umbrella. What happens then? You get wet!

This morning, when I read my bible, I came across some verses giving relationship advice for both old and new Christians. It is for men, women, teens, children, married, single, old and young. Whatever your relationship, raise your standards. Expect godly behavior, when it’s within your control. We can’t always control who is in authority over us: For example, parents, teachers, bosses, and leaders. We can’t control who our family members are. God’s Word tells us how to handle these situations. They also need to be given to Him, prayed for, and discussed with counselors and people we trust.

However, we do have control over who we invite to be a part of our lives. We have a choice over the friends we hang out with, the romantic relationships we choose to have, and how we choose to behave, ourselves. God has advice for us in the bible. He tells is what is not okay, and He is very clear about it. If he tells YOU not to do it, then He expects the same out of others, and we should too.

Expect to be treated in a godly manner, by those people you let into your life. As you grow and change, throughout your godly walk, you should find yourself no longer comfortable with the same old crowd. If not, you’re probably not growing in Christ. You may even need to find yourself a whole new group of friends! Continue to pray for those people who mistreat you. Don’t give up on them, but realize it is healthy to have boundaries in place. You don’t have to lower your standards and accept poor treatment. God wants good things for you!

Real friends don’t pressure you, cuss at you, make fun of you, gossip about you, or embarrass you. Accept that you may be the ONLY one to take a stand, by telling your group of friends your standards. Have them raise their standards up to your godly standards, rather than lowering your standards to fit in with the crowd. That’s what JESUS did for you! He stood out against the world, refusing to succumb to peer pressure. He suffered for you, and for me. He died for you, and for me! He did it all for you, and for me, so we could live with him in Heaven, eternally! Walk away from darkness, and walk towards Jesus. God will provide everything you need!

Understand that you only have one or two REAL friends among a large group of acquaintences. Most will turn their backs on you when the going gets tough. But you need to know who your real friends are. Ask God to reveal them to you! It’s hard letting go of old patterns, but there’s a silver lining…God has rewards for you along the way! He has placed people in your life to guide you, befriend you, and love you. It’s your choice to either reject the good gifts He gives you, or accept them. God’s bible is full of knowledge. Read it, get wisdom, and find real joy in Jesus!

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a person is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”
(Ephesians 5:3-7 New International Version)



Slowing Down with God in a Fix-It-Fast World

Everything is going fast: fast messages, fast replies, fast fixes. We become fast friends, who sometimes find out we jumped in too fast, and need to get out of the relationship…fast. We are fast to start a conversation and fast to comment. We send out fast birthday wishes, and our Christmas photos go out fast, by email and social media. We are fast to post pictures of our families on special occasions. Who will post their holiday photo the fastest? There are even apologies from those who feel they didn’t post fast enough. It’s so convenient. Isn’t it great that we can do everything so fast?

Not so fast! There’s nothing wrong with communicating, fixing problems, and sharing our joyous occasions. But God isn’t the one ordering us to go so fast! It’s an expectation we have laid upon ourselves. We listen to lies from the enemy, and he laughs at us, as we run around, until we are out of breath. God wants us to slow down; He wants us to take time out by seeking Him first. When we reply, or respond too quickly, we may find ourselves caught up in a sin, such as anger or pride. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1: 19:20 New International Version).

We may rush to volunteer, when God has someone else in mind for the job. We might deprive that person of the blessing of service, and end up being burned out. Maybe God meant for you to spend that block of time with your family. God doesn’t want us to react under pressure. We don’t have an obligation to please anyone but God. When we first seek to please God, others are blessed, and we are able to grow in Christ.

Feelings betray us. Slowing down allows God time to put our emotions back into check. He may not even want us to be involved with a specific situation. He may be protecting us. Or, we may be rushing into God’s territory, where we don’t belong. We don’t want to run out the front door, blindly rushing past God, without seeing Him. He’s standing there with the perfect solution!

On social media, people can often see the exact time you viewed their message. You might have clicked on it, but didn’t have a chance to read it yet. Perhaps you’re going about your busy day, and maybe you even forgot. Regardless, we shouldn’t feel in a hurry to reply. We are free in Christ. We don’t need to worry about others judging us. God knows our heart, and that’s all that matters. When we slow down, and ask Him what to do, He will take care of us, and all the details. “ ‘I, the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve’ ” (Jer. 17:10).

God made the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh. He didn’t just hurry up, make stick figures, and call it a day. He thought about each and every one of us: what our features would look like, how we’d come into being, and when we would arrive. Before that, he was painting the sky, while carefully drawing in the sun, moon, and stars. He formed clouds and flying birds for fluid motion. God’s mosaic was the salt-filled ocean. He dotted it with invisible, tiny creatures, splashed it with colorful swimming fish, and topped it off with the great blue whale!

God molded the earth with His own hands, giving us a playground to explore. He gave us air to breathe, and created us with lungs which need that oxygen in order to survive. He made green grass to tickle our feet and giant oak trees for our children to climb. He laughed as He created animals, and later reveled in the joy they would bring to us. He already knew an elephant’s trunk would make us giggle, and that we’d marvel, with mouths agape, at the length of a giraffe’s neck. He not only took his time, he even rested when He was done. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).

Why on His beautiful green earth, would God want us to rush through each and every day, so fast, when He took it slow? He didn’t rush when He brought His greatest gift into the world. He brought us eternal salvation in the form of a newborn baby. The Virgin Mary was pregnant with Jesus for nine months. Jesus was born, by making his way into the world, like all the rest of us. He grew from childhood to adulthood, taking his time to learn everything that his Father, God had to teach him. He took his time to pray. Yes, he performed immediate miracles, but he also took his time, and never let anyone rush him. He didn’t need to hurry; he was given the power to raise people from the dead!

God’s plan of salvation, involved Jesus growing to adulthood, in order to accomplish His will. The ministry of Jesus did not happen overnight. Jesus endured much pain and suffering over the years, and a long, excruciating crucifixion. God also allowed enough time on earth for Jesus to bring hope, healing, and freedom to vast numbers of people, who came from everywhere searching for his love. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and God raised him from the dead on the third day. Alive again, Jesus even walked around for a while on earth, before ascending into Heaven to be with God, our Father. “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

There’s a silver lining, in knowing we can slow down, and take time to talk to God, when everyone and everything is rushing past us. If we are taking time out to be with God, a flash of lightning is no longer a threat. God can set it into slow motion or stop it in its tracks. We can pause, breathe in God’s goodness, and trust that He is in control. We can ask God to be the Lord of our day, doing only what He requires, when He requires it. We can take comfort in taking no action at all, unless we hear Him tell us to do so.

Slowing down, to spend time with God, will help us to become wise. We will learn how to filter out the things that are unimportant, and focus on the things that are. We will be more fulfilled and less anxious. Our health, emotional, and spiritual well-being will improve. Things will begin to fall into place. Let’s allow God to speak to our hearts today, and show us that we no longer have to do everything fast.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6).

I’m so thankful for receiving this handmade nativity set from treasured friends.  It was a blessing to have it beautifully arranged by my daughter.  

Head in the Sand? Live Truth!

I’ll never understand why people choose to leave behind people who really care about them and love them. People would rather stay comfortably blind, living in depression ( based on fear or anxiety, anger, and guilt) pretending to be happy with those who use them, abuse them, and turn their backs on them as soon as they stop getting their way. Most people have no desire to obey God, and no desire to know the truth. They are afraid. They’d rather be like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. 

Why settle, when there’s so much joy and freedom in Christ? So many are orphans, even when their parents are still alive. The Silver Lining is God’s promised adoption through His son, Jesus Christ. No one has to be left fatherless! God fills in the gaps where we have been lacking in the love that should have been given to us. Let Him fill the empty spaces. He’s the perfect parent for His children who follow Him! He never abandons or abuses us, and He never, ever lies to us!

” ‘If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.’ ”
John 14: 15-18 



Would you leave an unwrapped gift under your Christmas tree, if the tag had your name on it, and you knew that the box contained something better than your mind could ever even imagine? People do it all the time. They are offered the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and instead walk away, leaving their unaccepted gift on the ground. Heaven is full of unimaginable joy and perfection, where there is no more pain, and no more tears. Our minds cannot even begin to comprehend the amazing surprises God has in store for His children who know Jesus! Why would anyone choose not to unwrap such a wonderful gift?

Jesus is the reason for the season! Great kings, wise men, and shepherds followed the star of Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus, and bring him gifts. We celebrate Christmas today by giving gifts to our loved ones, remembering and rejoicing over the greatest gift God ever gave to the world, His only Son Jesus. When we unwrap this gift, and accept Jesus into our hearts, we receive forgiveness for all of our sins. We also receive God’s security, protection, and blessings. God writes our name in the book of life, which means we get to live with him eternally in Heaven. We need to share this great gift, so our loved ones can also spend eternity in Heaven with us.

The Silver Lining Christmas Giveaway Basket is to celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus! This Christmas Eve, December 24th, at noon, we will be drawing the name of the winner who will receive The Silver Lining Christmas Giveaway Basket! If you are currently a subscriber, you are already entered! If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe to The Silver Lining. If your name is drawn, but you have already won a basket giveaway with us this year, you will receive a copy of the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. We will then draw another name, so another can be blessed. Next year we will start over, and everyone will be eligible again!

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I write The Silver Lining, to share with you, that our hope lies in Jesus. Through him, we can find healing and freedom, which leads to JOY! So many have opened God’s gift, but have no idea of how God can change their lives. If you’ve accepted Jesus, and surrendered your lift to him, you are a privileged child of God! God’s children have special protections, rights, and privileges. We are given power and authority, through Jesus Christ. We have a direct prayer line to God, because Jesus makes sure our prayers get to Him! Christmas is the perfect time to share the love of Jesus!


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”    

(John 3:16 New International Version)







Oh Christmas Tree… Let YOUR Lights Shine!

The pre-lit Christmas tree promises “lights that stay lit, even if one goes out.” It doesn’t tell the truth. We’re all familiar with stressful holiday preparations. Everyone knows that a dose of irritation is included, for free, in every box of Christmas tree lights!

A few years ago, our family purchased a pre-lit, artificial tree with tightly wound lights. No longer would we have to face the hassle and anguish of stringing up lights. This tree would offer quick, instant set-up, and instant sparkle. But nothing man-made lasts forever. When Christmas came, we were disappointed to find multiple lights burned out on multiple strings.


We spent several days dealing with our problem. We talked about replacing the lights, but it was impossible to find out which ones were attached to others. Our family looked for a new tree, but didn’t like the ones we found. They were either too tall, or too skinny. Almost all of them came… pre-lit. We finally found one for a great price, without lights. Yet, it didn’t seem to make sense to buy such a similar tree, when the money could be used to buy one for somebody else.

We went back home without a tree. My husband now had a migraine. This meant my teen boys and I needed to figure out what to do. Otherwise, December would be gone. One of them suggested we just cut the lights off of the tree, and put up new ones. I resisted. Couldn’t we just replace individual strings? No. It wasn’t possible. The strings were tangled, and lights were everywhere. After we unplugged the lights from the outlet, my son began cutting the crazy maze. I was wound as tightly as the light strings. We hadn’t we started this a week ago?


Twin teenagers were doubly helpful. It took two days to remove all the light strings! Finally, we were ready to add new lights. As I began to string the bottom of the tree, I realized we didn’t have enough lights to finish! The next day, my husband was still recovering from his migraine. Yet, he headed to the store with one of the boys to get more lights, and do some important errands. During this time, I had developed severe bronchitis, and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. This was truly a holiday headache!

Discouragement breathed heavy lies into my ear. New boxes were brought home. “Surprise!” The lights inside were twinkling lights. The boxes had looked similar. How could I judge my husband, when I’d purchased garland lights only a few days prior, which didn’t match either! Ornaments were strewn everywhere. They were also disappearing… because ornaments and toys look the same to a six-year old.


Every year, I expect the rush, and try to plan early. Each year, I fail. But new trials had been difficult, and God doesn’t see me as a failure! I began to look at the big picture. In spite of holiday stress and annoyances, my family was together. We irritated each other and argued, but we were together. My family pitched in on that last night, and decorated the tree… together. Tree decorating isn’t my family’s favorite tradition, because it’s a lot of work. But we do love the beauty, memories, and excitement of Christmas. It wasn’t about the tree. My family had cooperated, and brought me happiness, simply because of their love for me.

Our family knows to pull together, even in the small things, because God has pulled us through the bigger trials. He answers our prayers, providing us with everything we need. He draws us closer to Him, sharing wisdom about the world around us. It’s comforting to know God can make good out of everything, bringing healing and bringing us freedom in the process. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).


Old lights, which have burned out, are useless for brightening a room. To be able to see clearly, we need new lights. When we leave our old selves behind, we become born again, brand new in Jesus. We can choose to take a step of faith, believing Jesus was born to die for our sins, and that God miraculously resurrected his body from the dead. Pray to God, and ask Jesus to come into your heart. Admit you are a sinner, and ask God to forgive your sins in the name of Jesus. Go in peace, knowing you will spend eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The light of Jesus shines through those of us who belong to him. When we let our lights shine, we become hope for those living in darkness. We all have light to offer, if Jesus lives within us. We can encourage others to shine, by seeking God, and sharing what Jesus has done for us in our own lives. As brothers and sisters in Christ, our lights will shine even brighter as we come together. Others will be drawn to the light, because God is light.


A string of lights, with a burned out bulb, needs a replacement. A lost person, living in darkness, needs brand new life, and light, in Jesus. If a light has grown dim, we need to minister to that brother or sister in Christ. We must endeavor to encourage the brokenhearted and hurting, and help those who have lost their way because of pain.  An uncooperative light string needs tending. So do stubborn people. They need love, wise counsel, and healing in Christ. Those who receive salvation will always remain plugged in to Jesus, our eternal light source.

God is an everlasting light. His light never goes out, because He is light! “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ” (1 Jn. 1:5-10).


“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12).