About Me

Florida, United States
I'm a mother of two children, an inspirational and motivational Author and Minister. My greatest joy is to see people gain new insight and understanding about the amazing possibilities that life holds when we put put our faith to action. 'Shoes For The Spirit, is a book filled with real-life stories of people who have walked through great difficulty and have found the right pair of shoes for their personal journey. Whether or not you are a person of faith, there is something uplifting, guiding and compelling in this little book, for everyone. The accompanying CD, 'Songs For the Soul,' is a compliation of original orchestrated tunes, with voice-over verse layered on top of the music. This CD has great encouragement for all who take the time to listen. I hope all of you bloggers will read the new sequel to 'Shoes For The Spirit,' listed in the blog posts below, and if you're so inclined, will purchase my book and CD. You won't be sorry! Be blessed. Love, Tamra

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Truthful Temptation

Even some of you will distort the truth in order to draw a following. Acts 20:30

It’s very tempting to tell a partial truth, omit parts of the truth, or to exaggerate the truth from time to time in order to make ourselves appear more appealing to those around us. We’ve all done it, and we’ve certainly known people who have, as well.
My husband had a competitor in his business who loved to brag to everyone who’d listen about his numerous exploits and gargantuan business dealings. But, in truth, everyone knew of his compulsion to strike a grandiose pose and to posture like a peacock at every opportunity. He took great pleasure in calculating the departure of all his business partners so that only his name remained on the billboards for everyone to see.
My husband came through the door laughing on more than one occasion, holding in his hand yet another business magazine with Ralph’s face plastered in living color on the cover; a legend in his own mind. Ralph paid for this honor, of course, out of the funds from his own company.
We had some social gatherings with Ralph and his wife on a few occasions and found it difficult to get a word in edgewise, as he spent most of the evening bragging about his numerous deals and chattering endlessly about his deeds. Jim had actually been involved with Ralph on a couple of the deals he discussed and had intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the cost, financing and sale price. Ralph apparently forgot of Jim’s first-hand knowledge and exaggerated the details to enormous proportions. Jim kept glancing over at me with a knowing wink as Ralph rambled on.
There’s not an individual reading this who at one time or another hasn’t exaggerated the truth to gain admiration from others. We’re all guilty. It’s enormously tempting to exalt ourselves to a position of high regard in front of our peers and associates.
However, I doubt Jesus ever fell victim to His own press, or used His position as an excuse to alter the truth. Never has another man in history accomplished the level of greatness achieved by this humble carpenter. Healing the sick and raising the dead were daily acts of kindness. Turning the water into wine was an endowment of His fun-loving benevolence, laying His sinless life on the line for you and me-- a complete and utter sacrifice of self. Even the slightest omission might have saved Him from a brutal death.
Which of us would discard human pride to take on the dark and dishonorable transgressions of the world? Which of us would freely give our bodies over to be tormented and crucified? I dare say no one. If salvation had been left to you or me, the world would be lost.
The most valuable thing we have to offer anyone is truth, honesty and our genuine love. All else is of no eternal worth. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:19, Truth stands the test of time, lies are soon exposed. And Psalms 24:3-5 says this; Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.
I think we choose to place blatant liars in a category all their own, and feel the above verses don’t really apply to those of us who live a moral and upright life. However, we need to ask ourselves some important questions. Do we ever omit facts in order to achieve a goal, or gain recognition in our work? Do we tell partial truths to protect ourselves from having to take responsibility in certain situations? Do we exaggerate the truth in order to gain sympathy or admiration? I know I have.
I’ve seen ministers lie to their congregations from the podium, and political leaders share only half truths with citizens under their leadership. This has been going on since Eve first took a bite of the apple and shared it with Adam. It is within the human nature to protect itself and to exalt itself by whatever means possible
God didn’t categorize untruth into acceptable and unacceptable columns. He simply stated in Proverbs 6:17 that He hates a lying tongue. I believe that is an all-inclusive statement. There are no degrees of lying. Only truth, or falsehood.
Is this to say that we always need to tell everything we know? Ecclesiastes 3:7 states that There is a time to be quiet and a time to speak up. There will be situations where we need to prayerfully choose when to speak about what we know in truth, or to lay it at the foot of the cross, and allow God to show us when to bring our information to the forefront. Sometimes we simply have to leave what we know at the cross and never speak of it.
If we are in an intimate relationship with our God, we are all the more responsible to speak factual words. We are fully aware of those times when we are not being truthful, to whatever degree. The Holy Spirit gives a quick prompting, a tap on our shoulder which we can either disregard with a lame excuse, or we can make right. God requires integrity in our relationship with Him and with others. It’s often painful and many times it’s costly, but God requires it. He knows that dishonesty breeds more deception and takes our souls captive, where truth sets us completely free.
All we have of value in this life is our character and integrity. Proverbs 22:1 says A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Temptations trials

The temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptations from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. He will show you a way out so that you will not give into it. First Corinthians 10:13 NLT

I’ve only met a few women in my life who don’t like to shop: a true anomaly. It’s difficult to imagine a female without the compelling urge to step into a beautiful, richly decorated boutique. I can hardly stand to pass by the mall without going in to take a peak at the newest seasonal accessories, shoes, purses and clothing. I wake in the middle of the night dreaming about the latest designer bag and trying to figure out ways to purchase it, without my husband finding out about my trespasses.
In truth, shopping is my addiction. It’s my way to relax and unwind, at the same time to get an adrenaline rush from the latest great sale or outrageous discount. Shopping is a form of recreational competition, as women love to share about their deals. It’s a luncheon club of clandestine members who elect their president of the moment based on the amount of money she saved on her most recent and fashionable purchase.
Therein lies the oxymoron. To spend is certainly not to save, is it? And yet, the irrefutable logic of women has always been the opposite.
“But Honey, I bought this bag for only (a very important word to use) twenty five dollars on sale. The original price was one hundred and twenty five!” The smaller the purchase number in comparison to the much larger original price is a very important selling point when presenting the shopping extravaganza to the husband. That is, if you feel you must disclose.
Another essential and key word every professional shopper knows to use is: need.
That word worked incredibly with my father. As a sophisticated five year old consumer, I came to appreciate his quick and timely response to it. It has continued to have optimum impact on the noteworthy men in my life.
“But, Honey, I really need a new brown bag to complete my fall wardrobe.” Of course, the husband doesn’t know and doesn’t need to know that I already have three other perfectly suitable brown purses already tucked away on the shelf in my overly crowded closet.
Retail Therapy. I’ll just bet RT has its own chapter in the Psychology books, written with calculating accuracy by a woman who knows exactly what she’s talking about from first hand experience. I could be the author.
I’ve come to this very uncomfortable place in my life where I’m quite certain the Holy Spirit is attempting to get my attention about my spending habits. I know this, because of the niggling deep in my soul each and every time I hit the stores. A still, small voice whispers to my uneasy heart...what is it you’re really searching for?
I know it’s not another purse, or pair of shoes. I know it’s not another blouse, or frilly dress. And don’t misunderstand me. I love all those things, I really do. I like to dress beautifully and wear the most up to date fashions. But I also have learned that those things, those possessions, fill me with joy only for the moment. Then the moment is gone, and I’m left with the same emptiness that I went into the store with in the first place.
Last year I felt God speaking to my heart to refrain from purchasing anything I didn’t truly need for one year. He impressed that on my spirit in April, shortly after the death of my father. I inherited a small amount of money from Dad’s estate that I used to pay off all my charge cards and was virtually, and for the first time in many years, debt free. It was a phenomenally liberating feeling.
But, by the first of March I was back to my old habits- spending the money I had, and using credit cards to purchase what I lacked in cash. A year later, rather than being free of unnecessary debt and reaping the rewards of obedience to the request of the Lord, I was right back where I started…my credit cards to their limits once again, and a closet overflowing with items I neither needed nor wanted.
Why did the Lord ask me to refrain for a specific period of time, from making unnecessary purchases? Now that I’ve blown it, I’m beginning to understand his divine form of logic. Had I been obedient, I would know the freedom of owing money to no one. I would not be in captivity to interest rates and monthly payments. Those twelve months of steering clear of the stores would have allowed me valuable time to spend in other more worthy causes. I would have set an important precedent for my daughter and shown my husband that he could trust me to be a woman with self control, not given over to detrimental temptations. I would have learned to overcome a strong persuasion in my life, and I would have gained a spiritual maturity that only comes from obedience to the promptings of God.

But I am comforted by this verse in Corinthians. The temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. (I’m not the only woman with this addiction.) And God is faithful. (He still loves me, even though I’ve failed Him.) He will keep the temptations from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. ( He knows my weaknesses, and if I seek His face in that moment of temptation, He will do a work in my heart.) He will show you a way out so that you will not give into it. (If I request His help, God will enable me in that crucial instant, to select a better path for my feet.)
Realizing you have a problem is the first step toward resolve. So, today, I give the Lord my heart, my desires, my supposed needs and yearnings and I trust Him to direct my steps and order my ways according to His good plan and purpose for my life.
All the credit cards are tucked neatly away in the drawer, and as I slowly pay them off yet again, I do so with newfound maturity knowing that Paul’s words found in Philippians are as true today as they were thousands of years ago. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:8