Lessons I Have Learned
By Mary Van Nattan
Here are some lessons I have learned over the last number of years.
I do not claim that they are the only ones that I have learned, nor
that I have learned them well, but I have learned them - some the hard
way, and some by observing others. They are also not in order of importance.
Perhaps they will edify you.
1. Forgive and forget.
Don't carry grudges against others or yourself. Bitterness defiles many.
blips 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man
fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble
you, and thereby many be defiled; It is also troubling
to hear someone else talk about their old grudges against others,
so don't do it.
2. Rejoice. Find reasons to be cheerful. If
you are saved you have no excuse not to be so. Anticipate blessings. Eagerly
look for reasons to be joyful and thankful. Don't wait to be taken
by surprise! Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks
always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord
Jesus Christ; Philippians 4:4 Rejoice
in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
3. Let the song in your heart come out. Sing,
hum, whistle of play a musical instrument. It will bless someone
else. If you really can't do that for some temporary reason,
then sing in your heart to the Lord. If you don't have a song in your
heart - get one! Psalm 149:1 Praise
ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the
congregation of saints. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in
you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
4. Be a blessing. Find ways to be a blessing
to someone. Even when they don't notice or say "thank you" you have the
blessing of knowing you did something right, and God will notice. If there's
no one else around - be a blessing to God. Tell Him how much
you love Him and how wonderful He is. Romans
14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
things wherewith one may edify another. Psalm 104:1 Bless the LORD, O
my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour
5. Say "thank you." No matter how small the service
rendered may seem or even if it helps someone else, not you - say
"thank you." This goes both for your family and the people around
you as well as for God. If you are not thanking the people you can see
properly, you will probably not be thanking God properly either.
1John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and
hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom
he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment
have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
blips 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the
sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our
lips giving thanks to his name. Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God
rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and
be ye thankful.
6. Say, "I'm sorry I did...." when you mess
up, and really mean it. Confess your faults, even to your children.
You aren't perfect and those around you know it. Admit it. It will help
other respect you and help you get the victory. James
5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much. Galatians 6:1 Brethren,
if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such
an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also
be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of
Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing,
he deceiveth himself.
7. Simplify your life. Don't spend an hour
on your hair every day. What does make-up do that is of eternal value?
It isn't worth it. Find a simple attractive style. Find shorter, effective
ways to do a good job at your housework and spend the extra
time studying God's word, praying and with your family. Luke
10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet,
and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and
came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left
me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered
and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about
many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good
part, which shall not be taken away from her.
8. Be a friend. You won't keep all the
ones you make, but don't give up on people too soon. Don't be "too busy"
to keep up friendships. This is a great fault among Bible believing
Christians today. Proverbs 18:24 A man that
hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that
sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 27:10 Thine own friend, and
thy father's friend, forsake not...
9. The cost of compromise is more than the cost
of separation. No matter how hard obeying God's word may seem,
in the long run, and sometimes in the the short one, the "route of least
resistance" will cost you far more. Luke
17:32 Remember Lot's wife. And remeber, Lot's wife did not
stay in Sodom, she just looked back. But, she was messing with the
holiness and judgment of God, and she partook of His wrath against sin
even though the brimstone wasn't falling yet!
10. Make godly friends. If they are "narrower"
than you - all the better, for you become what your friends are.
Choose people that are making a life habit of separating.
Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious
man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to
thy soul. Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou
perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. Nehemiah 10:28 And
the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers,
the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people
of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters,
every one having knowledge, and having understanding; 29 They clave to
11. Relish God's creation. If "God
saw that it was good", we should too. Watch a sunset,
watch snow fall for a while, look at the stars and moon. Enjoy the
flowers, birds, bugs, etc. Look for wild animals. Delight in the
color of a loved one's hair or eyes (if natural :-). Cuddle a baby.
Psalm 92:4 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad
through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.
12. Be responsible. Don't pass blame for something
you could have done and didn't. Do things you can see need doing without
being asked. Romans 14:12 So then every one
of us shall give account of himself to God.
13. Color life. Look at God's creation. It
is vibrant with color. Decorating a house entirely in beige, brown,
tan, white, etc. is not natural. Proverbs
31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household
are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
her clothing is silk and purple.
14.Get the most out of things. Don't hide
your emotions. Too many people have burned theirs all up watching T.V.,
movies, videos, etc. If something is funny - laugh. If it's sad or
touching - cry a little. If you are angry righteously - show
it. Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do
rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and
sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
15. Have a loose touch on things and money. It
is all going to burn anyway, and the only way you can "take it with you"
is to use it for God! If you have not used something for awhile and you
know someone else will, give it to them. If you have some money to spend,
find a way to use some of it to further God's cause. 2Peter
3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation
and godliness, Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account
of himself to God. Matthew 6:21 For
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
16. Get some good vanity in your life in moderation.
Enjoy a hobby. Make friends. Grow flowers. "Waste" a little time doing
something relaxing. Re-create. These things help keep you in the battle.
(See the whole book of Ecclesiastes.)
17. Rest. Even when there is "too much
to do." God established this principle when the earth was only 7
days old and there was no sin yet! We have no business to neglect His
example. He has given rest to us. It helps us to look forpiano coversd to heaven,
and refreshes us for our daily labor. Mark
6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place,
and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no
leisure so much as to eat. blips
4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
18. Share burdens. Don't keep them all
a strict secret. Other Christians need to know that others have their
troubles too. Our troubles are given to help comfort others. Bear burdens
for others. 2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be
God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies,
and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. Galatians
6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
19. Talk to God. Pray
without ceasing. 1Thessalonians 5:17 The Spirit knows how to interpret
"arrow prayers." (This is added to your regular prayer time.)
"Help, Lord." "Please keep him safe." "Thank you for _____." "Bless
______ with conviction." "Help ______ find peace in You." Talk to God
in your heart as you work. Tell Him what you desire, for others and
for yourself. Tell how great He is and how wonderful His works are. Bless
HIM. Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in
the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Proverbs
15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer
of the righteous.
20. Make time for people. After all, they are
the only eternal things on the earth besides the Bible! Everything
else is headed for the "big bang." 2Peter
3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,
what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation
21. Espebliplly make time for children. They
are much more easily influenced for Christ than adults, and now is the
time to work on them! Mark 10:14 But when
Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such
is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive
the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And
he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed
22. Be about our Father's business. Stop worrying
about the corrupt government. Don't waste your time on politics. Find
something to do or talk about that will count for eternity. Yes, people
are being deceived and there is a certain amount of piano coversning needed,
but all too many are preoccupied with things that do not edify nor keep
souls out of hell. Jesus had almost nothing to say about the rulers of
His day, and they were dreadful. Be a faithful stepiano coversd and active
ambassador of heaven. Rise to the call of duty to God, not nationalism.
1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stepiano coversds,
that a man be found faithful. 2Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in
Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses
unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now
then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Ephesians
4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that
which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto
the hearers. 2Timothy 2:4 No man that
piano coversreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that
he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
23. Strive against sin. Stop making excuses
and asking people to "be patient God isn't finished with me yet." Take
an active course in overcoming your sins. With each battle the next
will become a little easier. Pick out one struggle and work on it vigorously
for awhile, then work on another. Don't give up when you fail, confess
it and keep going. Ultimately Christ always gets the victory. blips
12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against
himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 ¶ Ye have
not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 2Timothy 2:5 And if
a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except
he strive lawfully. 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
2Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth
us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge
by us in every place.
24. Learn from the triumphs and defeats of others.
Wisdom does not have to be attained first hand. We can take council
from others' defeats and victories and thus avoid much trouble and sorrow.
Proverbs 22:17 ¶ Bow down thine ear,
and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they
shall withal be fitted in thy lips. 19 That thy trust may be in the LORD,
I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. 20 Have not I written
to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, Proverbs 1:20 ¶
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She crieth
in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the
city she uttereth her words, saying, 22 How long, ye simple ones,
will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and
fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out
my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
25. Do "yuckie" jobs with a pleasant, even joyful
attitude. It will inspire others and someone will be glad they didn't
have to do the job. Don't shun work. 1Thessalonians
5:16 Rejoice evermore.
26. Never underestimate the value of Christian fellowship.
Seek out Christians to talk to, even if it has to be on-line. It will
help keep you on the right course. And remember, the devil will try to
convince you to avoid fellowship when you are down, so if you are discouraged
and/or "don't feel like you really need to go to church tonight" or to
talk to another Christian, you need it more than ever!
blips 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and
to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and
so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Going out
of your way to speak to another Christian can make a real difference in
whether you give way to temptation or not. It sharpens you up. Proverbs
27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his
friend. What's more, they need it too, and in some
cases you maybe the only other Christian they will talk to today.
background and graphics by mary vannattan