The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why do people quarrel?

JAMES 4:1-3
     "What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don't get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

      Have you ever just stopped to ponder why do people fight and quarrel?  Why do children fight over toys or who is going to be the leader?  Why do adults fight and quarrel over opinions, boundary lines, or sale items at the mall? Is it because one is right and the other is wrong?  Is it because there will never be another red sweater for the low price of $10.00?  Why do people become jealous of someone or their possessions?
     The answer is indicated in this passage of scripture from James 4:1-3.  "...fights and quarrels come from the desires that battle within us."  Desires that reflect intentions of self fulfillment, pride; desires for attention, importance and recognition.  These ungodly desires lead to covetousness, hatred, torment and sometimes violence.  These types of  desires also indicate an absence in a person's heart--the absence of a deep relationship with God.
     When my children have fought over trivial things such as the last candy bar, a toy that has been in the closet for months or who gets to sit in a certain spot when riding, I stop them and ask them to examine the situation and their intentions.  Are you fighting because you think that there will never be another Reeces' Cup made?  Or because you think that the other person will break a toy and there is no replacement?  Does sitting in the front seat of the car equal a ranking among passengers?
      Whatever the quarrel or fight, if it rises above how you feel about someone or causes you to mistreat another person, one's motives should be examined.  What are the inner desires?  Do they line up with God's commands, especially regarding how we treat others? 
       Covetousness, quarreling, hatred and violence do not fulfill the desires that rage to have something that another person has, nor do they make the importance of a person increase.  When contemptuous feelings live within a heart along with motives to torment or harm another, love is not at the base.  Unbridled, negative passions in the heart will ruin relationships. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HAND IN HAND

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God"    

On a vacation a couple of years ago, one of the excursions that we enjoyed was snorkeling in the beautiful reefs of the Caribbean.  In order to reach our destination, we traveled by small boat with four other people off the shore, donned our snorkel equipment and were required to jump into the water from the side of the boat and then swim to the site for snorkeling.  I knew that this would produce some anxiety for our then nine year old daughter, who can swim, but is not an expert. 

I knew that her anxiety would come from the "unknown" element of the water and adventure as her personality is one that commands to be "in the know" so to speak. I jumped into the water first and we coached her to jump in and I could see some fear in her eyes.  As I turned to swim near to her, I felt her small hand in mine.  She had found me for comfort before I could get to her.  She knew that she could seek comfort from me. 
    
We immensely enjoyed our "hand-in-hand" snorkeling adventure as we admired many of God's creations while looking through the crystal clear water.  We saw several species of fishes, starfish, lobster, a sea turtle, barracuda, Medusa, conch shells, reef with caverns and more.  

I revisit this adventure often in my mind. While enjoying the memories one day, God spoke to me about the "hand-in-hand" element of it.  This is how He wants us to approach Him everyday during the scary and unknown parts of our existence in this world.  When we are afraid to swim in the day-to-day waters, we should reach for his hand for the comfort and security that will allow us to enjoy his creations and The Sweet Stuff while we are here on earth.                                                  #TSS
   

Friday, March 11, 2011

Magnitude and Magnificence

     Magnitude and magnificence are words that mean "greatness" and "awesome".  They are not new words but each day I try to recognize a fact of God's magnificence or magnitude.   I love science and each time that I look at anything in nature or that is scientific, I am reminded of God's magnificence.  The brilliance of God's creativity and his intelligence is enough to humble the greatest of human minds. 

     Matthew 10:30  "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered".  Think of all the people in the world, the many hairs on (most) people's heads, the growth of new hair and the loss of old.    That is a lot of math to keep up with constantly!!

    MAGNITUDE AND MAGNIFICENCE

Friday, February 25, 2011

Contentment

     Philippians 4:11-13    "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."

     As I hear folks talking of the state of our economy and some of the uncertainties of what is yet to come with economic situations, this scripture keeps coming to mind.  The sooner that we can learn contentment, the sooner we can have peace and let go of fear in uncertain times.  God is in charge and we must find contentment in each day and each situation and know that he can handle it. 
     I wonder if what people really mean is that they fear that they may have to make adjustments to their lifestyles?  Maybe eat at home more, find a vehicle that has more reasonable payments, cut back on some entertainment activities.  After all, our ancestors ate at home pretty much all the time and at that they ate what was on hand and learned to be content.  Their entertainment consisted of church socials or family gatherings and the home was a place where they spent a great deal of time together.  A vehicle was something to get you where you were going and back home again, not a status symbol or something that cost more than most people's homes.  I believe that people were more content 75-100 years ago when society did not put so much peer pressure on everyone.
   

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birds

   Genesis 1:20-21   "And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems,  according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God  saw that it was good."

     Our Biology lessons this week focused on birds, their skeletal structure, feather composition and their ability to fly.  God made the birds and gave them the ability to fly in an instant.  Man tried for many, many years to figure out how to construct an airplane that would fly.  Even though the airplane would fly like a bird, for a long period of time, there was an issue with turbulence.  Scientists revisited the bird in order to figure out how to deal with turbulence.  Birds have a single feather that lifts up on takeoff and landing that eliminates turbulence.  One small solitary feather!!!!!   While airplane engineers knew that this technique worked on planes, the reason why it worked was not discovered until 1989.  Planes had been flying for over 75 years without really knowing how they were doing it. 

     This is a wonderful illustration to God's magnificence and intelligence!!!!  He made the birds with the ability to fly perfectly in an instant.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are you a Christian chameleon?

Psalms 27:1-4  The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?  When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.

Chameleons are interesting creatures.  They are a class of lizards that are able to change the color of their skin in order to blend in with the environment around them.  Chameleons are able to vary their skin color in 11 different hues and some can even alter the pattern of their skin to include spots and stripes.  The variance in skin colors is dependent upon the chameleons state of relaxation or excitement, affected by sensations of safety or danger.  The chameleon determines the need for changing colors by a situation called social signaling.  In other words, a chameleon may change colors depending upon the perceived intentions of other chameleons.  What they think their peers are planning to do to them, can change their skin color and its patterns.

How many times are Christians much like chameleons?  How often have we seen Christians in our environment, or as leaders in our communities and country, change their colors and/or add spots in order to blend in with the environment around them?  Can you think of a time when a Christian allowed fear of peers or colleagues to prevent standing for God's word?  Has there been a time when you witnessed a Christian being a different person according to the crowd in which he/she is around?  Do Christians hold onto God's promises for protection of their businesses and families or are they afraid when the enemy lashes out and threatens to destroy?


Self-preservation is a dangerous mind set.  The Lord promises through salvation that we need not fear the attacks of the enemy.  He expects integrity.  He wants us to be in the same skin no matter where we are or who we are with.  He does not want us to camouflage our Christianity. 

There may be times when you feel inhibited to display your Christianity.  There may be times when the world expects you to be divided in your actions and behaviors.  Stand strong with integrity.  Be the same in every environment, even when the enemy is up close and in your face.  God will protect you and bless you for your integrity.

Standing up for God's word is not always easy.  But, it IS always worth it!



Friday, January 21, 2011

Gain

     What are our goals in this life?  Are they to gain wealth, fame, job status?  Do we desire to have the things we want at all costs-even if it means doing wrong and sinning against God?  Matthew 6:19-20
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.   But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." 
     I have come to realize that life here on earth is not about personal gain even though our flesh desires this type of gain.  The world makes us feel that our value and sense of worth is connected to our assets and accomplishments.  As a matter of fact, this life on earth is not about us at all--it is about Jesus Christ.  It is about telling and showing people about Christ, his love for us and his plan of salvation.  No amount of money or possessions will ever substitute for his love.  Our goals should be set on making Jesus first and foremost and to live for him each day.  These are our treasures in Heaven.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Worry

Matthew 6:25-27   "That is why I tell you not to worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"   

What causes us worry?  We commonly worry whether or not we will be able to buy groceries, clothing and pay the bills.  Why do we spend so much time worrying about these particular topics?   In Matthew 6:25-7:12 we are reminded that our basic needs will be met.  With that promise, why do we continue to worry?  Do we not believe God's promise?  Or is it really that we fear that we may have to come out of our comfort zone and make sacrifices?  Will we have to learn to do more with less or change the things that we are used to doing in life in order to buy the things we need.  Are we afraid that our standard of living may change or that we will need to rearrange some material things in our lives. 

Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you."  God will provide the things we need when we seek his kingdom.  No amount of worrying is ever productive.  As a matter of fact, worrying is a distraction from productivity in working for God.  Worry is a time-waster and stressor.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peace

     To have peace within us means that we are able to suffer things that we experience in life while maintaining happiness, faith and hope.  Peace is a state of calmness and security.  Peace does not involve confusion, turmoil or negative emotions.  1 Cor. 14:33 "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people".
     As Christians, we must be able to have peace as well as promote peace.  We must have peace in order to promote peace.  We cannot be peace makers without peace within us.  Matthew 5:9  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. "
     Where do we find peace?  From a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He offers us the peace that passes all understanding Philippians 4:7  "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ANGER

     Have you ever thought about why we become angry?  Not so much what makes us angry, but why it makes angry?   Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure or dissatisfaction.  Anger is usually brought about by a "wrong" or something that we perceive as in injustice.  Basically we become angry when things do not go our way.  James 4:1-2 (NIV) "What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don't get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want."  Therefore, what anger boils down to is a "hissy fit" as the old Southern saying goes.  We have a fit within us because we did not get what we want. 
      Are we angry with other people or God when this happens?  If we are believers of the Bible, then we should believe that God is in control of everything that happens to us, therefore, when things do not go as we would like for them to go, it appears that we are angry with God.  James 1:19-20 "My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone would be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
    I challenge you the next time you feel anger to ask yourself if you are mad at something you have control over or do you need to submit to God's will.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fortify yourself

2 Corinthians 5:1  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.    

This verse refers to the building of our relationship with God.  While we would not want to live in a tent for many reasons, the referral to a tent in this verse is really about our inner self.  Paul, the author of this passage, was a tent maker by trade.  He built tents for people to stay in as they traveled about.  He understood the temporary nature of a tent.  Perhaps in his mind, the occupation of tent making was somewhat of a parable to the building of God's kingdom.  The tents represented the perishable, brief time of life on earth.  Paul encouraged the people to fortify themselves for the eternal life that God promises in heaven. 

The word fortify reminds us of a fort.  A fort is a building that is made to protect.  We think of  forts as existing in the days of early settlers when they feared attacks from the Indians.  The structures were built with strength and covered all angles of the settlers living areas.  In addition to protection from the fort, men were placed at various points to watch for potential attackers.  Forts were also used throughout the 19th century as a means for the military to guard key locations around our country.  I have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of these forts.  These forts are magnificent in their design and composition.  They were built of strong materials, usually brick or concrete.  Rooms and angles of the structure are strategically designed and placed to reduce any chances of the enemy getting in.

Do we fortify our minds with the same meditations and planning of which the forts throughout our history were built?  Do we desire to possess fortitude against the wiles of life and our adversary?  Do we completely understand the temporary nature of life on this earth?  I encourage you to read God's word, pray, spend time with Him and develop an intimate relationship with Him.  If you do not know God, then I encourage you to accept Him into your heart and start your relationship today.  This is the means by which we are able to fortify ourselves.

Supporting Scriptures:
Psalm 73:26
Isaiah 25:4
2 Samuel 22:33
John 3:16  *always a supporting scripture