The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hebrews 12:15  "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

No matter the mechanism of injury, when our hearts have been hurt or broken, we all host the same opportunities for bitterness to take root.  When disappointments turn into resentments, when grudges grow into hatred and hurts are never healed, bitter roots take hold in the soils of our hearts. Bitterness affords opportunity for jealousy, vengeance and division within our relationships.   Our deepest relationships are overshadowed and sometimes severed as a result.  Our most important relationship, the one with God, is strained when bitterness exists. 

It is time to weed the bitterness from your garden!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"No one else can make you feel anything"

"No one else can make you feel anything".  A great quote from a wise man that happens to be my husband.  :)  I remember him saying this to me many times over the years, however, it has only been within the past few years that I have come to a good understanding of what it means. 
We have complete control over how we feel about everything in life. 

Love, hate, happiness, misery, etc. are emotions that we DECIDE to allow ourselves to feel.  Others may do things to us that are wrong or hurtful, but how we process the feelings are completely up to each of us individually.  We decide what people we will love and value.  We may not consciously decide everyday to love someone, but somewhere along the way we made up our minds that we would love him/her.   

I urge you to "decide" to embrace peace, joy and love.  "Decide" to get rid of negative emotions or any misery in your life.  "Decide" to taste more of The Sweet Stuff in life!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Matthew 10:30   "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

 God knows how many hairs are on your head as well as the head of every other person in the whole wide world. 

Allow that to soak in for a moment. 

God also knows every detail about you and your life.  Every one.  Good, bad, ugly or sad.  He knows every period, comma and question mark.    Allow God to turn all the question marks into exclamation points. 

If you are struggling with letting go of negative feelings, disappointments, self doubt, bitterness or any other feeling that hinders the exclamation points in your life, it is time to LET GO.  Give it all to God!  As the popular song goes, allow the hurt and the healer to collide!!    #TSS

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Colossians 3:12    "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

I will wrap up the series of posts on friendships with the following story: 

     A mother sent her young daughter to the store down the street, a trip that should have only taken a few minutes.  After quite some time the daughter had not returned and the mother began to frantically worry.  When the daughter finally arrived at home, the mother demanded to know where she had been and what had taken so long.  The little girl told her that while she was gone, she had found her friend crying because her doll was broken and that she had been with her.  The mother asked, "Did you fix her doll?"  The girl replied, "No, I helped her cry."

     Such a sweet and pure story of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  So many times as friends, we cannot fix the broken parts of another person's life.  We cannot mend the broken hearts, shattered dreams, disappointments and failures.  However, we CAN help friends cry.    Enough said.  #TSS

Monday, June 24, 2013

At my great aunt's funeral several years ago, one of my cousins spoke and said these words about her that I ponder often.  She said, "Aunt Audrey tended to her friendships".  I knew that to be true but what does that really mean?     It meant that she loved her friends and she was committed to caring about them and having a relationship with them.  Such a wonderful way to be eulogized! 

The book of 1 Samuel, chapters 18-20 offer us a picture of what true friendship looks and acts like.  I encourage you to read these chapters in their entirety.  Here we find the story of Jonathon and David-friends in the purest sense of the word.    Their friendship is so pure that I have used it as a basis for a checklist for what should contain in order to thrive.

Checklist for friendship:    
             -friends should share the same spirit  (understand God)1 Samuel 18:1
             -friends should offer true/pure love   (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
             -friends should offer loyalty, honor and trust  (1Samuel 18-20)
             -a covenant partner (friend or spouse), surrenders all selfish motives  and walks in the daily
              decision to keep that covenant
            

 The deep bonds of friendship must be established by God's principles.   True friendship is a commitment (covenant) that should not be taken lightly.  Friends are a gift from God-his creations for us to enjoy.  



Friday, June 21, 2013

As women, the greatest strengths that we offer a friendship or any other relationship are deep emotional bonds and attention to detail with the small and great things in life.  The greatest strengths that we are capable of offering, also have the potential of being the weakest links in relationships.  When those strengths are offered to a relationship, love, honor and trust and commitment are established.  Attention to details such as remembering birthdays and special events, becoming connected through conversations and showing up in the lives of our friends, create deep emotional bonds.  

On the other hand, a failure to meet these expectations, as our friends perceive, can be the weakest link in a relationship.  Women expect a great deal from one another.  We pay great attention to the details that others fall short of providing.  We remember, repeat and hold on to what others "have not" done instead of all that they have done or all the things that they feel. 

Relationships are a vital part of our existence.  God ordained relationships in the Garden of Eden.  Anything that God ordains, the adversary intends to destroy.  Satan likes to get in the middle of our relationships/friendships and wreak havoc. 

I urge you to foster your friendships.  Tend to the details.

Monday, a checklist for being a good friend and enjoying The Sweet Stuff.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The greatest strengths within a relationship have the potential of also becoming the weakest links.  ~Michelle~

Ponder this-more tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Matthew 6:15  "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Forgiveness is a decision. 

A decision to let go of anger, bitterness and resentment.

A decision to let go of one's pride.

It is a decision to live with inner peace no matter the turmoil around you.

To totally forgive means to understand God and his sovereignty.

If you harbor unforgiveness, it is because you have not decided to let go. 

Forgivness does not take away what was done but it does take away the desire for us to do something in return.

Make that decision, let it all go.   Lay down the pride, anger and bitterness.   It is worth the peace!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Psalm 139:14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

This verse is full of words that should boost our self esteem and self worth.  We are wonderfully created. 

God does not make junk.

God thought about and covered all details when he made us.  Our body systems function together to sustain life.  Our minds and bodies are capable of great works for His glory.  As females, we can carry and deliver new life!  What a beautiful quality to be blessed with.

Then why do so many females have such negative self images.    Because we look to the world to define beauty and appeal.   Television, magazines, clothing stores and peers describe the "perfect" bodies.   Every form of media shows us bodies that are toned, groomed and exploited.   Medical procedures offer opportunities for removal or alteration of body parts that do not meet our standards of perfection and acceptance.   Our bodies are somewhat of an obsession.

Some ladies never reach their goal of perfection.  Some are so focused on their bodies that extreme measures are taken to produce a picture perfect body.    They never feel validated, accepted or loved.  The words in Psalm 139: 14 are enough because God's word is the truth!

If you are battling with a negative self image or lack of self worth, I encourage you to hold on to these words.  You will not see them on the cover of a magazine, nor in a television commercial with a super model, nor on the tag of a piece of clothing.  Look to yourself as a whole body, not just a stomach with a few extra pounds or eyes with a few wrinkles or a head with thinning hair.    Focus on your self by exploring the potential that the parts of your body have in regards to serving God.  Our hands can serve and care for others, our minds can pray and encourage others, our legs can form laps for holding children, our ears can listen when others are hurting. 

You are beautiful and valuable just the way you are. God designed you and He does not make junk! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Haggai  1:9    "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little.  What you brought home, I  blew away.  "Why?"  declares the Lord Almighty.  "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house".

JUST TOO BUSY BEING FABULOUS...........

The Eagles (one of my favs!!!) sing a song that contains the line "you were just too busy being fabulous.  Too busy to think about us......"  The song is about a wife that no longer makes time with for her relationship with her husband.  However, as I listened to the chorus, I was inspired by the words and how they apply to us each day toward God.  We can be so wrapped up in the busyness of the day that we do not make time to be about God's BUSINESS.  We often fail to make time for our relationship with God.

We are just too busy being fabulous. 

That fabulous employee, super mom, PTA member, committee officer, little league coach, social butterfly and so on.

Each day we should take time out of our "fabulous" adventures and seek what God wants us to be.

What does He want us to do?

Where does He want us to be?

Who does he want us to help?

It is ok to be "fabulous" as long as it is according to God's will and not according to the world!  The world will declare you FABULOUS according to how much you participate in worldly events. The world counts the number of contributions to your community, or the amount of committees on which you serve. 

God will declare you FABULOUS according to your work for his kingdom.  God counts the number of times you have loved his creations. He notices how many people you have helped.  He takes note of how many people you have you talked to about Christ.  He is interested in how many times you have you shown love to those that feel unloved. 

Life can become so busy with obligations and commitments that we lose focus of the most important commitment that we have as Christians-the commitment of fulfilling the great commission as found in Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, go into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature".   

Friday, June 14, 2013

1 Samuel 2:1-2    Then Hannah prayed and said:  "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.  My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.  "There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God."

In this passage, Hannah is praising God for his for being ever present, strong and consistent.  Not many things on earth are consistent and reliable.  Material possessions tear up and get lost, friends come and go and circumstances in our lives change.  God never changes nor does he ever leave us. 

Put your hope and trust in Him.  Lean upon the solid Rock!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let God reveal it.

Let Grace remove it.

Let Good replace it.

Whatever "it" is, God's grace can take care of it. He intends for good things to happen to us and for us to enjoy happiness and the Sweet Stuff. Ask God to reveal anything that is hindering your happiness and inner peace. Give it all to Him to deal with-we can do nothing on our own anyway! Go ahead and let go.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two Steps Forward; Three Steps Back

This is a rerun of a post from last summer.  I had another post planned but God led me back to this one. 

Philippians 3:13-14
       “Forgetting the past and look forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.” 

            Today’s devotion is a “mail bag” item that posed this question:  “Why on some days do all the hurtful things that others have done come flooding back?  Two steps forward and three steps back.”

            One reason this happens is because you ARE taking the two steps forward.  When we move toward forgiveness and letting go of hurts, we are moving toward a closer relationship with God through obedience of his commands to do so.  When we move toward God, the adversary feels threatened.  He knows he is losing ground, therefore he must remind us of the injustices we have been served.  He will replay details and try to convince us that we need to harbor bitterness and wallow in the hurt.  There may be times that we encounter the one(s) that hurt us and without a doubt this stirs the raw pain and may even re-open the wound. 

            Another reason it happens may be that God is trying to speak to you about some part of the situation.  Let me explain my own experiences.  In dealing with the situations that have hurt me most, I had the same question. “Why do the hurts keep flooding back?  Why can’t I be free of these reminders”?   As I continued to pray and cry out to God, He showed me that not only did I need to forgive, but I also needed to learn to pray for my offenders.  Some of the people that hurt us are not saved and have no relationship with God.  When I finally saw what he was trying to tell me, I had a different kind of hurt inside me, a deep hurt with a burden for the lost. 

            Both reasons listed above can be dealt with in your daily walk with God.  First, when the flood gates open and the hurts flow in, re-establish the fact that you have decided to forgive.  Claim that decision in Jesus’ name.  Set those emotional boundaries and tell the devil he will not win.  Refuse to feel the hurt.  Decide that you will enjoy The Sweet Stuff. 

            Secondly, pray for the offenders.  Pray that they will walk with God.  Pray for their salvation and for their families.  Yes, I know that this is not easy and is quite uncomfortable to do in the beginning.   Remember that when others offend, they have hurt God far more than they have hurt us and that they will stand before him with an account just as we will.  It is important to settle our accounts here on earth, if not with the offender, then we should settle it in our hearts.   #TSS