The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stand firm

1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

"A good leader is not fearful of negative pressures that may come".  I heard this quote at the closing ceremony of a leadership conference a couple of years ago.  It is a strong statement. 

All of us are leaders of some sort.  Whether we lead our children, a Sunday School class, sports team, scouting group, Bible School, an entire ministry or a huge corporation, we can EXPECT negative pressures.  Many times being a leader means that we must press on even when we feel alone in our leadings. 

Negative pressures come in the form of: 
     -criticism
     -sarcasm
     -slander
     -humiliation
     -gossip
     -pressures to show favoritism
     -pressures to retreat or step down

Satan enjoys putting pressures on us.  He will go to great lengths to do so and to hinder us from serving the Lord. 

As godly leaders, we should not worry or give in to those negative pressures.   We shall stand firm in what God has called us to do.   Let God handle the negative stuff while we press on to lead and enjoy The Sweet Stuff.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peace

Philippians 4:7 And the peace that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I lost my peace in a battle with bitterness; a battle that lasted nearly 6 years (that story is a month's worth of posts in itself; a story that is addressed at my women's conferences). I did not lose the peace that comes from my salvation, but I lost my daily peace. The sense of peace that allows us to have joy, a positive outlook and the peace that allows us to taste "The Sweet Stuff" in our lives.  
 
I felt upside down.   Worthless.   Rejected.   Stomped on.    Ineffective.
 
I cried out to God to take all that away.
 
My peace has been restored. I praise God for that!!! All of us are offered the same peace. 
 
The events that led to my bitterness are still in my mind, I still see some of the folks that played a part in those events, however, in my heart I have that peace that passes all understanding, a peculiar peace that sustains me even when the world around me is in turmoil. 
 
God desires for you to have that peculiar peace even in times of trials and tribulations.
 
Allow Him to comfort you with that peace and enjoy your "Sweet Stuff".

Monday, July 29, 2013

Psalm 23

Psalm 23: 2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul.


We cannot blaze the trail through our lives seeking our own way while dragging God behind us and expecting him to go along with our plans. 

We cannot walk with God unless we allow him to lead.  He wants to lead.

If your pastures do not seem green and your waters are tumultuous, get behind God and allow him to lead you.  Allow him to show you where He wants you to go.  In doing so, you will experience the still waters of contentment, peace, joy and The Sweet Stuff.  



Friday, July 26, 2013

Friends

John 15:13     Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 

This has been on of the greatest summers that I can remember in a long time.  We have not had a remarkable vacation, nothing new and earth shattering has occurred.  What has made this summer so great is that I have spent time with friends. 

Seasoned friends, new friends, dear friends, God's gift of friends. 

We have played in the river, swam in pools, shared lunches, talked on the phone, reconnected through e-mail, shared heartaches and shared children.  But most importantly, we have shared our hearts with each other. 

Friends are a gift from God.  Friendships require attention and nurturing. 

This would be a great weekend to share your heart with a friend.  Call a friend that you haven't talked with in a while. Perhaps there is a friendship that needs mending. 

Go ahead.   Enjoy The Sweet Stuff!                                                            #TSS

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rejection

1 Samuel 8:7    And the Lord told him:  "Listen to all that the people are saying to you;  it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king....."

There are many emotions involved when bitterness is present within a person.  One of the most common feelings experienced with bitterness is rejection.  Because bitterness usually stems from an offense, a hurt of some type, rejection is a by product of hurt-especially intentional hurts. 

Rejection is an implied gesture that we are not accepted, liked or valued.  We do not feel important or of any worth.  Rejection causes our esteem to suffer.  Rejection, unaddressed can lead to a deep degree of bitterness.

We can all recall a time in our childhood days, whether at school, in sports or within our families that we felt rejected or left out.  It affected our esteem.  Rejection allowed an open door for Satan to talk us into all sorts of self-defeating ideas and beliefs about ourselves. 

Even in our adult lives, things happen that cause us to feel rejected. 
  
Unaccepted.  

Unimportant.
 
Of little value. 

I have been there.  Period.  Exclamation point!!

When people hurt others and fail to love others as God expects, then the rejection is not personal.  It is a rejection of God and his commands.   Believe me, I know that the hurt and pain is still as great, but when we draw near to God and understand his sovereignty and recognize his love and commitment to us, it lessens the intensity of what others have caused.    If we can put rejection in its place, it is easier to prevent bitterness from entering our hearts. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Corinthians 13:4-7   
Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. 

In raising teenagers, the subject of dating, courtship and the "L" word are inevitable.  In my opinion, as parents, we should not avoid these subjects, hoping for the theory "out of sight, out of mind".   It is God's design for us to seek a mate and experience love.

It is important that young adults have guidelines for seeking relationships.  These guidelines pertain to friendships as well.  It is imperative that we, as parents, monitor relationships to insure that they are healthy and fit into God's framework of what LOVE is supposed to be.  We should teach them how to be friends and soul mates.

Many young girls are enticed by attention.  Sometimes the attention is negative and unhealthy. Attention, even the negative type, allows some young ladies to feel validated, included and important (popular).  Some young girls believe that it doesn't matter how they are treated as long as they date the star athlete or son of some prominent figure in the community.  That type of attention could lead to an unstable, unhappy and dangerous relationship. 

If you are a young lady reading this or the mother of a young lady, I encourage you to take time to talk about relationships.  Teach your precious girls that searching for relationships that fit the checklist described in I Corinthians 13:4-7 is how God intends for it to be.  If the relationship does not meet the checklist, then it is time to search for a different relationship.    Teach them that waiting for the soul mate that God has planned for them is well worth it.       #TSS

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

No matter the hurt, small or large, God cares about your healing.    #TSS

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lessons

Isaiah   64:8     Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 

Learning is not always easy.  Take physics for example.  It is a difficult course; not one that can be absorbed in a day.  Elements of physics build upon one another and many students have said that at some point in the course the "light bulb comes on".  That "ah-ha" moment when it all falls into place. A point where they have absorbed the lesson.  

In the midst of trials and the valleys in our lives, we may question why things are not changing or improving for us.

We lose patience. 

Our faith waivers out of frustration.

God is a wonderful teacher and he uses situations in our lives to offer hands-on learning; to mold us and shape us for advanced degrees!  He will put us in a place to listen and receive his instructions.  He will not advance us into the greatness he has in store for us until we learn the lessons that he wants us to learn.   

I have learned, the hard way I might add, to ask myself in those trials if I have learned what God is trying to teach me.  Is there something that I need to change about myself?  Do I need to study more in order for the light bulb to come on?   

Seek the lessons that God is teaching you in every situation in your life.  Step into the greatness that He has for you where The Sweet Stuff is waiting.   I promise you that his instructions are much simpler than physics!                             

Friday, July 19, 2013

Crumbled or Humbled

Acts 20:24     However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. 

Crumbled or Humbled? 

Every day we are each granted the opportunity to be HUMBLED in God's throne room of graces.

We also have the option of being CRUMBLED by the things that Satan puts in front of our faces.

To be humbled by God's graces looks like this:  
                  -divine assistance in all matters of our lives
                  -mercy, mercy, mercy and more mercy
                  -His offerings of kindness, courtesy and clemency to us
                  -unmerited pardon of sin

All day.  Every day!!!!!

To be crumbled by Satan's antics looks like this:
                 -discouragement
                 -fear
                 -feelings of worthlessness
                 -bitterness
                 -discontent
                 -misery, misery and more misery


The choice is ours.   CRUMBLED or HUMBLED?                   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Matthew 6:26    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. 

I encourage you to read all the verses of Matthew 25-34.   This passage deals with worry.  If there are any of you out there that are not prone to worry, please let me in on your secret!!

We worry about our families.

We worry about our health.

We worry about buying groceries and paying the bills. 

There is always something that is before us that offers an opportunity for worry.

This passage is peaceful and simple about worrying.  When we look around, we can see that God tends to the birds, flowers and all the creatures of the earth.  We must think that as His intricate creations, we are equivocal in importance. 

When we worry, our minds are distracted from seeking His kingdom. 

In those darkest thoughts of worry.  When you worry about paying the bills, health insurance, family matters and all the little details of life, remember that God is great at micro managing.  Let Him take care of the worries!   #TSS

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

John 3:16       For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son.  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The ultimate if forgiveness.  Everything else is small stuff.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The fear of forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-22  Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?  Seven times?"  "No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!"

Forgiveness is multifaceted. 

Forgiveness is tough.

One of the toughest parts of forgiveness involves fear---the fear that comes with feeling vulnerable to being hurt again.  Fear of being hurt again is likely to be a consideration when the same person has hurt us more than one time.  Fear also accompanies the "I have had enough feeling". 

For as many times as we have been trespassed against, hurt, and offended, we must forgive.  Non-negotiable.  

Worrying about subjecting ourselves to the possibilities of hurt is not fun.  It is also NOT forgiveness.  Forgiveness is letting go of the actions or words that caused hurt in the first place.  Forgiveness is the decision to refuse to allow the actions or words of another person to affect our inner beings.  What others do and say should never change one's spirituality and relationship with God. 

Fear and forgiveness should not be considered the same.  Forgiveness pertains to things in the past, no matter how recent or distant.  The fear of being hurt again is a trust issue.  It pertains to the future.  Forgiveness deals with something that has already happened.  Fear is anticipation of something that might happen.  Fear is not of God, it is a tool of the devil.

We are required to forgive over and over and over.  Think of it from God's perspective, He forgives us over and over and over.  The offer is always good.    

Do not allow fear to prevent you from offering forgiveness.  Trust in God to protect you from hurts and decide to live in forgiveness.  Refuse to live in fear.  Fear can rob us of experiencing good things.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

God expects us to take our eyes off "self" and look to the needs of others.                           

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Discouragement

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

I use this verse often.  Love it!  There is so much packed into the words of the verse.  Today, I will focus on the words "to give you hope". 

Discouragement is defined as "a feeling of having lost hope or confidence".  Discouragement, when successful, will cause people to be less likely to do something.  Satan especially enjoys discouragement.  He tries it on all of us.

This weekend, I had a particular expectation.  When the expectation did not happen, I was discouraged.  I had lost my confidence in that situation and person.  Satan tried to stifle me with this situation.  He tried to affect my self esteem, make me feel unimportant and even tried to make me second guess some truths that I hold on to. 

Discouragement is a common tool of the devil.  Do not allow him to stifle you with it. 

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God promises to give us HOPE.  An expected end.  Encouragement!!  #TSS  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jeremiah 29:13

Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

When we search for God with all our heart, we must rid our hearts of all things that stand between us and God.  We cannot search for God with every inch of our heart while holding on to hurts, vengeful thoughts, anger and bitterness.  Dragging those things along side us will not offer God ALL of our heart.

When we hang on to hurts that have not been squared away or forgiven, we have junk in our hearts.  That junk looks like insecurities, bitterness, lack of confidence, and lack of desire to move forward in life.  The junk that fills part or all of the heart stands in the way of offering God ALL of your heart. 

The junk must go.  Empty out all the junk that is in your heart so that you may seek God with all your heart, free and clear of any negative emotions.   

Search and seek God.  Find Him.

If you have turned from him, return to him.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rain and more rain

Genesis 8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

It has rained where I live for the past few days. Clouds looming, streams and rivers rolling out of their banks, debris in the road, ballgames cancelled, cook outs cancelled, fireworks and parades postponed.

Rain, rain and more rain.

Folks are complaining about the rain and that events are cancelled. Will the rain ever stop, they wonder?

As I was driving back from a visit with my grandmother, yes it was still raining, God spoke to me about the rain and about the complaints.

Here are the positive things he spoke to me about:
-the rain kept us at home with our families (we were all in the living room at the same time)
-a rainy day is a good time to visit with friends and family-perhaps play some games or crafts
-the rain forced us to slow down for a few days :)
-GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL. Let us repeat this: GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL

God put Noah and his family in the ark to save them from the judgement of the people.  While in the are, He also taught them and molded them into a great nation.  The animals existed in peace while in the ark.   Could we have tolerated the ark?  Could we have been happy in 40 days of rain? 

We cannot do anything about the weather. If we believe and trust in God's sovereignty, then we should be happy with the rain as well as the sunshine.  In the rain, we can find The Sweet Stuff!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 3, 2013

God does not create chaos and confusion, nor does he bless it.



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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vengeance

Romans 12:19    Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

A part of dealing with bitterness and learning to let go is dealing with feelings of vengeance.  The need to get even can cloud our minds.  While we may not plot to do destructive and hurtful things, we may have thoughts of wanting those that hurt us to suffer.  We think about lashing out, letting them know how we hurt.  We need for them to feel what we have felt, to know how badly the things they said and did hurt us.  We want them to be as miserable as we are. 

We may question how some people can do or say things that hurt us deeply, yet seemingly have no remorse whatsoever.  We may never know the answers to those questions.  We are not promised to know the answers. 

In my dealing with letting go of the bitterness that had taken root in my heart, there were days when these emotions were strong.  Many days I questioned over and over in my mind.  I would question how can people do these things?  What are they thinking when they do?  Why are they so happy when they have done such things? 

What I learned in order to let go: 
1.  God knows everything.  Everything that has been done to me as well as everything that I have done and has gone through my mind. 
2.  Others are responsible for what they have done.  I am responsible for what I have done and thought. 
3. God will deal with them in the end.  God will deal with me in the end. 
4.  It was time for me to improve my way of viewing it all because I was losing.  Losing time with God, happy times with family and friends and losing the flavor of The Sweet Stuff. 

I encourage you to let go, do not waste any more time being bitter and unhappy.   #TSS

Monday, July 1, 2013

God's Sovereignty and Radiographic Imaging

Isaiah 40:12 "Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?"

Can God speak to us through a CT scanner? It happened to me. I have been a Radiologic Technologist for 26 years, a career span that has seen the world of medical imaging advance in leaps and bounds.

One day last year I was scanning a patient on a modern CT scanner when I was reminded of God's sovereignty. The scanner is omnidirectional which means it is capable of producing images of the human body from three directions, front to back (coronal), side to side (sagittal) and top to bottom (axial). This scanner can take over 100 images in less than 1 minute demonstrating the anatomy of the body in great detail. It can produce images faster that the human eye can view them. As I watched the scanner flash the images before me, I was reminded that God is paramount. He is all knowing, all seeing, ever present and all powerful!

A mere glimpse of God's sovereignty!

If man can build a machine that can image the human body in such capacity, think of how much more God can do!!

I encourage you to read all of Isaiah chapter 40 as it describes for us God's sovereignty and that He has no equal!