The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Monday, September 30, 2013

Proverbs 14:10

Proverbs 14:10     Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

Each of us knows or has known our own bitterness, however great or small.  The circumstances that cause bitterness within people vary and the mechanisms of injury that cause the hurts may be different.  However, the consequences and by-products of bitterness as well as the damages to our hearts are UNIVERSAL. 

I do not know the trials and tragedies that each of you has endured.  I do not know the levels of betrayal, the depth of the injustices, the magnitude of your sorrow, nor the acts that have occurred in each of your lives.

I do know the thoughts and questions that have gone through your minds.

I have experienced the feelings that consume you at times and some that have haunted you for long enough.

I know how Satan can trample all over your inner self.  He can even cause you to dislike others as well as yourself.

I remember the anger, fear and frustration that accompanies bitterness.

I also know that God stands ready to heal you and take away all the negatives that bitterness presents.

I KNOW that healing!  I have in my mind the memories of experiencing the accompaniments of bitterness and I now have in my presence the enjoyment of "The Sweet Stuff" of life every day.  I am so thankful that the bitterness is only a memory!!

There is no time like the present to rid of any bitterness in your heart.   I encourage you to seek the healing, make the bitterness a by-gone.   Fill your life with the presence of "The Sweet Stuff"  that God has for you.                        



Friday, September 27, 2013

Live for the future

Matthew 6:33   But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.       

Bitterness will grow when we live only for the present and in the past.  Constantly wallowing in "what happened to me" and "why me" is a recipe for bitterness.

We must live for the future, trusting in God's sovereignty and have faith in his promises.  Seek his kingdom first and all his promises will be fulfilled unto you. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

This weeks cupcake crown goes to a lady who has put on her "big girl panties" and moved beyond bitterness, offered forgiveness, sorted and put things into their places.  While on her way to restoring her joy and inner peace, she was thrown a major curve ball this summer.  She did not allow the curve ball to strike her out.  Instead, she hit it head on and is now running toward home plate.   Knowing how to sort, sieve, learn and leave allows us a high batting average and offers us The Sweet Stuff!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trust

"Forgiveness does not come easily to us, especially when someone we have trusted betrays our trust.  And yet if we do not learn to forgive, we will discover that we can never really rebuild trust."  - Billy Graham

Trust issues are by-products of hurt and bitterness.  The issues not only affect the relationship between us and the person that caused the hurt, but also between us and other relationships old and new.  We begin to believe and wonder if everyone that we encounter will treat us the same way as the person (s) that hurt us.  We wonder if they all feel and think the same way.

Trust issues are based upon how others have treated us, not on how others might treat us.  The future must be based upon faith-a faith that God will never hurt us and also a faith that allows us to open our hearts to relationships that we risk missing.  I have PRECIOUS relationships in my life that I would otherwise have never known if I had not relied upon God to help me trust.

When faced with the need to forgive someone or a group of people, it is easy enough for us to read what the Bible says about forgiveness and to understand what is expected of us.  However, it is not always easy for our hearts to "want" to forgive or to know how to forgive completely and what that means. 

As Billy Graham says, we will have to learn to forgive.  That begins with a desire "want" to forgive and God is willing to prepare our hearts for that and to teach us how.               

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Self Esteem

Romans 12:2  "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

Allowing bitterness to take root within us affects our self esteem.  When others say things and act in ways that hurt us or treat us with little value, we begin to question our self worth.  Low self esteem will steal our joy, our daily happiness and affects our decisions and may lead us to question our purpose. 

We must not view ourselves through the eyes of the world.  Instead, we MUST view ourselves through the lens of scripture.  This includes renewing our minds about ourselves.

God says:
     -you are important
    -you are fearfully and wonderfully made
    -you have a valuable purpose

I have used the following to improve and rebuild my self esteem:
    -read the Bible
    -make everyday meaningful by identifying the positives
    -surround yourself with positive people that love you
    -find activities that allow you to use your gifts and talents (this gives you purpose)
     

A healthy self esteem allows The Sweet Stuff in life to taste even better.          



 

Monday, September 23, 2013

This morning's post is in honor of a 12 year little fellow, from the next town over, that lost his battle with cancer yesterday. As parents, we cannot wrap our minds around enduring such an event in our lives.  It can also be difficult to offer condolences and love to families because we have a difficult time finding the right words to say or enough words to say. 

 His mother is a dear friend of a dear friend of mine.  When I talked with my friend about it this morning that is what we discussed.  She said, "I can't begin to know what to say to his mother."

In times such as these, it is important to offer support to grieving family members.  That support can be as simple as your physical presence without any words.  While it is not easy, it is important to be in their presence and allow the unspoken language of love to fill their hearts. 

Let us all be in prayer for this family.  Let us pray for comfort, peace and healing that only God can offer.  After you pray, hug up your sweet babies and grand babies and thank God for each and every one for they are The Sweetest Stuff that we have on this earth!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cupcake Crown

Today I wish to give a Cupcake Crown.  It goes to a young lady that has faced her fears, in order to seek God's will in her life.  She has shown a level of maturity that has required her to step out and at times to stand alone in what she stands for.   She has been rewarded for doing so and is tasting some of life's Sweet Stuff. 

I encourage each of you to allow this testimony to be an encouragement.  Conquer those fears, draw near to God, stand alone when required and do so with confidence.  Enjoy the Sweet Stuff and treat yourself to a huge cupcake!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Proverbs 14:10

Proverbs 14:10   Each heart knows its own bitterness and no one else can share its joy.

We have all tasted something bitter:  candies, a green apple, lemons, etc.   We have all tasted of things that are sweet.  I love sweet stuff!!!  But what if all that we had to eat tasted bitter?  Sour fruits and candies that make us pucker and our jaws tingle.  What if that was the only flavor that we could taste? 

We would soon be tired of tasting such bitterness and crave a sweet piece of pie or cake.  Yet, many of us harbor bitterness within our hearts.  

Sour grapes that are there because of some injustice that we have experienced. 

Nagging, negative feelings that steal our joy and rob us of the sweet stuff in our lives. The bitterness overpowers the sweet enjoyment of even the small things in our lives.  

There is no peace alongside bitterness.  When we lose that inner peace, we are vulnerable to many negative emotions; susceptible to distancing ourselves from our relationship with God. 
  
Bitterness is directly related to unforgiveness.  The lack of letting go of that injustice and enjoying the "peace that passes all understanding".  Offenses and injustices will come because we live in a fallen world.  Hurts will happen because we fail one another as human beings. 

Forgiveness is commanded!  (Matthew 6:14-15)  Getting rid of bitterness begins with forgiveness which in turn will allow us to enjoy the "Sweet Stuff".                                         

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Curves

James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

I bought a new pair of pants recently and as I removed all the tags, there was a tag hanging from the belt loop that contained this quote from Mae West, "Curve: the loveliest distance between two points". I chuckled at the statement as we do not usually agree that all our "curves" are lovely. 
As I pondered the tag, I thought of the "curves" of life, those unexpected sharp turns, steep curves that are difficult to maneuver. When we drive, a curve causes us to pay attention to the road and if the curve is steep, it requires us to slow down.  We should enter sharp curves by driving with both hands on the wheel.  If we fail to negotiate the curve in a car, we will lose control and likely wreck the car.  
Such is true with curves of life.  Curves can come in the form of job loss, death of a loved one, betrayal of a friend, health problems, turmoil at work or church-the list can be lengthy.  We must approach the curves of life with attention and focus.  In those times, God wants us to slow down, pay attention to Him and concentrate on his promises and principles.  If we lose control of our faith in him while maneuvering the curves of life, we compromise our commitment to him.  Slow down in the curves.  Pay attention to His word.  Listen for His instruction.  He will make the road ahead easier to maneuver so that we do not lose control in the curves.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sweet Things

We should always take the time to acknowledge the Sweet Things in our lives and thank God for them. 

Some of The Sweet Stuff on my mind from the past week, for which I am extremely thankful!:
-healthy, precious children
-husband of 21 years
-a long talk with my Nana and one with my Mama
-a visit from a sweet friend one afternoon
-lunch with a sweet group of friends one day *much laughter and joy and the food wasn't bad!
-a great sweet retreat and time of worship with a wonderful group of ladies
-AMAZING co-workers
-my sweet college girl home for the weekend
-lemon pound cake
-crisp Fall weather

Take a moment to thank Him for all your Sweet Stuff!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Parenting

Proverbs 1:8-9  Listen my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.  They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. 

I remember the time that each of my children, around age 9 or 10, declared that they were leaving home.  Each time it followed a battle of the wills, where their will did not win.  It is funny how it seems that every child makes this announcement at some point.  Because they were in a hurry, I helped each one of mine pack.  While they gathered the essential favorite toy or stuffed animal, I packed things like a spatula for cooking their favorite grilled cheeses, bathroom essentials--you get the picture.  As I kissed them goodbye and they walked out the front door, I stood at the window to watch.  I vividly could remember the day I did the same to my mother-I was also 10.  The farthest that any of my three children got in their declaration of independence was to the third tree in our driveway.  This is a distance of about 200 yards from our front door.  Then there was the realization of being on your own is tough and so each of them returned. 

I cannot say that those instances were the last battles of the wills.  Plenty have followed, especially in the teen years.

Parenting is tough.  It requires fortitude, a mental toughness,  with a framework of grace.  In the tough times, no matter how upset, disappointed or confused you are about the situation, the children must know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you love them.  They must also know that you are the parent, their teacher, leader, disciplinarian and protector.  I believe this is especially true in the teen years.  While they would never admit it to us, children inwardly desire for us to guide them. 

Teens do not possess the judgment required to make decisions within their best interest.  Their desires and decisions are based on fleshy emotions and peer pressure.  Even though a teenager will not always agree with your decisions or reasoning, there is deep need within them for you to be the protector and to make those decisions for them. 

When the child tells you that you are the worst mom in the world and in the emotion of that moment you are tempted to believe it and give in, retreat to a quiet place, get on your knees and give it to God-brokenness and all.  He will move in that situation. 

Parenting does matter.  At some point teens will come to realize the importance of the time that you held firmly to the "no" or the principle that you are teaching them.  Remember that the teen years are only a brief part of the make up of their lives.  Remind them of that as often as necessary.  Also remind them that when it is all said and done, you, as parents, love them and love is the reason that we discipline. 


 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bagworms

Hebrews 12:1  Let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance  the race marked out for us.

Go ahead and top off your coffee, this one is lengthy.

It was not how I had planned to spend my Saturday morning.  It was a beautiful morning, I was up early with plans of reading, sewing and enjoying the quite surroundings.  It began with seeing my husband out the front door and bidding him goodbye as he left to referee a tournament for the day. As he left, I spent some time enjoying the birds singing, the flowers and plants in the landscaping and the crisp morning.  As I admired the beauty of a globosa, one of my favorites in my landscaping, I could not believe what I saw on the back side.  Hundreds of bag worms were hanging on that back side.  How had that happened when I look at the landscaping quite often? 

Bag worms are caterpillars, however, they do not turn into beautiful butterflies.  They are parasitic worms that feed off evergreen and deciduous trees, forming a bag made of the needles or leaves of the plant from which they feed.  The needles and leaves camouflage the worm and reduce the visibility until it is quite large.  By this time, the worm has eaten a great amount of the needles and foliage from the plant.  Left unattended, the worms can destroy the entire plant.  Female bag worms can lay up to 300 eggs, therefore making for a bunch of hungry caterpillars.  Once the bag is apparent to us, the worm has been feeding for approximately 6 weeks.

I remember a few years ago our local radio station had a gardening show every Saturday morning with a horticulturist that addressed common problems and situations with plants and gardens.  On one of the shows he talked about bag worms and that the most effective means of getting rid of the parasites is by picking them off one by one because they are quite resistant to pesticides.

So, I began picking.  One by one, bag by bag.  Some were smaller than others.  Some were attached more strongly than others.  Some brought pieces of the tree along as I pulled to detach.  It was amazing how many bags were in my bucket.  It took about an hour and a half to get all the bags off this one plant.

As I picked off these worms, in an effort to save my plant, God showed me how these bag worms are similar to bitterness.  Bitterness will attach itself to our hearts, feeding off each and every emotion and thought that we have.  Bitterness will become a parasite to our souls.  It can creep in and feed for long periods of time before we notice that it is  damaging and destroying our personalities and relationships.

Just as I mechanically picked off each and every bag worm from my tree, we must attend to every parasitic emotion that accompanies bitterness.  When the insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, thoughts that make us feel unimportant and the lies that the enemy feeds us about our self worth crawl onto to us and attach like a worm, we must attend to it.  Detach and rid of each of the negatives that bitterness brings with it. 

My globosa will survive.  The back side has some scars and bare places but with some TLC and a close eye, it will repair and be whole again.  I urge you to do the same with any bitterness that you harbor.  Attend to each of the "worms" and be whole again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BETTERNESS

Deuteronomy 31:6   "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;  he will never leave you nor forsake you".


May the bitterness yield to BETTERNESS.

Each time that an event happens that tempts you with bitterness, may you choose to be better.  When old bitterness tries to bubble up within you, I pray it will be turned into something better.

"Better" comes from wisdom, strength, and courage.  Wisdom to recognize when bitterness is creeping in is a wonderful weapon.  Strength to resist the emotions that accompany bitterness is a necessary tool.  Courage to make changes that lead to BETTERNESS is important. 

Wisdom, strength and courage are gained from remaining close to God and studying his word.  It is up to us to APPLY these characteristics in order to reach a state of betterness .  Knowledge without application only makes us bitterly educated.

I pray for anyone that is dealing with bitterness.  May you yield to God for BETTERNESS.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Ephesians 4:31  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Getting rid of bitterness will not get rid of the hurtful memories of the person or situation.  Our minds are not designed to erase memories, if so, we would lose the sweet ones as well.  God is capable and willing to change the attitude of our memories.

Letting go and ridding of the bitterness will give the offenses over to God to deal with and will allow our minds to "remember with forgiveness".                          #TSS

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Contentment and God's plans

Proverbs 19:21           Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. 

When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.  That has been my plan since I was a child.  My plan has not come to fruition.  I say this, not to out of bitterness or disappointment but to share with you how God's plans are triumphant in accomplishing his will within our lives.  I am sharing this story with you so that you may see that even when things do not turn out as we think they should, God is guiding us toward his goals and purpose.  I have also realized that we can learn many lessons about ourselves in recognizing God's guidance in our lives. 

When I was a high school senior, my plan was to join the U.S. Navy in order to complete medical school.  The recruiter brought the paperwork to my house for me to sign.  To this day, I cannot tell you why I did not sign the papers.  After all, this had been my life long dream.  I tease my husband by telling him that I didn't sign the papers because had batted his big brown eyes at me a couple of weeks prior. 

The gears changed quickly over the next few months as my high school graduation approached.  I did complete a degree in the medical field, Radiologic Technology, and have thoroughly enjoyed my career and serving patients.  Upon the completion of that degree, God laid the path for me to complete a higher degree in the field of education by providing a job that paid the tuition for that particular degree.  Now, bear in mind that I had never (NEVER) considered a job that involved teaching.  NEVER!  For several years, I taught Radiography at a local Community and Technical College.  Loved every minute of it!!  Then God called me home.  Not in the eternal sense, but in the literal sense of being home full time with my children.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, God called me to home school our children.  This year marks our 20th year of home schooling our three children. Wow! 

Can you see how God's plans prevailed in my life, even when I could not see myself in the roles that he had planned for me?  As I look back, I can see how he groomed me for what he needed me to do.   I am content with his purpose for me even though I often joke about still becoming a doctor someday.  I am so very thankful for the role in which he appointed me.  I also realized these things about myself over the years: 
                      1.  If I had become a doctor, I would have missed so many milestones, laughs and great memories with my children because as much as I love the field of medicine, I would have been completely engulfed in my career. 
                      2.  God has life completely mapped out for us and as long as we are willing to yield to his purpose, we will find great contentment every day, whether at home or at work.
                      3.  God knows us better than we can begin to know ourselves. 

If you feel disappointment or confusion because your plans have not seemed to play out as you had expected, yield to God's molding and shaping in your life.  Seek that inner craving to truly fulfill his purpose for you.  When God is changing your life, perhaps you should make some changes in your perspective.  Contentment is available and yours for the taking!  Enjoy your appointed purpose and find that contentment that God has for you. 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Letting Go

Bitterness grows when we do not allow our minds to let go of the things that have hurt us.  One of the most common elements of being unable to forgive is the "holding on".  This is the grudge portion.  The forever remembering, replaying, revisiting; the "drama". 

Holding on is exhausting! 

Holding on can consume one's mind and lead to dwelling only on the negative things in our lives.  Many people that have talked with me about bitterness and letting go will ask, "How do I let go?  How can I get this off my mind?"

Ways to let go:
      - Pray for God to change your mind about it; trust in His sovereignty.
      -Stop entertaining the thoughts of 'why did this happen to me
      -Do not confuse feelings with facts; let go of feelings, put the facts into perspective
      -Focus on the positives in your life.  Make a list of them each day if necessary.     
      -Remember that what ever happened, whatever has made you bitter is not all there is to your life
      -Remind yourself that what someone else did to you does not define who you are   
      -Sort, sieve, learn and leave  (see previous posts for explanations of this)   #TSS

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Forgiveness

Forgiving and letting go are sometimes difficult to do.  Both are necessary in order to heal from hurts and to grow in our relationship with God.

What does forgiveness look like on a daily basis?  Forgiveness is a taming and training of the flesh and emotions.  How do we do this?  How do we train ourselves to forgive?

                 Taming the flesh to walk in forgiveness includes:
                     -not allowing negative emotions to enter your mind when thoughts of the events and
                      person(s) come to mind
                     -no longer looking at the person(s) as the "hurt"
                     -giving up the thoughts/urges for vengeance
                     -no more hitting the "rewind" button and replaying the events
                     -letting go of the desire to speak negatively or destructively about the person/event
                     -seeking to love the person(s) as Christ loves us

When we train our minds to stop entertaining the bitterness and negative emotions, we are able to move toward what God expects of us--getting rid of the bitterness.       #TSS



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Genuine Forgiveness

In the 18th chapter of Matthew, Jesus teaches about the attitude of forgiveness.  (Your homework for today is to read the chapter)  

Forgiveness begins with understanding that you were forgiven when Christ died on the cross for the sins of all.  Christ's attitude toward us when he was crucified was one of love.  He loved us before we ever existed on earth.  His attitude was pure love.  This is the attitude that we should possess when we offer forgiveness.  Easier said than done.

We must "want" to forgive.   Knowing that God expects us to forgive or merely saying the words "I forgive you", do not complete the process of forgiveness.  When I was dealing with unforgiveness, I realized that I understood what was expected of me but honestly my heart did not seem to "want" to forgive.  Therefore, my prayer focus became just that.   God had already  made me aware of the people that I needed to offer forgiveness and so I prayed for God to mold my heart into wanting to forgive.

God will help you with forgiveness.  He already knows your heart anyway, so don't hesitate to ask him for assistance.  Until you forgive from your heart, you will not have the peace of forgiveness in your heart.   When you have that peace, you are free to enjoy the "sweet" stuff in life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Steps to ridding of bitterness

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.

We are not responsible for the actions of others that cause hurt in our lives. 

We are responsible for preventing bitterness from taking root in our hearts.

The FIRST step to getting rid of bitterness, unforgiveness and all forms of malice is obedience. Submission to God requires obedience, period. It is not about what we feel like doing because the flesh part of us would never "feel" like forgiving. We tend to want to wallow. 

In order to be led by the Holy Spirit, and not by our flesh, obedience trumps feelings--ALWAYS! 
When we completely submit to God, we desire to be obedient. 

"Get rid" is a command and as we learned in elementary English class, the subject is you understood. No diagramming required in this lesson!   


Monday, September 2, 2013

Get rid of bitterness

Ephesians 4:31 "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."

      This week's posts will focus on healing from bitterness.  Today I will focus on the first two words in Ephesians 4:31: "Get rid".  Once you have recognized bitterness in your life, it needs to be rid of.  The process of getting rid of bitterness and letting go of hurts is just that-a process.  It does not happen with one single event, quote or action.  It takes focus and practice and rearranging of attitudes. 
      Getting rid of bitterness and unforgiveness is not always easy, it does not always feel good and it does not always happen quickly. As a matter of fact, it is a taming and training of our flesh; it is a decision that we make and must remain committed to. 

      The rewards of getting rid of bitterness and unforgiveness are many.  Those rewards allow us to enjoy The Sweet Stuff that God has for us!                            #TSS