The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let God fight for you

Exodus 14:14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.

Just stay calm! Sounds easy enough, but how in the world can we stay calm when things around us seem to be in such turmoil?     What can we do when the enemy is camped at our doorstep?  
We feel so powerless and weary and often times despair will set in and cause us to feel trapped. Perhaps we feel trapped by depression, rejection, disappointments, fear. The despair may come from a job situation, conflict within a relationship, health or finances. We have all been faced with these situations- events and circumstances with the potential to trap our hearts into negativity, anger or bitterness. Maybe you have a present situation in your life that brings about these emotions and you are feeling trapped. Let us read this scripture from back to front, “Just stay calm. The Lord himself will fight for you.” He WILL fight for you and He is the mighty warrior, but first you have to allow Him to be your warrior. Staying calm, although seemingly impossible at times, will allow you to submit all your troubles to God.    
Submission is letting go.  Let go of the need to emotionally wrestle the situation.  Let go of the need to do something.  Let go and let God fight it for you.                          

Monday, December 30, 2013

Healing

John 5:8   Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

This verse was Jesus' command to a man that he had healed after 38 years of dealing with a condition that prevented him from walking.  This infirmity had become a way of life for the man.  He had lost hope of anyone helping him or of being healed. 

Jesus came by and in an instant told the man to get up.  Walk.  Move forward.  No looking back.

Many of us have infirmities, some of which are physical, many of which are emotional.  Emotional infirmities can cripple us from moving forward.  We may be physically walking but we are going nowhere.  Stuck in negative, non-productive emotions.  Negative emotions and bitterness have become a way of life for some. 

The new year is before us.  A time of new beginnings and resolutions.  There is no time like the present to decide on a resolution to be healed emotionally.   God will heal you and show you how to move forward.

The decision is yours.

The next few weeks will focus on forgiving, letting go and moving forward.     #TSS

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:  15-16   When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."   So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

This is what Christmas is all about!  Have you found Jesus in the manger?  Have you met him at the cross?  If not, it is time to unwrap all the gifts that he has to offer you.  He offers the gift of salvation.  He has in store for us peace, joy, healing and eternal life.  What a wonderful Christmas gift!

In order to celebrate with family and friends, The Sweet Stuff will take a couple of days off.  May you and yours have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our savior.      

Thursday, December 19, 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.  He wants to restore you.

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Submission

Luke 1:38    "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered.  "May it be to me as you have said."  Then the angel left her.

"May it be to me as you have said".

Submission.  Obedience.

What a perfect example of these two nouns.  Young Mary, who had to be scared and unsure of what was happening to her, simply accepted what the angel told her and trusted in what God had in store for her. 

In Mary's day, she could have been stoned to death for being "with child" as an unwed mother.  Much different than our world today.   She risked losing her fiance', her reputation, and her life.  Yet, humbly, she accepted what God called upon her to do.  

How many times do we so willingly say, "Ok God, whatever you say"?  I don't know about you, but I will sometimes try to argue my case, especially when the assignment is somewhat out of my comfort zone.  However, as I have learned the hard way, when God has an assignment for us, it is much more pleasant on our part to say right away "May it be as you have said". 

Mary is such a wonderful role model for obedience and submission.  Let us all follow her model.  #TSS

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Two Steps Forward; Three Steps Back

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Best Christmas Gift

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.  For as many times as we are hurt, 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; the decision that we will not allow the actions or words to affect our inner beings and service to God.  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.  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.  

The Christmas season is a great time to offer forgiveness.  After all, Christ was born in order to die and offer forgiveness for us.   Christmas stirs our hearts to deal with forgiveness-I believe this is no coincidence!                      #TSS

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Luke 2:14

 Luke 2:14    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

  So many times when we are celebrating the Christmas season, people will say that all they wish for is "peace on Earth".  Christmas cards and decorations will resound the message of "peace on Earth".  Lately, the latter part of this scripture,"goodwill toward men" has spoken to me.   
        Do we possess goodwill toward men?  What does this feel like or look like?  Goodwill toward men should mean that we have do good, pray for good, and desire for good things in the lives of others.  We should be supportive in others' endeavors and happy for them when they are blessed with good times and things.

        Do we practice good will?  When we know that a brother or sister is struggling, do we offer to help carry the burden?   Do we pray for our brothers and sisters to have peace and for good things and blessings come their way?  Do we pray for their businesses to thrive and for their families to be healthy? 
        These are a few examples of what goodwill toward men looks like.  This is my wish for this Christmas--Goodwill toward men---all across our planet.                         #TSS
        
   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Being right is not nearly as important as doing what is right.

Proverbs 11:2     When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Being right is not nearly as important as doing what is right.
Disagreements and conflict are a common part of the human nature.  People will not always see eye to eye.   Pride loves to rear its ugly head and allow the conflict to escalate into "who is right" instead of focusing on doing what is right.  

Settling disagreements should not rely upon who is right and who is wrong.   Tomorrow, the "right" person, who started to conflict or even the topic of the disagreement may long be forgotten.  However, emotions, hurtful words, and actions during the disagreement will last-sometimes for extended periods of time.   
 
Walking away or refusing to take part in disagreements equals wisdom. Many people will view the refusal to participate in conflict as cowardly or not taking up for oneself.  God views it as humility.  He views humility as wisdom.   God doesn't care what the disagreement is about, who is right and who won in the end.  He expects us to use self-control versus allowing our emotions and pride to result in an ungodly treatment of others. 

When conflict does occur, God has a plan for resolution.  The plan involves grace, forgiveness, repentance and Christ-like behavior (see Matthew chapter 18).  He wants us to be humble in all our dealings with others.  It is never in God's plan for us to focus on who is right and who is wrong.  It is His plan for us to do what is right in all matters.       

If the need to "be right" is causing you to have conflict with others, pray for humility.  Seek God's heart and ask Him to help you do what is right instead of focusing on being right.  Study and seek His wisdom in all situations.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Trust

Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

When those things come along in life that we cannot understand nor have any control over, TRUST in God is all that we have.

I have a heavy heart this morning for a fellow that I respect and love dearly.  He is a devoted husband, loving and protective father, precious friend, deacon, child of God, neighbor to all.

Please join me in lifting him up in prayer for peace and comfort for him and his family. We must trust in God's sovereignty and timing.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wisdom

Psalm 111:10  Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.  All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

What does wisdom look like?  What does wisdom feel like?  What does wisdom act like?  The Bible tells us in Psalms 111:10 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Fear in this sense does not mean to be afraid, but it means to respect.  A respect and deep appreciation for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is where to start in becoming wise. 
    
Webster's Dictionary defines wisdom as an understanding of what is TRUE.   Understanding truth is understanding the Bible (God's word).  We understand God's word first by having a strong desire to obtain wisdom.  Secondly, we should pray, read scripture, and seek the counsel of Godly people. 
    
Worldly wisdom can be dangerous.  Being of great intelligence or possessing worldly knowledge does NOT equal wisdom. 

So what does wisdom look like?   Wisdom is a deep love and respect for God.   Wisdom is righteous living by obeying God's commandments.  Wisdom is calm.   Wisdom is finding the truth in situations before reacting and knowing when not to react at all.  Wisdom is embracing integrity.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Trust

Matthew 5:44  But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

When are emotionally wounded by the actions of others, we naturally desire to stay away from the person(s) and to put up a wall or shield that stands in between us.    We want to protect our feelings and not allow room to be hurt again.  We may even entertain thoughts of retaliation.   Sometimes the hurt and the actions are so disappointing and unbelievable that our minds become consumed with the disbelief and the replaying of the events.

It becomes difficult to trust others.

Finding excitement and participating in events/groups that we once enjoyed takes much effort. 

Friendships and other relationships become strained.

Walls separate us from others.  When we are separated from others, we create a distance from God because he commands us to love one another and love cannot get through a wall.  God expects us to love even when we feel like we want to hate.  That is a tough one at times!

Thoughts regarding walls/shields:
               -walls rob us of new friendships and relationships that God will send to heal and help us
               -walls decrease our closeness to God
               -perhaps your role is to pray for the offender(s) and be an example of God's love
               -I found that it helps tremendously to rearrange your expectations of people.  Doing so
                decreases the disappointments.   Look to God to meet all your expectations.  He tells us
                in the Bible that humans will fall short of that.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

CUPCAKE CROWN

This Cupcake Crown goes to a man with more emotional fortitude and faith than anyone I can think of.  He is currently undergoing a month long hospital stay receiving treatments for leukemia.   It is at least his third time this year for the month long treatments.  Did I mention that he is a cancer survivor from years ago?   I visited with him last week and as he described some of his darkest moments, he immediately followed the description with the "light" that God showed him. 

He has hope.  He has faith.  He thanks God for everything in his life. 

He walks the hallways of the hospital unit telling others about God.  Talk about inner strength!!! 

We could all take lessons from this man.  He is dear to our family and all those that know him.

Mr. B, you get a dozen of the most delicious cupcakes ever made!