The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Friday, January 31, 2014

What God expects

Encouragement for the day:

God does NOT expect us to be perfect, for which I am grateful!! But he does expect these things from us:

-Love Him above all else.
-Seek Him.
-Trust Him.
-Obey Him.
-Honor Him in all that we do.
-Tell others about Him.

In doing so, He will reveal his perfect will for us.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Focus on what God is saying to you, not what others are saying about you!!

Proverbs 26:20  Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.


We need not worry about what others are saying about us. Let us repeat this:  Don't worry when others gossip about you!  People will speculate, postulate, guesstimate, and formulate about the lives of others.  It is human tendency to gossip and surmise the reasons behind the things that are going on in the lives of those around them.  I believe that some people find entertainment in writing the scripts for people around them.  We do not need to spend time and energy focusing on the negative speculations that may be floating around.  If we do not add fuel to the fires of gossip, the flames will die down.  

We need only to focus on what God is saying to us.  Let us repeat this:  Focus on what God is saying to you, not what others are saying about you!!  Our journey and purpose on this earth is between God and each one of us.  It has nothing to do with what others think we should be doing.  The norms and expectations of the people around us should not form the pathway for our purpose.  We must realize and accept that when we veer from the normal way that the world expects us to travel, there will be gossip and speculation about why we are taking such a road.  Take the road anyway.

Focus on what God is asking you to do.  His requests may take you down pathways that are out of your comfort zone.  He will ask you to journey over roads that are less traveled by the norm.  He will also navigate the way for you down any road that he asks you to voyage.  Do not allow the threat of gossip and speculation by others dissuade you from your journey.  Keep your mind open to what God may call you to, even if you have done the same old thing for the past 20 years, he may have new things in mind for you.   Do not fret about what others will say.  Truth is, they will talk about you for a while and then move on to the topics in the life of someone else.   

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Emotional Fortitude

Ephesians  6: 11  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
  
Fact of life:  adversity will present itself to all of us.   Period.  No exemptions.  Distress visits all of us.   Each and every one of us faces difficult situations or difficult people to deal with at some point in our lives. 

Adversity comes from the adversary--Satan.
 
Emotional fortitude offers us the strength of mind that enables us to face adversity and withstand difficult situations.   Mental toughness equips us with protection from Satan's antics.  How do we build emotional fortitude in offer to protect us from our adversary?
 
When our forefathers built actual forts to protect our country, each fort had similar specifications.  Those specs included:    forts were  built at a distance from the cities so their artillery could not bombard the city center; forts were built in a shape that offered a panoramic view of potential routes of the enemy; forts were surrounded by ditches, moats or high walls making it more difficult for the enemy to enter; forts were constructed of strong materials and each fort had  "look out" points in order to recognize that the enemy was approaching.   Each fort had other details specific to the geographical location, but the aforementioned specs were common to all.   
 
We must built mental forts to protect our minds and emotions.  We must constantly look in a panoramic fashion for all avenues that the enemy may enter as well as recognize the enemy when he is trying to enter.  We must fortify our minds with the truths in God's word.  By doing so, we will be able to stand strong and maintain mental fortitude. 

Strength of mind is mental preparedness.  It is a vital part of facing adversity and getting through those difficult times that will come in our lives.                                                 
 
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Understanding

2 Peter 3:17-18      I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends, Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.  Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Several years ago I had my gall bladder removed.  It was the first time that I had ever had surgery and anesthesia.  I had a great amount of anxiety about the anesthesia and whether I would have an incision as long as my leg if laparascopic removal was not possible.  It was all I thought about for days prior to my surgery.  I wanted an uneventful surgery and recovery.  I remember waking up in the recovery room and asking the nurse if they were able to use the scope to remove it.  She said, in a much aggravated tone, "Yes, and you have asked me that over 100 times."  My reply to her was, "I do apologize, but right now is the first time that I have been aware of the answer."   This statement is what today's post will focus on.

In dealing with bitterness and learning to let go of hurtful situations, I focused a great amount of time, FAR too much time, seeking to find the answer to why certain things had occurred.  I tried to understand people, especially what they were thinking during these occurrences.  I had lots of questions and I wanted answers. I felt an enormous need to understand people. I felt as if there were some folks that needed to explain their actions and behaviors.   

Then, finally, I was acutely aware of the answer.  It was the same answer even though I had many different questions.  Just like in my recovery room conversation, when I was aware of the answer, I could stop asking the questions.  The answer was this:  I was trying to understand the wrong people.   I needed to spend less time trying to understand human beings and focus my time on understanding God.  Understanding God comes by digging deeper into his word, seeking to understand his grace, love and mercy.   Focusing on God's will and his plan for me led to far more answers than seeking to understand humans.  Trying to understand people is mind boggling and exhausting.  Working harder to understand God is rewarding and offers much peace in our lives.  

If you are ruminating in the questions of "why" some things have occurred in your life.  If you are spending too much time trying to understand people and their thoughts and actions, I urge you to spend time seeking to understand God.  Work to develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with him. As you gain a deeper understanding of Him, interestingly enough, you will begin to better understand the nature of people.  His grace will allow your mind to let go of the questions and feelings that lead to bitterness. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

Contentment

Philippians 4:11-12  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.

The recent snow bound days and cold weather in my area sparked memories of the winter of 1978.   I think we were out of school most of that winter.  We went to school on Saturdays in the spring to make up all that we had missed. 

I was in elementary school but remember the details vividly.  We were snow bound at home for two whole weeks due to a severe snow and ice storm.    We had no power and water for most of the time.  We relied on a spring for water and  the lines froze from the spring to the house and the pipes ruptured inside the house.  For several days, Daddy worked at getting the water lines open while having to carry buckets of water to the house for us to heat and use for bathing and cooking.

In those days, the modern weather predicting equipment that we have today, did not exist.  We could not always know when a major snow storm would arrive (unlike today when the forecasters predict the precise time that snow will begin to fall).  Therefore, we were not always stocked up and prepared for being house bound for 2 weeks.    We were not able to get to town, 20 miles away and so we ate whatever was in the freezer and cabinets.  Fortunately, there was a wood stove in our basement and a fireplace in the living room for warmth and cooking.  Mama cooked stew and soups in the fireplace and made cornbread in iron skillets on the hearth.  She put our milk outside in the snow to keep it cold and heated water for us to take a bath.  

With no power, there was no television- we could only get one channel anyway!  There was only light as long as the sun was shining, no radio, no way to do laundry, dry our hair, etc.  This is the closest I have ever been to living like an episode of Little House on the Prairie.  

Our house bound days consisted of reading books, crossword puzzles, "chunking" the fires, packing water, Trouble, Sorry, Rummy and Monopoly and playing outside for a little while each day.   What I remember most about this time is that the days consisted of great CONTENTMENT!    We found fun in being out of school, staying in our pajamas, playing games and "roughing it."    I don't remember Mama nor Daddy complaining about the situation.   I remember vividly that feeling of contentment and wanting for nothing more than what I had. 

I have never been in need of the basic necessities of life, even when snow bound for two weeks.  I am extremely grateful for that.   At times in my life, I have been in "want" of things that I thought I needed.   There have been times when I did not have appreciation and contentment for God's provisions for me.  It is easy for us to think that we know what is best for us.

Peace in your heart is disrupted when contentment is absent.  We must learn to be content whether we have little or much.  Our contentment should come from the strength that is available to us through Christ.   If you find yourself discontent and thinking that you need something more or something different, pray for God to change your attitude from "wanting" things into an attitude of accepting his provisions and plan for your life.  God promises us that he will supply us with all that we need.  Even when times seem tough to us, He is a wonderful provider!                

Friday, January 24, 2014

Psalm 147:3    He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  

The first time that I ever had a broken heart, I was an adult.  I praise God for that-for the fact that my heart had remained intact in my formative years!   When it did happen, it was a broken heart that caused the rest of my body to feel broken as well.  I felt physically ill, nauseated, paralyzed, emotionally numb.    As these symptoms began to subside, bitterness began to "set in".   Just as healing and forgiveness are processes, arriving at bitterness is also a process.  Bitterness is cumulative.  

Emotions compound, satan sees a loop hole and bitterness builds its way into the heart.   We wallow in the "whys", "what ifs", "if onlys".   This process may last a short time or, as in my case, it can last for years.  

Healing and forgiveness are decisions.   Decisions in which we have complete control.  When we decide to seek healing, we must also decide to submit to God, believe in his word and live out his instructions.   

Whether you have wallowed for one minute, one day or one decade, there is no better time to make that decision to allow God to heal your broken heart and get rid of the bitterness.              

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cupcake Crown

It is time for a Cupcake Crown.   The crown today goes to a dear friend of mine that I have known since elementary school. 

True, Christlike love involves the ability and desire to love others when they can do nothing in return.  This special lady has cared for her Mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer's, for the past several years.  She has honored, loved and held her mother-in-law in high regard by performing personal care tasks and household chores that afford dignity.  She has cared for her mother-in-law with love and respect and without expectation of recognition or reward. 

A shining example of selfless, Christlike love!  I know that you will have special jewels for your crown in heaven.                      #TSS



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Discouragment

Psalm 136:23-26      He remembered us in our weakness.  His faithful love endures forever.  He saved us from our enemies.  His faithful love endures forever.  He gives food to every living thing.  His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven.  His faithful love endures forever.


When doubt, discouragement, fear or anxiety creep in, how do you find your ground?   Let's be real with one another-if you have a pulse, one or more of these emotions will find their way into your mind at some point in time.  There will be times when everything in your life seems to be great and then WHAM, out of nowhere your mind begins to go in a negative direction.  

Why?  Because the devil never gives up on trying to defeat us. When we work for the kingdom of God, Satan will work overtime to prevent our obedience and works.  There is nothing he will not try.  Self doubt, discouragement, fear and anxiety are common means that Satan uses to try and thwart our feelings and works for God. 

A great chapter to read to remind us in whom we are grounded, is Psalm 136.  God is faithful.  His love is faithful!  His protection, mercies and kindness are faithful!    While Satan is persistent in negative modes, God is faithful in his power and strength and can rescue us from ANYTHING negative that is thrown our way.                                      

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Battle of the Bulge

1 Timothy 4:8   For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

My husband and I had a chuckle the other day while getting ready at the same time.  This followed a couple of weeks of Christmas break that consisted of very little physical activity and a great amount of snacking and wearing very comfortable clothing most of the time.   I walked into the closet and made the remark, "wonder how many of my pants I can even zip".   I knew I had put on a few pounds, as I do every winter when my physical activity decreases.  I seem to notice it most around the holidays and as many people do, I want to attribute it to holiday food and desserts. 

In the conversation that followed, my husband began to talk about when and how women decided that they need to be a certain size.  We talked about that for a bit, noticing that in older television shows, women were not always thin.  We recalled that in portraits from centuries ago that women were "fleshy".   My opinion on the attitude of the "perfect" body size comes from the 1960s and 1970s when media and magazines began to present such a focus on fashion and appearance.   Models and mannequins that introduce fashions to us are thin.   When we see that visual image, we believe that image to be what we should look like. 

The battle of the bulge is an ongoing industry in our country.  Promises of weight loss, fat burners and exercise programs lure people to spend great amounts of money and time in efforts to have a "perfectly" sized body.  Don't get me wrong, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise is important to take care of our bodies.  However, constant obsession and worry about weight and clothing size is not healthy. 

More important than what size pants you wear is what size things are you doing for the Lord?  His tape measure does not involve your waist line.  It involves loving people, showing compassion, witnessing to the lost, feeding the hungry and proclaiming God's word.            #TSS

Monday, January 20, 2014

Abishag

1 Kings 1:3-4    So they searched throughout the land of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abishag from Shumen and brought her to the king.  The girl was very beautiful, and she looked after the king and took care of him.

Abishag is not one of the most talked about women of the Bible.  She did not do great and mighty things like some of the women but she did what she was told.  Abishag was a young virgin girl chosen as a live in nurse for the elderly King David in his older years.  Her main job was to lie in his arms and keep him warm.  The Bible tells us that she did just that and that nothing sexual existed between them.

Not my first choice of careers by any means, but that is not where this story is going.  Immediately after King David's death, Abishag became a bargaining tool, a pawn if you will, between sons Solomon and Adonijah.   They used her as leverage to claim stakes to the throne.  Solomon had inherited the throne and Adonijah wanted it.  Politics at their finest with an innocent girl in the middle!  

In this era, kings had harems.  Abishag was part of Solomon's harem; a part of the property of the throne.   Solomon's brother, Adonijah sent their mother, Bathsheba to ask for Abishag to marry.  Solomon realized his brother's intentions were to work his way into the throne and be the king.  Solomon had his brother killed because of his lack of loyalty. 

The focus of this post is Abishag.  No one asked her about any of this; she was not asked how she felt, what she thought, what she wanted---not one thing did they ask  her about.   She was merely treated as a piece of furniture in the palace with little or no value. 

Sometimes in life, we may feel as if we are treated as objects with little value.  There are many examples in our society of how human life is not valued.  The treatment/attitude may come from family members, co workers, or groups with which we are involved.  Satan will use these opportunities to cause us to feel that we are of no value.  He uses people to carry out treatments that devalue human life.  Betrayal, lies, hatred and self serving motives for acquiring "things" are all ways in which he operates. 

Resist the temptation to believe these lies.  God will always consider each of us with great value and will always treat each of us as an important person.  When people treat you without value turn away from their attitudes and turn to God for the truth.  In Matthew  28:20 God reminds us, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."                      

Friday, January 17, 2014

Give thanks for your circumstances!

1 Thessalonians 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Helen Keller said,  "Life is short and unpredictable.  Eat the dessert first."  Helen Keller also gave thanks to God for everything in her life.  She was blind and deaf as a result of an illness when she was a baby.  Think about what it would be like to be both blind and deaf.  We rely on those senses every second of every day.  Many people threw their hands in the air in regards to dealing with Helen.  She was described as "wild and uncontrollable".  I imagine that she was extremely frustrated at the lack of being able to communicate.  She had a teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, who never gave up on Helen.  She made remarkable breakthroughs in teaching her to communicate.

Helen spent her life working to improve communication methods for the blind and deaf.  Where would the world for the blind and deaf be today if she had not been able to give thanks to God in her circumstances?

In our lives, we should eat dessert first.  By this, I mean that we should be able to recognize the sweet things that God has given us.  We should be able to give him thanks for whatever circumstance and seek to find what he wants from us in each of those circumstances.

It has been said that necessity is the mother of inventions.  Many times God will show us ways in which to invent things that will will help others.  Those inventions may be on the lines of what Helen Keller helped inspire.  There may be a book that will help someone to heal or the invention may be as simple as planning a new ministry within our churches or communities.

Give thanks today for your circumstances!  Ask God if there is any contribution to his people that he wants you to make based on your circumstances.             

Thursday, January 16, 2014

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
   

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Faith or Intellectual Assent?

James 2:14  What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions?

Do you have faith or intellectual assent?   

I have learned a great deal about faith, more so about my lack there of, in the past few years.  Understanding faith and living by faith are two totally different concepts.  Having faith but never putting it into action is a type of intellectual assent.  

I read of  intellectual assent in a Bible study session.   It is such an eloquent sounding phrase and I thought it sounded like a good thing to have.  Until I studied more.   It means to be in agreement with a set of Christian teachings.  Don't  misunderstand, we need to be in agreement with Christian teachings.  We are required to do more than just understand Christian teachings, we also must apply the knowledge in all areas of our lives in order to put faith into action.

Let me explain why intellectual assent is not the best quality to possess.  Having intellect about God's word and his teachings is a necessary element of being a Christian. However, if all we have is intellectual assent, then we have INCOMPLETE faith.  True faith is faith in action, not just words that we can recite or discuss.  Complete faith comes from belief, trust and surrender.   It is believing in God's sovereignty and knowledge, trusting that he will take care of ALL things pertaining to us and surrendering the negative, unproductive emotions.

For the years that I wasted wallowing in bitterness and anger, I could recite and discuss  the things in which I believed and all the promises that God has made to us.   However, I did not put my faith into action by letting go of the bitterness and trusting in God's sovereignty and his promises.  You know the old saying, "You gotta walk the walk"?  I was not doing that.  My talk and my walk did not align. I did not apply the knowledge that I had about God's sovereignty and how he promises to take care of all the aspects of our lives. 

Faith requires a daily walk and daily action.  Living by faith is a discipline.  It requires much trust and obedience. It is good to talk about faith to others.  However, if we quote scripture and recite the things we know without living in a manner that shows we have applied that knowledge, we only demonstrate our intellect without confidence that God will follow through on his promises.  For as much as we know and believe, we must exhibit. This will in turn show others what faith in action looks like.     

Monday, January 13, 2014

Heartfelt Obedience

Isaiah       1:19  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.


It is not God's style to force us into obedience.

He wants us to have hearts that choose him and submit to obedience out of love and a desire to serve him.

Is he calling you?  Is he calling your heart to surrender to him?  Perhaps he is calling upon you to serve him through a ministry project or leadership role. 

When we love him with all our hearts, obedience seems to come naturally.                  #TSS

Friday, January 10, 2014

Letting Go of the Good Things

Philippians 4:8    And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about these things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Today's post is about letting go, but not in the sense that is usually addressed, rather in the context of letting go of the "good" stuff.  You may be asking yourself why should we let go of the good stuff.  Sometimes it is necessary. 

My maternal grandfather passed away last summer.  He was 94 and had lived an honorable life full of hard work, commitment to his family (a large family at that), loyalty to his church and many friends and interests.  My sweet grandmother (91) is having a difficult time-letting go.  

A couple of days ago, an auction company loaded all of his farm implements and accessories to be taken to a site for a public auction.  I talked to Nana the night before they came and she was speaking a great deal about those "things" being taken off the farm.   As I listened to her words, I could hear her heart so plainly (I thank God for that-I've prayed to hear the hearts of people beyond their words).   Nana is not a materialistic person at all.  It wasn't that she did not want to let go of a tractor, manure spreader, plow or tobacco setter.  Those implements collectively represented such an important era of her life.  The era when my grandfather worked the land that they "set up housekeeping" on; a time when he was vibrant and provided for the needs of their family.  She was remembering how he had enjoyed working the farm and how well he maintained and cared for it all. I am sure that as she watched the trucks leave the driveway that she felt as if many years of her life was now leaving on flat bed trucks-a scrapbook rolling down the hill.   An era of time to be revisited only in the mind.

It is not easy letting go.  Period.  It is not easy to let go of the bad stuff.  Many times it is difficult to let go of the good stuff.

We are to fix our thoughts on the good stuff and remember to relish in The Sweet Stuff.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Facing past hurts

Psalm 139:23-24   Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.


We are all busy.  Life is busy.  Some of the busyness is necessary to take care of our homes and families.  Perhaps some of the busyness is in the name of evasion.   Let's think about that for a minute.

I seem to thrive in a busy environment.  Not that I need to be going somewhere all the time but I think I need to keep my mind busy with hobbies, reading, projects, work, etc.  I have often said that being busy keeps my mind off the bad stuff, some of the unpleasantness of the past.   This works to a degree.  However, a while back when I read Psalm 139:23-24, the words of the verses pierced my heart with a different view.  There are times, however,  when God wants us to focus our minds on those unpleasant occurrences in order to lay them to rest and rid of bitterness.

When we possess emotions, attitudes and thoughts that are offensive to God, it is beneficial to allow him to show us what those are.  We can then in turn deal with emotions, thoughts and attitudes that contain vengeance, bitterness, anger and hurt.  Filling all our time with work, hobbies, or social activities does not afford us time to hear God and seek the things in our hearts that he would have us address.  Busyness in the name of evasion only perpetuates things of the past that need attention. 

In order to emotionally heal and grow in our relationship with God, it is necessary to face past hurts, emotions and thoughts brought about by those hurts, as well as any wrong motives.  We do not necessarily need to face or confront the people involved, but we do need to deal with the feelings.  Admit the emotions and allow God to replace them with righteous motives.   Facing the past and dealing with the emotions frees the heart to accept the love and good things that God has in store for us.  Bitter, negative emotions and attitudes crowd the mind leaving little room for positive, productive ones.  Facing hurtful feelings and events is not always easy.  No one wants to recount unpleasant events.  However, by facing feelings, we are able to allow God to take the hurt and turn it into healing.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Making Peace with the Past

Luke 9:62   But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."

When we accept Jesus as our lord and savior and make a commitment to follow him, he expects a full commitment.  In looking at Luke 9:62 that commitment includes looking forward and not behind us.  If you plow, whether with a mule or tractor, you cannot see where you need to go if you are constantly looking back at where you have been. 

We need to come to place of "making peace with the past".   This doesn't mean that we will forget everything bad or uncomfortable about the past, for in doing so, we would also forget the good.  We can choose not to remember in a way that affects our commitment and work for the Lord.

Some thoughts and points to help make peace with the past:

-Whether you were on the giving or receiving end of wrong, it is over.   No going back.
- You should keep no record of wrongs. You should keep no record of rights.  Life is not a contest.
-Feel whatever you need to feel: anger, sadness, sorrow and be finished with those feelings for each particular situation.  Refuse to feel negative and hurtful emotions.
-You have total control over your mind, therefore, find a place to put the hurt and let it hurt you NO more.
-Grieve it, bury it and sow flowers on it. 
-Life will still move forward, even if in small steps.  Move forward with it in a positive way.
-If you have accepted Jesus as you lord and savior, you are NOT that person from the past anymore.  You have been made a new creature.  Don't let the devil tell you otherwise.

There is a saying that I remember from a church sign years ago:  "When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Letting go of the past

Isaiah  43:19    See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

This verse refers to the Israelites as they wandered in the desert after having been slaves in Egypt for so many years before the Exodus.   This verse promises a new exodus-a delivery from their past; a promise for much greater things in the future.

The Israelites wandered around in circles for 40 years.  They wandered, not because they couldn't find their way (God offered the GPS!).  They wandered because they chose not to let go and listen to what God was saying.  The trip they had to make to be free from their past would have only taken 10 days if they had let go and listened to God. 

10 days. That was 14,590 unnecessary days of turning in circles.  Talk about wasted time!

Are you turning in circles?  Wandering in a desert full of wastelands of your past?  If so, it is unnecessary and unproductive. Listen to what God is saying.  He wants you to focus on the future instead of the past.  He wants you to move forward instead of going around and around.  Isaiah 43:18, one verse before, tells us this, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past". 

Some points about the past:
       -whether the event/hurt/mistake was 1 minute, 1 month, 1 year or 1 decade ago--- it is done. 
       -You, nor anyone else can change what happened
       -We cannot rewind
       -The past is just that:  it has PASSED

Treat each moment as NEW.  Get out of the desert wastelands in into the stream of better things in the future.  Let go and stop wandering in circles.  Listen to God and move forward into the new things he has planned for you.                         



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Forgiving Yourself

Hebrews 10:17   Then he adds:  "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 
Jeremiah 31:34  ...."For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

In as much as we must forgive others of the wrongs against us, we must forgive ourselves.

We have ALL made mistakes.  Period.  No exceptions.

Different flavors, different details, different stages in our lives, various outcomes.
Some small, some large.  Some caused no damage. some caused great damage.
Same internal, emotional processes, same tools for Satan to use against us. 
Some mistakes cause us grief and lifelong scars, often accompanied by torment of guilt and regret.  These are tools of the enemy.  God does NOT want us to wallow in guilt and grief.  

When we have accepted Christ and the forgiveness that he gave his life for, we must also understand that he expects us to forgive ourselves.  If we do not forgive ourselves and do not let go of our mistakes, we create a barrier between ourselves and worship with God.   When we cannot openly and freely worship from our hearts, we cannot move forward with the love that God offers and the purpose that he has planned for our lives. 

Forgive yourself and dwell on it no more.  Get rid of regret and guilt.  Practice forgetting and letting go.  God does not remember-he says so in Jeremiah and Hebrews.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Children-A perfect gift from above

James 1:17     Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Since I was 10 or 11 years old, I dreamed of perfect gifts from above-children.  I would daydream about how many I would be blessed with, what I would name them, whether I would have boys or girls.  I have always loved babies and children and I love mine to depths of which I could not have imagined.  The love for our children is an unexplainable feeling that does not change. 

The same is true about God's love for us.  As the scripture says in James 1:17, God does not change.  His love for us remains constant, the same as the love that we have for our children.  His love for us is a perfect gift from above.     

I stand in awe of the perfect gift of children.  It is breathtaking to take it all in.  I marvel at the fact that cells which can only be seen under a microscope can merge together and develop into a person.  I marvel at those precious beings and how within my children I can see my grandmother's eyes, my husband's teeth, my hair, and other physical traits.  I can hear similarities in the voices of my children of other family members.  Personality traits can be recognized as well.  From God's love for us, we are gifted these precious beings.    


I thank God for those good and perfect gifts, for I know they are from above.  Hug those babies an extra time or two today and marvel at the gift which you have been given!       

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Letting Go

Letting go is not always an easy process.  In order to heal emotionally and to move forward, letting go is required. 

Many of you remember cassette players-I was a teen in the era of cassettes.  The rewind button was one of my favorite parts of my stereo.  It allowed me to go back and replay a favorite song without having to listen to the entire tape before it came around again.  I would play the song, rewind, play the song again.  It was handy for helping me to memorize all the words in a short time.  

It was not possible to punch rewind and play at the same time.  The tape would not move backwards and forward simultaneously.  It would either go backwards or forward but not both.

The same is true with our lives and emotions.  We cannot move backwards and expect to move forward at the same time.   By continuously rewinding a situation or hurt, we do exactly as I did with my favorite songs, we memorize all the words and details and it plays in our minds, except unlike the favorite songs, these details have negative consequences and hinder us from punching the "PLAY" button to move forward.

If you use the "REWIND" button with hurts and situations, it is time to LET GO.  When you feel the need to go over the details and events, focus on the "PLAY" button and move forward.  It takes practice and commitment, but moving forward is essential in letting go.      #TSS