The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"SELF" is the root of rejection

Psalms 41:9   Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. 

I am sure as many of you read this verse, you can call to mind a time when you were rejected by a close friend, a family member or perhaps a spouse.  Rejection hurts.  Not only does it hurt immediately, but it also causes long term hurts and issues that effect other relationships in our lives. 

Rejection and betrayal are difficult to understand and equally as difficult to overcome.   When we are rejected, a part of us dies.  We mourn.  We grieve.  We wonder why we are not good enough.  We ask ourselves, "What is wrong with me?" or "What did I do wrong?"

What dies within us is mostly the death of our expectations of that relationship.  Our hope and trust in that person dies.  We lose the expectation of being loved and cared for and treated accordingly.  We expect a spouse to honor the vows of "for better or worse" and "till death do us part".  We expect friends to be real and true.  We expect jobs to be fair and people to treat us with respect and concern. 

We experience feelings of rejection because the actions of others do NOT meet our expectations.  This leaves us feeling of little value.  We feel unimportant and unloved.  Rejection occurs because the actions of people do not meet God's expectations of how to treat others.  He will never approve of rejection. 

Rejection is most difficult when it comes from a family member or close friend.  If you have ever heard the words, "I don't love you anymore", then you know all the emotions and thoughts that follow.   When a person betrays you or decides they have changed the way they feel about you, that relationship is severed.  If the relationship is a close one, perhaps a marriage or a friendship of many years, the rejection will cause a physical "ripping of the flesh" experience.   Physical symptoms will accompany this type of severance. 

How does someone suddenly change his/her mind about loving or even liking someone?  How does a person wake up one day and no longer wish to be a part of someone else, especially when the relationship has existed for many years?  

The root of the matter when a person rejects another is "SELF".   When a person wrongs another, there are selfish motives and attitudes at heart.  There is an absence of God's will anytime rejection intentionally occurs.   When we seek God with all our hearts, it should never be within our hearts to reject another. 

In the midst of the pain and grief that rejection brings, remember that God loves you and will never reject you.  Also focus on your value as he sees it, not as humans assign it.  The actions and rejections of others do NOT determine your value as God's child. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Humility

Psalms 25:9  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

Humility is defined in the dictionary as meekness, lowliness, having a modest opinion of oneself.  Humility before God is an attitude; a condition of the heart that is pleasing unto God.  Humility means we are submissive to God and that his will for us is more important that anything we can plan.

We learn humility as we experience God's grace and grow in our relationship with him.  We are called into true, genuine humility in order to understand the seemingly unbearable circumstances around us.   When we are truly humble, we are able to leave the answers to him, respect his sovereignty and await his timing. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wisdom will help you in times of trouble

James 1:5-6  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

The wisdom that God has to offer us is the tool that will allow us to overcome trials and troubles.  Wisdom will help us to propel forward.    God promises that he will take care of us through the difficulties of life.  He promises that he is close by and will see us through anything that comes our way.  Does this mean that we will not experience pain throughout our trials?  No.  But it does mean that God will comfort us as he shows us the way. 

There is a difference between having intelligence and being full of wisdom.  An intelligent person possesses much knowledge, has profound ideas and may offer explanations and theories about a variety of subjects.   A person with wisdom puts knowledge into action.  A person with godly wisdom understands as well as accepts God's will for each and every circumstance in life. 

Wisdom begins with an appreciation of Gods' sovereignty.  Wisdom possesses respect for God and accepts God's direction.  Wisdom believes that God knows best even in the midst of trials when it seems that things are not going our way.   Wisdom says, "your way is best Lord and I trust in your loving care". 

James 1:2  tells us that we will face trials of many kinds.   Each of these trials in life should help us to mature and grow in wisdom and faith.  Just as studying various subject matter will increase intelligence, seeking God's wisdom in all our trials will develop godly character. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Be free of selfish motives

James 3:14-16     But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 

Campaign season is in full force in our area.  Yard signs, newspaper ads, phone calls and radio announcements are abundant with election messages and paraphernalia.    It seems that these days candidates are without filters both written and verbal.  Campaign slogans turn into "slurrrgans" of the opponent.   Destructive competitiveness has become the norm amidst local, state and national campaigns.   There appears to be an epidemic of a "great big I and little bitty you" syndrome.   Have we as people become so power hungry and full of selfish ambition that we try to win at any cost?   As long as we become the winner with the title, does it no longer matter how we hurt others? 

Undoubtedly there are politicians that have a genuine desire to serve the people and fulfill the expectations of the elected office.  There are also those that have selfish ambition and greed at heart.  Some are power hungry and enjoy the title and authority that accompanies an office.  Others desire an office because they simply want what someone else has.  Disorder, confusion and corruption many times will follow those who seek offices for selfish reasons. 

Jealousy and selfish ambition are tools of the devil.  Societal pressures encourage us to be drawn into desiring things for the wrong reasons.  Phrases such as "Go for it",  "You only live once", "Set your sights high" and "Take care of self" are examples of advice that society offers us.  Following this type of advice can become destructive.  Seeking God's wisdom will keep us from selfish desires and wanting what others have.  Whether in politics or everyday living, asking God for advice on how to act wisely, speak with honor and wisdom and live a life of humility will ensure that we keep our minds free of selfish motives. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cupcake Crown!


 
This cupcake crown goes to a sweet lady that I have had the privilege of getting to know over the past year through Facebook.  I have known her since high school but had not really "known" her until now.   She serves God by continuously and tirelessly serving others.  She works at our local hospital serving patients as well as serving her church family, her own family, her extended family and the community.   Did I mention that she has a chronic health condition which she never complains about?   Her energy and eagerness to help others is a great inspiration to myself and many others.  Service is about putting others before self and without a doubt, this sweet cupcake ALWAYS puts others before herself.     Ms. "L", you deserve the largest box of cupcakes money can buy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Focus on the Mission

Exodus 3:10-12      But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  And God said, "I will be with you........"

A few days ago I had the privilege of imaging a patient that is a veteran of the Vietnam War.  He  served our country in Germany as well as Vietnam.  He began to talk about his service in the military.  He said that he enlisted in the military at age 18 and served four years in Germany.  As he was in line to board the ship to return home from his four year commitment, his commanding officer called his name.  When he answered, the officer asked him if he was an airborne raider.  The man responded with "yes, sir".  The commanding officer told him to step out of line that he was going straight to Vietnam and not home.

As we talked more about his duties in Vietnam, he was very candid about some details.   Those details brought disbelief to my ears and tears to my eyes.  I asked him how as a young man did he prevent being overcome by fear.  He told me that he never allowed himself to entertain the thoughts of fear.  If he had, he would have been killed.  He said that he just focused on the mission, completed that mission, refused to think about the scary details and proceeded on to the next mission.  What a profound statement.  

How many times in life do we entertain fear and allow it prevent us from completing a mission that God has called us to complete?  How often do we think that maybe we are not the right person for that mission?  When God called upon Moses to rescue the Israelites, he was hesitant to obey and serve.  Perhaps he felt inadequate.  Perhaps he was afraid. 

When God calls us to work for him, no matter what the mission, we should proceed with the same attitude that the Vietnam veteran had. 
                 -Never entertain thoughts of fear
                 -Focus on the mission
                 -Complete the mission
                 -Refuse to think upon negative or scary parts of the mission
                 -Proceed to the next mission.

*A little side note:  If you have never thanked a veteran for serving our country, I encourage you to do so.  There is a special blessing that goes both ways when we acknowledge their service, bravery and willingness to defend our country.   Be ready for some tears, it is touching!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

No looking back

Genesis 19:26   But Lot's wife looked back and she became a pillar of salt.

I encourage you to read all of Genesis chapter 19 to absorb all the details of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The story focuses around the sinful behaviors and rebellion of the people in this city.  God had warned them that destruction was coming because of their wickedness.  Lot and his family were offered protection from the destruction if they would flee the city.  However, they had allowed their environment to shape their minds.  Lot and his family had become desensitized to the evil that was going on around them.  It had become comfortable to them. 

Even in the midst of their efforts to flee the city, Lot's wife was clinging to the past.  Her body was running forward toward safety but her eyes were looking back.  She was not willing to turn completely away and trust in God to rescue her.  She was longing to remain in her city. 

Satan wants us to be content among sinful behaviors.  He wants us to blend in to the environment and be "one of the crowd".   One of his favorite lines to plant in the minds of people is "everyone else is doing it".  Very dangerous words.  He wants us to believe that sin is not as big a deal as the Bible says it is.  

If you have become content with living in sinful behavior or have developed a habit of sinful thinking, I encourage you to stop clinging to the past.  Move forward into God's safety net, and allow his environment to shape you.   God expects us to be a witness for him and not just part of the crowd.  If you have lost your witness or are too much like your environment or "the crowd" perhaps you should find a new "crowd" in a new environment.   Spending time in a positive, godly environment will reshape your attitude and rebuild your witness. 

You cannot move forward and grow into a relationship with God while looking back and longing to remain in a sinful environment.   You must let go of all the pieces of your "old" life and move into the new.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The checklist of service.

1 Peter 4:11     If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.

Serving God is not about accomplishing a long list of tasks for the sake of having the list.  

Serving God is not for our own recognition.

Serving God should not cause us to try to rise above one another.

Service is not a competition.

Serving God IS about having an obedient attitude each and every day with each and every task.

Serving God DOES involve seeking him with all our hearts.

Serving God SHOULD encourage, build up, and support one another. 

Serving and working together SHALL allow us to rise together above all worldly things.   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Do you have a willing attitude?

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

If you think that you must have a certain degree, skill or a list of qualifications to do great things for God--think again!   God chose Mary to give birth to Jesus.  She was very young, inexperienced and poor.  Yet God picked her to accomplish the greatest task ever in the history of our world.

Other people in the Bible that accomplished great things were ordinary as well.   The commonality among the servants of God is that each person loved God and had a WILLINGNESS  to serve.  God has tasks for each of us to accomplish-a purpose for our gifts and talents.  He looks for WILLINGNESS as well as a desire to seek him with all our heart.   Mary responded to God's task for her by saying, "Whatever you say Lord".  She had an attitude of acceptance.  Even though Mary's purpose caused her grief and suffering, she pressed forward with a consistent attitude of acceptance and willingness. 

When God calls you to a task, do you willingly accept the assignment?  Are you willing to accomplish that task even if trouble may come?   Working for God, whatever the task, will stir up the devil and there will be resistance and what will appear to be trouble.  Sometimes the resistance will present itself from your own families and friends.  You may be rejected, criticized, or excluded from activities.  Work for God anyway!  He will protect you and give you all the qualifications necessary to accomplish his work through you.  Pray for an attitude of acceptance and willingness to seek out all the tasks and opportunities to serve that God has planned for you!       #TSS

Friday, May 2, 2014

Do not worry

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rejection can be PROTECTION

Psalm 18:30    God's way is perfect.  All the Lord's promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

Rejection hurts.  Period.  I cannot think of anyone who will say that rejection is a pleasant experience.  As soon as satan realizes that we have been rejected, here he comes with the attack on our self worth and esteem.   He kicks us while we are down with repeated insults and character assassination.    Rejection is not fun. 

Feeling as if no one loves us or wants us is one of the most insecure emotions that we can experience.  We feel flawed and wonder why we are such a bad person.  If rejection happens to us more than once, we really begin to feel as if we have a problem.   Sometimes rejection can lead us to act in desperation or change to meet someone else's expectations of us in order to feel accepted. 

It is difficult in the midst of the hurt caused by rejection to see beyond the event and satan's lies.  However, as I think back about times in my life that I have suffered rejection, I can smile and thank God today for each and every time.  I can now see that the situations that hurt so badly were actually filled with God's protection.  

If you are experiencing rejection of any kind, remember that God's way is never flawed.   Begin to view the situation from his perspective and believe that man's rejection is God's PROTECTION.