The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Monday, June 30, 2014

God's yardstick

2 Corinthians 10:12  We do not dare to compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

This verse contains a lot of "selves" and comparing.  Have you ever compared yourselves to others?  We all have.  I find myself needing to reel "self" in fairly often and stop trying to measure up to others.  It is a difficult battle in the mind to compare ourselves to others and use their accomplishments and blessings as yardsticks for our own lives. 

Facebook and other social media is a breeding ground for comparisons.  Social media captures fleeting moments of happiness and accomplishments.   Status updates and photo posts do NOT represent what life is like all the time, yet we are tempted to believe that many have "perfect" lives and it leaves us feeling like we are holding the short end of the stick.   At times when I read posts that contain a list of things that one of my friends has completed since she started her day, (and it is now only 9 a.m.), I am left thinking that I am a lousy housekeeper.  When others have washed 12 loads of laundry, cleaned the entire house and cooked two meals all in one morning, I am thinking "either she has several washers and dryers or I am not doing this right."

Comparing ourselves to others is not a new issue with people, however, I do think that it has escalated with so much social media available today.   When the activities of others is ever before us, comparison is an easy temptation.

I tell you, and please hear it loudly and clearly:  God does not use the same yardstick that is used by people.  Don't worry about other people's accomplishments, job titles, material possessions nor their comings and goings.   Focus instead on what God expects you to accomplish.  Measure and compare your life with the life of Jesus Christ and strive to accomplish things that would please him.    Perhaps God asked you to visit someone at the hospital one morning and your laundry remained piled up.  Maybe your babies needing holding an extra hour after breakfast or it is your day off and you feel a calling to spend it with a friend you haven't seen in while.    These are the things God measures.  How you submit to his callings and expectations are the markers on his yardstick.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Crumbled or Humbled

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

Crumbled or Humbled? 

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

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

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

All day.  Every day!!!!!

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

All day.  Every day!!!!!

The choice is ours.   CRUMBLED or HUMBLED?                    #TSS

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forgive 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.  We are often tormented with 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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Each and every one of us is vulnerable to a broken heart and capable of breaking the hearts of others. We all are subject to the uncertainties of life. Hurts and disappointments will happen because we are all imperfect as human beings. Our flesh and our hearts may fail and often do just that.

Most of us have suffered a broken heart at some point in our lives. Broken hearts come from disappointments when our dreams are shattered. The grief of losing a loved one will cause our hearts to literally ache within our chests. Our emotions will be broken when people fail to keep their promises or betray us. Broken hearts can lead to broken attitudes that turn into bitterness, broken relationships, distrust or loss of excitement about life. A broken heart can feel as if the world is coming to an end and that things will never be the same.

A broken heart does not have to be permanent. God can fill up your broken heart in ways that you can only imagine.  Allow him to mend your brokenness and restore your heart.  Gather the strength that he has to offer in order to rebuild your brokenness.  If you have caused a broken heart, confess that to God, and pray for him to show you how to find restoration.

Friday, June 20, 2014

One day all evil will be destroyed

Proverbs 16:4     The Lord works out everything for his own ends-even the wicked for a day of disaster. 

When things seem dark and lonely to you and you feel that so much wickedness exists around you, seek God's sovereignty.  Remind yourself that he is in charge.  He does not approve of evil, nor does he bless it.   His promise to us is that one day he will destroy all evil.   What a glorious day that will be.   In seeking to understand and appreciate  God's sovereignty, we can have peace that is beyond our understanding in the midst of dark and lonely times. 


I have a few openings for speaking engagements in July and August.  If you would like to arrange a retreat, Bible study or general speaking engagement, please contact me through the message center or email.  Events may be customized to meet the needs of the audience. 

Have a great weekend and thanks for joining me in learning more about God at The Sweet Stuff Ministry.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How do you know when you have forgiven someone?

Matthew 18:35   "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

In Matthew 18:15-35 Jesus tells us about what is expected of us regarding forgiveness of one another.  Forgiveness must be from the heart, not just from the lips.   In a recent Bible study class, someone asked the question, "How do you know when you have forgiven someone?"  Good question! 

Forgiveness from the heart means that as  the offended, we must many times change our hearts about the offense.  We must overcome the fleshly reactions to the injury-the anger and other negative emotions must be subdued.  The bad memories of the situation must be erased from the mind.   Thoughts of vengeance must turn to prayers for God's justice. 

If bitterness and grudge filled remembrances about the injury remain, forgiveness is not within the heart.  If you say that you have forgiven yet continue to replay and repeat the offense your heart is not free of the hurt.   If physical reactions such as adrenaline rushes and angry emotions flow through your body when you see the offender or any reminders of the offense, your heart has not forgiven.  I call this "heat behind the ears".  When I need to forgive someone, seeing that person or thinking of the situation will cause me to have heat behind my ears.  This is an adrenaline and physical response to the offense.  I also believe it is the Holy Spirit reminding me that I have some things to address within my heart. 

You have completely forgiven someone when you no longer feel that the offender owes you a repayment.  When you can pray for the offender, genuinely pray for their well being and not pray for vengeance, you have forgiven from the heart.  When you grieve with them and their losses and do not rejoice in their calamities, you have forgiven from the heart.  

Forgiveness from the heart requires self discipline, close communion with God a desire to advance in spiritual growth.  It is not easy, does not always feel good to our flesh, however, it is expected and necessary as Christians. 

How do you know when you have forgiven someone?

Matthew 18:35   "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

In Matthew 18:15-35 Jesus tells us about what is expected of us regarding forgiveness of one another.  Forgiveness must be from the heart, not just from the lips.   In a recent Bible study class, someone asked the question, "How do you know when you have forgiven someone?"  Good question! 

Forgiveness from the heart means that as  the offended, we must many times change our hearts about the offense.  We must overcome the fleshly reactions to the injury-the anger and other negative emotions must be subdued.  The bad memories of the situation must be erased from the mind.   Thoughts of vengeance must turn to prayers for God's justice. 

If bitterness and grudge filled remembrances about the injury remain, forgiveness is not within the heart.  If you say that you have forgiven yet continue to replay and repeat the offense your heart is not free of the hurt.   If physical reactions such as adrenaline rushes and angry emotions flow through your body when you see the offender or any reminders of the offense, your heart has not forgiven.  I call this "heat behind the ears".  When I need to forgive someone, seeing that person or thinking of the situation will cause me to have heat behind my ears.  This is an adrenaline and physical response to the offense.  I also believe it is the Holy Spirit reminding me that I have some things to address within my heart. 

You have completely forgiven someone when you no longer feel that the offender owes you a repayment.  When you can pray for the offender, genuinely pray for their well being and not pray for vengeance, you have forgiven from the heart.  When you grieve with them and their losses and do not rejoice in their calamities, you have forgiven from the heart.  

Forgiveness from the heart requires self discipline, close communion with God a desire to advance in spiritual growth.  It is not easy, does not always feel good to our flesh, however, it is expected and necessary as Christians. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Love your enemies

Matthew 5:  43-46    "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?......."

God does not give us any reason not to love everyone.  We find the reasons.  We fill in the blanks with "I don't like him because _____________________" or "How can I love someone who did _____________ to me?" 

We have a tendency to love only those that can love us in return.  We are comfortable loving and being around those people that we trust and that we expect will do us no harm.  It is difficult to love people that have offended us.  One of the obstacles that is hard to get past is knowing that enemies have the desire to harm us or cause us grief.   It is much easier to avoid people that we know are difficult to love. 

We are not responsible for the treatment or lack of love that we may receive.  We ARE responsible for the love or lack of love that we give.  The ability to love our enemies comes from giving ourselves fully to God; trusting the Holy Spirit to show us how to love those that we may not "feel" a love towards.  In order to grow more Christlike, we must overcome any feelings of "unlove" and function in the capacity of God's love.  Is this always easy?  NO.  But it does get easier the more we  pray to love others the way in which God expects. 

It can be awkward loving enemies as we wrestle with our own fleshly emotions.  It may seem unfair that we offer love to people that will give us nothing in return.  People that have caused us harm or said unkind things about us can leave us with feelings that are volatile.  We may be tempted to unload our negative emotions on enemies instead of offering love and kindness.  Through His grace and strength that comes only from Him, we are able to love our enemies without erupting like a volcano.  

God wants us to show Agape love, a selfless sacrificial love; the kind of love that He has to offer.  It is a love that expects nothing in return.  It gets easier the more you practice loving those that cannot offer or perhaps will not offer love in return.  If we focus our love on others as a direct means of loving God, it is then easier to love an enemy.     

I encourage you to pray for your enemies.  Pray that you can love them in spite of it all.  Pray that God will soften your heart so that you can get past your feelings and understand Agape love.  Praying for your enemies, the ones that you know have caused you harm, is a difficult prayer to pray.  It goes against what we as humans feel in the flesh.   The ability to arrive at a place where we genuinely pray for our enemies comes from the Holy Spirit.  It is a fleshly battle that does not feel good.  However, the rewards are great for loving as God expects us to love!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The green-eyed monster

Genesis 4:8    Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field."  And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

This verse in Genesis holds so much to ponder.   Cain and Abel were the first siblings.  The first time that man sinned against man.  The first time jealousy reared its ugly head and the first murder.  

Jealousy is a fairly common emotion in our world, yet one that most people do not want to admit to feeling.  To admit jealousy makes people feel as ugly as the word itself.  The dictionary defines jealousy as "feelings of resentment toward another because of success or advantages".   Those feelings are really an internal issue in the eye of the beholder.   I believe that jealousy stems from a lack of fulfillment in one's own heart.   The lack of fulfillment might be the lack of salvation, feelings of inadequacy and/or lack of having a close relationship with God which may lead to seeking people and material things to satisfy the esteem. 

In the case with the first two brothers on earth, Cain was jealous of God's praise for Abel.  God was pleased with the offerings that Abel presented to him. However, one detail that is often overlooked is that Abel obeyed God and Cain did not.  Abel obeyed the instructions regarding the offering that God expected.   God told Cain that he too could be accepted if he obeyed the instructions (v.7).  When the jealousy became aroused, Cain allowed sin to control him and he killed his brother. 

Not very often do brothers and sisters kill one another because of sibling jealousies, but how often do they have sinful thoughts and attitudes toward one another because of perceived differences in how they are valued or loved.  How often do we avoid people or situations because of jealousy?  I can think of instances in which siblings are estranged from one another because of perceived differences in the treatment or love of parents.  Many times it involves a material possession such as land, heirlooms or money.   Estate settlements particularly cause intense emotions of envy and jealousy to grow and divide families.   Fear of not being loved or valued appears to part of the internal issue.  The beholder looks not at the truths in the situation, but instead ranks the injustices or emotions as a priority. 

Jealousy is a dangerous emotion.  If you find yourself experiencing feelings of envy or jealousy, pray that God will show you the importance that he places upon you.  Pray for obedience and fulfillment in what he has purposed for your life.   I don't know what each of you feels or where this devotion will find you, but I do know that jealousy is a favorite tool of Satan and he likes to intensify situations with it.   If you are dealing with jealousy, seek from God what is missing in your heart.  Allow him to fill the empty places and inadequate thoughts that you may experience.  We are each of great value to Him and we have our own gifts, talents and purposes.   Instead of being envious of His plan for others, focus on what His plan is for you.   Let him show you all that you are to him.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Leap forward instead of lashing out

Ephesians 4:26     Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:

When we have been hurt by another or a group of others, anger is a an emotion that rears its ugly head.  Anger is a strong emotion; one that tempts us to lash out.   Usually the lashing out comes in verbal form.  We want to tell the person that caused the hurt just exactly how we feel.  We want to quickly point out any imperfections that he/she possesses.   Some people call lashing out  "unloading"  or "giving someone a piece of our minds".  

Does lashing out fix the problem?  NO.  Does lashing out help the person to better understand the wrong he/she has committed?  NO.  Does lashing out help you to feel better.  Well, maybe,  but only in that moment when you feel in control of the fight and when you think that you have made that person completely aware of what he/she needs to change about themselves.  While lashing out is an immediate release of built up anger, it is not a long term solution to the problem.  In fact, it creates more problems because the "lasher outer" (I don't think that is a word) has reacted with sinful behavior. 

The opposite of lashing out is holding in anger.    The problem with holding in anger is that the roots for bitterness will take hold.  We are still mad, still hurt, still dealing with the same thoughts and feelings except our feelings never surface.  When bitterness begins to grow, those angry feelings will surface in other ways such as a bad attitude, critical spirit, withdrawal and even physical ailments.

Instead of lashing out or holding in anger, we should learn to leap forward.  Leap forward into forgiveness, mercy and compassion.   Leap into spiritual maturity by talking to the person that offended you in a Christlike way in order to better understand the situation.   Take care of angry emotions sooner rather than later.   When we allow the sun to set on our anger, especially numerous sunsets, we allow temptations of vengeance and lashing out to linger in our minds. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Psalms 9:9 "....... a stronghold in times of trouble."

Psalms 9:9 "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."

When troubles come, and they will, it is easy for us to wonder if God has forsaken us. We may ask God, "Are you there? Have you forgotten me? What am I doing wrong?" The Bible tells us that as Christians we will be persecuted. (1 Peter 2:19-23; John 15: 18-20; 2 Cor. 11:23-26; 2 Timothy 3: 10-12) Our persecutions come from Satan and those that enable Satan to use them. Persecution may be in the form of ridicule, gossip, torment, physical injury, or character assassination just to name a few. It is Satan's goal to steal from us, torment and destroy us.

As Christians, we should rejoice and embrace these persecutions (Matthew 5:10-12; Acts 5:40-42). This does not mean that they do not cause pain or that we will feel like celebrating, in fact some persecutions are painful and grievous. But we should be honored to endure for the Lord and remember the sufferings that Christ endured for us.

When people persecute us, we are tempted to become angry and sometimes to retaliate. In our times of suffering, we must not sin but hold steadfast in our faith. God promises us that he will provide a way out of the suffering and will hold us when we hurt. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God will not give us more than we can bear.

Each of us has our own troubles and heartaches. They come in different flavors, different degrees of seriousness and have different outcomes. But one thing remains the same: God offers us comfort and refuge.   In those times of torment and persecution, be still, be quiet and watch God work for you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Children are a reward

Psalm 127:3    Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

Since the time our children have been toddlers, my husband and I have regularly set aside a day every so often for each of our children.  We call it "Dad (or Mom) and _______(name of child) day" .  I remember one day that was "Mom and ____(name of boy) day".   We had talked about it for a few weeks and I let him choose what he wanted to do.   He was around seven or so and had written a list of a few things that he wanted to do in our town.   As his small hands unfolded the paper that day, the uneven letters and misspelled words were absolutely precious.  He had listed the events of the day in the exact order in which he wanted to do them.  Some of them required backtracking but instead of trying to convince him of short cuts and that there was a faster way to accomplish his list, I took him in precisely the order in which he had listed. 

Some things on that list were:  
                 -go to the variety store and look at pocket knives
                 -walk across the foot bridge
                 -eat a sandwich
                 -walk around the square
                 -go to the park and swing
                 - go back to variety store and look at pocket knives again

His main focus was that he did not want to be in a hurry.  He wanted to take as long as required to satisfy his interests.   I guess he noticed that many times in our busyness, he had been rushed. 

While at the beach a couple of weeks ago, he wanted to have "Mom and _____ day".   We had talked about it for quite some time.  He wanted to parasail.   Even though I am terrified of heights and deep water, I said, "Absolutely!"  

As we floated peacefully hundreds of feet above the ocean and as we talked in the stillness of the atmosphere, I thought back to the day when he was seven and we walked hand-in-hand around our small town.  As I looked beside me at this grown up young man of 16, I realized that in a few short years, some fine young lady will spend a great amount of time with him and the things he enjoys---LUCKY GIRL!!!   As I fought back the tears, I wanted to yell out, "Oh, please, Mr. Boat captain could you sail us around up here for a couple of years?"

Children are precious!  We should take time to enjoy each and every precious moment that we have with them.  As we all know, their childhoods go so quickly.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let him fix all that is broken.

Psalm 30:2  O Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. 

I remember distinctly the moment that I cried out to God to heal me of my bitterness.  I can remember vividly the details of the entire process.  I also remember that God pointed out to me some old wounds of which I had only applied a Band-aid that were not completely healed. 
When you go to God for healing, do not be surprised if old wounds re-open and feelings that you thought you have swept under the rug will rear their ugly heads. 

If you are going to have surgery on your abdomen, wouldn’t you want the surgeon to fix everything that is in need of repair while he has you cut open from stem to stern? 

One recovery.  One bill to pay.

Same with God.  Let him fix everything that is broken within you so that you can be whole.  Healing from emotional bondage offers an inner peace that sets you free from wrestling with your own feelings. 

 

 

Friday, June 6, 2014

You may be missing out

1 Peter 4:8    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

"I love you anyway"!  When our children make mistakes and we correct them with discipline and punishments that are unpleasant, it is important that they realize that we still love them.  I can think of times when punishments were necessary and my children would ask, "Mama, does this mean I am a bad person?  Do you still love me?"   It is heartbreaking to see that your children wonder if you would ever stop loving them.  I always want mine to know that I love them any way they are, any where they are and through any thing they have done.  I LOVE YOU ANYWAY!

We have expectations of others whether our children, families, friends or co-workers.  It is easy to love others when they meet our expectations, especially when things are going exactly like we think they should.   It becomes difficult at times to love people that do not meet our expectations.  Perhaps they do not think exactly the way we do or they do things differently than the way we do.   Love can be very fragile.

If you can only love those that meet the standards of your personal criteria- you miss out!    If you can only like someone that thinks exactly the way you do or that does things exactly as you do, you are robbing yourself of some wonderful relationships.  You miss out on joys of sharing.  You miss out on hearts that are hurting and may need your love and attention.  You miss out on opportunities to share God's mercies and grace.  You may even miss out on the purpose that God has for you in serving him. 

We are all but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  We are all messes of attitudes, thoughts and actions that have plenty of room for improvement.  Not one of us will ever meet all of God's expectations of us.   Open your hearts to others, no matter if they are able to meet your expectations.  You will find treasures and friendships that you never could have imagined!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stand still

Exodus 14:14   "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

The Israelites were being chased by an army of Egyptians and they were running out of land.  Panic set in.  They felt trapped.  They were on foot and approaching the Red Sea.  They felt as if they were losing the battle with nowhere else to run.  Moses told the Israelites to just be still and watch how God would rescue them.  Moses had a positive attitude and knew that God would take care of them.   Now think about this picture:  An army is coming at you in chariots with weapons at full speed.  You are camped by the sea with nowhere to go.  Moses assures you that it will all be OK.   I am sure the people wondered how it would work out.  Perhaps they were planning to jump into the water and swim for their lives. 

Then the Lord tells Moses to simply wave his staff over the sea and that he will take care of the Egyptians.  The sea parted, the Israelites walked on the floor of the on dry ground reaching safety on the other side.  With the Egyptian army following behind on the sea floor, God returned the waters to their natural state and wiped out the Egyptian army. 

If you have ever had a time in life where you felt that an entire army of enemies was chasing you, then you likely felt trapped just like the Israelites did.  At times in life it may seem as if we are spinning our wheels trying to escape the enemy.  In those times, it is important to stop running and stand still.  Cry out to God and he will see that you reach a safe destination.  He can take care of all your enemies.  I can think of times in my life when I felt like the Israelites-camped by the sea with no way to safety and the enemy was fast approaching.  I am thankful that God will always show up and fix the situation.  We can run, swim, fight and try to fix it all but it so much easier to stand still and let God handle it all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Do not conform to your circumstances

Hebrews 10:35-36  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 

The message for today: 

Do not conform to your circumstances.  Rise above the challenging situations that life presents. 

I am so thankful that Jesus did not conform to his circumstances while he was here on earth.  I am thankful that he faced each challenge with courage and the mind set that he was going to carry out God's will no matter what he encountered.   He was mocked, cursed, rejected, and pretty much homeless, yet he did not dwell on those details.  He did not sit in the sand,  have a huge pity party and invite all his friends.  He did not become paralyzed by the actions and treatments of others.   He remained focused on his purpose, moving forward with all that he was to accomplish. 

Was it all easy for him?  I doubt it.  I am sure there were times that he stood in disbelief of how people thought and behaved.  I imagine that his heart was broken several times as he witnessed the actions of people around him.  I am sure that discouragement tried to creep into his mind at various points during his ministry. 

Jesus' confidence never faltered.  In challenging situations, Jesus did not react with with defeat or discouragement.  He had complete confidence in his Father.  His confidence and faith that God's perfect will in his life would be fulfilled, allowed Jesus to pursue his earthly ministry with assurance. 

When we face difficult situations in life, we are tempted to react with an attitude of defeat.  We are often tempted to define ourselves by the circumstances which we experience.  While we may suffer defeat at some points in life, we are not defeated!  If we can learn to view defeat and difficulties as challenges in which we are eager to rise above, we can grow and abound in our relationship with God.  Perseverance without dwelling on any negative details strengthens faith.  Confidence in God's purpose for each of us will allow us to pursue our earthly ministry work with the same assurance that Jesus embodied. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Work to elevate and glorify God

Colossians  3:23-24      Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

We so often work to try to please people.  We want our boss to be happy with us and we want our spouse and family to be happy with us.  We seek approval from the people that we dwell among here on earth.  After all, our societal system offers rewards from people that like us and are happy with what we do.  If our performance at work is outstanding, we receive high marks on an evaluation or a raise on the paycheck.  If you work in a job where tipping is allowed, you will receive more tips when the customers perceive that your service is outstanding.  Society wants us to think that the more we do and the better we are at what we do, the more important we are. 

Do not chase people.  You can never do enough, say enough or be enough to please most people.   If you have ever been in a situation where you did the greatest amount of work for a project or during a shift at your job, yet someone else received the praise and credit for it, you know how frustrating it is to attempt to please people.  If we step back and look at what pleases most people, it usually involves the "what is in it for me?" question.  A great number of people are pleased when self elevation occurs.  

Stop trying to please everyone and come to the realization that you truly only have an audience of one---God.  Your rewards come from serving and loving the Lord.  Work, serve, help others and press forward, doing so in order to serve God.  Our work here on earth should be regarded as a form of worship.  Our jobs are a part of our discipleship with Christ. 

Work as if Jesus himself is your supervisor.  Love the Lord as you work and serve.  Strive to please Him in all that you do.  If the attitude of work can be one of service and contributing to the lives of others instead of only pleasing the boss, the whole picture of what God expects from us in our work will be more apparent.   Work to elevate and glorify God.  Your rewards will be many.

Monday, June 2, 2014

It will be wonderful there!

Revelation 21:  1-2    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 

A couple of weeks ago, our family flew to the beach for a vacation.  For our children, it was the first airplane ride.   Not knowing what to expect, they were a bit anxious.  Our twelve year old daughter sat by the window and I sat next to her.  As we took off, she was tightly gripping my hand and watching out the window.  As the plane flew above the clouds, soon her grip released and she began taking pictures repeatedly.  She said, "This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  It is a field full of clouds."  

Pure joy.   Sheer amazement.  Eyes wide open. 

She was in awe of the beauty and purity of the clouds.   The breathtaking glory of God's creation.  She completely forgot about her anxiety!

As I watched her amazement, I thought of heaven.  As I ponder what heaven will be like, I anticipate that we will have the same reaction to the beauty and glory we will see there.   The book of Revelation tells us what heaven will be like.  While Revelation is somewhat difficult to sort and absorb with all the symbolism, this part is easy to understand:  It will be amazing in heaven!! 

I look forward to experiencing it with eyes wide open-the pure joy and sheer amazement.  No sorrow, sickness or pain.  No worries or troubles.  It is easy to understand that in heave, it will all be wonderful!  The old hymn 'O, Won't it be Wonderful There' comes to mind.