The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BETTERNESS

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


May the bitterness yield to BETTERNESS.

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

Temptation

Proverbs 5: 1-5  My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.  For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother that oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Temptation is all around us.  A great number of temptations will present themselves as sweet options; choices that will be beneficial to us or make us better.  It is difficult at times to initially discern some temptations that may appear to be sweet.  Those temptations that drip honey should be red flags in the beginning. 

In order to understand temptation and to be on guard against those things that drip honey and use sweet talk, we must be prepared for temptation.  We can never think that as long as we are Christians and go to church that we will never be tempted.  Temptations will present themselves in many forms.   Temptations will not always be in the form of addictions, criminal activity and sexual immorality.  Some temptations will be small and seemingly insignificant, while others are blatantly dangerous and destructive.  Temptation may be in the form of changing your attitude toward righteous living.  It may come in the form of anger and bitterness, grudges and hatred.  You may be tempted to stop participating in church activities.  

Christians are not exempt from temptation.  In fact, Satan is in hot pursuit of all Christians. He will tempt each and every one.  He will drip honey.  He will offer smooth talk.  He will make things look great even when they are not. 

Temptations involve lies from Satan.  Resisting temptation engages God's truths.  Application of His principles and reminders of His promises will provide us with protection against temptation.  

Prepare for temptation by studying God's word in order to gain wisdom.  The pursuit of godly wisdom is like exercising in order to stay in shape.  The pursuit must never be abandoned.  It is good to develop a list of personal principles in order to prepare for temptations.  Developing personal principles give us an opportunity to think about our reactions to temptation.  Think of it in terms of writing a customized Owner's Manual for yourself.  In it include answers to question that begin as, "What would I do if..................?"  Look up scripture in the Bible that gives instruction about life's situations. Equip your mind with wisdom.  Armor yourself with God's word and his promises.  

 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Forever hold your peace!

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Forever hold your peace!  This is a phrase that we hear at weddings, "speak now or forever hold your peace".  Speaking of that, have any of you ever attended a wedding where someone actually spoke up at that command?   If so, what was the end result?  That has absolutely nothing to do with today's devotional, I have just always found that sort of funny. 

Today's meditation is about how we can forever hold our peace.  There are a couple of angles to consider regarding this.  The first angle is holding our peace when someone else tries to mess in it.  If you have ever had anyone mess in your peace, you know that it is frustrating, disappointing, and can cause turmoil within you.  For me, "messing in my peace" involves trouble in my day or life caused intentionally by others.  Words that are destructive and actions that menace my mood, or mission for the day, are things that mess in my peace.  Basically anything that presents negativity in our lives will mess in our peace. 

In order to maintain peace during turmoil, we must remain focused on our purpose and mission for each day.  We must remember that God offers peace in the midst of any storm.  The most important factor in maintaining peace is to remember that we have control over our reaction to the actions of others, therefore, along with God's guidance, we can control the peace that we have inside of us.  We have no choice in the choices of others nor the actions that they commit.  We do have choices in our reactions.

The other angle of holding your peace has to do with your own disrupted peace.  Do you hold your peace or do you share your lack of peace with others?  If you have a lack of peace within you on any given day or every day, do you project that toward others?  In dealing with bitterness, the lack of peace that dwells in a heart from day to day will find its way out of the heart by way of the mouth and acting out toward others.  It is kind of like the old saying, "misery loves company".  The interesting thing is that most people do not realize that their words and actions stem from a bitterness that is deep within the heart.

Maintaining daily inner peace is important.  Satan wants to take that peace from you each day.  If he can take it from you, then he can talk you into working for him, even if it is in little ways.  By disrupting the peace of others, Satan then has a crack in the door of their peace and so the cycle continues.  These actions are spiritual warfare.  They often begin as small battles and manipulations. 

Forever hold your peace whether it involves holding your tongue or refusing to participate in actions that will disrupt the peace of another.  If your peace is being threatened, hold on to that peace even in the storms and turmoil.  Peace can be a struggle but the Bible offers guidance concerning the importance of peace.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Forgiveness requires a dying of self

John 3:16   For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

True forgiveness requires death.   The ultimate death was Jesus Christ who lived and died to offer us forgiveness of our sins.   His death was so that we may have life. 

Forgiveness between us as fellow believers also requires death.  When we forgive, we must allow our pride to die.  When self righteous pride lives within us, forgiveness is not an easy accomplishment.  Anger, grudges and the desire for vengeance must also die in order for forgiveness to occur and for our relationships with one another to live and thrive. 

Is there someone that you need to forgive?  Maybe the incident was small but emotions and pride have caused a grudge to escalate in your heart and bitterness has grown.  Allow the death of self righteous pride and let the anger die.  It will free your heart for love and joy.             

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Understanding forgiveness

Understanding the forgiveness that we receive through Jesus is the ONLY way that we can understand how and why we are to extend forgiveness to others.  The Easter season is a wonderful time to study Jesus' death and resurrection, both of which offer an understanding of forgiveness.  

Scriptures to study are:  Luke 23: 26-49; Colossians 3:13; Matthew 6:14-16; Matthew 18:21-22

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Greener Grass?

Ecclesiastes 4:6  Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

I love spring!  I make efforts to spend a great amount of time outside in the spring. There is always a sense of renewal watching the trees bloom and the grass turn green.  As the grass begins to grow and is rich in nutrients, our horses are eager to graze and play in fields.  I pay particular attention to one of our horses as he goes to great lengths to enjoy the spring grass.  He will stretch his neck through the fence and graze on the grass that is out of his reach.  He will move his body around in order to reach farther into the green grass in our yard which joins the pasture. 

The old saying, "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" immediately comes to mind.  As he continually shifts his posture and stretches his neck to reach the grass, I cannot help but chuckle.  At times he seems uncomfortable as he extends his neck farther and farther toward the grass.  He does not realize that the grass he is straining to eat in the yard is exactly the same grass that he eats in the pasture.  Same flavor, same green color, same type of grass.  Yet he wants what he cannot reach.  He is willing to get into an uncomfortable position in order to eat what he fancies as something different and better.  If he will eat the grass in the pasture, his belly will be just as full without all the overextending and extra efforts of reaching through the fence.

Does this describe any of us?  Are we curious about greener pastures?  Do we posture ourselves in a way that causes discomfort in order to reach for the things that we think are better or more flavorful?  How many times do we work extra hours in order to gain more materially?  How many times do we chase material things in order to satisfy the thoughts that having those things will make us happier or better? 

There is much to be reaped from contentment with what we have.  1 Timothy 6:6-8 speaks of contentment as does Hebrews 13:5.  God does not expect us to overextend ourselves in order to gain money or material things.  He does expect us to work but he does not expect us to always reach for more.  He expects us to be satisfied with the blessings he has given us. 

We should look at our surroundings and recognize the ways in which we can be content.  When we look at other things that we think will make us more content, we must remember that the grass may look greener and better across the fence, but after all, it is still grass.  Even though it appears greener, it still has the possibility of growing weeds in the midst of it.  Chasing after more than we have can often cause turmoil and disappointment in our lives.

Monday, March 23, 2015

No brakes

Luke 3:5   Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.  The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.

This verse fits our adventure last weekend perfectly.  We took our children for a weekend trip (adventure) to Atlanta, a 350 mile trip from home.  It was an adventure because there were things "added" to our venture.  We left around supper time on Friday and had decided to take the route that involved less interstate highway driving.  My husband likes to call it the scenic route, however in the dark we didn't see much scenery.  I drove first and about halfway into the trip we stopped to eat and rest a bit.  With everyone back in the vehicle, we planned to go straight to the hotel without any more stops.  It was now dark and raining cats and dogs was an understatement.  Fog had rolled in and along with the rain, visibility was diminished.  A few miles down the road I missed a turn.  There was a place in the highway to make a U-turn a few feet ahead.  When I pushed the brake pedal, it went all the way to the floor and I was barely able to stop the vehicle.  The brakes were not completely out but stopping required some distance and preparation.

We stopped at gas station so my husband and son could investigate the problem. They decided that adding some brake fluid should fix the issue.  Brake fluid added and my husband now behind the wheel, we hit the road again. As panic began to creep into me, I realized that we still had over 150 miles left to travel.  More nerve racking was the fact that we still had the mountains near Chatanooga, Tennessee to tackle.  As I thought about going over the steep mountains with the possibility of our brakes completely failing at any moment, I couldn't help but panic inside.  Fear threatened me.  All the "what ifs" began swirling in my mind.  I wanted to turn around and go home, but then I thought, we will not have brakes in that direction either. 

My husband is a "silent stressor".  He does not voice his worry and fear.  I, on the other hand, have no problems expressing my worry and concern.  I gripped the door handle, sighed heavy breaths, squirmed in my seat among other gestures just shy of all out screaming as we went over the mountains and down the steep hills. 

Then I heard God whisper to me, "There is never any guarantee, even when the brakes are in working order, that you will be able to stop while going down the mountain and into the valley.  I will take care of you so that you arrive safely into the valley and are able to ascend back onto the mountain top".  This is so true about the literal mountains/valleys as well as those valleys that we descend into in our lives.  God is stronger than any brake system in any vehicle.  He is able to pad the trips that we take into the valleys.  He is able to calm the fear of rolling down the mountains and crashing into a valley.

We fear the unknowns.  We fear the valleys when the brakes might go out.  We fear crashing down the hills and dealing with the stresses in the valley.  Going down the mountains with little-to-no brakes is a great opportunity to put faith and trust into action.  Trust that God will apply the brakes to the dangers and fears that the valleys present.  Racing into the valley allows growth and reasoning when we submit to God's will.

To finish the story, the next day my husband spend several hours in a repair shop with the vehicle.  The brake line had rusted out, allowing the fluid to escape and there was no pressure in the lines for the brakes.  Repairs were made and we were able to enjoy the rest of our trip.  On the way home, a front wheel bearing went out of the vehicle but I was not afraid because after all, we had been over the mountains with no brakes, what is a little wheel bearing?   Perhaps it is time to retire our 13 year old SUV??????

Friday, March 20, 2015

Suffering

Job  30:15          Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud.

Job was a man that suffered immense tragedies in his life.   Along with his extreme loss of his family,  possessions, health and his position, he was also mocked by the younger people.   They even mocked the way he suffered.  Talk about a lack of compassion. 

Verse 15 conveys such deep emotion and raw honesty.  Job cries out about his fear and anxiety.  He was insecure and worried.  He even felt like he had lost his honor, that his name was no longer respected. 

Job's situation typically brings to mind a man of great patience, endurance and steadfast faith in God.  I would like to focus on his broken heart.  Think of a time in your life when you have suffered.  Maybe it was the loss of a job/finances, family member or close friend, friendship, health, pet, or home.  Whatever the loss, think of how your heart felt; the fear that terrorized your mind, the worries and anxieties that kept you awake at night.  Now, multiply that times 10 and perhaps that will come close to how Job suffered. 

With the thought of the brokenness, I also want to focus on compassion (on our part).  When we hear of the suffering of others, do our hearts break or do we acknowledge that the situation is bad yet move on with our busy lives?   When we listen to someone describe their brokenness and suffering do we merely hear the words or do we hear the emotion, fear and distress?  It has been my personal prayer for a while to be more compassionate for situations no matter what the source of the suffering.   I pray to have a burden for the brokenness of others and that I will not forget what it is like to hurt and worry.  Hurt and brokenness are in the eye of the beholder and we should not discount any one's suffering.                                                 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lonely and isolated

Psalms 38: 10-11   My heart pounds, my strength fails me, even the light has gone from my eyes.  My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds, my neighbor stays far away. 

In this particular passage in Psalms, David is feeling lonely and separated from his loved ones.  He is hurting because he feels so alone.  He leans upon the Lord for strength and security.

Have you ever felt alone?   Have you ever been excluded from things that cause you to feel more lonely and isolated?  Most of us have at some time.

Last night I went to a nearby town to judge 4-H speeches.  The contest is called a "Talk Meet" and the contestants are able to choose their own topics for their speeches.  My heart was ripped out of my chest as I listened to one 10 year old girl's speech.  The title of her speech was being Chinese in a Family of Redheads.  Allow me to paint a picture of this little lady.  She is a small framed, 10 year old, well groomed and dressed.  She.  Is.  Beautiful!!!  

As our minds will often do, I began to predict what her speech was about.  I predicted it was about her being adopted into a family with stark differences in appearance.  That was partially what her speech involved.  During her speech, she revealed how at times she feels lonely and isolated because she looks different.  She talked about the effects of people staring at her family and how those actions had provoked fear within her at an early age.  This is where my heart began falling apart.  She mentioned that she had chosen not to participate in sports because of fear.  At an early age, she would cling to her mother and try to hide behind her in order to keep out of view of others. 

Here stood one of God's most gorgeous creations, placed in a loving and supportive home, 10 whole years young and Satan has attacked her with fear and loneliness.  She is too young to experience fear.  As she continued her speech, she talked about how God gives her strength and has shown her that she is important.  Be.  Still.  My.   Heart! 

Several points of inspiration came to me as a result of her speech:
          1.  Satan will prey on anyone, at any age, at any time.
          2.  It is important that, while on this earth, we act in ways that encourage and lift others up.
          3.  People of all ages notice when they are being treated differently.
          4.  God can and does work in the hearts of ALL ages; of all his creations.

My charge is that we will ALL notice when others may experience loneliness or exclusion.   May we strive to help others feel important and included. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Patience to overlook offenses

Proverbs 19:11    A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

".....to overlook an offense."   Sometimes this is easier said than done.  When offenses are complex and involve hurts and losses that are life altering, it is difficult to immediately overlook what has been done.  Some offenses can be overlooked right away, forgotten about, and never brought up again.  Other offenses require time to sort, heal, and forgive.  Complex offenses are breeding grounds for bitterness, anger, and resentment.

Dealing with bitterness can provide a great opportunity to develop patience and wisdom.  Both patience and wisdom are key aspects in dealing with offenses and moving forward.  Gaining wisdom from God about how to handle our emotions equips us with knowledge about how we should react. 

Reacting to offenses with anger and bitterness is unhealthy for our relationship with God as well as our relationships with others.  Bitterness invades the mind and body much like a cancer that has metastasized to all areas of the body.  When we allow offenses to breed bitterness and resentment, even people around us that were not involved in the offense will begin to suffer. 

A real turning point in dealing with my bitterness was the moment that I realized how it was affecting my children and husband.  None of them had in any way been a part of the original offense, yet each of them was suffering from my bitterness.  That was heart wrenching for me.  How I wish that I had possessed more wisdom in the beginning and could have avoided the bitterness altogether. 

If you are dealing with bitterness in your life, it is my prayer that you may realize the effects it has on your life and those around you.  There is much peace when you rid of bitterness in your life.  I pray that you will take the steps to grow in wisdom which will in turn give you patience to understand the overall picture of life.  Overlooking offenses involves forgiveness which is healing for the offended much more than for the offender. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Emerge a victor

Deuteronomy 20:4     "For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory".
 

Some crises in life will cause us to feel like a victim.  Betrayal and hurt by people that we care for can cause us to feel victimized.  Being the target of mistreatment and wrongdoing does not offer us feelings of victory, but instead causes feelings of defeat. 

God does not intend for us to remain in crisis mode.  When we experience a crisis, he expects us to learn, grow, and move forward instead of feeling defeated. He intends for us to emerge a VICTOR, not to remain a victim.  He will assist in our battles with the enemy that cause us to feel defeated in life. 

If life finds you in crisis mode today, allow God to carry you into victory.  He will fight the enemy.  He will protect you in all the battles of life, small and large.  He will declare you a victor.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Only God's Shield will Take Away Stress

Psalms 5:12  For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Remember the commercial years ago with the quote, "Calgon take me away"?  The quote became a catch phrase that many people still use today when things are stressful or frustrating.   I sometimes feel that I need a dump truck load of Calgon delivered to my address.  I am certain that I am not alone in feeling this way. 

I remember a time a while back when my stress level compounded within a matter of a few days.  The microwave oven quit working.  We can't complain too much, after all it was 13 years old.  Immediately after installing and plugging in the new microwave, I put a load of clothes in the washer and in the middle of the cycle, the washer dies (it wasn't nearly as old as the microwave).  A few days later, I was waiting for my daughter at soccer practice.  When she was finished, the vehicle would not start.  Did I mention that at the same time, three out of five of us were sick and I had two major research projects due?  Ready for that dump truck load of Calgon ASAP! 

My list of happenings is by no means the most stress I have ever endured.  While these occurrences were irritating, the were not life altering.  I use this example to show that there are periods of time in life when negative things seem to be around every corner.  The stresses will distract us from the positive elements of life. Life's stresses happen to each and everyone of us.  Stress can cause us to focus only on what is going wrong. 

Sickness, disease, loss of a job, death of a loved one, and other uncertainties cause great amounts of stress.  These are the life altering occurrences.  No amount of Calgon will sooth the feelings that we experience with these levels of stress.  Only God's shield can offer us protection and relief from major stress.

I understand the feelings and worries that accompany stress. Your flesh wants to understand why so many frustrating things happen, especially when you are trying to live a godly life. One thing to remember when you are in these situations is that God is working on you to fulfill his purpose in and through you. After we become saved, God begins to mold us and guide us into His perfect purpose. Is this always easy? No. There is pruning that takes place, lessons we must learn, and changes that will occur. During this process, it is important to seek God’s heart. Ask Him in fervent prayer what He is trying to teach you or what changes he may want you to make. Sometimes it is our attitude that He is trying to reshape.
 
When we ask “why” God allows things to happen, His response is one of a sovereign nature-because He knows best and so that His work shall be displayed in our lives. He is also interested in faith building and spiritual growth within us. Our flesh wants answers but God expects us to trust in His holiness and sovereignty. To do so requires much perseverance, prayer and time in the Bible.
We cannot expect a perfect world when all the people do not live under God’s perfect rule. We must continue to seek righteous living and know that our needs will be met-sometimes in ways that we cannot see until it happens. I have some verses that God showed me in for stressful situations. 
1 Timothy 6:11; Isaiah 32:17; Psalms 1:6; Psalms 5:12. Please study the verses, pray, and never give up your faith and service. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jeremiah 29:13

Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

When we search for God with all our heart, we must rid our hearts of all things that stand between us and God.  We cannot search for God with every inch of our heart while holding on to hurts, vengeful thoughts, anger and bitterness.  Dragging those things along side us will not offer God ALL of our heart.

When we hang on to hurts that have not been squared away or forgiven, we have junk in our hearts.  That junk looks like insecurities, bitterness, lack of confidence, and lack of desire to move forward in life.  The junk that fills part or all of the heart stands in the way of offering God ALL of your heart. 

The junk must go.  Empty out all the junk that is in your heart so that you may seek God with all your heart, free and clear of any negative emotions.   

Search and seek God.  Find Him.

If you have turned from him, return to him.

Friday, March 6, 2015

He is the potter, we are the clay

Isaiah 64: 8  Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

I have always enjoyed daydreaming as well as having dreams for my life.  One dream I have always had is that I would have someone who comes into my home, does my laundry, presses everything just the way I like it, and would change the sheets on my bed everyday-yes everyday they would be crisp and fresh, pulled tightly across the mattress.  I am certain that sleep would be even more enjoyable this way.

Another dream that I have had since my childhood is the dream of being a doctor.  I made plans for it in high school.  A Navy recruiter was in my living room with papers in hand to enlist me and begin my journey to medical school.  The path was clear and to top it all off, it was going to cost me nothing-financially that is.  I did not sign the forms.  To this day, I cannot tell you a specific reason that I did not sign and I wondered the reason many times throughout the years. 

Looking back now nearly 30 years later, I can say without a doubt that God was leading me where he needed me to be, not where I wanted to be.   He was molding me for his purposes and service, even though it was not clear at the time.   I would have loved being a doctor because I am somewhat obsessed with all things medical.  I did go into another career in the medical field  and many times during my career, I still secretly longed to be a doctor.  Not for status, not for money; just out of pure enjoyment and interest in medicine.  

While for years I could not understand the change in my path, I can see clearly now why God did not send me to become a doctor.  I would have been at the office or hospital most of my waking moments tending to the needs of patients.  I would not have been a very good wife nor mother because those things would have taken 2nd or 3rd place to my career.  I would have missed my children's first steps and first words.  I would have missed those sweet, sleepy faces and little arms around my neck when I picked them up from their naps.  I would have missed the closeness in that I have been blessed with in my marriage.  I would have missed so many things that have filled my heart to the brim. 

Even though I did not have a deep relationship with God during those years of college and early career, I see now how he was shaping my life to prepare me for my journey.  That journey has led me into places that I could never have dreamed and relationships that I would have missed.  I would have missed so much of The Sweet Stuff in my life, had God not molded me.

You all have likely heard that we should view disappointments in life as reappointments.  I am thankful for the reappointment that has led me where I am today.  I am thankful that God molded me and made me even though I lacked awareness of it at the time.  When things in life do not go as you had planned, perhaps the key word is you.  God has perfect plans for our lives.  Allow Him to mold and shape you and direct all your paths. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Removing heart blockages

Ezekiel  36:26  "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh". 

If any one of us began having severe chest pain we would RUN immediately to the doctor or nearest Emergency Room.  We would want to fix the problem and would be willing to do whatever the doctor recommended.  We would go to the pharmacy and pick up any medicines prescribed.  We would willingly endure any test and procedures suggested.  If we had blockages, we would agree to surgical procedures in order to remove them.  We consider physical problems of the heart to be serious and we want them rectified because heart disease, left untreated, will wear a heart out. 

What about spiritual heart blockages?  Think on that for a moment. 

Are we as eager to remove the problems in our heart that cause barriers between God and ourselves?  Do we immediately tend to the anger, bitterness, and lack of forgiveness that may be dwelling in our heart?  Are we willing to allow God to perform open heart surgery in order to renew us and put a new spirit within us? 

We are usually reluctant to face heart problems of the spiritual nature.  It is difficult to face our flaws.  It is very uncomfortable to confess bad feelings and disclose our imperfect inner thoughts. It takes courage and strength to examine all the aspects of the heart and make any necessary changes.  Self-righteous pride is a barrier.  Sometimes we even become comfortable with negativity and hold on to it instead of allowing a positive renewal. 

Are you experiencing spiritual chest pains?  Does your heart ache because of bitterness, resentment, or anger?  Is there unforgiveness blocking the spiritual blood flow from your heart?  Does jealousy or discontent cause you to feel negative emotions?  If so, allow God to renew you.  He can change your heart and cure your heart aches.  He will help you deal with bitterness and anger.  He can lead you to forgiveness of those that have caused you to feel these things. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

God sees us all the same

James 2:10  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 

To God, all our sins look the same.

There are no degrees of sin.  Sin is sin and God views it all the same.  He sees our sins as violations of the way in which he expects us to act.  We tend to classify sin in earthly terms.  We view sin through eyes that align with the laws of our land.  Our minds want to think that a person in prison for life for killing multiple people has committed a deeper degree of sin than a person who has never broken an earthly law.  The areas in which we fail God are found within the feelings and thoughts that we hold in our hearts.  While there are different ways in which sin is acted out (murder, adultery, stealing, etc), God views the sin from the inside out.  He considers our commitment to His principles.  In other words, we can harbor sin in our hearts and be just as guilty in God's eyes as a convicted criminal.  In God's eyes, all types of sin are equally as unacceptable.

From God, all forgiveness looks the same.

This is worth rejoicing!  No matter how many sins, no matter the actions that were carried out due to the sin, no matter the condition of our heart,God offers the same unconditional forgiveness to each and every one of us.  Heaven will contain murderers, adulterers, thieves, and liars right along side the little elderly ladies that only committed the sin of gossip at the beauty shop!   We will all be there together because God views us all the same!

He sees us the same when we sin.  He sees us the same when we repent. His mercies are for everyone. 

I thank God for his nondiscriminatory love!   I am thankful that He loves us enough to call a spade a spade.  I am extremely grateful that He loves all of us enough to wipe the slate clean when we confess and turn from our ways.

To God all sin looks the same.  From God, all forgiveness looks the same! 



Monday, March 2, 2015

Pay it forward

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.

God is not the author of conflict and crisis in our lives.  However, when trouble and problems do arise, he will these occurrences to develop trust and dependence upon him.  He is a teacher in the midst of conflict and crisis. 

When we allow ourselves to learn sovereign lessons, we emerge with growth as  Christian.  We move onward and upward.  We develop godly character.  We have the opportunity to emerge as a leader; a leader that can then teach others through comfort, compassion and encouragement. 

God expects us to teach one another about him and the things he has done for us.  He expects us to comfort one another by using the same measure of comfort and compassion that he has shown us.  Take some time to reflect upon the comfort that God has afforded you in times of trial.  Look for ways to pay it forward to others that may be in a crisis or conflict.  Practice teaching what you have learned about God so that his greatness and glory may be spread into all the world.  Be a leader within your own circle of friends and family; a leader that shows others what God has taught you.