The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Monday, August 31, 2015

Your value is immeasurable

Hebrews 13:5      Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he
                            said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."


New cars, new home, latest fashions, exotic vacations, latest technological gadgets, impressive diamonds-all valuable, yet none of these indicate a person's self worth.   Quite often, the people that seem the happiest with their material possessions are miserable internally.  Measuring self worth by possessions will leave a person feeling unfulfilled.   Insecurities and a lack of self worth can lead to the love of money and many folks find feelings of empowerment by spending money.  The money serves as a substitute for the personal worth that is missing in their minds. 

Media such as television, magazines, store ads and displays advertise "things" in such a light to cause us to believe that our lives will be happier or easier.  The more things we have, the happier we will be.  Right?  Hardly.   Material things will all pass away.  Cars and technological items become outdated quickly. 

We must learn to be content with what we have.  Resenting what we don't have or feel like we are missing out will lessen our perception of self-worth.  Your value in this life is measured by who you are in God.  Take inventory and list your personal value.  As a mother or father, your worth to your children is invaluable.  As a daughter, sister, or granddaughter, your worth and importance in a family cannot be measured.  No amount of money nor "things" can ever serve as a substitute for you.  You are of value to your spouse.  You are of value at your job.  Most of all, you are of great value to God.   I leave you with this verse:  Proverbs 22:2  Rich and poor have this in common:  The Lord is the maker of them all.               

 

Friday, August 28, 2015

God holds the yardstick that measures worth!!

Genesis 1:27  So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 

In the first book of the Bible, we are shown the value that we have in God's eyes.    From the beginning of creation, God valued us so much that he created us in is image, both men and women.  

We are all born with the same worth to God.  From the beginning we are all valued the same.  In the end we will still all have the same value in God's eyes.   As we go through life here on earth, experiences and situations add to or take away from our perception of our self worth as well as our view on the worth of others. God's view of our value never changes.

It seems easy to allow others to affect how important we feel.   The relationships and the communications within those relationships have a strong impact on our perceptions of our self worth.  Negative words cause hurt feelings. Actions that tear down character can cause us to doubt our worth or wonder if we have any value.  Trials and tribulations may leave us to feeling insecure and with feelings of unimportance.

When we allow others to have an impact on our self-worth, our relationships with God and others is diminished.  Our job performance will be affected as well as the goals that we pursue.  How we perceive our self worth affects everything that we are involved in.  Feeling unimportant can change the course of the rest of a person's life. 

We must remain strong and grounded in the worth that God has for us.  When we allow the words and/or actions of others to have a bearing on our esteem, we forget who holds the yardstick.  God is the keeper of the measurements!  He is the one, the only one, who declares the value of a person's self-worth.  Guard your self-worth.  Do not look at the value of your worth according to the people on this earth.  Look to God to assign worth to your life and the purpose he has for you.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Asleep in the garden

Matthew 26:40    Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.

So many details relating to Jesus' crucifixion are profound, most are horrific.  Other details are not as profound but have such unspoken meaning.  When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he knew his time on earth was coming to an end soon.  The human side of him was anxious.  He went into the garden to have some time to talk to his father.  To seek reassurance and to restate his commitment to God's will.  Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch with him and to pray that they not fall into temptation.   I am sure that Jesus needed the comfort from his friends as he knew what was ahead of him. 

The disciples were tired and weary and they had fallen asleep.  This must have disappointed Jesus immensely.   He was getting ready to be crucified, had told the disciples all the details of his death, yet they could not keep their eyes open.   They had literally and figuratively fallen asleep to what was about to happen before them. 

How often are we asleep in the garden?  How often do we allow our fleshy feelings to overpower the need to pray and be attentive to God's will?   How often do we turn a blind eye on what is happening right before us?     How often do we know the details of someone's struggles or agony, yet we take a nap when we could offer help or spend much time in prayer?                         

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Something about that name

Hebrews 4:12   For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Last night during our revival service, there was a strong spirit of worship.  As I worshiped during a song presented by a very gifted young lady, my attention was drawn to a lady a few rows in front of me.   I was moved to a deeper level of worship as I watched her.  God spoke volumes to my heart about the fact that he is alive and active in the hearts of his people.

I have known this particular lady all my life.  She is a precious soul.  Over the past couple of years, dementia has intruded her mind.  Some days are better than others but there are times when she has difficulty remembering her present life and those around her.  She still manages to come to church and sit through the services.  During the song "Jesus", as the words rang throughout the sanctuary, she rose to her feet in worship.  As the vocalist sang the verse that says, "there is something about that name", she stood and claimed the words to be true. 

As I watched her, I thought of how God can speak to the heart of ANYONE.  We often hear of situations in which people suffer from mental and cognitive disabilities, yet they can hear and understand the word of God.  Many people with disabilities serve and worship God without inhibition.   The Holy Spirit whispered to me that God can touch the hearts of all people, regardless of the condition of their mind.  His word and his presence can penetrate any disorder, dysfunction or dismemberment. 

I tell you that God is living and active!!  Jesus lives in the hearts of those who believe in him.  There truly is "something about that name". 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Compassion for the brokenness of others

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.                                                 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Deep hurts require deep repair

James 3:17   But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Deep hurts require deep repair.

Deep hurts will take us to a place where we would pretty much try anything in order to get rid of the pain.  Trying to forget and move forward often leave us to quickly try to put the event out of our mind.  Friends may offer advice and various things to try in order to move forward.  Friends might suggest that you take a trip, go to the spa, or purchase something that you "deserve".  Alcohol, drugs and addiction may result from an effort to get rid of emotional pain. While these ventures may boost  feelings of self-worth or take your mind off the hurt for a while, these attempts at removing the hurt will only mask it.  They are Band-aid solutions.  I can tell you with certainty that no amount of trips to the spa, manicures, new articles of clothing nor steak dinners will help you to truly let go of a deep hurt.  Alcohol and drugs not only mask the pain, but they also cause others problems that will require attention in order to overcome.  We can destroy all artifacts that remind us of the events such as pictures and mementos.  We can continuously busy ourselves in order to occupy our minds and we can buy things or go places that will boost our self-worth.  However, if we do not repair our hearts spiritually, the Band-aids will soon fall off and no longer cover the wound. 

Deep hurts require deep repair.

The repair of deep hurts may not occur immediately.  The deeper the injury, the more extensive the repair work.   The repair may be a process that takes enough time to allow for a dissecting of all the elements involved in the wound.   

Being able to put hurts, forgiveness and healing into perspective come ONLY when we seek wisdom from God and hear his advice.  The only healing that will be permanent in nature is a heavenly healing that only God can offer.  In Psalms 147:3, we are reminded, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  Only God can completely bind a wound that causes us grief and pain.  The deep repair that is needed when our hearts have deep hurts is available from Him.   His love and compassion is the greatest medicine that our hurting hearts might receive.   

If you have a need for emotional healing, seek the wisdom and advice from God that he offers so freely.  It is a healing that is sincere and genuine.  A permanent healing that will restore your peace. God wants each and every one of us to be free of pain and grief.  He wants us to be whole and full of joy.  Seek that pure, heavenly wisdom! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Warfare

2 Chronicles 20:15    "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's."

Even though we cannot always see or understand our enemies, we truly only have one enemy:  Satan.  He is the evil one who seeks to devour us in every way.  He uses people to accomplish his evil deeds.  There are times when it seems like a huge army with thousands of people is camped at our doorstep.

When we are dealt injustices, hurts and dirty deeds, it is difficult for us to understand why.  It is so hard not to take the injustices personally.  This is an opportunity for the seeds of bitterness to sprout and grow.

Spiritual warfare is important to comprehend yet difficult to accept.  Basically, it boils down to this:  the war is between God and Satan; we are on the battlefield but the battle is not ours.

Our best defense against spiritual warfare is a deep, intimate relationship with God.  When this is in place, He will fight our battles and keep the devil off our backs.      

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the midst of calamity, sin not.

Job 2 :10   But Job replied, "You talk like a foolish woman.  Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?"  So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. 

When calamities come to us in life, we are often quick to question God's goodness or justice in allowing bad things to happen to us.   Believing in God does not protect us from trouble, however faith and believing can protect us from sinning in the midst of our troubles.

Let us focus on the last few words from Job 2:10:  "So in all this, Job said nothing wrong".   Think of a time when something undesirable happened in your life.  Maybe the loss of a job, death of a loved one, an attack on your character by someone, betrayal of a friend or co-worker led you to question why such a thing happened.  I have heard others say things such as "If God is so good, why did he allow this?"  I have seen people turn from God due to anger because of trouble in their lives.

When we allow our minds to entertain questioning God's sovereignty, we become caught up in sin.  The sin is having an irreverent, disrespectful attitude toward God. 

In our troubles, we are praise God and trust in his sovereignty and wisdom.  We will not always understand why things happen, we are not meant to. 

If you are in the midst of a calamity in your life, remember this method:  Sort, sieve, learn, leave.

Sort--the blessings and praise God for them.
Sieve--allow the anger and negative emotions to pass through your mind.
Learn--seek what God is teaching you and learn and increase your faith in him.
Leave--put away the hurt, offer forgiveness and leave the details to God.        

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Peace and Security

Psalms 122:6-7   Pray for the peace of Jersualem:  May those who love you feel secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.

In my studies of peace and security, I have searched to describe what these things look like in everyday life.   I have arrived at this description:  Security results when the actions and reactions of others do nothing to shake our confidence, comfort, and self-worth.  This type of security can only result in trust and love for God-the source of true peace and security. 

Insecurity comes into our lives when our peace is deeply disrupted.  It is a feeling that results from actions and reactions of those around us.  Insecurity produces fear as a result of a disruption of our peace.  Insecurity affects our confidence and self-worth.  No one desires to feel insecure.  Insecurity will wreak havoc in a person's mind and life.  The fears and anxieties produced by insecurity will eventually affect one's everyday living.  

Insecurity can cause a lack of self-confidence within a person.  It may also lead a person to feel vulnerable and open to danger or threat.  The causes of insecurity are many.  The manifestations of insecurity are numerous.

The first step to peace and security is salvation.  Even after salvation, peace can and will be disrupted, not from God, but from others in this world.  Real security can only come from God, for He possesses ALL the characteristics of peace and security.  Before we can find peace and security with other people, we must first find it with God.  He will never do anything that will shake our confidence or self-worth.  His desire is for us to be secure and comfortable in everything that we do. Even when actions and reactions of others may try to disturb our peace and security, God's actions and reactions never will.  He offers us peace within our walls and security within all our towers!

Monday, August 17, 2015

God's help and compassion will bring forth light.

Isaiah   30:18  So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

Life Principle #7  (Dr. Charles Stanley):  The dark moments of our lives will last only so long as necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in us. 

I love Dr. Charles Stanley.  I had the privilege of meeting him in person a couple of years ago.  I love to study his life principles.  If you are not familiar with these principles, I strongly encourage you to study each one of them. 

Life Principle #7 spoke to me many times during my battles with bitterness.  In the healing process of bitterness, or any dark period in our lives, we must look to God to show us the things within ourselves that may need attention.  We must look at what God is trying to teach us or to change about how we feel and think. It is within the trying times of life that we are subject to think and feel negatively.  The trials of life are times of temptation for us to turn away from God's promises and principles.  

We, ourselves, sometimes cause dark moments and trials in our lives to linger on.  This is especially true when we do not learn and move forward in tough situations. When God has accomplished his purpose in our situations, the dark periods will begin to produce light. When we can see things from God's perspective, his purpose can be accomplished in and through us.  His help and compassion will bring the light forth in the darkest of times.    

Friday, August 14, 2015

Be who God created you to be

Philippians 2:1-2   Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

It is so easy for teens to desire attention and popularity.  Most have a need to "fit in".  It can be heartbreaking for young folks to feel rejected by exclusive cliques.  It is damaging to the self-esteem and self-worth.   The scars from this type of rejection can be long lasting, even into adulthood.  Sadly enough, some adults carry those exclusive types of thoughts and behaviors throughout their lives.  In turn, the may reject others, therefore limiting potential friendships and missing out on blessings.

Each person on this earth is a creation of God, each with unique gifts and purposes.  God designed us in different ways so that we can use our gifts in order to advance his kingdom.   People reject other people.  God loves and accepts us all.

If you know a teen, adult, family member or friend that feels rejected because of bullying or cliquish behaviors, offer these points of encouragement:
                  -It is perfectly alright NOT be like everyone else
                  -Your peers are not the yardstick by which your worth is measured
                  -Continue to be who you are and not a Xerox copy of someone else
                  -Do not chase after the affections of others
                  -Pray for God to send the people that He would have in your life
                  -Find your security in those loving adults and family members in your life
                  -Search for the greatness within you--God put it there for a purpose!

*Rinse and repeat as often as necessary!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

There is no need to react to enemies

Psalm 86:17  Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.


We serve a God of comfort and peace.  His offer of both is always available. 

Satan wants to disrupt our peace and comfort and he will use anyone that will listen to his schemes in order to accomplish misery on our behalf.  The schemes will make us think that our world is upside down.  The actions of others may cause disruption of our peace.  We may be tempted to react in a manner that will only cause more chaos.

There is no need to react to the actions of enemies.  When God shows us His goodness through peace, we must reflect such to others.  By reacting to the actions of enemies, we fail to show God's goodness and grace.  If we provide an equal reaction to an evil action, we have only contributed to the evil.  

When turmoil, anxiety and disruption of peace are present in life, remember that we ALWAYS have the promise of comfort from God.  When people around us intentionally cause pain and discomfort, God is available to offer comfort.  When you hold on to God's comfort, and submit to the inner peace that he offers, the schemes of enemies will not seem as significant.  Through God's protection, our comfort can prevail and the enemy's plan will be thwarted. 

It is up to each of us to submit to that comfort and to enjoy inner peace.  Do not pay attention to an enemy's actions that are intended to cause you discomfort.  There is no need to react to the enemy.  God will act in your behalf.   Reacting to actions from enemies will disrupt your inner peace even more.

Allow Him to comfort you.  Whatever your situation, whomever is causing disruption in your life, allow that peace that can pass all understanding to permeate you.  Accept the calmness that God can provide.  Recognize His authority and permit Him to deal with your enemies.  Resist the temptation to react to the schemes of the enemy.  Not only will God comfort you, He will take care of all your enemies!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The "Big Picture"

Romans 11:36  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory
                         forever!  Amen.

This verse tells us that God is sovereign.  He is all powerful, all knowing and ever present.  In his sovereignty, he has a plan for all of us.  He has a purpose for everything that he asks us to do.  When he asks us to serve him by helping others, he knows all the details of the plan and he sees the "Big Picture".

When I was a child, we had a small (about 12"), black and white television that sat on the end of our counter in the kitchen.  We would watch it during lunch or snacks.  The picture was small and while we could get the gist of what was happening on the shows, we could not see many details.  The colors of clothing, hair, and settings were only left to our imagination.  I remember the day that our colored television arrived.  It was a floor model in a huge cabinet and we were all so excited.  Now when we watched our shows, we could see so much detail.  We no longer had to guess the colors of clothing or hair.  We could take in so much more information than we ever did on the black and white model.  We could see and understand more of the "Big Picture".

Everything that God calls us to do in his service works toward his purpose.  He calls us to tasks that will accomplish his purpose.  There are many times that we do not see all the details of his purpose nor will we understand all his plans.  The tasks to which he calls us may only be a small portion of the overall work that he plans to perform in the lives of those around us.

One thing that I have learned through service in The Sweet Stuff clothing ministry is that distributing articles of clothing is only a small detail in God's purpose of reaching the hearts of people.  So often, the people that we serve have hearts that are more empty than their closets and drawers.  Giving away clothing is about much more than tee shirts and shoes.  When I began working in the clothing ministry, my initial thoughts were that it would be so great to acquire clothing and reach people that are in need.  Quickly, God showed me more details about the "Big Picture" and the needs of others.  It is important to meet the basic needs of life when we are able to help others.  It is more important to offer others hope and compassion and show them what God's love is really like.  Many people that are unable to provide the basic necessities of life, have lost hope.  They often feel unloved and uncertain about God's plans for them.

Like the day that we received our colored television, there was a day when God showed me the intricate details of how much need there is in our communities for his love and presence.  I give him the glory for showing me the hearts of others.   There is a great burden in my heart for those that have a need for basic things and a greater need for God's love and promises.  I am grateful to serve toward his purpose.  While I am only a small detail in his plan for reaching the hearts of his people, I desire to serve with the same type of child-like excitement that I had when our colored television arrived.  I crave to know more about the "Big Picture" and my part in the details. 

It is my prayer that each of us will have a burden in our hearts for serving God and working toward his purpose.  No matter if the work is small or large, it all matters, for "all things are from him, through him and to him". I pray that not one of us will ever overlook our part in God's "Big Picture" and that we will seek ways in which to participate in his plans.  We may only be able to catch a glimpse of the "Big Picture".  Oh, but to behold a few of those small details is such a blessing and fulfillment!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Love and Acceptance are louder than words

Romans 12:15   Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

So many people in the world are hurting and dealing with emotional turmoil.  Discouragement, bitterness, depression and deep wounds will cause people to feel isolated-like no one understands what they are feeling. 

Each of us experience different hurts with different depths to our wounds.  We do have in common the feelings produced by the hurts. We understand the emotions that accompany hurts and disappointments.  We share a need to know that we are not alone in feeling the way we do.  We have a desire to feel loved and accepted.

It is difficult to reach out at times to seek comfort from others.  We fear that our friends and family may analyze our situation or pass judgment on our thoughts or actions.  We fear that we might hear the "well you should have done....................." lecture. 

When others come to us for comfort, we should remember that it takes courage for most to share their deep inner hurts and feelings.  It creates vulnerability.   It is important to love and understand others rather than analyze or give advice.   Weep along side those that value your friendship enough to pour their hearts out to you.  Love and acceptance speak louder than any words you might offer.                                         

Monday, August 10, 2015

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. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Memories of bitterness

Lamentations 3:19-22   "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for is compassions never fail."

Funny how the memory works.  To this day, I cannot eat tuna salad sandwiches because of a distinctive round of morning sickness that involved a tuna sandwich.  I will spare you the details.  The smell or sight of a tuna sandwich triggers my memory of that episode.  I can recall how my head and stomach felt, where I was and all the associated unpleasantries .  Therefore, I avoid tuna salad.  Period.  Non-negotiable.  I will go hungry before eating it again.

Even though I am no longer pregnant, nor am I suffering from morning sickness, that memory is forever planted in my mind.  I cannot erase it.   If I could erase it, good memories would likely be erased along side.  So, I learned from it:  tuna salad + morning sickness + eating while driving does not equal a pleasant morning.  You can trust that during my subsequent pregnancies, tuna was never on my menu!

The same can be learned when dealing with memories that trigger occurrences which brought about bitterness.  Even though I have dealt with bitterness in my life and put it in its place, there are still some things that trigger my memory and remind me of the unpleasant feelings that accompany bitterness.   Someone may speak about an event that caused bitter feelings. Certain time periods on a calendar may trigger a memory or even seeing the people involved in causing bitter feelings may stir up negative emotions within us. We must use caution when the memory is triggered because Satan pounces on those times quickly and takes our minds into unhealthy directions. 

When these things happen and bitterness tries to creep back into our lives, we must remind ourselves of Lamentations 3:22 "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed".  We do not have to be consumed with negative, hurtful thoughts and feelings.  God can take care of all of those feelings and replace them with positive feelings full of love and joy. 

Once bitterness has been dealt with and removed from one's heart, any triggers of the memory to revisit the bitterness can be quickly dismissed by remembering that God will surround us with hope and not sorrow.  He will wrap us in love and compassion.  He does not want us to remember the bitterness and negativity.  He wants us to learn from it and move forward. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blessings ALWAYS outnumber the burdens.

Psalms 68:19  Praise  be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Is your life 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?   As you reflect on events in your life, what is in the forefront of your mind?  Do you first recall the burdens, trials, and tough times or are you quick to state your blessings?

Many times we hold on to the memories and details of the burdens in our lives without holding on to the details of the blessings we have received.  Satan wants us to hang on to negativity and heartache.  God wants us to enjoy our blessings and allow him to bear our burdens.  We should praise him for bearing our burdens.  He does not want us to be burdened, for when we are, we can easily miss the blessings he has for us.

When you think about your life, do not look at your glass as 1/2 empty.  Measure out the blessings versus the burdens.  Thank God for both the blessings and burdens.  Keep the details of those blessings in the forefront of your mind.  Move the details of the burdens to the back of your mind.

Remember to praise God for the blessings.  The blessings will ALWAYS out number the burdens! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Unfailing love

Psalms 13:5  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 

The one word that I will focus on in today's devotion from Psalms 13:5 is "unfailing"  The word "love" is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible.  I am convinced that all things on this earth are because of love.   Unfailing love or failing love?  Let us unpack this.

God's love for us is unfailing.  It is ever present and always available.  Gods' love is trustworthy.  His love is generous.  His love for us is so powerful that it offers us everything we need emotionally while on this earth.  His love provides us with acceptance, security, joy and promises for eternal life.  He sends his love to us through a relationship with Jesus Christ and through people that we know here on earth.  His love does not keep score of all the mistakes we have made.  He loves us however we are and wherever we are.  He loves us just as he describes love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

What causes love to fail rather than be unfailing?  As humans, we look to others for love.  We have a desire to receive the emotions of love along with comfort and security from the people around us.  We expect our families to always love us.  We want them to love us in an unfailing way.  We look to our friends and co-workers to love us and accept us.   The fact of the matter, here on this earth, is that there will be times that love fails.  There will be family members that seem to have a difficult time loving other family members.  There will be times that friends turn their backs on other friends.  There will be times when love between a husband and wife fails.  There will be people that keep tallies of all the mistakes that we have made and cannot accept us with love. 

Love fails us when others around us do not understand nor accept God's love in their own hearts.  A lack of God's love in the hearts of people is the cause of much evil and wrongdoing in our world. 

We must always look to God for unfailing love.  When we feel unloved by others, he is ready and willing to provide all the love that we need.  Loving God and understanding his love for us makes it easier to love others.   His unfailing love is the key to peace within our hearts.  His love makes the way for joy in relationships.  His love is truly the answer to all things on earth. 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Forgiveness strengthens character

2 Samuel 9:7-8  "Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathon.  I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table."  Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?"

Mephibosheth is not a person in the Bible that we hear much about.  He was the son of Jonathon, who was David's loyal friend.  Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet and was limited in his activities and abilities.  He appears to have felt less deserving and inadequate because of this. 

At the time that David found Mephibosheth he was seeking out some of the descendants of Saul.  Now remember that Saul, Jonathon's father, had tried many times and many ways to kill David.  Yet, David remained best friends with Jonathon through all the war and hatred from Saul.  David and Jonathon remained loyal to one another and vowed to always protect and love each other.  When David sought out Mephibosheth, he was seeking a descendant of Jonathon in order to show God's kindness.  He honored Jonathon and the promises they had made to one another.  

David desired to show love and mercy.  He was a leader both politically and spiritually.  Mephibosheth was afraid to visit David partly because he felt unworthy.  Perhaps those feelings were because of his physical handicap, maybe it was because he knew the grief that his grandfather Saul had caused King David.

King David's expression of love and mercy toward Mephobosheth is filled with compassion.  He also fulfilled his promises to show love to Jonathon's descendants.  King David showed us in this instance that our character can be strengthened when we are able to forgive those who have wronged us.  We reap heavenly benefits when we can be generous to those who might feel less deserving.  There is a link between forgiveness and compassion.  Through forgiveness, we have the opportunity to become aware of situations of others and what might have driven them to do us wrong in the first place.  That awareness allows our hearts to realize a need for compassion.

Forgiveness strengthens character.  It strengthens the character of both the forgiver and the forgiven. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Don't reject the love that God sends

2 Corinthians 4:9   ....persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Rejection creates fertile soil for seeds of bitterness to grow.  However, those seeds do not grow into plants that offer astounding beauty nor ones that are aromatic.  The seeds of rejection are the vilest weeds with large painful thorns. 

Rejection causes feelings and thoughts of unimportance, it causes people to feel of little value and unloved.  Sometimes we get to the point of not liking ourselves because of rejection.  Rejection in our past or present will affect how we behave in future relationships.  

Many people do not recognize the effects that rejection has had on their lives until they reach adulthood or years after an occurrence.  The effects of rejection are often denied, all the while realizing that specific topics and/or events stir negative and fearful emotions.  Negative emotions that will destroy inner peace and joy result from bitterness caused by rejection.

Rejection brings about distance between people.  It causes chaos, turmoil and discord.   Satan's ultimate goal is to create enough bitterness between people that each will eventually become bitter toward God  (Study Job).  When dealing with rejection, we must separate ourselves from the behaviors and thoughts of others and discard any self defeating thoughts of being unimportant or unlovable.  

The sooner that the negative feelings caused by rejection are dealt with and gotten rid of (Eph. 4:31), the better.   The emotions that follow rejection in our lives, prevent us from enjoying all the blessings that God has for us.  Remember that you are loved by God, you are important to him and he will never reject you.  

The most important relationship we have is with our Heavenly Father.   Even if people that are important to you in this life, or people that are you family reject you, you are still real and you are important to God!   

Prayer for today:  Lord, I pray that for every person that deals with rejection and the long term effects of the emotions that accompany rejection.  I pray that each and every person will feel the love that you have to offer.  I pray that each person dealing with rejection will not reject those on this earth that you have sent to provide them with love and comfort.  In Jesus name, Amen.