Friday, October 31, 2014
We have all heard the saying,"When life gives you lemons make lemonaide". Well, its not always that simple. Sometimes the lemons are so bad its impossible to make lemonaide. The difficulties we face are not always that easy to fix. In fact many of them are so complicated that we cannot see an answer at all. We don't understand why the Lord is allowing it much less His purpose for it all.
The thing I always tell myself is that we live in a FALLEN world, Sin=Messy. Messy can be out of our control and difficult to manage. Messy can also cause much grief and sadness, hurt and brokenness. So what do we do? How do we manage or handle the difficult situations we all will face at one time or another. Well, first of all 'WE" in and of ourselves are not the best managers and even if we try it often doesn't go like we hoped. We are called as believers to lay them at the feet of Jesus "Cast our burdens on Him for He cares for us" His word tells us. How do we do this when what we are going through is consuming our lives to the point of suffocation. First, Have FAITH, faith is a calm trust in Christ despite all our trails and troubles. Second, LOVE, a reasoned decision and determination to love those who are hurting or have hurt us. And third, HOPE, an abiding trust and patient waiting, knowing that God has determined the future and has a plan that is beyond what we can see on this earth. Does this make all you are going through any easier? No, but it can provide a peace and joy that is unexplainable and supernatural, and will enable you survive the difficult things you are facing.
There is power in His word and strength that will come from praying that only we as believers have access too. There have been times in my own life when all I could do was muster up the strength to cry out His name. Just that little bit was enough to sustain me to get through that moment of despair. One of my life verses has been , "The JOY of the Lord is your strength." Neh 8:10 When I have looked back on these messy times I couldn't even explain this Joy, it was just there when I needed it. This is how our awesome God works, we are not exempt from trials we are just promised that He will never leave us and will provide the mercy and grace we need to get through it!
"These things I have spoken to you, that in me you will have PEACE. In this world you WILL have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have OVERCOME the world." John 16:33. I am so thankful that as followers of Christ, this messy life is just temporary. We are promised an eternity free of all sadness, sickness and despair! To God be the Glory great things He has done!
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Definition of forgiveness: Using honesty,compassion and self-awareness to reconcile with someone who has hurt you. Martin Luther King once said. "Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude." If we truly want to be loving people then we must learn to forgive. We must forgive the deepest hurts of life as well as the daily offenses of a family member. Whether the offense is large or small, forgiveness requires us to seek reconciliation if our relationships are to have a positive influence in our lives. We are incurably moral creatures. When we are wronged, something in us says;"That is not right, whoever did this is going to pay for it!" True forgiveness can only come when justice and love work together. Living a life of true love requires us to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is so necessary in human relationships because our freedom almost always takes a self centered path. We all have the opportunity to overcome our self-centered natures and learn to live for the benefit of others. That means forgiving those who have offended us . It does not mean ignoring the wrongs done to us. Our sense of justice will not allow us to overlook unloving actions. If it did evil would prevail in this world. Forgiveness is the choice to love rather than demand justice. Our desire for reconciliation should be greater than our desire to get even.
So what should we do when we are wronged? First, I believe we should rebuke (means :place weight upon) the one who has hurt you. Bring it to their attention. Many times the person doesn't even realize they have wronged you. Second, We should always pray and emotionally calm down before confronting this person or persons.
Third, Authentic love requires us to show respect for the other person in spite of what they have done. They are a valued individual that God loves. It is important that we confront the other person with gentleness, truth and an offer of forgiveness. It is important that we do not let our feelings of hurt and disappointment control our behavior. We must rely on the Lord to help us. After all ,He forgave us by giving His life for us. As Christan's we should be the ultimate example to the world of what it is like to truly forgive. This kind of forgiveness enables us to truly be free and in right relationship with not only others but with the Lord. We must do our part then allow God to take care of the rest. Not everyone we confront will be receptive. When we do not forgive the devil in turn uses this to limit our effectiveness for Christ. I don't want anything in the way of my Savior and I . Be proactive in restoring those relationships that are marred so that you can be free to be used for Gods glory in a mighty way. Also, what better to teach and train our children to forgive than to "live it" in front of them each and every day.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
This is an older post I wanted to re-share with you . I pray it speaks to your heart as it did mine today. Thank you for reading.
A gracious heart is giving heart. A heart focused on helping others. Do you see yourself as a gracious person? Are you sensitive to the needs of others above your own? God's word challenges each of us to be gracious, kind ,merciful and selfless. He know this will bring real joy and fulfillment into our lives.
We reflect graciousness through our actions and words. What we do and say speaks loudly to those around us. A gracious person may seem polished or refined on the outside but it is what is in the heart that truly matters. Graciousness reflects Christ and a heart committed to His love for mankind. It happens as we are being conformed to His image through time in His word and prayer.
What does it look like? It may be watching children for a an overwhelmed mother. Showing up with cooked meals to place in the freezer of a sick friend . Cleaning the home of an elderly person or helping someone who is moving with packing. (LOL , we have moved often so this one hits home with me.) The Lord will reveal these opportunities if you ask Him too.
My father has always been a wonderful example to me of someone with a gracious heart. He is always giving. It may be the time he gives to disciple and encourage a new believer in Christ ( this was a natural and common occurrence in our home growing up.)or it may be a monetary need. He often goes to garage sales and buys furniture for new families from overseas or clothes and toys for children. He truly demonstrates the love of Christ in this way.
Lord, help us to truly love others through the giving of our time and talents. Help us not to focus on our inabilities but our availability. Create in us a desire to serve others above our own wants and desires.
Exodus 33:19 "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion"
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
I'm back and excited to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me. I think one of the most difficult things to talk about sometimes is ourselves. It's easier to discuss others and how to fix them than focus on ME. Let me back up a little and share with you some of my story.
It started after our fourth child was born; I began to experience some anxious thoughts and feelings followed by some very low days. I really didn't know at the time what I was dealing with, but after seeing several doctors I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. This was a start because up until this point I was at a loss of how to handle and deal with what I was experiencing. In addition to caring for a newborn and 3 other children I was quite overwhelmed to say the least. After resisting it for some time I began to take medication, this came after realizing I couldn't just snap out of it on my own. God was doing His part but I was failing to do mine. Mental illness is a malfunction in the brain, your brain has become deficient of certain chemicals that cause it to operate properly. Medication whether natural or man made helps to replace and aid in the healing. Like any other illness, something in these temporary bodies of ours is under attack and needs help to heal.
I did get better but became very absorbed in myself and self pity. Let me just warn you...this is a very dangerous place to be. One day I just cried out to the Lord for help. The Lord along with other Godly men and women I sought for counseling helped me to take the focus off myself and begin pouring into the lives of others. Duh! this is the very reason He created us right? Well some of us are more stubborn than others! You see you can be doing a lot of things for others but for the wrong reasons. If we are not careful what we do can always come back to a 'what's in it for me' " attitude. For example: "Not one person said thank you to me"," I go and do and no one even notices what I do for them". These are just a few of our " I" responses that can be all consuming if we are not careful. So, how do we change or what can we do to alter this mindset?
The first thing God showed me was to start a prayer journal and begin praying for others. Focusing on the needs of others rather than ourselves starts the healing process. I also began to prayer walk and prayer drive. This is an example of praying without ceasing. Many of the people we see and pass by on a daily basis are hurting, lost and hopeless. Our prayers can alter their lives and eternity if we just slow down and take the time to pray, encourage and love them. You cannot gossip, be angry, speak unkindly, and pray for someone at the same time. Its just not possible! I challenge you to try it !
I also realized that I had to watch and re-evaluate how I was spending my time. I would ask myself, "Is what I'm doing helping to further the cause of Christ"? You see, God called us to be eternally minded. He wants us to have an eternal perspective in this life. Yes, we have to eat, clean and of course work but in doing so we are to keep that eternal mindset. Ouch! I don't know about you but that pricks my heart. I soon realized that the more I focused on others the less time I had to focus on ME! Hence the phase, " Its not about ME ", became my motto. When we come to know Christ and accept all He has done for us, we are no longer the same,a transformation begins. We are made new, with new wants and desires and perspectives on how we live our lives on this earth.
My prayer is that this helps each of us re-evaluate our focus and what we do with our time.
May it be on things that are eternal not temporary. Lord, Help us to be about your work and calling on our lives each day. Remind us that "It is not about ME" Lord, but all about YOU!
"Seek ye first my kingdom, and all things shall be added unto you" Matthew 6:33
Have a blessed Wednesday, Love Stacy
Website Source for Mental Health recovery: www.mentalhealthgracealliance.org