Posts Tagged ‘Bitterness’

Are Those Gifts Mine? Can’t Be..

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What if you got up this morning and saw all of these gifts in your living room? Would you open them? Or would you ignore them, figuring they weren’t for you? Would you walk away and forget them? Would you get mad and call them clutter? Would you be angry because they were small boxes? Or wrapped with red paper instead of green paper? Or because you thought your neighbor’s gifts were prettier?

The Lord’s piled up the blessings in your life waaaaay higher and wider than the stack in this picture. When will you start opening them?

Receive them, enjoy them! You know..you don’t have to deserve, or be good enough, for gifts. Gifts are just another word for blessings. Gifts and blessings both involve grace. His grace is a gift. His blessings are a gift. His love is a gift. They’re yours, always. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You can let them pile up if you want. You can ignore them. You can determine to believe they aren’t yours. It’s completely up to you.

I encourage you to stop and look around today. Are there gifts you’ve left unopened? Are there any gifts you’ve refused to accept because you didn’t feel worthy?

Change that today!

You have been accepted into the family of Grace. Your name is allllll over those gifts, friend! So reach out, grab them, open them, claim them as yours, and give thanks!

He loves you! Don’t leave His gifts for you, His precious child, unopened anymore.

Blessings,

Sarah

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They Have it so Much Better Than I do

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Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. – Galatians 6:4-5

It’s not about what everyone else has. It’s not about how much “holier” they are than you. It’s not about how much more accomplished they are. It’s not about how much happier their marriage is. It’s not about how their kids are better behaved than yours. It’s not about how they still have a job and you don’t. It’s not about how they’re healthy and you’re not.

It’s really not about them at all. It’s about you, Him, and the work He’s called you to do.

If we are focused on our relationship with Him, we won’t find the need to compare ourself, or our life, with anyone else’s.

Where’s your focus today?

Pursuing The Ways Of The Kingdom

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As you know, I quit swearing a few days back. So far it’s going well! I must admit, I imagined quitting swearing would be cut and dry like everything else I quit. I am an all or nothing type person. I’m not a dabbler. So, you can imagine my frustration over the handful of times I’ve I slipped and sworn. But, I have to be thankful for the improvement. Usually even if I don’t swear out loud, I still think the words in my head. But yesterday, I noticed I hadn’t been thinking the words either! So I’m making progress. It’s really huge progress, but with my all or nothing mentality, I have to fight off feelings of total failure when even just one word slips (another thing I’m working on!). Anyway, that’s the update there! And it fits in with today’s overall thought…ridding ourselves of things that don’t benefit the kingdom.

Have you ever witnessed someone trying to be compassionate and caring, but it’s clear there is underlying judgement or anger beneath the compassion? I know I’ve experienced it, and I know that – at times – I’ve also been that person.

These verses remind me that we need to get rid of the anger, bitterness, etc., and instead FULLY embrace forgiveness, kindness, and compassion. It’s a black and white issue. All or nothing.

The first person we need to be forgiving, kind, and compassionate to is ourselves. If we can’t feel these things for ourselves, we can’t possibly hope to be genuine in these things towards others.

Bottom line: If Christ felt you were good enough to die for, and save, you are. So stop implying He is wrong by hating yourself. Give yourself the gift of grace. Your a wonderful human being, start acting like it! And before you know it, you’ll see you are treating others better as well.

I couldn’t decide which version I liked best, so I’m giving you my top 3 faves. 🙂

Ephesians 4:31-32
The Voice (VOICE)
31 Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison. 32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.

Ephesians 4:31-32
New King James Version (NKJV)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

Make it a fantastic day – be genuinely kind!

– Sarah

Angry With God?

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There’s not much more I can add to the words this author, Kent Crockett, has written. He’s said it beautifully. I guess the only thing I can offer is this..Can God take our anger? Absolutely. But does He deserve our anger? Never.

Blessings to all of you, I pray you have a beautiful weekend. That you take many opportunities to grow, even when it’s not easy. That you are choosing joy, and blessing others with your words and actions as you go. Believe me, I know it’s easier said than done sometimes. But it’s worth it.

– Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Are You Angry at God?
By: http://www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com/

Jonah had gone up and down the streets of Nineveh preaching that God would destroy them in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). When the people of Nineveh repented, God decided that He wouldn’t destroy the city because their hearts had changed. How did Jonah respond? “But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1). The Hebrew word for angry means “furious.” Jonah was burning with anger against God because he thought He had made a mistake.

Do you understand why you get angry? We get angry because someone is doing something that we don’t want them to do, or they are not doing something we want them to do. Someone is not meeting our expectations! We get angry at God for the same reason. We’re mad at God because we think He has made a mistake. We want Him to do something for us, but He isn’t obeying our wishes. He hasn’t answered our prayers by our deadline. He’s not meeting our expectations.

How can we stop being angry at God?

First, realize we don’t have all the information that He has. Dt. 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord”… and He’s not obligated to tell us. If we knew that He knows, we would sheepishly say, “Oooooohhh, that’s why!” When we stand before Him, He will answer all our questions, but until then, we must continue to trust Him.

Second, we’ve got to stop blaming God. God gets blamed for so many things He doesn’t do. Just read Job 1-2 to see how Satan likes to cause destruction and then pin the blame on God.

Third, we must lower our expectations. We get angry because we want God to meet our demands. That’s pride, and we know that “God resists the proud but give grace to the humble” (James 4:6). It could be that your anger at God is actually keeping you from being blessed. Humble yourself and ask God’s forgiveness. If you will, you’ll find that your anger will vanish.

I’m a Coffee Bean by Choice

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Obstacles. Problems. Barriers. Hard choices. Life is full of them.

I want to encourage you today to turn the problems facing you into opportunities for victory. It’s a simple lesson in perspective. A choice. Yes: I will pursue victory. Or, No: I will let this problem overtake me.

It is my hope that when you’re presented with these choices, you will choose to say, “Yes! I will pursue victory! I will make the best of this situation!”

Enjoy today’s devotional story (below), I found it very inspiring!

Blessings,

Sarah

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
– Romans 8:37 NIV

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The Carrot, the Egg, and the Coffee Bean
By: Anonymous

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” the mother asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

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You can be shackle-free! Start the path to forgiveness today. You will be glad you did!

I pray blessings and peace over you today as you embark on this new journey. Freedom in Him is here for the taking!

– Sarah

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Today’s devotional selection:

A Place of Forgiveness
By Suzie Eller

” … Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My name will be honored there,’ and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive.” 1 Kings 8:28-30 (MSG)

Claire sat on the floor with a wad of tissues in her hand. Her husband had left her three days earlier for someone else.

Sitting there crying, in her brokenness she sensed God whisper, “Pray for him.”

Fists clinched, she shook them at the ceiling. “It’s too soon, God. If You love me, You won’t ask this of me. You are focusing on the wrong person. He’s the one who should be kneeling and asking for forgiveness.”

In 1 Kings 8, we find the story of God’s temple being built, a temple where God’s presence would dwell. It took seven years, a labor force of over 130,000 and King Solomon’s leadership to complete the temple. It was built with cypress, olive wood and cedar, and inside the doors were overlaid in gold. When the temple was completed, Solomon stood in awe as God’s presence filled it (verse 10), and he began to pray.

He could have asked God for many things. That the temple be a place of power where his kingdom would shine. That his enemies, and those of his father, King David, would be slain. That the sinful man would walk through the doors and be condemned for his sins.

Instead he asked that God’s Name be honored in the temple, and the magnificent structure would be a place of forgiveness.

Scripture declares that we are His temple. Three days after discovering her husband’s secrets Claire hadn’t eaten. She hadn’t slept. Her temple was crumbling.

By asking her to forgive so soon, God wasn’t showing a lack of compassion over her pain or her husband’s abandonment, but a sign that He knew her well. By asking her to forgive, God was asking for a place to move into the demolished areas of her life.

Forgiving would allow Him to fill her with His presence, putting His Name there forever, no matter what her situation.

Daily, Claire walked intentionally in her relationship with God, reading the Bible, talking honestly with Him, listening to worship music. This became her sanctuary as she went through the most challenging parts of an unwanted divorce. The more she nurtured her heart and His presence inside of her, the less room there was for sadness, grief, anger, and loss.

And then the day came. She knelt on the carpet and she told God, “I forgive him,” and she meant it.

A deeper meaning to the word forgive is “to abide” or “to set free.” Claire experienced both of these as she made room within her heart, mind and soul for God’s presence and forgiveness to dwell.

It’s been nearly a year. She is still beginning each day with God and inviting Him to fill her up with Himself. Moments of joy now surprise her just as grief once did.

Dear Lord, I knew instinctively that one day You would ask me to forgive, but today I understand why. You want to move in to the demolished areas of my life and let Your presence shine. Help me to begin to forgive with Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Dysfunction Junction, What’s Your Function?

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How was your Easter? If it was like most people’s, it was a day of family dysfunction! ..At least to some degree. Right? Let’s be honest, no one’s family is all peaches and cream all of the time. Why? Because humans are involved!

How is your relationship with our Father God? Well, like I said, you’re human – so it’s guaranteed there is some level of dysfunction in that relationship as well.

It’s been said that how people treat others is a mirror into their soul. If they are cruel to others, it’s because they are cruel to themselves. If they are loving, it’s because they are loving towards themselves, etc..

So maybe today we can all take a look inward, and take inventory of where we are spiritually. The more we work on ourselves, the more *good* function we will bring to our relationships. Yes, there will always be work to do in our relationships with others/ourselves, but we don’t have to accept the invitation to “Dysfunction Junction” anymore! We can all learn to become the light in any situation, with The Lord’s help.

Have a wonderful Monday, friends!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Spiritual Dysfunction
By Ivie Bozeman

Matthew 22:37-38 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (NIV)

I had a problem with my ice maker. The repairman responded quickly to my call. He performed the procedure that he thought necessary to get the water flowing. It did not work. He came again and decided my icemaker needed replacing. The next day came — still no ice. This went on for several days, until he found that a tiny valve connecting the water line was not functioning. Replacing this started the water flow. Back we went to the old ice maker, which is now functioning beautifully. This tiny little dysfunction had puzzled us all.

This prompted my thoughts toward “spiritual dysfunction”. Something is not going right in our spiritual lives, but we are at a loss to find the problem. We pray daily, read the Bible, go to church, and feel we are doing everything necessary to show our love for God and for our neighbour, but the spiritual flow is not as it should be.

Could it be that we have a “dysfunction” — just a tiny one, like a little valve — between our professed love for God and our love for our neighbours? Could we have failed to show compassion for someone who lost their job, or have we shown a lack of empathy for our friends going through a divorce? Do we claim to love the weak and vulnerable, but in no way reach out to help them?

Jesus told us that love for God and love for others is inseparable. Are we showing one face to the church and the friends with whom we worship, and another to those who think and act differently? The valve that controls the flow of our spirituality may not be working properly.

Yes, I think that we can become spiritually disconnected. Just as my ice maker had become dysfunctional because of the little valve that was not working, we can become dysfunctional too. Our problems may be harder to locate than the valve on the ice machine, but through prayerful seeking, the problem can be located.

Prayer: Father, help us to take inventory and seek out the problems in our spiritual lives and repair them. Give us a little nudge in the direction we should go. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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