Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Thank You for Being You

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This is a picture of us (being silly) in a big group hug with our sweet, beloved, Missa last night at her going away party – she left for her first year of college this morning. Anyway, I’m missing Missa something fierce already. I’m a little emotional about her leaving, and then I also heard from my brother, Matt, today that he was having a rough few days physically. So, I was needing a pick-me-up. I felt led to check out the new happenings here on WordPress, so I logged in.

I have to say..

I seriously love coming “home” to blogville and visiting with you all!! Your posts lift me up and remind me of such beautiful Truths. Coming here feels like entering into a big ol’ love filled group hug like the one in the picture above.

Thank you for being so diligent in spreading the gospel. I appreciate you! I also love the art that gets posted, the funny stories, the project ideas, the poems, the successes, failures learned from, and hopes for a better tomorrow.

You may feel that you don’t really matter. That you’re not making a difference. But you’re wrong. You have a ministry, every single one of you. You’re all life changers! I’m blessed to know you, and to have a sneak peek into your lives and minds.

So thank you! Thank you for having the courage to post things for the whole world to see. Thank you for being open, raw, and vulnerable. Thank you for taking that risk..the risk of laying it all out there and hoping people will accept you.

I accept you, whoever you are, and I love you. You are a person of great value, your truth matters. You are a blessing!

Here’s a passage of scripture that I love and want to share with you. It’s beautiful – of course – in all translations, but I feel that The Message version is awesome for this passage because it’s in common everyday language, just as a letter between friends should be!

Philippians 1:3-11
The Message (MSG)
A Love That Will Grow

3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

We’ll chat again soon, friend..

-Sarah

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Sweet Little Lies?

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Sometimes there aren’t words adequate enough to describe the disappointment of being lied to. When one close to you continues the tradition of inflating the truth, and/or just flat out lying to your face, it hurts and gets old. Can I get an amen?

Sometimes I want to scream, “Am I not worth the truth? Is the truth too boring?! What is it?!” Other times I want to cry and quietly say, “Don’t you know by now that it’s the real you that I love? The you that hurts, fears, loves, laughs, cries, fails, succeeds…not the fake version of you that you almost always choose to show.”

I get so weary of hearing things that are opposite of the way it was told the time before. It’s a slap in the face, a stab to the heart. I’ve only seen the person come out from behind the mask here and there. And when I do, I feel overwhelming sadness, knowing that the genuineness won’t last for long. But also sad because, the only one being fooled is the friend. I can see through the lies into the truth, whether it’s revealed or not. And I think that’s the worst part. Seeing the agony in one’s eyes while the mouth drips honey.

I think Jesus feels the same way about us.

We try to put on a show for him. We attempt to hide our ugly truth in a soup with prettier ingredients, when all He really wants is us. No matter how ugly we are at the time, He wants us to come to Him. Genuine. Honest. Real. Vulnerable. When we come to him in humility, He can then properly mold us into who we are destined to be.

A few scriptures to chew on today:

Zechariah 8:16-17 And now here’s what I want you to do: Tell the truth, the whole truth, when you speak. Do the right thing by one another, both personally and in your courts. Don’t cook up plans to take unfair advantage of others. Don’t do or say what isn’t so. I hate all that stuff. Keep your lives simple and honest.” Decree of God.

Ephesians 4:25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

Be blessed, friends, as we continue on this journey of spiritual growth together. My love and prayers are with you all today. No matter what you have to face in your life, know that you’re never alone. Look up! He loves you, and yearns for you to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

– Sarah

Am I More Important Than You?

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Every Thursday night my daughter and I get together with some of our besties and have our super exclusive, no other friends allowed, “Sunshine Sisterhood” meetings. No, it’s not a cult. Promise.

Anyway, tonight our fearless leader, Nonni, shared with us girls that she is feeling led that we need to start doing a service project once a month as part of our Sisterhood meeting.

I’m not gonna lie. Some of us were a bit more excited than others! It’s our one night a week to just relax, and do nothing but laugh together and eat. Now we are being asked to give up one of those nights per month in order to help others!? *gasp* The nerve! Why is she messing with a good thing?!

We all want to help..but on Sisterhood night? That’s sacred! But..why NOT Sisterhood night?

So I get to choose..will I help because I feel condemned if I don’t? Or will I help because it’s what Jesus would want me to do? I’m gonna choose option B.

Gotta keep the priorities straight. Right? This is another opportunity to grow. I had already been making plans to begin volunteering again this fall, so why not start a little early? Is “losing” one of my relaxation nights really more important than encouraging someone in need?

What areas in your life is The Lord prompting you to stretch in? Will you stretch even if it means giving up your “relaxing time? Let’s be honest, it can be easier said than done, but let’s be open to something new. It will be good for us. 🙂

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Misplaced Priorities
Greg Laurie/Harvest Ministries

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
— Acts 17:16

To be able to reach our culture, to be able to reach our unbelieving friends and family, to be able to reach someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus, we must first have a genuine concern for them.

While the apostle Paul was in Athens, “his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (Acts 17:16). Another translation of this verse says that Paul “was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city” (NLT).

Have you been angered by something in a spiritual way? I am talking about righteous indignation where you see how the devil is ripping people off, and you actually get a little angry about it.

In Athens, Paul was grieved to see the absolute absence of the living God, with every conceivable substitute in His place.

Do you ever feel that way as you look at our confused culture? It seems as though anything goes—except for Christianity.

Paul could have cursed the darkness in Athens. But he instead turned on the light.

Today we can wring our hands and talk about the state of affairs in our world. Or we can do something about it. All too often, we Christians are known for what we are against and not what we are for. We are for Jesus. And that is who we want to talk about. That is who we want to point people to. That is the primary message we need to give to our culture today. They need to hear the gospel.

If we dwell on other issues and forget the message of Jesus, then we have misplaced our priorities.

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.

Stress..It’s Enough Already.

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It’s been a stressful week! My walk hasn’t quite met up with my talk. Do you ever go through that? Where the more you try to be positive, the worse you get? I’m thinking I’m not alone in this because, I’ve found scripture to back it up. That tells me my issue isn’t new on the scene!

Romans 7: 15 – I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

Well, there’s also another scripture that works for my situation, and it says:

Romans 8:1 – So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Because of that scripture, I know that when I fail, and my attitude sucks, I am not to allow condemnation to seep into my veins, poisoning my being. Instead, I need to turn away from that attitude, choose joy, and walk in the freedom I’ve been given. Easier said than done? Sometimes, yes. But if it were easy, there would be no growth to be had. And I want to grow!

Another great scripture:

Lamentations 3:22-23 – It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.

So yesterday’s stress and failures are just that, yesterday’s. I will not allow them to poison my today. Today comes with fresh grace and mercy. I plan on immersing myself in it! You should do the same. 🙂

As you will see in the devo selection below, Jesus’ life is the perfect example of how to handle stress. Here’s to being more and more like Him every day.

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Dealing with Stress Like Jesus
Written by Patty Wysong

There is just no getting around stress, regardless of the time of life we’re in. We may think things will be easier at some point, but we only trade one stress for another. It’s never ending, but we have a great God who understands us!

How can we know that God understands us? Just look at Mark 3:5-22. Jesus had so many people following Him, and so many needing things from Him that He called for a small boat to keep from being crushed.

Have you felt like you were being crushed?

Everyone wanted a piece of Jesus, a touch of Jesus. Things were so crazy that He couldn’t even eat a meal. Sound familiar?

But that’s not all. Not only was He under crushing pressure from the people all around Him, but the church leaders had turned against Him. They were ready to do Him harm. Jesus knew well the pressure and stress that came from the religious sector—the church.

Multiply that by the stress Jesus must have felt because His family didn’t believe Him and they certainly didn’t support Him—they thought He was crazy. Family pressure magnifies everything—and Jesus was no stranger to it. You know the feeling, don’t you?

Jesus had a to-do list like no one else. His included dying on the cross for me and bearing the wrath of God. For me. Talk about a weight to carry. So much more than I could ever bear!

We’re told to ask “What would Jesus do?” and this is one of those times when we can see what He did and how He handled all the stress in His life.

Jesus had a place of solitude.

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. ~Mark 6:46

The pressures of life have a way of bringing us down, but we can choose to go up and spend time with God in solitude with Him. We have somewhere we can go! The next time you feel like you’re not enough and don’t have enough, go up to the cross, go to God.

Jesus had a place to pray.

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. ~Luke 6:12

In Jesus’ life, days of power followed nights of prayer. The same can be true in our lives. He went to a solitary place to pray. Relieve stress and handle pressure with prayer.

Jesus had people to share His load.

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. ~Luke 3:14-15.

Jesus shared the burdens, and so can we. His chosen men came alongside Him in prayer and care and they shared His load. Carefully choose a few to share your burdens with so you can lift each other up in prayer. When we try to do it all by ourselves we set ourselves up to fall apart. It’s much better to “come apart” to God than to fall apart.

So when the stress is rising like a flash flood, remember how Jesus handled all the stress in His life. He had a place of solitude—a place of prayer—where He met with God the Father. He also had people who prayed with Him and for Him and helped Him shoulder His load that way.

*Sermon notes from a recent message by Pastor Mike Cash.
*All Scripture quoted from NASB.

Laughter, It’s Just What The Doctor Ordered

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My son feels that his normal laugh isn’t exciting enough, as a result he’s come up with many different screeching noises..err..laughs to entertain us with. It makes me crazy! These laughs could wake the dead, I’m sure of it. But somehow, even when his crazy laughter is on my last nerve, he can still (usually) get me to laugh right along with him (As I’m yelling for him to stop screeching). Why? Because joy is infectious! I challenge you to infect everyone around you today with joy. Make this Monday so great that it feels like a Friday!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Side Splitting Laughter
By: Linda Bailey

Who would think that so much discomfort would come from something so good?

Job 8:1-22

Reference: v.21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. (TNIV Bible)

Explore: Have you ever laughed so hard that your whole body starts to ache? There are times that I’ve spent amongst friends where the laughter has gone on for so long that my cheeks hurt, my chest aches and I actually get a stitch in my side from laughing so hard. Who would think that so much discomfort would come from something so good? I guess that’s why they call it ‘sidesplitting laughter’. And when the laughing has finally stopped I will always grip my side and say something like, ‘I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.’ And although that may be true I’ll already start anticipating the moment when I will laugh that hard all over again.

Application: There are times in our lives where it seems like we have a laughter drought. Life can get serious and times can be tough but once that drought breaks you realise just how much you have been missing. When Job’s friend gives him the hope that God “will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” he is truly giving him something to look forward to. Even when we are going through deep valleys, if we are able to find some humour then life seems a little brighter. Earlier in the year when my father was fighting the last couple of weeks of his life, we were all blessed with his sense of humour. Although we were all grieving the inevitable it felt good to be able to laugh together and share some joy in the darkness. That is a true gift that we often downplay: the gift of laughter. I think if we were to add more laughter to our days then our attitude would immediately change for the better and our future would seem brighter.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of laughter. I couldn’t imagine how dreary life would be without it. May we have the confidence to laugh at our selves and the blessing of laughing with others. Amen.

How does laughter impact your life?

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