Posts Tagged ‘growth’

I Hate Goodbyes

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I hate goodbyes. I mean really hate them.

As another school year closes, it’s inevitable, goodbyes are on the horizon. Seniors in high school are moving on to become freshmen in college. And, dang it, they so often want to explore other states! What’s so wrong with staying home? I suppose we all have to spread our wings, and follow the Lord’s leading, wherever that may be.

This year we will be sending off one of our dearest friends who has become family. She’s leaving to go to college in another state. I’m not sure if my arms will allow me to let her go when she gives me that last hug. But, surely, someone will pry me loose, and tell me to get a grip. I’ll swallow the lump in my throat, force a smile, say goodbye, and walk away. And as soon as I shut the truck door, all snot and tears will break out! I just don’t want it to end. Things will never be the same. But..things never are. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

Life is change, growth is optional. I’m so glad she’s choosing to grow, instead of staying somewhere she knows she isn’t meant to be right now. All the same, I am thankful that our goodbye with our friend isn’t forever, it’s just a “see you soon!” 🙂

On the other hand, my feisty old Gramma will be turning 100 soon. She’s forgetting a lot of things now, as is expected, she’s almost 100! But, she’s forgetting things about me, too. And it hurts so much. I know she wants to go home to Jesus. But, I hate to think of life without her in it.

Anyway, if you’re saying goodbye for a little while, or goodbye until Heaven..just know that there’s someone you never have to say goodbye to. Yep, you guessed it, Jesus. He sticks closer than a brother, and will never, ever leave us. In that, I take great comfort. He knows every pain, every moment of sadness, and every tear that falls. And He will be with us as we say goodbye to those we love.

Here’s a video (link) that always comes to mind when I have to say goodbye:

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Uxnhv2ChbxI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUxnhv2ChbxI

Blessings,

Sarah

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JESUS WILL BRING YOU HOME – MAY 23, 2011
By: http://www.wels.net
Daily devotion from John 14:1-3.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3

Do you like saying goodbye, especially saying goodbye to someone you dearly love? As Jesus spoke to his disciples on the night before he died, he knew that his words were, to a large degree, words of farewell. But even as he spoke his farewell, he also wanted to comfort his disciples. They were going to see him again!

Jesus was leaving to prepare a place for them. He was then going to return and bring his disciples to be with him. When the apostle John later in life looked back on that evening, he understood how Jesus went about preparing this place for his disciples. John stood at the cross as Jesus washed away the sin of the world. He made the inhabitants of the Father’s house clean by forgiving their sin. Forty days later Jesus ascended into heaven where he waits to bring his disciples home as he rules all things for the good of those who love him.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to wait for Jesus to return. We find ourselves confronted with troubles each day. Past sins have a way of haunting us. New sins have a way of attacking us. Despair can sink into our lives as we wait for Jesus to fulfill his promise to take us home.

Jesus knows that our hearts become troubled, that our trust at times wavers, that we may wonder if he is ever going to come back and take us home with him. So he gives us these words of comfort and encouragement. Our Savior remembers his promise and will fulfill it. As he came the first time to rescue us from the destruction of sin and death, we are assured that he is faithful and will come back and bring us to his heavenly home where we will never again have to say goodbye.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you promised that you were going to prepare a place for me. Come quickly, that I may join you in your Father’s house. Amen.

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Life Lessons on the Monkey Bars

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The act of using Monkey Bars requires a few things.

-Climbing a small ladder

-Leaning out to take hold of the first bar

-Letting go of the ladder as you swing to the next bar

-Keeping focus on the finish line (looking UP)

-Not looking back

-You can’t do it with only one arm – you must give it full attention

-Keeping your feet up off of the ground so they don’t drag

-The will to finish

There is a verse that goes along with the Monkey Bars process perfectly..

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
~Philippians 3:13-14 The Message

We all have “monkey bars” to cross in life. We can cross them in joy, knowing Who crosses them with us, or we can cross them in sorrow, refusing to acknowledge the progress we’re making. Or, we can even climb down the ladder and refuse to cross the monkey bars all together..missing the opportunity to grow in Him.

Today I want to encourage you to take that first swing on the monkey bars, trust in Him, and enjoy the journey. You can do it! When you make it to the other side, you will find you are stronger, that callouses have been built making it a bit easier to cross the next set of “monkey bars”. You’ll also realize you now have added tools and knowledge in which to help others who are just starting their journey.

Make it a great day, no reason not to. It’s, afterall, all up to you!

Blessings,

Sarah

You Have Everything You Will Ever Need

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No weapon formed against you shall prosper..unless you let it.

Wait, what?

Yes. It’s true. The weapons formed against you are worthless. They have no capacity to harm you. It’s a promise.

..Unless you let them..

Did you ever see a place in the Bible where the truth was forced on anyone? Where Jesus strong armed someone into taking hold of the truth? I haven’t seen that. I saw Him again and again present the truth and accompanying freedom, but never forced it on anyone. He was real big on free choice.

So..the TRUTH is, no weapon formed against you will prosper. But, that’s not a truth that you are required to take hold of.

You have a choice.

You can accept the truth and walk it out. Or, you can decide that every weapon formed against you is surely going to overtake and kill you. That you’ll never make it out of the current situation. That God’s not big enough to handle YOUR problem. You can choose to fall down and let the circumstances trample you.

You can effectively throw out the truth of the situation, and instead embrace the lie. You can reject freedom. You can reject safety. You can reject growth.

It’s your choice.

But in rejecting the promise, you also reject the truth. Succumbing to a life filled with deception and lies.

My daughter has been fighting pain in her tailbone after a fall this last winter. She told me, in no uncertain terms, “I will never dance again.” (SheLOVES to Dance to those video game dance things, and is amazing at it.)

I told her, “Don’t say that, you WILL dance. Just determine to do it. Your body will eventually line up with your thoughts.”

She replied something to the effect that she had tried, but it just hurts..so shes not going to do it anymore.

I heard The Lord say as clear as day, as if He were physically sitting right next to me, “She is allowing the weapon formed against her prosper.”

So I shared that word with her. Since then she has refused to “lay down and die,” and has seen a difference. She still has pain at times, but she’s realized it’s not the end of the world, and it goes away. It doesn’t have to effect her joy, or her life.

The devil wanted her incapacitated, hopeless, and depressed. The Lord says, “Pick up your bed and WALK!”

So, what weapons of the enemy are you allowing to prosper in your life today? We all have something. What issue is The Lord asking you to drop at His feet? What area in your life is He telling you, “Pick up your bed and walk”?

If weapons formed against you had to prosper, He wouldn’t have said that they won’t (Isaiah 54:17). If you couldn’t get past infirmities, He never would have said pick up your bed and walk (John 5:8). If He wanted you living in bondage, He never would have come to set you free (Luke 4:18, Galatians 5:1, John 8:36).

You are FREE. You are more than a conqueror. You are not required to continue letting the weapons prosper.

You can change direction.

Don’t wait around for someone else to make the changes for you, or bring the healing.

The healing is already yours.

The freedom is already yours.

The capacity to change is already yours.

The ability to overcome is already yours.

Every promise He ever gave was fulfilled at the cross, you lack for nothing.

He’s given you everything, you’re fully equipped for victory.

Right now.

This very moment.

Disease, sickness, depression, stress, anxiety, and hopelessness have no place in the mind of the believer. So pick up your spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:10-17), kick those lies to the curb and walk out in victory! You’re a mighty warrior! Stand tall!

Blessings,

Sarah

* If you’re interested, here is the link to a great video that goes along with the devo. 🙂
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pGy5c2bgiDo

I Don’t Love Your Smacking, But I Love You

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Would it be ok if we all just set our gavels down and decided to love people for who they are? Would it be ok if we quit demanding perfection in others? Would it be ok if we shifted our vision..from seeing faults in others to instead seeing the potential in others?

The truth us, we are all imperfect. So let’s just decide right now to quit pretending we are perfect. We aren’t, we never will be. And that’s ok!

Jesus loves me in spite of my shortcomings so I’m going to love myself, and you, too!

Have a beautiful day!

Blessings,

Sarah

**As I was typing this, my amazingly wonderful husband, was sitting next to me, talking with his mouth full. Satan is using that to see if I really mean what I’m saying in this post. Well let’s just say..life is a growing opportunity. And I’m growing.

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Today’s devo selection:

How many white hairs have you been given?
by George Whitten

Matthew 7:2-5 For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you use, it shall be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me pull out the speck out of your eye; and, look, a plank is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first remove the plank out of your own eye; and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of thy brother’s eye.

A dear friend recently sent us this funny story and we couldn’t help but share it with you.

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast upon her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Mom, why are some of your hairs white?”

“Well”, her mother replied, “every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Momma, how come all of Grandma’s hairs are white?”

A funny story, yes — but isn’t it true that we’re always looking for someone to blame for our imperfections? The Lord warned us about the danger of pointing out the faults of others. He said that people with planks in their eyes should not attempt to remove specks out of other people’s eyes. Somehow, we lose sight of this so quickly! We are all still growing. None of us has arrived! We need to be aware of how the enemy tries to ensnare us in this way.

I don’t know about you but I tend to agree with the person who said “The only person I want removing splinters out of my eyes is someone with a clear vision and a gentle touch!”

Let’s ask the Lord to help us to see the ways we’ve been judgmental and become people with clear vision and a gentle touch! We should be building up one another and encouraging each other so that the work of the Lord may go forward and we may rejoice together in the blessing!

Growth Under Attack

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Some attacks are easier to forgive than others, but regardless, all must be forgiven. Why? Because we have been forgiven. Even when it’s hardest to forgive, we must. It’s love that will change the world..”Love one another as I have loved you.” In order to truly love, we must forgive.

It’s easier said than done, but we can do it.

Blessings and love to you all,

Sarah

Today’s devo selection
From: http://www.findthepower.com/dailydevotions

About keeping the faith in the face of Satan’s attack…

Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (NIV)

Stephen knew he was dying. Yet even in his last moment of life, with his last breath, Stephen asked for the forgiveness of those who were killing him. You have the same mighty spiritual power within you Stephen had. Your witness in life or even in your last breath can change lives like Stephen’s witness has done for two thousand years. You might not be a famous person. You might consider yourself a “nobody.” However, in God’s eyes you are precious. Until you take your last breath, it is God’s will the evil in your world should be defeated with His love and with His consuming grace. As Christ’s witness, show the world how evil can be defeated with the same love and forgiving grace you keep within your heart.

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.

Did You Say, “I Love you!” Or “You Disgust Me!”??

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It’s so easy when we have known someone so long to think we just “know” exactly what they realllly mean when they say or do this or that. But the truth is, we don’t. And the enemy is always right there to take advantage of that, planting the seed of discord. Let’s not allow him to do that anymore. Let’s choose to react in love, and believe the best of our loved ones. Maybe as we do that for them, they’ll do it for us, too. 🙂

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s Devotional Selection:

Communication and Conflict
from Focus on the Family

We are called to be attentive to one another in marriage, to stop and listen and to learn about each other.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

As men and women our differences go beyond the obvious physical ones. We think differently, we respond differently, different things catch our hearts. However, we are too-often inclined to ignore that fact and plow through life with our own perceptions of how others should live and respond. The harvest of that kind of mentality can be misunderstanding, resentment, and alienation.

We are called to be attentive to one another in marriage, to stop and listen and to learn about each other. We must be willing to ask; we must be willing to reveal. Much can be learned about one another by how we live, but there are also things that words can give life and understanding to.

Conflict is inevitable, and often it is through conflict that we come in touch with the deep places and real meanings of our feelings. It is often only through times of discord that we can identify and offer the deepest content of our hearts. What we must remember in these moments is that our spouse is not the enemy. It sounds odd perhaps, but couples often come at each other from that very stance. In that place where little listening occurs, painful and damaging words are spoken, and anger isolates.

Consider James’ words, what a compelling picture of relationship. When we look at one another in marriage, when we realize that this is just the person we need to help us become who God has made us to be, then our hearts are more likely to respond in attentive tenderness.

Father, you communicated your love to us by sending Jesus to live and die for us. You bring us together in marriage, we who are so very different, and you call us to communicate with one another the very love we receive from you. Teach us, Father, how to do that in a way that honors each other and glorifies You.

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