Posts Tagged ‘understanding’

You Before Me

Oh man, am I ever behind on reading all of your blog posts! I will set aside time tomorrow to catch up. I miss you guys! The last few weeks have been very busy with getting ready for school, and school starting. But this week I’m expecting to settle into the groove again.

Yesterday was our 18th wedding anniversary! We spent the day with the kids, went for pizza, and back to the place where it all started. We had our daughter take a picture of us, standing in the same place we did all those years ago and said, “I do!” Here’s the picture..

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We always talk about how we don’t feel like it’s already been 18 years (20 years if you count dating!), and how we can’t wait for the next 18. But, that doesn’t mean it’s been all peaches and cream, folks! We have definitely had our shares of ups and downs, and times when “goodbye” had sadly become an option. But, The Lord is good, and stayed ever faithful to work with us, and meet us where we were at. Without him, we would’ve been another statistic.

If your relationship is in a tough spot right now, I want to encourage you to remember the first days together, and get back to the puppy love stage. Seek The Lord in all you do..every response you give to your partner, every action you take towards your partner. It took us a long while to really put each other first (after The Lord) and focus on each others needs above our own. But once we did, things started changing fast.

Like Dr. Laura says, be your husband’s girlfriend..and husbands, be your wife’s boyfriend. It really makes a difference, friends!

Don’t give up hope, the change begins with you.

——

Philippians 2:1-11
Good News Translation (GNT)

Christ’s Humility and Greatness

1 Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit,[a] and you have kindness and compassion for one another. 2 I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. 3 Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. 4 And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:

6 He always had the nature of God,
but he did not think that by force he should try to remain[b] equal with God.
7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had,
and took the nature of a servant.
He became like a human being
and appeared in human likeness.
8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—
his death on the cross.
9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above
and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
10 And so, in honor of the name of Jesus
all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below[c]
will fall on their knees,
11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

—-

Until next time,

Sarah

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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.

Tired but Soaring

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*photo credit: http://www.godlivesandloves.tumbler.com/page/7

I found this devotional so comforting, especially right now. I’m tired. Physically and emotionally. But my spirit is soaring. And that’s because I know that I’m not alone. That no matter what the world brings, as long as I’m with Him, I will soar on wings like eagles.

Do you know that? That you’re never alone? That He’s always there with you? Ready to hold you through the night? He is. Always.

You are blessed,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Are You Tired Lately?
By Tiffany @ www.teawithtiffany.com/

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently.

Everyone I talk to is tired. Tired of daily stress. Tired of busyness. Tired of summer heat. Tired of financial or health problems. Tired of praying. Tired of their loved ones. And tired of even trying.

Last week, my college-aged son and his two friends were in a ugly car wreck. Their lives were spared by only a second or two. Wow, as a mom that was hard to see. Thank God, they are not hurt. Anyway as I stood nearby the accident, one of the moms said, “I’m just so tired,” And as tears fell from her eyes, she repeated, “I’m just so tired.”

I understand because I’m tired too.

Lately I’ve thought things like, why bother and who cares. I’ve even considered about giving up on my dreams and running away from my responsibilities. You name it, I’ve thought it. I know this isn’t faith-filled thinking. More like destruction waiting to happen.

So how can we keep the faith when we are beyond tired, when weariness hits hard?

I think I found a clue as I reread a chapter in Isaiah. It’s chapter 4o, which is subtitled, “Comfort for God’s People.”

Who doesn’t need a little more comfort these days?

I know I do.

I won’t post the whole chapter here, but I will share the last several verses for your encouragement.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Did you notice our God never grows tired or weary?

What comfort.

These verses also remind me that I cannot find new strength on my own or in anything. But I can renew my strength by hoping again. And not just any hope, but hope in the Lord. What a relief because hoping in Tiffany isn’t working.

Feeling hopeless is dangerous territory.

So today I’m focused on hope again.

Everlasting God, I’m comforted by reading that You never tire or grow weary. Please renew my strength as I once again place my hope in You. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thankful and feeling a little less tired,
Tiffany from Tea with Tiffany

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

———–

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.

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

————

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.

Quality Time

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There’s no one who loves you more than the Lord does, and He would just love to spend some quality time with you. Rest in His love today, share your thoughts/hurts/hopes/dreams/failures/triumphs with Him. He wants all of you, will you let Him in?

Blessings,

Sarah

——

Today’s devotional selection:

QUALITY TIME
Devo found at: http://www.haventoday.org

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
(DEUTERONOMY 33:12)

In our busy lives what a treat it is to spend time with someone we know loves to be with us, one whose friendship we treasure as well. For many who have experienced rejection, to believe another truly loves and values us is a huge challenge. It requires letting down the defenses we have used to protect ourselves from more hurt. Our experience in human relationships affects our ability to accept God’s love.

If the Apostle John had experienced rejection, he overcame it completely because he knew without a doubt that Jesus loved him. He had no problem describing himself as the disciple Jesus loved. Their friendship was secure in God’s grace. Jesus trusted John with the care of Mary, His mother (John 19:26, 27), and John’s greatest desire was that others would know the One he loved (John 20:31).

The overarching aim of our whole New Year should be to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Jesus invites us to come to Him and to be refreshed in His presence. We can enjoy being with Him knowing we are loved.

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