Tuesday, February 19, 2013

THE DOUGHNUT SHOP

   The other day I found myself sitting alone in a local doughnut shop drinking my coffee.  It was a mid -February morning and the weather was unseasonably warm.  People were sitting outside on the benches enjoying the respite from winter.  I chose to sit inside. I sat close to the window so that I could enjoy the bright sunshine that was streaming through it. The position I chose afforded me the opportunity to view the entire lobby of the shop.  As I was sitting there I noticed a young mother and her small child, walk into the shop.  The child was a girl, about three years old, cute as a button, with bright sparkling eyes and curly dark hair. I watched her mother gently ushered her to the counter to order.  The girl could hardly hold in her excitement, as her mother asked her what type of doughnut she wanted. I could see her small hands reaching up to the counter, trying to leverage herself so the she could see across it to view the doughnuts on the self and make her selection.  Her mother, ever attentive noticed her child struggling, she reached down and lifted the child off the floor until the child could see.  Ever patiently she asked her daughter again what type of sweet pastry she desired, and with  feet dangling the child answered,  "I want that one."  "The brown one?" the mother questioned. With excitement overflowing from the small child she replied. "No, no- that one!" Small fingers pointing. The mother looking at where the tiny fingers were pointing, and replied in a gentle voice. "The pink one?" The little girl's head began bobbing up and down as she answered with a bubbly explosion of words. "Yes Mommy, that one, that one!," she exclaimed. The mother looked at her daughter with mild inquiry,"Are you sure? It's usually the brown one you want. Well, O.K., then that's the we'll get."  She placed the child on her feet, and proceeded to complete their order and pay for it.  The two of them then walked to a bar stool and table, sat down and enjoyed each other company and their mutual treats.    
 I thought to myself ,what a display of love.  To others this mother daughter interaction might seem like a normal everyday occurrence, but in my minds eye I saw a living example of God's great love and concern for me, and for you.  Let's examine this a little closer Point one:  the mother and daughter are spending time with other. Quality time, sharing an experience, enjoying each other company, interacting with each other in a positive fashion. God wants to spend quality time in our presence.  He delights in us when we seek to and find pleasure in his presence. God is eager and willing to share all of life's experiences with us. God wants to parent us, to partner with us, to intimately interact with us personally.  God is concerned with our success. He want us to be productive in the life he has planned for us. A Life full of many gifts great and small. God has given us a constant companion, one who knows us and understands our needs.  He has given us His Holy Spirit.  Point Two: the young mother wanted to do something that would bring pleasure to her young child. She choose  give a small pastry, a gift, to display her love to someone she cared for.  To do something for her daughter that her young daughter could not for herself. The Bible tells us that The God of Heaven has given us the ultimate gift and continues to constantly give us gifts. God loved us so much that he gave us his one and only son Jesus Christ, and the promise of eternal life.  And Jesus, God's son, loved us so much that he gave us a gift we could not give ourselves, a way to escape judgement from our sins. He gave us his life.     
     Just take a moment to reflect on the this past week.  Name the gifts God has given you.  This should make you smile.  God wants to see you smile.  He delights in you! 


John 3:16-For God so love the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.  .

Friday, February 8, 2013

SHINE


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       I had just finished getting dressed one morning, and I decided to spruce up my attire with a couple of pieces of jewelery. I reached for my jewelery box that was resting on the dresser and my hand gently opened the small drawer as my eyes searched for the perfect pieces. I immediately spotted a dazzling set that I had recently purchased on a shopping trip to the local mall with my daughters and one of their friends. I picked up the bracelet and began to examine it. How beautiful, I thought. The deep garnet stones gleamed with  warm light, a quiet spark just waiting to ignite. They were encased in a blackened, antique-finished metal, sculpting the edges like fine lace on every stone. As I stood there, the seconds of time ticked by and I thought to myself, These are too nice to wear today.
       My hand started to return them to the small drawer when I heard "Waiting to illuminate." My mind wandered to a comforting scene. In my imagination, I saw an old store fireplace. The kind you would see in the main room of a small cottage, where the hearth is made of mute, multicolored field stones with a hand-made braided rug placed neatly on the floor in front of it. The iron poker, shovel, and ash pan were neatly arranged along the outside wall of the fireplace. Smoldering cinders linger where a once blazing flame cools on the hearth. A figure kneels, and with efficient, skillful movements, and begins to remove the excess ash. He is careful and his eyes are watchful. Never rushing as he places the ash in the pail one shovel at a time. He leaves the remaining hot coals in the center of the once fiery hearth. He prepares it to receive its new fuel. Cautiously he chooses his first piece of wood - a split log - and places it in the center of the coals. He then finds smaller kindling and places them in designated areas surrounding the log. With patience he watches and waits. Soon his eyes are drawn to a column of smoke as it slowly raises and winds its way up the chimney. He works with confidence knowing that once the wood ignites it will provide comfort and illuminate the darkness. The fire blazes and burns with great intensity.
       I returned to my senses, positioned the bracelet on my wrist, and fastened the clasp. I then reached for the matching earrings, I put them on and looked at my bejeweled reflexion in the mirror. I once again noticed the light shining in the jewels. Perfect. As I turned away, I thought we, the people of God, are like those jewels and embers casting only a reflection of the true brilliance that is locked inside. The Holy Spirit of God, our caretaker tends our souls. When we allow Him to clean out the ash and debris from our hearts and minds  he is then able and willing to replace that which what was spent and useless with a something that bring comfort and light. We must grant God the access to replenish our smoldering spirits, to stoke us and prod us so we can shine into the darkness. 

Matthew 5:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.





Thursday, February 7, 2013

No Longer Afraid

     One day I had an epiphany - I could make the choice to no longer be afraid.  I had just taken the time to examine my life, to really look and see how my actions and choices have affected my life up to this point. I noticed that a large portion of my life had been motivated by the underlying emotion of fear.  Now let me explain: not the kind of fear that is so greatly manifested in us that it inhibits normal social functioning, but more like a quiet suggestion of  insecurities: the fear of rejection, a deep need to please people. Don't get me wrong, I carried myself in what appeared to be a confident manner. As far as the world was concerned, I was successful.  I had completed college, worked in my chosen profession, was a homeowner married with two beautiful children. Inwardly I was always striving and seeking approval from those around me. Looking for validation and a sense of self worth.  I had forgotten who I was and all I was in Christ Jesus. I guess you can sum it up and say, "What I thought others thought of me felt more important than what God has to say about me and thinks of me".  I had come to a point in life where all my efforts had failed, or was in the process of failing. It seemed that everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I felt totally helpless. I did not possess the ability nor the knowledge to change the life I created. I am sure others have experience similar emotions.  I was at the end of myself - defeated. I needed help. That day, when I was at my lowest, God spoke softly into my heart and impressed on me His great and perfect love He has for me. He whispered into my soul a very powerful truth. The truth that He accepts me as I am, that I am wonderfully and beautifully made. That I was made after His perfect image and that it is good, I am good. That God alone loved and will always love me with a perfect Love that casts out all fear. In that instance, I knew that the God of the universe loved me and was with me. And when God is with you, you have nothing to fear. In that instance, God's love washed away all my fears. He replaced them with a place of belonging, a measure of worth, and a sense of acceptance.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lVvM5tfzc3w/TEekUGoM2mI/AAAAAAAAIG4/YaclR_GPIGA/s1600/4079900242_fcbf626896_z.jpg 
 1 John 4:18  (NIV)- There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.










 Photo Link: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lVvM5tfzc3w/TEekUGoM2mI/AAAAAAAAIG4/YaclR_GPIGA/s1600/4079900242_fcbf626896_z.jpg

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Voices

To the one I love,

    I  must address this issue because you are still young and now is the time for you to learn how to pay attention and listen to the correct voice when you hear it spoken into your ear. There are so many voices you can hear and choose to listen to. I will start by reminding you the Bible states that every man, woman, boy, and girl is born into and  live in a fallen world. Because of this singular fact we are receptive to all types of influences and voices. These voices we hear can speak untruths, misconceptions, and lies into our hearts and minds. They assault the truth about ourselves, who we are as creations of God. They can effect how we think and feel about ourselves. They can and will  ultimately effect how we relate to others. Let me state that these voices are not the voice of our Heavenly Father, for they of bring messages that are contrary to his word and his will for our lives. You can hear theses voices through the pulse of society, screaming, and demanding that we give them our attention. That we pledge our allegiance to the hostile spirits that drive them. They call to us: to self hate, to isolate, to destroy. They say things like "You're not good enough. or No one love's you, you're unworthy." They magnify our own selfish fears, selfish desires, and  lusts. They speak to our flesh encouraging it to rise above, to be in charge. To have control.  Each voice that is listen to and obeyed, that is not the voice of God, gains strength and tries to dominate. This strength seeks to become its own. To rule, to exult itself higher than The God of Heaven.  To sit on the throne of your heart! But remember, please listen to the voice of God as he says " Do not have any other gods before me." and that include our own selfish pleasures. We cannot follow the voices of any other but only the Voice of God. Please my loved one learn to hear and obey the only most important voice.  For your own good concentrate on God's holy voice. Let all the other voices fade away and soon you will find peace in the presence of the Lord.

Romans 8:14- " For as many are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God."
 






Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lift Your Mind



     In today's society, more often than not you witness the effect that stress can have on your life and mind. We are constantly bombarded with demands that seem to come with living in a western culture. The pressure of the job, the insufficient dollar combined with the increase of living expenses. Sometimes it can be the stress felt from unemployment or ill health and its negative effects. Theses many things compiled with emotional imbalances, dissolving relationships, or separation from family can send our mind into unrest and chaos.
     We can be overcome with the cares of this world. These constant stresses and negative demands can act like a poison to our minds. Our thoughts can range from nagging and compulsive to desperate and dangerous.
     I am reminded of a story in the Bible where venomous snakes were sent into the Israelite camp because of the thoughts and words that was spoken against God. The Israelites were bitten by the snakes just like we are bitten by stress and negativity. It poisoned their systems just like we become poisoned in our minds and hearts.
     But the Israelites realized their sin against God and repented. We to need to come to a place of repentance for the sin of pride and self-sufficiency. When the Israelites repented God removed the snake. The Lord then told Moses to make a snake and place it atop a pole, and anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake would live.
     Today, God had given us someone to look to for our healing and sickness of mind. He is telling us to look up. Lift our minds to the cross and hope of Jesus Christ. And when we do, we will be healed and live..

(Numbers 21: 4-9)
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