Resurrection Eggs for Adults # 5: Jesus Bled for our Shame

Guilt says : “I did something bad.” the feeling of “doing something wrong

shame pictures of girl
Shame says: I am bad

Shame says: “I am bad.” the feeling of “I am wrong.” Our whole sense of self has eroded. 

Do  you feel flawed or defective? Unworthy of love or belonging or relationships? Feel like an embarrassment? Feel like you are in a dark hole that you cannot escape from? Do you struggle with addictive behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, sex, food? What about feelings of anger or anxiety?

It seems to me that we struggle with guilt and shame more than anything. I admit that I did not have a full understanding of ‘shame’ before researching this Resurrection Egg.

We sin and then we feel guilty. We may ask for God’s forgiveness, but the shame of the sin still lingers. We feel like we can’t reach out to help others, teach others about the gospel of Christ, or “be used by God” because of the ‘shame’ and humiliation that we feel.  “We are unworthy of such honors,” we tell ourselves.

Especially in women we feel shame for feeling shame and the cycle continues. Men get angry for feeling shame and the angry shame cycle continues.

Shame is generational. It is passed from one generation to the next.

Shame is not productive It does not bring repentance or change in belief or behavior. Why?

Because shame is how we View ourselves

Remember the novel, the Scarlet Letter? We may feel that wherever we go we have a Letter A on us just like the girl in the novel, Scarlet Letter.  Shame seems to me to follow sexual sins and indiscretions the most. Hence why Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book the Scarlet Letter, reaches people on many different levels. Hester Prynne, is caught pregnant out of marriage, she is forced to move out of the village and live on her own. She also wears a scarlet letter ‘A’ on all her clothing. ( OK, I read this in high school, so it has been awhile).

shame-652499_960_720

Today, sexual sins and addictions are  rampant. We like to think that there is no consequences in our souls or how we see ourselves. Sex and addictions may be a temporary fix for the loneliness we feel.  A way to establish relationships and fill the dark hole of shame in our life. But then how do we feel about ourselves? The shame is temporary gone, but only to return once the high has gone. Then comes the feeling of defective and wanting to escape. This leads to facing what happened last night which leads to loss of control. When we are caught in sexual sins specifically, we feel like everyone knows or everyone is seeing us as ‘that girl’. Our life is not what we had planned. We wanted something different than our friends or family.  Eventually that letter ‘A’ is not just on outside clothing but has moved to our very core of our being. We are wearing it on our heart and soul. The ‘A’ becomes our identity and pervades our decisions.

Praise God Jesus bled for our Shame!

“I (Jesus) offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50: 6-7, KJV) (Matthew 27:30)

Jesus bled from beard

Isaiah was prophesying regarding what Jesus would experience. In Matthew 27:30, Jesus was beaten in the face, mocked, spit upon. Jesus bled so that we are not controlled by the shame. He did not hide his face in shame so we don’t have to! We now longer feel unworthy or lack a sense of belonging. Jesus did not see us as unworthy. He loved us so much that He went through the beating. He bore the shame we may feel.  Jesus did not shun us. He accepts us and forgives us unconditionally. Jesus will be with us and help us and we will not be disgraced. We are not alone. We can trust Jesus and we will not be put to shame. Jesus is our identity!

Resurrection Egg #5

 

 

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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

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God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

In due season…..Easter

Easter images

Resurrection Eggs for Adults

I love Easter. To me it is the first hint of spring. Of new life, of a new promise. To me, Easter is not a celebration of bunnies and chocolate, but the celebration of the  resurrection of Jesus Christ. Knowing the end of the story it is easy to celebrate. Jesus is risen and the tomb is empty, our sins have been forgiven. Amen!  It is easy to forget the sacrifice that Jesus made, the shedding of His own blood for our sins. My husband reminded me that sacrifices in the Bible were pretty gruesome stuff. The Romans perfected crucifixion to be excruciatingly painful. In fact the word “excruciating” was a word originally used to describe the pain of crucifixion. I have been a Christian for long time, but studying the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for us, opened my eyes again to the mercy and love God has for us. So I thought I would share some of what God has shown me about the cross. I am not a theologian, just a mother of three with a love for Jesus and His word. I am calling these thoughts:

resurrection eggs numbered

Resurrection Eggs for Adults.

(Resurrection eggs are plastic eggs filled with a symbol of the Passion Week. Each day your child can open them and read a scripture and learn about events leading up to the Resurrection of Christ).

My prayer is that you enjoy these posts, but mostly you will grow in deeper understanding of Jesus for the blood of Jesus is one of spiritual weapons along with the name of Jesus, and the Word of God. It is our firm foundation that everything else rests.

Resurrection Egg #1 (1)

When we think of the cross, what do we think about? Blood, cross, Jesus, sins, love??? Probably all of the above and more. The cross is pivotal in many ways. Historically it divided time, BC and AD. Spiritually it unites us with God. Ultimately it is a picture of unconditional love. To understand the cross, you need to understand Covenant and the importance of the blood.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that make an atonement for the soul” Leviticus 17:11.

Life is in blood. In our bodies the blood supplies nutrients, removes impurities. It cleanses. The sin that came with Adam is passed down with the blood. God had given Adam a choice and he chose to give it to Satan Genesis 3:15 but God said that He would send someone to bruise his heel or to bruise his authority. Jesus is that sacrifice. He took the authority so we could have victory not just in heaven but here on earth. He overcame the devil (Revelations 12:11).

 “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”– Ephesians 1:17

 “We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.”–1 Peter 1:19

Helmet of Salvation

“And take the helmet of salvation. ..” Ephesians 6:17

As women we wear many hats. For me, I have a wife hat, a mom hat, my pastor wife hat, my nurse hat. Somewhere under all those hats is who I am. We are reminded that we are to first put on the helmet of salvation.  It is so easy to get up and immediately be drawn to another hat. The children are crying to be fed. Your husband is wanting to spend the last few minutes before facing the world in loving arms. Your to do list is scrolling through your head like a ticker tape.

As a Christian, under all our hats, we are first and foremost a child of God.

Female soldier

The word salvation used in Ephesians, “soterios“, describes salvation that can only come from Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot live in righteousness with out “the grace of God which brings salvation” (Titus 2:11). All our hats must be filtered through our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through this relationship that our mind is renewed. We are not to reject or steal salvation, but instead take ownership of the salvation that Jesus freely offers us. The battle begins in the mind with thoughts that lead to action.

It is time to stop and renew your mind.

Thank you Lord for your saving grace. Thank you Lord that the very love I have for my children and husband is love that You have placed in my heart. Draw me to that strong helmet of salvation that protects my mind and thoughts. Align my thoughts with the word of God. Filter my to do list through your saving grace.” Amen

What hat are you wearing?                                                                                                             

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…..Inside and Out…..Honey, Patricia, Janet, Carol

In God we Trust….four words that bring so much controversy. It is not the world we grew up in and I am sure our parents thought the same way. Songs, videos, books that praise God’s name are viewed as offensive, but when we are in a time of need, we drop to our knees…. from which comes our strength, our hope, our joy. I know we refer to the faith of our ‘founding fathers’ as the basis for this, but it goes deeper than that. It is the very core of our being. It is the empty hole we cannot fill with anything else. Since the beginning of time man has tried to fill that void with all sorts of things from money, daring excitement and adrenaline rushes (natural or man made), sexual pleasure, or just wanting to be in the best house in the best neighborhood with the best job and the best family (the idea of a ‘perfect’ life). All these are fleeting and bring joy for a season.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

As a teenager, I learned that negative emotions can be habit forming and that joy has nothing to do with happy times or happy circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God and knowing that He is there with us always. Jesus will supply all we need physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. As a teenager, my parents divorced and my mom and my sister and I moved to a new town. I struggled with my identity of who I was and with acceptance as most young girls do. During this time, God brought four ladies, friends of my mom, into my life, Honey, Patricia, Janet and Carol. They filled in the ‘mama’ gaps when my mom could not. What I saw in them was the power of prayer and faith in God and Jesus’ ability to fill that ‘gap’ in my life and bring true joy. Their families and children were not perfect, but their love for Jesus was. I saw a faith and determination to trust Jesus through the hard times and rejoice with Him in the good times. Their relationship with Jesus was and still is a steady anchor in their lives. I wanted that for me; a faith that expressed itself in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A joy that permeated to the core of my being.

Honey had ( and still does) a joy that lights up regardless. I treasure her statement, ” It is not an obstacle but an opportunity for God to overcome.”

Patricia showed me how still waters can run deep. She has integrity and showed me how to stand on principles of God and not to compromise. God has His best for you, don’t settle for anything less.

Janet, a prayer warrior (then and now), showed me where my source of strength needed to come from— the word of God, my relationship with Jesus  and prayer. Through Janet, I learned that in order to be as Psalm 1 states” tree planted by the waters that produces fruit in due season”, then I needed to take time and be open and honest with God. I needed to allow the healing blood of Jesus to forgive.Our own abilities and intellect can only go so far and will only produce temporary fixes in our lives, but Jesus’ fixes are deep and permanent.

Carol showed me that Jesus is the source of wisdom and discernment, not my own mental understanding. I watched her stop many times and pray before making a decision and it didn’t matter the size of the decision. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t just pondering the situation, but was saying,”Ok God, what do you want me to do?” Wisdom, understanding and discernment come from a spiritual ear and heart tuned to hear God’s voice. In order to hear God’s voice I needed to know Him and in order to know Him  I needed to read His word.

Through these ‘spiritual mamas’ I learned to not dwell on my own short comings, failures, inadequacies and struggles, but instead to develop a love for God and to trust Him.” All things are possible to him who believes, ‘ Mark 9:23.Thank you Jesus for the praying ‘spiritual mamas’ in my life.

summer deals!

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

Gazebo Gallery:

Look around for the ‘spiritual mamas’ in your life. What characteristics did they impart to you?

Crystal Coast Gems…..

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ (Matthew 22:37, message version)

Have you ever been so busy you forgot to feel? Or, if you did take the time even if  it was 5 min, you took a few breaths and then you were off again. As you go through your daily list for the umphteenth time in your head, do you take the time to see what your heart is saying? Laundry, supper, pick up the kids, get golf clubs to golf practice, tennis racquet to tennis match, church early to set up coffee, call so and so, get landscaping quotes, make grocery list and the list goes on and on. We all face this every day. Then all of a sudden you hit the wall and everything crashes. You then ask, why did this happen? Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to feel. Your head crowded out your heart.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

Have you ever gone on vacation and come back needing a vacation? You run the kids to  this amusement park, putt-putt, restaurant, movie, sporting event, etc. Finally you come home and realize: I did not walk the beach. I did not sit and enjoy the waves crashing. I walked, but was busy clocking my miles. I did not look at the sun reflecting on the water. As the light shines, crystals are glistening with every wave saying ‘Praise the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.’ Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to praise. Your head crowded out your soul, your prayer of thanksgiving and praise.

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths…..wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds…. Psalm 148:10

Have you ever been to the zoo and seen the animals swinging from the trees. Or just observed your own little ‘animals’ swinging from the rafters of your own house. If you have two little boys running around, you know what I am talking about. A friend of mind, Dan Breeding, is a wild animal handler. He says that animals do what they were designed to do and they do it very well and in so doing they bring glory to God.

What were we designed to do? I am sure we have many talents and abilities that God has given us to enable us to enjoy our life our earth, but what is our main purpose?  Passion refers to your heart; prayer is your soul and intelligence is your mind. We were created to Love God with our whole being. Above all else we were created to have a relationship with God. When we try and fill that desire with anything else, we will hit the wall. We know God loves us, He sent His son to die on the cross for us because of the love He has for us. But are we taking the time to tell God we love Him? Are we holding back our love, passion, prayer, thoughts?

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. John 3:16,17 (Amplified)

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What were you designed to do that you are doing very well?

 

 

Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal and Jen

There are two women in the Bible who I feel represent two sides of every woman. They are Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha are first mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus and the 12 disciples decided to stop in and visit, while ‘on their way’.

Martha had a servant heart that was full of action. Mary had a devotional heart that sprang from her time at the feet of Christ. Mary and Martha were not only sisters by blood but they also had a spiritual relationship based on their faith in Christ. I grew up with Marthas, from my grandmother to my mom. But as any Martha can tell you, you need the Mary side of you to be the center point that drives you. The Mary side is the one that sits at the feet of Jesus and lays every care and struggle there. It is the part of you that cries out, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, ” and means it with the very depth of your being. The Mary side, the side that allows the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you, is the side that supports the Martha. Being a Martha by nature, God has brought some Marys in my life to remind me of this principle. They have been used to keep me on track. They have shown me again the joy and peace of staying close to God and having that intimate relationship that comes from spending time in the Word of God and from spending time with our face on the floor in prayer.

A Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal

One such Mary is Crystal. I lived with her and her family for a few months before I married. After having spent most of my teenage years in a home of a single mom, God knew I needed to see another side. During those months, I saw a woman who prayed for her husband and children. She had quiet times and enjoyed that time in the Word of God. She opened her home to college students like myself who needed some extra love and attention. She took things lightly and always had a smile on her face. She knew who her source of strength was. She was quick to cast her cares onto Jesus and allow His peace to flow. I know many a prayer was said over me as I struggled with that balance of “I can do it myself” and “I need to allow God to work through me:. She started her day with Jesus and it flowed through everything she did. She sat at the feet of Jesus with her whole heart as Mary did. In Luke 10:39, the word ‘sat’ (parakathezomai) means to ‘to make  to sit down’. It is the only time it is used in the Bible. Mary had the same choices as Martha and she made herself choose to sit down at the feet of Jesus. Mary not only physically heard the teachings of Jesus but she also learned from what she heard. She was obedient to His voice. It was not a one time thing. It was active and continual, i.e. she kept on hearing. Mary sat close to Jesus physically and close to Him with her heart to not only hear instructions with her physical ears but to incorporate them into her very being. The words of Jesus became a part of her. Mary and Crystal were yielded to Jesus.

Martha was ‘cumbered’ with serving. Cumbered (perispao) means that she was drawn away. Her actions were good but they were drawing her heart away from Jesus. Martha was said to be doing ‘much serving’. Serving and ministry of helps were Martha’s calling. The gift of hospitality flowed in her life. How many of you invite 12 plus people over for dinner at the last minute! Martha is quickly overwhelmed and goes to Jesus and asks Him to encourage Mary to help (synantilambanomai), i.e. come alongside, share in the bearing, to take hold with another. This word is only used one other time in the New Testament. In Romans 8:24-26, it is used in reference to the Holly Spirit helping us in our weaknesses. Martha was feeling left in a lurch, abandoned, alone in her calling. But was she really? Jesus was right there. Martha was being distracted mentally when she needed to be at the feet of Jesus refreshing her mind and spirit for the calling that was so evident in her life.

“But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42

‘Needful’ comes from ‘chreia’, a noun meaning ‘what is necessary for life.’ It is used in the New Testament in reference to needs of the spirit that only God and the Holy Spirit can fill. (Example Matthew 3:14, Hebrews 7:11, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31;Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:21-24). Mary and Crystal chose that good, joyful, excellent, pleasant, agreeable part that is ready to bear fruit in their life. Crystal, like Mary, incorporated the word of Jesus into her heart to such an extent that it ‘shall not be taken away.’

A Princess…Inside and Out…Jen

Mary was transparent with Jesus. Her heart was in passive mode to receive. As a Martha type person, I am usually not passive about anything. Then I met Jen. Jen talked about being ‘transparent’ with God. I thought I was transparent until I heard her talk about it. I heard not only the words but I saw a deeper level of relationship with Jesus in her life. Martha had a relationship with Jesus just like Mary. Jen and Mary chose to open their hearts in such a way that their very lives depended on it. Jen is new in my life. God knew I needed to meet her when I did not know I needed to. With Jen, her life depends on that open transparent relationship with Christ. With us typical Marthas, we are usually ‘capable’ people who as I like to say, ‘Get the job done.’ We need to be reminded that we can only go so far without being more transparent with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and open to the words of  Jesus to change us from the inside out. I think Marthas fight this intimacy because we do not want to see what is really in our hearts. You know the areas that we keep only to ourselves. The areas that we are ‘busy’ covering up. Jen reminded me that those areas even existed. We forget that Jesus knows everything about us anyway.

It is at the feet of Jesus and on our knees in prayer and in the word of God that we choose the part that cannot be ‘taken away’.

When we sit at the feet of Jesus with our hearts open to hear and understand His word, then we are changed in such a way that we cannot return to our original state. It is here that the Holy Spirit breaks down every wall and barrier in our heart and mind., It is here that we have joy and peace, It is here that our burdens become light. It is not easy. It means making deliberate choices to spend time in prayer and studying the word of God. It means being willing to change. It means being honest with ourselves. It means as Jen says, being transparent before God. It means reaching out to serve not only physically but with your heart. The rewards are worth it. It it the Mary times that provide the oil that makes the Martha times run. Praise God for the Mary’s in my life!

As you have therefore received Christ, (even) Jesus the Lord, walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots (of your being) firmly and deeply planted (in Him, fixed and founded in Him), being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving….Colossians 2:6-8 (Amplified version)

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

Please share about the Martha’s and Mary’s in your life……

A Princess….Inside and Out

See, Princesses do not paint their own bedrooms. They do not caulk holes in the walls, which is why my arms hurt. They don’t wash and paint base-boards, which is why my back hurts. Princesses don’t paint their own door frames…which is why mine probably have to be sanded and redone due to dried drips going down the sides….which is why Chuck is laughing his Heavenly butt off!! —– Sara Stophel ( a princess in more ways than one)**

We all have idea of what a Princess is. Is she weak and fragile or strong and harsh. Maybe she is a combination of both, strong when needed to govern and  tempered with tenderness and mercy in comforting her fellow men. When we look in the Bible we see women who are strong, confident, gentle, loving, caring, joyful. God created women to be such a mixture of all of these things. I take comfort in knowing that I can

Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—- Philippines 1:6.

I love this verse. It means that God is not done with me yet! It means that Sara will eventually have her trim painted and it not drip!!  More than that it means that what the Holy Spirit starts……… He completes .! None of this ‘If I only I was……” or ” I wish I could have   the personality of……” or maybe if ” I could do…..”. We as women tend to allow God to start His perfect work in us only to pick up and try and complete it by our own strength and ideas of how it should be done. The phrase ‘ that he began’ in Philippines 1:6 is used only once in more in the New Testament, in Galatians 3:3:

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?– Galatians 3:3.

Lord let us be true princesses who allow You to complete Your perfect work in us with the power of Your Holy Spirit.

I am reminded that Princesses are a compilation of the wisdom and knowledge of the Princesses who have gone before them. Godly women who have instilled their wisdom, love and prayers  into our lives. As I have thought about the many women throughout my life who were there when I needed love, support, encouragement, I am amazed, because I see that the Holy Spirit was indeed working to complete that good work. Is that work complete? No, not at all, but I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy that I am not forgotten, abandoned, or alone. I am a Princess of the most high God.

I will be sharing some things I have learned from women who have touched my life. Not that I am anyone special or unique. I am just someone who loves God with all my heart just like many of you. Someone who cannot go through one day without His strength, mercy, love. My prayer is that as you read some of these posts you will also be encouraged and strengthened as I was when these people entered my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work God’s perfect work within our lives and we will not be tempted to pick up the reigns of our life and try and complete it with human effort.

** Sara Stophel is a dear friend whose husband is in heaven singing praises to God as he did on earth. Her posts this past year have been humorous and truthful as she is allowing the Holy Spirit to complete His perfect work in her life and the life of her children. She has given me permission to copy and paste her posts in the hopes that they will encourage others.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What is your idea of a princess?

A Time to Love….A Time to Hate

A Time to Love and a Time to Hate…A Time for War and a Time for Peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8.

A time to love and a time to hate. Hmmm. So there is a time to hate? This was confusing for me. How many times have we told our children and ourselves not to have ‘hate’ in our hearts. Leviticus 19:17 says ‘ Do not hate your brother in your heart.’  I have seen the result of this in the town my mom was raised in. In the town there is a railroad track that runs down the middle of it. Jimmy Stewart in the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, said that the sound of a train was one of the three best sounds in the world. My grandfather would have had to agree with you. He was a railroad man. He loved trains and delighted in taking my sister and me to the little park and ride the train that was there. If there was a model train displayed, he took us to watch it go around and around through the miniature mountains and  small towns with figurines waving at the train as it chugged past. The railroad provided for his family and brought goods to the town and helped the town grow. The railroad also divided the town in half geographically and in the minds of the people. Proverbs 10:12 says ‘Hatred stirs up dissension.” That has certainly been the case here. Praise God, today He is bringing unity!

What does ‘hate’ mean?

‘Hate’ is a word that gets thrown around easily. I hate cleaning the bathrooms (when will boys ever hit the toilet, thank you very much!) I hate it when it is pretty and sunny and then rains when we go on vacation. I mostly hate it when I see people settle for second best. I hate it when people do not rise to their potential that everyone around them sees they have, but they don’t. I hate it when people can believe something for others but not believe it for themselves. I had a friend say once it is easy to believe for blessing for a business that blesses a ministry or for a ministry that is blessing other people, but not for their own family. Why not, does God not love their own family any less? Anyway, I digress. If God says there is a time to hate then maybe we need to find out what God hates.

First of all the word ‘hate’ in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word ‘sane’ it means to hate as in the case of an enemy; to despise, to turn against. In researching commentaries on this I found that some believe this was a ‘hyperbole’ or exaggeration. Others that it is not talking about  heart attitude but rather a ‘distancing or separating’ . Regardless, there definitely seems to be a time when God says to distance, separate from things.

What are we to hate then?

In Proverbs 6:16 the same word is used for hate.

“These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.” (Amplified version)

What I don’t see on the list is race, politics, geographical region, income level, etc. With all the latest political talk the word ‘hate’ is easily thrown around today , but are we talking about the outside of the person or the inside. Interesting that the seventh one, the one that is an ‘abomination’ to the Lord, is ‘he who sows discord among his brethren.’ God is a god of unity.

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”(Psalm 133, Message version)

Some say they are over 40 things listed in the Bible that God hates. Forty in the Bible is a number for chastisement, not judgement. It points to action of grace leading to and ending in revival and renewal. So  even if there are things God hates, His ultimate desire is to ask forgiveness and receive the His grace and have revival and renewal in our lives.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God made us to love and do good works. I think God hates  things that go against His nature and  against the good plan He has for each of us. If anyone has kids you know what is like to want the best for your kids. You don’t want to see them hurt, let down, disappointed, getting second best. God sees us the same way. He has things planned for us, good things. The things God hates are things that keep us from experiencing those good things, they keep us from having joy, peace, love, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,  righteousness, and truth. (Ephesians 5:9, 22). If liking things that God hates is going to keep me from these things, keep me from the good works Jesus has planned for me, then I am going to start hating some things. Unfortunately, I don’t see cleaning bathrooms on the list God! Oh well, need to get over that one.

Here are some helpful links:

 http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/40.html 

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/34323-take-a-biblical-stand-at-the-polls

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

Besides cleaning bathrooms, what is on your ‘hate’ list?

A time to Search….. A time to Keep

A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. Ecclesiastes 3:6

When I read this, all I could think about was sorting out the closets. You know how it is… 3 piles labeled “keep”, “give away”, “trash”. I guess it could refer to the closets in our hearts. It can also refer to relationships with others and our commitments we have made. The first part of the verse is sometimes translated ‘get’ for ‘search’. It is a verb which means action. In other words things are not going to be handed to us. The closets will not clean themselves.  It can also mean to seek the king’s face as for a petition, request. We may need to seek the King, Jesus, face and find out what we need to keep, give away, trash. We will not be able to do it alone, we need Jesus and we will need the Holy Spirit. Cleaning out the closets of our heart can take time. If we don’t take regular inventory then it will get where you can’t open the door without stuff falling out, we can’t find anything, things get broken and lost.

What are you keeping that you need to throw away and what are you throwing away that you need to keep in your life. It is just as bad to throw away what is important as it is to keep what needs to be thrown away. The word ‘keep’ means to guard, treasure, protect. Are you protecting, guarding and treasuring in memory what God has put in your life and inside your heart. Are you like Mary and pondering all these things in you heart? Are you treasuring the pearls that are inside of you or are you throwing them away to swine? Throw away means to cast away, to shed. Allow God and the Holy Spirit to show you  how to shed the things in your life that are taking up space that could be used by a treasure.

What we do with our time and focus shows where our heart is.

We invest time into what we care about and into what is important to us. If you have something you value you will invest time, money and energy into it. This applies to relationships as well as things. The question is whether you are investing in relationships that are mutually edifying and causing growth either in the other person or in you. You may need to love a person at a distance. Some relationships may just need to be shed. Seek the Holy Spirit to show which ones bringing destruction into you life and family. It doesn’t mean that you don’t pray or love the person. You just don’t allow the destructive relationship to come and steal what you treasure.  Sometimes we keep what we need to toss. Take inventory of the relationships and the commitments in your life. Are they edifying? Are you edifying to others? Are you the best person for this commitment? Are they furthering the kingdom of God?

Remember we are organizing the closest of our heart and lives– keep, throw away, give away.

Is this  thing, no matter how good, taking time and energy that could be used to keep, guard, cherish the treasures God has given me? Am I trading best for good? Set priorities in your life. I number mine. God first, spouse second, etc. I then put my commitments into the same priorities and choose those  commitments based on where they rank on my list. Remember when you say ‘yes’ to something you are saying ‘no’ to something else. Make sure what you are saying ‘no’ to is low on the priority list.  If you continually neglect thing high on your priority list in order to do things that are low on the list, then you will have a garden of weeds in your heart and in your relationships and commitments. Make sure what you are saying no to is not one of your treasures.

The Closet

 

In case you are wondering…..after a  month of looking, trying to get motivated, planning……  I finally cleaned out that closet. Took a while, like many of us I had too much in a small space and had many things that did not belong. Wish I had taken a ‘before’ picture. You could not walk into it at all. The next question is how long will it last. Three kids, a husband and a dog…..hmmm…

 

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What are you keeping that you need to throw away and what are you throwing away that you need to keep in your life?