Blessings in Our Lives

Blessings in Our Lives

Grandma's Special Herbs

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us“— 2 Corinthians 4:7

As we enter the Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of legacy. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time of remembering family and the blessings we have. Taking time to remember those blessings can be the challenge. We are so busy with every day life of errands and work and school that we may miss the everyday blessings that God has provided for us. Little things done today, impact the events of tomorrow and ultimately the next generation. But what are we passing on? Are we so overwhelmed with the cares and struggles in our lives that we are missing the blessings? Are the things we are passing on things that last for a moment, a season, or eternity? Are they truly treasures? Are we taking time to unearth the blessings in our lives?

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”                                —-2 Corinthians 4:8-9channeled-whelk

Sometimes we need to hold on to our treasure as the waves crash around us.

It is only then we realize what we are holding onto, what is deep and buried just under the sand, what comes not from ourselves but from Jesus and our relationship with Him,—- is the true treasure.

Are we passing on–how to have peace amidst the stormlove when faced with adversity…. perseverance to stay the coursejoy that comes from God that gives us strength to see joy amidst the everyday struggles and routinesgrace for the moment

To take the time to count our blessings may mean digging away the sand that is keeping it hidden and allowing the waves to wash away the rough edges to make it smooth. We may not recognize the treasure for what it is. We may only see the tip or the edge. It may appear broken and insignificant, but God sees the treasure and the blessings that is beneath. If we allow Him, Jesus has the power to slowly move away the sand and wash away the dirt and reveal the hidden treasure that was there all the time. True treasures transcend our lifetime.  True treasures lay a foundation for our children to stand on and build upon. True treasures and blessings come not from us but from what Jesus has done for us and within us. The power is from Jesus and not from us.

 

 

 

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Resurrection Egg #9: The Feet of Jesus

Resurrection Egg #9: The Feet of Jesus

Baby feet
“Now, What are we to do with these? “

When I think of feet, I immediately think of cute baby feet. I remember when my kids were born the first think I looked at were the hands and feet. You know ten fingers and ten toes. They were so cute! I still remember my daughter at two and three years old moving her feet back and forth so the nail polish would dry. So cute with her hair in a pony tail and denim dress on. Oh the memories! Then they grow up and the feet aren’t so cute. Then we are not concerned about how cute they are but where are those feet taking our children in life. Where are they going physically, emotionally, spiritually. In the Bible, it seems that feet bring peace but also have the ability to tread over the enemy.

Feet Shod with Peace

He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (Psalm 40:2)

Luke 1:79 states that Jesus will guide our feet in the way of peace. The word guide used means to not only make our way straight but also to remove any hindrances in our path leading to God. The shedding of blood from His feet removed the hindrance of sin that separates us from God.  Ephesians 6:15 tells us that our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. It was said that the lame, blind, etc were laid at Jesus feet and He healed them (Matthew 15:30).

Redeemed our Authority

Nails feet 2It is hard to imagine that Jesus had cute baby feet also. He was a baby first. I wonder if Mary was remembering kissing those baby feet as she watched them nailed to the cross. The shedding of blood from Jesus’ feet removed the authority of sin from keeping peace out of our life. 1 Corinthian 15 talks of Jesus putting all authority and our enemies under His feet. Luke 10:19, Jesus says that He gives authority to overcome all the power of the enemy, “nothing will harm you”. The concept of ‘under feet’ is that we are now under the authority and covering of Jesus Christ. It is not our authority that fights our battles, but Jesus’ authority. Praise God!

Prayer

I pray :

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto (Insert name) a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; having the eyes of (Insert name) heart enlightened, that (Insert name) may know what is the hope of (Insert name) calling, what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,which is his body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Resurrection Egg #9

 

Resurrection Egg #7: Crown of Thorns

Resurrection Egg #7: Crown of Thorns

 The Great Exchange: Victory in our Mind

I love this picture. It simply shows what God does. It is the Great Exchange (Resurrection Egg #3) He replaces something that is dead and ugly and painful with something new and beautiful. Jesus was given crown of thorns by man. Crowns typically signify royalty and authority. The thorns, however, did not signify either. Christ bled from the head so that we could have healing and peace of mind. He replaced the crown of thorns with a crown that gives us authority over the sinful fruit our mind; worry, anxiety, pride, depression, lust, greed. Jesus promises to replace the crown of thorns with a crown of life, a crown of glory that will not fade and an everlasting crown. Jesus’ crowns give us authority to have full access to His kingdom.

 

crown

Crown of Thorns: aka “PLANTZILLA”

The thorns were supposed to have been two inches long and when placed onto Jesus’ head they cut into His head as they encircled it. As a nurse, I have seen just how the smallest head wound can bleed, much less multiple lacerations that went deep into Jesus’ scalp. The blood would have poured down.

Thorns are considered fruit of branches. (UGLY!) They represent the curse of the earth. The Greek word for thorns that refers to the crown of thorns is the same word that descibed the thorns that choked out the word of God in the parable. If  you have ever had to kill  or remove a vine with thorns. First of all, those vines are insidious. Even with the harshest of weed killers, they seem to thrive and spread. They flourish as they wind themselves around bushes, trees, buildings, anything in their path. They eventually kill the plants they are covering. You can cut them back and they come back with a vengeance. At the beach in North Carolina we have such a vine. I have talked to several people regarding how to remove it and kill it. The only way is cut it back and spray weed killer every year until eventually you can find where the root is. Then you did up the root bulb ( which by the way can be the size of a soccer ball). This process can take 5-10 years to completely remove it. Then you are constantly spraying every year to keep it from returning. It is a very labor intensive process that takes patience and diligence. It is battle between you and PLANTZILLA! Just when you think you have it under control, it shows up on your back deck!

Battling PLANTZILLA

Well, through this battle with PLANTZILLA, God has taught me some things regarding battles of the mind.

  1. PLANTZILLA wants to cover you and strangle you so that you can’t see the sunlight. When our mind is bombarded with thoughts of “you are not worthy”, “what is the use”, “everything you touch is bad”, “you don’t deserve anything but this”, etc. Our mind is so shrouded we cannot see the light of the Word of God. The Word of God says that “We are fearfully and wonderfully made”, “God desires above all things that we prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers”. People who are depressed talk about being in a ‘dark place’. Jesus wants to move us from that dark place into the light.
  2. PLANTZILLA likes to come back every year. We have sinful patterns in our life that like to repeat themselves. These patterns begin with our thought patterns. These thought patterns govern our actions which determine our results. Ever heard the definition on insanity (another ‘mind’ word). Well, it is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results. To get different results we need to replace the thought pattern. This comes from daily reading the word of God.
  3. PLANTZILLA has a root cause from which it springs. Ok, without God, we may be able to trim back PLANTZILLA and hold him at bay. We may be able to start listening to positive thoughts and positive people in our life and change what is going on around us. Which is good. But not great. The only way we will have complete victory is to remove the root bulb. That is going to take Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It will take prayer and fasting and getting into the Word of God. It will take sacrificing some time for ourself. It will take changing what goes into your mind. What are we reading? What are we watching everyday? It is choosing to listen to God’s voice and we will have victory.

 PLANTZILLA is now plantzilla!

Jesus gave us the power and authority to control our thoughts. We are no longer slaves to them. We are no longer a victim of sinful patterns in our life. Now we can capture every thought and replace them with the Word of God.  We now have the freedom to make right decisions. We have the ability to produce good fruit and not thorns in our life. We have peace of mind. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.                 ( 2 Corinthians 10: 3-6, KJV)

Resurrection Egg #7

 

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

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

 

 

The Perfect Shoe

The Perfect Shoe

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15

Every girl loves a good pair of shoes. It is more than the shoe, it is how we feel when we put them on. The glass slipper and you become the princess, the sandal and you feel carefree, the running shoe and you become determined to win. These are concepts men will never understand. This is why we will go to several stores trying on every shoe until we find the right one. How do we know we have found it? Because it feels right. Not just putting it on feels right, but walking and standing feels right, from every angle. When you find the right shoe, you know that this shoe will carry you through whatever the day or night has planned. It will not let you down. It will sustain you whether sitting, standing, dancing, walking or running. Whatever happens, you are ready!

What shoes are you wearing today?

When we put on our own shoes, they may look good for a while, but at the end of a long day of running around with the cares of this world, they are pinching our toes and we can barely walk! We cannot make peace in our heart, situations, or relationships using our own theology. True peace comes from the assurance of your salvation through Jesus Christ. It is the tranquility, contentment, security, of knowing Jesus Christ, the son of God, and the salvation that comes from His shed blood on the cross, that enables us to handle any terrain. When we put His shoes of peace that comes from salvation, Jesus becomes able to guide our feet. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow; where to go, what to do. Whatever happens you are ready. The gospel of peace will protect and carry you through whatever the day or night has planned.

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Are you putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace or are you still shopping around?

(photo by http://www.christianphotos.net and http://www.freepik.com)

A Princess….Inside and Out

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?