Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just a Little Heart Cleaning

this is a devotional that is so applicable to my life, and i think it is probably to many others, as well, since forgiveness is something not easily attained...or given...

Just a Little Heart CleaningT. Suzanne Eller 
"So iIf you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come offer your sacrifice to God."
Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)         
Devotion:Yesterday I swept the mahogany wood floors in my house. I worked with so much energy it might have looked like I was a clean freak or, at the very least, industrious. I am neither of those things. In fact, I really didn't even notice the dust bunnies flying through the air. I was hurt, trying to sweep away harsh words spoken the day before by a friend.
I had spent most of the morning mulling over the words from the day before, wondering why I didn't say something. Wondering why she did. I finally put on some music, took out the broom, and asked God for His grace because mine didn't seem to be big enough at the moment.
I've heard people throw out advice on forgiveness as if dispensing aspirin. They casually say things like, "Jesus forgave, why don't you?" The reality is it's often an uneven journey for us as we accept His grace, learn from, and strive to live out His example.
The practice of living a forgiving lifestyle can be an ominous task. There is incredible freedom in living a life of mercy, but it's not something that we just stumble into. It takes a purposeful choice to move beyond the restrictive burdens of bitterness, anger, and other unresolved emotions tied to a person or event.
Forgiveness is a bridge I thought I had crossed already, and yet here I was again. I had forgiven an abusive, dysfunctional childhood. I understood the joy and freedom that come through forgiving others. So why was the small stuff with my friend tripping me up? Perhaps it is because I am still growing, a process that will never stop.
Jesus met a man who was paralyzed. His friends brought him to Jesus on a mat. The need was obvious, but instead of healing his legs Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2, NLT) Isn't it interesting that He addressed the issue of the man's heart before attending to his physical body?
Jesus hasn't changed. He still sees to the heart. He sees my heart. I have forgiven - but I will continue to become a forgiver as I meet life's challenges. To do that, I have to give myself a little grace, and invite Him into the process.
Maybe you too are dealing with hurts of the past and forgiveness seems impossible. Forgiving doesn't mean that abuse can continue, or that what happened is okay. What it does mean is that you are ready to follow Jesus' example, and to live life free of entanglements to the past.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." As I talked, broom-in-hand, with my Savior, He settled in and made Himself at home in the situation. My perspective on the incident with my friend changed.
Yesterday my house got cleaned, and so did my heart.
Dear Lord, help me to forgive one person today. I lift up my heart. I won't pretend that it doesn't hurt, but I am willing to forgive. I'm not always big enough, but You are and I am grateful. I won't forgive based on a person's response, or even what is fair, but instead I will trust that You desire my heart to be free so that You can love in and through me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

get your party on!

 here is a link for you!...hey...i would love THIS party!!!  (smile)....what i AM going to do is those adorable marshmallow snowmen!  darling or what?????

Friday, December 10, 2010

vintage fun

...because i am having an extreme feeling of guilt over the obvious absence of my blogging skills as of late..i decided to AT LEAST share some of my lovely vintage images with you!...why does vintage warm my heart so?  i am not sure...but i sure do love it!  enjoy!...and hey, don't stress yourself for this Christmas season..that is NOT what it is all about!......

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

oh how i needed this today...want to share it with you

 hey peeps (all 2 of you)...sandi here...i know, i know...i have been so absent...big, i mean BIG things are going on in my life ..well, okay..they are for most of us, i know..sorry...i just can't muster the whatever it takes to get to my blog...but i HAD to post this from Proverbs 31 ministries...i had prayed for comfort and direction this morning..and yes, peace..and no, i don't have it, completely anyway...but this Scripture is my absolute favorite anyway..and i needed to be refreshed by it YET again...Rachel puts this into a perspective that is so unbelievably simple, yet so wise beyond words...and best of all is TRUTH...Scriptural TRUTH...please read to the end and let this truth assist you today!
the picture above speaks peace to me...but an obvious storm brought those trees to their present state of beauty, calmness and serenity........kind of like my life..i am in a storm..i am not saying it is the worst storm i have been in, but it is, nevertheless, a storm...and the winds are howling..(i am OVER THINKING).....i seek serenity..and mostly HAPPINESS...what God wants for me and what i think happiness should be, most likely are 2 different things...what i want is my cake and i want to eat it too..God knows better...i continue to seek, pray...and most importantly...give thanks, praise and worship to my Saviour, my King, whom i adore and love.

December 1, 2010Don't Overthink ItRachel Olsen
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Philippians 4:6 (NLT)         
Devotion:I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life - and I'm running out of time to figure it out. What if I never find it? Will I always be unhappy and unfulfilled? Will I never achieve my purpose? What will God do about that - will He call me a bad servant? But I can't help it. Why doesn't He answer my prayers for direction?
Maybe I'm just too sinful or something. I know I should read the Bible more. Is this limbo I'm in some kind of punishment for that? Am I really so much worse than everybody else? Maybe I just don't have any special gifts or talents. Or they just never got developed. Maybe that's it, and maybe now it's too late. So what do I do now? I don't know what I'm supposed to do ...
Does this resemble your thinking sometimes? Perhaps not about your calling, but about finding a spouse, or affording a house, or exercising regularly, or a conflict with your mother or boss. Do you tend to overthink things? To worry and ruminate? To endlessly, passively, excessively ponder the meanings, causes and potential consequences of your problems? Do you dwell on them?
Many of us believe that when we feel down about something we should try to evaluate our feelings and our situation from every angle to attain insight and find solutions to relieve our unhappiness. However, a host of research in the last 20 years has shown that dwelling on thoughts like this creates negative outcomes: it sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negative thinking, depletes motivation, saps energy, interferes with concentration, and typically impairs our problem-solving.
Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky writes: "Although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives." She adds, "You need to free yourself from the clutch of your ruminations - in other words, immediately stop overthinking."
Based on what he wrote in Philippians 4:6-13, I think the apostle Paul would agree with the professor. Pause and scroll down to read the whole passage now in the "Power Verses" below and then come back.
As we see, in verse six, Paul gives three clear instructions for those of us who ruminate on our problems. He says: 
1) do not worry about anything
2) pray about everything
3) thank God for everything
What if today we took this instruction to heart and put it into practice? What if today we decided not to worry about anything? What if when we found ourselves worrying, we stopped and handed the situation over to God in prayer? What if we then thanked Him for taking care of the issue?
In fact, what if we spent most of our mental free-time today thinking about what good care our awesome God takes of us?
What if we counted our blessings and God's acts of faithfulness today - and again tomorrow and next week too? What would happen then?
Paul says in verse seven, we will begin to experience amazing peace - a kind of peace we can't even imagine. Peace that makes no earthly sense! This kind of peace is so powerful that it has a protective function on our hearts and minds - which only makes it easier for us to stop worrying and be thankful. 
That sounds like a state of happiness to me! So let's not over-think it today. Let's not under-pray it either. Let's actively choose to have a happy, thankful day. And then let's get up tomorrow and do it again.
Dear Lord, I'm turning over all my fears and problems to You to handle today. I can't fix a single thing by worrying about it - but You can fix anything because nothing is impossible for You! Thanks for being in charge of my day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Have you gotten a copy of Rachel's new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know?
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Application Steps: 
Open your Bible and highlight Philippians 4:6-7. Memorize those two verses.
Do I generally think about what is good, lovely, pure and right -or do I think about what is flawed, frustrating, unfair and wrong?
Day-to-day do I tend to over-think and under-pray? How often do I express gratefulness?
Power Verses:
Philippians 4:6-9, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." (NLT) 
© 2010 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved. 
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