Monday, July 30, 2012

The Secret to Being Content

Being content is a state of mind. But did you realize that being content is also a choice? Whether you're going through a time of waiting, struggle, grief, uncertainty, frustration....or blessing. We can choose to be content.

"I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or living in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

To be content is to accept whatever circumstance God puts in our life, because we know that He has the outcome all figured out. So, no matter what we're going through, God wants us to cling to Him. He wants us to have confidence in Him. After all, He made us. He loves us. He knows the number of hairs on our head! No one can know us any better, or love us any more, that He does! When we realize this, we can face anything.

And when you choose to be content, you can be a powerful witness! The world does not condition us that way. Instead, discontent & huger for more & better material things are characteristics in our culture & its values. But God calls us to live a different lifestyle, with different priorities. A lifestyle of putting Him first in all things, trusting that He will provide for our needs & knowing that He will take care of everything. It's all done in His time, with His love. By reflecting the contentment that you've chosen through God's love, you're showing others what they can have through Him too.

Through God's Word, we learn the "secret to being content" in all things. Now that you know the "secret", will you use it? It's your choice.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Does That Mean?

Years ago, before i moved where i am now, i was a member of the "Sisters in Song" vocal group at my church. This was a time in my life that my relationship with Jesus was growing by leaps & bounds. I had been raised in a Christian family, but had allowed myself to be led astray. I learned that i needed Jesus in my life. And i still thank God for never taking me for granted, especially when i was taking Him for granted. Easter season, our "Sisters in Song" performed "Embrace the Cross" written by Steve Green. The intro to this song was from Galatians 2:20
"I am crucified with Christ,
therefore I no longer live.
Jesus Christ now lives in me."
Well, this intro  has run through my head for years. And usually at just the right time. (And still, another example of God's perfect timing. He is so good at that!) But, you know, i never really thought about what it means to be "crucified with Christ". I was mostly praising that "Jesus Christ now lives in me". Recently, my morning devotions brought me the entire verse from Galatians.

"I have been crucified with Christ & I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me & gave himself for me." (NIV)

So, i got to thinking about what "crucified with Christ" really means. Basically, we die to our wants & wishes. Instead, we have peace in the knowledge that God wants what is good for us. It's like we may want a big piece of cake, but God will give us an apple. It's the peace in the knowledge that God will protect us when we give Him control of our life.

When we're "crucified with Christ" we need to also check our time with God. Not so much the quantity, but the quality. Think about it. Do you spend time telling God what you want or what you think He needs to do? Instead, try asking God what He wants & what He needs from you. Sit quietly until you hear Him speak to your heart. He will do that!

Paul says in Romans 12:1(b)
"to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy & pleasing to God--this is your true & proper worship."  (NIV)

I am still working on this one. Sometimes, i am a bit reluctant sacrifice. And i'm sure that i'm not alone here. Sometimes, i walk enthusiastically in obedience & sometimes, i dig in my heels. There are times that my face doesn't reflect the joy of Jesus, but reflects a scowl of stress & frustration. And too often i don't approach God humbly, but with stubborn guilt. And that's when i most need to come to Him humbly.

To be "crucified with Christ" & be a living sacrifice, we need to take on the attitude of servant. And, we need to do what God asks of us in all aspects of our early life. 

Here is a wonderful rendition of the song "Embrace the Cross". Please listen to it with your heart.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Recently, my teen Youth Group has been studying Genesis. My absolute favorite part of Genesis is the first chapter which tells us of CREATION. An awesome God experience happened when we were studying this chapter. We were sitting outside discussing the amazing things that God created. I had mentioned birds, & at that exact moment, we were serenaded by a single bird in the huge tree that we were sitting under. I was so thankful to be able to share that moment of God's perfect timing with my group.

"God saw all that He had made, & it was very good."
Genesis 1:31a (NIV)

What an understatement!!!! I am very awed by God's creations, From the intricacies of the human body to the brilliant colors of the flowers.

I'm awed  when i look up in the sky & see the millions for twinkling stars.

And when i think, or see some of God's wonderful creations, they bring back some great memories....

I remember the first time i saw a bunny....up close & personal. I have no idea how old i was, but i was little. My dad was working in the field & Mom & i had brought dinner to him. He had caught a baby bunny. I remember how excited & fascinated at how his little nose twitched & how soft his fur was.

Also as a child i have been fascinated with turtles. When Mom & i would go to town, we would usually stop at Kresge's. (Anyone who remembers that name, does not have to admit how old they They had a small pet department that had a little make shift tank full of tiny turtles. I just loved to watch them!

And God's creations can teach us so much! Though, for the most part, they are very pest, as humans, we can learn so much from the work ethics of ants.

 But God's greatest creation isn't a thing. It's love.

I hope you have enjoyed me sharing my fascinations & memories today. Please take some time today & be thankful for ALL of god's creations. Look at each one through the eyes of amazement, for they are all miracles.

One more thing...All of today's pictures are from a group that i am lucky to be a part of. We share a lot of things....sadness, joys, accomplishments... but the greatest thing we share is love. So i am sharing their handmade creations today with you. If you would like to see more of these wonderful handmade creations, please click below. Each shop is celebrating Christmas in July & they are giving YOU the gift of savings. Use coupon code HMCJULY & save 10-30% off through July! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

What do you think?

For many years, when someone would ask me what i thought about something, usually, i would say, "I don't. It gets me in trouble." The devotion that i read today, made me realize that what i cutely said, was more true than i realized.

Our thoughts can get us into so much trouble when we don't give God permission to control them.This is especially true when we let our mind wander to the worse case scenarios. That's what i call "borrowing trouble" & really, why would we want to do that? I don't know, but as human beings, it's pretty easy to do.

But be aware! Satan is a great manipulator & he uses fear to fill us with deep unrest.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praise worthy - think about such things."
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Ask God to fill your thoughts with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, & praise worthy. What you feel in your mind will determine what you think. When feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or despair come into your thoughts, chase them away with the truth of your situation - which you will find through prayer & God's Word. After all, He made us with love & that's excellent & definitely praise worthy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hope Overflows

How's your hope? Flourishing or sinking? The scholars say that we can't live without it. Gee....ya think? Hopelessness doesn't feel good & is no fun at all. Actually, i think it's a relative to helplessness & worthlessness. 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Paul prayed for the believers in Rome to have hope. Probably because without hope, life stinks. But maybe you're feeling hopeless about a certain situation; a relationship, your work, your future, etc. You're wondering how you can hope. Paul gives us this insight. Hope comes from God.  Read the above verse again. Not only does God give hope, but He has so much to pass around to us that it's overflowing. And, He gives it away free, you only need to go to Him. 

God freely gives hope, because it's His to give. Sometimes a little trickle of hope, opens our eyes to the overflow of hope & we go to God to seek & accept it. AND it comes with it's relatives, peace & joy. What an awesome package deal!

So when you find yourself feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless, don't be discouraged. Ask God of all hope to begin a new flow from His reservoir to your heart.