New Year’s Prayers

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, consider prayers.  When we make resolutions that result in broken promises to ourselves, guilt sneaks in and and begins to condemn us.  That’s not how God wants us to start off the new year!  He wants to bless us with peace and joy.  Pray, and ask God what work He wants to do within you for the New Year.  Then, be open to letting Him make the changes in your heart, in His own perfect timing.

Instead of making promises we can’t hope to keep, trust in God to keep His promises to you!  When we pray, God will replace our empty resolutions with His bountiful blessings throughout the new year and beyond! 

Disappearing Snowman Cake…Turning Away Temptation

It was Thanksgiving, a beautiful white Thanksgiving Day with fluffy, fresh snow on the ground.  My daughter decided on making a snowman cake for dessert, instead of one shaped like a turkey. It sounded good to me, and it would be lots easier.  All we needed were two round circles. I baked them early, and set them out on the counter to cool.

I was getting ready to call her to come down and frost the cake with me, when I did a double take.  “What happened?” I felt confused as I looked down at the cake, wondering why it looked like a mini Bobcat had been digging at it.  Then I recognized how the bits of missing cake went all down the side, right within reach of a little five-year old hand.

“Abigail!  Please come downstairs!”  I showed her the cake and asked her what had happened.  She sweetly smiled, and said she couldn’t wait.  I told her it was naughty to get into the cake without asking Mommy, and that it would be harder to decorate it now. I wanted her to know that being sneaky was serious, but I didn’t want to crush her spirit, or ruin our time we would have decorating the cake.

Suddenly, I was five, again.  I envisioned myself standing next to a beautiful gingerbread house that had been made for Christmas.  I had eyed the cookie chimney, and licked my lips in anticipation of its sweet crunch.  It would be so easy to break off a little piece. I didn’t think about any consequences.  In a flash, I had broken off the chimney, and I had eaten it all up!  Years later, I didn’t remember the taste, but I did remember the trouble that was caused, and that another chimney had been recreated.

I wanted to capture this moment with my little girl, and create a different type of memory.  I felt God touch my heart, as I sat my daughter on the floor and taught her a new word: temptation.  I pulled her close, and told her to look at me when I was speaking.  

Then I told her to really look at me: “Look at Mommy’s eyes.”  

 I asked her if she’d heard the word temptation before.  I explained to her what it meant.  I told her that the devil is the one who tempts us, and that when he does, God will provide a way out.  The bible says so. I told her how to get God’s help.  She could pray and ask God to help her.  God might send someone downstairs, or God might tell her to go talk to Mommy.  Maybe a little piece could be cut early, or the cake could be frosted sooner.  Or, maybe she would still have to wait.  But God would help her to do that.

We talked about how God’s power is greater than the devil’s.  We talked about how Jesus lives in her heart, and because of him, she can tell the devil to get lost in the name of Jesus.
Then we prayed together.  We asked God to forgive her for being sneaky.  We asked God to help her not to do it anymore.  Then we hugged, and I told her I forgave her.  And that most of all, God forgave her too.

I frosted her snowman.  She decorated him her way, making his carrot nose out of peppermint patties.  The cake was fun, and delicious. It was a reminder of a child’s tender heart, and how God gives us our children to love and nurture.  He wants us to teach them about His love every day.  He provides opportunities when we open our eyes and our ears.  I’m so thankful for His love.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

~1 Corinthians 10:13 New American Standard Bible

Jealousy? God Gave the Biggest and Best Christmas Gift to Us ALL!

Do you sometimes have trouble being happy for someone who is going through a joyful experience?  Or, do you know someone who is having trouble being happy for you? It doesn’t feel good! That’s because the flesh is taking over, allowing jealousy to harass you. But we can take our stormy cloud of jealousy to God. We can confess it, and ask God to forgive us.

Sometimes, we can feel jealous when good things happen to people.  We might wonder what people to did to deserve those things. But we are all sinners. None of us deserve the greatest gift that God so lovingly sent to earth at Christmas.  Yet, he gave the gift to the whole world, to share with us all. He sent us a beautiful baby named Jesus.  Anyone who unwraps and accepts His gift will be forgiven of all sins, and live eternally in Heaven.

Sometimes we will struggle with jealousy.  But God’s power is greater than any evil trying to destroy us, along with our relationships. God can change our attitudes and hearts. God can remove jealousy, and create a pure heart within us.  It helps to know that He provides for each person, according to that person’s needs in life at that time.  It may not be what we think we need, but it will be what God knows we need. 

God’s gives us each different blessings and gifts.  He doesn’t give us all the exact same things. He doesn’t worry about being fair, and He isn’t concerned about spending the exact same amount of money for each of His children’s gifts under the Christmas tree. There are many things God needs to fix and heal in each of His children, and He creatively teaches us by what He gives and allows in our lives. If we give up our black clouds of jealousy, judging, and self-righteousness to God, we will begin to see the silver lining.  When our brothers and sisters in Christ receive good gifts, we need to rejoice with them, and God will bless us beyond our expectations!

But there is even brighter and sunnier good news! Because of God’s great mercy and grace, everyone’s name is written on the gift tag attached to the biggest, and best, Christmas present. God sent His own son, a baby named Jesus, to save us all from our sins.  All we have to do is accept the gift, and unwrap it.  When we do, we will never lose it, because it remains in our hearts.  God did not allow this heartbreaking sacrifice, just so His children wouldn’t be jealous of one another.  He sent His son, because of His great love for us.  He gave the gift, because He didn’t want anyone to be left behind.  He wants us to live with Him eternally!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
~Romans 12:15  (English Standard Version)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
~John 3:16 (New International Version)

Forgiving from Afar

Did you know that forgiving someone does not mean that person must be in your life?
God wants to heal our broken hearts.  People need be surrounded by love to heal.  
You cannot heal while remaining in an abusive relationship.  But Jesus can help us forgive people, even when they are far away.  We can trust God to work in the hearts of the people who have hurt us. 

The bible gives accounts of situations such as these.  Joseph was beaten and sold into slavery by his own brothers. Years later, Joseph had an opportunity to destroy them, but instead, forgave them, and brought them into his own kingdom.  Only God’s love can heal people from that kind of pain.  Through Him, there can be full and complete forgiveness.  Relationships can even be restored by God’s grace and mercy.  That’s because nothing is impossible for God.

If you’re hurting, ask God to lead to you to safe, loving people you can trust.  He will.  Pray for the people who have hurt you.  God will listen.  Give your pain to Jesus.  He can take it, and God can heal your broken heart!

Chain Posts

There is a saying going around that says to repost it, if you love Jesus.  I had started to attach it, to make my message clear, but decided that would still be sharing it, which I didn’t want to do.  It says it’s a test.  But it’s not a test from God.  It’s not required to repost things on social media to prove we love Jesus! The chain post says that God will deny you, if you deny Him. That is true.  BUT, it’s important to point out that God is not going to deny us if we choose not to pass along a post written by another person.  Posts like these use guilt and fear to try and get people to take action (just like regular chain letters do, claiming you will have bad luck if you don’t). God doesn’t do that. He gently convicts us with the Holy Spirit. The post I saw, says if you love Jesus, and if you’re not afraid, you will pass this on. That’s implying that we don’t love Jesus if we don’t act, and that we are cowards, if we don’t.  A chain letter is a chain letter, even if it uses scripture quoted from the bible. I don’t like seeing Christians deceived into thinking they must share a post in order to “prove” they love Jesus. I didn’t pass it on, and I definitely love Jesus! I’ll be writing more about chain letters in a future blog and article for The Silver Lining. 

Seeing the Truth of God’s Goodness

Some people who see God’s goodness in others, are still willing to turn a blind eye to truth, after the great gifts they’ve received. I’m not talking about material gifts.  I’m talking about spiritual goodness they’ve experienced, knowing God was at work. Maybe these people are afraid of the truth, or they are comfortable where they are, even though it’s not a good and healthy place to be. Some people settle for listening to lies about others.  They  let the words of a single person sabotage their relationships, instead of seeking out facts and finding out truth for themselves. It seems a mystery that people cannot see when one common denominator is destroying previously enjoyed relationships. Yet, the only way to see truth, is to get into God’s word. No praying? No bible reading? No worshiping God? Then, one will have no eyes to see truth. One will be blind to deceit happening right before his or her eyes.  But God knows all about it. A smooth talker relies on power from evil. But God’s love is more powerful. Trust Him to reveal the truth. For some reason, when I wrote this blog, I waited a couple days to post it.  I’m so glad I did, because in those two days, God answered my prayer about this very subject.  He showed Himself to be faithful, sending me a sister-in-Christ, who had listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  God had been working in both of our lives, and we got to see His mighty power.  He continues to bless and heal us.  He does not abandon or condemn His children.  Thank you, Jesus!

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
Romans 16: 17-18 ESV

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.”

Jeremiah 7:8 ESV