Tag Archives: contentment

Ditch the Labels

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As one of a kind human beings,  let’s stop using labels to put each other in groups.

A label only tells us one small part of who a person is.

I’m an introvert but still different from every other introvert.

I’m a white female but that doesn’t fully define who I am.

I’m American but that doesn’t reveal my soul.

Because I vote a certain way doesn’t mean I’m like all others who vote that way.

To say someone is OCD, autistic, ugly or beautiful doesn’t tell me who he or she is.

We are individuals. One of a kind souls wrapped in bodies unlike any other. Each of us is a wonderful miracle. Assigning you a label doesn’t mean I know you. To know each other we must communicate, listen, understand and love. We need to look for the exquisite colors He put in each soul. Some of us hide them well so we need to be willing to take as long as we need to see.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” Psalm 139:13-15 (NASB)

Father, Please help me to take time to see your unique design in each soul. Help me look for your fingerprints all around. Help me let go of labels and judging others without knowing them. Please love others through me and help me to see how much you love each thoughtfully created human being.

Most of us have the tendency to judge others based on appearance or an obvious label.(often one someone else has assigned)

Together let’s determine to know who each person is inside and show them God’s love.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

*It’s estimated that throughout all of history, approximately 100 billion people have existed on earth.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Losing is Winning

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“Why can’t I be more like her?”

“There is no way I can do what she does!”

“I will never be as loving and kind as my friend” I whined in my heart feeling yucky in comparison.

The problem is…comparison. And probably more than a little jealousy of the gifts I see in others.

Then I remember…

All good things come from God!

His love flows through each heart. His gifts shine in each soul. We don’t create our gifts. Our talents and abilities don’t originate with us. Yes, we nurture and practice them. We choose to grow them or hide them but we did not create the seed. All of our gifts come from God. We are the caretakers. He is Master. We are managers.

What can we take credit for? Nothing.

What do we answer for? How well we invested what He gave us.

Did we hide our gifts or use them? Multiply them or let them grow stagnant?

Any boasting belongs to Him. All glory goes to Him.

See Him in the gifts of others not competition. See His hand. See His glory. Jealousy is about questioning God. Questioning how He chooses to show His glory. We are all on the same team, running the same direction.

Winning is helping others.

Winning is God being glorified.

Self-exaltation is a loss, a defeat. Leaving others behind, shutting them out, resenting their gifts, not loving others or putting self first is putting ourselves in opposition to God.

“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5b (NIV)

All gifts are given for one purpose—to serve others.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

So that, “…In all things God be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

We need to lose…so we can win.

Do you struggle with comparison as I do? Please share your thoughts.

Remember it is all Jesus. It is all grace.

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Originally published for Takin It to the Streets – A ministry to the poor and homeless serving the Omaha, Nebraska area

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Are you Satisfied?

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Are you satisfied?

Satisfied is defined as: well pleased, contented, happy or fulfilled. If I’m satisfied that means I have enough. I don’t need more. If I’m contented, I’m at peace with my life.

Am I contented? Do I know anyone who is contented?

If not, how do I find that place of peace? Don’t we always want more? More food, more free time, new clothes, another vacation…marriage if we are single, children if we have none, obedient children if we do, successful children if they are grown, better health, more energy, bigger income, a more fulfilling job, more knowledge, more stuff…on and on. If only I had… If I can’t find contentment, how can I find joy? Peace? A happy heart? There is always something that is not what I want it to be.

I was reading Psalm 90 recently and one verse hit deep in my heart:

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us” …is that possible?

Can our Father’s unfailing love satisfy our constant search for “more”? To have joy and be glad all our days! Isn’t that what we all want? I know I do. I want to face each day with joy and peace. To have a glad heart the rest of my days? Yes! How? I find it in His unfailing love. If I know and believe Almighty God loves me and His love can never fail, when I grasp what that means, I am filled with joy. I can have that joy everyday when I let that truth sink in each morning. I have His unfailing love therefore I have everything I need. My Father owns all, knows all and loves me.

If His love is unfailing (and it is) that means it doesn’t depend on my effort or merit. His love is unfailing because of who He is not because of who I am.

     Father, satisfy me this morning with your unfailing love. Thank you that I can sing for joy and be glad no matter what circumstances come my way. I love you Lord!

Have you accepted His unfailing love? Reach out and take it. He’s waiting with open arms.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6

This devotion was originally posted at Internet Cafe Devotions – link below:

http://internetcafedevotions.com/2015/03/are-you-satisfied/

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Praising in the Pain

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S~ About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 (NIV)

O~ Paul and Silas have just been severely flogged and thrown into prison unjustly, all because of the greed of some slave-owners. There they were praying and singing hymns to God.

A~ Paul and Silas were in great pain. They were severely beaten with rods. This would leave them bleeding. Every move would be painful. They could not sleep. Their feet were in stocks so they could not even move around to ease their pain. So what did they do? Did they complain, curse, cry, or blame God? No, they were praying and singing praise to God! They were praising God! In spite of the blood, the pain, the injustice, the darkness and uncertainty of the moment, they focused on prayer and singing to the Lord. All the prisoners were listening to them. Even in their darkest moment, they were helping others. Paul and Silas are such an amazing example here. What do I do when minor inconvenience or pain comes into my life? Too often I complain and yes sometimes I curse. The example here puts me to shame. How were they able to do this? Their lives were focused on the Lord and serving Him. They trusted Him completely. They knew He was the only source of strength or help. They felt the suffering just as anyone would but they held to their faith in God without wavering.

P~ Father, forgive me for those moments when I complain or grumble instead of praising you. Please help my heart to be so focused on you that I will praise you no matter what. Help my first response to trouble to be prayer and then to sing praise to your name. I love you Lord. Thank you that your love for me never changes.

Do you have a loved one who struggles with sex addiction? Go to the link below to read an entry by Michelle who understands your pain:

via February 9 Leviticus 10-12; Acts 16.

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Trying to Hold on to Mist

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Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

I was recently reflecting on the fact our 22-year-old son moved into his own apartment. It’s such a bittersweet time. It’s not like when he went to college and still came “home” on weekends. This is no longer his primary home. He moved everything.

Bitter – because he won’t be here everyday, he won’t be sleeping here anymore and this is a turning point. Bitter – because it’s a time of saying goodbye to what was and it’s the start of a new chapter.

Sweet – because it’s right that he move out and live his own life. It’s time. Sweet – because now we’ll start a new chapter as empty nesters and all that means and he’ll enjoy the independence of living as an adult.

Life is so fleeting. I find myself wanting to hold onto relationships, places, and things. I start wishing I could stop change and keep this moment. I want to hold back illness or pain or estrangement. There are so many moments in life, I’d like to hold suspended in time, but they slip through my fingers. Like a mist, they’re gone. I can’t stop the change. I can’t hold on. The best moment will pass again and again. Change is frightening. To let go of what is comfortable and secure, what is known is hard. If only I could see the other side, that only through change do I find growth and that there can be new levels of happiness. It isn’t easy to learn that pain is an important part of life. The changes will come whether I want them to or not. It’s a spiritual paradox that only by letting go can I hold on. There are many precious moments we had with our son that are gone. I can keep them in my heart and be thankful I had them but I can’t live there. I need to live in this moment and find the gold God has for me here. If I’m always looking back to moments that are past, I might miss the one God has for me right now.

Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved…He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.” Psalm 62:1-2,6

As I read this scripture, “He only is my rock and my salvation,” I realize I am ok because God is the only one who is my rock. Not my son, not my husband and not any person, place or possession. My Rock never moves and is unchanging. He’s always there. Because He’s strong, I will not be moved, meaning to me that I will not fall; I will not be steered off course because of any event in my life. My God is the Rock who always keeps me secure.

Thank you Lord! Thank you that I can rejoice at all times knowing you are my strength and shield. I love you! Thank you for the special moments you give me each day. Thank you for our son. May His journey be blessed. May He always look to you for guidance.

Is there a moment you are tying to hold onto? What if God wants to give you something even better?

This article was published first on Internet Cafe Devotions:

http://internetcafedevotions.com/2015/02/trying-to-hold-on-to-mist/

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Enough is ENOUGH!! | Joni Tyner

Do you find yourself always wanting more? Are you ever truly satisfied with what you have? Please read what Joni had to say in today’s SOAP reading. It is a great reminder for this time of year:

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Enough is ENOUGH!! | Joni Tyner

S~ Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth… So, if I have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 1 Timothy 6:6, 8 (NLT)

O~ Great wealth. We have much!! Our “wealth” comes from contentment in the things we already have. It comes from seeking God . Discovering His mystery. God rewards us when we are content and when we seek Him. Enough is enough!! We don’t always need more. We don’t need more food, more clothes, more stuff, gadgets, accessories, just fill in the blank with what our selfish desires crave. The question is, “what is enough?” We need to intentionally make a decision that what we have is enough and hold firm to that. This is so tough in a world that constantly bombards us with commercials and advertisements that tell us to be successful and happy we need more stuff.

A~ I need to remind myself daily that what I have is enough. I’ve been blessed with a family, a nice home, a good job. Enough. This a word I need to embrace; it will give me blessings if I live it out with intention and sincerity.

P~ Dear Lord, Thank you for your abundance in my life. It is so much more than I deserve! I need Your Holy Spirit to fill me with contentment; then I will overflow with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving.

You can also read more about Joni’s journey at her website:

http://jonityner.wordpress.com

Read more SOAP notes here:

via December 9 1 Timothy 5,6; Titus 1,2,3.

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Rooted and Grounded

 

S~ “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 (NKJV)

O~ I love this phrase, “rooted and grounded in love”. Our roots are firmly planted in the love of God! When we, by faith, give our hearts to Christ, we are His. Who could pull our roots out of His love?

A~ I have just been pulling weeds and planting flowers. The ground is full of roots. Deep, strong roots make it almost impossible to pull up some plants and the roots of big trees go through the whole yard! Think about it; we are rooted in the love of God. There is no greater power. Those who have faith in Christ are secure in His love. Those roots have no end. It is impossible to pull them out.

P~ Thank you Jesus! Thank you for giving me the faith to believe in you. Thank you that I am rooted and grounded in your love. I am yours forever! I love you! Thank you that storms may break branches and blow off leaves but nothing can uproot me from your love.

Read more SOAP notes here:

via June 7 Ecclesiastes 4,5,6; Psalms 18; Ephesians 3.

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