What IF …

When was the last time you looked back a situation and said, “What if… ?”

From the time we’re very young we start having ‘regrets’. We start thinking what if I had not said that. What if I had not done that. What if I had chosen something different. Regret is one of the most common, negative feelings human beings experience.

Everyone has regrets!  Psalm 51 is a prayer about David’s regret over adultery and murder.  And what about Peter?  When he realized what he had done he went away and wept bitterly, Luke 22:61-62. (Can you even imagine what Jesus’ long glance did to him?)

The good thing about having regret is it shows we’re paying attention to our shortcomings, yes, even our sins.  It’s knowing that something went wrong, something’s not right.  Thinking what could I have done instead of what I did prepares us for the next time the situation occurs.

But then…  Get rid of it!  Take it to the cross and leave it there.  Quit mulling over it and over it and over it…  (satan loves that because it takes our focus off Jesus).  Pray David’s prayer:

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

(Click on the picture above to hear Keith Green’s beautiful rendition of this prayer.)

I’m joining many others at 5-Minute Friday.  Join us there!

 

 

 

 

 

True Beauty

Where is true beauty found?  In our looks, our jewelry, our homes/cars, our…   I think not!  Then is beauty in the ‘eye of the beholder’?  To some extent, but even that is based on personal bias.  Confucious said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  In nature, in music, in work, in …  It truly is all around us.  We just have to train ourselves to look.

In the Song of Songs, Solomon tells his bride that she is beautiful because she has no flaws (Song of Songs 4:7).  Our culture is all about that.  If we are thin, rich, youthful, educated and successful we are considered perfect. But is that really what being beautiful is all about?

So what is beauty?   Have you ever met someone that is not physically beautiful but there’s just something about them that draws you in.  I really like the way the New Living Translation says 1 Peter 3:4, “You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”  There it is.  The confident, inner glow, that says I care about you, I know your struggle, I’ve been where you are …  The ability to be appreciative, forgiving and loving marks the beautiful person.

Beauty is not about perfect hair, (I’ve not had a perfect hair day in so long I’ve given up on it.) perfect body shape, perfect attire, perfect words, perfect home, perfect children…  It’s not about perfect anything!  It’s about the willingness to take the focus off yourself and place it on Jesus and those around us.  Only then, are we truly beautiful!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I’m delighted to be writing with many others in response to the 5-Minute Friday word prompt.  You can join us, too!  Check it out at http://fiveminutefriday.com

Stones of Remembrance – Book Review

I love it when a book or song comes into my life that is exactly what I need.  Don’t you?  It seems like God is saying, “This one’s for you.  Especially for you!”  I recently received Stones of Remembrance by Daniel G. Amen to review and read it from cover to cover in the first sitting.  Yes, this one is definitely for me!

Dr. Amen is of the opinion (as I am) that ALL that we do impacts the brain.  What we eat, what we read, how we sleep, exercise, music, everything has an impact on the ‘gray matter’ in our head.  Consider Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinks so is he.) and Joshua 1:8 (This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.) and Philippians 4:8 (Think on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy and good.)

This little book is a cornucopia of verses based on his acronym for REMEMBERENCES.  Each letter has a short, compelling explanation of each word in the acronym and Bible verses to support the concept.

5 of my favorite quotes from this book:

  • When your brain works right, you work right in every area of your life–physically, mentally, and spiritually. (pg. xvi)
  • Much like love, forgiveness brings healing. (pg. 30)
  • …when you stop learning, your brain starts dying. (pg. 34)
  • A happy brain is a healthy brain. (pg. 42)
  • One of the best things you can do to improve your memory is to eat right. (pg. 112)

This book is and will be on my reading table, permanently.  My sincere, heartfelt thanks to Dr. Amen for compiling this short, easy to read, powerful book.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I Love You But…

houseWhen God says I love you He is saying just that.  Where did we come up with the I don’t like you part?  Perhaps, we want to say I don’t like what you’ve said/done but I have to love you because God says so.  Hmmmmm  I really don’t think the intent of the command to love others has anything to do with a qualification (but I don’t like you).

There are 3 basic commands in the New Testament…Love God and love others!  (Matthew 22:35-40)  Go and Tell! (Matthew 28:19)  Do any of those say BUT I don’t have to like you, your actions, your opinions, your stuff…?

"These 15 (crash!).... er, 10 Commandment...

When God says love me that’s exactly what it means.  The first 5 commandments of the 10 are about loving God.  He says I AM God!  You can have no other gods in any form whether spiritual or physical.  Honor My Name.  Worship me on the Sabbath and rest from all else.  How do those equal love?  Think about this.  When we are with those we love we focus totally on them (no other gods), we honor them (by not misusing His Name), we let nothing get in the way of our relationship with them (He is the I AM), we set aside time to be totally with them (setting aside the Sabbath).  That is how we are to love God!

How we are to love others is commanded in the next 6.   Honor your parents!  Do not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or want what belongs to someone else.   This is where the ‘but I don’t like you’ comes into play.  We get ourselves into a self-righteous attitude and say I don’t like you because you lie, steal, covet…  We have to get over ourselves!  Doesn’t God say I AM God and you’re not?  Stop separating the two.  I love you, period.

Fish hook love

 

Love is wanting what is best for another.  It is not wanting what is best when we say, but I don’t like you.  When a person hears, I don’t like what you are doing, being, or saying, they immediately equate it to I don’t love you.  Oh, dear friends, take these words out of your vocabulary!  They are not God-like.  If we truly want to become more like Him we cannot allow our human attitudes to have a part in how we love.  Let nothing get in the way of simply loving!

Oh, How He Loves Us!

Oh, Heavenly Father, let me simply show love.  Keep me constantly aware of Your example.  Let me show love in Jesus’ Precious and Holy name.  Make it so!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Edited and updated from the original published on 7/9/13

Main Course Monday #1

Part of being a Satisfied Spirit is taking joy in the everyday things of life.  That includes cleaning, laundry, dusting, crafting and everything else that goes on in my home.   And cooking is part of the list and I like to cook (especially in my crock pot/slow cooker).  After all, we all have to eat! Right?

Here’s a recipe for Beef Barley Soup that can be made in the morning and will be ready for the evening meal.  If it’s your plan to do this I recommend setting out the ingredients the night before so all you have to do is dump it in your Slow Cooker/Crock Pot.

 

1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup dried split peas
3 beef bouillon cubes — crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf

(You’re going to have leftover barley and split peas so why not make several batches of this dry mix and store them in glass jars in the pantry.)

Spray the crockpot with any cooking spray (This makes it easier to clean.) and add the following:

1 can sliced carrots      1 can beef chunks     1 can diced tomatoes     6 cups water

Pour in the dry mix. Stir. Set the crockpot on low.  Let it cook all day.

Oh, my, I can imagine the awesome smell from the kitchen already.  I will have corn muffins or corn chips on the table with a fresh fruit salad.  My mouth is already watering.  I can hardly wait for dinner.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Double Standards

I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs this week and have been amazed at the number of references to double standards.  We’re going to land on one Proverb, in particular, today. Chapter 20 verse 10 is very precise in its wording yet there is a deeper meaning to it.  It appears to be talking about weights and measures in the world of commerce but there is also a deeper meaning that applies to everyday life.  (I used the New Living Translation for this picture.)

  • Commandment 8 tells us we are not to bear false witness.  That’s dishonest and God has no use for it and reminds us of His desire for us to stop lying throughout the Bible. (Leviticus 19.11, Proverbs 12:22, Colossians 3:9, Revelation 22:15 and so many more…)
  • We are not to say one thing and mean another.
  • When we consider another person higher or lower than ourselves because of what they have or don’t have we are using a standard that is totally against God’s standard of simply loving one another.
  • God does not want us to cheat in any way.  God knows our hearts and minds.  We’re so full of double standards.  How about this one, do as I say, not as I do.  Or, you can listen but do not comment.  Or, That’s so easy, but you can’t do it yourself.
  • What did Jesus say about the issue?  Check out Matthew 7:3-5.

    In this culture we live in double standards, even multiple standards exist everywhere.  My prayer is we will all be able to see the planks in our own eyes before we comment on the specks in someone else’s.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

God Hates …

Our culture does not like to think of God as hating, yet, the Word is clear about what He hates. Check it out…

Let’s look at each segment and see how it applies to our lives.

  • Haughty eyes:  I found this definition of haughty in the Cambridge English Dictionary: Unfriendly and seeming to consider yourself better than others. Suppose you just heard a new music group and began talking about with others.  If you give the idea that they are somehow less informed than you that’s being haughty.  Anytime you present yourself as somehow better than others that’s being haughty.
  • A lying tongue: I’m sure we all know the meaning of the word lying.  Simply saying something that is not true.  Not just a blatant outright untruth but those little half-truths (So-called white lies fit here.) and those words that sound good but carry a different meaning. (Like saying you love the dress another is wearing but your body language says you look horrible in that color or style.)  Get it?
  • Hands that shed innocent blood: Drive-by shootings, suicide bombings, abortion, euthanasia…  Have we become so jaded (unmoved) to this that we no longer care?
  • A heart that devises wicked schemes: Bullying is one of the most prevalent problems in our homes, schools, work, churches, government… Have you been intimidated into doing something you haven’t wanted, strong-armed into telling lies or saying mean things to and about others, kept quiet about an incident…  All of this just to fit in.  Bullies devise ‘wicked schemes’ to stay in control.  God knows and He hates it.
  • Feet that are quick to rush into evil: The intent of the person who fits this category is simply one who intends to create trouble.  Doesn’t matter who, how, where.  If the opportunity arises they’re there.  And it happens quickly!
  • A false witness who pours out lies:  Both of these phrases are the same concept.  False witnesses are liars!  And man, are they good at it.  Let’s look at a possible scenario.  Someone comes to you and says, I saw Doris at the coffee shop with Darrin.  I think they’re having an affair.  You discuss it, add other possible instances to it, talk with others about it, and the whole thing gets blown out of proportion.  This one fabricated lie has the potential to destroy lives.  My advice: Follow the 9th Commandment. Don’t lie!
  • A person who stirs up conflict in the community: Are you bitter about something or someone?  If you can say yes to this you are ripe for stirring up conflict.  If you have a problem with someone go to them, directly.  Don’t use it against them to rile up the entire community.  (Think about the election last year.  Conflict was created by the media and opponents and the country is still stirred up.)  Let it go!

There you have it.  God is not a hateful God!  He is more than loving.  He cannot disown Himself (see 2 Timothy 2:13).  If any of these fit you take it to Him.  He will forgive and heal you.

Know that the LORD is good and His mercies endure forever! Psalm 100:5

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

5-Sentence Friday 1 Corinthians 16:13

I decided to take the Strong, Brave, Loved 21-day Challenge with Holly Garth.  Today’s verse and devotional were both powerful and convicting for me.  Through many of my life experiences, it has been necessary to have strength and bravery as part of my arsenal.  Things like surviving a tornado that landed on the patio of our first home, surviving a t-bone crash, standing up for those who have been wronged, and many more of the uncertainties in this life, have required my dependence on the strength and courage that is given by God.

  1. Choose your battles carefully.  You don’t have to fight every one.
  2. Know that the evil one is always trying to get through your guard.
  3. Know God’s Word and use it to determine what He expects of you.
  4. Stand and persevere when you know it’s right.
  5. True strength is knowing where your power really lies.

I’ve discovered that sometimes we lose the battle, or it appears that way.  If we know it’s the right thing to do we should be doing it.  God is always the final judge.  Wouldn’t you rather hear why did you than why didn’t you?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Best Friend Forever

Have you ever thought about God as your Best Friend Forever?  I think that’s part of how He wants us to see Him.  Think about some characteristics of your earthly best friend.   Do words like encouraging, honest, trustworthy, strong, available, loving, caring, compassionate, kind, gentle, patient …, top the list?  God is already all of this and more.

God is always there, always available, always loving, always forgiving, exactly who He says He is.  Not only that, He never changes. (James 1:17)  I always know where I stand with Him.  Who wouldn’t want a friend like this?

Can we find a friend so faithful?  Who will all our sorrows share?  These words, from a much-loved hymn,  popped into my mind while writing this.  We may have the most awesome friends on earth but…  Are they always faithful (always wanting what’s best for us)?  Do they share our sorrows or even know what they are?  My BFF knows my sorrows.  He knows my every care.  He knows what I need when I need it.

My best Friend loves me so much that even when He finds it necessary to discipline me I still know and feel His love.  Those of us who have earthly friends like this are incredibly blessed.  (Proverbs 27:5-6)

Develop your earthly friendships.  They really matter.  But never forget to continue to mature in the relationship you have with the One and Only.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Psalm Hymns: Book Review

Psalm Hymns by L.L. Larkins

I was delighted to have the opportunity to review a collection of Psalms set to well-known hymns and carols.  The musician in me has been waiting for a long time to see and perform something like this.  All-in-all in I enjoyed the time spent reading and singing.

Things I liked most:

  1. Using melodies already known to the Believer to enhance the Word.
  2. Having this collection at my fingertips to use in the worship service.
  3. A smaller set of Psalms set to Christmas music and carols was included in the package. (Caroling Through The Psalms by L.L. Larkins)
  4. The author included the opportunity to send the reader/performer’s recording to them personally for possible inclusion on a future digital release.

Things I didn’t like:

  1. Matching known melodies to these psalms sometimes resulted in awkward rhythmic patterns.
  2. The message of some of these psalms was lost in the wordage.

I think there is great potential in this collection.  I give kudos to the author for the incredible amount of work it took to create this set.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookCrash/Capture Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”