Food For Thought

Food for thought–words of wisdom.

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat–especially the foods that don’t have as much nutrition but taste ever so good! We have often heard that “you are what you eat”–if we eat the right foods that our body needs, then we will feel healthy and strong. But if we eat the wrong foods, then we become unhealthy. But what about our thoughts? Do we fill our minds with thoughts that are encouraging and uplifting or do we fill our minds with thoughts that are defeating and uninspiring?

Recently, I came across a site that talks about “The Other Serenity Prayer”–cPTSD and Me–which I would like to share with all of you:

The Other Serenity Prayer

Please grant me the serenity to stop beating myself up for not doing things perfectly,

The courage to forgive myself because I always try my best,

And the wisdom to know that I am a good person with a kind heart.

So many times we think unpleasant thoughts that cause us to react in negative ways–someone says something that hurts our feelings, etc. Instead of reacting negatively, think positively. Don’t beat yourself up over it; we are only human–we make mistakes–and we are not perfect. Always forgive yourself when you have done your best and feed yourself positive thoughts. We need to be kind to ourselves so that we will be kind to others.

Another food for thought that I found was on “Truthseekers” and it says:

Judas Had

…the best pastor

…the best leader

…the best adviser

…the best counselor

YET he failed.

The problem is not the leadership or the church you go to. If your attitude or character doesn’t change or your heart doesn’t transform, you will always be the same. Apparently, even though Judas knew Jesus, he really didn’t know Him. His heart was not transformed “by the renewing of his mind” and getting to know Him in a real life-changing way. Judas needed to open his mind and heart to Jesus but he allowed sin to take over instead.

The next “food for thought” is taken from a site entitled “WOW I love Christian music.”

10 Ways To Love

  • Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)
  • Speak without accusing (James 1:19)
  • Give without sparing (Proverbs 21:26)
  • Pray without ceasing (Colossians 1:9)
  • Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)
  • Share without pretending (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Enjoy without complaint (Philippians 2:14)
  • Trust without wavering (I Corinthians 13:7)
  • Forgive without punishing (Colossians 3:13)
  • Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12)

How do we do this? Through prayer and seeking the change necessary. By asking God to help us be used as “an instrument of His peace.” Colossians 1:9 says we are to “pray without ceasing”–not only for ourselves but for others. God can change our attitudes and hearts by trusting in His Word and believing that “all things work together for our good.”

We praise the One who is our Good Shepherd, helper, and friend who is loving and compassionate and gives us the desires of our hearts when we follow Him and listen to and follow His commands.

May the Lord bless you and help all of us to continue to read His Word–our guide, our strength, comfort, and shield–as we follow Him daily.

Blessings,

Yvonne

A Letter to God

The Spirit of the Lord

A few years ago my husband was a part time pastor in PA and had decided to extend a spiritual learning challenge to members of our congregation. He handed each person an envelope. There were two things inside: a letter from God and $10. They were instructed to find someone that week who they thought needed their help in some way by using the money that they were given and to report their results back to the congregation the following Sunday.

Many used the money to purchase items such as groceries, hats/gloves, a meal for a homeless person, or gave a donation to a worthy charitable cause. Many were touched by their generosity and blessed by their outpouring of love. They had made a difference in someone’s life that week.

The letter inside the envelope began with “My Child,” and contained many scripture verses taken from the promises of God in His Word. It was signed “Love, Your Dad–Almighty God.” This reminder of God’s love blessed not only me, but members of the congregation as well who read it and claimed God’s promises.

It was because of this letter that I wanted to write a letter back to God to thank Him for His promises. My letter is as follows:

“Dear Father God,

Before the world began, you knew me. You created the world one day at a time and then you formed me in my mother’s womb at just the right moment so that I could become your child.

You gave me a purpose and a direction to follow, as well as strength to go through any unwanted circumstances that came my way. I was not alone. You walked by my side and continue to walk with me every day. My life has been changed because you love me unconditionally.

Your love reaches higher than I could ever imagine and your Spirit lives within me to continually guide me in the knowledge and wisdom from above. Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ….”

Thank you for saving me, and allowing your Son to die for me, so that one day I will be able to meet you face to face and spend eternity with you.

Your Grateful…Thankful…and Blessed Child”

What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to serve a mighty God who tells us throughout His Word that He does care about us more than we could possibly imagine, and that it is important that we share that love with others and “make a difference in Jesus Name to all those who are hurting and who are unaware that they matter to God”. Let us make a difference in someone’s life today.

May the Lord bless you, keep you, and make His face to shine upon you forevermore.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Nana’s Corner: Christmas 2016

Crosscards.com

This is officially Christmas week and it is half over. Today my daughter, along with her dad and I, took the two grandsons off to Woodbridge, VA where we ate at a Denny’s Restaurant and then stopped by Hobby Lobby for some last minute gifts.

There were numerous cars on the road and even Denny’s was very busy. In fact, it took a lot longer to get our meals than normal. Guess everyone was out shopping and got hungry so they all stopped to eat as well!

It was a fun morning and Gryphon, and I got to watch the movie, “Minions”, in the car on the way up and on the way back. We also enjoyed the Christmas decorations and lights that adorned outside houses and businesses. The baby slept most of the time on the way up, in the restaurant, and on the way home. Gryphon fell asleep just before we got home but awoke after we went inside, and he didn’t want Nana or Pap (as he calls Roger) to leave either. So sweet to watch him interacting with his Pap!

In the hustle and bustle between shopping, parties/dinners, and additional church services this week, it is easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Does Christmas come but once a year? Technically, it does to many people during this time of year. But let us not forget to celebrate and be giving throughout the entire year as well. We need to support and encourage each other all year long and not just during one week in December.

Let us continue to show the love that God has shown us not only to our friends and family in the new year, but may we also be made aware of the needs of those around us and show them love and kindness throughout 2017 as well. May you feel blessed as you open up your hearts to others. Jesus taught us to “love one another as He loved us” and may we also do the same.

Blessings,
Yvonne

Mary’s Journey (From Ordinary to Extraordinary)

Since the Advent season began on Sunday, November 27, our pastor has asked for volunteers to speak on each of the Sunday mornings leading up to Christmas Sunday morning about specific Bible characters who have had a special impact on leading up to the Birth of Jesus Christ. Last week my husband, Roger, spoke about John the Baptist who was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. John’s life would “prepare the way” for our Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry.

This past Sunday I spoke about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and want to share some insights into her humble life with all of you.

INTRODUCTION

. Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible and, of course, everyone knows her as the “Mother of Jesus”.
. In Matthew 1:16 her name appears in the geneology of Matthew–“…and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”
. It has been told that she was a peasant woman, a young adolescent, and probably poor, from the descendant of Aaron (priests).
. Her parents and/or siblings are not mentioned in the scriptures, but it is assumed that she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.
. During Mary’s time period, it was a Jewish custom that girls were not trained in the Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; however, as seen in her praise to God in the “Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song” in Luke 1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.
. Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli and a descendant of King David, at a very young age. Although we don’t know the exact age that she was pledged to be married, the minimum age for girls to be betrothed during this time period was 12 years old, and this generally took place one year before the marriage which was legally binding and could only be dissolved by a legal divorce.

OVERVIEW OF OTHER PLACES IN SCRIPTURES WHERE MARY IS MENTIONED

. Luke 1:26-38: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and then she visits Elizabeth for three months.
. Matthew 1:24 and Luke 2:1-7: Both gospels tell about the Birth of Jesus–Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem per the decree by Caesar Augustus for the census, and this is where Mary gives birth to Jesus.
. Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple at 8 days old to be circumcised and is blessed by Simeon.
. Luke 2:41: Feast of the Passover each year–During one of their travels when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents were returning home, and it was discovered that Jesus had stayed behind so they went back to get him. In VS 48, Mary tells Jesus that she and his father had been anxiously searching for Him; and His reply in VS 49 was, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house” but they did not understand.
. John 2:1-11: Wedding Feast in Cana—On the third day of this celebration, the wine ran out. Mary asks Jesus for His help and He turns the water into wine.
. John 19:26: Crucifixion–Jesus sees His mother and says, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to John, His disciple, He says, “Here is your mother” so John cared for Mary the rest of her days.
. Luke 24:9: Resurrection–Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna run to tell the 11 disciples that Christ was risen.

OTHER CHILDREN OF MARY AND JOSEPH

. In both Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, it mentions Mary’s other children: James, Joses (Joseph), Judas, and Simon, plus two other sisters (whose names are not mentioned).

THE BIRTH OF JESUS FORETOLD IN LUKE 1:26-38

. VS 26-28: The Angel Gabriel greets Mary telling her that she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, aceptance, or special benefits or blessings).

. VS 29: Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid. BUT as we continue to read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character. She exhibits a:

Humble Heart:

. That God had chosen her to carry His Son.
. She probably thought to herself: Who am I that God would think so highly of me for this blessed event. After all she was not wealthy or noble, but just an ordinary young girl and a chaste virgin.

Willing and Open Heart:

. She listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place and how the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be with child.
. She then accepted and trusted God and she was willing to be used by God

Obedient Heart:

. Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance or her circumstances, but He knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her.
. The Angel tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and how that even in her old age, she was going to have a baby (now in her sixth month).
. And in VS 37, the Angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Servant Heart:

. Mary was a woman of faith and in VS 38, she said, “Let it be to me as you have said.” (If God said it, then I believe it mentality.)
. Mary proves that she is humble, willing, and obedient to become God’s servant and believed God’s destiny for her life.

MARY’S VISIT WITH ELIZABETH

. After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth to see for herself that Elizabeth was with child.

. Luke 1:40: says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In VS 42-45 Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She was chosen to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.
. Mary then begins to praise God.

MAGNIFICANT–MARY’S SONG

. VS 46-55: In this passage, Mary definitely shows that she knows the scriptures. This is a song of strength, trust, obedience, and power to believe that what God said He would do, and what He would now accomplish in Mary’s life.
. VS 48: Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (A humble servant)
. Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.

CONCLUSION: How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today???

. I Samuel 16:7says: “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Remember this was how King David was chosen)
. When God chose Mary, He looked at her heart, not her appearance or circumstances.

. When God wants to use individuals like ourselves, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not at our outward appearance or circumstances.

. Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord, and not for people.”
. Mary wasn’t thinking about “what will people think” (especially Joseph), but only that she was highly favored and chosen by God to carry His Son.

. God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men AND FINALLY…

. Luke 1:37 says: “For nothing is impossible with God”

. Just as Elizabeth conceived in her old age, and Mary miraculously bore the Son of God–Jesus Christ who would end up bearing the sins of the world and saving us all–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was impossible with God.”

. SO SHOULD WE: “When God speaks to each of us and we listen to Him, let us all be willing to step out in faith so that He can show us His continued plan for our lives, because “nothing is impossible that God can’t do in and through our lives today for His honor and glory”.
. Just believe and trust Him, and He will guide you on your life’s journey every step of the way!

I concluded my time of sharing about Mary’s Journey by singing “Breath of Heaven” which solidified perhaps what Mary further thought as she traveled to Bethlehem and where she gave birth to Jesus Christ and “laid Him in a manger.”

During this Christmas season, may we find ourselves most grateful and thankful for the blessings that we have received throughout the year and enjoy our precious time with family and friends. And most of all, for the birth of our Saviour, God and King!

Blessings,
Yvonne

A Meaningful Life

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)

I have always loved this verse and what Jesus taught us about not worrying. But who doesn’t worry. We get in a financial bind and our first instinct is to “worry” where we will find the money to pay for the things that we bought (but didn’t really need). We stress over our jobs, our children, life in general and begin asking ourselves “what is our purpose in life” and “where am I going” or “am I headed in the right direction”?

We might ponder over the answers and what our options are in certain situations, but something within us keeps us from “taking a risk” and from “keeping the faith” when we are at a low point in our life’s journey.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 that we should “seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” What he then asks of us is to “not worry about tomorrow and what it holds” because He wants us to know that He holds our future and the difficulties and circumstances in our life are just “pit stops” along the way. Our faith is hopefully strengthened even more deeply during these times of adversity.

I recently purchased a book called “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines (available at www.magnoliahome.com, www.amazon.com, www.christianbook.com and other bookstores). A wonderful memoir of how this couple met, eventually married, and had four wonderful children. In a poignant manner, they share all the ups and downs about how they developed their business endeavors and how they eventually ended up doing their current TV show, the Fixer Upper on HGTV. They shared their faith in God as He directed every aspect of their lives. Their show took off and became quite successful along with their other projects as well.

What I enjoyed most about the book was how they shared their faith with family, friends, and even strangers along the way and how they expressed that their lives are definitely full of meaning (purpose).

When I recount numerous experiences where I have had to rely on God’s direction and exercise faith even under trying circumstances, I can truly say that my life has been filled with a great deal of meaning and that I am where God wants me at this season of my life. After all, I get to watch my grandson every day and play. (I think I have regressed to childlike behavior but I won’t say that out loud.)

If we are seeking a meaningful life, then we need to be open to the many possibilities and opportunities that God gives us along the way. Being aware of His presence in our lives and listening to His still small voice to direct us and to help us keep the faith no matter what is happening around us.

Life is full of meaning. We just have to trust God to show us His purpose. Do not worry. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

Let me leave you with yet another wonderful quote regarding not worrying:

“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.” –Walt Disney

Blessings,
Yvonne