Thursday, October 27, 2016

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!


Any time I get to thinking too much, and realize that my focus might be more about myself than about others or about God and Jesus, I strive to keep this thought in my mind:  "It's not about ME, it's about HIM."  As I was driving down the road having that thought yesterday, it occurred to me that too often "I" am wanting to be in the spotlight of something.  I'm being selfish.  I'm concerned about my wants or my feelings.  Not that it is always bad to do so, but too much of it can lead to depression or negative thinking in a hurry.  I was thinking, "It's hard for my light to shine for HIM, if I'm too concerned about myself being in the spotlight."  I decided to make a little meme to share this thought with others, just in case they, too, had these selfish thoughts from time to time.

I suppose we all do, really.  It's easy to get caught up in ourselves, isn't it?  I blame mine on hormones, just to be honest, because I'm rarely "down" about anything. When I am it almost always equates to a hormonal issue that's out of whack for a short time.  (Oh, the joys of the mid-40's! NOT.) But it makes me think of those who might not ever "get out" of these thoughts....what about them?  And what if it wasn't a hormone thing?  What could I do to help get the negativity from my mind?

For me, what I've found has been found driving down a highway. When you live in a remote area as I do, you spend a lot of time driving on highways.  Often I listen to my favorite Pandora station, but I have a very favorite thing to do, and that is to put it on my iTunes "worship" playlist filled with acapella praise and worship songs from various groups, such as Hallal, The Zoe Group, Narrow Way, and a few others.  I LOVE IT!  It instantly "peps" me up and makes me feel better!

So now I think, WHY DO I NOT JUST START OUT EVERY DAY WITH THIS PLAYLIST?!  Well, I do listen to that playlist often and at random or scheduled times, but I haven't wanted to listen to it all of the time because I wanted it to be different.  I wanted that list to be "reserved" in a sense, but now I see that my thinking is WRONG.  I NEED those songs each and every day. I NEED to be uplifted every day! MAYBE if I listened to them ever day - at the beginning of every day - it would change the whole day...or at least change ME for the whole day.  Who knows? (God.)  

So today, I'm starting out with HIM even more so than usual Bible reading as soon as a I wake up and quick prayer before leaving the bed.  (I need to work on that part, too.)  And as I go through the day, I'll remind myself to keep ME out of the spotlight, to shine brightly for HIM, and strive to always remember that none of this is about me ever.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Quit Scaring the Children!"

Sunday night our congregation hosted a youth event where many surrounding towns came to join in the worship and fellowship time together.  The speaker, Brandon, who is a youth minister, had a wonderful lesson from Daniel 3 about the "Fiery Furnace".  If you know the story, you know that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wouldn't bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's idol and so he threw them into an extremely hot furnace.  God saved the three men, even putting a forth man who looked like "as son of a god" into the fire with them.  He saved them because of their faith in Him.

Brandon talked encouraged all of us to be like these men - not caving in to anything in the world, but standing firm in our faith in God.  One thing he also said was to the adults in the audience. He specifically said to those "45 and older" (which I take offense in since I'm barely over that age! Haha!) was to for "us" to QUIT SCARING THE CHILDREN.  He realizes, as we all do, that this world has its problems.  The up-coming election has many people worried and scared about the future, even to the point of posting ridiculous and outlandish things on social media that are meant to be a scare tactic and pursuade people to vote for their chosen candidate.  The problem with all of this is that we are telling the children we are scared, afraid, and fearful for their future.  And as Christians, there's a big problem with our example when we are showing fear over faith.  God says, "Do not fear" over and over and over again in His Word, yet many times we get so bogged down in fear that we can't see those promises.

So what can you and I do instead of being afraid at the outcomes of elections and the future for our children and grandchildren?  We can pray.  We SHOULD pray!  And we can show our children and grandchildren that CHRIST is King, no matter what happens in this world.  What else can we do?  We can be strong and courageous, keeping the faith at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did, not caving in to fear, even through the "hottest fire" we can imagine.

Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's example showed and proved to King Nebuchadnezzar that there is only One God, you possibly may show someone else the same.  Someone may come to know Him because of that faith.

QUIT SCARING THE CHILDREN!  Let them see your strong faith! Let them see your hope and trust in the Lord.  In doing so, you're growing their own faith in Him.

Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.
Daniel 3:28



Friday, October 14, 2016

Real Success

American businesswoman and founder of the cosmetic empire, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc., said this:

I put a lot of emphasis on how to treat people. The reason for this is simple. The real success of our own personal lives and careers can best be measured by the relationships we have with the people most dear to us - our family, friends, and coworkers. If we fail in this aspect of our lives, no matter how vast our worldly possessions or how high on the corporate ladder we climb, we will have achieved very little. - Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay knew that no matter how big her company got or no matter how much wealth she accumulated, none of that mattered if the relationships with the people around her were not as they should be.  The "Golden Rule" was Mary Kay's guide as she determined that any and every situation  as her guiding philosophy, determining that the best course of action in virtually any situation could be easily discerned by, "Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you". She also firmly believed that life worked best when priorities were in proper order throughout the day.  Her belief was that faith was first, family second, and that her career was third.  Interestingly, Mary Kay didn't launch her company early in life.  She was 45.

Mary Kay enjoyed making others feel good about their accomplishments.  She recognized those accomplishments the same way many companies do today, "by praising people to success".  The company's marketing plan gives recognition to the success of those accomplishments by prizes, rewards, and celebrations.

Much can be learned from Mary Kay's philosophy.  Actually, much of this philosophy can be found in God's Word, and can be used in our everyday life.  From her story, we can learn:

1.  Faith first.  Too often in our busy lives, work, hobbies, chores, schedules....all take  up the most time in our day.  When we deliberately and methodically make time for God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church, our life's priorities will just naturally get in sync with God's Will for us.  When He is just given the leftovers of our day, our lives will never be as He wants them to be.

2.  People matter.  It doesn't matter what you accumulate in life, it's the relationships with those around you that matter the most.  What would your family say is most important to you?  How do people feel when they need to talk to you - apprehensive? Afraid of how you'll react?  Worried that your reaction isn't worth bringing something up?  Would people rather avoid talking to you about something than face it?  Ask your family how they feel. They'll tell you.  Ask your coworkers. Ask your friends. It's quite possible that how you think they feel is not at all how they really feel.

3. Be positive with praise.  
Some people are just naturally pessimistic.  It's tough to be around those types of people.  On the other hand, some are naturally over optimistic, seeming fake about everything the do and say. There's got to be a happy medium in the mix.  One can be realistic, but find the good in everything.  There's always something good.  Always.  And praising the good in someone will bring about something even better within them. Hurrying kills kindness.  It causes us to overlook the good that's all around.

4. Find something to celebrate.
In each day and within each person, find something and someone to celebrate.  Compliments encourage when done sincerely.  Flattery only puffs up and leads to unrealistic expectations.  Keep it real.  Celebrate even minor accomplishments.  In doing so, the one giving out praise will find that not only does it help the receiver of the words, but also to you - the one giving it.

Real success is about the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, His Son, the church, and with the people around us.  Don't be so busy that you neglect real success.  If you do, you'll realize one day just what you missed out on and it may be too late.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Be Our Guest! - 17th Annual QMCC Ladies Fall Retreat 2016

What a wonderful weekend we had for the 27th Annual QMCC (Quartz Mountain Christian Camp) Ladies' Fall Retreat!  The theme was, "Be Our Guest".  The theme scripture was Hebrews 13:2, along with the popular pineapple quote of "Be A Pineapple".
The speaker had great lessons and devotional for our time together.  She was an inspiration to all who were there, telling about her life experiences and sharing God's Word. 
My friends and I were in charge of crafts and activities. We had wooden pineapple shapes for people to paint, do nail art, or decorate. Ladies were so creative in so many different ways!
I love putting craft supplies out and just seeing what people come up with because everyone always has such unique ideas!
The t-shirt was super cute!!  Love the design!
Look at that shading on the top of the pineapple!
My friends helped the ladies make a pineapple scrub from coconut oil, crushed pineapple, and sugar.  It smells wonderful and good enough to eat - which you actually could eat (if you wanted to...)!
Some glued burlap pineapple shapes on top of their wooden pineapple and also used paper.  So unique and pretty!
A simple paper bag journal with added scrapbooking paper and supplies made quick little gifts for friends.
The table decor was beautiful!
Simple framed art just made from computer printouts.  So smart!
For one activity we made "Blessing Bags". These bags are to be given to those in need. I'm going to keep some of mine in the car for out of town trips to the "big city".  I always encounter people there and wish I had some made up.

A few congregations gathered items for the bags which included mini soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, Bibles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, gum, disposable water bottles, etc.  It was a great activity that will be a blessing to others.

It's a blessing to come together for times like this.  I know I needed it, and perhaps others did, too.  It's always good to be renewed and recharged - ready to get back to the Lord's work, but as the speaker reminded us, it's also good to be still - and enjoy the pleasure of God's company.  We need to be HIS guest....and just sit with Him.


 
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