Spit Out the Seeds!

My husband and I were shopping at our local “Wal Mart Supercenter” yesterday and as we were checking out he commented on how many people had watermelons in their shopping carts. He asked the clerk if they were on sale, thinking he did not want to miss a bargain. She did not have knowledge of any reduced price, stated the obvious, “It’s summertime.” People enjoy the refreshing fruit when it’s in season.

Seedless watermelons are especially desirable; we do not have to spit out irritating seeds before swallowing. Melons are a valuable teaching tool. I need to spit out any words that would hurt others and my witness for Christ. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly (Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV).”

The Apostle Paul would urge me to spit out seeds before beginning conversation. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (Ephesians 4:29-31 NIV).” Get in the line; the seed spitting contest is about to get underway!

Tuning Up

Have you ever sat in front of a live orchestra or band, and listened as they tuned up their instruments? It’s usually not a very pleasant sound, but in a few minutes glorious music fills the room. I have never learned to play a musical instrument. In fact, my music teacher at school once told me I could not take lessons, because I had not comprehended the reading of musical notes. I’ve always wished I could play, and confess at times I feel a little envious of those who do.    

Well, not long ago I heard something that really got my attention. We are urged to avoid using our mouths tearing people down by sharing gossip. (James 3:9-10) The speaker went on to explain, we could magnify God by submitting our mouths as instruments of praise.  Wow, I can play an instrument; you can too! “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Thy wonders. I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2 NAS).” Let’s tune up our instruments and in unity praise God in perfect harmony!

Let It Go!

Is it hard to ignore a wrong done against you? Do you feel you have been treated unfairly? Are you tempted to retaliate? Let it go. We all get our feelings hurt, but harboring that pain only leads to more scars. We cannot undo harmful things done by others; we can choose to use it to build character and strength within. Yes, it hurts, but let it go.

Do you feel you are about to explode, ready to blow your top? Would that make things better? No, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that harms you. Let it go. The book of Proverbs is more beneficial than anger management. If tried and tested the counsel of Proverbs helps you to overcome frustration and anger. “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression (Proverbs 19:11 NAS).” Let Him take control. Reject anger; let it go.

A Piece of Me

I have a cupboard full of old Bible Study workbooks, conference notes, etc. I keep these not because I think I will use them again or go back and reread my notes (although I might).  No, I keep them because each one of those workbooks has become a part of me in some way. I learned something through each study. I gained ground. I grew in my faith, in my walk with the Lord, and I grew internally as a person.
 
Today, when I opened up that cupboard to put something away, I saw my small stack and I smiled. To some people those workbooks might be taking up valuable storage space. But to me, they are a piece of who I have become. They represent who God is molding me into and they hold many special memories. I shed tears over valuable lessons that God taught me, I stretched my mind to let God open it up to deeper things He wanted to show me, and I prayed over many, many things that I held closely to my heart.  Those workbooks are a piece of me. They are a piece of who I have become.
 
Each time I start a new Bible study or go to a new conference – I don’t sit there and think about how I will be changed. I just know that in some way (small or great) that I will be. And it excites me. Because I’m always up for bettering myself. I love diminishing the effect that the flaws and weaknesses in my life have on me. I love growing new strengths and feeling God’s strength flourish inside of me.  And for whatever it’s worth, I will hold on to those moments so that I don’t forget that HE doesn’t forget. He doesn’t forget me. He talks to me in a personal way each time I reach out to communicate and grow in Him.
 
So I will hold onto those Bible study books. No matter how worn, how sloppy my writing, or how much space they take up. They have made me who I am and for that I will be eternally grateful.
 
 

~ Dionna Sanchez is the Founder of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry. Visit the website at http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com or email her at madetomom@yahoo.com

You Are An Overcomer!

I was talking with my girlfriends this weekend about being an overcomer. What does the Bible have to say and how do we get there?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Although life is sometimes an uphill battle, Jesus said he has overcome the world. He already fought our battles for us, took them to the cross and died so that we could have the final victory. It’s hard to sometimes remember, in the midsts of our battles, that in Christ we ARE victorious. If this is true, why then do we often find ourselves fighting battles we thought we had already won?

To overcome is defined this way: get the better of, prevail over, control, get/bring under control, master, conquer, defeat, beat; get over, get a grip on, curb, subdue; informal lick, best.

When we find ourselves struggling to gain victory in a certain area, it just means we haven’t yet gotten full control over the siutation. But with every step we take toward victory we are gaining ground and getting closer to overcoming the situation. Sometimes in this life it’s “one step forward, two steps back”. But we must continue to press in, to stand on the Word of God that tells us

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

God has given us ALL authority to trample on the snakes in our life. The enemy has no power over us. We all know the enemy is a LIAR! He likes to whisper in our ear and distort situations and cause us to take our eyes off of Christ and what He is doing in the midsts of it. When those things happen to me, I often do a prophetic act: I picture myself pulling the enemy out of my head (because we all know that is where our battles begin), throwing him on the ground, stomping on his head and then picking up the remains and throwing them in the trash. I remind myself that through Christ I AM an overcomer and that the enemy has no power or authority over my life. Try it. It sure feels good!

I really like this definition of to overcome:

defeat, beat, conquer, trounce, thrash, rout, vanquish, overwhelm, overpower, get the better of, triumph over, prevail over, win over/against, outdo, outclass, worst, crush; informal drub, slaughter, clobber, hammer, lick, best, crucify, demolish, wipe the floor with, make mincemeat of, blow out of the water, take to the cleaners, shellac, skunk.

When you find yourself in the midst of the storm, remind yourself that God is for you, not against you. He has overcome the world and the power of the enemy over you. Stand on His Word. Praise Him! Speak life to yourself. Tell yourself that You are an overcomer. Then, stomp on the head of the serpents in your life, wipe the floor with them and move on out in victory. You are an overcomer!

*Barbie is a wife and mother to four children. She works full time while juggling faith, family and ministry. Visit her blog at My Freshly Brewed Life.

Wake Up

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19,20

I fell back asleep the other morning. I couldn’t help it. It was cool out and my bed was cozy. I just didn’t want to wake up. So I shut off my alarm and laid my head down, for just a minute. The next thing I knew, Chase was shaking me and saying, “Wake up Mom. I don’t want to miss the bus.”

I have Carson to get to school after Chase and if I were to miss Chase’s bus and drive him to school, it would start a whole chain of negative reactions and my day would not go so well.

But because Chase woke me out of my sleep, all was well here at the Schneider home this morning. Breakfast was eaten … lunches packed … book bags filled. Time to spare … no stress … no pain.

I was thinking about how sometimes we doze off in our relationship with God. We don’t mean to … but life, as we know it, is comfortable for us and we don’t want to step out of that zone.

It starts out as simply missing a Sunday or two, but then it becomes so cozy relaxing at home on Sunday mornings and there is preaching on the TV, we don’t really need to go to church. And that is true. Going to church doesn’t make us right or wrong with God. It’s what’s in our heart. But God’s Word tells us to not neglect the fellowship of the brethren. We need to hang out with other Believers, for support and encouragement.

Then we start having a couple of drinks on Saturday night, cause we aren’t getting up early for church, so it will be okay. Then we start going out with our friends to the bars, it won’t hurt to go have some fun, we’re just dancing. And we start flirting with someone and the next thing we know, we’re in the midst of an affair or we’re caught up in drugs or alcohol or surfing porn sites on the Internet.

Or maybe nothing quite so dramatic … maybe we just start to withdrawal into ourselves, caught up in that web of depression that never seems to let go of us. Or maybe we keep ourselves so busy with work or our kids or _____, that we just don’t have time for God anymore.

Regardless of the situation, the result becomes the same, God is not in the picture, he’s not a part of our lives.

Then one of our good friends comes along and says, “Hey … wake up. What are you doing?”

And we stop and take a look at our lives. We realize the mistakes we made, and we get down on our knees and ask God to forgive us. Then we move forward … with Him!

Father, thank you for the amazing grace that you offer to us. If we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank you Lord for loving us, so very much.

I Love You Jesus.
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce
The Choices You Make Today
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Finish Strong

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13,14)

Whether you are a football fan or not, I hope you can appreciate the New Orleans Saints win over Indianapolis in the Super Bowl this past Sunday.  I wasn’t rooting for the Saints, but after learning their history, I have a newfound respect for them.  The Saints team was founded in 1967. They went more than a decade before they had a .500 season, two decades before having a winning season, and over four decades before reaching the Super Bowl.  Four decades … that’s 40 years before they hit their goal!  That’s a long time!

At the end of last season, the quarterback for the Saints, Drew Brees, decided to inspire his team by giving them an inspirational book called Finish Strong.  It was filled with stories about people overcoming adversary with courage.  Finish strong became the team’s mantra, and they carried it forward, not only in their life, but on the football field, overcoming much adversity to become Champions of the National Football League!

Finish strong is a challenge that is given to us over and over in God’s Word.   We can’t change our past, but we can move forward to our future.  David committed adultery, had a man killed and yet God called him a man after his own heart.  He was one of the greatest Kings of Israel and part of the lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Moses got angry and killed a man, yet God used him to free the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt.  Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, yet God used her to save her family from destruction and she was the Great-Great Grandmother of King David.  The Apostle Paul had Christians killed, yet God used him to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles and he wrote a good portion of the New Testament. Paul didn’t focus on his past, but moved forward … pressing towards the goal of Jesus!

I had a pretty rough start … drugs, alcohol, promiscuity – lots of wrong choices, but I am leaving my past behind and straining forward … pressing in … pressing on … I am finishing strong with JESUS!

Thank you Jesus that you have given us the opportunity to be new creations through you!  Thank you that we don’t have to carry the weight of our past, but can be free to move forward and to finish strong, through you!

I Love You Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today…
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

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