Life is too short…

Life is too short…

Realizing the depth of the pain of loss from death can be overwhelming. A close friend has recently experienced the loss of a loved one from death. I understand that I cannot touch her pain but I did experience pain for her in that loss. The thing about death that separates it from other loss like divorce is the finality of it in this world. The realization that you will never see that person again can feel like a sharp blow to the chest at certain times. Moments will occur when you miss them terribly such as at the dinner table or out and about weekend afternoons. Family night or going out to eat are the times when the sharp pain of loss seems to take the wind out of us.

With that being said, it is important to really grasp that life is too short to take relationships for granted. There are no guarantees and only the Lord has your calendar appointment. You can be here today and gone tomorrow. The love of God is so great that God suffered first that loss by sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ, for us. In spite of our sinful nature, Christ died for us. He gave up His life that we might have eternal life. He experienced death for us in such a capacity that we have hope when the pain of that loss seems overwhelming.

My emphasis on death may seem a bit morbid. But, that is only for those who have not grasped the importance of our lives to the One who loves us more than life itself. It is important to value those you love. Forgive them, for the big things and the little things. We would not even know pain or joy if not for the love of others and the love we have to give. Understanding true love understands what Christ did when He died for us. In spite of all that we do, Christ loves us and is present when we are hurting from this pain and any other pain. He is present because He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.

The importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ is that this relationship guides us with the relationships here on earth. And, this is the first and foremost relationship of all. Do not take for granted your spouse, your child, your sister, your brother, your friend, your aunt, your uncle, your cousin, your mother or your father. Whatever relationships you have that are an important part of your life, reflect on how significant they are to you and how quickly they can be gone. Even the difficult relationships are equally important as they help to build character and the means God does use to move us forward in His great plan for our lives here on earth although temporary.

Personal Sabotage

Nature
Can’t See the Sky for the Trees

PERSONAL SABOTAGE

I spoke a couple days ago about the shoes we are given for our journey. And, while I definitely pointed out that we share our journey with others, whether we want to or  not, I also want to share my thoughts on personal sabotage. As I have been reflecting, and I do a lot of that, realization is that sometimes we are our own worst enemy. I never thought about personal sabotage before. Sabotage always reminded me of the spy movies where one covert agent was trying to make sure the other agent’s plans were unsuccessful. Well, unfortunately and yet fortunately, I realize that I have been responsible for sabotage actions in my own  life.

Let me explain. The last two years have been difficult, challenging, transient, tearful and yet rewarding at the same time. As I acquire the wisdom and knowledge God is giving me about myself, I am developing that understanding for others. Remember from the previous post, I was speaking about empathy. When we can and do receive the revelation and understanding about ourselves, empathy begins to develop. Revelation and understanding do not always bring a smiley face. Sometimes the pain of understanding ourselves and what we are truly responsible for in our own lives is more painful than a needle shot. And, if we truly accept what God is showing us about ourselves, the pain does last quite a bit longer than that needle shot. Oh, but after the pain, the knowledge, acceptance and vision for change is more awesome than we can imagine.

Shoes…

A Sunset
A sunset at the end of a day’s journey.

SHOES…

There are times when I reflect on the people who I have met in my life and their impact. Both Christian and non-Christian have had both negative and positive impact. There is no cause for bitterness but sadness when I think about those who chose to leave me because of their judgment of me. I have had hard choices to make and they come with the shoes that I wear. Some people choose to judge us without consideration for those shoes. Whether they are new or old? Whether they fit perfectly or hurt our feet? Whether they have soles with holes or are barely there?

Not sure any of us truly know what empathy is and how it should move the heart within us. Jesus felt compassion for the woman at the well and the prostitute. He knew the choices they made. Sometimes choices have good intentions and sometimes they do not. I am sure we can all reflect on some really dumb choices we made because of an expected outcome. Not really understanding that we have no control over the outcome, only the choices.

As we travel this journey and make those choices, we must remember that everyone definitely wears a pair of shoes that reflects the outcome of choices made. Not just our choices, but also the choices of others. The consequences of choices impact the lives of others whether we accept that or not. When you see a person and do not understand the choices they made, consider the shoes they are wearing. Consider whether someone else helped to create the soles of those shoes. Consider whether your choices have made life hard for someone else. Even if they haven’t, and you would surely be a person that God has strengthened to always make the right choices, consider whether you would be willing to walk in those shoes.

When you see a person going through, and want to say that you would do something different, think about their journey. Where are they coming from? Would you be willing to walk the same miles and take the same direction? There are truly times when God directs us a certain way and we don’t understand why. But He does. He knows the way may be hard, but we don’t. He knows He will be there for us even when we don’t feel like He is. He knows the outcome of that direction, even when we don’t understand why we went that way in the first place.

God’s purpose for our lives is not easy, it’s fulfilling. It brings challenges, growth, tears and reward. Our rewards are not just of this world but also eternal. The hard choices and consequences help develop our character. They bring understanding and compassion (maybe even empathy) when we look at the people around us. My shoes are temporal and my soul is eternal. When it’s all said and done, I see that God is developing my character and giving me understanding for those people included in my journey. Whether they judge me or not, I am getting understanding. The shoes I wear are mine, given to me by the Lord.

Sandra

Trusting Him When Some Days Have Clouds

Friday, was my last day at the retail store and was a very interesting one.  I was excited! Not because I was leaving the job but excited about what God is doing in my life. I was told there were not enough hours to keep me working.  This job was supposed to be a way to generate enough income with the other income avenues to pay the bills while I develop in this new area of writing.  But, it wasn’t available to keep.  The excitement of trusting God for what’s coming next is what made it interesting.  I realize there may be some challenges ahead but none that can or will overtake God.  My focus is to be on the writing and seeking the avenues that are purposeful in developing this area.  My mind needs to be on Jesus.  “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV). My post today is basically an expression of trust and really doing what needs to get done.  Worry and fret impair the ability to get things done.  When I think of what God has already done in me, for me, and through me, there is no justification for not trusting Him.  This year has brought some difficult things in my life.  Major change, emotional upheaval, loss of income and residence, and loss of relationship have been some.  But in the midst of these challenges, good and positive things have come as well.  Strength and vision, determination, and most important, a new level of trust in God. I know that others are going through trying times as well, I am certainly not the only one.  But God has shown me that He’s here.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 NKJV).  He knows the intimate details of my life and with all that I’ve gone through, I’m still here.  Certainly not because I’m superwoman, but because I serve a super God.

Sandra R. Vercellono

The Balancing Act Continues

Today as I write, I have a better understanding of the balancing act, and that is prioritizing.  I decided that no matter what I do, God has to come first.  Being nudged by the Spirit for postponing my devotion, I decided that postponing devotion is not properly balancing.  I wrote ten articles yesterday, took my son to school, then had to return and take him a change of clothing, then had to work at Goodwill from four o’clock to ten o’clock.  I did take time to read the daily message from “The Utmost for His Highest” after getting to work and on my break.  I prayed on the way to work and talked to God. My point in recapping my day is that my acknowledgment for God came toward the end.

The Word of God talks about exalting God.  What does that mean, to “exalt?”  A combination of the definitions include to elevate in rank, honor, character, or quality.  The synonyms listed include promote, dignify, or glorify.  The archaic definition is to praise.  My point in the word descriptions is understanding what it means.  I realized that exalting God means putting Him first; not last on my list of things to do. To elevate is to put in the forefront.  In truly balancing this balancing act,  God has to come first.  So, today, writing this post comes after having read my devotion, that was excellent by the way.  I did the “Day by Day Grace” from the Blue Letter Bible site (www.blueletterbible.org) yesterday.  Sometimes I read  the daily message from “The Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers.  Other times, I get comfortable and get my Word. Nothing can be more important that putting God first.  His peace and His direction for my life and my children are the intangible values that make me feel alive.  Isaiah 26:9 “With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early.” (The NKJV of the Holy Bible)

My point is this, each of has a personal relationship through Jesus Christ.  Mine compels me to put Him first.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Sandra Vercellono

Have You Seen Jesus?

God colored this page...

Have you seen Jesus?  Who is He to you?  What does He look like?  What has He done for you?  What has He done in You?

This post is just to put these questions out there for you to answer for yourself.  These are questions are meant to put you in a place of thought to realize who Jesus is to you.  I didn’t want to make this my question and answer session online because I need to answer them for myself as well.  They are not being asked because I don’t have a relationship with Jesus but because I do.  What about you?

God’s Masterpiece

God's Masterpiece

I want to speak about being God’s masterpiece today.  In our sermon from last night’s church service, I was blessed by the reminder that we are the masterpiece of God.  Each of us have the opportunity to allow God to mold us in such a way that we would be a work that would testify to His glory.

The Scripture used was Jeremiah 18 where God speaks to him about the potter and the clay.  The potter must possess the clay or have it in his hands in order to mold the shape and transform it into a work of art.  We must surrender to God in order for Him to transform us.  We have this awesome opportunity to become God’s precious work that will be completed upon Jesus’s return.  Or, we can refuse to surrender and become an unfinished work.  I pray for the body of believers and any new believers the following Scripture: Philippians 1:6 – “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT)

Read Jeremiah 18 for further insight on the potter and the clay.

Sandra R. Vercellono

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright © 1965, 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189.

Exalting the Lord

This devotion was spent pondering the word exalt.  The definition includes to glorify; to praise; to elevate in rank,honor, power, character, and quality.  I looked into elevate, meaning to raise up; which is archaic or rare.  I want to use that definition today.  We need to raise up the Lord.  I realize that the Lord already sits on the right hand of the Father, elevated to that position by God Himself.  We can, however, elevate or exalt the Lord in our lives.  By our conversation and our behavior, we can exalt the Lord, the world or the enemy.  Psalm 21:13 – “Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.  With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.” (NLT)  With music and singing, we celebrate.  How often do we truly understand the element of music in our worship to the Lord?  We can exalt the Lord by singing and making melody in our hearts to Him.  How can we do that except our minds are stayed on Him? Our minds being fixed on who He is and all that He has done for us. (NLT) Psalm 57:11 – “Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.  May your glory shine over all the earth.”  As bright as the stars are and as far in the heavens as they reside, how much more is the glory of God? The Word says that God would make the rocks cry out if there was none to worship Him.  He is exalted simply as our Creator. (NLT) Psalm 99:5 – “Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before His feet, for He is holy!”  I think about the word exalt and the meaning to glorify, to praise, and to elevate.  This should be daily practice.  We surrender ourselves to much less worthy things.  Can our Lord get the glory and praise that’s due Him for His precious sacrifice?  We should declare to make praise a daily exercise as part of our worship.  When we do, we open the door for more of the Lord’s transforming power.  When the praises go up, the blessings come down.  (NLT)

Sandra R. Vercellono Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible New Living Translation, Copyright © 1965, 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189.

Faith that Grows

Devotion – John 4:46-54 (NLT)

Faith is a gift that grows as we use it.  How do we recognize if we are walking in faith?  We say we believe, but our actions of anxiety do not portray the faith we say we have. (Phil. 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you  need, and thank Him for all He has done.”  Do we believe God enough (the faith of a mustard seed) to “prepare our field for rain”  or to “move the mountain?”  (Matt. 17:20 – “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard see, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible.”)

This devotion speaks about the father who believed Jesus for his son’s healing. Before he even made it home, his son was healed because of his trust in the words that Jesus spoke to him.  Verse 50 says “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go back home.  Your son will live.” How much do we believe Jesus for our children’s healing?  I believe that because there is so much emotional disorder in our society today, our children are suffering in such a major way.  Do we really believe Jesus for their healing?

As I walk through my own journey of emotional disorder in my family, I must say there are days I am challenged. But as I write today, I am challenged to stand on the Word of God; to practice this faith I have in reality.  As this father did, trust in the Words of Jesus.  We mature or grow in this walk of faith as we  practice it, trusting and praising.

Praises are evidence of trust.  Why?  Because praise reveals confidence, hope, believing that God is not only willing but able to meet our every need.  He is worthy to be praised!

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible New Living Translation, copyright  1965, 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189.