Sisters For Sunshine

Receive God's Warm Love Through Reflection

Love hung on a cross

Max Lucado writes some inspirational devotions and books, and I thought to share one excerpt from In the Eye of the Storm. 

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.” - John 3:16

He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind.

Men clad in soldier’s garb sat on the ground near the trio… Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill… faces tear-streaked.

All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command.

“It must be done…” he said, and withdrew.

The angel spoke again. “It would be less painful…”

The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”

It’s a blessing to know that we are loved and that there is love in our lives, all around us. Love from family, friends, church, and even genuine loving kindness from strangers. There is love here because of Him! God is the source of love and the source of eternal life.

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Hand-picked by God

Psalm 139:1-16:

“1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.” 

God has hand-picked us and intimately created us.

Before we even are born, God knows us. It is so hard to even know who I am sometimes, hard to completely accept myself, and here we see that God loves everything about us and knows exactly, every detail, what we will do and who we are.

We are hand-picked by God to live a special life like no other. He plans everything, and stays with us through the trials and triumphs. Sometimes, we think God may not be as present in tough times, but remember that He is there.

God knows our strengths, our weaknesses, our quirks. He loves us as we are. That is a beautiful thing to think about! I am in awe at how much God delights in me, loves all of me. And I can call on Him at any time, because He has chosen to stay with me always.

Remember that God is all-knowing. Nothing is an accident. Everything is all for His purpose for you, and God can see everything about you, scars and all.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for choosing me before I was even born. You handpicked me just becaus you love me. You have all the details under control and am writing my special story. I pray that I may embrace who I am and live the life you’ve called me to. Amen.

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New beginnings come from suffering

Just like how we are renewed and given life through Christ’s death and resurrection, when we are faced with grief or pain, we are given new beginnings. Growth comes with suffering.

For me personally, I’ve realized that I am stronger and more grateful for the love and joy in my life as a result of experiencing depression and anxiety the last two years. It’s never easy to feel grief or sorrow; it’s not fun to suffer. But new life, new understanding, and new hope can grow from those feelings.

Just think of Christ’s pain and suffering on the cross when all he did was provide love and hope to the people. Then he rose again and gave us new hope and continuous love. Know that even through suffering you have continuous love, hope and growth, through Jesus!

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Parade for Christ

Matthew 21:1-11, The Triumphal Entry:

When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, Gentle, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”

When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, a day of celebration for Christ and the start of Holy Week. This was the day when Christ entered Jerusalem and the people there celebrated his arrival with palm branches placed in his path. Only a few days later, though, Jesus would be arrested on Holy Thursday, crucified on Good Friday, and then resurrected on Easter Day.

Like the people in Jerusalem on that day of celebration, we should raise up our palms in praise and have a parade for Him. This day is for all the worshipers to come together and honor Christ. Palm branches symbolize goodness and victory – everything that Christ is in our lives.

Rejoice and be glad! Celebrate – have a parade for Christ!

 

 

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The 3 E’s in forgiving

“One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything everynight before you go to bed.” -Bernard Baruch

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you…And over all these virtues put on love…” -Colossians 3:12-14

Forgiveness. God is the ultimate example in forgiveness – He sent us Jesus and calls us to Him, no matter how terrible we’ve sinned! Remember, we are wholly forgiven by God, fully loved by God. This should strengthen us to extend complete forgiveness to others.

Focus on the E’s in forgiveness. Tell yourself:

“May I forgive EVERYBODY for EVERYTHING EVERYNIGHT”.

You will be set free from the guilt and burdens you carry when you forgive and let go. And you have to work at it all the time in order to move forward and heal.

If we are forgiven by God solely on His love and grace, we should do the same for each other- strive to extend forgiveness and love no matter what. Putting on the virtue of love will do wonders in the path to forgiveness.

Come to God at the first sign that you need help in forgiving! Remember to constantly forgive and forget EVERYBODY for EVERYTHING EVERYNIGHT.

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I choose love

I choose love… Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy… I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace… I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience… Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. 

I choose kindness… I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone, kind to the rich, for they are afraid, and kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness… I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse.

I choose faithfulness… Today I will keep my promises.

I choose gentleness… If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer.

I choose self-control… I will be drunk only by joy, and I will be influenced only by God.

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. To these fruits of the Holy Spirit I commit my day.

- Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

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Wake up and be grateful

I found this image this morning, the morning that I woke up feeling grouchy and tired from having trouble sleeping in the night. So before the morning ends, I will reflect on five things I am grateful for.

1. Breakfast in the morning to give me energy and sustenance.

2. A peaceful home to wake up to.

3. Walking trails right outside my door to enjoy.

4. Hugs from my loved ones.

5. My cats waking me up on my bed.

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Spring joy

I can finally see Spring here in Oregon – lots of wild flowers, blooming trees, and warmer sunshine. The color and life around me when I’m outdoors just gives me energy and joy. I feel so refreshed going for long walks outside, or even just sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. Such a beauty that God created for us to experience and enjoy.

What are your favorite things about Spring? Besides sunshine and blooming trees, I also like the birds. Hearing their sweet chirps and just noticing how alive the outdoors is.DSCN9472

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God and verbs

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There are a lot of verbs to describe God’s actions!

What does God do for you? How do you feel when you turn to God? What verbs would you use to describe God?

For me, God calms me, loves me, empowers me, encourages me…He brings joy, hope, and love into my soul, into my life, and makes me feel better about myself and my life.

God does so much for every one of us, more than we can imagine. When you feel weak (like you yourself can’t do a lot of those verbs – can’t comfort, can’t forgive, can’t relax, etc…), remember God can help you with all of them if you let Him.

Remember to let God in. Think about all those verbs, and let God in. He can tackle anything!

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It’s great to be here

I saw this video of a boy, called Kid President, telling us wonderful advice about life and how great it is to be here. What a positive message, for a young boy to be so energetic and happy and grateful. We should all have a positive mindset and be grateful to be here.

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God is within us

god will help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though we don’t see, God is truly all around us. He’s especially within us, giving us life to our souls, giving us strength to tackle anything.

We (and our faith, our inner strength) shall not fall! We can do anything and can resist the world’s pain and sin when we believe in God’s presence.

Remember to believe that God will help us and take care of us. No matter what, we are not alone. God is watching over us right now and always.

All is well and will end well.

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Achieving success

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much… who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul…” - Mrs A.J. Stanley, found in Frances Slanger’s chapbook

This quote came from American Nightingale by Bob Welch, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I love learning about people that go beyond to help those in need and who are heroic and courageous. Frances Slanger was one of those people who achieved great success through her service as an Army nurse in an Normandy hospital in WWII.

Frances noted in her journal what it means to have success. She wanted success, not for herself, but for the success of those around her and those that needed her; for the betterment of the world.

What’s your definition for success?

Below are some points in relation to success, that I think are important to have:

  • having love and compassion for others
  • having joy despite struggle
  • leaving the world in a better place than before
  • appreciating the blessings in your life
  • striving for peace
  • raising your standards

I thought this article was worth sharing: How do you measure success, by Pastor Brad Taylor, who discussed the parable in Matthew 14:25-29 to help define success.

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