Sisters For Sunshine

Receive God's Warm Love Through Reflection

Song: Hold On To The Rock

My husband is singing this song in the church choir – a soulful, powerful song about standing strong in God through the storms of your life.

Chorus:
Hold on to the rock of ages, hold on to the cornerstone.
Stand strong on the sure foundation, surrounded by the fortress strong.
When all the storms of life are raging, hold on to the rock.
You’ve got to… (repeat)

Solo:
You know that it doesn’t take a mighty earthquake to shake the ground you stand on.
Cause life is gonna change like a hurricane and blow all the plans you planned on.
Well the ground is gonna shake and the wind is gonna blow,
Who you gonna trust and where you gonna go?

Chorus repeat

Solo:
You know sometimes when life is easy, it’s so easy to keep the faith.
To be grateful for every blessing, when every blessing comes our way.
Cause when life shakes us to our very soul,
Who you gonna trust and where you gonna go?

Chorus repeat

 

 

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Love = Respect

Yesterday my husband and I heard a good message about love.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44

When God says to love everyone, it doesn’t mean we have to LIKE them. We just have to RESPECT everyone, treat everyone with KINDNESS, and be GOOD to people.

For example, I may not like the neighbor that yells at everyone, but I have to respect him, still tolerate him and his beliefs, and show kindness even when I don’t receive any in return.

LOVE goes beyond liking someone. It is full of sacrifice. Every day, I must love, I must be kind no matter what, I must work hard to help people, and I must work hard to not judge or act above someone else.

Think about the unconditional love God gives to you and try to love like that always. We all deserve love and respect in this world.

LORD, thank you for your love even when I don’t deserve it. Loving others is hard to do, especially when we don’t like them. May we learn to respect others and treat them with kindness. May Your love shine through. Amen.

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Prayer for Houston

The last few days have been so traumatic for Houston as they experienced terrible rains and floods. The area that we grew up in experienced the worst of it, and it makes us sad to see the devastation there. We ask that you pray for the people living in Houston and for their safety, well-being, and comfort as they deal with the aftermath and the destruction.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1

Prayer In Times Of Natural Disaster

God of healing and mercy, we come before you with our hearts filled with grief as we see the devastation.

We pray that your presence would be felt by those who are grieving, who are injured, who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

We pray for wisdom and safety for those who are responding to the people in need and the many challenges left in the wake of the event.

We pray for our church, that it may be a witness to your compassion and care for all who suffer.

God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. For this we give you thanks and ask that you hear our prayers for the people of Houston. Amen.

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A Statement of Faith

This past month at my church we’ve been reciting this statement of faith. I thought it was a beautiful declaration about how our God “works in us and others”, and calls us to “celebrate His presence”, “to love and serve”, “to seek justice and resist evil”, and to hope in Him in our everyday lives. 

A Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada

We are not alone, we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God. Amen.-UMH No. 883

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Song: Stand In The Light

Immediately when I heard this song, I thought what beautiful lyrics!

With courage and pride, stand strong for who you are. Let everyone see how beautiful a person you really are, full of kindness and love. Open your arms wide and embrace yourself!

Stand in the light and be seen as we are

Didn’t I tell you I hear what you say?
Never look back as you’re walking away
Carry the music, the memories and keep them inside you
Laugh every day
Don’t stop those tears from falling down

Chorus:
This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I’m not going to hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

With courage and kindness hold onto your faith
You get what you give and its never too late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind you
Fight hard for love
We can never give enough

This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I’m not going to hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

Riding the storms that come raging towards us we dive
Holding our breath as we break through the surface
With arms open wide
With arms open wide

This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I’m not going to hide

Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are
(repeat)

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Furnished with Heavenly Power

This past Sunday our Gospel reading was from Luke 24:44-53, and I loved how it was written in the Common English Bible version.

“Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.

He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. And they were continuously in the temple praising God.”

With Christ’s death and resurrection, we are furnished with heavenly power! How powerful is that – to know we have the strength and the power that comes from Heaven, from God himself!

When you are doubting yourself, feeling timid, weak, or lacking confidence, just remember that you are strong because you have that heavenly power!

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Celebrate Christ!

Happy Easter! May you celebrate Christ and life with Him today, and everyday!

I recently read Isaiah, and I love how Isaiah 52 and 53 prophecies about Christ:

Isaiah 52:13 – 15:
“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”

Isaiah 53:
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

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Song: Abide With Me

Audrey Assad sings so beautiful and angelic in her song, Abide With Me. Call to God when you are suffering – ask Him to be with you and to give you strength to endure those sufferings. With God, you will triumph!

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

 

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Psalm 23

Everytime I read Psalm 23, I am reminded of Max Lucado’s book, Traveling Light, for which the entire book reflected on this Psalm. Such beautiful words about our God and resting in Him. I encourage you to read this Psalm as well as Lucado’s book!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
They comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Our God is our shepherd – one who gives us peace and rest, who restores us, who brings about justice and righteousness, who provides comfort and care, who casts away our fears and sorrows, and who brings about overflowing life and goodness!

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Song: Humble and Kind

I recently heard this cover of Tim McGraw’s song Humble and Kind, and I thought what beautiful lyrics! We should reflect on these words and make more of an effort to be genuinely kind and respectful. 

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the key’s under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Chorus:
Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
“I love you” ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Chorus

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

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Focus on Yourself

Focus on yourself – that is focus on ways you can love yourself. It’s always good to continually focus on self-improvement and self-respect. Here is a post from March 2013:

A nice read on ways to better love and take care of yourself:
http://www.abundancetapestry.com/how-to-love-yourself-in-17-ways/

1. Fall in love with yourself. Think about what makes you You.

2. Eliminate self-criticism.

3. Be kind and positive.

4. Acknowledge your effort. It’s the effort that counts, not winning.

5. Let go of worry.

6. Trust yourself.

7. Forgive yourself.

8. Be truthful to yourself.

9. Grow spiritually.

10. Make positive affirmations everyday.

11. Express gratitude.

12. Nurture your dreams.

13. Boost your self-confidence.

14. Relax.

15. Have fun.

16. Look after your body.

17. Learn to see beauty.

*Go tell yourself “I’m alive and well!” and “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally!” May you be filled with confidence and love for yourself. Pray for wellness in body, mind, and soul.

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Bible Journaling

Are you familiar with Bible journaling? This year my goal is to read the Bible frequently (I try to read every day) and to not just read, but to study scripture. I bought some colored markers, created a color method of highlighting themes and topics when I’m reading, and I started my adventure in Bible journaling!

There are many talented Bible journaling artists with blogs or instagram accounts that create beautiful images on their Bible pages (see Bible Art Journaling). I’m not an artist, and you don’t have to be as well! Just using a Bible study color method – underlining or drawing simple symbols as you read your Bible – is good enough. Whatever makes you reflect more on scripture!

Since Bible journaling, I’ve enjoyed reading and studying the words of the Bible and reflecting on what it means to me. I’ve grown closer to God as I engage more in His word, and as I learn more about my faith.

So get started! It’s simple and yet so powerful.

I searched on Pinterest for Bible study color coding methods, and ultimately created my own, using the colors that I had. Here’s what mine looks like:

biblestudycolormethod (1)

biblestudycolormethod (2)

A page in my Bible as an example of my Bible journaling:

biblestudycolorpage.jpg

Some other color coding methods:
http://womenlivingwell.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Bible-Coloring-Chart-Bookmark-21.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8c/ff/a1/8cffa1437fd2bef8982bcb0669ba4e8c.jpg
http://www.radicallychristian.com/marking-in-your-bible
http://nathanielclaiborne.com/bible-study/

Some Bible art journalists that I follow on Instagram:
@designsbyamybruce – Blog: http://seedsofcreativegrace.com/
@kaylas_painted_faith
@stephmiddaugh
@ps348girl
@thesaltybiscuit – Bible journaling supplies: www.etsy.com/shop/thesaltybiscuit

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