Sunday, December 18, 2011
I always stress out about trying to give the best gift ever. I typically agonize over what "whatever it is" would be the best, that the person would truly enjoy and that would bring the most joy!
And now being a momma, I feel that same way, but even more intensely as I want to give my little girl every good thing she could ever want.
I feel so selfish about all of this, as if I'm the ONLY who desires to give good gifts. I tend to think it's all up to me alone. But then I read a very startling and sobering verse...I'm not so "great" even with all my gift agonizing and striving!
Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
This burst my little "I'm such a great gift giver" bubble, as I was humbled to learn that God gives ALL good gifts because HE IS SO GOOD.
James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
God gives the best gifts of life. And yes, people can give wonderful gifts, but nothing in comparison to our Heavenly Father's gift giving. He gives us salvation, life, miracles and blessing that we have done nothing to deserve. And why? Because HE is so good, not because of how great we are.
Now I have realized that God is the best gift giver of the universe, and His gifts are so enormous that they cannot be wrapped, but are lived, experienced and part of the love story He has written to each of us--I'm astounded by His goodness and mercy.
I hope this renews your hope, trust and expectation that God has a good plan for you life! And He wants to give us the desires of our hearts, all we must do is seek Him first...not seek the gifts gifts, but God Himself.
I pray this blessing over you who are reading this:
Deuteronomy 30:10 Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers,if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Huge love, so big that no ribbon could wrap it, no wrapping paper could cover it and no oversized bag could hold it!
Posted by Tiffany at 10:30 PM
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
A friend gave this to me in a journal, and I loved the words of the prayer to this day. I hope it inspires you as it did me!
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Maybe you still need a gift for someone, and writing this in a beautiful journal is a wonderful present to receive--just as my dear friend blessed me! Just an idea if you still have some last gifts to get and GIVE!
Flannel jammies & hot cider,
Posted by Tiffany at 10:24 PM
Monday, December 12, 2011
This has been an incredibly beneficial practice for me, it's basically an on-going diary written to God. It holds all my concerns, requests, feelings, hopes and the best part--how God worked out whatever it was that was on my heart the most!
Don't forget to go back and write down how God answered your prayers, provided or worked out the challenge you faced. You will be amazed, as I am, when you go back through and see your requests and then have received answers to those very prayers!
Another good practice, is to write down any questions or issues you may have as you are reading through the Bible. Pray and ask God to help you understand these things and He will! You'll be surprised to look back at questions you had, that you have since received some teaching on that subject and it's no longer the mystery it once was! Sometimes I've had the very question I had come on a Christian radio program, Christian TV, teaching cd's, book or Christian magazine.
God is unlimited in His methods to teach us and give us understanding where we have none. And you don't have to pay crazy tuition to learn in God's academy!
This is also a very valuable treasure to have when you are faced with a new challenge and doubt is attempting to trump your faith. You can revive your faith by going back and looking at how God has provided for you previously! That is the most valuable aspect for me personally, as my faith needs all the help it can get when challenges last longer than I expect or it starts to feel like my prayers aren't getting past the ceiling.
Get a journal and get writing! You'll never be sorry as it will become a legacy of your walk with God, His blessing and provision! I know it will bless you as it has me!
Psalm 37:24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
I pray that God reveals to you how He has upheld you in the past and that it strengthens your faith in Him that He will continue to do so in the future as well!
Posted by Tiffany at 9:35 PM
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Think about it, your mom didn't successfully abort you, someone cared for you enough through the infant and childhood years that you made it to your teens. Then, if you are older than a teen, you've made it through the most difficult years of high school pressures and are still breathing. And if your older than that...you've probably survived car accidents, natural disasters, and numerous other "near misses."
You my friend are a walking, talking miracle! Have you ever thought about this? Even if you don't believe in God, you have to agree that your beating heart is actually beating the odds. And how could such an incredibly complex being such as yourself, just poof and be gone after this life?
Well, you won't. No one will, we will all continue on to either heaven- if you have accepted the free gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ or the other option is to proceed to hell for separation from God and every good thing imaginable because all good things come from above...hell is for eternity and a death that holds for always. YUCK! And no thanks.
I often wonder why people would think it's funny to "go to hell" or think it's going to be a big bad party with all of their friends. As far as the Bible goes, it's pretty straight forward.
2 Peter 2:4-6 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
Yikes! There's no joke about hell, it's super scary if you ask me. It's somewhere I never want to even want to joke about going to! Just think how amazing it is that you've made it this far in life or the other people you know that have made it just as long or longer...it's our time to choose life while we still have it.
And God's offer of salvation is free and available to ALL. God doesn't exclude or include based on economic status, gender or skin color--actually He was the one who came up with the variety of races and gender so it makes sense that He would love them all!
So basically, the miracle that you are still alive is AMAZING. And while you are still here, I pray that you've made the choice to choose LIFE. Or even if you have made this choice a long time ago, and have drifted way from God--it's not too late to come back to God. It's only too late for those whose time on earth has ended. And we don't get to know our last year, day or moment. So take the time to get the proper death insurance...Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Jesus is the only way...not a religion or practice but the King of Kings Himself, Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I pray that you make a choice to choose Jesus Christ today, or choose to draw nearer to Him than you have in the past. Time spent in prayer or reading the Bible is NEVER wasted, but a glorious investment now and in the time to come!
May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life,
Posted by Tiffany at 9:38 PM
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Is about focus. Where you put your eyes. This is more than just what you are looking at, but what your every fiber of your being desires, wants and needs. It’s like the whole scope of your life is determined by where you place your focus…it IS actually.
I remember when I taking a specialized type karate and the sensei (teacher) would come by and scream “FOCUS!” right in your ear. And at the moment, all of the other distracting thoughts you might have been having are vanquished and your heart beats faster as you focus ONLY on the task at hand. And of course you don’t forget everything, but the competing thoughts all take a back seat to your current goal and you are able to do more in that focused state than any other.
This is much like life. We all have busy lives that all seem to demand a fair amount of time and attention. But the key here is where your main focus must remain. Which the Lord Almighty. When we are able to keep our focus on seeking the face of God, we automatically align ourselves with God’s will for our lives. And God has the best plan for our lives, even better than we can hope for. He WANTS to give us the desires of our hearts.
Psalm 145:19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So many times in my life I focused all of my energy on the PERSON or THING I wanted that I forgot all about God. I left God out of what at wanted, I was sure I could “make it all happen” on my own. And I never did, of course for the short term I would think I had succeeded, but since it was my own doing, it never lasted. Relationships crumbled because the guy wasn’t Christian or I left a good job because I allowed myself to be so offended that emotionally quit rather than praying for God’s will for me at that job or provide for the next. See? We can really hurt ourselves when we leave God out of the equation.
I’ve also learned that living with my focus on things and people is incredibly burdensome. You begin to carry the weight of life on your shoulders and it’s too much for anyone human to bear. That is why Jesus said to give Him our heavy burdens, He can bear them. He knows that it is too much for our hearts to bear.
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
What I’m not saying, that life will be all cake and roses BUT what I can share is that a life with God as your focus will produce the best possible outcome for you in any giving situation. God loves you and wants to prosper you in all areas of your life. But we have a responsibility to turn away from the worthless junk that vies for our attention and to FOCUS, on the God the Universe who knows all, holds all of the power and loves us!
Remember the words of my tough, little sensei “FOCUS!”
I pray this verse over each of you who read this, Psalm 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
Mittens, Muffins and a Mocha,
Posted by Tiffany at 7:48 PM