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Over time, I thought I knew what was mine
I accepted that fate made it what it was meant to be

I can’t claim to be the innocent party at all – that I confess
But I knew that it wasn’t right from start

Oh life, the more you live the more you learn,
That things don’t turn out the way you hoped it to be

Loving and learning goes hand in hand
Until it’s “you” who’s stopping yourself from doing the living

So, be your better half and learn to live with a good attitude
Don’t block the blessings and destiny, from getting to you

 

Love,

Sue

P.S. – It’s been a while, but I promise to write more. ^_^

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He is with us always

Christians who center their lives around the glorious promises of God find themselves blessed beyond all expectations. To live in the knowledge that Jesus is always with us. When His presence is the focal point in our life’s consciousness, all the pieces of our life fall into place. As you gaze at Christ through the eyes of your heart, you can see the world around you from His perspective. The fact that He is with us always only makes every moment of our life so much more meaningful. 🙂

~ Jesus Calling: Devotion, January 28 …Matthew 28:20; Psalm 139:1-4

Change me, Lord

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It’s a new year, it’s a new season,

I pray that my heart, will be more like Christ

Change my heart Lord, when I get so blind,

Keep me accountable, when I get stuck in the ugliness of this world.

It’s simple to pray and ask that the Lord to change someone else’s heart,

But only to find out, that it was me who needed the changing.

Anger and bitterness often times cloud my view when I pray,

God says, “hold on child, it’s you who needed the disciplining.”

So here I ask again, change my heart Lord, change the way I pray,

And begin every prayer with, “Change me, Lord.”

I want to start off the year 2014 with only your blessings. In Jesus’ name, amen.

~Happy New Year to all the bloggers out there! May this year brings you lots of new perspectives, God blessings and a willingness attitude for God’s purpose. 🙂

Blessings,

Sue

~picture is not mine and credit to Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Love for the enemy

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      When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He Himself gives us the love that He demands from us.

   In Africa I visited the cell of a young man who was sentenced to death. His hands were chained and his dark skin had many red wounds, caused by lashes. Behind me stood three soldiers. The cell was absolutely empty; only a plank on the floor and high up in the wall a very little window. The prisoner looked very healthy and strong. The tragedy that this man had to die overwhelmed me.

I sat down beside him and prayed for a word from the Lord. “Have you ever heard of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He carried the sins of the whole world, also your sins?” He nodded. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, that He will be your Savior too?”

“Yes, I love Him, but I have not always been faithful. Politics have taken up my time and attention completely, but now I have brought all my sins to Jesus. He has forgiven me. If I may live any longer, then I will serve Him with all my life.”

“Have you forgiven the people that have brought you here, who have your death on their conscience?”

“No, I hate them.”

“I can understand that. I will tell you one of my experiences. During the war in Holland, I helped to save Jewish people, because Hitler wanted to kill them. One day a man came to me who told me that his wife had also helped the Jews and that now she had been arrested. ‘She is in the police station and probably she will be put to death. Now there is a policeman who is willing to let her escape, if we pay him six hundred guilders, but I have no money,’ he told me. ‘I can help you,’ I said. ‘Come back in an hour.’ In the meantime I collected all the money from my friends and all I had myself, and it was exactly six hundred guilders. I gave it to him to save the life of his wife. But he was a betrayer. His wife was not arrested at all. The enemy had told him to find out whether I helped Jewish people. So this man thought that at the same time he could make some money out of this situation. He went home with six hundred guilders in his pocket. But five minutes later the enemy came and my whole family was arrested. Later, when I heard that this man had betrayed us, hatred came into my heart, just at it happened with you. I had given him the last money that I had. But then I read in the Bible that hatred is really murder in God’s eyes (Matthew 5:21-22).

“How glad I was that I knew what I could do against hatred. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:7,9). I brought my hatred to Jesus. He forgave me and cleansed my heart with His blood. After the war this betrayer was sentenced to death. I wrote to him: ‘What you have done through your betrayal caused the death of my 84 year old father, my brother, his son, and my sister in prison. I myself have terribly suffered through your fault, but I have forgiven you everything. This is just a very little example of the forgiveness and love of Jesus. He lives in my heart; that is why I can forgive you. Jesus will also come into your heart and will make you a child of God. Confess your sins to Him. On the cross of Calvary He has finished all for your sins and mine.’ Later he wrote me: ‘I have prayed: “Jesus, when You can give such a love for the enemy in the heart of someone who follows You, then there is hope for me.” I have indeed confessed my sins to Him. Now I know that I am a child of God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus.’

“So you you see that Jesus used me to save the soul of this same man I had hated so much. Do you know that if you do not forgive, you yourself do not receive forgiveness? Jesus said: ‘For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your failures’ (Matthew 6:14-16). You cannot do that, neither can I, but Jesus can!” That same day, the prisoner sent a message to his wife: “Forgive my murderers. You are not able to do it, I am not able, but Jesus is able. If we are not willing, then we ourselves do not receive forgiveness.”

When Jesus comes and we have bitterness, yes, even hatred in our hearts, then we are not ready to meet Him with a clean heart: “Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.” (1 John 3:3).

In the time of the final battle, many will be filled with hatred, then we do not stand on victory ground. It is very easy to belong to the masses of people. It is one of the laws of the kingdom of God that men receive peace only if they are always ready to forgive unreservedly. We never touch the love of God so much as when we love our enemies. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). He does the job. Hallelujah!

~Corrie ten Boom

What if you lost everything

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This morning on my way to work, I was challenged by Pastor Chuck Swindoll, a pastor who airs his sermon on the KKLA 99.5 FM Christian radio station: What if you lost everything today? What if suddenly, you lost your health, your job and everything that matters most to you and you don’t know what to do. Everything, completely everything is gone in just a few seconds. What then? What now? What will you do? Who will you blame? Who will you curse? And how will you move beyond this devastation?

And so, here I go, I start to play an image in my head of HR showing up at my work place with a pink slip addressed in my name and a small Office Depot box to pack my belongings and quit the premises or else. Then, I started thinking of all my bills that will be left unpaid, the half-empty fridge that needs to be fed, my newly renewed cell phone contract because I wanted a new phone, not being able to tithe for church, Christmas presents that I won’t be able to buy this year and the list continues on and on for days.

I was like, “Oh, Lord, that’s a lot to think about.” I ask God, “What am I supposed to do and what will happen to me?” I started to panic and over think things that were unfounded and not true. Immediately, God stepped in into my thinking brain and halted all the crazy thoughts that were swimming in my head by whispering into my ears and saying, “Sue, in this life, nothing is for certain. Just keep doing what you’re supposed to do in My name, and I will continue to bless you.” I kid you not, I was a little scared that He spoke so loud and clearly in my ears. But I calmed down, stayed still and started praying. I surrendered all my fears and anxieties to Him in my prayers and accepted the promises that were spoken to me. Then, once I moved past my fears, God gave me His peace. His supernatural peace calmed my jumpy spirit and helped soothe my anxiety of not knowing what to do about my “what if’s.”

Encouragement for today:

Continue to praise God and keep doing what you’re doing that pleases Him. Be in constant fellowship with Him because only He is consistent and forever because our life can be snuffed out in any moment. Nothing is guaranteed in this world. Nothing is forever in this world. Only the Word of God and His promises are forever. Praise Him for thoroughness, for his provision and for His unexplainable peace that washes over us.

Love,

Sue

A truly thankful person

thankful defined

 

The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what, to notice, pause, and choose.

Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter their circumstance.

Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God’s presence.

Choosing to focus on God’s presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

Will we be a noticer? A pauser? A chooser? A person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we’re facing?

I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion’s den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion’s mouths? Thanksgiving.

After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah’s heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace.

Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV).

One of Webster’s official definitions of thanksgiving is: “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.”

I wonder how we might celebrate God’s divine goodness today.

I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful.

Are you thankful today?

You can start today with this prayer: Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

~credit to Proverbs 31 Ministry

Not planning to buy health insurance? Here’s what going to happen to you:

8 Steps to Prepare for Obamacare

A great article for those who has decided to skip buying health insurance come January 2014. I hope you find this article helpful. Let’s not live in ignorance and get all of our facts straight. I’m quite sure that God wants the best for you in ALL things. He wants you to have an abundant life, not a life trapped in medical debts.

Article By 

It may seem like a clever idea to save yourself cash by not purchasing health insurance, but with Obama-care kicking in, you’ll have penalties to pay, which could cost you big bucks in the long run.

Not only are you playing financial Russian roulette – you could be forking out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars if you’re injured in an accident or become seriously ill – you’ll also have to pay a penalty to the federal government for flouting the law, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more.

A wiser decision if you’re uninsured is to start shopping on your state health exchange, which opened Tuesday — with glitches – as a key part of health care reform.

It’s OK if you feel at a loss about the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obama-care. You’re not alone. A newly released survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that only 4 in 10 adults were aware of the health exchanges and the financial subsidies available to help cover costs when you buy insurance there, and only one-third of those without insurance were aware of the new way to shop for health insurance.

In the first quarter of the year, 46 million Americans didn’t have health insurance, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The establishment of the state health exchanges, or insurance marketplaces, is designed to reduce the number of uninsured.

Who needs insurance?

Starting next year, almost everyone will need to be insured. You can purchase that insurance on your own or through the exchange, have it through your employer, or have it provided by government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE and veterans health insurance programs.

There are some limited exceptions, such as for those who earn a very low income or are members of certain religious groups, as shown in this graphic by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While you can start shopping for insurance on a state exchange now, the policies don’t take effect until Jan. 1.

What if I don’t buy insurance?

If you skip the insurance, you’ll pay a penalty. For 2014 the fine is $95 for an individual or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater, along with $47.50 per uninsured child, maxing out at $285 for the year.

But by 2016, an individual would pay $695 or 2.5 percent of your income.

The TurboTax website has a calculator to help you determine how high a penalty you’d pay.

Without insurance, you’d also face a double whammy. By 2016 you’d be forking over almost $700 to the federal government and having nothing to show for it, and still have to pay your own medical bills if you’re injured or become ill.

What will insurance cost?

The exchanges will sell four levels of policies – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Bronze plans will have the lowest premiums, but cover only 60 percent of costs. Platinum, on the other hand, will have the highest premiums, but cover 90 percent of costs.

If you earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four this year) you’ll be eligible for a subsidy, which will come in the form of a tax credit. Subsidies are based on your family size and your earnings. The less you earn, the higher the subsidy.

With the subsidies, more than half of Americans should be able to find health insurance for less than $100 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, although you might choose to pay more.

There also will be caps on out-of-pocket costs. Typically, the maximum an individual will pay in co-payments and deductibles next year is $6,350, and a family’s costs will be capped at $12,700.

What if you delay?

Because you can’t be turned down for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if you have a pre-existing condition, you might be tempted to dawdle and see if you actually get sick before purchasing insurance.

But that strategy could easily backfire.

You’ll only be able to buy insurance on your state health exchange through March 31, 2014. After that, the open enrollment period will run from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

There are exceptions that allow you to purchase insurance on the exchange at any time of the year if you experience a life-changing event, such as moving to a new state, getting married, getting divorced, or having a baby.

While you can purchase insurance outside the exchange at any time, you won’t be eligible for a government subsidy, which is one of the cornerstones of health reform.

Bottom line: Ponying up for health insurance now can potentially save you from astronomical costs down the road.

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Read more at http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/10/04/skipping-health-insurance-could-cost-you-big-bucks/#yczSVB7M3WfYdrEv.99

Purity Underrated? I don’t think so

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~picture is not mine

by Lauren Winner

Chastising Chastity

Those two quotations sum up a lot about Christian chastity — it’s really important, and we really don’t like having to deal with it. By chastity, I mean conforming your body and your sexual self to God’s vision of human sexuality as laid out in Scripture and articulated by church tradition — for married people, fidelity, and for unmarried people, abstinence. Why is chastity so unpopular? Simple: It’s difficult; and now, even more so than when Lewis wrote, we live in a society that does not give us much support for living chastely. Indeed, American culture seems determined to mock and ridicule chastity as much as possible.

And why is chastity so “dear to heaven,” so important to God’s vision of discipleship and faithful Christian living? That question requires a somewhat longer answer — indeed, I can only begin to scratch the surface here.

It’s Not My Body

Chastity is important because it involves how we comport our bodies — and through faith, our bodies are no longer our own. In faith, you have become part of Christ’s body, and it is Christ through the Church, who must give you permission to join His body to another body.

In the Christian worldview, we have no right to sex. The place where the Church confers that privilege on you is the wedding; weddings are specific acts that grant us permission to have sex with one person.

In other words, chastity is a fact of gospel life. The New Testament makes clear that sex beyond the boundaries of marriage — the boundaries of communally granted sanction of sex — is simply off limits. To have sex outside those bounds is to commit an offense against the body. Abstinence before marriage, and fidelity within marriage — refraining from sex with someone other than your husband or wife — is just one of those basic rules that keeps you inside the Christian community. Any other kind of sex is embodied apostasy.

Practicing premarital chastity is also important because it safeguards and protects marital sex — that is, it protects us, so that if and when we do get married, we are able to experience sex as God intended it to be.

The Thrill of the Known

Marital sex is very different from premarital sex. Think about the TV shows or movies you’ve seen, in which people have premarital sex. How is it portrayed? It is almost always portrayed as being dramatic — because, almost by definition, it is part of a relationship that is itself not wholly stable. Even when you’ve been dating someone for a year, the lack of permanence that characterizes your relationship seems to add a certain frisson to everything you do with that person, from going on a Saturday hike to smooching on the sofa. Everything in your relationship gets some of its charge from the uncertainty, the unknown.

This may be the single most significant way that married sex — sex as it was created to be — differs from unmarried sex. Married sex does not derive its thrill from the possibility of the unknown. Married sex is a given. It is solemnized and marked in ritual. It is established. It is governed by vows. It becomes a ritual in itself; it becomes a routine. Married sex is exciting, but its excitements are very different, and much more tender, than the instability of the hook-up scene.

The sex of blind dates and fraternity parties, even of relatively long-standing dating relationships has, simply, no normal qualities. It is based on mutual desire, and it dispenses with the ordinary rhythms of marital sex, trading them for a seemingly thrilling, but ultimately false, story. This may be the way that the sin of premarital sex sticks with us most lastingly; it may be the twisted lesson it teaches us most convincingly: That sex derives its thrill from instability and drama. In fact, the opposite is true: The dramas of married sex are smaller and more intimate, and in fact it is the stability of marriage that allows sex to be what it is.

Delayed Gratification

So practicing premarital chastity is important, in part, because having premarital sex — that is, giving ourselves over to sexual sin — teaches us false, destructive lessons about what sex is.

Consider another genre of sexual sin, pornography. (And, since the advent of Internet porn, we have seen more and more that it is not just a “guy’s problem.” Today, more women than ever are logging on and searching porn sites.) What is wrong with pornography? It’s not just that by using porn, you’re exploiting another person and turning the human in the centerfold into a mere object. If we use pornography, we also wrench sex out of the relational context in which God intended it to take place. If we use porn, we learn something false: That sex is about immediate gratification. Pornography is destructive because it forms in its clientele expectations that are simply not connected to reality, to real men and women with real bodies (not to mention real souls, hearts, and minds).

It is helpful to remember that chastity is a spiritual discipline — just one of many disciplines that, like prayer and fasting and practicing silence, the church has given us not because they get us into heaven, but because they help us to become new creatures; they help us align our wills with God’s will. Chastity is not the mere absence of sex, but an active conforming of one’s body to the shape that Scripture requires. With all aspects of ascetic living, one does not avoid or refrain from something for the sake of rejecting it, but for the sake of something else. In this case, one refrains from sex with someone other than one’s spouse for the sake of union with Christ’s body. That union is the fruit of chastity.

Chastity is a Virtue

We often talk in the church about the consequences of having premarital sex — and there are, of course, consequences. We talk about the possibility of STDs, or unwanted pregnancy — we talk about cheapening something that God intended us to participate in with only one other person. All those points are true, of course, but the most essential truth of chastity is that in turning away from certain expressions of sexuality and romanticism, we can allow ourselves to focus on God in a particular way that would otherwise not be possible.

So don’t dress modestly or refrain from having premarital sex because doing so will help you attract the attentions of an upright, God-fearing Christian partner (though, of course, that might also happen) — dress modestly and refrain from premarital sex because doing so allows you to focus on your truest Lover, the Lord. Practice chastity because, in the words of 6th-century monk John Climacus, “Chastity makes us familiar with God.” 1

I have written this article — indeed, I have written a whole book on the topic of chastity and sexuality — because I think chastity is a crucially important piece of Christian faithfulness and Christian discipleship. But it would be, I think, irresponsible to discuss the importance of chastity without making two related points.

First, chastity is not the only, or even the most important, aspect of Christian discipleship. Indeed, even to think about, say, chastity, tithing, and prayer as wholly discreet, distinct activities is to miss the point — for the gospel is not an invitation to compartmentalized living. It is, instead, an engagement in love. The questions we Christians should ask are not, “Do I have the energy to deal with chastity or tithing this week?” but, “What is the whole duty of man? What does it mean to be wholly converted?”

Second, by Jesus’ standard, the standard of lusting in our hearts, every one of us has sexual sin to deal with. And though having premarital sex does, as we’ve discussed above, have consequences, it is not the unforgivable sin. Jesus’ blood is more powerful than any sin we can commit, and should we repent and turn around, away from sin and toward God, we will find both forgiveness, and — like the adulterous woman whom Jesus tells to go and sin no more — the grace to live more faithful lives of Christian discipleship.

~Originally appeared on TrueU.org. Copyright © 2005 Lauren Winner. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

God’s Discrepancy?

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I  found this article to be very enlightening. There are some issues in life that we contemplate about but never really took the time to read or pray about it. This is one of them. I pray that this article will help shed a bright light on you as you walk in the path of righteousness towards Christ. Be encouraged friends, God didn’t leave you or me here to fend for ourselves alone but here to bring us the truth and live an abundant life. May you continually always seek God’s truth until the day you’re taken up to Heaven. 🙂 Btw, picture is not mine.

 

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites be the same one who said, “Love your enemies,do good to those who hate you” (v. 27)?

To clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of
God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (12:19).

People are killed in war, but this isn’t the same as murder. A soldier on the battlefield carries out his duties under the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). Murder, on the other hand, is an individual’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy and is motivated by a desire to destroy another person.

When governments avenge wrong, innocent people are protected, but when individuals seek their own revenge, they destroy themselves and others. In Luke, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. He knows that loving our enemies is the only way to protect ourselves from bitterness.

Would we prefer to turn the responsibilities around—are we quick to fight personal battles, but slow to affirm the avenging of evil nationally? Sometimes the only way for a country to have peace is to go to war, but we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle with individuals who wrong us.