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HAVE YOU FED THE LAMBS?

Happy Sunday friends! I came across a devotional that I enjoyed reading and I thought I would share with you!

 

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’” John 21:15

Not long after I married my wife, Martie, I realized that she had a deep love for animals in general and dogs in particular. She grew up with Trudy, a black lab, who was a faithful friend and companion. I grew up in a home that never had any pets. (Actually, my mom had a canary, but it’s not easy to bond to a bird!) I’m sorry to admit this to all you dog lovers, but my feeling was, “Dogs? Who needs a dog? They’re for people who can’t make it with humans and need props from the animal kingdom.”

So, when Martie said, “Joe, let’s get a dog!” my answer to her was less than satisfactory. It was at that point that I woke up to a very important principle of loving relationships. It is this: You demonstrate your love to someone by caring about what they care about. Which meant that if I wanted to prove my love for Martie, I would set aside my rather warped view of pets. So that’s exactly what I did, and we bought a dog. And I helped walk the dog and feed the dog, and eventually I ended up liking the dog!

This is exactly what’s behind Jesus’ interrogation of Peter. Loving Jesus is not proven by our singing about our love for Him in church. It is most clearly demonstrated when we care about what He cares about. And, more than anything else, He cares about people. Reading through the Gospels, it becomes clear that He is “into” one thing—people. He came to our planet because people needed what He only could bring to us. And, as you probably know, He went to the extremes of self-sacrifice to prove how committed He was to meeting our needs.

What I find interesting is that His love for people was not reserved only for the people who were easy to love. He cared about the needs of tax collectors. He extended His love to despised Samaritans. He ate and fellowshiped with sinners and granted the freeing power of mercy and forgiveness to prostitutes. It didn’t make any difference—if you were warm and breathing, you mattered to Jesus.

In John 21, Peter had bailed on his calling to “fish for men” and had gone back to his old career of fishing for fish (John 21:3). After he and some others had fished all night and caught nothing, Jesus showed up on the beach and filled their nets with fish. It was at this point that He did some serious business with Peter. In a triple interrogation, Jesus wanted to know if Peter loved Him. Though Peter verbally affirmed his love, Jesus made it clear that He would know that Peter loved Him only when Peter left his nets again and gave himself to the needs and nurture of people.

So here’s the takeaway. It really doesn’t make any difference how fervently you and I verbally affirm our love for Jesus. If we aren’t into extending our love and resources to the needs of others, then He doesn’t feel loved by us. It’s just that simple! But here’s the good news. People are everywhere—all kinds of them! You can find them at home, in the office, on the streets, and in heavy traffic. There may even be a few at church! So what are you waiting for? Today, Jesus has shown up on the beach of your heart and called you from a life lost in your own interests and offered you the privilege of getting involved in what He cares about—the needs and nurture of people!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Read the conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-17. How would you respond to Jesus’ question?
  • What is more important to you than the needs of others? Is it your plans, your possessions, your time, your energy? What could you intentionally do today to show your love for Jesus by reaching out to the needs of others? Make a specific plan. Just to stay in shape, do one thing each day to let Jesus know that you love Him!
  • If Jesus were to approach your heart’s door, would He see a sign swinging from the door handle that reads: “Gone Fishin’”?

 

This devotional and others can be found at http://getmorestrength.org/

I hope you enjoyed!

Love Ya!

Peaches

EXCEL : LOVE : EXPLORE

HAPPY “FREE TO EAT LOTS OF CHOCOLATES” DAY!

I’ll find an excuse to eat chocolate any day lol!!

Happy Valentine’s Day friends!! I wanted to take a moment help those of you who get lonely or discouraged around Valentine’s Day. Let’s reinvent what it will mean to us! Valentine’s Day is not about boos, baby fathas lol, or husbands or wives, or mommies and daddies and believe it or not it has nothing to do with stuffed animals, chocolate or the dinner you will have at red lobster tonight lol…it’s about shining an extra bright light on exactly what love is all about.

I share with you today what true love is and what it means. You shouldn’t wait for February 14th to show love to friends, family or even yourself; and if you didn’t know it before, I will tell you now…YOU ARE LOVED! Jesus loves you enough to give His life for you. I love you for your support and encouragement and for just being you! You should love you because there is NO ONE in the world like you! Love is powerful…it conquers all and covers a multitude of sins. True love changes atmospheres and circumstances – without it we are and have nothing.

1 Corinthians 13

The Way of Love

 1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
   Love doesn’t strut,
   Doesn’t have a swelled head,
   Doesn’t force itself on others,
   Isn’t always “me first,”
   Doesn’t fly off the handle,
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

Show love and support small business =) Treat yourself to a safe, wickless warmer system!!

I hope you have a day filled with love, joy and chocolate!!

Love Ya!

Peaches

EXCEL : LOVE : EXPLORE

9 SERVINGS OF FRUIT

Contrary to what your nutritionist will tell you, I am writing to tell you that today you need to have 9 servings of fruit; everyday. That’s right…9 heaping servings of the best fruit in town. I am not talking apples and oranges, I am talking about the 9 fruits of the Spirit.

The 9 fruits of the Spirit are vital to our spiritual walk and our daily fight against the world and our flesh. Not sure what I’m talkin’ about…? Read on and let the Word explain.

Galatians 5:13-26
Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

So what does all of this mean?

LOVE: The Holy Spirit imparts to us the virtue of LOVE.Love radiates from a spirit filled person. A church which is truly spirit filled overflows with love. A distinguishing mark of a true disciple of Christ is love. As it is written in John 13:35 :”All men will know that you are mY disciples, if you love one another.”

JOY: A spirit-filled person has joy on his heart. Joy and pleasure are two different things. A person maybe suffering from a chain of misfortune but still have joy in his heart.

PEACE: Another wonderful virtue imparted to us b the Holy Spirit is PEACE, which is actually the peace of Jesus Christ as it is written in John 14:27 ; ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives.” Despite the uncertainties of the future, despite the various problems attacking our economy, despite the present upheavals in our society, a spirit-filled Christian could still remain relaxed, calm, serene. Because the peace of JesusChrist is in his/her heart.

PATIENCE: Longsuffering is synanimous to patient and enduring. Longsuffering is one of the virtues possessed by God so by Christ also. As Christians, longsuffering must be one of our virtues. We must be longsuffering with the weaknesses of out brothers and sisters in the faith. We must be longsuffering with the people we are leading to Christ.

KINDNESS: Kindness is synanimous to compassion, generosity, goodness of heart, goodness in deeds or actions. As we become controlled by the Holy Spirit, true kindness radiates from us . We become more considerate to people,we become compassionate to the needy, to the lost.

GOODNESS: Goodness is one of the virtues imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. We could only function well as Christian if we allow the Holy Spirit to control us. We can become the good trees that produce good fruits as the Holy Spirit controls us. The word is synanimous to suitable or worthy.

FAITHFULNESS: God is ever faithful to us at all times though sometimes we fail. As we are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, the virtue is reflected upon us. We also become faithful to him. We become faithful to our commitment to others. Faithfulness in not inherent in man, it is only a God-given virtue.

GENTLENESS: Gentleness is synanimous to meekness. Jesus claimed meekness for himself and significantly coupled it with being “lowly in heart.” His meekness is worthy of our imitation. Meekness of a Christian is displayed by accepting God’s dealings with us as good without any resistance. This is a display of lowliness before God and humility before men.

SELF-CONTROL: Self-control is a discipline, but it cannot be imposed from an outside source. Self-control cannot be achieved by training rather self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual Christian has this quality, not as a result of will power or effort but as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in his lives. Jesus excercised much self-control during his earthly life. A spirit-controlled Christian has self-control in all aspects of his/her life. He has self-control in his thoughts, words, deeds, emotions. he knows well how to handle his emotions and thoughts. He is an emotionally mature person.

You should want to possess the 9 fruits of the Spirit all day e’rr day LOL! 🙂 Let all things you do glorify God and shine through!

Love Ya!

Peaches

EXCEL : LOVE : EXPLORE

CONFRONTING WITH LOVE – PART 3

 

“Each part…helps the other parts grow.” Eph 4:16 NLT

A good mentor will: (1) Affirm in public, correct in private. Your goal should be to help, not hurt. When you rebuke someone in public you humiliate them, destroying their self-esteem. But when you affirm them in public you build their self-esteem, confidence and incentive. Of course, your praise should be genuine, not just empty words. By affirming sincerely and publicly, you plant the seeds of growth and greatness in the learner. (2) Build an allegiance to relationships, not issues. We tend to build an allegiance either to relationships, or to issues. We become primarily concerned about other people, their feelings, and the relationship, or we become focused on rules, agendas, quotas, tasks and results. A good mentor always puts relationships ahead of issues. In his book Mentoring: The Strategy of the Master, Ron Lee Davis writes: “My father was that kind of mentor, both in his own family and in the church he pastored for twenty-five years. Many times I heard him say, ‘The individual is always more important than the issue.’ He lived this principle daily and he built it into my life. Today, I try to pass on this principle to others.” God has called each of us to run our race and finish it successfully. He has also called us to keep the torch lit and hand it off to the next runner. Don’t merely be satisfied with doing the job, make sure the job keeps getting done by teaching and training someone else. Jesus, the Master-mentor, said: “The works that I do shall [you] do also; and greater works than these shall [you] do” (Jn 14:12).

CONFRONTING WITH LOVE – PART 2

 

“Each part…helps the other parts grow.” Eph 4:16 NLT

When you confront somebody: (1) Be specific, don’t generalize. For example, don’t say, “You’re always abrupt and unfriendly.” Be specific. Instead say, “You were rather abrupt with Mrs. Jones yesterday.” Generalizations sound and feel like an attack on who the person is, instead of constructive reproof on what the person does. Plus, the vagueness of such generalizations doesn’t give the learner a clue what he or she should do to grow and change. (2) Show empathy. An effective mentor always tries to put themselves in the learner’s place. Novelist John Erskine observed, “We have not really budged a step, until we’ve taken up residence in someone else’s point of view.” Assure them that you’re their advocate, not their adversary, and that your only desire is to see them succeed. Why do people have such a hard time accepting and processing criticism? Because they get caught up in a shame spiral, going all the way back to their childhood. They never felt valued, they felt like they were always being criticized and told how useless and stupid they were, and now they instinctively give too much power to criticism. Only when you understand that will you be able to approach them the right way. Build on their strengths, gifts and character through encouragement. Earn the right to confront. Make sure you affirm 97 percent of the time, so that when it’s time to be tough in the remaining 3 percent, your love and encouragement will be credible. How will a person know you’re on his or her side if the only evaluation you ever pass on is a negative one?

CONFRONTING WITH LOVE – PART 1

I know we all feel this way sometimes! Take a look at part one of this awesome devotional.

 

“Each part…helps the other parts grow.” Eph 4:16 NLT

None of us enjoy confronting others, but sometimes it must be done. So: be honest and direct. Tenderness is not a matter of being diplomatic or tactful, or using euphemistic language, or “beating around the bush” and softening the blow. Don’t do that. Weigh what needs to be said in clear and unmistakable terms, then lay it squarely on the line. If you love them, level with them! But a word of caution here: don’t use words like “love” and “transparency” to disguise a judgmental attitude. People get screamed at, chewed out and verbally abused in the name of love. Don’t vent your anger at someone in the name of honesty. Not one of us is qualified to confront the other until we have carefully examined our motivations for doing so—including, as much as humanly possible, those motives that evade our conscious minds. You should always confront with reluctance, never with eagerness. You should confront directly, yet gently, and always with a desire to bring about God’s best in the other person’s life. It is far more Christ-like to confront another person through tears than with a voice raised in anger. At all points, the listener should never be in doubt as to your love and acceptance. Genuine love says: “I’ve got something to tell you. I know this won’t be easy for either of us, but I respect you enough to give it to you straight. I care about you, I’m committed to our relationship, and I want you to be the best you can be.”

 

FOR THE MARRIED FOLK…

Today’s Devotional!! Enjoy!

“Many waters cannot quench love.” SS 8:7

We smile at the cartoon of a husband saying to his wife, “There you go again, quoting our marriage vows out of context!” Walter Lippmann said, “The concept of two people living together for twenty-five years or more without a serious dispute, suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep.” Marriage is God’s idea, and it’s a good one. But if you’re looking for someone who can be everything, you’ll be disappointed! When you marry someone you take on their weaknesses as well as their strengths. It’s a package deal. By expecting perfection, you’re asking for more than either of you are capable of giving. On the other hand, when you get into trouble you can count on your partner. Marriage is having someone to curl up with when the world seems cold, who’s as concerned as you are when the children are ill. It’s having a hand that keeps checking your brow when you aren’t well, and a shoulder to cry on when they lower a loved one into the ground. To the one you marry you’re saying, “When my time comes to leave this world, it’s your face I want to kiss goodbye. It’s your hand I want to hold as I slip into eternity. I want to look into your eyes and see that I mattered. Not what I looked like, or how much money I made, or even how talented I was. No, I want to look into the eyes of someone who loved me and see that I mattered!” If you’ve been too busy lately, or just forgetful, take a moment and let your spouse know how much you appreciate them.

YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE

I can remember a time when my life was solely based on pleasing others…yep, I was a “yes mayum”. It seemed that I only found comfort in who I was if people liked me, or admired me for something. I loved me when someone else loved who I was, I thought I was pretty when someone else told me I was pretty, I thought I was smart if someone told me I was smart.  For some reason it was difficult to believe these things on my own accord. I began searching for my purpose in what people defined and categorized me as. “She said I was great with kids, maybe I’ll become a teacher”, “Your really nice and caring Jennifer, maybe you should become a nurse”. I moved about life in this matter and thought nothing of it. It was only when I started to read the Word and understand just Who I belonged to that this began to change for me. I won’t dare tell you it was easy and I certainly won’t tell you that I don’t still struggle every now and again… I  just was not consumed with others opinions. I’m just being honest with ya!

I remember a time in my life when everything began to change, I started thinking and acting differently, nothing was about me. I felt great about who I was, even if I wasn’t where I was supposed to be; I was cool. I embraced who I was; every victory, every flaw. And then it happened…

I had finally reached a peak, just when I was getting a handle of who I was–I remember being in a relationship with someone that I thought would last forever. I was on cloud 500 LOL! But one day they looked me straight in the eye and told me that they weren’t attracted to me. Told me that I wasn’t exactly their type. I just sat there…I didn’t know what to say, how to react. This was devastating to me. This to me was like a relapse for an addict. I had been sucker punched in the stomach by someone that I loved. I was confused, angry, hurt… I immediately regressed to the “Old Jennifer”. I began to wander into my thoughts, his words became “blah, blah, blah” and I began to hear… “should I lose weight”, “maybe I should dress different”, “maybe it’s the way I wear my hair or the way I talk”, “maybe it’s because I always drop food on my clothes” ( I really do LOL). I became obsessed with trying to figure out what was wrong with me. This couldn’t be…everyone had to like me and think I was attractive, smart and funny… right? WRONG!

For months I held resentment in my heart, I began to check out of the relationship and become detached. Every hug felt fake, I was obsessed in thinking that nothing was no longer real. I wondered what my purpose was in the relationship.  Was everything said to me before a lie? I took what was said to me and carried it with me; it became a weight on my back and my heart. I admired this person, I valued their opinion, I wanted to know that when they were out with me, they felt great about having me alongside them.  Now I’m sure your wondering, “uhhh, why did you stay?” I stayed because I was determined to solve this “problem”. In my mind I knew I could make someone like me and think I was attractive…after all there was nothing wrong with me. I had my flaws like anyone else, but overall I was a great person. So the entire situation just wouldn’t click for me. How can someone I have invested time and energy into building a relationship to just discard me and my feelings in such a way? I cried everyday, feeling horrible about myself and angry at allowing myself to feel this way.

And then I was reminded of this:

“…God made humans in his image
      reflecting God’s very nature.
   You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce,
      lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!” {Genesis 9:6}

Peaches, why are you up at 4:13am writing this post?! I couldn’t sleep. I need to tell you what I know and rest in now.  Since you are made in God’s image, then you take on His attributes. I had to remind someone that you are wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of Christ. You are smart, you have a TON to offer this world, you have a gift inside of you that the world is waiting for. You are amazing, you are funny, you have a great smile, your hair looks great, you are very attractive, your clothes look fine and if no one else loves you, you have Christ who loves you unconditionally–and that’s enough love to last a lifetime. You are exactly who you are supposed to be; exactly who God designed you to be. Who cares if you drop food on your clothes ;), who cares if someone thinks your not that cute, who cares if someone thinks your too skinny/fat, who cares if your hair is short or long, who cares if you have skinny fingers or stubby toes-You are who you are.

I told you my story, not for us to have a pity-party and feel bad for Peaches. I told you that story because it’s important to know that the enemy will do whatever he can to keep you from staying in God’s will for your life. He will attack in the very areas he knows you struggle with. You MUST remain steadfast, alert and prayed up. Find something you enjoy and makes you feel good about you. Stop trying to “discover your purpose” without first seeking God. The Word tells us:

You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce,
      lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!” {Genesis 9:6}

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. {Matthew 6:30-33}

I thank God for that moment in my life. As much as it hurt my heart to the core, I was able to learn that I lost focus on Who really mattered. As soon as I allowed someone’s opinion of me to define my worth, I lost my value. We ALL have relationships that create pivotal moments in our lives; they are what I like to call “turning point relationships”- the ones you learn a lesson from. We can either allow it to make us or break us.

It was a situation that I replayed in my head daily at one time; now I have replaced those thoughts with what God says about me. He never lies and only has my best interest in mind and most of all, I trust Him. I find peace and comfort resting in the Lord’s promise and assurances. I know who and Whose I am!

Love Ya!

Peaches

EXCEL : LOVE : EXPLORE

ARE YOU ARGUMENTATIVE?

So today we take a look at the argumentative tongue!  The scripture reference for this is found in Proverbs:

Proverbs 20:3 (The Message)

3 It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights.

Argumentative people love to directly disagree or resist anyone whose viewpoint is different from theirs. They depend on topical conversations that produce unending quarrels. Entertainer Will Roger’s put it this way: “People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.”

People can become quarrelers by growing up in homes where arguing was just apart of their life as eating. Arguing becomes a normalcy, its all they know; they believe it is normal to contend because that is what they saw. They do not realize that this is ineffective communication. People also become quarrelers to bolster their own self-worth. They seem to only feel good about themselves by attacking the validity of other people’s philosophies, beliefs or opinions and maneuvering them into defending their position. No one who is argumentative has a goal to add value to someone’s life by showing him/her the error of his ways.

Solomon tells us in Proverbs 17:14 :

The Message (MSG)

14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam,
so stop it before it bursts.

I would say that is some solid advice! We have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable. We glorify God when we remain loving even when we disagree with the views and values of unbelievers or believers that we just can not see eye to eye with. Be careful of HOW you disagree, you do not want to compromise your testimony.

Today ask God to help you resist becoming contentious by respecting everyone’s right to have his/her own values and views.

Love ya!

Peaches

EXCEL : LOVE : EXPLORE